DS9 WIP: The Honored 1b/? [PG13]

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Philippe de la Matraque

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Jul 17, 2020, 12:13:51 AM7/17/20
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Kira was waiting for him when he returned. Two more red-robed Gidari
were waiting, too. They held folded, purple robes in their hands. "You
must wear these," the priestess explained, "so that all will know that
you are Honored." Containers of medical supplies now filled the small
room. Kira had recognized some of them as Bashir's supplies for the
outpost.

"What's going on?" she asked. She looked to Bashir, trusting now that
he was her recently deceased crewmate.

"I can explain it," he told her, but he didn't. He waited for the
Gidari to leave them alone. The priestess bowed, first with her hands
crossed palms-up in front and then sweeping them back behind her until
her arms were parallel to the floor. She remained that way until,
awkwardly, Bashir repeated the gesture. She straightened and the three
Gidari left them alone in the room. "At least some of it," he finished.

"Well?" Kira sat down on one of the crates and waited for his answer.
"Where are we?"

"On the *Gindarin**," Bashir answered. "We're going to Gidar, their
homeworld."

Kira remembered the ship. It had come to DS Nine before. But she was
concentrating on another aspect of what he said. "We've been
kidnapped," she concluded. "Why?"

Bashir sighed. "We were dead, apparently," he began. "They revived
us, apparently as part of some ritual. *Fah-Rhek**, she called it. It
would appear that they ocassionally revive dead people temporarily in
order to fulfill a particular purpose."

Kira stood. "Dead? Temporarily?" She was upset. "How temporarily?"

"Two hundred Glif," he answered. "She said that was about one Bajoran
week."

"One week?" She couldn't help repeating everything he said. "And then
what?"

Bashir sat down himself and didn't look at her. "Apparently we go back
to being dead."

"We die--again--in a week?" Kira sat too. Alive, dead, alive. It was
too much to take in. She probably would have managed being dead. She
believed the Prophets would have taken her pagh. But now she wasn't
dead and she didn't want to be. Not now, and not in a week. "Why
can't we just stay alive?"

Bashir turned his head to look at her. "I don't think we're really alive."

"What do you mean, we're not alive?" she contended. "You said they
revived us. I'm breathing. My heart is pounding. I can think. I can
walk." She would have continued, but Bashir startled her by standing up
so abruptly and reaching for her hand.

He put two fingers to her wrist and felt her strong pulse there. His
forehead was creased, his brows pulled down. He didn't expect to find
her pulse, she realized. He touched his own neck.

"What?" she demanded.

Bashir just shook his head. "I don't," was all he said.

*You don't what?** she wanted to ask, but she could see that he was
troubled. He took her hand and placed it to his neck. She felt
nothing. She tried a different position and then used both hands. She
couldn't find his pulse. "Didn't they heal us, in order to revive us?"

Abruptly, she took his shoulders and spun him around so she could see
his back. Then she pulled her hands away and covered her mouth. She
felt the gorge rise up her throat, but there was nothing in her stomach
to vomit. She had known what the changeling had done to him, but she
hadn't seen it. His uniform was torn and his skin was broken. Some of
it hung limply around a hole the size of her wrist that apparently
reached into his chest. And then she noticed something else about it
and dropped her hand. "You're glowing."

Now Bashir was the one to be repetitive "Glowing?" He tried to look
over his shoulder but quickly gave up and unzipped his uniform to look
down at his chest. Kira realized there was a larger hole there, though
oddly his uniform had not been torn. *Why had the changeling
bothered?** she wondered, though she didn't worry about it for long. A
ligthly incandescent blue glowed from within the jagged hole. Now he
looked like he would be sick. "Tricorder," he whispered. "See if you
can find a tricorder."

They both delved into the cases and Kira was the first to find the
medical kit with his tricorder. She opened it and handed it to him. He
scanned himself. When he didn't say anything for a few moments, Kira
pressed him. "Well?"

"I'm dead," he told her. "No pulse, no blood pressure." He said it so
matter-of-factly that it scared her. He had a blank look on his face.
"I've got brain activity though. And my cells are receiving oxygen."

