Outside, the air was brisk, slipping beneath my skin, chilling me to the bone.
I leaned against the rough wooden planks of the barracks, my eyes focusing on
the distant hills, mere outlines in the dark. Strange animals howled their mating
calls in the distance; we had not yet had the time to name the variety of animals
that inhabited this world.
My gaze drifted upward to the stars flecking the night sky. There were millions
of stars and only a year ago, they were all accessible to me; now they were
only reminders of what was.
The life we lived then was very different than the life we live now. Back then
- or "before Gaia," as Julian would say - we were too intent on our
careers, too intent on making great discoveries, creating new inventions, and
most malignantly of all, of making war.
After the initial frustrations and grief, which followed our crash, I lost
myself in nature, appreciating and savoring, just as the good doctor ordered.
I found pleasure in simple things such as the changing of the seasons, watching the green leaves turn to red, yellow and orange; the vicissitudes of winter, the howling winds; and of course, the gentle green of spring, the dainty flowers poking up from the newly thawed earth.
The temper of the weather presented us with new challenges; we could scarcely
predict a thunderstorm or a drought. This uncertainty made me crazy at times
for it was only a small symptom of what we had all lost.
I did not look at Benjamin; some things cannot be said, even between friends.
"Are you all right?" he asked, standing beside me, his hands very
close to mine.
"I needed air."
"You are missed inside."
"Who misses me?" I asked petulantly.
"Everyone. You are a senior officer -"
"Not anymore," I shook my head. "I thought-"
"They look up to you."
"It does not matter. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Come inside,"
Benjamin's voice was unusually harsh.
"I can't," I told him honestly. "I don't see what there is to
"Everything," he said. "Everyone in there has made the best
of a bad situation, Jadzia."
I turned to face him, leaning my shoulder against the wall.
"A situation I'm responsible for," I answered. My heart was pounding,
threatening to jump out of my chest. I swallowed hard, trying to choke back
the sobs which where threatening to overwhelm me.
"Only in your head," he said with more forgiveness than I would have
had if our roles had been reserved.
"It's true," I said. "I should have been more careful, more
aware the barrier-"
"Old Man, we have been over this a thousand times," Benjamin cut
me off in a warning tone. "This is not the night for recriminations."
He tipped his head towards the building I had so recently vacated. "Inside.
Dinner. Celebrate. That's an order."
I followed Benjamin back into the barracks. Inside, the mood had lightened
*They are enjoying themselves, Jadzia. You don't have to worry.*
*They are proud of what they have done. You should be too.*
*Why aren't you joining them?*
And then my own voice answered them defiantly, You know why.
I slid into my chair and flashed Worf a smile; he returned it tentatively and
then turned to talk to O'Brien.
Throughout the dinner, I played with my food, moving it around my plate, trying
to quell the tension in my muscles. Occasionally, Julian leaned over and tried
to speak to me, but I shook my head; I wasn't in the mood for small talk.
Finally, the ordeal - as I had come to think of the dinner - was over and we
rose to depart. Worf firmly propelled to our quarters, his silence suffocating.
I could tell by the set of his jaw how angry he was with me and it surprised
me how little I cared.
My stomach churned as we got ready for bed. Worf was praying in front of his
little statue of Kahless, one of the few personal items adorning our rather
Spartan quarters. There has been no time to decorate in the last year, no time
to worry about possessions.
Since we had gotten married this past fall, I had made an attempt to make the
two rooms we occupied homier with wild flowers and crude attempts at pottery.
The flowers died and the pottery cracked, leading Worf to observe that I should
direct my energies towards something more useful such as monitoring the fluctuations
in the energy barrier or trying to find alternative sources of power.
I stared into the small mirror, clutching my hairbrush. My fingers and lower
arm felt absolutely numb, unable to go through my usual fifty strokes. I placed
the brush on the low shelf directly below the mirror and leaned forward, resting
my forehead against the glass, my hands on the shelf.
I thought of Benjamin's patience, the strength of his character, and knew I
was responsible for the expression of pain, which occasionally crossed his face.
He would never say anything to me, but I noted the intensity with which he missed
We never talked about it, Ben and I. Never talked about the day we had chosen
to go through the barrier or the consequences which followed. Instead, I felt
that one moment when I had insisted on exploring this strange world lay between
At first, we had been optimistic that we would eventually get off of this planet
and return to Deep Space Nine, but with each passing day, the likelihood of
returning home grew dim. The damage to the Defiant made it impossible to repair
and the intricacies of the anomaly, which had stranded us here, was beyond our
There would be no going home.
It was a truth I had grown to accept, a fact even O'Brien now understood.
It had not been easy to break the news to the rest of the crew; Sisko had gathered
everyone on the Bridge of the Defiant. To his credit, Sisko's voice had not
wavered for an instance as he calmly said, "We cannot make the necessary
repairs. We must prepare for our new life here."
There had been protests, of course, some tears, and questions, lots of questions.
