Elias Vaughn entered the Infirmary to see Doctor Bashir in the middle of a conversation with Prynn. He stopped in his tracks and slowly backed up towards the door to avoid the appearance of a parent too involved in his adult child’s personal life. He had seen his daughter spending a lot of time with Julian during off-hours whether it was playing darts at Quark’s or sharing drinks in the Replimat. Neither Julian nor Prynn said definitively. All Elias really had to go on was Worf’s suggestion that they were dating. And Worf was never the type to gossip or listen to gossip. On the other hand, his daughter did not strike him as a “one of the guys”-type girl. And Julian’s wide array of historical holosuite reenactments was something the good doctor shared with male colleagues.
“I would strongly advise that you adhere to this stretching routine,” Bashir was saying to Tenmei while handing her a padd.
“No problem, Doctor,” Prynn replied, making a point to address him by his title when she saw her father from one corner of her eye.
“And,” Julian continued as they both sauntered towards the exit out onto the Promenade, “if you’re still sore in the morning, stop by before you go on duty.”
Prynn simply returned Julian’s wide smile with a quick nod. She gave Elias an embarrassed glance as if he had caught them behaving inappropriately. Vaughn knew that Bashir was friendly with all his patients, but even more so towards his female patients. His biggest failing was probably failing was that he probably got too emotionally involved with women who had unique medical needs, be it Melora Pazlar, a native of a low-gravity planet or Sarina Douglas, who, until three years ago, had severe deficiencies interacting with the world around her as a side effect of her genetic modifications.
“Commander,” Julian gasped, sounding equally embarrassed. “What can I do for you?”
“I’ll be chaperoning Lieutenant Ro and Zeyner on their trip to Nimbus Three,” Vaughn plainly responded. “That planet’s not up to specs health-wise….”
“And you want to be properly vaccinated,” Bashir finished, cringing at the mention of one of his former staff. Though his genetic enhancements gave him the ability to read body language and facial cues in ways other humans could not, he never for one second suspected Zeyner Antis was involved in less than reputable activities. “I can take care of that. But I should warn you the vaccine for Rigalian mud fleas can have really difficult side effects.”
As Julian headed for the computer terminal in the main entryway, he noticed Elias had not budged. “Something else, sir?” he asked nervously.
“It concerns my daughter.”
“What about Prynn?”
“Are you interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with her?”
“No,” Bashir replied, wondering where Vaughn got something so ridiculous.
“It’s just that I overheard Ambassador Worf suggest it the other day,” Vaughn innocently explained.
“Worf,” Julian repeated, recalling that particular awkward encounter with the ambassador prior to his departure from the station. “When Ezri and I were together, Worf sort of took on the role of a disapproving older brother. While he was more than happy to step aside, he still felt we were not right for each other.”
Elias momentarily looked away to hide his embarrassment over this latest error in judgment. “But there’s nothing between you and Prynn?”
“Of course not.”
“I only ask because when parent and child serve together, the parent can’t help but be curious about these things.”
“I understand. You should be commended for trying to make up for lost time with your daughter.” Bashir then gave Vaughn a friendly pat on the shoulder as he continued towards the computer terminal. “I’ll get to work on the vaccines.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Vaughn answered, heading for the exit.
Once the doors had opened, then closed again, Julian rolled his eyes wishing he had the last couple minutes of his life back.
Benjamin Sisko was ready to return to his family life on Bajor. The trip from Deep Space Nine was uneventful, as was the trip from the spaceport back to his house in Rekantha Province. Of course, what was morning and early afternoon on the station’s clock was evening at his residence on Bajor. He was expecting Kasidy to be putting little Rebecca to bed and Jake to be getting stuck on his latest manuscript. That’s why he was surprised to see the whole house was dark. “Hello,” he called out.
