I sat up, fingering the broach. The woman held out a gnarled hand towards me.
"Your husband saved the life of our Elder yesterday. This is his reward." She motioned for the broach. I stared into the shadow dropped over her face, hoping to get a glimpse of her. Blindly, I dropped it into her hand.
"A translator," she said, waving it in front of my face. "The gods sent it to me, child. I must go." She bowed and hobbled out of sight.
My heart was racing. My hands were clammy, and I couldn't stop blinking. I couldn't stop smiling either. Finally, I'd get to see him! My Alien! I staggered to my feet, pressing my hands to my temples. The contrast of constant darkness and this…was painful, but I knew it would wear off. I lifted my face and gazed down at the marketplace. Everything was bright. There were a dozen booths lined up on either side of a cobblestone road. Bright colors bustled about in long, airy fabrics. I looked down at my dress and saw that it was a handsome shade of dark green.
Without a second thought, I bounded down the hillside.
My heart beat.
My feet planted themselves onto the hot stones of the street.
I was breathless.
Alien's people were swarming vendors like insects—unwanted parasites fighting to feed off of what was left. Their faces were ashen, translucent almost. Their eyes were strange dark pitted circles sunk into reddened bits of flesh. Their mouths smacked like tarp flaps as they closed and opened them to haggle with each other. Their white tongues permanently hung out from between their puffy lips. They reminded me of…of…monsters. From the neck down they appeared human, but—their heads—monsters in the most literal sense of the word…Even their hair; if one could call it that, was something that would make even the most Klingon of stomachs churn.
Alien…I had let him touch me. The places his hands had roamed over my body—was it really the innocence I thought it was?
I felt numb inside as I stumbled around the locals. So engrossed in their haggling, they paid me no heed. I walked on unnoticed. I was drifting…floating…where I was going, I didn't know…aimlessly…
Sometime later, I found myself leaning against a cold, stone wall overgrown with blue moss. Bitter bile had washed over my tongue. I was well away from the marketplace, though, I could still hear the faint clatter of the blacksmith banging metal on metal. I shifted and walked the length of the wall until I was able to find the other side. Behind it, were the ruins of some other civilization long since past. The jagged columns and statues were buried in moss and blue speckled foliage. Someone was laughing behind a high, faceless statue. I craned my neck.
A figure backpedaled from it, clasping his hands behind him. He laughed several more times and turned his face towards the other side of the wall. I froze.
He's not just any Vorta. It was Weyoun from Cardassia Prime: the Dominion's chief diplomat and…resident jerk for the Alpha Quadrant during the war. Our reports had stated that the last of his clones was killed—
Alien! I had to warn him somehow.
My eyes stung, and I crept back to the other side of the wall. I sprinted through the empty streets towards the clatter of the marketplace. Alien! My mind screamed it over and over again. These people were kind and gentle! They did not deserve the cruel, iron fist of the Dominion!
"Alien!" I screamed as I stepped into the marketplace. "Alien!" My voice was lost to the shouting and busy commotion of buying and selling. "ALIEN!" I was frantic. I darted back for the hill. Please be home, please be home! My breath came in short wisps, but I ignored my body's protest. Alien was more important. How cold I was to be so shallow as to allow his people's appearance to disgust me. I was no better than Koval.
My vision blurred as tears ran down my cheeks in torrents. What would the Federation say to me?
I am the disgusting one.
I cried out. This planet's pleasant days were over. "Alien!" I screamed, and screamed until it physically pained me.
The house was empty.
"Alien!" I fumbled around, overturning chairs, cushions, and Alien's numerous stones, ornaments, and wood carvings. "You've got to have some sort of communications device! The old woman had a Universal Translator!" Oh, gods, oh gods! I was in a drunken haze of fright.
What if Weyoun had gotten to him? Surely Weyoun knew that he was keeping a Federation citizen as his wife! The Dominion would know of such things! They'd hurt him!
"Oh gods, no!" I fell to my knees and started weeping. "Please, Alien…" The back door fluttered open. "Alien!" I jumped up, rubbing my eyes. "We need to get out of here! We need to leave now! Warn the Elder!" I was talking so fast that the words barely came out.
His voice soothed me as he neared me. I buried my face into my hands. Alien wrapped his arms around me and drew me close. I allowed myself to drown in his familiar scent and warmth. He continued speaking, as if soothing a small child.
