meddow: Laura Roslin (Roslin)
[personal profile] meddow
Finally finished my [livejournal.com profile] multiverse5000 fic, which has been causing me stress for the past couple of weeks. Originally posted here in the com at dreamwidth.

You know, I shall always be slightly disappointed in RDM for not managing to get Louise Fletcher in BSG somehow. With Nana Visitor and Michelle Forbes both showing up at one point or another, it would have completed the awesome Trek trio of complex Bajoran women you do not mess with complete. Anyway...

Title: Satellite
Prompt: Laura Roslin and Kai Winn Adami
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica/Star Trek: DS9
Spoilers: All of both shows.
Rating: PG
Word count: ~3700
Summary: Kai Winn Adami finds herself in a meeting that is anything but ordinary.
Author's Notes: A huge thank you to [livejournal.com profile] eponymous_rose for the beta and encouragement.

---
On Bajor, the saying went that great architecture was about the effective use of light, and nowhere was this more evident than in the designs of the monasteries and temples found in every major town and city. From sunrise to sunset, sunlight always streamed down the corridors of the monastery at Ilvia, symbolising the divine path the Prophets lay out for each and every individual.

After spending most of her life serving the Prophets in refugee camps, with buildings constructed from whatever material the Cardassians would let them have, Winn Adami appreciated beauty and relative luxury more than she suspected their architects had in mind.

That particular day though, like most other days, her mind was less on the thousand year old arches she walked though, and more on the everyday business of being Kai. She was, however, grateful that rather than some argument with the First Minister or some foreign policy work or having to denounce a heresy, her mind was on the speech for the Gratitude Festival.

Walking into her office, she had decided on her message, one about moderation and conservatism, emphasising the stability that Bajor had experienced in the hundreds of thousands of years before the Occupation.

A Kai held her position for life, and Adami, being one who prided herself in thinking of the future, foresaw a day when the children born after the Occupation, lured by the addictive and insidious cultures that were now open to them, would turn their back on the Prophets, and on Bajor.

It was not until she had sat down and reached for a glass of water that she noticed the woman sitting in a chair in the corner. Startled, Adami had to stop herself from saying something in alarm. She did not have unannounced visitors in her office and it took her a moment before she recalled why she had a meeting with a human, in the first place.

It was about a library.

“Sorry. I let myself in,” the woman said.

“So I see,” Adami replied, trying her best not to sound furious. She mentally noted that she would have words with her assistant, Solbor, later, and briefly wondered where he was.

The woman was sitting quite comfortably in a chair, and Adami felt an instantaneous stab of irritation at the woman being brazen enough to not only invite herself into Adami's office, but also arrogant enough to make herself comfortable and not even rise for the Kai of Bajor.

She was a human, Adami noted, which as good as explained her rudeness, and about her age, dressed in some odd clothes. Her most striking features were red hair left long and loose, and obvious intelligence behind her appearance of quiet observation.

“I believe you have come seeking permission to read from the Library at Jalanda. As you no doubt have been told, those from outside of Bajor need the highest permission to enter.”

“Which is why I'm here to talk to you,” the woman replied. “You are after all, the spiritual leader of this planet, are you not?”

Adami nodded, wondering why she had agreed to this meeting in the first place. The answer would be no, and she would not change her mind. The Emissary was the only non-Bajoran that she would allow, and even then, she would not feel comfortable saying yes. But then, it was hard saying no to the Emissary. There were already far too many rumours about their working relationship being strained.

Still, it was important for relations to humour Federation members for the sake of Bajor. With the Dominion an ever growing and close threat, Bajor would not be able to stand alone. Although she preferred it when the Federation stayed away on that space station, of her hair and for the most part, nicely contained - at least until the Emissary or more likely his First Officer chose to involve themselves in something or another.

“I'm sorry to have to tell you, you've wasted your time.” And mine, Adami mentally added.

“I suspected as much,” the woman replied, and it was quite clear that she had as little patience for the Kai as Adami had for her.

Although this meeting has been pre-arranged, for the life of her Adami could not remember the woman's name and as she did not mean for it to continue much longer, felt no need to ask. Adami did know she was supposed to be a religious scholar, an academic back on Earth. Adami decided she could not have been a good one, what with showing blatant disrespect to the Kai of Bajor. Still, the hostility made her job a bit easier. It meant not having to humour her.

Adami expected the woman would give up and leave. “I found your sermon enlightening,” the woman said instead of moving. “The one you gave this morning. I particularly appreciated the quotation you chose to explain.”