"And me?" She waited for him to scan her and then digest the readings.

"You are alive, more or less. Pulse, brain waves. Blood pressure
would be good, too, if you had any blood."

"If?" *No blood**, she thought, *no blood**. Her mind was racing
trying to make sense of what was happening.

Bashir rubbed his free hand through his hair. "It, um, seems they've
replaced our blood with--" He seemed to struggle for the right term to use.

"Something that glows," Kira finished for him.

Bashir nodded. He tood a deep breath, a somewhat ragged one, and Kira
could see that he wasn't taking this any better than she was. He seemed
younger to her then, more like he was when she first met him. He
swallowed and opened his mouth to talk. "It's feeding us oxygen and
nutrients." His voice faded until he was only whispering. "I don't
need my heart."

Dead or not, the officer in Kira took over. Bashir had just gone
through a traumatic death, moreso than she had, and he wasn't dealing
well with what had come after. He needed to focus on something other
than the negative state of his health. "What purpose?" she asked. "You
said they did this for a purpose."

He took another breath, centering himself. "They need me to heal their
leader. The Dominion did something to her. Poisoned her, I suppose.
She said the leader would die in 300 Glif--a week and a half--unless I
could stop it."

"And you agreed?" She wasn't sure yet if that was a good or bad thing.
She was just thinking out loud.

Apparently he felt the same. "I didn't disagree," he said. "I don't
see how it could help to refuse. She said Sisko found the runabout,
took it away, back to the station. They'll know we died."

"But they won't know we've been revived." Kira nodded. "They won't
come looking for us."

"We're on our way to Gidar now," Bashir continued. "I suppose we could
look at the positive side." He smiled, but it was a little unsure.

"The positive side?" Besides being alive--and that was debatable, not
to mention temporary--she couldn't see a positive side to this situation.

"We'll get to see more of the Gidari than anyone ever has."

Kira laughed in spite of herself. And then she felt sad. "But we
won't be able to tell anyone about it. Why did they revive me? You're
the healer."

Bashir shrugged and shook his head. "I don't know. They called you my
other, said you would aid me. Maybe they think you're a nurse."

Kira thought about that, about how they must have found their bodies.
Now she laughed heartily.

"What?"

"Not a nurse," she told him. "A wife, maybe." He gave her a
questioning look, so she clarified. "I was, uh, upset when you died. I
was beside you when they shot me."

"How touching," Bashir said, finally getting it. "And this you find
humorous?"

Kira didn't see why he didn't get it. "You," she pointed at him, "and
me. Five years ago I would dropped dead at the thought."

"Okay, I see your point," he said and finally smiled. "But I can think
of worse people with whom to spend the last week of my life." He opened
one of the unfamiliar cases and began to look through its contents.

Kira didn't want the conversation to end. Not now. If it did she'd
have to think about what was happening, what had happened. It was
easier to go on with lighter things. "Oh, like who?"

He was quick to answer. "Commander Worf. You?"

She had to think a bit. He'd taken the best answer already. "Um,
Quark. Your turn."

"Morn," he said. "He'd have time to tell me his life story at least
six times."

"Gul Dukat." She couldn't think of anyone worse.

"Damar," Bashir countered. "At least Dukat can make good conversation
now and then."


It was only two hours--3.2 Glif, by Bashir's best estimate--before the
priestess had returned to inform them of their arrival at Gidar. Bashir
had been so engrossed with the Gidari medical equipment that he hardly
noticed her entrance. Kira did though and she tapped him on the
shoulder. They both stood.

"You are not wearing the colors." The priestess sounded impatient and
yet resigned.

"Colors?" Bashir asked. "Oh!" He remembered now the cloaks they'd
been given. He picked them up off one of the boxes and handed the
smaller one to Kira. "Just forgot. Sorry. How long until we arrive?"
He wasn't sure though, if the cloak was meant to be worn alone or over
their own clothes.

"By your time, five minutes. You are not doing it correctly." She
clapped her hands together once and two figures stepped out of the dark
behind her. Bashir hadn't seen them even enter the room.

