Where beth they beforen us weren,
Houndes ladden and havekes beren,...?
They beren hem well swithe heye,
And, in a twinkling of an eye,
Hoere soules weren forloren.
--Anon (later 13th century)
Where are they, who were before us, led hounds and bore hawks ...? They bore themselves very loftily,
and in the twinkling of an eye their souls were lost.
"Good night, old man."
Jadzia tried unsuccessfully to stifle the yawn that strained at her jaw. Yielding to the inevitable, she stood up. "I am tired. The zhian'tara was a wonderful experience, but it did stir up a lot of repressed memories. The past few days of coming to terms with them was more draining than I had realized. I think I will turn in."
She stood up and clasped her hands behind her back. "Good night, Benjamin."
Benjamin slid his lips apart over his broadly grinning white teeth. "Good idea. Now, why didn't I think of that?" he teased.
Jadzia cocked an eyebrow at him. "I suppose you just don't know me well enough to pick up on these subtle nuances," she joked back.
He laughed and walked her to the door. "Get some sleep. Ops won't fall apart without you." He looked around the floor and pretended to reconsider. "At least, not in one day," he said with a smile.
She brushed his hand affectionately and strode across the ops deck to ride the lift back to the residential ring.
Sleep came easily enough, but rest was more elusive, for with the sleep came the visions of an earlier time and of a life not in any way hers.
She knew who he was of course. Anyone living in that time would have recognized him instantly. Almost anyone living afterward would have recognized him just as well. Old legends never die; they only become better known with time.
He played with a towel, played with his body, ran it knowingly over his neck, his shoulders, his chest. His body glistened and gleamed, still wet from the shower. He tugged the towel purposefully, once, twice across his neck. "Yes, Mr. Spock, what can I do for you?" When James Kirk smiled, his whole face shone. "Yes, Mr. Spock, what can I do for you?" He dropped the towel and strode forward.
But the towel didn't fall away. Instead, as if guided by unseen hands, it twisted and tightened inexorably around his neck. His eyes closed. His breath retreated. The gash in his chest pulsed a little less with each waning beat of his heart. Like an offering spread out against an altar, his body laid itself beside the rocky cairn and died. An ashen hand fell to the side. Yes, Mr. Spock, what can I do for you?
Then the body rolled over onto its side. It began to breathe, in and out, chest up and down, in the deep, full beautiful rhythm of sleep. For a long while she just watched him breathe. Then he rolled over and faced her full on. His face was older than she remembered. He reached for her hand. "This simple feeling," he said and he reached out into the air.
She reached for him, but he wasn't there. Her hand seemed to pass right through. Desperate now he mouthed something at her, but he couldn't be heard though the soundproof environmental suit he wore. He pawed at her with his hand over and over, but it seemed to pass right through as insubstantial as if it had never even happened.
And then he was gone. "Forget," a voice whispered in her head.
She stared at the spot where he had been.
"Yes, Mr. Spock, what can I do for you?" his voice rang in one ear.
"Jim!" A new voice rang hopeful and fresh in the other.
"This simple feeling." The sound mixed with Kirk's smile and flooded her entire mind. Its brilliance rose until it was as bright as day waking Jadzia with a start.
Her heart pounded a mile a minute. Where had this renegade vision come from? Only one logical answer occurred. She leapt from the bed. Her panties were slippery but she paid that no heed.
"Dax to ops."
"Ops. Major Kira here." Kira's crisp tones sounded refreshingly familiar.
"Kira, has the Trill ship left yet?"
"Twenty minutes ago, Dax."
"Call them back," she demanded, hastily donning her uniform.
"Kira, put in a call to the Guardian. Tell him he needs to come back. Tell him there was another host. And, Kira," the thought still reeled around in her head, "I think that it was Captain Kirk!"****By the time the time the Trill ship was back at the docking pylon, Jadzia was dressed and composed. Back in the designated room, together they brewed the ancient broth and stoked the flame and when he touched her abdomen the customary shock of electric blue erupted communicating Trill to Trill. And then all was silence. The Guardian stood in wonder.
