Star Trek: Defiant

"Imperial Entanglements" - Part One

Written by Kamiana Tyrrel

It was a while yet before Mak was supposed to meet her for dinner, and everything was ready. Everything except herself, that is. She still couldn't work out just what the new arrival's presence meant, especially for herself and Mak, and she knew this was something they had to thrash out and quickly if they were all to be cooped up together on this ship for the foreseeable future.

She sighed. It wasn't going to be easy, she hadn't hurt like this since she'd lost Michael for the second time...but she would have to get through it, though she didn't know where she'd find the strength.

She walked slowly to the quarters that the computer informed her had been assigned to Catrin Kadiya and rang the chime.

"Hello, it's Kamiana. I..." she swallowed. "I think we need to talk."

Catrin looked up from the computer, and toward the door with a deep frown. "Kamiana? The woman with Takila in the lounge," Catrin remembered. What could they have to talk about? Catrin looked back to the computer screen. She had two options-- she could continue reading about how Surak had come to revolutionize Vulcan (fascinating man, though Catrin was discovering she had a liking for pre-Surakian poetry), or she could invite Kamiana in to talk.

Catrin couldn't remember if she'd had friends on Novachron. She didn't think she had, and certainly no women friends. The very concept was odd to her. Catrin tapped the computer off and her eyes made a quick sweep of the room. It was presentable, because she had very little to clutter the space with. She looked down at herself. She, too, was presentable. She touched a hand to her jaw. The tooth that Takila had loosened was begining to tighten up.

Catrin moved to the door and tapped the panel beside it. The doors opened with a whoosh and Catrin found herself looking at Kamiana. She really was lovely and Catrin could understand Takila's attraction to her.

"Please," Catrin said, "come in."

Once they were seated, she continued. "I guess you could say, this comes as a surprise to all of us. From what Mak's said he hadn't had contact with any of his people for a very long time."

She took another deep breath. As much as she tried to fight it her mind kept coming back to the one inescapable fact of just what the woman in front of her represented to Mak, all the things he'd been cut off from for a millennia and more.

Catrin couldn't help but chuckle. "I haven't exactly been in touch with Novachron lately," she said. "I don't know how much you know about Takila's last mission, but. . .he found me in stasis on Earth. I was in stasis for four hundred and twenty six years." She shook her head. "That sounds odd, I know. . .it's even strange to not be in that cold. . . tube. If he hadn't found me when he did. . . Well, I owe him rather a lot at the moment." Catrin smiled broadly. "You and he are close?" When Kamiana nodded, Catrin's smile softened. "Maybe he will tell you more of the mission later tonight."

"I hope he will, now." Kamiana replied. "I'd run into him, the day he left, and all he'd say then was it was something really important. I...I couldn't help worrying, though." She glanced out the viewport for a moment, sighed, then looked back to Catrin. "I mean, I know he can more than take care of himself," she smiled. "but I--if he was going into something that might be dangerous I still wanted to be there with him."

Catrin shook her head. "I don't know if you could have helped him with this. Very little of what happened was planned..." Her voice trailed off. "Is this really what you wanted to talk about?"

Kamiana bit her lip and took a deep breath. " I that obvious?" she sighed again. "I's just not easy for me. All this time, Mak's thought himself alone, cut off from his world, his people. And now here you are...I know you haven't had contact either, but--but you still represent that to him." Her dark eyes showed the fear she could not even now bring herself to put into words...that Mak for that reason alone would have to choose Catrin one of these days. And if that day ever came, she would have to let him go and that would rend her in two. Losing Michael not once but twice had been almost too much. If she lost Mak...

Catrin smiled. "It would seem that he has two worlds now. He told me that he's made a life for himself here. I have no desire to rip him out of that life. Still, I know that he needs to return to Novachron. That doesn't mean he has to stay, you know." Catrin's eyes narrowed as she considered her next words. "Don't you trust him?"

The question hung in the air between them, heavy, almost palpable.