“'Faith is the house that we build. In need of tender care and only as strong as its foundations,'” Adami quoted. “It's a personal favourite.”

“Mine too,” the woman said, following it with smile that contained no warmth.

Adami smiled coldly right back.

“I didn't know you were familiar with the Bajoran prophecies.”

“I only know I a little, but I do know enough to recognise that you left out the majority of the quotation,” the woman replied.

“I find that those earlier parts need explaining within the context, which would have made for a much longer sermon and I only had a short time.” She tried to cut her off. Adami decided she did not need another human lecturing her on Bajoran scripture.

“'Faith is the flame within,” the woman quoted. “Warmth that gives life. Light that gives guidance. Tempered devastation...'”

“'Tempered devastation that can burn those that touch it,'” Adami continued. “'Faith is the tide that roles in. Inevitable and unstoppable and treacherous to those that deny it.'”

“'Faith is the house that we build. In need of tender care and only as strong as its foundations,'” the woman finished off.

She wondered if it was a human characteristic, believing they knew more after only a few weeks' study than those that had devoted their lives to it.

It had always been accepted on Bajor that knowledge was a product of a lifetime, a Bajoran would always bow to those who had spent decades studying, and one who had only a passing understanding would wisely never pretend to understand.

It once was that this was put into practice. The purpose of the d'jarra, was so that knowledge could be passed on down lines, every Bajoran inheriting generations of experience. In a way it made each Bajoran immortal.

It was all brought to an abrupt halt by the Cardassian occupation. Farmers became leaders, artists became terrorists, merchants became scholars. For better or worse, in Adami's opinion. Her family had always been religious leaders, and she had never wished for another path.

“I can see why it's your favourite,” the woman said.

“Can you? Please, enlighten me.”

The woman smiled again. “It turns the divine into something we can control. With strict adherence to practice and the right motivation, we get the outcomes we want.”

Adami said nothing, and the woman continued. “The first part you left out because it characterises faith as something powerful - something uncontrollable, no matter how much we wish it were. I can understand the temptation to leave it out. Leave it out of your sermon, and, being Kai, leave it out of your religion and maybe, just maybe, it will stop being true.”

“I think, my child, we have different interpretations, for indeed, we do create flames,” Adami replied.

The woman smiled, this time in triumph. “But not the tide,” she replied.

Adami gave her nod, tiring of the challenge. “You have an impressive understanding of Bajoran theology for one who is not Bajoran. However, no matter your knowledge, you will not be granted access to, I'm afraid that's something for Bajorans and Bajorans alone.”

“And I'm human,” she pointed out.

“You have to understand, it's something of great significance. When the Cardassians pillaged our planet's resources, hunting for religious artefacts and stripping our culture away from us, we kept this library safe from outsiders. The objects within it are only there because of the strict precautions we took back then.”

The woman gave her another smug smile, as though to say she saw right through Adami's argument. “The Occuption's over.”

“I don't expect you to understand,” Adami said, growing impatient. “The Occupation may be over, but the wounds have yet to heal. Think of it as respecting our culture and giving due acknowledgement to our recent past. Humans haven't known the suffering that the Bajoran people have.”

The woman gave Adami her most strained smile yet. “We have known it in the past, but not this generation, no. And for that I thank the gods.”

“So you are indeed a woman of faith,” Adami said.

“Yes. Just not of yours,” the woman replied. “Does that make a difference?”

“My answer has been laid out for you. I think it's time you accepted it,” Adami replied.

“If I cannot access the library, would you answer my question?”

“I shall do my best to answer any questions you have about the Bajoran religion, at another time,” she added, hoping to end the meeting. It has already gone on for far too long. She tapped a button on the PADD on her desk which should summon her aide. Solbor would come up with an excuse to be rid of the woman.

The woman stood up. “What happens to the souls of those Bajorans who have not been permitted to the Celestial Temple?” she asked as she walked toward the desk Adami sat behind. “Not permitted, or chose not to, or...I'm not entirely sure,” she looked at Adami as if she were examining her.

“Yes, another time,” Adami insisted, standing up from her desk.

“Now is the time,” the woman insisted, her voice levelling out just below barking an order.

“Listen, child, have patience...”

“Don't call me child,” she woman said, abruptly. And there was a glint of steel in her eyes.

“We are all children in the eyes of the Prophets,” Adami said, repeating the often-quoted wisdom of her predecessor, Kai Opaka.

The woman made a small noise akin to a laugh.

“I'm afraid this meeting has to end. I have other duties to attend to,” Adami said, realising that the woman didn't want to leave and seemed to be spoiling for a fight.