"Alien, listen to me. We need to get out of here!" I looked up. My eyes met blue.
Weyoun smiled at me and spoke softly, using that distinct voice I had grown to love. He let go of me, still smiling, and waltzed about the mess I made. He laughed his familiar, light laugh…the one that I had heard so many times before. The Vorta began picking things up off the floor.
I fell into the couch and stared at the far wall. I didn't really see it…it was just there as Weyoun muddled about the sitting room, cleaning up my mess.
The Vorta had been the one to rescue me. I had lived with Weyoun for the past year, thinking he was some unknown species…What horrible plans did the Dominion have for the people in the marketplace? Why were there no Jem'Hadar patrolling the streets? Why wasn't there any evidence of Dominion presence? Even blind, I would have noticed something of that magnitude and importance!
And why, why was Weyoun so…nice? Nothing made sense.
"Weyoun," I said. "Drop the act." I turned cold. The Vorta froze, half hunched over a polished stone on the floor. He looked at me and flinched. "So, you can understand me, and have understood me for the past year."
His lovely mouth twitched as he drew himself to his full height. I pointed to my eyes. "This was my husband's reward for saving the Elder." Again, his mouth twitched. He took a timid step towards me and lowered his hands, as if submitting to a Founder.
He started to speak and any evidence that I had shocked him was masked by a smile. His eyes flickered for an instant and the left corner of his mouth faltered. He bowed again and took another few steps closer.
"Alien," I spat. "My Alien…" I turned my face away from him. Weyoun sat beside me, closing the gap between us by putting a strong arm around my waist. Something cold dropped into my lap. I fingered it. It was a Universal Translator—Bajoran issue.
"I have increased the range, Lily. We can understand each other if we stay within ten meters of each other."
"I take it you had this the entire time," I winced. Weyoun placed his chin over my left shoulder blade. His warm breath wafted against my neck. "Get away from me! You slimy jerk!"
"Oh, I knew this would happen if that old woman insisted on giving you your sight back!"
"Oh, so she had wanted to heal me for some time now, I take it!?"
"No. No, just last night she spoke of it."
"Get away from me," I hissed. Weyoun wrapped his other arm around my front and he started kissing the back of my head.
"I saved your life, claiming it as my own, and now you belong to me. I suppose that would make me getting away from you quite trying. I don't think you'd like that very much."
"Let me go!"
He reared back his head and laughed. "Oh, my poor, beaten Lily. Abused by the Tal Shiar, never to—"
"Shut up! You shitface!" I struggled against his grip. "SHITFACE!"
"Oh, come now. That is no way to behave. We are lovers."
"Why are you doing this to me!? Why did you trick me!? What is the Dominion planning with me!? This planet? These innocent people who have no notion of warp drives, spaceships, or any of that!?"
"Oh, you poor, deluded, and misguided darling," his voice still had that alluring quality to it. It would have soothed me had I still been blind to his face and deaf to his words. "I would never hurt you! The Dominion is far away from here, my dear, lovely, and exotic pet! They don't even know of my existence."
"And how in the hell is that possible? Better yet, why should I believe you?"
He placed his lips against my ear.
"Come now, is this necessary? You say that you love me one hundred, twenty six times a day on average!"
"That was before I knew that you-you-" I struggled, but he held onto me. Weyoun pressed himself against me. His torso felt firm against my back. "I let you run your hands all over me!"
"You never had much of a choice in that, but, hmm," he kissed my left temple. "You can thank Odo for me. Alien; that endearing name you have given me. Actually, you can thank me and my foresight, but essentially, the credit belongs to Odo.
"My predecessor, Weyoun Six, entrusted Odo with himself. In a glorious display of loyalty, he handed Odo his genetic transponder. It is a cylinder device implanted in all Vorta clones. It is a last resort incase…erm the cloning facility that the particular Vorta was created from is destroyed. Under normal circumstances, it is destroyed if the Vorta initiates his termination implant. But Weyoun Six had such insight and wisdom! He pulled it out, it was painful I might add, and asked Odo to keep it and to activate another Weyoun like Weyoun Six once the war was over.