She looked at Catrin for a long moment, that question had hit hard. Finally, she nodded..."It''s not that." she said slowly. "Among my people, when two find themselves...drawn, attracted, to one another.." this was a hard thing to speak of, it was deeply personal, but somehow she knew she had to say it. "there is a, a bonding of mind and soul we call 'imzadi'. Very few of us are fortunate enough to find that degree of closeness...and I did not think I would."

She took a deep breath. "There was another, once, who I cared for deeply. Not in the same way--this one was more of a teacher, a guide, to me. That...there were things that happened and I...I was weak and et others pressure me into doing something that hurt him so much that he went away. Then he was lost and I--I thought I'd killed him, that he'd gone out there and died because of me, because I'd stood there and let him walk away. When Mak left--I was so afraid it was happening again."

Kamiana took another breath. Even now, with everything that had happened since with Michael's return as the Prophet, it still hurt to relive this. She wasn't sure why she'd told this woman she'd just met, it just seemed right to do so.

Catrin stood up, shaking her head. "I came across this 'imzadi' term when I was reading through some files on Betazoids. Some believe it means nothing more than 'beloved.' There are many who discount this bond, but clearly, you do not. That said, you should have trusted in it and in Takila, trusted that he would come back to you. Not every departure is permanent--and how long can you compare Takila to another? That isn't fair to either man."

Catrin turned and looked back at Kamiana. She saw the grief in the Betazoid's eyes, and she sighed. "I don't mean to hurt you, but Takila isn't this Michael person. Takila came back to you." Catrin tilted her head, considering the woman before her. "I told you in Eight-Forward that my interest in Takila does not lie where yours does. I don't want to bond with him as you have. Why do I get the feeling that I'm trespassing, when I've done nothing of the sort?"

Kamiana sighed. "I apologize if I gave that impression--" she paused, thinking how best to begin again. "I did not wish to offend. But when you came, with Mak--something just--threw me off balance, so to speak."

"Can we--can we start over?" she said, trying to make amends if that was at all possible. "Now that we've talked--I think that that was what I really needed, just to, to get those feelings out into the open. If I have offended, again I am sorry."

"I...I still would like for us to, to get to know one another better, that is if you are willing. There are so few of us left now--we have to stick together, or there really will be nothing left."

"What happened was a great tragedy," Catrin said, nodding. "It would be even greater if you didn't rise above it." Catrin smiled. "I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to get to know one another; until I can locate Novachron, it looks as though this is where I'll be."

Kamiana managed a smile. "Well," she swallowed. "I do happen to be a science if there is any way I can help with that, please let me. That's the least I can do..." she glanced at the chronometer. "It's almost twenty one hundred and dinner's in an hour--I've got to get back to my quarters. Do you--do you mind if we talk again another time?"

Catrin nodded and smiled, as Kami excused herself and left.

Kamiana spent the next hour in her quarters, thinking over what Catrin had said--and just what she was going to say to Mak.

The chime to Kamiana Tyrell's quarters sounded. She answered the door, not really curious as to who it might be. Her eyes brightened when she saw who it was--just who she'd hoped it'd be.

"Evening," said the Novachron. "Are you hungry?"

"You better believe it!" She threw her arms around him.

It had been awhile since they had dinner and with Mak's busy schedule, such things as dinners and together time were somewhat rare. Since Mak's recent covert mission to earth, Tyrrel couldn't help but wonder when they'd have some time to themselves. It didn't help much when Mak returned accompanied by, of all things, a beautiful Novachron woman.

She thought about how Mak told her how she resembled his old girlfriend, Laurana, whom he hadn't seen since coming to earth nearly 1500 years ago. Maybe it was because of her resemblance that he decided to start seeing her.

Maybe the loneliness just finally got to him? She tried to push such thoughts from her mind.

"Then come with me," he said. Odd, she thought, were they going to have dinner in his quarters?

"Where are we going?" she asked.

"Somewhere different," he grinned.

They went to Holodeck 1 where Mak called up the program "Mak Dinner Program Eta One." The doors whooshed open and Tyrell saw a beautiful sunset landscape with green grass, tropical flowers, and a breathtaking waterfall. Near the edge of the lake into which the water fell, was a white gazebo set with a table, and two chairs. Standing attentively nearby was a waiter garbed in a white suit.

