DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of Djinn and are copyright (c) 2020 by Djinn. This story is Rated PG-13.

An Unobstructed View

by Djinn



Poor kid, this Ezri Dax. She's struggling and she's hurting. Never should have been joined, certainly wasn't prepared for it. Hadn't gone through the training that a proper host was supposed to, hadn't even wanted to be joined.


She thinks we wanted her to be with us. She thinks she hears the voices of the hosts talking to her. But it's not us; it's that crafty old Dax using whatever means it can to make the host submit, conform, quit fighting it. It'll channel one voice or all of them, if it means it'll be accepted. I'm sure the Jadzia voice said all sorts of comforting things to her. Dax remembers me perfectly, can bring me to life better than I can at this point. But I'm not in there. Not really. Ezri won't know that. It's a fine distinction, and when you've suddenly got a slug in your stomach and seven—no, eight—voices talking all at once in your brain, it's easy to believe the previous hosts are all there. But we're not. It's Dax. Dax's voice. Dax's memories. Dax's will.


Dax's lies.


Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Dax is evil in the way it manipulates us. It needs us to want it, to welcome it. Dax has the voices inside it and nowhere for them to go without us, the willing bodies. And if we aren't there, it's back in the silt pool for Dax, and it isn't the kind of symbiont to want to stay in that dank pit forever—or at all. Dax knows what it's like to live life, to enjoy life. And it doesn't want to go back to swimming around in other symbionts' memories. It wants to make more of its own.


So now it has another chance. It's found yet another new life, in the body of an untrained and nearly unwilling host. One who, if they'd asked me, I wouldn't have picked for my successor. Of course, they didn't ask me. That's the whole point. I died unexpectedly, and Dax needed a new host, and Ezri Tigan was the closest thing to a suitable one. But I wouldn't have picked her. On the other hand, Curzon failed me the first time I went through the host program, so maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge her.


But look at her. She's faltering. Unsure, off balance. The joining is supposed to make you stronger, not cause you to doubt everything and everyone.


I didn't doubt. Not the way she does. Sure, I was always in awe of Curzon. But that made it easier. I knew him. I knew the struggles he had. I was ready to become Dax. But this child? She's not. And I worry for her.


And I worry for Worf. He's in so much pain, and she's only making it worse. He avoids her, and it makes me unreasonably glad. Makes someone else glad too.


"Like it isn't bad enough sharing him with you," my new friend K'Ehleyr says, her mocking tone covering a love for Worf that she'd rather not own up to.


She makes fun of everything; nothing is safe from her laughter. But she does that to hide her true self, and once you know that. you start to see through the gentle scorn to the real woman underneath. The real woman who I've gotten to know quite well since I've been here.


We're both waiting, you see. Waiting for Worf. And while we wait, we talk and we laugh, and we judge the ones who catch our interest, the ones who live still. I'm enjoying getting to know her, this half Klingon who won Worf's heart and bore him a son. I am happier still to find a friend in one who so easily could have been my rival. But here, in this place, we are all equals. And we wait with equal patience for those we love to come to us. Even if those we love happen to be the same person.


So K'Ehleyr sits with me and we watch Worf. She does not approve of Ezri, belittles her role as counselor. "Never held much with that psychobabble," she says. "Just a way to explain your own insecurities." She may be right in this case. Ezri does seem a seething mass of them.


K'Ehleyr surprises me when she says that Ezri is no warrior, that she lacks my bravery, or K'Ehleyr's own. I remind K'Ehleyr that she was not a warrior either in life, that she chose the way of the diplomat.


She laughs and pulls her bat'leth out. "Fight me then," she says.


I remember Worf telling me that they used to battle together in one of his holoprograms, so I know she could fight me if she wanted to. But she won't. It is all posturing and even if it weren't, she can't hurt me here. Sto-Vo-Kor may be full of warriors, but it is not a place of war. It is a place of raucous celebration. Of drunken boasting and playful wrestling. Besides, we're dead already and it's not like we can become any more dead.


I share that thought with K'Ehleyr, and she laughs. She laughs at many of the things I say. And I laugh with her, enjoying her scathing wit and blistering insight. I can see why Worf loved her, and I can see why they drove each other crazy.


She has a hard edge, an unwillingness to relax, to let people in, to be soft. And for all his Klingon ferocity, Worf liked it when I was soft. He found comfort in that, I think. But K'Ehleyr doesn't let her guard down, and I can't imagine that she let him in very much, if at all.


Yet he loved her. I know he did, and I think deep down she loved him just as much. Even if it would kill her to show it. Kill being a relative idea in a place like this.


Two warriors stumble by, their plates loaded down with heart of targ and gagh. They nod at K'Ehleyr and me, accepting us without question. We are all brothers and sisters here, united in our honor.


I'm happy to be among such warriors, even if I was surprised to wind up here. I remember being in a different place at first. A place quiet and dark—sort of like the symbiont cave. And then I was yanked away, flying through the firestorm of a huge explosion and deposited here in Sto-Vo-Kor, amidst the never-ending cacophony and color of a Klingon battle feast. Koloth and Kang were waiting to welcome me, and Kor eventually joined us too.


