Characters and places belong to Paramount. This story follows "In the Hands of the Prophets."
This story was written on a plane trip up to Chicago, so I guess the inspiration for this story would have to be honey roasted peanuts.
It's been four months since Dad left.
Four very long and frustrating months.
I won't lie; I miss Dad and I'm worried about him.
He hasn't been the same since the disappearance of the Prophets and I'm afraid he's being too hard on himself.
I think New Orleans will be good for Dad; maybe he'll find the answers he's looking for there.
As for here, on Deep Space Nine, there are no concrete answers.
I know; I've been looking for them myself and I know everyone around me is looking for answers too.
Major Kira looks terrible; I swear she's lost five kilos in the last three weeks and her skin seems to be stretched too tightly over her face. I think smiling is too painful for her. She hands out orders briskly, her tone sharp, her eyes hard.
Her temper has us all on edge and even Odo is careful around her. I know she doesn't mean to be short, but she can't help it. With the Prophets gone, her entire belief system has collapsed.
I think, when you lose the one thing you can truly rely on and believe in, nothing else seems to matter anymore.
Even our world, as we know it, is rapidly changing. There are no guarantees anymore - not that there ever were - but now, for sure, we cannot be certain about anything. I think the uncertainty is killing us all.
More to the point, I think those damned casualty reports that come out every Friday are killing us, bit by bit each week. Kira doesn't say much about how we're doing, but I can see where we stand in the sag of her shoulders, the dark circles under her eyes and the way she twists her hands nervously in front of her.
We are losing.
I tried to conjugate the verb "to lose" in my head: I lose, you lose, he loses, we lose, they lose. But the meaning remains the same, no matter who says it or how it's said.
I asked Kira the other day for an update on the war and her eyes glazed over.
"It's not that I don't want to tell you, Jake," she said. "But there's nothing to tell. the Dominion is gaining ground. It's that simple."
I tried to press her for more details, but Kira's lips formed a thin line and she would not look at me.
I get the feeling that Kira misses Dad even more than I do.
As I sit on the Promenade, much in the same location Nog and I once sat, I observe those around me. I tell myself that I can use the conversations of people around me and the details of their appearance to color the stories I'm sending back to Earth. But in truth, I'm trying to gain comfort from their presence, to validate my own existence and that I'm not the only one stuck in this hell.
Even though I'm not on the front line and many of these people are - or their loved ones are - we still have our demons to face, most of them intensely personal.
And because of the personal, private nature of these demons, those demons which come with any war, it is possible to turn inward and feel alone as never before.
As I sit here on the Promenade, I notice the visible pall which hangs over the station. I notice the efficiency of the crew, the cool attitudes, and most of all, the hollow-eyed look which has recently come into fashion. Even conversations have become muted, as if people are now afraid to speak their minds and hearts.
And no matters what Kira says, it isn't so simple to me.
I don't get to see much of Nog these days. He's either spending time with Commander Dax on the Defiant or working with Chief O'Brien to get the systems up to speed.
Sometimes I feel jealous that Stafleet has stolen my best friend from me, but I try to look at it from Nog's point of view. He loves the work and for the first time, he really feels important.
Nog is itching for battle; I think he wants to show off his new skills. Chief O'Brien told him not to rush; he'll face the Dominion soon enough.
Dax is preparing Nog to pilot the Defiant. Once, Nog took me to the bridge and explained all the control panels to me; I tried to stay interested, but it was too much information. But he was excited, really excited, so I was happy for him.
I did notice a little tension between Commanders Worf and Dax though when I was on the bridge. Since Dad is gone, Dax now captains the Defiant. Worf used to command the Defiant in Dad's absence, but now he's needed by General Martok more and more often, so Dax is effectively in charge of the ship.
I hear these two arguing all the time; Worf doesn't want Dax anywhere near the Defiant because he's afraid something will happen to her and Dax wants him to stop controlling her life. I doubt this argument will reach resolution anytime soon; it's a common one between these two.
I do know that Commander Worf would be the first to recognize one's duty and though he may grumble, he would never truly block Dax from carrying out Starfleet's orders.