"So?" Jadzia asked expectantly.
"It is not another host," the Guardian explained, "but another kind of essence entirely. I have never encountered anything like it."
"Is it James Kirk?"
"I cannot say. I have little experience with humans. But it is certainly a life force not of Trill. It is a most potent alien consciousness joined with the symbiont. It may well present a danger to the balance. This issue must be resolved and reported to the Commission."
"Reported?" Jadzia said with mild alarm. "Those are my memories and some of them are quite personal."
"They are not your memories at all," the Guardian said. "That is the point. They appear to have been artificially joined to the symbiont mind outside of any actual host experience. Those memories are not of Trill at all. If the Dax symbiont has been infected with an alien consciousness it must be treated; that is our primary responsibility. You are well aware of that."
"And if it is not an infection but a voluntary and healthy joining?" Jadzia asked.
The Guardian considered. "Then the sequella must be assessed."
Jadzia said, "Captain Kirk died over seventy-five years ago. Surely if he has been with us all this time--"
The Guardian interrupted, "As I said, that remains to be assessed."
"We must have yet another volunteer. A fresh one so there is no cross contamination. One with a mind able to tolerate--stressful circumstances and powerful personalities. One not afraid of potentially hostile alien influences."
And so Jadzia found herself standing on the promenade in the middle of the night.
"Ah, Lieutenant Dax. What an unexpected pleasure. Looking to change your image are we? Perhaps a little chintz for those off-duty hours? I see you in sort of a pale artichoke, I think. Or perhaps a misty sea blue."
"Actually, Garak, I need your help in another way. Would you come with me please? I would like to borrow your body for a little while."***Benjamin came running as soon as he got the call. For a chance to meet James Kirk in the flesh, in anyone's flesh, who wouldn't? He was only one of thousands, maybe millions who had never quite believed that a man like that could die. As he hastened down the corridors he thought of Curzon's swagger, his magnetism, his certain way with the ladies. He thought of Jadzia's cool competence, her poise, and her sense of honor and he wondered if perhaps he hadn't met more of Kirk than he already knew.
Odo was already there of course. Having been the savior of the galaxy or no, Odo was taking no chances. And so when Benjamin came through the door, they were ready to begin.
One hand on Dax, the other on Garak, the Guardian guided the transference. The electrical blue current rose up from her belly and ran through the Trill to Garak. Garak jumped back in surprise.
Odo watched him like a hawk. Benjamin moved in near to help.
Garak's body calmed and his eyes opened again. Calmly he counted the pips on Benjamin's collar. "Thank you, Commander, I am quite recovered now."
Benjamin stayed his hands and he surveyed the man before him. "I see. Captain James Kirk, I presume."
Garak's voice lilted, "No. I am Ambassador Spock."
Confused glances darted around the room.
Odo knew exactly what to say. "Ambassador Spock was executed on Romulus almost three years ago," he said flatly.
"The body of Spock was vaporized by a disruptor blast on Romulus," Spock said precisely. "His katra, everything that was not of the body was placed into Curzon Dax."
"The mind meld!" exclaimed Jadzia. "So that's what you meant."
Spock turned to her. "Yes. And I presume that you are the new host of the Dax symbiont?"
"Yes." Jadzia extended her hand. "Jadzia Dax."
"Indeed." Spock continued ignoring the proffered hand. "Yes, my katra has been within the symbiont all along, unfortunately there was not enough time to relay full information. I apologize for any difficulties this has caused."
"I haven't been aware of any," Jadzia said, inclining an eyebrow slightly and letting her arm fall to her side.
The Guardian interceded, "And yet there may be problems that we know not of. He is not of Trill. This transference is not the full force of a life which has gone before. This transference is of another world. While his essence may influence the Dax being as a whole, it is submerged deeply under the weight of the others and only surfaces briefly now due to the stirring and reorganization that accompanies the zhian'tara. I cannot predict how long this moment of interface will last. We must learn what we can from him now. But if the joining has indeed been symbiotic and in balance for years, there will be no objection to allowing it to continue.
