By Rob Morris
Code: Set between seasons six and seven of DS9, with characters in their appropriate locations.
DEEP SPACE NINE, 2374
Colonel Kira opaqued the doors to her office. She nodded to her visitor. It had been a difficult six weeks. But it was not Jadzia's death she wished to talk of, nor Sisko's departure and withdrawal. No, what she had to talk about could only be spoken of with either the ailing Vedek Yarka, now an avowed enemy of Kai Winn, or the being who sat before her.
"I do not hold to your faith, or its tenets, as least as they are written in your holy books. I have never given Confession. In my faith, everything must be brought out, lest evil dwell in the shadows. But do I understand correctly that the matters I speak of here with you are strictly between me and --"
"And God. Yes, Nerys. That is correct."
"I was going to say me and The Prophets. But that's part of why you're here, Francis. You are a Catholic Priest. The Prophets have said that you are The Priest. As both, I am in desperate need of your assistance. I think I'm teetering on the edge of blasphemy."
"You, Nerys? I'd no more believe that than I'd believe Radar was a cold-blooded murderer!"
Kira shook her head.
"Isn't Walter O'Reilly an Immortal?"
Father Mulcahy nodded, remembering.
"Oh, Yes. How could I forget? I was his Watcher in Korea. I suppose you mean his method of survival."
"Francis, the man cuts off other people's heads with a sword. But that's my point. People do harsh things to get by. I did. It seems to be Kai Winn's Rule Of Life, even when she doesn't have to be that way. But she never seems to get assaulted by the big questions. I can't believe she would be as ruthless as she is if she were that self-aware."
Mulcahy tried to draw Kira out.
"My Child--What Is It That Disturbs You?"
Kira felt comforted by a phrase that, if said by her own Kai, would sound condescending and exploratory.
"Father--do you still believe that The Prophets Are Angels, In Service To Your God?"
"Nerys, what I said was not meant to in any way denigrate---"
"Please--Just Yes Or No."
There was despair in her eyes.
"Yes--I do. They are powerful, wondrous, primevally good beings. They have domin--er, they have power over time. They have granted me some of that power, and have asked me to explain my beliefs to them. They asked me--Me, a kid from Philly--to battle forces of avarice and wickedness on their behalf. They asked for nothing in return."
His eyes were tearing.
"They allowed me to look upon Bethlehem, on the night my faith tells me the Universe was reborn! But they are not my God. He---is One, and I may have no other Gods. That is The First Commandment. Nerys--why are you asking me this?"
She looked down, then at him again.
"Francis--we all had Visions, as you fought The Pagh Wraiths. But in mine, a force descended upon me, and claimed that he was 'The Father Of The Prophets'. He called them his children, his little--angels."
A stunned Francis said two words more, and not entirely as an exclamation.
The Commander of Deep Space Nine, Captain Of The Defiant, Scourge Of The Dominion, and Emissary Of The Prophets Benjamin Lafayette Sisko--was shucking clams. He had gotten pretty good at it. Right then, he felt it was all he was good for. From inside, he heard his father's voice.
"You can talk to him, if you want. But I won't wish you luck--that's in scarce supply, right now."
The visitor chuckled with Joseph Sisko, and then came out. Ben tried to shoo him off.
"I have to warn you, I'm not much company right now."
"Yeah? Well, that's alright. If I wanted a lot of company, I'dve braved Mildred's family reunion. Strike that--no one I know is that brave."
Despite the wormhole, and Jadzia, Sisko smiled at his visiting ancestor.
Colonel Potter nodded, and smiled back.
"Could you use a hand with those? I can still shuck em' with the very best."
Sherman Potter had seen three bloody wars. Joseph Sisko had seen none. For that reason alone, Ben allowed this intrusion.
"Pull up a chair---Old Man."