^Thank you, Badger
Nice opening with the James Bond scenario. Look forward to seeing what takes place in "real world".
And...ask, and ye shall recieve.
All right. The opening passage for this chapter is my take on the "Ian Flemming" style. Fans of the original Bond novels will recall that Flemming seemed to have a thing for writing his "descriptive" passages with a "travelogue" air--that is, writing them as if to sell the location in question to potential tourists. He often wrote in present tense for these passages--and then, once the "mini-travelogue", went straight to James Bond and the past tense.
Frankly, those passages, for me, conjure up vast cinematic "wide shots" of the location--such as the first post-titles sequence in Goldfinger
, where we see a wide shot of Miami Beach, to John Barry's larger-than-life score.
As it were...it's that sequence that the first part of this chapter is based on. So, without further ado, cue the music...and obverve from above the beauty of Risa, then untouched by the scourge of the Borg....
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
Risa. Vacation capital of the United Federation of Planets. Paradise of the galaxy…where one would nearly want for nothing.
Visitors to this world, no matter how many times they have already been there, never cease to be awestruck at the pristine beauty: the brilliance, the perfection. All who bother to know are fully aware of the all-too synthetic, mechanical nature of its beauty—the artificial weather system, keeping storm patterns and global temperatures completely predictable and controlled—but as far as the vast majority are concerned, that is more an asset than a liability. It is an expression of triumph, a monument to the vast ingenuity of sentient life—what we can control…what we can create.
Looking out from an arriving shuttle, visitors are rarely able to tear their gaze away from what they see—the vast resorts, from towering themed hotel complexes looking out to the ocean…to a wide variety of amusement parks, extending throughout the mainland…to the jungles…the islands…the cruise vessels, made to look straight out of a history book…and of course, the long stretch of beaches, wide enough to provide the proper balance between peaceful tranquility…and friendly community.
On one such beach, on a clear summer day, there walked a young gentleman, clad in a blue button-up short-sleeve and tan shorts—tall and gaunt, with a well-developed forehead; short, dark hair; tanned skin…and an easy smile, which he wore on his face as he looked around him, taking in all his surroundings. It’s been too long,
he mused. I can’t describe how relieved I am to be back here
Eventually, Dr. Julian Bashir found an appropriate place to reside for the next few hours—a long beach chair, with its back lowered just enough for comfort. At the very least, he could adjust it if he needed to. It lay underneath the (variable) shade of an outspread, thick-leaved Earth palm tree. It was perfect.
And so, he set his bag down, and sat, leaning back against the rest. He reached into his bag, pulling out a thick old-style hardcover book, which contained the adventures of a literary hero of his…a certain intelligence agent, whom he tended to regard as something of a role model….
He read, with the smile on his face…as his mind simultaneously picked up the sounds around him—the roar of the waves…the rustle of the leaves of the nearby tropical foliage…the endless chatter of beachgoers…the joyous laughter of doubtlessly beautiful young women. As he took in the smell of the sea…he knew he was, at last, content to relax, to forget all his troubles, to cast off his cares for another day….
Upon hearing his name, he looked up—to see an angel standing about a foot away from him.
Well…not quite an angel. As far as he was concerned, only…his last former love…deserved that title. But this woman—a girl with airy, windswept, flowing golden hair and a petite figure, in a sparse two-piece beige swimsuit—was quite close.
He kept his gaze focused and blank. “Yes…?”
She blinked, and broke her gaze in apparent unease. In a soft voice with a somewhat European flair—French?—she said, “I-I simply…wanted to know, sir, if…if it was you
Bashir gave a polite smile. “Well…I suppose it is.”
She met his gaze again, with a small smile of genuine admiration.
Bashir tilted his head. “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, Miss…?”
“Oh—my name is Holland, sir. Cynthia Holland.”
Bashir chuckled despite himself. “Well, Miss Holland, since you keep calling me ‘sir’, I’m going to assume you are either a helpless hero-worshipper on my part…”
The girl’s smile became more confident.
Bashir narrowed his eyes slightly, returning the smile “…or you’re a Starfleet officer, addressing a superior.”
She laughed—a soft, musical laugh. “I…am, sir. Well, I suppose I am, anyhow.”
Bashir raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“I’m…” she looked around her, and leaned forward, lowering her voice to a near whisper. “I’m actually a member of Starfleet Intelligence.”
Bashir leaned back. “Indeed?”
She straightened up, nodding. “Yes, sir. I would…show you my identification, but…as you can see…”
Bashir chuckled. “Yes, of course. No, I don’t need proof, Miss Holland. You haven’t given me any reason to doubt you….”
“Well, be that as it may, sir…I still would like to prove my trust.”
