The Promenade was bustling on Deep Space Nine ... it was always bustling.
Among the many (and often colourful) aliens walked Jijan Tyr, captain of the USS Caroline. With the ship undergoing minor repairs and resupplying he had allowed some shore leave for himself and the crew. He loved looking at the station’s visitors, or talking to them. It reminded him of why he joined Starfleet: to seek out and explore new cultures.
Seeing as he still had some time before he met up with Thryiss at the Replimat he walked towards one of the newer shops. Undoubtedly she wants to review tactical evaluation reports, he thought by himself as he stepped through the sliding door. The idea of sitting through an hour of that in his spare time sent shivers along his spots. It’s not exactly Starfleet regulation but maybe I should *try* teach her how to have a good time.
The inside of the small store was a mixture of an antique store and a flea market. Many of the items stalled out were esthetically incompatible with the overpowering Cardassian architecture, but the storeowner had gone to great lengths to cover large portions of the walls with tapestries and shelves. Without thinking he began to examine certain objects or simply hold them, Trill hands were always cold and this allowed them to appreciate the warmth of an object along with its other artistic features. As he was musing on all this he let his hands carry on like they had a life of itheir own, they took him to a container filled with ‘paper’ books. As he was shifting through a dozen or so copies of ‘The teachings of Surak’ he felt something … familiar. He looked down and saw an old thick leather-bound book, with loads of extra papers and drawings sticking out from all sides. He looked at it intently for a few seconds and suddenly …
He was a little girl listening to mother telling bedtime stories of the lyriads, a legendary race of aquatic people that lived in oceans and beneath the ice caps near Tenaren. Not unlike Earth mermaids.
She was sitting on a pier overlooking the ocean, the little girl (now a bit older) dreaming of what life would be like under those waves. She reveled as they crashed on the shore and the spray hit her feet while the breeze whipped through her hair.
Another later memory: a voyage at sea inspired a now grown up Esja to start writing a novel. She looked for ages to find a hand-made paper book and in the end had to resort to making one herself.
Writers block, Esja goes diving out of season, the cold water nearly kills her but she has some great stories to tell.
Days and days of sitting locked up in her room and writing, writing, writing … “Must get out, OUT!! Run barefoot through the grassy hills maybe??”
Disaster, Esja goes out for tea and her bag gets stolen, along with her novel. She spends days searching every garbage disposal unit and another week talking to people in order to find a lead. In the end she has to conclude that she will never be able to finish the story she wanted to tell since childhood. Esja spends the rest of the week crying herself to sleep, trying to remember what she wrote down, but knowing it is hopeless, rewriting it from scratch would deprive it of its soul.
The excentric Trill artist paints one of her greatest masterpieces called ‘the Lyriad’, she literally mixes her tears with the paint. When it is done her time of mourning is over.
With a colossal effort Jijan braces himself from the flood of memories. The experience was so intense that his eyes are all watery. He looks down at the little book, wondering what to do. His first instinct is to put the it back. There is a stigma on having any sort of connection with a past life, this novel certainly qualifies as one. Yet as his hand moves slowly back to the container it seems like something inside him is tearing at the walls of his heart, screaming for him to stop putting it away and embrace it.
“Are you alright”.
“Yeah, … sure”, Jijan looks at the Bajoran shopkeepster who looks at him with a worried smile. “I’m sorry but, … could you tell me where you got this?”
“Oh that thing. I bought it from a Ferengi merchant for ten slips of latinum. He *claimed* it was an old religious text in some forgotten language.” She sighed and looked a little embarrassed. “I shouldn’t have believed him. Turns out it’s nothing but an old folk legend written in modern Trill. Are you interested? It’s yours for two slips … I just want to get rid of it.”
He paid the shopkeeper twelve slips and went to his quarters first to put it safely away before arriving a little late to meet up with Thryiss.
“Where did you get this”, T’nya asked as she grabbed hold of something odd and leathery on the captain’s desk.
“Be careful with that, it’s very old!”
“It’s in Trill isn’t it? Why isn’t it written on a PADD?”
“My first host, Esja, believed it would ‘suck the soul out of anything’ if she used electronic recording devices", he answered with a chuckle.
“Wéll that may be so but now I have no idea what it says here, … I don’t read Trill.”
“It’s ok … it’s unfinished anyway.” Jijan gingerly takes the novel back and puts it in a drawer under his desk.
“Why don’t you finish it?”
“Wha …”, the question took him a little by surprise, “because it’s forbidden to pick up a past life. We’d never get done with all our ‘unfinished bussiness’”
“And yet here you have a book written by one of your old hosts.”
“Still, if I were to publish something written by an artist who lived 250 years ago, especially if she was me … the symbiosis commission would freak ... for starters”
“Who says anything about publishing? Do it for yourself!” She pointed at his heart and then, thinking otherwise, pointed at his abdomen. “What would *she* want you to do? … Just, think about it okay? It would be so cool if you did.” And with that T’nya walked out the door.
Captain Tyr stood looking at the doorway for a long time. Eventually he said: “Computer, one fountain pen of Trill ‘Jaladen’ design … and add a large purple feather to it.”