I like it here. I mean that I, Jadzia, like it here. And that is comforting, because for years I thought that my love for things Klingon was only because of Curzon. But there is no Curzon with me now, and no Dax to mimic his voice and his passions. I am alone here, only one voice in my head.


Curzon didn't find his way to Sto-Vo-Kor. No one waged a great battle in his name, as Worf did for me. Nor did he have a murderer to be killed in bloody vengeance as Worf killed Duras for K'Ehleyr, ensuring her a place in Sto-Vo-Kor.


The part of me that was always in awe of Curzon is happy that he isn't here. I have achieved something he didn't. I may have been shot down like a dog by a mad Cardassian, but at least I didn't die in bed.


K'Ehleyr laughs at me. "You are a true Klingon," she says, rolling her eyes slightly. K'Ehleyr is less pleased to be here, and, not for the first time, I wonder if Worf has any idea what awaits him in the afterlife.


She was quite happy in the human heaven, ready to catch up on her reading and her sleep. Then, in the same way I was taken, she was yanked from her pastel-colored nirvana and thrown into Sto-Vo-Kor. I am glad that she had time to adjust before I got here. Resigned K'Ehleyr is sarcastic enough. I wouldn't want to meet angry K'Ehleyr.


 Worf, on the other hand, may have no choice. He sent her to Sto-Vo-Kor, and she is obligated to stay until he arrives. She's already practiced her speech on me several times. It cuts like a bat'leth, and I have tried to get her to temper it. But she won't, and I can only hope that Worf will also hear some of the love that she refuses to put into words but that fills her eyes every time she speaks of him. I hope that he can see that, no matter how irritated she is with him, she still adores him. I don't want to think his only memory of her in this place will be her angry goodbye.


K'Ehleyr stretches, giving me a wary look as if she can sense my thoughts. She has seemed happier lately. Maybe she will stay a while when Worf comes. Or at least visit occasionally. I think he would like that. I know I would.


A warrior comes up to me, insisting on filling my cup of bloodwine. I throw it back, then I hold out the goblet for more. The warrior is pleased; he pounds me on the back to show his approval. He doesn't pull his blows, doesn't try to temper his strength. And here, in Sto-Vo-Kor, I can take such a beating without feeling as if my bones might snap. Here, I can give it back to him if I wish.


I am strong. I am Jadzia, wife of Worf, of the house of Martok.


I sit back down near K'Ehleyr and smile in contentment as I listen to one of the warriors recite an epic poem. It is warm here, comforting and safe, and I relax, leaning my elbows on the table, propping my chin up and letting myself soak in this place, this wonderful chaotic peace.


I jerk, realize that I've been dozing, floating in a haze that's not quite sleep. I thought I had just closed my eyes for a moment, rested my head between the fifty-first and fifty-second verse of "Kahless and the Serpent" but I find that many weeks have passed in that other reality where Worf and Ezri live, even if my comrades are only on verse fifty-five of the song. Time passes strangely here.


Ezri is doing better than I thought she would. She certainly seems to have made friends...my friends. They all seem to like her, accept her. And for herself, not for me. That'll be good for her, help her turn down the voices inside. Too easy to lose your way, if they're all you hear.


She walks taller. More like me. Dax has been working hard, I see. It has fed her the memories, the voices, as if they are something other than its own remembrances. She thinks that the hosts live inside her, somehow connected to Dax in a manner that lets us grow, learn, and continue to exist in some small way.


But that's not how it works. Dax is merely speaking in tongues. It's had years to understand our dreams and hopes, to copy our voices and mannerisms. It can be any one of us now, and Ezri will never be the wiser. Nor will those who tend the symbionts. They've never been joined. They've never died. So how can they know?


But I know—now. I didn't know then. I thought when Dax told me how to fight with a bat'leth that I was channeling Curzon. I thought I was linking with something ancient and somehow immortal.


It was a heady feeling. Led me to take some chances I probably shouldn't have. But I was sure that my voice would go on forever, that I would live on in the next host. So I risked much and held back nothing. I was ready to die in glorious battle, hand-to-hand with a dreaded enemy, or be blown apart with Worf and Benjamin in the darkness of space.


Instead I died in a Bajoran temple, trying to convince deities that I didn't even believe in to look favorably on my wish for a child. I wanted to have a child in the middle of a war? I am lucky that it only took Worf one battle to win me a place here. The warriors were obviously in a generous mood that day.


And what of my Worf? He is still there, on the station. Mourning me, as he has since the moment I stopped breathing. His pain is so real that I can taste it from here. So can K'Ehleyr. "He never mourned me that way," she says, more as commendation for our love than out of any sense of jealousy.


"He shouldn't mourn me that way," I say. No good can come of it.


But the alternative for Worf is to fixate on my successor. He watches Ezri, looks out for her. If it weren't that I fear that he sees me reflected falsely in her eyes, I wouldn't mind. But I'm afraid he will push her too far and she will respond. The Dax-Jadzia has been talking to her, making her focus on feelings for Worf she shouldn't even have.