“Really? Why so desperate?”
“Oh, it’s not that, sir. It’s only…I don’t want you to have the wrong opinion of me.”
Bashir felt his smile widen. “What wrong opinion?”
She cleared her throat. “That…I’m only trying to impress you—I-I mean…”
Bashir’s eyebrows rose. “Impress…me
The girl started wringing her hands.
“My dear…if anyone’s going to be doing the ‘impressing’, it had better be me, trying to impress you
She looked at him oddly. “Sir…?”
But he caught himself. Julian Subatoi Bashir—what on Earth do you think you’re doing?
Keeping his composure, he replied, “Never mind. My point is…I believe you.”
She nodded, her posture easing up a great deal. “Thank you, sir.”
“Oh, call me ‘Doctor’. I don’t seem that much older than you, anyway.” He waved her to the beach chair right next to his—which had been completely flattened out by whoever had sat there before. “Sit down,” he offered, with a smile.
“Thank you….” She lay down, relaxing completely into the material with a smiling sigh. Bashir suddenly found himself highly attracted to her, as he saw her lying there with such confidence in her posture…her attire leaving little to his imagination.
Oh, knock it off. What are you doing, ogling her like that?
She turned her head to him. “Ten years.”
Bashir blinked. “Pardon?”
“You’re ten years older than me, Doctor.”
Only one of his eyebrows rose this time. “You’ve been reading up on me, Miss Holland?”
“Well, actually…yes, sir.”
a hero-worshipper, aren’t you?”
She didn’t tense up this time. She turned completely, so that she lay on her side, facing him. She smiled, her arm propping up her head. “Oh, it’s not that, Doctor. You’ve simply…made an impression throughout the fleet.”
“Particularly in Intelligence, I presume?”
“And the Academy.”
Julian frowned for a moment, thinking. “I…see. I suppose I should be flattered.”
“It’s all right, sir. I understand.”
“Oh, I’m glad you do….” Bashir returned her smile, and turned to rest on his side as well, facing her.
He took this opportunity to register more of her in his mind. Cynthia Holland’s eyes had a rather wide, yet slightly narrowed look about them. Her lips were full…her face soft and filled with the bloom of youth, with a slight dimple in her chin.
She had an “exotic” splendor and enchantment about her, of a far different kind than Ezri’s—Cynthia seemed to carry and present herself as if she were far more conscious of (and confident in) her own beauty than the more modest, demure Ezri Dax—so it would frankly be meaningless to wonder which woman was “more” beautiful, or “more” attractive to him. Different kinds of beauty—“apples and oranges”, as the saying goes. He would say they were both the best of their respective “class”.
Are you just telling yourself that, Julian? Are you just thinking that, as a way of excusing your—sudden attraction to this girl sitting beside you, now…when the pain of losing perhaps the greatest love in your life…is still not that far behind you?
He drove the thought away. Thinking back to the conversation he was having now, he shook his head. “You know…it’s so ironic.”
“Just…there was a time when I would have given almost anything to know that. That I was a legend among those younger than me…an inspiration to you all.”
“Now…I just want to go back in time, and knock some sense into my former self. ‘It’s not about you
, you old fool,’ I’d say. ‘It’s about your doing the best you can, being the best doctor—the best man
you can be…and leaving it up to history
to decide whether you’re worth noting or not….’”
His voice trailed off. She watched him intently, her features unreadable.
Bashir stared at her with a frown. “And…I haven’t a clue
why I would open up like I just did—to someone I don’t even know.”
She chuckled. “It’s all right, Doctor. I’ll not tell anyone.”
“Oh, it’s not that
I’m worried about.”
“Well, what is?”
“We’ve just met.”
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean
? A few minutes ago, you
were the one unsure of how to talk to me!”
“I’m not anymore.”
“No…you’re not anymore. Should that concern me?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know…should it?”
He studied her in silence. He felt he was right to be concerned about himself. Half a year ago…he would have been holding this same kind of charming conversation with Ezri—and Ezri alone. But now…now that she’d left him…now that they’d broken up, due to their lives growing further and further apart…
He sighed. What is it, Julian? Are you feeling
guilty—feeling as though, in some odd way…you’re being unfaithful to Ezri? You two are
apart, now. There’s no changing that, is there? Might as well make the best of it. At the very least…this woman could help you get over all that, once and for all
“Well…I guess it wouldn’t hurt, anyway.” He smiled again, burying his pain. “Now—once again, you have me at a disadvantage, Miss Holland. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”
She returned his smile, saying nothing for a while. Finally, she said, “What would you want to know about?”
