SUMMARY: Kai Winn's last moments of life, her thoughts.

DISCLAIMER: I own absolutely nothing except the plot. Everything else belongs to the Roddenberry's, and the creatures of DS9 and their characters.

Deep Space Nine: Never Touched

Sonia Wong

When the Celestial Temple, or as Starfleet puts it, the Bajoran wormhole, opened, it was said that those who followed the Prophets could feel their gods touching their lives. For them, it was a joyous thing, this opening. But I felt nothing, no joy, and no love, even through I was a vedek, a subordinate to Bajor's spiritual leader.

I asked myself then, as I ask myself now, in the fire-caves, facing certain doom. When had they started to turn from me? When had I started to turn from them? I look around myself, the end of the path I have walked on. The earth is orange-red, a reflection of the fires that keep roaring up. It is windy; a symbol that the Kosst Amojan was freeing itself from it's dark prison. In my mind, I could only image the evil that I had helped to escape from its prison.

Why? Why? I kept asking myself. Why did the prophets never touch me? I was Kai Winn, supposedly the most spiritual person in all of Bajor. I love Bajor, my home. I love her for her beauty and resilience, and how quickly her earth recovered after the Cardassians left. The prophets are said to be beautiful, a reflection of the planet that houses their children. I never knew, and I guess I never will. But I hope to, in another life, where all of my sins can be repented. My mind is clear, my eyes are opened. Perhaps now I can find when my mind began to turn, I want to die in peace.

A flash of white light, I feel like I'm being pulled somewhere...

Where am I? Is the first question I ask myself. I'm on Deep Space Nine, on the promenade. Wait, something's wrong, it's light, but it's quiet and empty. There are no people in there, save for a few faces that I somehow recognize.

"She has turned, yet she has not," says the voice of Sisko. I turn. He's there, and he is bathed in an aura of blue-white light.

"She does not know us. She has never been touched, except by the dark one," says Dukat. He is in the same light as Sisko. But he is not as I saw him last, in civilian clothing, and his eyes a red glare. Here, he looks like a soldier. His eyes are a soft brown, almost—gentle.

"Who are you?" I ask, more of cry than a question. I did not know. My only thought was that it was the Pah-wraiths again, tricking my mind once more.

"Child, do you not know?" says the soft voice of Sobel, my trusted aide of many years, but no more. I had killed him in cold blood when he questioned my sanity.

"Look into the light," Comes the voice of the gentle Kai Opaka...the woman who was the Kai before me. There was no more a good and pious a woman in all of Bajor. I turned and gasped. Was this her, her pagh? Had she really been with the Prophets all this time, since she had died? I pushed the questions away. I couldn't have been talking with the Prophets. They had never bothered to talk to me before now. Why talk to me now, right before my death? Still, I looked around for the light they mentioned. I saw none.

The being must have sensed my confusion because the Sisko-being says, "Open your eyes, your being. To find the light, go forward. Move away from what pains you. It is what happened to the Sisko."

I am getting exasperated. They spoke in riddles. "What happened to Sisko? I don't give a damn about Sisko! I just want to know who you are and why you have brought me here to this place!" Who are these beings? What power do they have over me?

"The Winn is hostile," Dukat-being says.

"The Winn is conflicted," Sobel-being says.

"She does not understand," Opaka-being says.

"I don't care! I just want to go back to the fire caves. Do you not understand? Dukat is about to kill me. I must get away from him. I don't have time to talk to you." I just want to go. So what if I am about to die? It must be a better fate than to listen to these mad beings.

"Time? We do not understand the concept of linear time," Sobel-being says in an infuriating calm voice.

"Time does not pass here as it does on the world below," Says Dukat being.

Not the same...My eyes are wide now. I know where I am. I am in the Celestial Temple with the prophets. The light? The light was every where, through the cracks on the walls, in the auras of the prophets themselves. This was not the vision of the Pah-wraiths. The light of the Pah-wraiths is red and dark, never to be light. My eyes are starting to tear up. I had been touched by the good, by the gods I promised to serve and revere. And I betrayed them. I look up in fear. What was to be my punishment, now that they have found me? The place where I am changes...

I am on Deep Space Nine, as it was seven years ago. I watch myself receive the news that the Emissary to the Prophets would be Sisko, not myself, nor any other Bajoran. I remember what I felt, and I remember it with shame. I felt anger, resentment, disappointment, that an out-worlder, an alien, had the highest position within the religion of Bajor. He had done nothing but pilot a runabout into the wormhole, while I had worked hard to be noticed, to be something more than just a vedek.

"You were selfish," says the Opaka-being. Her voice is gentle, yet scolding. "You would not use this power for good."

"How do you know?" I ask. I feel that given the chance, I could have proven myself worthy of the honor.

"We had foreseen one strand of the future," says the Sisko-being, tossing his damned baseball into the air. Of course the fact that Sisko was the son of the Prophets themselves might have had something to do with it. As the ball flew down to the palm of the Sisko-being's dark hand...

