Chapter VII: Not Alone
Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax – newlywed and now a member of the House of Martok – strode cheerfully towards Quark's in casual athletic attire, ready to recreate one of the most romantic scenes out of Klingon myth. Or history, depending on who you ask. Kahless and Lukara had been attacked on their wedding night, and had held off the hordes of assailants all on their own, cementing the pair as the greatest warriors of the Klingon Empire.
"You know this doesn't count as our honeymoon," Dax teased her husband, clad similarly to her. They would have carried real bat'leths but for Odo's ban on weapons on the Promenade.
"Yes, Jadzia. I know," Worf answered for the ninety-second time. "I told you that you would be the one to plan our honeymoon, and I still mean that," he said patiently.
"Good," Jadzia replied, mischief in her voice. "Because while we are going to have a wonderful time on our honeymoon, I don't intend to let you forget tonight either."
Is that a smirk on his lips? Never! "Nor do I intend to allow you any respite," her husband said.
"Respite?" Dax laughed at the Klingon's choice of words. "Perish the thought, Worf. Our only concern tonight is to end up walking into sickbay so bruised and beat up and overflowing with hormones and endorphins that Julian will wet himself while he tries to keep a straight face treating us."
"He did seem intent on winning you for himself for a time," Worf noted grimly.
Jadzia smirked and chuckled. "Don't tell me you're jealous?"
"Jealous?" Worf asked incredulously. "Of Dr. Bashir? What could he possibly offer that I have not pledged to devote my life to giving you?"
"Hm. That's a tough one," Dax said thoughtfully. "I'll get back to you in the morning with a full and detailed list," she teased with laughter in her eyes.
Worf growled as he walked. "You are trying to provoke me into losing control of myself during our holosuite time," he guessed.
Dax put a hand to her chest. "Worf, I'm hurt. You know I would never do something like that." She leaned in close to him. "Unless I really, really wanted to. I don't want you to lose your inhibitions until just the right moment."
Her husband growled an intimate sound under his breath. "You are truly devious, Jadiza Dax."
She poked him in the chest. "And don't you forget it." So saying, Dax led her husband into Quark's, which was full of customers, and the waiters seemed to be quite busy. Must be happy hour, Dax reasoned.
Interestingly enough, Quark was not busy giving his waiters hell, but was scurrying out from behind the bar to meet them. "Thank the Nagus you're here, Commander," he said, making a point to look at Dax and ignore Worf.
"Something wrong, Quark? Why isn't Odo here?" she asked, wondering what could have her fellow tongo player in such a state.
Quark sighed for what Dax guessed was dramatic effect. "It's not that kind of trouble. It's something worse." Another melodramatic sigh indicated that an over-embellished tale was about to be told. "Some creature from the depths of Destitution appeared in my humble establishment without so much as a slip of latinum to her name. Out of the kindness of my heart, I offered her one free spin of the dabo wheel." He snorted. "'Never gambled before,' she said. How did I ever fall for that? The first spin earned her a few slips. The next two dozen spins almost took the house."
The Ferengi's eyes widened. "The house always wins!" he protested, begging the Trill to see reason. "That woman is going to-"
"Ah. Say no more, Quark," Dax said, understanding things better. "You always had trouble with the 94th Rule, didn't you?" she teased, referring to the Rule of Acquisition that warned against mixing 'females and finances.'
"It wasn't like that, I swear!" Quark said, sounding desperate. "She wanted to buy something from me, and I wasn't about to let all of my latinum get away from me. But, you see, she wanted holosuite time. And she wanted to use the Kahless-Lukara wedding night program. On her own."
Dax looked to Worf, expecting him to blow up, but he looked rather pensive. Worf never looks pensive. "She must be a formidable warrior to engage so many enemies with only a holographic recreation to aid her," he said. "That, or else she is exceedingly arrogant."
"Oh, she's strong, all right," Quark said. "The other day, there were a few Klingons who had had a bit too much to drink. No inhibitions at all. She wiped the floor with them. I think she put a hole in one's armor, even, no joke. And she's still in the holosuite right now. I tried to tell her that she'd have to leave at 1730, and technically you are three minutes early," the Ferengi said, trying desperately not to incur the wrath of the Son of Mogh.
"Really?" Dax said, arching her slender eyebrows. "Well, we may as well introduce ourselves. She sounds like someone I'd like to know. Maybe spar against, even."
"What are you saying, Jadzia?" Worf said, looking concernedly at her.
She shrugged innocently. "I'm just curious, Worf. Someone cunning enough to take Quark for so much latinum, not to mention strong enough to put a dent in Klingon armor… Doesn't that seem just a little bit exciting?"
"Perhaps," the Klingon conceded. "Very well. We will proceed to the holosuite," he proclaimed.
