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Old Wounds Pt.1

Posted on Fri Jun 18th, 2021 @ 6:01am by Lieutenant Chester "Duo" Maxwell

Mission: Gamma Quadrant
Location: Deck 2, Lt. Maxwell's Quarters
Timeline: Current

Duo trudged into his quarters, zombie-like, his body on autopilot. The last several days had worn heavily on him. Just inside his quarters, he kicked off his low boots and looked around. He hadn't unpacked anything yet, not that he had much with him.

On the way back from the Senior Staff meeting, his left hip had begun to ache something fierce. It was a gift from the Jem'Hadar...the real Jem'Hadar, he had received on Cardassia Prime while undercover for Starfleet Security. The pain had grown so intense by the time he got to his quarters he could barely walk. With the physical pain came the emotional turmoil, anxiety, fear, regret, and a little panic thrown in for good measure. It sat in his gut like a ten kilo stone. If he had been on Earth, Dr. Suvir, his counselor, would have prescribed a Vulcan meditation and rest. But he wasn't on Earth, and his meditation lamp was buried at the bottom of a moving crate, with two others stacked on top of it.

He looked at the moving crates. They were all unmarked, except for his name, rank, and ship assignment, but he recognized the top one nonetheless. He limped over and opened it. Inside, right where he knew it would be, was a large bottle of kanar. Not the thick syrup like liquid one normally associated with it. The was good kanar, 2327 vintage. It was thin, smooth, and very strong.

Duo picked up the bottle and a single glass. "Vulcan meditations work. But this works faster."

He limped over to the couch and threw himself down on it. He poured himself a glass, set the bottle on the table, leaned back and propped his leg up on the coffee table. It helped with the pain. He took a long pull of kanar. His "medicine" began to work immediately. The pain in his hip subsided a little, but the emotional problems would take more to chase away.

He stared at the bottle on the table. He hated kanar...and he loved it. He had begun drinking it in preparation for his assignment. A Cardassian military officer who didn't drink kanar was met with suspicion, and in Cardassian society, suspicion meant torture and death. He finished his first glass, and poured another. The look of it, the smell of it, the taste of it took him back to those hellish years he had spent on Cardassia. Lying, spying, trying to stay one step ahead of what was left of the Obsidian Order, and then the Dominion. The lives he had taken. Kanar brought all those things back with every gulp. But there was a therapeutic aspect as well. It was like an old friend. It knew all his secrets, and it could make them all go away too.

Before he knew it, he was halfway through his third glass. The physical pain was mostly gone. The emotional pain had retreated to the shadows of his conscious mind, but it was still there, like distant phaser fire on the battlefield. Duo couldn't stay awake any longer. His head dipped and darkness took him.

((Duo's dream))

Duo was in a cave. A dark, hot, and humid cave, a Cardassian cave. He had a cup of water in his hand, he looked down into it. It wasn't his face he saw in the reflection. It was the face of Glinn Tarbek, the persona he had worn while undercover. He knew this cave. It was the meeting place for members of Gul Jusan's cell of officer's loyal to the Detapa Council. They had formed in the aftermath of Gul Dukat's usurpation and joining Cardassia with the Dominion. He looked around at the dozen or so Cardassians around him. He knew them all. They were all dead now. They were standing around him not moving, saying nothing. They displayed the wounds of how they were killed. Duo felt sadness. They were the enemy. Many had been on Bajor during the Occupation and had done horrible things. But he had known them. Their names, their wives and children. He had fought with them, ate with them, laughed with them. Something caught his attention on the outcrop above him. He looked up and made eye contact with Gul Jusan, a plasma hole burned in his chest from a Jem'Hadar rifle. Jusan said nothing, his eyes bored into Duo's soul.

Now Duo was hiding in the ruins of Lakarian City. The city had been reduced to ruins by the Dominion from orbit. Two million dead in a matter of hours. The bodies were lying in the streets and hanging out of the rubble. The voles were everywhere. A group of Cardassians were moving closer to where Glinn Tarbek and his cell were hiding. When they got close, his cell opened fire on their fellow Cardassians. ((Were they the enemy? They were Cardassians. Weren't they all the enemy?)) The sides exchanged fire. A Dominion patrol entered the firefight, quickly overwhelming both groups of Cardassians. They had to retreat.

Now he was outside Dominion Headquarters. The word had just come down that Legate Damar had just been killed at the gates. Glinn Tarbek had taken over what was left of Gul Jusan's cell. They prepared for the final assault. There was a rumor that there were some Starfleet officers with Damar when he was killed and were storming the HQ. ((Starfleet? That's impossible. No Starfleet officers could be on Cardassia. Wait, YOU are a Starfleet officer. Who am I?)) A flash of light and Glinn Tarbek was charging at the Jem'Hadar. He looked right at one as he raised his plasma rifle and fired. It struck Glinn Tarbek...or Duo in the left hip, dropping him.

Duo awoke from his nightmare, hip screaming in pain, and him screaming in terror. The room was pitch black.

"Computer, lights." He was out of breath. "Computer, time."

"The time is 0337 hours." Came the reply.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. His hip was aching even more than before, and now his head was pounding. He looked at the bottle of kanar.

"I think that's enough of you for today."


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