“Do you have any idea how old I am?” the woman asked. “Do you have any idea of the life I've led? The pain I've witnessed? And then, to be summoned here and patronised by you...”

It was not the words she said, but the conviction she said them with that frightened Adami. Whatever this conversation had become, the woman was in control.

“Solbor!” Adami barked into the intercom.

“He won't come,” she said, stepping back and crossing her arms as she did so.

“Solbor!”

It was then that Adami noticed the blade in her hands, one dripping warm blood. She stared at it, hands trembling in horror, and looked up at the woman.

“I...,” Adami stuttered. “I...” And every memory that she had denied herself came back. Dukat. Solbor. The Pah-Wraiths. The Fire Cave. The pain that she felt having erupted into flames from the inside out.

She dropped the blade and it fell onto sand beneath her feet. The edges of a wave lapped it up, pushing and then pulling it to rest a few centre-meters away.

No longer in the comfort of her office, Winn Adami stood on a cold, barren beach surrounded by decaying buildings. The air was drying in her lungs, almost choking, as if even air had lost its ability to give life on this planet.

The woman was there with her, seemed unphased by her surroundings to the point of familiarity. She was looking up at the overcast sky, seeming to be staring at a sun that wasn't there.

Overwhelmed by the realisation of her death, Adami wanted to crumple to the floor. Instead she stood still and silent, as she would have done in life, choosing not to show weakness.

It was an age before Adami decided to speak.

“Where am I?” Adami asked, knowing of no such place being described in the scriptures. Most dead were accepted to the Celestial Temple. Some dead wandered until they had reconciled with their lives, but this was no place from her life.

“Earth,” the woman answered. There was a deep bitterness in her voice. “First a lie, then a broken promise,” she added almost wistfully.

“Why am I here?”

“Because I'm tired of skirting around the truth.”

Adami glared at her.

“Winn Adami, Kai Winn.” The woman's tone of voice made it perfectly clear she did not think that Adami was worthy of the title. “As I understand it, you murdered a man, plotted the unleashing of a force that could have devastated the galaxy. I don't think you deserve to reside in luxury while I decide what to do with you.”

“What to do with me?” Adami spat out the woman's words. “Just who are you to judge me?”

“Would you rather let the Prophets decide your fate?” the woman asked, loudly, reacting to Adami's outburst. Then she lowered her voice, sounding more intimidating. “Maybe the Pah-Wraiths will be sympathetic. Given that they murdered you.”

Adami glared at the woman, not thinking of something to say. Would the Prophets be kind to her? A traitor and murderer. She had willingly turned their back on them and plotted their destruction.

They would turn their back on her, of that she was sure. Or worse, they would cast her into the fire caves to spend an eternity with the beings that used and destroyed her.

But the more she thought about events, the more the rage that had driven her in her final days welled up inside her, the emotion enhanced by the additional manipulation and betrayal by the Pah-Wraiths.

“Are you telling me, that was it? My path was to be passed over by a infidel, tempted to betrayal, passed over again for that vile Cardassian tyrant and then murdered, after spending a lifetime preaching their word.”

“You betrayed your gods,” the woman said quietly, as if testing the words.

“My gods betrayed me!” Adami yelled, turning her back to the woman and finding herself staring and at a crumbling building. It could have been a temple once, it was large enough. Now, it leant lopsided, the mighty arches that would have once held it upright bent and twisted.

Winn Adami had never been to Earth. She had certainly never heard it described as what was before her: a dead planet.

She knew what had happened here though. In her lifetime, Adami had seen disasters that came about naturally, and ones at the hands of Cardassians. It was not natural, what had happened here. She wondered whether the destructive was the result of an internal or external war.

Internal, she decided, if only because it was what she wanted it to be. She liked the idea of humans having destroyed themselves.

“I suppose my final indignity is not even to be judged by my own people,” she replied.

“And since when did you give a damn about your people?” the woman asked, with more rage in her voice than ever before. Adami realised then she had said something wrong because the woman changed in front of her eyes. This wasn't the woman who had sparred with her on matters of theology and treated her with disdain. Now she was angry. Her words, like Adami's, came from somewhere in her soul, somewhere damaged and painful when touched.

Adami recognised this, but was herself too angry to care. Too long she'd been accused of not giving a damn about Bajor and the Bajoran people. Colonel Kira and First Minister Shaakar being the two worst offenders, the pair of them judging her when in the past having had no qualm about killing Bajorans while they were fighting the resistance, and the former living on that spaceship and giving her judgement as if from on high.