One of them went to Kira and pulled her to one side of the room. "What
are they doing?" she asked. If she was afraid, she didn't show it.

The other figure had taken hold of Bashir and he decided to do as Kira
had. No fear. Just do what they want. They were "honored," or so the
priestess had said. The figures--men, Bashir decided--wouldn't hurt
them. "I think they're trying to help us dress." And that did, indeed,
seem the most plausible explanation. Within minutes, the Gidari had
both their uniforms off and the cloaks on.

The priestess clapped again and boots and gloves were brought to them.
"Put them on," she ordered. "You must hurry. We will put down soon.
Wait until you are called." She turned swiftly on her heals and left
the room. The two attendants followed, leaving Kira and Bashir to put
on their boots.

"Well," Kira said after they'd gone, "that was fun." She found her
uniform on the floor. "Keep your comm badge," she told him. "Just in
case."

Bashir nodded and found his own uniform a few feet away on the floor.
He was starting to get anxious. Gidar. The Gidari were interesting,
he'd give them that. And mysterious. But what little he'd seen of
them--and that was more than most--showed them to be dangerous as well.
No, not just dangerous. Scary was a better term, though it did deflate
his ego a bit to admit it. That they were powerful was obvious, and
they had an almost magical quality. *Forget almost**, Bashir told
himself. *I'm dead, remember?**

"Julian?" Kira had moved to his side and she was tucking her comm badge
inside the cloak. She seemed distracted for a moment. "There are a lot
of pockets in here." She removed her hand and then grew serious again.
"I don't really want to go to Gidar."

"I don't either," Bashir agreed. "But I don't see how we can get out
of it now."

Kira turned away and began to pace the little room. "Me, neither. But
let's make a pact. No matter what the Gidari have us doing, no matter
what they think our purpose is, we're going to find a way back. Okay?"

Bashir nodded his agreement, but he felt he had to voice some
dissension. "But we've only got a week and then we die."

"We're already dead. But I'd rather take my last breath on Deep Space
Nine, wouldn't you?"

*Of course**, he thought, and then another thought came to him. "We
could say goodbye."

Kira turned back to him. "Not everyone gets that chance."

The door opened again without warning and a Gidari in beige stepped
inside. *Crew,** Bashir thought, *not priest.** The man--or so Bashir
guessed--turned his head away. "You must cover yourselves. All must be
covered in Nardinosti."

"Nardinosti?" Kira asked.

"The Port," the Gidari replied. "Only after we leave the city can we
remove our covers. Aliens walk in Nardinosti."

Bashir thought about that for just a second. It only took a second. He
was used to Garak and his enigmatic speech. The Gidari were cryptic but
if you tried to think like they did, it wasn't so hard. The Gidari do
not want to be seen by other species. "We're aliens," Bashir told him,
pointing out the obvious.

"You are Honored," the Gidari countered. "When we leave the city
gates, you will be uncovered as will we. You are Honored among the
Gidari; you are not alien."

"I see," Bashir replied, though he really didn't understand.

The Gidari seemed satisfied. "Cover yourselves and follow me." He
turned, as swiftly as had the priestess and stepped out the door. The
door, for once, remained opened behind him. Kira and Bashir pulled
their hoods over their heads and walked out together.


Kira was surprised to find that she could see quite well through the
purple material covering her face. She was hoping to see more of the
Gidari ship now that she'd been led out of the room, but the corridor
they entered was as plain as the room had been. There were no panels,
fixtures, or features of any kind on the walls. There weren't even any
doors. She turned her head to see the door she'd just left, but it had
disappeared into the bland wall.

Their guide turned and walked directly into one of the walls. The wall
retained its appearance but not its solidity. The Gidari walked right
through it. Bashir's head, covered like hers, turned toward her. He
shrugged and followed the Gidari into the wall. Kira tested it with her
hand first. It was like no hologram she'd ever seen. It never wavered
with her touch. There was no ripple around her wrist. It was as if the
wall were solid and she a mere mist. She stepped through and found
herself in a brightly lit corridor no different from the one she'd left.
But now they were not alone. The corridor was filled with beige
Gidari, and the light was coming from beyond a great door. Daylight.
And yet it had an artificial quality to it that she couldn't quite place.

