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( All my love to Marielle Deniaud. Special thanks for her assistance in writing this series. )
The half-Bajoran was numb from his reality. The golden drug allowed him to forget his grief, allowed him to live in a fantasy of his making so that he could forget about what he’d lost. Fregg had managed to tweak the dosage so that he received four injections a day and remained blissfully enraptured in his visions. Gideon could respond to stimuli and easily slip back into the lull of the Grave Dust. Dinner that night was their favorite, blue steak with garlic butter sauce and sauteed dark greens. He hummed quietly in approval and nodded to his wife. “Questo è veramente buono. Hai superato di nuovo te stesso, (This is really good. You’ve outdone yourself again.)” he mused quietly to Marielle’s shade.
She giggled softly as she stared adoringly from across the table. A soft blush gave her a glow. “It’s enough to see you happy,” came the soft reply. Marielle sliced a bit of the steak and leaned forward to feed him the morsel. “I made our favourite for dessert.” She paused, her smile growing brighter and her eyes twinkling as they darkened. “Chocolate bourbon bundt.”
“Ti amo,” he whispered as he leaned forward and closed his eyes to take the bite. He lingered for a half second before realizing that it was part of his visions and Gideon dipped his chin to straighten back in his chair. The half-Bajoran dropped his fork to his plate and rested his elbows on the table as the hallucination was broken. He pushed the tray of food away and turned toward Fregg. “Meet me in the barracks.” He pushed to his feet and stalked around the table to make his way out of the cafeteria.
Gideon was so intent on getting to his bunk for the next dose of Grave Dust that he failed to notice the guard who stepped into the doorway at the same time. The men collided and staggered back. The half-Bajoran tensed and glared at the Klingon sentry. He hissed under his breath, the Italian unintelligible but laced with anger and frustration.
The prisoners had grown silent at the first sign of a possible altercation. A threatening growl easily filled the mess hall. “What was that?” the guard asked, eyes narrowing and his fingers tightening around the pain stick that he held in one hand.
His gaze dipped to the metal rod in the Klingon’s hand and Gideon grunted softly at the memory of its sting. When dulled cobalt lifted to meet the dark brown of the guard, he stepped back and grumbled. “Excuse me,” he hissed. “Adesso togliti dalla mia strada, senza cervello. (Now get out of my way, you brainless oaf.)” Tension continued to pull at his muscles. All the half-Bajoran could think of was slipping back into his dreams.
The Klingon didn’t understand a single word that had been uttered, but the tone was a different matter altogether. “What was that?!” he bellowed. He barely noticed how the prisoners and his fellow guards grew tense. His fingers tightened further around the metal rod he carried. He lifted his arm and was poised to strike. “In standard!”
Defiance glittered in his irises. “Che cosa? Vuoi che mi inchini? Mettiti sulle mie mani e sulle mie ginocchia, bacia i tuoi piedi quando cammini? Togliti di torno! (What? Do you want me to bow? Get on my hands and knees, kiss your feet when you walk by? Get out of the way!)” His arm swept to the side to allow the guard by. He seemed to have forgotten that the man carried a weapon.
His eyes grew wide. Instead of using the pain stick he wielded, the Klingon guard sent his heavy boot straight into the half-Bajoran’s gut. “I said standard!”
Gideon grabbed the boot and shoved the guard’s leg back. “Puoi togliere la mia libertà ma non puoi togliere la mia lingua! (You can take my freedom but you can’t take away my language!)” he sneered. The former Starfleet officer used the Klingon’s utter surprise to escape from the mess and he bolted out the door.
It was as if the defiance was the spark necessary to set the prisoners into action. They were mentally and emotionally exhausted from the conditions of their prison, and the recent collapse of the mines and the consequent increase of work had only pushed them beyond their limits. Bodies pushed to their feet and the riot began in an instant. They pushed against one another. When the guards entered the fray to contain the hostilities, the inmates turned to fight against the Klingons. Screams filled the mess and the air grew warm as pain sticks were used freely.
The Klingon guard gave chase, ignoring the prisoners and guards who battled against one another. He reached forward and used his pain stick to subdue Gideon. “Where the hell do you think you’re going!?” he growled.
Pain surged through his body and he howled as he fell to the ground. Rage filled him and Gideon struggled to fight the Klingon who easily overpowered him with the pain stick. Kicks from the guard had him curled into a tight ball to protect himself. Repeated blows to the back of his head caused him to spiral into blackness. He was blissfully unaware as the sentry continued to use him as a practice dummy.