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Through the Looking Glass of Time

Posted on Sat Oct 30th, 2021 @ 11:53am by Lieutenant Aiko Kato

Mission: Breen in Paradise
Location: An Unknown Breen-Controlled World
Timeline: 2375 - Days Before the End of the Dominion War

Previously, on Star Trek: USS Washington

Aiko had been silent since they beamed to the surface, her attention squarely focused on detecting and responding to any Breen encounter. While she had mostly been passively listening to the conversations of her comrades, she found herself mentally struggling to be objective about the mission.

The knowledge of being on a planet that could be a beachhead for the Breen coupled with the freezing cold triggered memories of her days of captivity with the Breen in the closing days of the Dominion War. Strangely, her usual psychological tricks of trying to ground herself were not as successful as they used to be.

She was not in full panic mode, but there was a heavy apprehension she felt so vividly as if there was a weight pressed on her chest that belaboured each breath and forced her to take deep breaths..

And, now, a look back in time...

“You are going to die.”

The emotions that came next were hard to describe. In a lot of ways, it felt as if each word had stabbed her fatally in the chest and left her to wallow in a pool of grief. The words were razor sharp and they knew precisely which points to attack. There was to be no meandering…no bruises, no cuts. It was just a cold bladed thrust deep into her hopeful heart erasing any hope of survival and instead forcefully jumpstarting the beginning of her end.

In some way, there was some measure of comfort to be drawn from the starkness of those words. It brought with it a mental cathartic release and absolution. She realized for the first time how tired she was of everything – the constant fighting and the constant loss of life. It was now so numbing that even what had become a daily ritual of looking up the casualty list of this war seemed like just another brainless task.

Lives were now just numbers…

How many people had she lost?

She had lost her father early in the war during the bombing of the Antwerp Conference. Her mother died in the surprise Dominion attack on Betazed. Haru, her brother, perished in one of the unsuccessful Federation attacks against the Dominion occupation forces to retake Betazed. Hinata, her sister, had died in the Breen attack on Earth.

And that was just immediate family members.

There were many uncles, aunts, cousins, family friends, personal friends who had all perished in this godforsaken war. They were now all memories- never to be forgotten to be sure, but nevertheless absent from corporeal existence.

It was now her turn it seemed. The words spoken hung in the air– “You are going to die.”

In truth, she did not want to die. She had so much to live for. She had barely graduated the Academy when she had been thrust into this war. She had so lost so much that if there was any justice in the multiverse, she would have been spared. But life was not a scale that sought equilibrium between good and bad experiences. It was all chance- chaos desperately seeking order but failing miserably.

She wondered who in her circle was left to look out for her name in the next war casualty list her name appeared on. She suspected her grandparents were the only ones left. They were the only living members she had left far as she knew anyway.

Although both of them retired senior officers, they had re-enlisted at the height of the Dominion War. When had she last talked to them?

Two weeks ago, she realized.

A lot could happen in two weeks…hell, a lot could happen in minutes. The prelude to this dire situation she found herself was prime example of that.

One minute she was in her fighter craft, following orders she had received. The Starfleet armada was to attack the orbital weapon platforms of Cardassia as part of a final offensive to end the Dominion War. It had all started relatively well but had taken a turn for the worse when multiple Dominion fighter crafts pegged her for destruction. Her squadron was decimated by the formidable orbital weapon platforms, and she lost her defensive line. Even as she tried to evade the multiple enemy contacts, she knew it was futile.

She did not even receive any warning about the shot, but she presumed one of the orbital weapons managed to land a shot that pierced the waning shields she had, tearing a hole into her fighter. It was a wonder how she did not died right there and then.

She had done the only sensible thing she could do and steered her craft to the nearest place she could set the damaged craft down, which happened to be one of the habitable Cardassian moons. She was not quite sure how she managed not burning up on re-entry with a half split open fighter.

What happened afterwards was still hazy. She did remember bringing her fighter down in a body of water, her body slamming rather violently into a bulkhead upon the impact, despite being restrained. Then it had been blackness until she woke up on this icy, miserable, god-forsaken Breen planet.

She was one of several unlucky members of the Federation Alliance that were now prisoners of war, captured by the Breen either during or in the aftermath of the War. If there was any consolation to her current situation, she had learned from one of the prisoners that the Alliance had succeeded in getting the Breen-Dominion Alliance to surrender.

However, it was unclear what that meant for prisoners of war. Certainly, their Breen captors had not treated them as they would enemy combatants, at least from her naïve Federation perspective. She and the others had been subjected to daily humiliation, torture and other unconscionable attacks.

If the Dominion War was truly over, it appeared no one bothered to tell it to her Breen captors. It was that, or they simply did not care.

It mattered little anymore. After all, one of her Breen captors had proclaimed her demise. Aiko had no reason to doubt him. He had said the very same words to the Klingon who had been selected for execution yesterday, and the same for the Romulan selected the day before that.

It was her turn today. Her story was about to summarily come to a premature end. And to think it started with such great promise.

While she wanted to live, she did not want to continue to live like this. She was tired of the constant torture, the numerous harassments and violations. In between the pain from the daily torture of her Breen captors and the numbing pain of the freezing tundra that was her prison, there was a heaviness and fatigue that she was happy to be rid of.

That was why the words of the Breen guard were both haunting and alleviating.

She was going to die here, and she welcomed it…


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