Kira felt alone all of a sudden but it was easy to spot Bashir among
the crowd. He was slightly taller than most Gidari, and his purple
cloak was like a beacon of color in the sea of beige. "Follow," their
guide whispered. It struck her then just how quiet the corridor was.
The many Gidari there were walking toward the open door, but their
footsteps made no sound on the deck. Not one of them uttered a word.
They parted before the guide though, allowing the Honored, in their
purple cloaks, to move ahead.

The door, when they reached it, towered over Kira's head. Four
stories, she estimated. The ship was huge, larger than she remembered
from its time docked at the station a few years back.

There were buildings beyond. Gray buildings without windows, as
featureless as the corridors of the ship. There was a ramp and their
guide stopped just before he stepped onto it. He motioned with his hand
that she and Bashir were to continue on. Kira could see a clearing
beyond the end of the ramp. And in the clearing were twelve figures in
red. The priestess stood at the foot of the ramp. Past the circle of
red, more beige Gidari stood watching, but sprinkled among them were
other species. The blue face of a Bolian, two Teldarians, the white
hair of an Andorian. This was a port city after all and the Gidari were
traders.

As she and Bashir reached the end of the ramp, the crowd behind the
priestess parted. She turned and bowed, bringing both arms behind her
back, bent up at the elbows. It almost looked painful. A figure
emerged. Gidari, but dressed in black. Neither priest, nor crew. Then
what? Kira wondered. It was a woman, she decided, based on her figure
beneath the cloak. She returned the priestess's bow. And then turned
toward the ramp. She froze there, and turned back to the priestess.

"They are Honored!" she said, obviously surprised.

"Our Enemy," the priestess explained as if it were explanation enough.

The black one accepted with a nod. "Then the Healer is Honored
indeed," she said. "There are two."

"His Other. Also Honored."

Satisfied, the black one turned again to the ramp. She moved forward
and stopped just in front of Bashir. "Healer." She bowed, like the
priestess had, with her arms first crossed in front of her and then
spread behind her. Apparently the bows meant something, like the colors
did. Bashir glanced Kira's way and then bowed, too, repeating the
other's movements. "I am Tarlingen Nardek," she said. "I will be your
liaison. Come with me."


Sisko let the doors close behind him, shutting out the everyday noise
of Ops. This just wasn't everyday, although it was happening more often
since the war started. Today, he had calls to make. Payven's wife was
due back at the station in an hour. He'd tell her in person. Kira
didn't have any family, so there was no one to call but the Bajoran
officials. Bashir was harder. Sisko knew that he and his parents had
only recently reconciled. And he remembered another time when he had to
tell them their son was dead. This time, he would not be found marooned
but alive. This time, Bashir really was dead.

Sisko sat down and turned on the comm panel. But then he turned it
off. Not yet. He wanted to think about what he'd say to them. It was
easier last time. There has been an accident; there had been a body.
This time wasn't an accident. Julian was murdered.

Sisko thought about the first time he'd met Bashir, how he stuttered
when he was nervous, and how naive he was when Garak first contacted
him. He'd changed a lot. He had grown darker. And with good reason,
Sisko supposed. He'd been abducted by both the Dominion and the
Federation. But even then he'd still kept--for the most part--his sense
of humor and his caring demeanor. He was a doctor throughout, and he
had kept his ideals.

And Kira. While Bashir had grown darker, she had grown lighter,
shedding some of her war-hardened shell. She relaxed more, smiled more,
and made friends more easily.

Bashir was a good example of that. She had barely tolerated him at
first. But now they were closer in some ways than they were with anyone
else. Shared experience, Sisko guessed. She as a liberator; he as a
prisoner. In moments of personal crisis, they had confided in each
other. No one should die alone. Bashir had told her that once. Well,
at least there was that. They hadn't died alone.

