Star Trek Hunter
Episode 6: Breakfast Killer #2
Scene 1: Healer Downa

6.1
Healer Downa

Healer Downa's storefront was the smallest on Deep Space 9's promenade. The store itself consisted of a very small reception area with a standing desk near the back wall and two rather seedy looking couches. The sagging, faded, worn and stained condition of the couches indicated that they had seen better decades and were probably better left undisturbed. There was barely walking distance between the reception desk and the back wall. A small number of certificates hanging on the back wall managed somehow to look even less reputable than the couches.

An old fashioned swinging door in the back wall was firmly shut. A simple wooden board was suspended by a length of twine from a nail more or less in the middle of the door. Handwritten words on this rude sign advised, "IN SESSION" in uneven sized letters that started large on the left but were squeezed and cramped on the right hand side as though the inscriber had realized somewhere in the middle of scrawling "S" that there would not be enough room for the remainder of the letters.

It was not the sort of door you would expect to find the station commander, Colonel Norma Bacys, behind - at least not as a customer. But in a somewhat more comfortably furnished and cheerfully decorated room, Colonel Norma, clad in the uniform of the Bajoran Defense Forces, was seated on a very large couch with a baby in her lap. It was not her baby and had only the slightest hint of the nose ridges that marked Col. Norma as bajoran.

The colonel's husband, Norma Garr, sat next to her, but with a respectful and somewhat tentative distance. On the other end of this long, curving, surprisingly stylish couch sat the station's chief engineer, Chief Kara Bass, a young human woman wearing a yellow Star Fleet uniform. She surreptitiously watched the baby in the station commander's lap.

A cheery, relaxed looking denobulan woman was perched on a large lounge chair across from the couch. Her long, simple dress had an indistinct floral pattern to it. Despite its simplicity, her single garment was clearly one of the more brilliant creations by Garrick, the station's tailor. For the moment, Healer Downa was barefoot - her equally elegant and simple wooden slippers were placed neatly next to her chair. Like her bajoran clients, she was maybe a little older than middle aged.

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"We have come such a long way," Healer Downa said. "This month I want you to focus on telling the entire, unvarnished truth about your relationship. So let's play act this out just a little. Assume I am one of the priests at the temple on the other end of this promenade and I ask you, Colonel Norma, about your beautiful baby - but she doesn't look entirely bajoran - does she?"

Col. Norma responded simply, "I'm a bit too old for another baby - I've already raised four."

Healer Downa, continued the imaginary banter, "A grandchild, then?"

Col. Norma started with some fortitude, "No, this is Kathy Bass, my husband's child by…" she looked down at the baby in her lap, trembling a little.

"Remember, none of this is the baby's fault," came Downa's cheery but soothing voice. "No one wants her to grow up ashamed of who she is."

Col. Norma took a deep breath and touched the infant's hair tenderly. "No. I don't want that for her."

Chief Engineer Bass, at the other end of the couch, took a ragged breath.

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An awkward silence threaded through the room. Healer Downa let the silence do its work, and chose just the right moment to break it.

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Softly, as though she were musing to herself, Downa said, "The humans have a terrible word for children born of extra-marital affairs. Illegitimate. What a terrible thing to call a child. Bajorans have an even more terrible name for bajoran-hybrid children, born out of the Cardassian Occupation - slave-baby. Think about growing up with everyone calling you a slave-baby."

All three adults were now looking intently at the denobulan woman. She looked into the eyes of each in turn as she continued, "But the humans used to have a beautiful name for such children: Love-child. Can you say, 'this is my husband's love-child?'"

Norma Bacys had no idea at her age that she would ever allow herself to become so vulnerable in front of non-bajorans - or anyone for that matter. "This is…" she cleared her throat, regained some of her self-control and started again: "This is my husband's love-child." Baby Kathy Bass slept peacefully in her lap.

"Better," Downa said. "You are a mother. And a warrior. I know you have it in you to protect this child just as though she were your own. Protect her against the judgement of other people. She is defenseless. It is up to you to establish that fence around her. She is not illegitimate. She is a baby."

Col. Norma took a deep, ragged breath.

Chief Engineer Bass spoke up, quietly, almost apologetically, "Is there a denobulan word for my baby?"

Healer Downa allowed a slow, warm smile to grow on her face. "A far more beautiful name than either the humans or bajorans came up with for such children." The deobulan woman paused for emphasis, "She is family."

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