Blue Flame

by Nell and Allronix

Book 1: The Declaration

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Disclaimer: Paramount and Viacom own these folks. The plot's our idea. Suing a student and a customer service rep is pointless.

Summary: Ezri Dax is ordered by the Symbiosis Commission to make a formal announcement of her Joining and present herself in front of the Symbiosis Board. Julian Bashir offers to accompany her to Trillian, and they turn the trip into a vacation. Once there, an obscure ritual will reveal a potential that Ezri never realized she possessed – and a madman will stop at nothing to exploit it.


Captain Theron of the Azure Guard rubbed his spotted neck as the lifeless body of a young man was placed on a hoverbed and sent from the room. He looked at his padd and brought up the file of the deceased. All the crucial information of the man's life, laid out in chronological black and white.

Theron held back a sigh. Such a short list.

Despite that regret, his voice was completely neutral as he skimmed through the data. "Initiate Haltak Rheem, age twenty. A scholar of the arts with an emphasis in painting. Advanced degree in art history, with secondary honors in general history and music. Medical tests from a month ago showed perfect health. He was preparing to become a field docent in three months. So." He turned and faced the composed, elderly woman standing beside him. "Any ideas why he would suddenly drop dead, Mother Guardian?"

The Guardian – she'd introduced herself as Paela, he remembered – met his scrutiny with irritating calm. "Why are you asking me, Captain?"

Theron put his padd in the leather pouch attached to his belt and shrugged. He adjusted the pale blue tunic of his uniform around his broad shoulders. "You are the leader of this order, correct?"


"You're always near them – the Initiates, the Symbionts, Joined people. Figured you'd at least have a guess."

Her time-worn eyes glimmered a bit at this. She buried her hands in her smock and regarded him coolly. "If I may ask, sir, why is it that Unjoined folk like yourself assume we always have the answers?"

Theron cracked his knuckles and paced around the quarters of the dead Initiate as his men combed for signs of foul play. "Because you Guardians and the Joined make a good show of pretending you always do."

Paela seemed grimly amused for a moment. Then she sighed. "I know nothing more than you. A sudden neural failure – some kind of undetected brain anomaly. It's the third case this month."

"Mm." The captain paged to a different file. "The one before this was an Initiate in the Sen'tella Nations. Before that, an young Unjoined scholar in Parsee City. No apparent connection between any of them, and yet they were all young, Unjoined, and completely healthy until the day of their deaths."

His expression became stern. "I don't believe in coincidences, Mother Guardian. Neurological diseases don't just appear out of nowhere these days, especially among Initiates, the way you people constantly put their brains under the microscope. I'm opening a full-on investigation of this man's death – and the other two – by the Azure Guard."

Paela frowned, as if she wished she could find some way to argue that point. Still, she shrugged her shoulders. "The Board doctors examined him thoroughly. They say it's natural causes – an isolated incident."

Theron scowled and pulled a tricorder from his pocket, examining the ventilation and electrical systems. "They said that about the other kids, too."


They managed to get fifteen minutes. Through tweaking schedules just enough and making the right arrangements, the dark hallways near the morgue of the hospital complex were completely deserted for fifteen minutes. In that time, two doctors, a man and a woman, slipped into the small room and begin their examination.

"I'm detecting that neural energy did transfer, but the alignment was off." She passed her tricorder over the unseeing eyes. "Damn it. This isn't working."

The other doctor moved nervously around the room, glancing at the door. "How much of a transfer? At least tell me we're making some progress."

"Inconclusive," she muttered. "But it doesn't look like it. Will you stop pacing, please? I told you, we're clear."

"If you say so." Then he growled in frustration. "He was strong. The most stable neural pattern we've seen yet. If it didn't work with him, then we're right back where we started."

She gave her colleague a sharp look. "Then we'll find another way. We just have to keep trying."

"Maybe we should inject the next one with isoboramine, or use a suppression field?"

"Maybe." Folding her tricorder, she rearranged the drawer as she'd found it, half open with the sheet drawn away from the face. "I'll run some tests later - we might come up with something."

A tense silence fell. He glanced at the body, and his lips tightened. "We're going to have to tell him."

She seemed too busy putting everything back into place to reply. After a moment, he released a slow, tired sigh and spoke again. "Do you think this is worth it?"

Her reaction was immediate. She snapped around, her eyes narrowed. "Shut up," she hissed. "We don't give up on this, okay? And we don't ask stupid questions. You know what's at stake here."

"All right, all right," he said, lifting his hands defensively. "Keep it down. I'm not giving up on anything. I just... I don't know. If we can't find a way, and they keep dying...."

"So we don't let that happen," she insisted. "We find a way."

The uncertain scowl flickered again. Then he shrugged and let it drop. "Right. Come on, we'd better go. Not much time left."

She nodded stiffly. He checked the hallway, and in a moment the pair of them slipped out of the room, leaving Haltak Rheem to stare at the ceiling with eyes frozen in terror.