Now he'd have to make more calls. One to Bajor asking for a new
liaison officer. One to Starfleet for a new doctor. It wouldn't be the
same. Ops wouldn't be the same without her in it, standing by the Ops
table, staring down some Cardassian gul. And the Infirmary was Julian's
place. Kira had made sure it stayed that way those six months they'd
though he was dead before. It wasn't the same, though, without his
comforting smile and soft voice. Sisko had met many doctors over the
years, but none were as personable as Julian. He could make you feel
better just knowing he was there. Anyone else was just a doctor.

It was times like this that Sisko felt the full weight of the pips on
his collar. They were his responsibility. All of them, even Savolar.
They trusted him, depended on him. He was their captain. They were his
crew.


The crowd parted before them as it had for the figure in black.
Tarlingen Nardek. Like the captain of the ship. Bashir remembered his
name. Sanglin Nardek. Perhaps they were related. Several of the crew
followed, carrying the crates of equipment.

As strange as being dead--and still walking--was, he had to admit that
his interest was piqued. Tarlingen led them through the crowds and past
the monotonous, gray buildings. Past her, and past the onlookers,
Bashir could see a long row of gray cloaks. And gates bathed in a
reddish glow. The gray Gidari were guards, he guessed. Three to a gate
and armed with rifles of some sort. As they neared, Bashir turned his
head, but he couldn't see the end of the row in either direction. It
was as if they surrounded the entire city.

They reached one gate and the guard there bowed as the priestess from
the *Gindarin** had. Tarlingen returned it. Then she turned back to
Bashir and Kira. "Wait here and then follow me through. I must linger.
You may step through." She didn't wait for confirmation. She stepped
into the glowing gateway. Energy flowed around her, lighting her
silhouette beneath the cloak and hood. She stood for a few seconds in
the matrix and then stepped forward. As she did, she disappeared.

Bashir looked to Kira, uncertain about following. She seemed to know
what he was thinking. "What choice do we have at this point?" she asked
quietly. She took a step forward and disappeared beyond the gate as
well. Bashir followed her and felt the tendrils of energy fall like
rain upon his shoulders. He didn't stop as Tarlingen had, but stepped
through. Beyond the gate was a whole other world.

Kira stood motionless, entranced by it. Bashir took little notice of
her and stared instead at the sky. Everything was bathed in red light,
not white like the sunlight in Nardinosti. The sky rolled with fast
moving clouds though he felt only a slight breeze.

The buildings here were ornate and light danced on their window panes.
An occassional tree threw its shade onto the brick-lined street. Its
branches were covered with red and orange leaves which fluttered in the
breeze like flames. Even the air smelled different.

Tarlingen took a deep breath, drawing in the air for over three seconds
before blowing it out again. She repeated the gesture three times and
then turned to her guests. "Welcome to Gidar." And then she removed
her hood.

Kira actually gasped. Bashir could hear it. He understood. He'd felt
the same way the first time he'd seen them. He still felt it.
Tarlingen's blue skin glowed purple under the red sky. Her eyes, blank
and white if they'd been back in Nardosti, were now filled with color,
reflecting the movement of the clouds. Her hair, like a million tiny
mirrors, glittered as the breeze gently blew. She was regal, like
nothing he'd ever seen.

And she wasn't alone. Bashir looked around. All the other Gidari here
were unhooded. And they all looked alike. Not exactly, of course. They
varied in height and build and certain facial features, but all of
them--men and women--were beautiful. They literally stole his breath.

"Come," Tarlingen said, drawing them out of their reverie. "We must go
to Nodgarin. Load the equipment," she ordered the crew.

Kira started to pull back her hood, too, but Tarlingen reacted quickly,
catching her hand. "You mustn't."

"We were told that we could," Kira stated firmly.

"The one who told you was mistaken," Tarlingen replied.

"Why?" Kira asked. "Because we're aliens?"

Tarlingen smiled and it was dazzling. "Yes, actually, but not for the
reasons you think." She turned to Bashir. "You have your medical device?"

"M-medical device," Bashir stuttered. "Oh yes, the tricorder." Bashir
removed it from one of the many pockets of his cloak and held it out to her.

