The Original

By Bubbles McCoy

None of these characters belong to me. They belong to Paramount, blah, blah, blah.

Weyoun awoke gradually,unenthusiastically. It became painfully obvious where he was-again-as he began to cough uncontrollably. His new body had just been activated and as he had experienced time and time before, he couldn’t breathe in any of the fluid he’d been immersed in from inside that miraculous-though quite unpleasant- development tank.

He sat straight up, still coughing, trying to expel that salty, slimy stuff out of his new body as quickly as possible. There was work to be done.

Why else would he be here-again?

His own feelings of dread shocked Weyoun. He’d never had them before, whenever a new clone was activated. It’s just that as his memories came back to him, one by one, so did a general feeling of… acceptance? during his last days. No matter how hard he tried towards the end, he couldn’t get the thought "I could be the last Weyoun" out of his consciousness, once the war had become more and more…hopeless? Yes, he had to admit it.

Lying to himself was just not an option. Ever. Lie to the others…well, that was necessary to maintain control over the ever- more chaotic war situation, but Weyoun always knew that lying to himself would be sick and absurd, no matter how badly he may have felt the need for the comfort of fantasies.

That particular revelation had come when the Founder’s illness was at its worst. Her usual air of quiet authority, control and confidence finally showed itself for what it truly was—a facade, like Dukat’s swaggering arrogance or one of Sisko’s self-righteous speeches or oh-so-threatening bluffs.

And the Founder had no more control over the future or even any idea of what was to come than they did. Once that realization entered Weyoun’s mind, his horror at the situation was undeniable. Everything he believed with all his being was a lie. The Founders weren’t Gods and they certainly didn’t care about protecting Kurill or the Vorta as they’d promised unless it suited their own political needs. And once they became ill it became obvious that they were in no position to protect anyone.

Once Weyoun’s doubt -which had been there right from the beginning-finally began to show itself, he became distracted during missions and even meetings with the Founder. God or not, she wasn’t stupid and easily sensed his distrust. While before in her dealings with Weyoun, she had been somewhat… mysterious, she then became downright vague and withheld as much information as possible from him, even seeming to place more of her effort and time on Thot Gor! That was the final blow.

Weyoun was a servant to the Dominion and would be one until the end-whatever clone that would be-and even the burden of his knowledge of the Founders’ true nature wouldn’t change that—but the Founder apparently didn’t place enough trust in an enlightened Weyoun to see that for herself. Weyoun understood that sometimes the one in charge had to lie to their subordinates, their colleagues. He had after all on many occasions lied to the entire Alpha Quadrant when she’d told him to, but she didn’t need to lie to him.

Well, there was no point dwelling on the past… and just how much time had passed? What had happened after the death of his last clone? Were the Founder and Thot Gor victorious over the Federation? Or was Damar the new leader of Cardassia? Was the Founder in one of Odo’s prison cells on Terok Nor, slowly manipulating her way to freedom? Was Dukat God to millions of disturbed Bajorans?

Suddenly Weyoun’s dread and self-pity wore off, immediately replaced by his natural curiosity. He had to know.

Weyoun dressed himself in a freshly pressed jacket and tunic, in the same color and style he’d always liked and checked and re-checked his appearance in a mirror on the desk of the Vorta in charge of the cloning facility. So far nothing appeared to have been changed or tinkered with.

After exchanging some minimal banter with the other man, Weyoun was told that he was to meet with the Founder. That required no further explanation. The word "the" made it clear which Founder he was to meet with.

Although Varndalem, the tall, somewhat awkward Vorta was quiet and mumbled when he spoke, Weyoun listened patiently as the man nervously explained that Weyoun-the last Weyoun-had been gone for two years! after having been killed by that renegade Cardassian TAILOR?!