"I will leave you alone for a few hours or as long as the separation lasts." The Guardian swept from the room.
"I'll be right outside if you need me, old man. Ambassador." Benjamin glanced once between the body of Garak and his long time friend and he too left the room.
"I too will be *right* outside the door." Odo stressed the word significantly with a glance to the Cardassian. "Ambassador," he said, sounding not at all convinced, in the manner of all good security men, and backed reluctantly out the door.
Jadzia locked her wrists behind her back and looked the Cardassian up and down. "So, you are Ambassador Spock."
He appeared to attempt to cock an eye, but the bony plate wouldn't budge. "Obviously not. I am the katra of Spock housed temporarily in the body of Elim Garak. I apologize for the importunity of our last meeting."
With Curzon's memories freshly restored to her, Dax acutely recalled that day three years ago.***Curzon had had Mital, a pretty young thing utterly under the spell of his charms. Arm in arm they strolled the corridors of the Klingon embassy on Romulus. With a wink and a nudge he pulled her into a side door, which turned out to be the entrance to a ventilation control station.
Curzon cooed, "So, my dear, has anyone ever told you how that harness brings out the sensual ripple of your muscles?"
Then there was the blast of a disruptor and Mital unholstered her disrupter and dropped to a crouch. There was the sound of more shots fired and a ventilation panel fell to the floor. An aging Vulcan in stealth combat attire rolled out of a ceiling duct. He knocked Mital over as he emerged, quickly subdued her with a neck pinch and climbed to his feet.
It was Spock, the leader of the underground defection movement. Curzon had met him years before when Spock was still a Federation ambassador in good standing. Spock's eyes darted around the room sparing only a moment for recognition and then moving on to the only door. He made a dash for it but as soon as it cracked open the unmistakable clang of boots and body armor rang from the corridor. Spock sealed the door as another disruptor blast sounded from overhead.
"Ambassador Dax," Spock said moving swiftly towards him, "you are a joined Trill, are you not?"
For one of the few times in his life Curzon found himself at a loss for words. "Yes," he managed, barely.
"Good," Spock said as the first disruptor blast hit the door. "I have need of your mind."
With no further ceremony Spock reached for his head. The battalion burst through the door. Curzon threw up his hands in the universal gesture of surrender. Spock turned calmly to face the troops. A single shot was fired. The Vulcan vanished before his eyes.
Two soldiers grabbed him and yanked him aside. Two more dropped down to Mital and pulled her to her feet. The leader barked into a comm. "Commander, we have found the ringleader. Unfortunately he was killed attempting to escape. He was apprehended with the Trill ambassador and his concubine under suspicious circumstances. They are being taken for questioning."
And then Curzon had been lead off in restraints.
Ultimately Curzon had talked his way out of that mess too, as he had so many others. Everyone needed a talent in life and the gift of gab had always been his.
Back on his shuttle when he was finally set free, the rest had become merely a blur. His pilot had turned to him and asked where they were off to next.
"Risa, I think," Curzon had said. "Yes, definitely Risa. Suddenly I feel like I haven't gotten laid in nearly a century. And while we're talking, why don't you just move over; I'll drive."
"You?" the pilot exclaimed in mild alarm. "You haven't piloted in--"
"Sure, me. Don't look so surprised," said Curzon cracking his knuckles. "I still have my master's certificate; the papyrus hasn't completely disintegrated yet and I have the sudden urge to take the old girl for a spin."
Reluctantly the pilot got up and moved to the side. Curzon slid in and fired up the impulse drive to a perfectly calculated quarter thrust. Feeling the power pulse at his touch he cocked one eyebrow. "Fascinating," he had said and slid his long fingers down the controls.***Jadzia laughed softly. "Don't worry. It was pretty rare for someone to get the upper hand on Curzon. This was worth it. But I confess," her voice lowered almost instinctively, as one does in a sanctuary or on hallowed ground, "I don't understand. Why are my dreams of James Kirk?"
