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Old September 10 2009, 11:58 PM   #17
Rush Limborg
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Re: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine--The Cleanest Food To Find

Alrighty. Here's the next scene.

Special thanks to the boys at Memory Beta for all the info on Simon's career.

Enjoy!


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Cleanest Food To Find
Scene 7

The next morning, Bashir arrived early at the Infirmary. His mind was racing—reflecting over what had happened the night before. He held nothing but sympathy for Simon Tarses—after all, he himself had gone through a lot of the sort of conflicts the other doctor had apparently faced. And even the conflicts he did not share…well, Bashir could guess that being treated as an outcast would do a great deal of internal damage to a man.

But…surely Simon understood that they were trying to help him. So…why wasn’t he letting them? Why was he so…closed to them?

Was it pride? As far as Bashir was concerned, that certainly wasn’t it. The man behaved as if any ego he’d once possessed had been driven away long ago.

But then…what was it?

“I…hope I’m not interrupting.”

He turned, to see Ezri standing in the doorway of the Infirmary.

Julian smiled. He always liked to see her standing there…as if at his doorstep, looking in. She looked absolutely radiant—as she always did, but the mental picture increased it tenfold. “Of course not, Ezri. Come in!”

Ezri returned the smile, and briefly glanced down before entering. “So…how are things around here?”

“Well…I suppose I’m just waiting for Tarses to come in.”

Ezri nodded. “So am I. I want to see how our talk last night affected him.”

“Yes…about last night—Ezri, I’d meant to ask you something.”

“Hmm?”

“I was wondering…well, shortly before he left, I…noticed that you seemed to be…deep in thought, for a moment.”

“Oh—yes. I was.”

“It was after he said that something inside him was telling him not to give up, despite all that’s happened….”

Ezri sighed, and slowly nodded. “Yeah…I forgot to tell you, I guess.”

Bashir stared at her. “Tell me…?”

Ezri turned, and walked to a nearby cot, where she sat down on the edge. “Julian…have you ever felt so lost…so trapped…that you feel there’s no way out? That…all the events of your life have driven you to this—and that there is no alternative…no escape…just…the knowledge that you must remain, and fight…even though you feel you can’t?”

Julian frowned. “Sometimes…I guess.”

“Well…take that feeling…and multiply it by three or four, and…you have something similar to what he’s going through.”

Julian walked over to the cot. “Ezri…I understand all that. But…what I don’t understand is: why can’t he accept—”

“—our help?” Ezri looked up. “That’s why I asked you to multiply, Julian.”

Julian broke his gaze, trying to run her logic through his mind. After a moment, he sighed, and turned back to her. “Ezri…I’m trying my best to follow you. And usually, I can. But…” and he felt a smile, “I’m afraid I’m only a fair counselor, after all.”

Ezri tried to return the smile, but apparently couldn’t. “Well…basically, the reason he doesn’t want our help…is that he’s afraid that if he admits to himself that he needs our help…it’ll hurt him even more.”

Julian frowned, but nodded for her to continue.

“I guess you could say…he’s trying to hold on to his dignity. He doesn’t want pity…he doesn’t want people to feel sorry for him, when he doesn’t think he deserves that….”

She shook her head, and Bashir could see the sadness in her eyes. “Julian…he’s punishing himself for what he did—but… he’s also trying to move on. He wants to move on. He just…doesn’t know how.”

Julian nodded again. Finally, he understood. “And he’s afraid that…if he can’t move on…by his own effort….”

Ezri returned the nod. “…that there isn’t any hope…after all.”

Bashir looked away for a moment. Then, he sat down on the cot, right beside Ezri. “Well…is that it then? Is there…nothing we can do?”

Ezri turned to him. “Oh…of course not…. Julian, no matter what it takes, we have to help him through this. He has to learn how to move on with his life—and, whether he likes it or not, he needs my help for that.”

“But if he won’t accept it…”

“I…think he is, without realizing it. It just…” Ezri shrugged. “We have to build up his confidence, somehow. And…right now, you’re the best one to do that.”

Julian blinked. “Me?”

“You told him you accepted his posting because he’s a good doctor. Now, what you have to do…is prove it to him. Convince him of that…and we’ll have set him on the right track.”

Julian kept his face unreadable. “Ezri…if I didn’t know better…I’d say you were manipulating him.”

Ezri’s eyes widened. “I wouldn’t think of it!”

And then…they dropped the charade, and laughed.

As if on cue, Simon Tarses entered the Infirmary.

Bashir stood up, smiling. “Ah—Dr. Tarses! How are you this morning?”

“All right…I guess….”

“Well…I have a few…interesting medical projects that I think you’ll take a liking to. Do you feel up to it?”