And then to be told she cared less about Bajor than the Emissary. Her greatest wish for the past few years was be for Benjamin Sisko to have been exposed for who he truly was, a military man assigned to Bajor against his will, one who would not have given a damn about the planet before arriving there.

She knew his type. For the majority of his life, he would have know Bajor as only a far away planet and he would call the Occupation a tragedy on seeing the numbers of the dead and reading about the atrocities being committed. And then he would move on, never giving Bajor more than a thought.

And it was him the Prophets chose.

“I only ever cared about them,” she spoke right back. “I've only ever watched out for Bajor's interests. Before the Emissary had even though about Bajor as anything more than a rock with Cardassians on it, I was bribing Cardassians to spare Bajorans. I spent five years in prison for preaching the Prophets' words. Do you think any moment of those years aided me, or was about power? Do you think putting myself in that situation was some elaborate scheme to rule Bajor?”

The woman walked closer, never sinking in the sand.

“Yes. You care about them so much you would have abandoned the planet to the Pah-Wraiths,”

“As their Emissary, I would never have let them harm Bajor,” Adami replied, speaking the honest truth. Those who would destroy her, Bajoran and non-Bajoran alike, maybe. But Bajor? Never. She did not need to see her world burn, just a few individuals.

It crossed her mind then that maybe that was why she was unworthy and Dukat was.

“Maybe,” the woman replied. “But I doubt you gave it thought.”

“Then damn me for it!” Adami cried. “I've had enough! I don't know who or what you are, but I'm done with having my life and my death manipulated by others. And if you can't look back and see what I know is there, that I did look out for my people. All through the Occupation, I looked out for Bajorans. I did it all for them and I did it all in silence.”

The woman stopped, turned and walked up to Adami. She stood slightly shorter, but that didn't break the intensity of her gaze.

“I didn't find you. I didn't choose to get involved in your death. You found me. Although I don't expect you to believe me,” she added as Adami doubted her word. “I have other things I'd rather be worrying about than your soul.”

Adami glared at the woman, refusing to back down.

“I'm very old now. I've been dead a long time, but being dead, at least in my experience, you never get over life. I've found I'm stuck, incapable of becoming something new. But you - I wonder if you can't learn some things.”

“And I know you won't listen, but I'm going to say it anyway. A people is only as strong as the soul of its leader. We crumble and they crumble. We fail them because of a crisis of faith and the resulting catastrophes...” She stopped and paused, seeming to gather her thoughts.

Finally she spoke again. “I've witnessed the deaths of billions, ordered the deaths of thousands, but it's only the handful that died because I indulged in some self-pity that haunt my conscience when I look at you.”

“Who are you?” Adami asked.

"'And the lords anointed a leader to guide the Caravan of the Heavens to their new homeland,'” She said, quoting something Adami never heard before but was distinctively prophecy. It was the hint of bitterness that finally let Adami understand why it she was talking to this woman. It was because, on a level, she understood.

The woman shook her head. “In my beliefs, my faith, we have a saying. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. Prove it wrong.”

When she stopped speaking the beach was gone.

“...Faith is the house that we build. In need of tender care and only as strong as its foundations,” finished Winn Adami, Ranjen Winn as she was known when the Cardassians were out of earshot.

She paused as she finished and a chill ran up her spine as she remembered something. A dream, she decided, one in which power and jealousy ate away at her. One in which her mistakes saw her burned alive. One in which she abandoned the Prophets.

She stared out at her congregation, forty or so people squashed into a building that could barely fit twenty. Children squirmed in their mothers' arms, a man that had been coughing throughout continued to do so. Adami shivered, wishing that the camp's makeshift temple didn't have such a terrible draft.

As deeply unsettling as her half remembered dream had been, she had a captive audience and a sermon to finish. Adami took a breath and continued.

“Something that the Cardassians don't understand is that our faith is a force of nature. It's the tide they will not be able to hold back. It's the flames...”

As Adami continued on, someone at the back got up to leave. Adami could not make out much in the dark at the back of the building besides it being a woman with red hair wearing odd clothes. She gave Adami an ever so slight nod before stepping through the curtain passed as a door. The curtain did not close entirely behind her, leaving a shaft of light.

Date: 2010-07-03 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tanithk.livejournal.com
Wow. Powerful and moving. The redemption of Kai Winn - suddenly that character is much more interesting to me. Thanks!

Date: 2010-07-04 09:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meddow.livejournal.com
Thank you. I find Kai Winn quite fascinating, and it's great to know that what I've written has made others interested in the character.

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