Star Trek: Defiant

"The Season of Shadowlight" - Part Nine

Written by Catrin Kadiya

Kadiya opened her eyes, looking around her. She was no longer on Novachron, if she ever had been. She swallowed hard, looking around the tunnel. The creature had said that Shuriik was here. Kadiya closed her eyes, hoping to the Ancients that he was. When she opened her eyes, she began walking again.

She heard nothing behind her to indicate that Shuriik followed, and he certainly wasn't at her side. She stopped walking, sighing in frustration. Kadiya nearly turned around, but reconsidered. Every time she had turned around before, whatever had been behind her had vanished. Everything always vanished.

She thought of the way Novachron had vanished and panic welled up inside of her. Would she get Shuriik home in time to save their world? *Save it from what? Gods, I don't know!* Would Novachron even still be there? Or would it be dust between the stars... *I don't even know how to get there!*

Kadiya groaned. This was certainly getting her nowhere.

She closed her eyes, forcing herself to focus on her surroundings. It was what she did each morning during her kata lessons; she could slose the rest of the world out and focus only on that which surrounded her. It wasn't easy, but she was getting better at it.

Now, she could feel the breath of the air against her skin; the touch of the light against her eyelids. The gentle thrum of her heart and the pebbles beneath her boots--

She could hear another person breathing. Focusing on the breathing, she could hear the ground shifting under footsteps. Slowly, Kadiya set herself forward again, continuing on. Shuriik was there. He had to be.

But what of Lebin? The captain? Doctor Laine? Indecision welled up inside of Kadiya--should she go back for them?

The sense of the other person behind her vanished. Growling in frustration, she stopped again, re-focusing herself on what surrounded her. The presence returned, stronger than ever. Did that mean Shuriik was closer?

She didn't know how long they walked, but when she approached the tunnel's exit, her uniform was soaked with perspiration and her breath was ragged. As the light from outside began to wash over her, she considered turning around again. Something told her not to. They were not out of this place--wherever it was. She would have to leave on her own and trust that Shuriik would follow her. Taking a breath, Kadiya stepped through the oval of light.

Sunlight streamed down and smacked her in the face. Kadiya staggered, feeling as though her damp uniform were strangling her. She grabbed at the collar to loosen it, looking around. She found herself right where Shuriik had vanished from, the ground just outside the market. On the plain a short distance away was the captain, Laine kneeling before him. They were both a soggy mess, as much as Kadiya was and she scowled. Where the devil had they all been?

Kadiya looked away from the captain and Laine, allowing herself to turn around. Shuriik stood there, his uniform equally wet. Kadiya grinned and reached out for Shuriik's arm, wanting to ensure that he was solid and real and not something that would vanish as soon as she looked away. Looking beyond Shuriik, she saw absolutely no sign of the cavern or tunnel.

"Are you all right?" she asked Shuriik. "Where were you?"

Shruiik smiled down at her. "I'm all right," he assured her. "I don't know where I was. There was a creature-- I don't--" He broke off, looking down at his hand and opening it. Inside lay two wilted flowers.

Kadiya opened her hand. Her flower had vanished.

They said nothing. Kadiya looked up at him, wanting to tell him of Novachron, that it was imperative that they get back, but the words wouldn't come. She looked away with a soft sigh, looking at the captain and Laine as they joined them.

"What are you standing around for?" Bridges asked in a joking tone. "We have a relief mission here." It was clear to all that he had been deeply affected by what had happened, but wasn't ready to speak with anyone other than Rael about it. His hand was wrapped tightly around hers, and he looked like he never wanted to let it go.

Shuriik and Kadiya nodded. "Yes, sir," they said in unison a moment before the Defiant locked on to them and pulled them home.

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