Apparently during that time, Odo had somehow convinced the Founder to surrender to the Federation. Not surprising, really, considering Thot Gor’s somewhat limited abilities. Well, why didn’t they clone another Weyoun? Well, there was no point wondering about that-The Founder had never before justified or explained any of her actions to Weyoun before and that wasn’t likely to change now. She was still motivated almost entirely by her own self-preservation-that was for certain. After signing the contract, in which she surrendered to the Federation, she had sent another Founder in her place to serve her prison term –and the Federation didn’t even know. Did Odo know, now that he was in the Great Link, and had simply severed his emotional ties to Starfleet and Bajor completely? Weyoun doubted it.

He couldn’t wait to find out all the news- or rather-history that he had been left out of!

As Varndalem prattled on about Weyoun’s former colleagues who were soon to be cloned again for their new mission-Eris, Gelnon, Borath… Weyoun , despite himself silently hoped Varndalem would say the name-


Weyoun’s heart skipped a beat, although his conscious effort to conceal that seemed to work. Varndalem continued,

"Keevan, Luaren,…"

Weyoun nodded at each field supervisor’s name he recognized, noting with satisfaction that that walking embarrassment Yelgrun wasn’t among them.

But Kilana…So they decided to clone her anyway, despite her having allowed a Founder to get killed under her command. This new Dominion mission must be their biggest yet. That would explain the presence of that traitorous wretch Keevan whose questionable loyalties had gotten him-and the Dominion-in trouble more than once.

And how had Kilana died? And was she still going to be a field supervisor? Weyoun was then interrupted in his reminiscing by the presence of…

"Founder," breathed Weyoun, bolting up from the examining table he’d been reclining on, instinctively bowing his head and spreading his palms in a respectful gesture.

"Our newest mission is a great one, Weyoun."

"Of course, Found-" Weyoun then cringed as she interrupted him.

"You have three days to adjust to your new body. During this time Varndalem will brief you on the situation and give you my instructions." She then turned and walked out of the room as quickly and quietly as she came in.

Despite the usual somewhat traumatizing few hours, so far Weyoun’s new life was going quite well. After being brought back, he understood that he was still the leading Vorta representative of the Dominion.

Having that position in the past two years would have been useless anyway, as the Dominion had remained "in the shadows" as the old Vorta expression went. They’d hidden in the vast darkness waiting for the right time to show themselves and grow, only to take over the darkness again…make it all their own It was nothing less than amazing how the events in his absence had come full circle. Once Odo became one with the Link and discovered the Founder’s deception to the Federation, Odo had left the Great Link returning to his beloved Starfleet space station where he could arrest all the drunken Bajorans and various space derelicts he desired.

Of course the Federation now felt they had to retaliate-despite the fact that so far the Dominion had not attacked or even made any threats to the Federation, which for all the Federation knew, they could have done the whole time.

Meanwhile the Breen, disgusted by the Dominion surrender had had Thot Gor executed rather than let the Federation imprison him. However, the various Breen Worlds were now under perpetual Federation surveillance and in economic and political turmoil—and from what Weyoun understood they were to have NOTHING to do with the new Dominion plans. Aww, what a pity,

Kurill Prime, where he hadn’t been in several years, and had missed terribly, was now the location of new secret headquarters of the Dominion. A wise choice since for the most part the Federation left them alone as part of the surrender contract. The Founders had admitted to the Federation that the Vorta were forced into obeying Them and believed that the war with the Federation was a Holy War.

Through some gossip from the newly cloned Gelnon, he heard that as part of the contract the Federation tried to get the Founders to admit that They weren’t really the Gods of the Vorta and Jem-Hadar. They never did get that confession.

As for the Jem-Hadar, they had all died off from withdrawal when the Dominion was forced to destroy all the Ketracel White processing plants. New soldiers would soon have to be cloned as well.

Weyoun definitely had his work cut out for him; the Dominion would have to be rebuilt from almost nothing and prepared for war. Colonel Kira Nerys stood across from Odo in what used to be Sisko’s office-now hers. She was trying to work up the nerve to look into his eyes for the first time that he’d left deep Space Nine-and her-to return to the Great Link.

