SIM:From DS17: Prelude to a New Chapter

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Template:Zhou Author's Note: This isn't supposed to be taken as an actual letter or journal entry. I picture her watching out of one of DS17's large windows for the return of the Independence as the words run through her mind. After almost a year of allusions and angst, this sim announced the start of the finale for Tenzin Zhou's story right as the Independence was wrapping up its mission. I wanted to delay the big reveal of who was waiting for him until the end of the sim and deliver it in a distinct manner, thus the unusual use of first person voice. Furthermore, the character's name is absent from the subject line, and there are no direct references to Zhou until the conclusion. It was my only sim written in first person voice until "The Face of Treason", written three years later.

The events in this SIM occurred on stardate 238803.01.

((Deep Space 17))

::Perhaps we were foolish to even try, but it didn't seem so far-fetched to us back then, don't you agree?

My mother was always too nice to object to my choices, but my father...

Well, he warned me early on that the young man he had just met may one day break my heart. "He seems restless," were his exact words if I recall. You can even imagine it now, can't you, in his deep voice? I dismissed him then as a foolish old man who hadn't yet accepted that his daughter was now a fully-grown woman capable of making her own decisions. And dealing with her own consequences.

Yet I desperately wanted his approval of the man I had brought to him. I know it seems a contradiction, but I just knew that if my father got to know you as I had, he would see that you were a good man, a worthy man, with ambitious dreams yet a grounded heart. He would understand why I loved you.

Sure enough, baba did learn, and a number of years later, there we all were, sitting together as he gave a toast. He even joked about those first impressions he had had about his new son-in-law. I was so happy that day, as I had been nearly every day since I first met you. I couldn't help it. I sat back smiling, thinking simply, "I win." But winning a battle is very different from winning a war, as has often been said. Yet how many lost battles make a lost war? And why is it that I still don't really feel as if I've lost an actual battle, but in my heart, something tells me perhaps this war was lost before it even started?

Sure enough, baba was right. He died long before his premonition came true, and when he passed away, he left this universe believing his daughter was happy and safe with the man she loved. Perhaps that is fortunate, but I still regret that he did not live to become a grandfather. He would have been a great one, and you know it. He would have spoiled his grandchildren endlessly and taught them valuable life lessons. To fish and prepare a proper meal right off of the grill. To replace a power coupling or reset an ODN circuit. And to trust your instincts or at the very least your father's instincts.

I suppose that really is the heart of it. You and I didn't trust our instincts. It still makes me smile, though, even now, when I remember how innocent we were when we both looked at each other and just said, "To hell with it!"

Okay, we didn't really both say that. I said that, but you initiated the kiss that we shared right afterward. True, a kiss I had been trying to pry from you since...well...

Oh, to be back there again, both of us lying there in the morning after spending the entire night just talking. Well, not just talking, I suppose, but I needn't remind you. Besides, there's always been more to it that we've shared.

A friendship, a bond. A trust.

I don't know. I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I don't know if I should have accepted where life has led us a long time ago. It doesn't matter, though. I'm here now. I'm here on this strange station today because of that bond and that trust. I'm here because I trust you, and you want me to be here. I want to be here. Maybe this will truly be the end of it. Maybe we can both finally move on. I know I have been unable to always follow you or lead you to where my own dreams take me.

But maybe my own instincts now are correct. That there's a chance for a new chapter to begin in our lives, maybe even one we can begin together again.

Well, my husband, I guess we'll see.

When you get here, that is. Yes, one of the ever friendly officers here told me all about how your ship is off saving the galaxy, upholding Federation principles, or some other such nonsense. He even tried to sympathize since I've been waiting on this station for a few days now. Apparently, his friend had just transferred to your department before your ship left the station earlier. I promised that you'd give her the day off so that she can see him when you all get back. So yes, do that.

Tsk, tsk.

Tenzin, this reminds me now that you were actually late as well when you were supposed to meet baba for the first time. Well, ahem. I needn't remind you that your wife is not nearly as forgiving as her father.::

Yasmin Ibrahim

Deep Space 17