“Of course, Doctor!”

Bashir nodded. “That’s good to hear. Now…shall we begin?”

Tarses nodded quickly—and stopped as he saw Ezri, still sitting on the cot.

Ezri stood up. “Oh—am I in your way?”

Simon shook his head violently. “No, no, no—not at all. I’m just…surprised to see you there…I guess.”

“Oh, I was talking to Dr. Bashir about something. I’ll be going now.” She headed for the doorway, stopped, turned back to the man, and added, “I’ll see you after your shift, then?”

“Uh—yes. Ah…you’re office, at—”

“No need. Just head to your quarters, and be ready, okay?”

“Of course, Counselor.”

After Ezri left, Bashir headed for his main computer console. “All right, Dr. Tarses. I have here…” as he pulled up an image on the screen, “…a sample of a new pathogen recently discovered on Bajor Seven.”

Tarses frowned, as he sat down right after Bashir. “Harmful to sentient life?”

“That’s what we’re going to find out. You’ve had some prior experience with pathogens, am I correct?”

“Yes, sir—I’d assisted in isolating a prion pathogen, eleven years ago….”

“And…it was causing an epidemic on Icor Nine, as I recall.”

“Yes…Doctor.”

Bashir frowned at the hesitation. “Is…something wrong?”

“No, sir.”

Bashir nodded. “All right.” He turned back to the screen,

Finally, Tarses spoke up. “You know all about that?”

“About what?”

“The…pathogen.”

Bashir turned to him. “Of course. I seem to remember telling you that I’d read your list of accomplishments.”

“Oh, yeah—that’s right.”

“It was a very remarkable approach, I must say.”

Tarses nodded quickly. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Bashir sighed. “You know, Simon…you really shouldn’t downplay your abilities like you do.”

“I’m not downplaying—” Simon stopped, as his gaze fell, as if it were directed inward. After a moment, he corrected himself, “Yes…I guess I am.”

“You’ve been doing that a great deal, I’ve noticed.”

“…Yes, I have….”

“Frankly, is there a reason for that—or is it just part of your fatalistic outlook on things?”

“I-I don’t…know what you mean.”

“You seem to be so focused on your failures…that you dare not reflect on your successes.”

Tarses said nothing.

Bashir sighed, and turned his seat, so that he completely faced the other man. “Lieutenant…has it ever occurred to you that sometimes…all that truly matters is what you have accomplished in life—not what you did wrong?”

The man shrugged. “Well…I guess that…all everyone’s ever done for a long time…is focus precisely on what I did wrong.”

“And…you were afraid that I would do the same.”

Tarses nodded. “Correct.”

“And of course…that’s why you behaved like you did last night.”

“Yes, sir. And…I’m sorry, sir.”

“Don’t be.” Bashir smiled. “There have been times where…I’ve felt something similar.”

Simon blinked. “You…you’ve been disgraced…and despised?”

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far. But, for a time, after it was discovered that I was genetically enhanced…there were many people who…expressed concerns over me.”

“You’re…genetically enhanced?”

Bashir chuckled. “You know, that’s funny—because I’d have thought that would’ve been common knowledge, by now.”

Tarses gave an embarrassed chuckle. “Uh…maybe it is, Doctor. But…I must admit, I didn’t read that much about you before I came here….”

Bashir smiled again. “Nor I you.”

Tarses frowned. “Pardon?”

“Simon…I think you may have figured this out by now, but…if it helps you to know this…I didn’t read your record…or anything about your ‘suspension’…until after I accepted you into my team. All I knew…was that you were a good doctor. And that’s all that matters.”

Simon spoke in the tone of whisper. “You…you mean that?”

“Of course. You see…whenever I make an addition to my staff, I always ask myself this one question: Is this person good? I wouldn’t dare settle for anyone mediocre…or less than mediocre. No…I always look for those who have accomplished things in there medical career, because I want the most well-run, most efficient, most successful Infirmary possible. It’s the same line of thought that leads one to choose the most effective medicine—the best supplies for an office—the least contaminated food to eat.

“I want the best—and as far as I was concerned, you are among the best. Any questions?”

Bashir had asked the last question with a flippant tone, which Tarses responded to with a brief, uneasy smirk. “I…guess not.”

Bashir felt his smile widen. “That’s good. Now…shall we go on?”

Tarses nodded. “Of course.”

As they went over the records of the pathogen, and discussed and debated all the possibilities, Bashir marveled, once again, at the professionalism of Simon Tarses. Despite the pain he had gone through, nothing could stifle his ability, his loyalty, his love of his work.

Perhaps there’s hope for him, after all….


* * *
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