Saturday, August 24, 2013

Outliers - A Deep Space Nine Celebration, Part 4

Gul Dukat
(first appeared in "Emissary," first season)
I'm flattered that you wish to speak with me, Mr. Sisko.  I'm afraid, however, that everything you want to know is already a matter of public record, and as you are now a resident of a station under Dominion control, you have perhaps greater access to whatever Cardassian files you wish to see than ever before.  That is, of course, if you can stomach them.  I'm afraid they're fairly dry reading, filled with military reports and the like.  It's not exactly the stuff of great literature!

I'm being modest.  I'm afraid that has always been my greatest failing.  Here I am, actively discouraging you from pursuing the very object I put in front of you.  

You are still interested, yes?

Well, then.  Let's begin.  At that time as it is again, the station was known as Terok Nor.  This was at the height of our campaign on Bajor, what you may otherwise know by its less savory title, the Occupation.  I was an important man even then, as I have managed to remain despite all hardships, even my temporary exile during the unfortunate business with the Klingons, when my people were still trying to reconcile the existence of my daughter, Tora Ziyal.  Believe it or not, but my faith never wavered.  I remained steady as a rock, ever trusting that the best would eventually win out regardless of the circumstances.

Was I ever tempted to doubt myself?  A great man can afford such luxuries.  While I do not claim such a title for myself, the role seems to have been thrust upon me time and time again.  And yet I never could decide why that was.  Was it truly a manifestation of my true self, or a reflection of those around me? 

In the same way that you trust that your father will some day return and reclaim this throne of his, I have grappled with this doubt.  It is perhaps the central defining characteristic of my life.

Kai Winn
(first appeared in "In the Hands of the Prophets," first season)
I am gratified, child, that you have deemed yourself fit to conduct such an interview with me.  I will try to be honest with you.

The first time I came to the station was in the midst of the uproar over the propaganda Keiko O'Brien had been spreading in her classroom about the Celestial Temple.  Prior to that, I was deeply involved in the affairs of Bajoran politics, helping to end the Occupation and bring unity to a conflicted people.  It would not be appropriate to discuss the specifics of those times, however I understand what you are asking of me, and I will attempt to provide you with a proper response.

I was not pleased that Bajor had so quickly petitioned for membership in the Federation.  I believe the popular phrase at that time was "Bajor for Bajorans," and that was something I held nearly as sacred as my devotion to the Prophets.  However, it was the will of my predecessor, Kai Opaka, and it was she who named your father as the Emissary, the culmination of centuries of faith among my people.

It was my faith that guided me every step of the way.  I yearned to speak with the Prophets.  In truth I would have made a pilgrimage to Deep Space Nine had I not been compelled to make that first visit.  I have not always understood why Benjamin Sisko was chosen for such an important role, but I respected what Kai Opaka had revealed to us.  I chose to stay out of the way, perhaps embodying more than anyone, in my modesty, the same belief that I had professed before: "Bajor for Bajorans."  I can only hope that one day the Prophets will deem me worthy of their grace.

Until such a day, I remain as I always was, a humble servant to my people.

(first appeared in "Past Prologue," first season)
My dear Mr. Sisko, do you imagine that if I had any...interesting anecdotes of my time before Deep Space Nine, I would be free to...divulge them with you?  However, as it is I have a tale or two that I would be willing to share.

My life was always a simple one, or at least that's how I've always chosen to interpret it.  You'll find that the world is far more interesting when you choose to...liberally adapt the truth to suit your interests.  As a writer, I'm certain you appreciate the sentiment.

That's precisely the truth of my existence, unembellished, exposed for what it has always been.  I've told many a customer that I am a plain, simple tailor, and that has always been true as well.  In my mind, what else could I have been?

I first took up the trade when my father came home one day and said to me, "Elim, it's time you go out in the world and find something to appreciate about it."  I was resentful at first, distrusting of his true intentions, as he could be a real tyrant in our house, always ordering us around as if we were all his servants.  

Yet in time I saw the wisdom of his advice.  I was an impatient youth, which often led to scraps with my schoolmates, who failed to understand that the truth, as I've always said, is merely an excuse for a lack of imagination.  I saw them as my peers, but told them that they were idiots.  Suffice to say, they didn't appreciate this sentiment.  I took early to mending my garments.  My father's suggestion enlarged my operation, and my reputation.

Years later he came to me again and said to me, "Elim, you're holding yourself back.  You're playing it safe."  And by the same circuitous logic that had welcomed his earlier entreaty, I came to understand what he meant.  I expanded my business.  Eventually this took me to Terok Nor, which as you know is now called Deep Space Nine.

