Oh, it’s you again. Staring at me in the darkness, your eyes wide and shining as if you really expect me to see you. Don’t you know it’s pitch black in this room, especially over where you’re standing, by that heap of empty kanar bottles; and by all rights, I ought to be far too drunk to see you or anything else. What’s more, I don’t believe in ghosts. Never have and never will.
But you might as well stay, though. You’re about the best company I have these days, and you’re certainly a lot better looking than Weyoun. You’re more tactful as well, not asking me to explain why I shot you, just standing there looking at me with those beautiful eyes as if I already know what you expect me to do. Well, just how many times do I have to tell you that I don’t know or care, Ziyal? I don’t have a conscience, remember? I drowned it at the bottom of a jug of kanar long ago. And guess what, I don’t miss it, either.
Besides, there’s nothing to explain. You can’t deny that you were aiding enemies of the Cardassian state, and even though you grew up far from Cardassia, you must have known the penalty. Do you really expect me to be ashamed of having done my patriotic duty?
Damn it, will you stop looking at me like that! And just how did you contrive to make me see you when my eyes are closed?
Now go on back to whatever nonexistent hell you crawled out of, and let me get some sleep. I have a long day tomorrow, you know. Weyoun has scheduled another set of executions at 0600 hours, and I’m expected to be awake and alert, ready to preside over the very public demise of yet more Cardassian officers convicted of anti-Dominion sedition. That’s the official charge, by the way. They don’t even attempt to describe it as anti-Cardassian these days. Why bother with such pretenses now?
Oh, and did I mention that one of the condemned men was once a friend of mine? We fought together, side by side, for three years. We were like brothers. I’d have trusted him with my life, anywhere, without hesitation. Damn fool was caught last week trying to plant a bomb in a Jem’Hadar barracks. There’s nothing I can do for him now. Maybe if I drink enough kanar, I won’t even notice. Can you hand me a bottle, my dear?
No? Somehow I didn’t think so.
What do you want from me? An admission that you were right about the Dominion’s intentions all along? Tell me, what possible difference can that make now?
But then, I suppose you’re not likely to report me for sedition, given the fact that you don’t exist. Yes, Ziyal, you were right to oppose the Dominion. Now they have Cardassia by the balls, and every day they squeeze a bit tighter. You died as a patriot, and I’m nothing but a worthless collaborator, a traitorous coward who spends his days hiding in a bottle. Beyond question, I deserve to be shot. There, is that what you wanted me to say?
And I’m sure it won’t be long before Weyoun obliges. That wretched, boot-licking Vorta would probably have had me killed before now, except that the Founder still seems to find me useful. Now that’s truly pathetic. I often amuse myself thinking of new and imaginative ways to kill Weyoun, but it wouldn’t do any good. They’d just clone him again.
Pathetic isn’t even the word. I used to be a free, proud Cardassian citizen. Now I’m a peon who abases himself before a shape-shifting blob of sentient goo. Don’t even get me started on how I’d kill the Founder, damn her.
Ziyal, I don’t know why you waste your time staring at me in the middle of the night. I’m not worth looking at. Go away. Find something more productive to do with your afterlife.
And don’t pretend you’re my conscience. I don’t have one.