"It's beautiful!" Tyrell exclaimed.

"It was taken from a program I borrowed from Midshipman Lister. The place is called Fiji. It's an island back on earth noted for its beautiful lagoons. I kinda tweaked it a bit." Just then, a tropical bird called out from a distant tree.

Mak ushered her to her seat and then sat himself down. The waiter rolled over the silver cart and uncovered it. Underneath were two plates topped with boiled lobsters. There was bottle of wine as well, not synthehol, but the real thing: a chilled chardonay from Mak's private stock.

"I didn't think the replicators could do such wonders," Tyrell declared.

"Well, except for the surroundings, all the food is real," Mak replied. "Tagana outdid herself."

They ate and enjoyed both the surroundings and each other's company and time became an illusion.

"It's not easy, you know," Tyrrel finally said.

"What is?"

"Dealing with the thought that you could disappear on a moment's notice like that. This last time--it hit me a little too close to home, I guess because of--of everything that happened with Michael..."

"It's part of the job, Darlin'." Mak replied.

"I know," she replied. "It's just hard. I guess not knowing where you're going, or why or even sometimes if you'll even return."

"Then you can under why I've generally kept to myself all these years," he explained. "Not everyone can deal with a loved one who may not always be there for one reason or another. Most folks like relationships because of the stability they bring."

"I guess you're right," she said. She could tell it wasn't very easy for him to say these things, but she was happy to be a part of the honesty. "Are you trying to tell me something?" she asked, her heart beginning to beat a bit faster.

Mak looked into her deep dark eyes. "Just that with all that's gone on over the last couple weeks with the Nanites and my training a new assistant- -especially one from home--I may not be the most available person in the world for who knows how long."

She expected something worse. The Betazoid was certainly concerned that Catrin might occupy more of his mind then she'd prefer and it was justifiable to a degree. A real Novachron woman, after all: one that could perhaps offer him things that she was just simply incapable of. At least he wasn't telling her goodbye. But that didn't mean it couldn't potentially happen sometime. But from looking at the two of them together, she could see no particular attraction between Mak and Catrin other than the sheer novelty of being around somebody of their own kind again. She remembered what he once said about probably outliving her. He was probably right. But in themeantime, that didn't mean she had to stop caring.

"I..I understand, I guess," she finally said.

He touched her hand, smiling. Though he wasn't a Betazoid he knew how she felt and there was little he could do about it. But the situations still stood. He was both a Starfleet Officer and a Novachron Sentinel and as such was bound to certain duties, certain responsibilities, and sometimes there was conflict. That was the story of his life.

"I know you'll do--whatever you have to." she said quietly. "Just promise me one thing." she swallowed. "If you do have to go--I mean for good--come and tell me straight out. Don't just--disappear, and leave me wondering. I went through that when--when Michael was lost, and six years of not knowing before he c-came back as the Prophet. I don't think I could go through that again."

He could only hold her hand and return her gaze firmly. It would be wonderful if he could promise that but life had a way of knocking the best laid plans to hell and back again. Still, he couldn't not give her any reassurance at he nodded.

She saw the look in his eyes and knew what it meant. He was doing the best he could, the circumstances being what they were. She took a deep breath--she was *going* to enjoy this time now while they had it.

The rest of the meal passed slowly, with much long looks and holding of hands, it -mattered- to make every moment count.

Then they left the remains of the meal and walked slowly along the beach listening to the waves breaking on the shore...

Then all too suddenly this time that had seemed almost magical ended with a beeping from Mak's commbadge.

"Mak, I need to see you in my ready room ASAP." came the voice of Captain Bridges.

"Be right there." he replied, then turned to her.

She bit her lip. This was what they'd so recently been talking about--she would let him see she understood. She had to, for his sake. She made herself smile and give his hand one last squeeze, then walked with him to the holodeck exit. "Can we pick this up--later?"

"Sure thing." he replied and gave her a hug. "I'll be ringing your doorbell again soon enough."

They kissed and then she watched as he went into the turbolift to head for the Bridge.

* * *

Meanwhile, Somewhere Else...