Garak's scales shimmered softy in the dim light of the flame. Perhaps, after all these long years the same realization was only now dawning upon Spock himself. When he spoke his own voice was almost too quiet to be heard. It was the inner voice of someone speaking more to himself than aloud. "Perhaps it is because my own dreams were always of him as well."
Jadzia eyed him carefully. "You were intimate?"
"Yes," he said, eyes turned within himself.
"I see," she said.
Jadzia smiled. "I like that. To think that a part of me was the lover of--"
"We were not lovers," Spock corrected flatly.
"Pardon?" Jadzia blinked.
"You asked if we were intimate. We were as intimate as it is possible for any two disparate souls to be. But we were never lovers, never as you use the term."
"Why not?" Jadzia blurted.
Garak's body shifted from foot to foot. A telling silence filled the room but his face didn't change at all. Finally he said, "Surely it makes no difference now. He is dead and Spock is dead. How can it matter to anyone now?"
"Really?" Jadzia asked incredulously. "After all those years?" The look on Garak's face stopped her cold. She changed the subject--a bit--and walked around the flame.
"You know, Spock, Captain Kirk was a most amazing man. He had first contact with more species than almost anyone in Federation history. He was legendary for his understanding, for transcending the differences between races, between people, between men. Are you so sure he wasn't waiting for you to be ready? Waiting for you all along?"
Jadzia studied the face of the enigmatic tailor she had lived along side of for over five years now. His _expression flickered and danced, in the pale firelight. Paradoxically his face seemed to change with every capricious whim of the little ritual flame and yet, as always, it revealed absolutely nothing everytime. Eventually, mercifully, she moved along.
"Anyway, Spock isn't really dead; that is evident as you stand here having this conversation. Surely we at least have that to discuss. This 'katra' of yours, how does it work?"
Spock cleared Garak's throat and he continued mechanically, as in the manner of a lecture. "It is not the continuance of life or consciousness as you understand it; it cannot be. While a Vulcan katra may be contained within a joined life, it will never be a constitutional component of it as a native host is. The Guardian is correct; my manifestation here to you is most limited. As the other host memories resettle after the zhian'tara, Spock's katra will no longer be accessible in a recognizable manner. It was never my intention to remain here.
"At the time, it was my intention to instruct Curzon to return my katra to Vulcan and deposit it in the Hall of Ancient Thought. However there was not time to relay this information. I have since that time reconsidered. I can conceive of little worse than so long and empty an existence. I would now ask that you release my katra unto the void."
"Released. That sounds final," Jadzia observed.
"It is," Spock said. "My life is over and has been for some time. There is nothing I wish less than to prolong emptiness. Nothing remains for me here anymore. I was a fool to believe otherwise. "
Jadzia raised one eyebrow and studied him, hard. "I have heard you called many things, sir, but never a fool. Are you so sure it's over? I have lived three hundred and fifty years now and still things continue to amaze me. Perhaps you should consider a third alternative. Perhaps you should stay with us."
"With us?" he asked dully. In 139.428 years of life there had been only one other he had ever wished to bond with and in 139.428 years, somehow he had failed to find the time. Curious. And most tragic. A Vulcan would not feel the pain, but a Cardassian could. He bit firmly down on Garak's tongue until the sharp tang of alien blood filled his mouth. He faced the wall and clasped his wrists behind his back. He forced his mind firmly away from those thoughts and back only to the words she spoke. When he was ready, he turned back to the room.
Dax patted her abdomen. "With the lives that you have joined already. Although much has passed you by, you may be surprised to find that much still remains."
Spock considered, "According to your Guardian, continuing the joining may not be advisable."
A vibrant memory pulsed through her mind.
"Dax, Dax!" Pintan had come jogging down the hallway after her. "A helm position just opened up on the Evermore. It's a starship, Dax! Admiral Brackett says it's yours if you want it! A starship--you're getting a starship--wheeewhooo!" Pintan had picked her up and swung her around right there in the hallway.