"What does it tell you about my world?"

Kira was watching him, or at least he thought she was, since her head
was turned his way. He opened the tricorder and it sang with blips and
bleeps. The sensors on it went haywire, detecting an environment so
foreign that it wasn't even classed by Starfleet. "Infrared," he
reported, picking out the most obvious reason for staying hooded. "Among
other things. It would damage our skin." The metallic sheen to the
Gidari's complexion was apparently a natural form of protection.

"You will be safe from it indoors," Tarlingen nodded. "You may uncover
yourselves then. This way." She held out a hand, indicating a building
on the right. Kira was apparently satisfied with the explanations and
ascented.

But the building was hardly more than another facade. It was no more
than a long hallway, less than two meters wide. It was clear they'd be
leaving it soon, so he didn't bother removing the hood just yet. Another
Gidari, wearing trousers and a jacket instead of a cloak, met them
there. He bowed. "You'll be going to Nodgarin, Liytner?"

Bashir suspected he was some sort of administrator, a civilian,
apparently in charge of the transportation. Perhaps "Liytner" was a
form of rank, the one signified by a black cloak. Now that he thought
about it, he realized that he hadn't seen any other black cloaks. And
the building, a station of some sort, was crowded with travelers.

Tarlingen nodded, but stood at attention. "Yes, straight through and
we must leave immediately. Alter your schedule accordingly."

"Of course, Liytner. Platform eylen. You have cargo, as well?"

"Yes," Tarlingen said. "I ride with the Honored. No others. Mark the
car."

The administrator was taking notes, counting the cargo. "Certainly.
For whom? Liytner or Honored?"

Tarlingen had been looking toward the exit, toward the many platforms
visible past the full length windows and open doors. Now she looked
back at him, and for the merest moment, Bashir thought he saw a flash of
blue in her eyes. The administrator backed away and bowed again. He'd
offended her. "Liytner," Tarlingen clarified. "We go to Nodgarin."

"Forgive, Liytner," the administrator begged, still bowing.

Tarlingen glared at him for another moment and then returned the bow.
"Forgiven. Mark the car."

The administrator straightened and then ran out the doors toward the
platforms.

Tarlingen turned then to the crew. "Load the cargo one car back. Mark
it as well."

The crew moved to obey. Tarlingen had a great deal of authority,
Bashir decided. Honored, it seemed, carried a high rank in Gidari
society. Still, he wondered just what a Liytner was.

They were outside again as soon as the crew had passed. Red grass and
gray gravel marked the end of the building and the beginning of the
platforms. Single tracks crossed the landscape, perhaps fifteen of
them. There were signs hanging over them with markings Bashir had never
seen before. Most of the tracks were empty, but three had greenish
trains waiting. At least, that's what they looked like to Bashir. They
were long vehicles, broken into many compartments. They hovered just
above the tracks.

The adminstrator was waiting beside one of the compartments of the
nearest train. He waved a hand over a black panel. Immediately the
compartment turned red, blending with the sky beyond. He waved again
and the car changed to purple. For the Honored, Bashir realized. The
administrator pressed his hand to the panel and the car turned black.
Liytner, like Tarlingen Nardek's cloak. It was marked for rank.

Bashir glimpsed movement from the corner of his eye as they crossed the
platforms with Tarlingen in the the lead. They were quick, little
creatures, and they darted down the tracks as Gidari feet approached
them. They were so fast that he couldn't get a good look at them, but
he thought they looked a bit like lizards. Pushing the thought of the
creatures out of his mind, he concentrated on memorizing the path they'd
taken so far. If he and Kira were to return to Deep Space Nine, they
would have to go back through the gates and Nardinosti. In his mind he
was going past the streets and buildings beyond the red energy gates.
Consequently, he wasn't paying attention to the car as he stepped in.