I was in ops and it was empty. Consoles exploded around me. Except for the one that controlled the release of the chroniton particles. "No..." I breathe, knowing what will happen. This is a painful memory, and not literally. I had betrayed my gods and knew it then, as I do now. I saw myself rush towards the console.

Moments before the button was pressed, I see and hear myself. "May the Prophets forgive me." I feel nothing now, only a sense of guilt and sadness. The Reckoning should have ended, but with the expiation of the Pah-wraiths. But I ended it, and drove both omnipotent beings away with a flick of my finger.

"You terminated the Reckoning," accuses Sobel-being, as if I didn't already know that.

"I only wanted to save the station, as well as the Emissary and his son." I try to justify my actions. I know that no matter how hard I try, I never will. I didn't release the chroniton particles to save the station. It was so I could be a savior in the eyes of my people.

"The Sisko would not have died, and neither would his son," Says Sisko-being.

"But Jake was the Pah-wraith, he could have, and would have died had I not released the Pah-wraith!" I know, I know, I'm doing it again, but I'm desperate. I want to seem good in front of my gods. Who doesn't?

"We would not allow the son of Sisko to leave his corporeal form," Claims Dukat-being.

"We protected him, as we protect all of Bajor," Opaka-being says this as if it will end the argument, by making me see their reasons for the Reckoning. I knew, oh, I knew that Jake wouldn't die, and I regretted stopping the Reckoning. I regret stopping it now. No one would ever hold me as high as they did before. Those in the government looked down upon me in secret; they did not dare to do it in public.

I think back to the religious elections long ago, when I was running for the position of kai. I ask myself, was this what Kira and Bareil saw in me, my selfishness, my coldness and my jealousy? My ruthlessness when I threatened to blackmail Bareil? I feel hot tears of shame run down my cheeks. I feel a gentle hand reach for my ear. The touch is familiar, yet alien a the same time. It is the Opaka-being. As always, when I look into her eyes, I can't escape them, even if those eyes are in my mind. They seem to pierce through my very soul, into the core of my being. She smiled at me.

"See child, you have learned to look past your pain, and see the truth that lies within you. Your pagh is strong," Opaka-being says, in a faraway voice. It felt as if the prophet was inside of me, exploring my pain, my decisions and how I made them. The Prophet, as well as the real Opaka, had always been right.

"You have learned, but you have learned too late," Dukat-being informs me. "You can never go back to where you were."

"The Sisko is coming," warns Sobel-being "Tell him of the book." All right, I got that. But what will happen I wonder, after Dukat kills me? I wanted to ask, but the Prophets are all powerful. They knew my question before I asked it, and answered it for me.

"Your pagh will return here, and here you will learn," Comes a new voice. I turned around. It was a dark-skinned woman who had Sisko's eyes. It was Sarah Sisko, his Prophet-mother. "The Sisko has arrived. Help him." The dark eyes held no sadness, no pleading, nothing, just a tranquility that few people had since the Dominion War started.

All of the prophets are coalescing into one being, it is an amazing sight, one that I am sure I will never see again. They are coalescing into Sisko. "The time of the Reckoning has arrived again," He begins. "You will see it to its end. It is the final battle of the prophets and the Kosst Amojan. It is the final battle between Sisko and Dukat. You will help the Sisko; you will help our Emissary. You had pledged your life to us." The Sisko-being has finished speaking. He—they, were right. I pledged my life to the prophets when I first became a student of the Bajoran faith. It was time for me to redeem myself, to fulfill my destiny...

Deep Space Nine and the blue-white line is gone. I am back in the fire-caves. Sisko is in a brutal fight of forces with Dukat. Time is running out. The prophets told me to help, but how? "Warn him of the book" That was what Sobel said. That's it! The book. The humans have a saying. "To destroy the devil, destroy its book." It might work with the Kosst Amojan.

"Emissary! The Book!" I yell. I want to run, but I can't. I can't escape the wrath of Dukat, or the Kosst Amojan. I am spinning around as if I am in a tornado. I know this is Dukat's doing. I know him. When I saw him, when I loved him, he was only a twisted reflection of myself, full of evil. I see a bright orange fire coming towards me. I close my eyes. There is a flash of pain and a white light. My pagh is propelled out the caves, out of Bajor, into the Celestial Temple. I am free. I am home.

Sisko, the real Sisko, and his Prophet-mother welcome me. "You will be born again," Sarah Sisko says to me. For a moment, my joy is gone, as I realize that I will never be Winn Adami again, but I have been given a second chance. I must take it. "The lessons that you have learned in this life with always be with you." Another flash of white light. I feel my pagh flying somewhere, but I don't know where. I can't see, I can't hear. All I can sense is that my life will begin anew. The story of Winn Adami and her treachery will be over. It is time for a new beginning.