Although I must confess that a certain part of this development was motivated by a...difference of opinion that had developed between my father and I.  The last time I saw him until years later, he said to me, "Elim, I think you know exactly what I'm about to say."  And in fact I did.  He disowned me on the spot.

Such is the life of a plain, simple tailor.

Michael Eddington
(first appeared in "The Search," third season)
It's funny that you should ask me, of all people, what I was doing before I came here.  In a lot of ways, I've always felt that I was warmly embraced when I arrived at DS9, but at a certain arm's length.  Perhaps it's because I didn't reject Constable Odo outright, as my predecessors apparently had.  I suppose this led to a certain level of suspicion.  Was I after all to be trusted?

I requested this assignment.  I was eager for the challenge, perhaps in ways that Starfleet had not yet exhibited, even your father.  As I understood it, he was initially opposed to the assignment.  By the time I met him, he'd come around, but in many ways I felt responsible for keeping his new-found passion focused.

I was fascinated by the Federation's attempts to navigate a region that was swarming with hostility, whether it was between the Cardassians and Bajorans, Bajorans and Starfleet, and even the continued misgivings between Cardassians and the Federation itself, despite the numerous treaties that were signed over the years.  I saw the emerging social upheaval posed by the Maquis as the deciding point in the whole affair, even if everyone else was worried about the emerging Dominion crisis.  

Kasidy Yates
(first appeared in "Family Business," third season)
You may be surprised, Jake, but to me Deep Space Nine was just another port, in the beginning.  I've seen more than I care to admit at this point.  Sometimes it seems like it's just one port after another.  My ancestors were Space Boomers, or so I've been told.  They predate Starfleet as the first regular human inhabitants in the stars.  I was comfortable.  Maybe too comfortable.  

My brother kept singing the virtues of life on one of the many Federation colony worlds.  There were opportunities in such places to revisit the hidden treasures of our shared heritage.  Yes, even baseball.  Sometimes I was tempted to settle down.  But the one thing we freighter captains can't abide is an anchor.  At least that's what I always believed, until I met your father.

Rest assured that DS9 is not just another port for me these days.  It's something I never imagined I'd know.  It's home.

(first appeared in "To the Death," fourth season)
Jake.  I can't say how proud I am that you have finally settled down, found peace with your altered surroundings.

I...wonder how I should answer your question.  That's the problem with being a clone.  I am in fact the fifth incarnation of the Vorta named Weyoun.  I didn't venture into the Alpha Quadrant until the previous one, although those specific memories died with him, and so I might almost speak only of my own experiences, although perhaps you expect to hear stories of the Gamma Quadrant, where the first of us was born to serve the Founders, as we have done faithfully ever since.

I would...prefer to keep the inner workings of the Dominion confidential, which is something you yourself have at last come to embrace.  Your reports on the war have greatly improved.  There can be no...doubt about that.

As for what I can divulge, I suppose you could say that I've always enjoyed a...privileged place for my people.  That is why I stand at the side of a Founder openly now, why I was trusted to negotiate the initial terms of our partnership with the Cardassian Empire.  I've long seen that you are...perceptive.  That was why I granted you such leniency at the start of the Dominion's residence aboard the station.  You know intuitively what others can only guess.  That is why I trust that you will be able to find the answers you're looking concerning my past on your own, without the need for me to speak them myself.

[Note: this research is never conducted.]

Tora Ziyal
(first appeared in "Indiscretion," fourth season)
My life was certainly erratic before coming to the station!  I'm sorry, but I prefer to not dwell on the past.  As my father says, it's not what we were that defines us, but who we are.  I choose to further define this philosophy with the hope that we're all capable of overcoming the worst circumstances life can throw at us.  I'm an example of that, and I still hope that you'll see the good in Dukat that I do.

Female Changeling
(first appeared in "The Search," third season)
I trust that you are no longer entertaining mutinous thoughts, Mr. Sisko.  Weyoun assures me endlessly, but I prefer to see it for myself.

Before I came here I was a part of the Great Link.  It is a more peaceful existence than you can possibly imagine.  Through it I learned of my people's experiences among the Solids, yet I never believed it myself.  I came to embrace the mission of the Dominion on a deeply personal level, after seeing what Odo has had to endure all these years.  I left the comfort of home in order to share with the universe what it was I had known for countless millennia.

What more do you need to know?

(first appeared in "Return to Grace," fourth season)
As any loyal Cardassian would, I would have preferred to spend my days either serving in the military or comfortably ensconced in my ancestral home.  Yet circumstances brought me to Terok Nor, and I found myself questioning for the first time everything I had previously believed.  You could say that life serving under the Dominion opened my eyes to my own complacency.  Someday I hope to repay this debt, though I doubt that it will occur here.  No, it will once again be home.  But home is no longer what it once was for me.

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