Star Trek Fic: Joining.

I’m extrapolating/making up a few bits and bobs for Trill. I know it’s been expanded on but I’m working from canon for sake of ease. 

A screen turns on revealing a small room in the standard style of a Starfleet ship. There are no personal effects or decorations, suggesting this isn’t someone’s personal quarters. Outside the window lights strobe past, suggesting the ship is travelling faster than light . Directly in front of the camera sits a man in his mid twenties. He has jet black hair, green eyes and a broad face covered in a closely cut beard. He goes to speak, stops and runs his fingers through his hair. Finally he speaks again. 

“Stardate 52988.0, soon to be the fifth day, first month, 411 of the unified calendar when we arrive on Trill. On Earth it’s the year twenty three seventy five, their calendar starting with the birth of  a  religious figure in the Christian faith, in fact upon leaving Earth I just missed the celebrations of his birth, I digress,”

He sighs, and pauses.

“Personal log, Kinaran Veled, possibly my last log under that name. When this ship, the USS Scott Kelly arrives in orbit around Trill I’m going straight into surgery in the capital. After which I will be Kinaran Tal, fifteen host of the Tal symbiote. Xara Tal, the Starfleet admiral has died, having sustained mortal injuries in the battle of Cardassia and the commission has picked me to be the next host of Tal. I, words fail,”

He pauses again. He leans back in his chair. He stands and walks over to the replicator, still speaking. 

“As well as it being a good habit I especially wanted to record my last thoughts and feelings prior to being joined. My last thoughts and feelings unaffected by the experiences and memories of the fourteen previous Tal hosts.” 

He pauses and looks to the replicator “Large latte, extra cinnamon, extra nutmeg,” he orders. The drink materialises and he returns to his seat and continues as he warms his hands on his mug.

“The joining, I don’t know how it will affect me. I don’t know whether I’ll still be me but with new memories or some new amalgamated person. Oh I’ve read other accounts of being joined. Telben Krel’s famous self help guide, various holoprograms and books but they all vary. Some people change, some people don’t. I guess this recording could be put in the commons for potential candidates to listen to. So I’ll try and make this accessible.

When I was six, my uncle Tazec was joined to the Mahl symbiote, the fourth host, he’d talked through the process in depth with his husband and his siblings. The whole process fascinated me. I was fascinated by history as a child and suddenly this man I knew had a perfect recall of over a century of memories that I would pester him about constantly and he humoured me. He’d tell me what it was like to meet President Sulu or to see Pelor perform at the Riverside Arena sixty years ago. I was obsessed. I looked up every account of joined Trill I could find. I’d watch the holovid series on the legendary Ambassador Curzon Dax repeatedly  and I pestered my mother to travel with me to the Bolarus Literature conference to see Keldon Dobar talk about joined Trill. He signed a padd loaded with his complete works which I got laser etched into its casing. I even got to meet Xara Tal, then a Captain in Starfleet when she gave a talk to our academy about Starfleet, I of course bothered her about being joined and the Symbiosis Commission. I was in awe of her, this person with over four centuries of memories, back to the earliest trials in surgical joining of symbiotes.” 

He pauses then bursts out laughing.

“Oh my word, I just realised I’m going to find out what she thought of little thirteen year old me, I might die of embarrassment right there on the surgical table,”

He clears his throat and sips his drink.

“So I start studying what makes a good candidate, what the Symbiosis commission looks for. Careers that are perhaps attractive to the Commission, anything that might give me the edge. I signed up to extracurricular classes. I took up three different instruments, the Katarwave, the Andorian Icepipes and the Human guitar, only one of which I still play, for the record. I joined the Youth Congress, ended up visiting our equivalent on Earth, my first visit there. I studied first aid and medical qualifications, learned several languages and not once did I stop to think. “Why am I doing this? Do I enjoy this?” Because even when I did enjoy it I was putting so much pressure on myself to excel and to be picked as a candidate that I stopped enjoying it”