The Ensign could hardly believe her luck. She had been on this ship--the pride of the Empire, it was--for *months* now and none of the male senior officers had taken much notice of her outside of duty.

She had had to content herself with the importunings of enlisted men seeking to curry what favors she could give--she was an Ensign, after all, which was one level higher than they, at least she was an officer.

But now, tonight, there was a message. And not from one of the other junior officers--the perpetually whining Clark, for example--if he even -dared-, she'd kill him outright.

No. this was from Captain Bridges himself. Which surprised her for another reason--she'd heard he had eyes only for that pallid Bajoran bitch who ran Sickbay. But now he wanted her to come to him--in his quarters, yet.

She adjusted the gold bands of her uniform, brushed her hair one last time and added a smidgen of perfume to boo--then strapping her ceremonial dagger into place she walked slowly out of her room and up to the Captain's quarters, nodding appreciatively but showing no other reaction to the looks and thoughts of the crewmen she passed.

Let them all want her. Let them. She would give herself only to who -she- wanted--and if the Captain wanted her, as it now seemed, why should she content herself with these weakling officer wanna-bes?

Reaching her destination, she pressed the chime.

"Enter." came his stern voice.

She did so and saluted promptly.

"At ease Ensign." he said after a moment, getting up from his seat to look her over. He came to stand right in front of her, smiling in a way that even if she hadn't been telepathic would have made it only too obvious what was going through his mind.

Her fingers tensed on the gold dagger, as his hand came up to caress her shoulder, then her cheek. She could strike him down now, if she wanted, there'd be no way he could stop it--but she'd wait and see whre this was going first. She could've just pulled it from his mind, but it was more--enjoyable--this way. She knew how to make him hurt if it came to that, and not just physically, either.

She let herself smile back, but not too much--it wouldn't do at all to let him see too much eagerness.

"That's good, Tyrrel..." he chuckled. "Kamiana...I'm glad you arrived so...promptly. Though I have to say now--that the reason you're here is not what you're likely thinking. Not that I'd mind--in fact now that I've really seen you, I regret we didn't meet properly sooner." His hand caressed her shoulder again. "But this isn't about personal matters, this is about our duty to the Empire. Yours--and mine."

"Captain...?" This was not at all what she'd expected to hear, and it was only with effort that she kept herself out of his mind.

"I trust you're familiar with Imperial history, Tyrrel. Specifically the incident when four officers from the ISS Enterprise found themselves transported to a reality that differed from our own?"

She nodded.

"Our Intelligence Operations have just completed a major mission in that reality. One that has brought that weakling Federation to its knees. Now we need to..pick up the more dangerous pieces that remain, and that's where you come in."

Kamiana leaned forward, eagerly. Adventure? Intrigue?? This sounded like something bigger than what she'd have on this ship..."Tell me more, Sir."

* * *

Back aboard the USS Defiant

Ensign Kamiana Tyrrel lay back on her bed, letting her mind drift back over the evening's events...and further back, to the last time Mak had come here, before he'd left for that last mission.

That night had been so wonderful--and she couldn't help but hope whatever the Captain had called him for this time wasn't another mission, not this soon. She knew all the reasons why he had to go if it were, but that didn't change that part of her still yearned to have him here beside her again...

She was jerked out of her dreams by the sound of the door chime. She jumped from the bed--could it be? She was so sure she didn't think to check telepathically first.

She opened the door--to find herself looking not at Mak but at--


Another her? but how--what--??

That was all she had time to think before her twin lunged forward and shoved her back--she struggled for a moment, her mind screamed silently-- MAK!!!

Then there was a flare of light and then blackness...

Kamiana-the-Second looked down at her fallen counterpart. Pathetic. Weak. Like everyone else in this universe.

Well, she'd learn. Everyone here would, once they were in the Imperial Slave Markets...

But that depended on completing her mission here. The mission that had just begun...and that in turn depended on her not being discovered just yet.

Which meant this one had to disappear--she bent down and attached the transfer device as she'd been instructed.

A moment later, there was only one Kamiana Tyrrel in the room.

The Captain--her Captain--would be pleased.

"Long live the Empire," she thought, as she sat down at the computer terminal and set to work."

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