"Number two," Quark said, heading back behind the bar rather hastily. "Have fun!" he called back, visibly thankful to be rid of one particular worry for the evening.
Dax sprinted up the stairs two at a time, eager to meet the mystery woman Quark had told her about. I wonder what species she is. Cheating a Ferengi out of his wallet isn't the most Klingon thing to do, but I guess some Klingons would see humbling a Ferengi as honorable.
Approaching the holosuite doors, the Trill took a step back when the portal didn't open at her footsteps. "Computer, status of holosuite," she requested.
A chime later, "Program Worf Beta-Nine in progress. Warning: Safety protocols have been disengaged."
"The safeties are off?" Worf said incredulously. "Even for a Klingon, recreating one of the ancient tales is not something to be taken lightly. Computer," he instructed, "two to enter as non-participating observers."
The computer chimed. "Enter when ready."
Dax looked to her par'Mach'kai. "Let's go see what this is all about," she said quietly, entering the holosuite.
A great stone hall greeted her and Worf, and it was littered with Klingon bodies sporting various cuts and abrasions. There were more than a few limbs and even heads that had been separated from their bodies.
At the center of the room was the unmistakable holographic visage of Emperor Kahless fighting against a horde of attackers. At his back was a small figure with long brown hair. She was wearing strange clothing that did not belong in the environment at all, but she held her own with a bat'leth quite easily.
A spinning swipe of her blade brought her face into view, and Dax was surprised to see it belonged to a human girl. She looks human, at least. But few humans could wield a bat'leth with such skill, let alone a human so small and so young.
An oncoming warrior brought his blade against hers and twisted it to send her weapon flying out of her hands. What was she thinking? Dax wondered incredulously. She's going to get herself killed.
The Trill did not expect to see the girl bring one fist down on her attacker's weapon and split it in two. Grabbing onto the holographic Klingon's armor, she picked him up and threw him across the room. He hit the ground hard, rolled a few times, and did not get back up.
Two more Klingons rushed to take their fallen comrade's place, but the girl swiped one of their blades by grabbing onto the bladed edge, turning the weapon on the two warriors and decapitating them both with one swipe.
"Look at her face," Worf said quietly.
Dax snapped out of what must have been a trance when Worf spoke. She had been so caught up in watching the girl's dance of death that she didn't notice the girl herself. Her face held no fear, but it didn't hold anything else either. No joy or excitement or anything resembling emotion. The girl was acting like a relentless killing machine.
Finally, the last of the holographic attackers fell to Kahless's bat'leth. He turned to his would-be Lukara and began to sing.
He was met by a blade at his neck, and Worf and Dax were forced to watch the greatest warrior in all of Klingon history beheaded by a mere slip of a human girl.
When the unknown warrior put down her weapon and looked straight at the holosuite entrance, Dax felt the color drain from her face. There was still no emotion on the girl's face, and it scared the khest out of Jadzia.
The girl strode forward and turned to look at Worf, who was doing his best to appear imposing. "I'm sorry for going over into your holosuite time, Commander Worf," she said in a polite monotone. "Do you require monetary compensation?"
She knows Worf by name. Does he know her as well? Or is he just that famous as the only Klingon in Starfleet? Dax felt a little bit miffed that the girl hadn't thought to so much as look at her. But then, that's probably for the best. She might think I was prey.
"No," Worf said at last. "No compensation is needed. Good day, miss."
"Good day," the girl said with a bit more warmth before exiting the holosuite without a single glance backward.
When the door closed behind the girl, Jadzia let out a breath she had not realized she had been holding. "Well, I think I've seen enough battle for one day. Suddenly, fighting hordes of attacking Klingons on my wedding day doesn't seem as appealing."
Her husband nodded. "It was quite a display," he agreed.
"Still," Dax said slyly. "It'd be a shame to let our holosuite time go to waste. Didn't Kahless and Lukara celebrate their victory on their wedding night?"
Worf smirked at that. "They did indeed, Jadzia."
"I like the sound of that. Computer, delete all holographic characters," she instructed, and the photonic Klingons vanished. There. The mood is lighter without the Emperor's head rolling around. "Now then," she said, tackling her husband to the floor, "that talk we had earlier about losing our inhibitions? Is now a good time?"
After a quick sonic shower back on the Enterprise, Cameron strode down the Promenade towards the Replimat to meet Jake Sisko. He had seemed reluctant to call their meeting a date, but Cameron had no intention of letting him keep up a pretense of not being romantically interested in her. Her own pretense of interest was beside the point.
She was almost ten minutes late. The holoprogram had taken longer than expected. The programmer had enabled the Klingon characters to take more injuries before dying than they would in reality. It was likely an attempt to make the program seem more grandiose, she reasoned. Hopefully, Jake would have waited for her.