Sisko quickly surveyed the living room, the study, and the kitchen. No one. He slowly trudged up the stairs. He was beginning to worry because he couldn’t even hear his daughter fussing. Maybe she had already fallen, and so had Kasidy even if it wasn’t that late at night. Ben slowly tiptoed towards Rebecca’s bedroom when he heard Rebecca cry out in his and Kasidy’s room. He quickly sauntered over the room. As he opened the door, he quickly felt the tip of a phaser pistol on his chest. “Hello, Mister Russell,” a familiar voice said. “Or should I call you Captain Benjamin Sisko?”
Runold, the pudgy Trill who doubted Sisko during his undercover mission, was holding the weapon. From the bump on his dark gray jumpsuit, Runold wore a brace on the shoulder Sisko dislocated. Three Nausicaans were also present pointing phaser rifles at the rest of the Sisko family, one of whom walked over to Ben and patted him down, possibly to make sure he had no listening devices on him.
Kasidy held Rebecca tightly trying to protect her daughter from the intimidating alien thugs. “Ben,” she gasped. “Who are these people? What’s going on?”
“This is Runold,” Benjamin ruefully replied. “We met during my undercover mission.”
“And you kept picking fights with me,” Runold added, “so you could have a more active role in screwing us over.”
“Let them go,” Benjamin implored. “You’re quarrel is with me not with them.”
“Ben, what are you doing?” Kasidy asked. She was beginning to regret having persuaded her husband to go on this one-time mission. If she had known someone would show up to take her, her daughter and stepson hostage, she probably would have kept quiet. Not even the Prophets, who were not limited by linear time, could help them out of this predicament.
“I’m not after you,” Runold sneered, still angry with himself for letting himself be fooled by the famous Benjamin Sisko. “I want Verad. He went along with your little masquerade. And by doing that, he may have destroyed the Neo-Purists and its cause he claimed to believe in so strongly.”
“I can take you to Verad,” Sisko calmly replied. “Just let them go.”
“And lose my guarantee that I don’t fall into another one of your cleverly laid traps?” Runold retorted.
“Let these two go,” Jake suggested, referring to Kasidy and Rebecca. “I’ll be your hostage.”
“No, Jake,” Kasidy implored.
“Absolutely not,” Benjamin added.
“I’m not going to let these thugs,” Jake began as the Nausicaan who was guarding him pointed his rifle at Jake’s head, “harm a defenseless two-year old. Let Kasidy and Rebecca go, and I’ll stay with them.”
“You don’t have to do this, Jake,” Benjamin implored.
“Oh, really?” Runold asked. “You do what I ask and maybe I will harm a defenseless two-year old.” The Trill slowly pulled his phaser away from Benjamin and pointed it at Rebecca.
Rebecca let out a screeching wail as Kasidy began cradling the little girl’s head. “You wouldn’t stare,” the protective mother sneered.”
“Watch me,” Runold shot back.
“All right,” Benjamin said firmly. His son had been in similar danger over the years from the massacre on Ajilon Prime to the Dominion’s occupation of Deep Space Nine during the first four months of the Dominion War when Jake foolishly decided to stay behind to report on the war. And had Quark and Ziyal not broken him out of the station’s holding cells, Jake would have faced execution for his involvement in trying to derail the enemy’s efforts to bring in reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. After Starfleet regained control of the station, Ben had hoped Jake would never again put himself in that kind of danger again. Now Jake was willing put himself in that kind of danger in order to protect his stepmother and half-sister.
Runold pointed his phaser back at Benjamin while also nodding at the Nausicaans to lower their weapons and leave the room. He knew how most of these hostage negotiations worked and Benjamin would not cooperate until he knew his wife and daughter were safe. One of the Nausicaans stayed behind to escort Jake out of the room.
“Let’s go,” Runold commanded of the men.
“Ben,” Kasidy said, her eyes brimming with tears fearing for her husband when he left to confront Dukat in the Fire Caves, “I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“So do I,” Ben somberly replied.
“Hate to cut this tearful goodbye short,” Runold patiently, “but let’s go.”
Benjamin and Jake left with their captors, leaving Kasidy to continue to console her scared child.