With the Chief though, it's sometimes hard to read him. He's grown a lot more distant lately and he seems more withdrawn; his laugh is held less often. He spends less time in Quark's these days and it's possible to find him on the Defiant, puttering with one system or another. He says he's going to send for his family, the war be damned.
"I know Keiko feels the same," O'Brien told me. "This is no time to be apart. We need each more than ever now."
Most people would disagree with the Chief's assessment, saying that Deep Space Nine is no place for a family, but I don't. I understand the value and comfort of family, even in a dangerous time like this.
There are times when I recall the days on the Saratoga, before the Borg attack and before my mom died.
We three were very happy then even with the threat of the Borg hanging over us. I would never trade those last happy days with my parents. And while I still miss my mother desperately, I know that she would have never wanted to be separated from Dad, even with danger so omnipresent.
It's that simple.
I think sometimes that there is a better way than this war. I mentioned that to Kira and she offered me a weak smile in return.
"In a perfect world, Jake," she said quietly. "But right now, there's too much at stake."
And I've heard that line before.
There are the usual quixotic words of freedom, liberty, justice and equality floating around, spoken grandly by those in command of this war. Lately though, I have not heard any strength behind those fighting words. It's as if the speakers have lost faith in those very things they are fighting for.
It's a sign that does not bode well for the Federation.
And it brings me back to the thoughts that began this journal entry.
No matter how I write it, the words stay the same and the meaning does not change. There is an undeniable truth.
If we are losing, the Dominion must be winning. It is that simple.
I stopped by the Infirmary the other day in search of Nog, but instead I found Bashir slumped over his desk. I tapped him gently on the shoulder and he woke with a start.
"Jake!" he exclaimed, a warm blush rising in his face. I knew he was embarrassed at being found sleeping, but I could tell by the haggard look on his face that he truly needed the rest.
"Sorry for bothering you," I said. I looked around and saw that the Infirmary was full. Bashir smiled weakly at me.
"I suppose you're wondering how I can fall asleep when there are so many who need me," Bashir said.
"No," I told him.
"It was only for five minutes," the doctor yawned. I noticed then, that his hair was starting to gray and that new lines had begun to appear at the very edges of his eyes.
"It doesn't matter," I said.
"It matters to me," he said. "It matters to them."
I scanned the room and felt relieved I did not know any of the wounded. These people were someone else's son, daughter, father, mother, sister, brother, friend, cousin...
"All I do is patch them up and send them back out," Bashir told me. "If they are injured enough, I can send them home... if they still have a home."
Bashir sighed then and offered me that same haunted smile usually claimed by Kira and I felt a tremor of anxiety ripple through me.
I left the Infirmary deep in thought, my heart heavy.
And at that moment, more than anything else in the world, I wanted Dad.
I wanted to be a little boy again, wrapped in the comfort of my father's arms, knowing that he could keep the monsters from creeping out from beneath my bed. It seems childish almost, but I have never felt fear like this before and it is a fear only my father can alleviate.
The monsters have come and there is no one here to keep me safe.
I guess what it comes down to is that everyone here has a role to play in this war, everyone but and I need to feel useful. Otherwise, it is all for nothing.
So I've made a decision.
I've decided to go to New Zealand and attend the writing school there.
And eventually, I will have the confidence to put how I feel into words, so I can truly be the witness I want to be.
They say history is written by the victors, the winners, the conquerors - whatever you want to call them.
I want to be a part of that history, to contribute to that history, in the only way that I feel I can. I'm not saying that my account will be unbiased, for I doubt that is possible. But whatever the outcome is, I do not want to leave the chronicle of the war in the hands of the Dominion.
I can't believe I wrote that last sentence.
Do I really believe the Dominion is going to win?
If I look at Kira and the others and see the expressions on their faces, I can only believe that yes, that history will be written by the Dominion, however much I want to disbelieve that thought.
I have not truly given up all hope... or have I?
It's a question I do not know the answer to.
If Dad was here, he would help me. But Dad isn't here and there's no telling when he will be back.
Until then, I can only observe as I have been doing and maybe one day, I will return here as the writer of history.
It's that simple. End log.
February 10, 1999
Have something to say about this piece? Visit the Message Board!
Back to Alternate Universe Fanfic Page