"Cameron! There you are!" Jake said, getting up from a table at the Replimat and jogging over to her. "For a while there, I thought you'd forgotten our da- Our meal," he said hastily.
She flashed a smile at him. "Sorry to keep you waiting, Jake. I managed to get some latinum, and I lost track of time in the holosuite." This was not technically true. She knew exactly what time it was at any given moment, but she had chosen to complete the program before preparing for the date.
Jake grinned back at her. "Do I want to know?" he asked wryly.
"You might," she teased. "A girl on her own, wandering an alien space station, comes across a gambling establishment. The proprietor gives her one free spin on the dabo wheel. She gets lucky."
Jake raised an eyebrow. "How lucky does she get?"
"Lucky enough to go another twenty-five spins without losing once," she said with a straight face.
Jake burst out into laughter, and Cameron joined in with her own soft approximation of the same. "Quark must have blown a gasket."
"No, he had no gaskets to blow. But he did charge me more than he should have for holosuite time. I don't blame him. He doesn't deserve to be cheated out of all of his money."
"Cheated out of it, you say?" Jake asked suggestively as he sat back down at the table he'd left to greet Cameron.
She took a seat across from him. "A figure of speech. Nothing more," she said neutrally before winking at Jake and smiling. Having a computer for a brain that could calculate where the ball would land on the dabo wheel helped a lot, as did having ocular sensors that could see the inner workings of the gambling apparatus itself.
Jake chortled and looked at a PADD on the table in front of him. He hadn't ordered a meal yet, which struck Cameron as a positive sign. He hadn't wanted to eat without her. "Do you want to get some food?" she asked.
"In a bit," Jake said. "There's this story that I've been asked to keep an eye on by the FNS, and the more I look at it, the more it gives me the creeps. I'm not sure what to say, you know?"
"Not really," Cameron said honestly. "What's the story about?"
"Well," Jake said, hesitating before looking up from his PADD at Cameron. "Do you by any chance know anyone named Sarah or John Connor? Any humans, that is?"
"No," she lied at once. "Why do you ask?"
"Well, both are common enough names. There are plenty of John Connors and Sarah Connors in the Federation, and a lot of them – on several different worlds – are ending up dead. Murdered, it seems." Jake shook his head. "There haven't been any murders in the Federation for years, let alone a spree of them like this."
"Do you have any leads on who's after them?" Cameron asked, moving closer to Jake so she could get a better look at his PADD.
"Not really," Jake confessed. "Only vague descriptions. All of the Sarah's were supposedly killed by a really big, muscular human male with a thick accent. European, I think, but I'm not a hundred percent sure on that."
Cameron nodded at the familiar description of the Series 800 Model 101 Terminator. "And the one targeting the John Connors?"
"That's harder to pin down," Jake said. "Different people have seen different things. There's no firm ID on the killer. Some people have seen a human male in his thirties with dark hair, but there are also three people who claim to have seen what they described as a 'silver changeling.'" Jake shivered. "That is something that scares me. As if the Borg and the Dominion had a child or something. And yes, I know the Borg are more black than silver. But still, why would this whatever-it-is only target people with a certain name?"
"I don't know," Cameron said, processing the appearance of a T-1000 and what might have been a T-888. She needed to get Jake away from this line of investigation. He was a valuable asset, and she couldn't let him get into danger's path. "Can we get something to eat now, Jake? Talk like this is making me feel a bit uneasy."
"Huh. Oh, yeah. Sure! I'm so sorry, Cameron. I've been a bit of a jerk, haven't I?" he said sadly.
"No. Not a jerk," she said softly.
"Well, let me make it up to you anyway," Jake insisted. "I mean, why go to a Replimat when you can have a home-cooked meal? All the men in my family have the 'cooking gene,' so to speak. Mind if I make you dinner?"
Cameron's eyes flickered down to Jake's PADD once more, and one name in particular caught her eye. 'Ensign John Edward Connor. Department: Sciences. Specialty: Cybernetics. Current Assignment: USS Enterprise-E. Status: Active.' They'll come for him, Cameron realized. And I'll be waiting.
But Ensign Connor would have to wait for later. John Connor he might be, but he was not her John Connor. My John doesn't exist, she thought. The mental statement produced an errant line of code that vanished before Cameron could identify it.
Filing the information on Ensign Connor away, she tossed back her hair and flashed a smile at Jake Sisko. "Dinner at your place?" she asked warmly. "It's a date."
"Gee, Brain! What do you think we'll own tonight?" "The same thing we own every night, Pinky: not Star Trek, not Terminator, and likely nothing else either."
Many Thanks again to everyone for reading and commenting. You all are what makes this story worth writing, so I hope you enjoy it!
Next Chapter: The Iron Chef