Tarlingen had stepped aside to let Kira and him into the car. The door
was slightly shorter than he was, so he had placed his hand on the side
of the door. He heard it before he felt it. A soft, short whistle. It
felt like a needle stabbing him just above his right wrist. There was
no pain, just the sensation of something foreign. He could still see
it. Before he could even turn his head to see what had happened,
Tarlingen had reached that side of the door and snatched the culprit. It
was one of the lizard-like creatures, but now that he could see it, he
realized it wasn't a lizard at all. It was an insect. A large one. It
was at least ten centimeters long, with six long legs and constantly
twitching antennae.

There was a small circular orifice where its mouth might have been. It
squirmed in Tarlingen's hand, trying to free itself. But she held it
tight, and it gave up the struggle, letting its long, needle-sharp
tongue hang loosely out its mouth.

Satisfied that its strength was spent, Tarlingen tossed it away behind
her. It bounced along the ground a few times then bounded away into the
tall grass beyond the tracks. "Please," she said, "we must leave."

"Is it venomous?" Bashir asked, unsure of whether or not to worry in
his present state.

"Inside," she insisted. She touched him on the shoulder and led him
inside the car. There were five cushioned seats for them to sit in.
Bashir took one near a window, hoping to see the landscape that they
passed. "The haftha is venomous," Tarlingen now answered his question.
"But you needn't worry. Even if you were Gidari, it is easily cured."

"Are we immune?" Kira asked. Bashir thought she must be thinking the
same things as he was. Were they invulnerable now that they were
deceased? Why then was the sunlight a problem?

"You are Honored," Tarlingen said, as if that were explanation enough.
But she went on. "Your body can be damaged, but you will remain." She
put her hand inside her cloak's sleeves and pulled out a what was
unmistakably a weapon. Not a phaser or energy weapon, but deadly just
the same. Bashir tensed instinctively. Kira, beside him, did the same.
"As Honored," Tarlingen went on, "you do not require sustenance or
sleep. Your body received all it needs from the ritual, *Fah-Rek.** If
I were to shoot you, you would fall down. But you would get up again.
It would only damage your body." She replaced the gun and pulled
another weapon from her sleeve. "But if I were to use this, there would
be no more body. Your Life--your spirit, as you say--would have no
where to be. It would not matter that you were Honored. The light from
our sun would likewise damage your bodies. It would not harm your
spirit, but I did not think you would want to have your skin burned
away, just as you would not like to be shot." She put the weapon away.
"Either way, you are safe here. The windows filter the light and I
would not harm you. No Gidari would. You are Honored."

The door closed and the train began to move. It started slowly,
smoothly gliding over the track and past the flame-colored trees. But
it picked up speed quickly, racing past the landscape and startling a
whole swarm of the haftha insects. Bashir removed his hood and ran a
hand through his hair to smooth it down. Tarlingen watched him
carefully and then turned her attention to Kira as she removed her hood.
"You are different," she said, surprised. "Is this because you are
female?"

"No," Kira said with an angry glare. "I'm Bajoran. He's human."

Tarlingen caught the anger. "Forgive me," she said. "You were not
expected. I was told only the Healer would come. You are his Other?"

"No," Kira answered, shaking her head.

"She's my superior officer," Bashir said.

"Another healer?" Tarlingen asked.

"No." Bashir had an idea. Tarlingen had introduced herself as their
liaison. Perhaps that was as much a title of respect as Honored seemed
to be. "She's also a liaison. She's First Officer and Bajoran Liaison
Officer to Deep Space Nine."

Tarlingen was quiet for a moment. "Ah," she said finally. "Bajor, the
planet near our Enemy's pathway. The Federation commands the station
that Bajor owns. So you are liaison for your people. Yes, I understand
this."

"I was the liaison," Kira corrected.

Tarlingen sighed and nodded. "The Enemy took your Life. For that I am
sorry. But they cannot harm you now. They cannot come here."

"Then how did they threaten your leader?" Bashir asked, catching a
glimpse of something outside his window. It was a herd of animals. A
large herd, since he could still see them. The train was moving at
least four times faster than the animals. They were large repitilian
creatures that ran on their back legs. Their front appendages were
small and weak compared to their powerful hind legs. In fact, they very
much resembled dinosaurs of prehistoric Earth. He looked away when
Tarlingen began to explain.