Ah. That was how it was going to be, then. A woman of mystery…who wishes to see if I’d prefer to keep it that way
His smile grew. “On second thought…nothing. Absolutely nothing
…that I can’t figure out just by studying you in person.”
She chuckled again. “That’s fair enough, Doctor.”
“Yes…it is, indeed.”
They studied each other in silence. Finally, Bashir spoke.
“But let me ask you one thing. Have you been performing your current duties for Intelligence straight out of the Academy?”
“More or less.”
“Then you’re not a ‘field agent’, per se.”
“Oh, you definitely have some experience, I’d say—but it’s not your primary duty in S.I.”
She raised an eyebrow, still smiling. “Indeed? How do you know?”
“Oh…I have my ways. As you’ve probably heard, I’m genetically enhanced.”
“It’s helped me to notice things missed by most others. Your mannerisms throughout our conversation—your initial unease, in particular—strongly imply a limited—one might say uneven—amount of experience in the field. This means that either you have only recently become an agent…or you are primarily not
out in the field. However, you do have some
practice to that effect…as indicated by, among other things, your retaining your silence about yourself at precisely the right time. My compliments on that, by the way.”
“Thank you, Doctor.”
“But I also see a certain kind of intelligence about you—the kind that gives you a…certain attention to specifics. They way you’ve been observing me, whenever you look in my direction…”
She frowned. “Oh—I’m sorry if—”
“No, it’s quite alright. I actually like it.”
Her smile returned. “You do?”
“Of course. Now—this means you’re a person for details
—necessary for someone specializing in the departments related to numbers, formulas, and information. Specifically, considering the structure of Starfleet Intelligence, this leaves,” he held up three fingers of his hand, “three
She leaned closer to him, smiling in anticipation.
Bashir pointed to the first finger. “First option: Records and Analysis—unlikely, as records officers and analysts are too well needed in their department to be sent out into the field. There’s always a great deal of work to be done behind the desk, in this day and age.”
He lowered the first finger, moving on to the second. “Second option: Applied Science—which is also highly unlikely, as your hands show no sign of any extensive use in matters of engineering or chemistry.”
“I might be a programmer.”
“No. Again, your hands—the immense use of your fingers in matters of program design and maintenance would register in slight, barely noticeable habitual motions on their part to that effect, even off duty. Yours show no such indication.”
She nodded. “Go on.”
He lowered the second finger, leaving his index, which he pointed to her. “Therefore, your primary duties…are in the Communications department of your division. Your main duties: sending and receiving communiqués with agents on the ground, language and code translation…and, in many instances, com-tapping. Your considerable skill at the latter two is a major element in what led your superiors to judge you worthy of beginning field work.”
He spread out his hands. “Am I correct?”
Her eyes widened. “You…”
Bashir felt his smile widen into a grin. “I thought so.”
She gave that pleasant, musical laugh again. “Well
…you’ve certainly impressed me, Dr. Bashir!”
“I’m certainly glad of that, Miss Holland.”
They stared at each other once again, smiling. Bashir took the initiative to speak once again.
“Tell, me…do you have any previous engagements? Tonight, I mean.”
“Tonight?” She looked off for a moment, as if going over her schedule in her mind. “Why…no, I don’t.”
“Splendid. Would you care for our…traveling around this part of Risa, looking for whatever strikes our fancy?”
She smiled, her eyes speaking of endless possibilities. “I would love that.”
“Dinner afterwards, perhaps?”
She chuckled. “Doctor, we’re on leave! You say ‘Five in the evening’.”
Bashir shrugged. “Old habits. Now…will that be appropriate?”
“Splendid. Now…my rooms are in the Resort of the—”
“Would you agree to…come to my
Bashir raised an eyebrow. “Oh
“I have some…work I’ve brought along, which needs finishing. I’d prefer to do so as soon as possible, and—”
She blinked. “Pardon?”
“It that were true…then why lounge here for so long, talking to me?”
“I was…I heard you were here, and—”
Bashir leaned towards her with a smirk. “My dear girl…do you have anything against your coming to me
Bashir nodded, “Then I’d suggest you get to your…‘work’, Miss Holland.”
She sighed, and nodded in resignation.
…you come straight to the Resort of the Vulcan Stone.”
Her eyes widened. “That’s…where my
“All the better. Ninth floor, suite 973. Five in the evening—sharp.”
She nodded again. “Very good.”
“All right!” Bashir sat up. “Miss Holland…you’d better get to it. Consider it an order.”
She smiled, and rose to her feet. “Yes, sir.”
Bashir grinned. “Dismissed.”
She laughed in clear enjoyment, and left.
Julian Bashir shook his head, wondering how in the universe he had gotten so lucky. Perhaps…fate can be kind to me, after all
* * *