I was standing next to O'Brien. His face absolutely drained of color when he
heard the finality in Sisko's voice, but even then he turned to me and said,
"We'll figure something out, Jadzia. This isn't the end. I'm going to see
my wife and kids again. There's got to be a way."
I had nodded because there wasn't anything else I could do except to agree
I shivered now, thinking back to that terrible, awful moment, which still resonated
in my mind. Remembering those faces crumpling, recalling the despair echoing
throughout and the thread of hope that ran through everyone present.
Everyone except for me.
I tried to explain to Worf once; tried to tell him that living here on Gaia,
knowing that I was responsible for all of this, was like living underwater:
unable to feel limbs, unable to breath. He did not respond well to this comment
and told me roughly that I needed to clear my head of such dishonorable thoughts.
And I wished that it could be as easy as Worf made it sound; if only I could
clear my mind, get rid of this nagging submerged feeling, I could be happy again.
I felt Worf's warm breath on my neck before his lips peppered my bare shoulder
with little kisses, occasionally nipping at my flesh. I stood absolutely still,
unable to react.
He paused, his hands resting lightly on my hips.
"Do you still feel unwell?" he asked quietly.
"No, just tired. It has been a long day."
"You did not look well at the banquet."
His hands moved up my sides, slowly and gently.
"I did not feel like celebrating," I said. I turned around, leaning
back against the mirror, feeling the cool glass against my skin. Worf's hands
tightened on my waist, his lips moving to my neck. I reflexively moved my hands
to his head, weaving my fingers through his long hair; he growled softly and
drew me closer, my chin resting on his shoulder.
These were well-practiced moves, actions that required no thought and little
feeling. I hated myself for the disinterest I held towards something which had
once excited me; I could only marvel at Worf, knowing I would have given up
on me long ago.
It was not his fault but I could tell from the expression, which occasionally
crept into his deep-set eyes, that he did hold himself responsible for my unhappiness.
And the fact that he cared so deeply made me despise myself even more.
My eyes settled on the wooden table beneath the only window in the room. A data PADD lay there, its power cell long drained; I had not the heart to dispose of it, believing that eventually I could find a way to power it again.
My attention focused on the photograph of a father and son framed in a silvery
The boy was young, probably no more than six or seven at the time the two posed
for the holocam. He stared back at me, his brown eyes serious, his expression
curious. His father held him securely, arms wrapped around the slender body
perched on a sturdy knee. The affection for the son was evident in the stern
creases of the father's face.
I wondered if Worf had ever told Alexander how much he cared. Knowing my stoic
husband as I did, I doubted it.
I shook myself free of Worf's embrace.
"Do you blame me?" I asked in a low voice, my eyes still very much
focused on the photograph. Worf laid a large hand on my shoulder.
"Blame you?" he asked in a low and controlled voice.
I pushed him away and stalked across the room.
"For this," I picked up the picture and held it out to him. "For
separating you from Alexander."
Worf's expression faltered for a second and then he resumed his usual stoic
"I cannot miss someone who does not yet exist," Worf answered.
"That is not what I asked."
My heart ached as I waited for Worf's response. The science bewildered him
still as it did me. Alexander did not yet exist, but in Worf's memory, the boy
was alive and well, living with his grandparents on Earth. There were moments
when Worf would lapse into the present tense, speaking fondly of those who had
yet to be born.
"Alexander has lived most of his life without me," Worf said quietly.
"You still did not answer my question," I said sharply. Our eyes
met; I held the gaze but Worf flinched and looked away. "Weren't there
things you would have liked to have shared with him? I took those from you."
My tone was sharp, daring Worf to agree with me. His broad shoulders straightened,
his jaw tightened. I had seen that expression before and wondered if he would
leap at me in anger.
But any emotion at all from him would have been acceptable. Anything at all.
I was getting increasingly tired of the martyr attitudes, the hollow-eyed pacifistic
looks. I wanted a reaction that proved we were all still alive.
I wanted Worf to hate me.
We stood there, facing each other, in the chilly room.
"Well?" I hissed.
"You would not like my answer," Worf answered gruffly. He turned
and walked into the bedroom, leaving me alone in a room suddenly gone cold.
I stood there in shock, not able to even think of a time Worf had walked away
from me. I pressed my hands to my face.
*Is this what you have become, Jadzia? *
*Do you like this, Jadzia? Is this what you want? *
I spun around, wanting desperately to throw something.
"Shut up!" my thoughts screamed. "All of you, shut up!"
And I heard laughter, maniacal laughter. Joran. I leaned against the wall,
feeling weakness invade my muscles; it had been so long since I had felt Joran
so keenly within.
*That's right, Jadzia. Don't listen to them. They don't understand, but
"No," I whispered. "No."
I went into the bedroom and looked at Worf, already beneath the covers.
*It's all right, Jadzia. Let yourself go. You don't need them. Only me.*
With considerable effort, I dragged myself to the bed and slid beneath the covers. In my nightmares, I heard Joran laughing while the others stood there, shaking their heads and pointing their fingers.
go to part III
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