By Rob Morris
Premise: One of the very saddest developments on "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" has to be Kai Winn's reversion to type, accelerated with Dukat's help. But there is a man who never lets a soul go without a fight--even if that fight is already lost. A sequel to 'Visions Of The Things To Be', set right before poor Sobor's murder.
The pages were blank. As devoid of words as her soul was of purpose. Kai Winn was as a dead thing, abandoned by The Prophets and The Pagh Wraiths both. Though he lingered, even the disguised 'Man Of The Land' knew better than to directly intrude upon her, now. Gul Dukat knew very well when to wait.
Sobor entered, determined to take the books of the damned away. This would have been futility, Sobor knew, but for who he had as back-up. Winn didn't even look up.
"Do your ears fail you, Sobor? 'Stay' and 'Out', are, after all, quite explicit."
"The Priest to see you, Eminence. The Priest---and The Kai."
She slammed down her fist. Her face was becoming twisted by her released internal anger and jealousy.
"Humor--ill becomes, you, Sobor. I have NO desire to see Francis Mulcahy! Despite his soft words, that time-traveling vagabond is a proselytizer for his narrow faith. Why on Bajor would I want to see yet another HUMAN who has been touched by The Prophets? Hmm? Sisko has Visions. Mulcahy has Time. What do I have from them? For that matter, who is daring to call themselves Kai?"
Sobor was a faithful servant, so he did not smile as he felt like doing.
"Kai Kira Nerys---of twenty years from now, Eminence. The Priest has plucked her from her era. All Hail The Priest, The Mulcahy, who takes The Clay To The Potter, and who from that clay forges the Vessel For His Line-Child, The Sisko--- The One True Emissary."
Pride of place practically choking her, Winn ignored the challenge.
"Show them in, By All Means, SERVANT!"
Father Mulcahy had become a fixture on DS9, since being rewarded by The Prophets for his role in thwarting The Pagh Wraiths. Even before her conversion, Kai Winn couldn't stand the man. So damned humble. He didn't even wear priestly robes, merely a more comfortable version of the Korean War Army fatigues he once wore. And just like Sisko, her people loved him. As they did not love her.
She saw three people enter. One was Mulcahy, looking pretty much as he always did. How she hated the pious fool, who walked among her people so casually, falsely urging them to keep to their faiths. She knew he was truly trolling for converts, as she would. The second she recognized as Charles Winchester, one of the 'hero' Terran doctors who played The Dominion for absolute fools. Absently, she saw him sporting a goatee.
The third was Kira, twenty years older and now Kai in her timeline. She had reverted her Uniform-of-Office to that which Kais used before the Occupation. Winn remembered Kai Opaka urging her to adopt a more humble one. She also remembered a time-lost Opaka expressing shock that she was now Kai in her place. Her anger rose again.
"Child! You kept to the Path, after all. I am, of course, delighted."
Kai or no, Kira was still Kira.
"Stuff it, Traitor. Adami, we know about the Pagh Wraiths."
"Why, Child! How dare you say such things to a fellow Kai? And in front of The Priest, touched as he is by The Prophets?"
Father Mulcahy spoke.
"Winn Adami, you do not need to be jealous of me or Benjamin. The Prophets spoke to us for a reason. Let me share my gift with you. Let me show you the wonders of time. In my faith, there is a place called Bethlehem. Surely, you might have some place like the Lost City Of..."
His words might as well have been raindrops.
"Thank You, Priest, No. I AM NOT jealous of you or Captain Sisko, and your gifts are best kept to yourself. Perhaps you should use your abilities to calm that ape-woman friend of yours? Hooligan, was it?"
Kira stepped back in.
"DOCTOR Houlihan punched your lights out, Winn, because you committed an ethnic slur upon her people. She, her husband, and her children are Galactic heroes. Their friend, Captain Walter Macleod, is a hero to all Bajorans for entering Dominion space before we put up the minefield. Like his fellow Iowan, Kirk, nothing ever stops him. Is it humans you don't like, Eminence? Or just people who have real faith and don't turn to demon worship in a snit?"