Another pause. He then shrugs

“I got onto the program, which is great. All I wanted. Except I now had to succeed. At 18 I was assigned a mentor. Pelea Narin. Narin was the fifth host of the Narin symbiote and an accomplished Xenobiologist who at the time was teaching at the Central University on Bolarus, something I didn’t have much interest in. I was, still am, far more interested in societies, in civilisations. Still I studied it alongside her and I guess she was impressed I was willing to study new areas. She assessed my range of skills which were many. By now I was a qualified emergency medic,I was studying towards fluency in English, Dakaran-Bajoran, Standard Sign Language and a whole bunch of other skills I’ve very rarely used. She was impressed. Said as such to my face but it was obvious she was a little off put by my single focus. She brought up the same concerns I think I’d admit I had, if I was honest with myself. “Why are you studying this? What do you want from life?” 

To which I always said “To become a trill host,”

“And what would that entail, what would you give the symbiote as a host,” at which point I’d spout off all my skills and qualifications. This usually ended in a somewhat resigned “I cannot fault you for enthusiasm,” from Narin. 

“In between my placements with Narin I was studying for a degree in comparative sociology. I really liked it but all the while I was thinking “How would this affect my chances of being joined” not did I actually enjoy it. The extracurricular activities continued, I considered going to Starfleet academy if i thought that’d help, all of all the while being overshadowed by my potential joining. By my third year of study I was entering the age range when Trill are joined and I started to wonder if that’d help my study and when I might get joined before my final exams. My constant worries about joining and extracurricular tasks started to negatively affect my grades, but not long after my twentieth birthday I was informed by the symbiosis commission I’d been accepted as a host candidate. I was overjoyed, I was overwhelmed. This goal I’d been working for all this life ”

He pauses, then sips his drink.

“Then the war happened, and that all went on hold. I was stuck on Earth then travel was limited. I was on a six month placement at University College, London on Earth, rather than take the risk of travelling to Trill, UCL offered to let me finish my studies there and of course, all joining was put on hold as travel was limited. Every now and then a joined Trill in Starfleet or somewhere else near the front lines would be killed and I’d wonder if I’d recieve my call to travel to Trill but it never came. My life was on hold and until then there was little else I could do. My undergraduate degree progressed into a Masters in Sociology with a specialisation in parallel development of industrial era ideologies, I found it interesting, anyway. 

“With no movement on the joining side of things I felt a little bit free to just pursuit what I wanted. I’d already been accepted as a host, I could now do what I wanted. So I did. I spent most of 2374 on the maglev between my home in London and my job at the Trill Embassy in Paris where I helped people stranded by the war. I worked as a tutor, teaching other language scholars how to speak various forms of Trill. I was having fun, as fun as one can in the middle of an interstellar war,”

“Then the war ended, about three months ago now.  I was elated, we all were but on a selfish level I was worried. Would I now have to drop the life I’d made on Earth and go be joined. Would I be the same person afterward, what if my friends didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like them!? I could drop out of the process but it’d been my singular purpose. I received a call from the symbiosis commission two weeks ago. Admiral Xara Tal had been in a vegitative state since her ship, the Windchaser was destroyed in the final battle of Cardassia Prime. Her condition was worsening and based on conversations with her husband and with her own prior wishes on the matter it was decided to move the symbiote to a new host and I’d been chosen. I was to travel to Trill immediately”

“So here I am, On my way to the end goal of over half my life. I’ve said my goodbyes to my friends in London and Paris, knowing I might not be the same person when I return, if I choose to return,”

There’s a long pause, 

“I’m scared, I’m scared how I’ll change, I’m scared if I’ll lose who I am.”

Another pause

“I’m scared I wont be good enough, the Tal symbiote is nearly five centuries old, what if I’m a disappointment. My predecessors are war heroes, astronauts and scientists, I’m a clerk at an embassy. So I can play the guitar, what use is that compared to what’s come before me. I’m starting to question why I wanted this all along, I was more interested in everything around being joined, I never questioned what I could do for my symbiote. Now I have a life that’s worth contributing. I wonder if I’m giving it all up. No turning back now though. I guess.” 

The log entry ends. 

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