By Jariel Camen
Two days after part one...
-=In Orbit of Torros=-
Two days after part one...
-=In Orbit of Torros=-
“Last chance to change your mind. We could just wait on the ship until tomorrow for the return trip.” Timal was once again offering Camen a way out of what he was planning on doing.
“I’m aware of that.”
The pilot tapped his foot impatiently, waiting for Camen to get on the transporter pad, so he could get about his business.
“I’ll be back when I’m finished. I promise I won’t stay down there any longer than I have to.” Camen said. He got on the pad before the pilot decided to leave him to fend for himself.
“Signal me when you are at the coordinates.” The pilot said, and a moment later, Camen stood on the streets of Torros.
Elderly Cardassians milled about. Some appeared almost afraid of a young Bajoran man appearing without warning in the middle of the street. The younger men and women simply snarled; a few smiled and nodded. The varying reactions told you who was open minded, and who was trapped in the bitter hatred of the past.
He held his head high as he walked down the street, despite the fear that was inside him. Camen was acutely aware of the fact that he was an outsider here, and his presence was tolerated at best.
He found the number he was looking for amongst the doors that lined the street. Camen took a deep breath and released it. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea after all. What was he going to do when the door opened? What was he going to do when he was face to face with Gul Tryall for the first time since the night his family had died?
“Now’s not the time to give up.” He said to himself. He climbed the steps and rang the chime on the door. Camen took a large step back, and waited for an answer.
Slowly the door slid open, and an aged Cardassian woman wrapped in a shawl looked down upon him. She was hunched over slightly and had to squint to see through her old eyes.
“May I help you, young man?”
“Yes, good day to you. I am looking for a man by the name Tryall. Is he at home?”
“Of course you are. He’s out right now but should be home soon. I’m his wife, Grima. Please come in.”
Camen stepped through the doorway into the home. The furniture and décor was so alien to him. Everything was pointed and jagged; it lacked the smooth, gentle surfaces he was used to on Bajor.
“Have a seat. Would you care for some tea?” Grima offered.
“Tea would be fine, thank you.” Camen lowered himself down slowly into one of the chairs, looking for a place to rest his arms that did not have a toothy spike sticking out of it.
Grima returned in a moment with a small cup of tea, and handed it to Camen. He took a sip, and his face contorted at how bitter it tasted. He would have spit it out, but dared not offend the old woman whom had been nothing but hospitable at this point.
“Do you know when Tryall will be home?”
“Oh! Soon, soon. He just stepped out to go to market. He takes such wonderful care of me. You are Bajoran aren’t you?” She asked with a smile.
“Well, yes. I am.”
“My husband tried so hard to help you poor people. He didn’t believe in that whole Occupation, you know.”
“Of course he didn’t.” Camen said with a disbelieving smile. “Oh my, what’s all this,” Grima hefted a book into Camen’s arms.
“Tryall and I were married here, on Cardassia. This was our wedding day.”
“Lovely.” Camen said at the photo album that had been shoved in his lap. He flipped through the pages politely, showing that same patience that he was renowned for.
“Tryall and I have been together, my goodness more than 50 years. I missed him when he was away at the war, but he did what he had to do for our people. What brings you here to see him young man, have you come to thank him for the good he did on Bajor?”
“Uh,” Camen rubbed the ridges of his nose. “Not exactly. Just to talk. What did he do for the Bajoran people exactly?”
“Oh, he saved many of your people who committed crimes from being executed, made sure children had a good home when their terrorist parents were arrested.”
Camen wondered what other tales of goodwill Tryall had spun to impress his wife. As upsetting as it was to hear, it was not his place to set the record straight with this old woman. She likely didn’t have many days left and he was not going to shatter her illusion.
The door opened, and Camen stiffened, wondering if it was Tryall. A middle-aged man in a Cardassian military uniform stepped through to door.
“Mother, where are you?” The man called out.
“Right here, Pran.”
The man peered into the living room where he saw Camen with his mother. Immediately he was suspicious.
“Who’s this, mother?”
“A visitor for Tryall. I told him he’d be home soon.”
The man actually let out a short laugh, and walked into the kitchen where he poured himself a Kanar from a large carafe.
“He thinks he’s so smart.” Grima whispered.
Pran came into the living room with his glass, and sat down on the couch across from Camen. Grima folded up the wedding album, and sat in a small chair beside the window. She pulled the curtain back and peeked out into the street, looking for her husband.
“So let me guess, Bajoran. My father wronged you and your family somehow during the Occupation, and you’ve come here for some sort of resolution or revenge? You’re convinced this trip will bring closure to a dark chapter in your life.” Pran said.
“Your father ordered my parents and sister to their death. For no other reason than because they existed.” Camen replied, his jaw was square and his eyes were locked on Pran.
“Well,” Pran said sloshing the Kanar in his glass. “You aren’t the first to make this trip, though it has been a while since we’ve had a Bajoran visitor. I’ll tell you what I’ve told the others. Go home. You won’t be finding any answers here. Tryall is never walking through that door.”
“Shut up!” Grima spat. “He’ll be home any moment.”
Pran shook his head. “She sits there peering out through the curtain every day, waiting for him to come home. It’s been like this for years. The old woman has lost her mind.”
“See, he’s coming up the walk right now.” Grima insisted. Her smile faded immediately as the man she saw continued walking down the street.
“The great Gul Tryall,” Pran started, “Was a magnificent leader during the Occupation. He advanced our cause greatly, and kept the Bajorans in line. When he returned home however…”
Pran’s features stiffened, and his eyes filled with shame. Camen waited patiently for him to continue.
“He was so consumed by the guilt of the things he had done on Bajor that he took his own life like a coward, ten years ago.”
Grima sat up from her chair and crossed the room. She slapped Pran across the face, but the man did not move. “There you go again with your stories. It is you who’s lost their mind.”
“Go back to your window, mother.” Pran ordered.
“So you see, if you came here, hoping to ask why he did it, how he could be so cruel… You missed your chance. If nothing else you can live the rest of your life knowing he’s dead. I hope that brings you some comfort.”
Camen stood up, and drank the rest of his tea. “May I have a moment to thank your mother for her hospitality?” Pran nodded, and left the room.
Camen pulled a chair up beside the woman and wrapped an arm around her. “I have a message for you. From your husband.”
“He said there’s a long line at the market, so if he’s a little late, there is no need to worry.”
Grima patted Camen’s hand in thanks.
“He also said he loves you, and you should get some rest instead of waiting for him by the window all day.”
“Of course.” Grima got up from her seat. “I think I’ll lay down for a bit, I am tired.” Camen wrapped an arm around the old woman to steady her, and guided her to the door of her bedroom. He bid her a good rest.
“Oh, and one last thing.” Camen said. “When you see him, thank him for all he did to help Bajor.” He almost didn’t believe the words he was speaking, till he saw the gleam of joy in Grima’s eyes, and he knew it was right.
Camen showed himself out, and returned to the transport coordinates. He signaled the freighter and was beamed back up to the ship. As expected, Timal was waiting for him.
“How are you?”
“More questions than answers, my friend.”
“How so?” Timal asked.
“It seems Gul Tryall, in one desperate act of decency in his existence, took his own life out of guilt. There will be no confrontation, no answers as to why. I’m now left to wonder if there is any good in something I considered purely comprised of evil.”
Camen stepped off the transporter pad finally.
“There are no absolutes. And I am still left with no good explanation as to why my sister is gone,” Camen sighed.
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
USS Serendipity NCC-2012