"One did come here," she admitted. "He changed himself. Became a
member of the *Vesmir**'s crew. We knew he was not human when he passed
through the gates. He said he was a Founder of the Dominion and he must
speak to the Leader of the Gidari. We held him prisoner until the
Leader gave him audience at Nodgarin. He and the Leader could not agree."

"So the Founder poisoned the Leader," Kira concluded. "And your
healers couldn't find an antidote."

"Many have tried," Tarlingen explained. "But time is short. She is
growing weaker. We know what Bashir did for the disease on the other
side of the pathway. The Blight. We hope he can help."

Bashir shook his head. "I never found a cure for the Blight." He'd
never given up trying though. He had hoped to find it someday. Now he
was out of somedays.

"But you found prevention," Tarlingen said. "We do not expect you to
cure her. We only expect you to try. Our best Healers have been
unsuccessful. But we also know that the poison is passing. Two Healers
contracted it. They were sent to the Creator to prevent its spread. You
will try to cure the Leader. But we must prevent the death of more Gidari."

It could be the Blight, Bashir thought. This could be how it started
on Teplan III. It had taken him nearly two months to find a vaccine
there. Here, he had less than a week. And then he'd be dead. He
looked out the window again. The herd was still there, but one of the
beasts had fallen. As the train sped by, Bashir could see a hundred or
more little haftha insects swarming over the beast as it struggled to
regain its footing. Before it was out of his sight, the beast was dead.
Without thinking, he touched his arm where he had been stung. Dead.
"They were killed," he said, speaking about the healers.

"They were going to die," Tarlingen said in the Gidari's defense. "More
might have died had they lived. They knew this. They knew their duty.
They are Gidari."

It angered him. He was a doctor, a healer. It was wrong to kill sick
people just because they were going to die. They'd been poisoned. If
they were trying to find a cure for the leader, they should have tried
to find one for the healers. The same antidote would work. The Gidari
didn't value life. They killed some, revived others, as if it didn't
matter either way. One was sent to the Creator with no thought to the
possibilities and opportunities thrown away. The other was given a week
to live with no thought to his family, his friends. He was taken away
from everything he knew and given a purpose he didn't choose. Either
was more than just a body, just a vessel, just a duty.


"You're sure?"
Title: The Honored
Author: Gabrielle Lawson
Part: 1b/?
Series: DS9
Rating: PG-13
Archive: Yes to Trekiverse.org, otherwise, please ask.
Contact: inhe...@gmail.com
Web: http://gabrielle.sytes.net/Trek/stories/Honored1.html
Summary: The Dominion finally puts a stop to Dr. Julian Bashir. But the
Gidari have need of him. What's death to get in their way?
Author's note: Author's note: I deliberately use italics like this *in
text** just because it makes conversion to HTML so much easier.


O'Brien knew what she was asking. Bashir had been reported dead once
before--twice. And the first time, Miles had been reported dead, too.
"I'm sure." It hurt just to say the words. It helped, though, saying
them to her. But it hurt again when he realized he couldn't hold her.
He couldn't even touch her. "Security sensors showed the whole thing."

"Sensors have been wrong before," Keiko reminded him.

"Not this time," O'Brien told her. "Julian's blood was all over the wall."

She looked away, but she nodded. "And Nerys?" she asked, looking up.
Her eyes glistened with tears. "What will I tell Molly? At least
Yoshi's still too young."

Now Miles looked away. "I don't know." Molly thought of Kira as Aunt
Nerys. She had carried Kirayoshi. She had been his surogate mother. He
tried to think of an answer, but Keiko didn't leave him time.

"I used to think sometimes," she said, "about what I would tell her if
it was you. I couldn't think of anything."

Miles had never felt so alone. He had used Julian, he admitted now,
for company when Keiko was away. Julian kept him occupied. Now he
didn't have Julian, and he didn't have Keiko. He met her eyes. "I wish
you were here."

Keiko reached out and pressed her hand to the viewscreen. "Me, too."

Miles met her hand with his own.

Philippe de la Matraque

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Jul 19, 2020, 1:51:32 AM7/19/20
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