Jadzia had gently but firmly disentangled herself from his grasp and settled herself back on the ground. "I heard, but I'm not taking it."
"You're what?" He had stared back in abject dismay.
"I've decided to hold out for a science posting. I have four highly specialized degrees that I have worked hard for and I want to use them. It would be senseless for me to waste all that time and training. So I have already told the admiral 'thank you very much, but no thank you.'"
"Dax, you're out of your mind! Everyone I know would kill for a starship posting!"
But she had just cocked her head, declared it logical and walked away with her hands locked neatly behind her back.
Jadzia smiled quietly. "No, I don't think there'll be any objection. Frankly, Mr. Spock, it seems that we're made for each other."
Garak opened an eyelid wide. The bony ridges held irritatingly firm.
"I do have one request, though." Jadzia's eyes twinkled as she spoke. "Before you go, you know, back inside of me, would you tell me what it was like to run around Iotia in a hat and a tweed suit with a submachine gun tucked under your arm? I bet it was a blast." She quirked her mouth at him and winked.
This time she could have sworn she saw a ridge rise up an inch.
When the Guardian returned, the reversal dissipated the katra as if it had never been. There were no more dreams, no more visions, no more memories. It was often as if the entire event had never occurred. And yet as the tall dark woman stood in the mirror and smoothed her hair straight back over her science uniform, she never doubted it for a moment.
Once she did try to speak to Garak about it. He swore he didn't remember a thing. Except that he did think she would look smashing in sea green chiffon.***But time passed and as fate would have it they were to meet again two years later or 103 years earlier. Arne Darvin went back in time and put a bomb in a tribble to sabotage the Federation, so Dax and Sisko followed him back to find it and undo the damage.
Uhura's voice rang across the bridge. She insisted, "Well, Cyrano Jones says that a tribble is the only love that money can buy."
Captain James T. Kirk replied firmly, "Too much of anything, Lieutenant, even love, isn't necessarily a good thing."
"Yes, Captain." Uhura accepted the tribbles he heaped into her arms.
"Have a maintenance crew to clean up the entire ship and then contact Mr. Lurry and tell him I'm beaming down. Tell him to find Cyrano Jones and hold him."
"Aye," Uhura mumbled around the stylus.
"And get these tribbles off the bridge." Kirk sighed patiently as he and Spock made for the turbo lift together. Seeing her chance, Dax dashed from the engineering station and threw herself into the lift after them.
Ignoring Kirk she pressed her body full against Spock. She pushed the Dax symbiont up as close against him as she could, then grabbed his head. He only realized she was not human when he found he could not wrest himself from her grip. The blue sparks of symbiotic communication flew from her hands and some vestigial trace awakened deep within him when she stared in to his eyes and said, "You have to tell him, you know. There is never as much time as you think. One day it will be too late."
Confused, Kirk was moving in behind her. He put his hands on his shoulders as if to wrest her away, but she stood firm. She strained up on tiptoe and kissed Spock full upon the lips. The blue sparks crackled between them and the katric memories surged and flared bright and new. Jadzia lowered her hands. Spock looked at her with perfect comprehension.
Behind her Kirk demanded tersely, "Lieutenant--?"
The turbolift door swished open. Benjamin stood in the doorway. "Lieutenant!"
Dax turned, caught between the captains.
Spock restrained his own captain with a hand on his chest. He said coolly, "Lieutenant, Dax, is it?"
Jadzia replied, "Yes, Mr. Spock. It is."
"Rest assured, I shall begin work on your proposition at once."
Dax spun away, hands behind her back, "Thank you, sir."
As the lift door slid closed she watched the Vulcan's hand fall gently down the front of the captain's chest. The most curious _expression replaced the human's scowl as the fingertips traveled from breast to belly. And then the door closed and they were gone from view forever. Jadzia smiled quietly inside herself.
Ben surveyed her severely. "Dax, what was that all about?"
"Nothing, Benjamin," she said innocently. "Just making suggestions for where to look."