Lies Told Often
Summary: Even a survivor sometimes picks the wrong side.
Characters: Seska, Culluh
Disclaimer: Paramount/CBS own all rights to the Voyager universe and its characters, which I am borrowing without permission or intent to profit.
Notes: Written for #fictober2018 Day 10 prompt: “You think this troubles me?" Episode addition to Basics.
Warning: Rape (non-graphic).
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
“The child will die down there, Maje.”
Culluh waves a dismissive hand. “You think this troubles me?”
I try again, bowing my head in the obsequious manner he prefers. “Please, Maje. Let me care for her. I have enough milk to feed the Wildman baby and our son, too.”
I leap back just barely in time for his backhand to glance off my cheekbone. A fraction slower and I’d be laid out on the deck.
I wonder if it would have made any difference had I been holding my son in my arms. A Cardassian man would never strike a woman bearing a child – for us, family is all – but I’ve learned that the Kazon are different.
“If the child dies, it was too weak to live,” he thunders. “Get out of my sight, woman, and do not speak to me again unless I give you permission.”
Once, I had my pick of the finest suitors on Cardassia. I was revered as an accomplished operative of the Obsidian Order; I could hold my own in any debate, spar verbally with the greatest intellects. On a world where flirting is a combat sport, I was the undisputed champion.
Now I am worthless – valued only for my ability to bear offspring, to bow my head and murmur, yes, Maje. I am no better than any Kazon siml.
Such is the fate I’ve chosen for myself, and I had best get used to it.
I pick myself up from the floor, curbing my instinct to scratch out his eyes. That won’t serve me, and it certainly won’t serve my son.
But the infant... She’s an innocent, and I have to try to save her, no matter what it costs me.
“She’s just a baby, Maje.” I plead for her life one final time. “I beg you –”
Culluh’s brown hand lashes out faster than a striking viper and clenches around my throat, choking off both voice and breath. He rises from the chair that once belonged to Janeway, his grip punishing as he backs me toward the ready room.
“I warned you,” he hisses as the doors close behind us. “You dare to contradict me in front of my men? You’ll pay the price.”
He pushes me face-down over the Starfleet desk, one hand planted in the small of my back as the other fumbles with clothing. I suck in a breath at his harsh invasion.
“Say it,” he hisses, as the motion of his hips pushes mine against the hard edge of the desk.
I grit my teeth. “You are my Maje.”
“And what does that mean?” His hand fists in my hair.
My neck is arched, my voice strained. “You rule me.”
“And?” He yanks one arm behind my back, hard fingers bruising as he uses my limb for leverage.
“I obey you in all things.”
He roars through his teeth and slumps over my back, and I wait, still and rigid, for him to loosen the punishing grip on my hair, the hold on my arm. Waiting for him to leave so I can assess what damage he’s done to me this time.
With a satisfied grunt, Culluh pushes upright and readjusts his clothing.
“You are my woman, and I am your Maje,” he says in a voice rich with unearned superiority. “Never forget that.”
“Yes, Maje,” I whisper, closing my eyes against tears of defeat. Because Culluh is right. The lies I’ve told him – the obsequious, ingratiating, flattering lies – have become my truth.
He leaves, and I stand slowly on trembling legs. I long for a sonic shower with everything in me, but I don’t deserve to be cleansed. I’ve failed, and because of that the Wildman baby will die on some nameless, primitive planet.
And what will become of my son? What will become of me?
Once I was proud, a citizen of Cardassia. But now I am a Kazon’s woman, and I am worth nothing.