"I will of course, forgive your rash words, as I always have, Nerys. Now, if you would, I have reading to do."
Mulcahy went to touch the empty-paged books, and when he did, blue lightning darted out. Sobor's heart nearly stopped when he saw this. He saw the man, The Priest, for what he truly was. The elder Kira guided him out.
"Please, Eminence! Kai Kira, I MUST touch him. Francis Mulcahy is one of the Prophets in human form. I must know if I will dwell with them."
Kira stifled a tear, knowing this good man's upcoming fate.
"You will, Sobor. You will. I guarantee it. But before his physical death in Old Earth Date 1989, Francis himself does not know who he really is. Let him talk to Adami."
"To what end? She is lost."
Inside, Father Mulcahy tried to prove Winn's loyal servant wrong.
"Kai Winn, I know we haven't gotten along. I know my views strike you as too ecumenical, and unfocused. But destroy those evil books. THEIR focus is all too clear. It is all about Power, for them."
"If so, then I will wield that power on Bajor's behalf, as I always have. Keep to Terra, Priest. That poor faithless world needs you. As Bajor does not. As I do not."
Winchester remained silent, as he had.
"Nothing to say, Doctor? I recall you being most eloquent, during your stay on Deep Space Nine."
"Madam, I am not a Doctor. I was in charge of day-to-day operations for a Death Camp in my version of Korea. I am not the Charles Winchester you knew. I am his counterpart from the world you call, 'The Mirror Universe'. I am merely along for the ride."
"Whatever for? What could you hope to gain?"
"Gain? Why, oh, why, is it, that with people such as yourself, mere experience is not enough? In MY world, Madam Barracuda, you and your Pog Rats would fit in quite nicely. Here, though, there's no use for you. Please DO listen to this good man's words. It is still, about forgiveness, after all. I murdered children for a living, at one time. I was much like your Gul Dukat. But then I met a greater evil than myself, and saw the futility of it all. His name was Commander Pierce. Ugly, racist bully, a destroyer, and oh-so concerned with his place in history. Sound AT ALL familiar, Madam Kai?"
Mulcahy tried one last time.
"Adami, a wise man once said that you cannot summon up the devil and then expect him to behave. You think you do what you do for Bajor. But I have seen worlds beyond your knowing. There is one I could show you where xenophobic bigots worship a three-headed dragon, believing that this enemy of Life will spare them alone. Please, PLEASE follow the path you yourself have preached all your life."
Winn's eyes reflected the loss of this day.
"I am Bajor. It rises or falls because of me. I say that it rises, and I say HOW it rises. All is well. There is nothing wrong, here. Now, leave, Priest. You and your kind get out of here. NOW!!"
As Francis left, so did his friends. Kai Kira looked over at a dark corner.
"If history didn't demand my inaction, 'Man Of The Land', I'd cut your face off, right now. Not a word, monster, or I will."
Sensing a less pliable spirit in Kai Kira than Colonel Kira, Dukat maintained his silence.
"Well, Father! You cannot say you failed to try. As always, though, one must first wish to be helped. Kai Winn, I fear, does not wish this. A three-headed dragon?"
"You'd have to Behold it, Charles."
Kai Kira shook her head.
"Odo had said this would be pointless. But souls are my province, now. Even hers. Tell me, Father. How do you get used to losing one?"
"Sorry, Eminence. But I'll have to let you know when I do. If ever."
Alone again, Kai Winn studied the empty pages. By the blood of a good man, they would soon be full. But her emptiness would only increase geometrically.
Back in 1971, Monsignor Francis Mulcahy stood before a congregation deeply divided by the events of the day.
"Speak to one another. Even when those words are angry, about Hippies, or Vietnam, or what have you, even those harsh words, taken and used properly, are far better than what Paul Simon once called The Sounds Of Silence."