"Odo was true to his word and kept it safe. It wasn't until after he purged the Founders of the morphogenic virus, that he activated me. He knew the Founders would never let a defective clone live, regardless if it was a Weyoun or not, so he hid me from them. Odo may have taught them many things about solids, dear Lily, but they are still Founders, and the Dominion is still the Dominion."
I closed my eyes as I listened to his story. I wanted to let myself relax. I wanted to believe him! I wanted to throw myself into his chest and kiss him on the lips for the very first time, but…he was a Vorta; Weyoun no less. How was I supposed to believe such a wild tale?
"He gave me a Bajoran runabout with enough rations and supplies to last me for several months. He ushered me out of the Gamma Quadrant through the wormhole as the last of the Alpha Quadrant merchants were leaving Dominion territory. I thought it prudent that I should go somewhere like this place; a place where space travel is unheard of—far from Dominion eyes. So, I traveled discretely, avoiding other ships, until I felt that I was far enough away from the Dominion. I scanned dozens of possible planets before coming across this one.
"I landed here, and the locals thought I was some sort of shaman sent to them from their gods. I played the part quite well. The village Elder thinks the-"
"Universal Translator was a gift from the gods, I know."
"Yes! Isn't it brilliant? So delightful that they are so dimwitted to believe such lies! I 'healed' them with a standard, Bajoran medical tri-corder. They were amazed at such low skilled work, that they let me live here in this abandoned house."
"So what next? How did you find me?"
"I grew lonely and bored. I didn't know that Vorta could experience such things. The Elder picked up on it and prayed to his gods to send me a mate…" Weyoun started laughing. "It just so happened that you appeared that same night."
"What a lovely, charming, and well timed coincidence, Weyoun." My tone was not amused. Not in the least.
"I know. I always knew I was rather skilled at such things, even if some of them happen by chance. As you know I found you; beaten, raped, and…well, we all know what the Tal Shiar is made of. So, I took you and…"
He rested his cheek against the top of my head. "I never knew that Vorta were capable of such strange, yet wonderful feelings. The sensation tingles, and it feels better than anything I've ever experienced. Owning a pet…no wonder so many solids keep them!"
"The woman called you my husband." Not my damned owner!
"Hmm? Oh yes. The natives do."
I hate you, I mouthed. My entire body shuddered. "Why didn't you tell me your name? Why did you let me make a fool of myself! Alien! Of all the stupid, unimaginative-"
"Ah, ha," Weyoun chuckled. "You wouldn't have readily been so enjoyable otherwise." I shut my eyes and drew in a sharp breath. He had a point. I certainly would never have allowed myself to love him had I known.
"Alien," I croaked. My hands went to my face. "Gods, how could I have been so blind!?"
"You were blind."
I frowned. He pulled me into his lap, as he had always done before, and began stroking the side of my face with his graceful fingers.
"I don't believe a word you said," I whispered, but I did not move. "Weyoun Eight was your predecessor according to our records, not Weyoun Six."
"My sweet little Lily didn't read any of her reports thoroughly, what a shame! Lucky for the Federation, you were lazy! Who knows what the Tal Shiar would have been able to glean-"
"Weyoun Six was defective, remember?" He continued as if I hadn't burst out. "As I said, we Vorta each have our own genetic transponder, unique to each clone. According to what Odo did, I should be Weyoun Seven even though there was already a Seven to succeed Weyoun Six. I am not Weyoun Nine because I do not hold the memories of Seven or Eight. I held what Weyoun Six knew and I was created off of his transponder."
I fought against the smile forming on my lips. Everything was as it was, despite the fact I could see and understand him. His tone held the same strength and softness that he used when he'd babble to me for hours like this as he held me in his lap and stroked my face. I won't smile!
A laugh escaped my throat at what he had just said, of his clones and their numbers.
"So, I share what made Weyoun Six unique. I share his views and kindness. He was not cruel like my other clones, and neither am I—to an extent…"
"I see." I shut my eyes as his fingers continued to roam over my neck and cheek. I leaned into him and nestled my head into his chest. "What do you plan to do now?" I couldn't stay mad at him, especially not when he was holding me and being gentle. It was such a sharp contrast to…to—
"The same thing I've been doing since I lived here…."
"Lily," he let out an over drawn sigh.
"Never mind. I'm not going to leave you just because you are Vorta. I do…love you, Alien—Weyoun Eight-Nine-Ten."