By noon the next day the Romulan Empire was at war. Two incidents provoked them into it. First, several Dominion warships either didn't get the memo about staying out of Romulan space or they didn't care. Regardless, the Romulans destroyed them. At nearly the same time, a squadron of Jem'Hadar attack ships attempted to capture Deep Space Nine. They were repelled, but not before several members of the Romulan investigative team (which was just preparing to return home) were killed in the process. The Dominion would later claim to have been unaware of their presence, but these incidents were just the excuses the Romulans were waiting for.
At the very same instant the Declaration was sent, a countless number of Romulan ships decloaked and attacked 17 bases along the Cardassian border, so Weyoun received the declaration and reports of being attacked at the same time. There was no time to prepare for the attack, and the Dominion suffered the first of several heavy losses at the hands of the Romulans.
Meanwhile, the day passed much like the one before for Aura, except that she was beginning to get annoyed with herself and everything else. A certain person kept finding his way into her thoughts, and she just couldn't make up her mind about him.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate on anything. She was halfway through a language lesson when she gave up and stomped her foot in an aggravated manner. "Oh so what? He's my beau and I'll think about him as much as I want to," she decided. Then she felt a lot better.
Senator Vreenak. Such a character! Sharp, rich, powerful, haughty, and gallant. He was just like a villain from some gothic novel. Her better judgment warned her that this whole dating situation was a bad idea that could only end in tears. But she liked him—quite a lot. True, he was an impertinent old son of a gun, but she imagined that as far as Romulans go he was quite gentlemanly. She had to admire his persistence, and in spite of herself she appreciated his satirical wit. And he was so suave and calculating! It was both scary and flattering to be sought after by a man like that.
But then again, she had to be reasonable and think ahead. If she did happen to fall for him, what would life be like if she married him? Would he be a good husband? Would she be accepted into Romulan society? What about any children they might have? Would they be rejected or bullied for their human blood? These were very serious concerns. Then there was her own family. She was sure they would never approve. The only way they'd ever accept the situation was if it were beyond their control. She felt bad for keeping them in the dark, but it was better for them not to know until she reached her final decision.
Later that morning they called her. They appeared to be even more anxious than usual, so she asked, "Mom, is something wrong? You seem kind of worried."
Her mother said, "Oh, we're alright, sweetie. It's just the war."
"Things are not looking good for our side," said her father." The Dominion's taken Betazed and Benzar, and it doesn't look like the Federation's got enough resources to stop them. I've heard rumors that Starfleet is stretched pretty thinly, and they might go so far as to issue a draft."
When Aura spoke to Catherine later that day, she said the same thing.
"Yes, they are getting ready to issue a draft. It won't go over well, but they really have no other choice." Her friend hesitated before saying, "I have something else I need to tell you. Gozen and I have decided not to wait until the war's over. We're going to get married in two weeks, when he comes back to Trill."
"Oh is that all? You made it sound like bad news!" said Aura.
"Do you think you'd be able to come?" asked her friend hopefully.
"You know I want to, and I'll definitely try, but don't worry about me! I completely understand, and I'm so happy for you…" She and Catherine were like sisters, and they had been planning their weddings since they were 12. Aura really, really wanted to go, but she had a strong, disheartening suspicion that the Senator wouldn't allow it. But it wouldn't do to be selfish and ruin it for her friend as well, so she hid her disappointment until the conversation was over.
Then it hit her how dire the situation was. This was the first time the war had affected her personally, and up until now she'd been optimistic. Like many others, she'd trusted that her loved ones were safe on Earth and that the good side would win in the end. But Betazed was not some frontier planet on the edge of the map, it was fairly deep into Federation space, and things must be seriously desperate if Starfleet was going to resort to a draft.
She felt anxious-and useless. Even if she had been in Federation space she wouldn't have been any kind of help. It's not like she could fiddle the Jem'Hadar to death. And now she was probably going to miss her best friend's wedding, too.
There was really only one thing she could do about both situations: talk to Vreenak. He undoubtedly knew exactly how things stood, and though he was no fan of the Federation, she could still put a bug in his ear. Attending the wedding was also a long shot, but she had to at least ask him.
Now she really wanted to see him, but he wouldn't be back until tomorrow or the day after.
As soon as the Federation got word of the Romulan Empire's attacks, Starfleet Command contacted them and implored them to join the Alliance. After considerable deliberation, the Romulans voted to join—on one condition: Starfleet must expedite Captain Sisko's court martial. The Federation complied.
The next day it rained in the morning, but Aura felt a lot brighter because she had something special planned. On Romulus there were some root vegetables that looked like yellow turnips, but their taste and texture was just like carrots. She was going to make a sort of carrot cake and surprise her beau when he came home.
It would flatter his ego terribly, but she wanted to do it anyway. It would be fun to astonish him, and it might make him more receptive to what she had to say. And if he didn't come home tonight she'd just save it for the next day.
But Senator Vreenak did not come home that night, or the next night. Aura began to feel quite jittery, and even went so far as to retrieve that military photo from the gallery and place it in her living room. She took a good look at it and sighed. "Alright, I miss you, you old rascal. Does that make you happy now?"
Two days later, she was taking her usual afternoon stroll in the gardens when she saw a shuttlecraft. She was so excited that she nearly bolted toward the house, but then she stopped and realized that such a thing would be quite unseemly. It would be better to adjust her appearance a little first, then she'd comport herself in a more dignified manner instead of behaving like a silly teenager. Afterall, she didn't want to look too eager. She laughed and chided herself as she brushed and restyled her hair. If the Senator could read her thoughts right now he'd be quite flattered and insufferably pompous.
She calmly made her way over to the house and into the hallway. There she was in for a shock. Senator Vreenak was there—with his arms around another woman! Aura gasped and her heart instantly welled up with jealousy and anger. She nearly tripped over her own feet in surprise.
Then they noticed her and they both smiled. "Ah! There you are," said Vreenak. "I'd like you to meet my sister, Tertia."
His sister! Well, he did say she might come to visit some time. Aura was now heartily ashamed of herself. "Oh, I'm pleased to meet you," she whispered, extending her hand. What a terrible first impression she must be making, she thought.
Tertia took her hand graciously and replied that she was also glad to make her acquaintance, then there was an awkward pause.
"Why, Aura, what's wrong?" asked Vreenak, lifting an eyebrow.
Not wanting to confess what she had really thought, she said the first thing that came to mind. "Oh, nothing! I just…missed you…" she answered, blushing furiously.
Now it was Vreenak's turn to be surprised. He expected to have to trick her into acknowledging any feelings she might have, and he was touched by her humble admission. "My lady," he said, holding out his hand to her. She took it, then they all walked into the parlor.