You wake up realizing that those closest to you were consumed in your making – you are born an orphan. For slightly over 90 hours, two distinct and simultaneous nebula of experience collide -- dual masses strain to coalesce into a sense of self, an ego that can pronounce “I” as more a statement than a question. Part of you finds the snug familiarity of your body violated -- your nearly vestigial pouch ripped open and stuffed with a half meter worm. The other part of you feels trapped in an alien husk, fighting the desperate urge to claw its way out, clinging to training and a sheer faith that this process – a process that no two Trill describe quite the same -- will eventually end .
There has to be a better way to achieve immortality. Klingons try to fight their way to it. Romulans conquer. Ferengi haggle. Terrans try to fuck their way to it -- but Terrans are not alone there.
Despite the anticipated horrors and warnings, the awakening to my fourth life has been the gentlest so far. I lie supine in a dark, cavern on a raised dais feeling rock’s warmth oozes through the layers of padding. The light is dim. The warm, moist air smells of sweet, delicate incense. Somewhere the burble of a fountain couples with soft music. I slightly twist my wrists, and determine the thick leather manacles on the dais remain confined to their niches carved out of the stone. My four attendants wear white robes, hiding their alert focus behind kindly smiles and slow, deliberate movement. Two stand quietly back, hypos tucked in their sleeves. The tricorders, sensors, even emergency medical supplies, are all discretely hidden away as an attempt to reflect the old ways as much as possible, while reducing the frequency of madness, infection and death.