At the time she actually felt happy for him, knowing how lonely and out-of-place he’d felt all those years, alone and confused. In the end, even her love wasn’t enough to make him happy enough to stay with her.She wasn’t sure what hurt more-that or the knowledge that for the past two years he’d been perfectly content with the Great Link-with "her"- he’d have to have known "she" was there all along among them-the Changelings sensed those kinds of things,didn’t they?

And all that time Kira had been feeling anywhere from close to miserable to miserable. Not only was Odo gone, but she felt the loss of the Emissary-Captain Sisko,she corrected herself, far greater than even the most faithful Bajorans. She missed his guidance, his wisdom, even his temper tantrums, reminding her that he wasn’t just religious figure, but a real man and a great leader… and a good friend.

No, Deep Space Nine hadn’t been the same place since he died. And since Odo left, nobody had been able to fill his shoes(so to speak) as a security officer, let alone, fill the emptiness in her soul. She honestly didn’t know if she could ever truly forgive him, even though she wanted to. But she couldn’t continue to be happy for him, not when getting up in the mornings to run the station had become more difficult than her days of camping out in the freezing weather, eating roasted Pulakoos and fighting Cardassians.

"I still don’t understand how you managed to escape without them finding out," said Kira, facing Odo in the reflection of the large round window, the only thing dividing them from the cold Bajoran space. She then turned to face him for real, awaiting his answer. Could she trust him?

"Oh they know. They didn’t try and stop me either. They knew I wasn’t going to stay with them forever."

Kira nodded, trying to pretend she didn’t feel any satisfaction at that, over the fact that even if she didn’t have Odo, neither did anyone else. Odo belonged only to himself. He’d always been that way. Nevertheless the "Founder" seemed to have more influence over Odo than anyone else, and Kira doubted that "she" was willing to give Odo up so easily. "That coward," Kira spat out suddenly. "Imprisoning another changeling for her crimes. All along she had no intention of giving up her warlord status."

"No, I’m afraid not," agreed Odo, much to Kira’s relief. If he defended her now, she just might have to kill him.

"I could be wrong, because many others in the link…didn’t trust me and kept a lot of information about the Dominion from me. But I think that they’re preparing for another war… and soon."

"How?" Kira almost laughed. "The Jem-Hadar are all dead. The Breen can’t even feed themselves and neither can the Cardassians… and they’d never trust the Dominion again anyway. That just leaves…"Kira’s voice trailed off.

"Do they still believe the Founders are Gods?" she asked tiredly.

"The younger generation all do, since that is what they were taught, when the Dominion took over Kurill about 20 years ago. But the older ones don’t. Don’t forget. Only the Dominion officers are cloned, and that’s only after the original Vorta dies. Most of the Vorta aren’t cloned and know what their world was like, before the Founders claimed it and began spreading tales about how they’d come to save and protect Kurill."

"Save them? From what?"

"I’m not sure… I don’t have all the details, Nerys."

Kira tried to ignore the sudden thumping of her heart at the mere mention of her name. She’d expected him to be completely formal and start calling her "Colonel." The urge to run to him, throw her arms around him and never let him go was almost unbearable but she ignored it. He still had to prove himself to her. Literally. Prove that he was still him, the old Odo.

"As I said, they did try to keep a lot of…ugly facts from me, but they knew I would have left right away if I didn’t at least know some of the truth.

"When the Dominion took over Kurill, the planet and its people were thriving. Their technology was the envy of everyone in the gamma quadrant. Their climate controls provided their people with an abundant supply of food for their people and for export. Their life preservation techniques like cloning made them scientifically light- years ahead of their neighboring worlds. But the Vorta were a peaceful people and one thing they didn’t have was a decent military or any real means of protecting themselves.

"They’d always heard stories about their mysterious protectors, their Gods, but had never seen them. When the Founders finally came to Kurill, Weyoun was the leading politician there."

"Weyoun? But-"

"The original Weyoun," Odo clarified. "Well,Weyoun was given a choice."

To be continued….