It's what is keeping her on the station. Worf has said she could stay, and so she does. And now I see how she looks at him. I wonder which of my memories Dax has called up for her. Making love with Worf? Our many battles both of words and with weapons on the training mats? And does he tempt her to break the rule of non-association?


I laugh at the thought of that rule. I have broken it, indeed I don't know of a joined Trill who hasn't. In fact, I think they make the rule just so we, contrary beings that we are, will try to rekindle something with those we've lost, knowing that once we do, we'll realize that it doesn't work, doesn't feel right. That being with those people from our past is off somehow. And then we'll move on and live our lives.


And that is what is happening now. I see that Ezri has moved on, and I realize again that time is strange here. I barely blinked, and the world where Ezri lives speeded up. I see what's happening to her as if in a blur, yet I understand it completely. She has indeed broken the rule. She and Worf were alone and angry, and they came together in the violent passion that I used to enjoy so much. And of course, it didn't work for them, because she's not me, and no matter how Dax tries, it can't make her more like me.


So Ezri is moving on. To her own life, she thinks. But her own life would lead her off the station, away from my friends. She thinks she's living her life, but she isn't. She's living mine—and I was living Curzon's, and ultimately we were all living Dax's. Ezri may have ended any romance with Worf, but now she's moved on to Julian. Would she have even noticed him if she hadn't had the Dax-Jadzia whispering in her ear that it was time to give him a chance? That he'd loved us for too long, too faithfully, not to be rewarded?


Hell, the same could be said for Quark. She could have picked him, and Dax would have found a way to make it all right. But it isn't all right. None of this is Ezri's, and she doesn't even know it. She's on the station, my station, and she's picked up the pieces of my life and is moving on with it. But what life would Ezri lead if she had never been joined? What does Ezri really want? Does she even know anymore? Or can she only hear what Dax wants? Is that the sum total of her reality? As it was for each of us who went before her?


And what does Julian want? He loved me. I always knew that. But I'm not sure that he really loves Ezri. Is she a fresh, new thing—truly mostly Ezri and only a little bit Jadzia Dax?


Or is she Jadzia-light for him, a small, less vivid copy of me, but close enough to do for now, until he grows tired of pretending that she is anything other than what she is? That sounds cruel, but I don't think it is. Julian loves deeply, but he's also more than capable of deluding himself. I just wonder for how long.


And what does she feel? I wish, just once, I could actually be inside her the way she thinks I am. Could understand what she feels and, if it isn't real, slap some sense into her.


But it wouldn't do any good. Ezri will stay on the station because Dax likes it there. And it'll pull out every stop to convince her she belongs. Channel my voice or Curzon's, hell, it'll even bring forth Joran again if it thinks it will work.


I followed the Dax-Curzon voice the same way. The station wasn't in my future originally. Not when Dax was just a possibility for me. Not when it was still housed in Curzon's belly. I could have been a scientist on Trill. Or doing research on an outpost somewhere. Deep Space Nine was just one of my options. But once I was joined, there was no choice. I chased down that posting like it was pure latinum. Found Benjamin, searched him out the same way Ezri did. Curzon, I thought. Curzon wanted to see his old friend.


Curzon couldn't have cared less. I understand that now. He was gone, but the Dax-Curzon remained. And he spoke loudly and with emphatic assurance. I had no choice but to follow my destiny. To go to Deep Space Nine. To take my place in history.


To take Dax's place in history.


But it wasn't all bad. At least Dax's place in history was an exciting one. The view from its world was amazing and the chance for adventure unparalleled. And I met Worf, had the chance to love him. I may have lived out someone else's life, just as Ezri is doing now, but at the time it felt like the most amazing ride I'd ever been on.


And truth be told, it still does. I will be remembered. I may have been only the eighth in a long line of Dax hosts, but people know who Jadzia was. People I've never met are sad that I am gone. And one man mourns me as if his life will never again be the same. I wish I could help him. I know that I cannot. And it makes me sad if I watch him for too long.


And watching Ezri only makes me wonder if Curzon looked down on me from wherever he went when he died, and wondered if I would ever stop living my life for Dax. Have all the hosts wondered this?


I think I'll stop watching any of them now. K'Ehleyr says they've broken open another barrel of blood wine. And it's my turn to lead the chorus. We're on verse sixty-seven, and it's my favorite. Or Curzon's. Or Dax's. No matter. I'm the one drinking the blood wine and singing in ancient Klingon. And I will be the one who waits, alongside K'Ehleyr, for Worf to come home in his own time to Sto-Vo-Kor.


So let Dax have its way. Let it lead and spin Ezri until she can't see straight, until she can't choose anything except what it wants. And it wants its life. The one it took from all the hosts, even Lela, the first. Dax can play its tune and make the host dance in the steps that we all have followed.


If it wants to live that badly, who am I to criticize? They both can have my life. Ezri and Dax. And I hope it's everything they ever wanted. As for me, I plan to enjoy my death.