Okay--here we go!
New casting note: I modeled the "owner" of the Palais, Durantel Crolin, loosely after the title character of Goldfinger
. I also added in his physical description a little homage to a "tradition" of the Bond characters....
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
Julian Bashir looked about him, taking in the surroundings, as he walked over to a set of black couches and arm chairs. He sat down in one of the couches, which allowed him to face the direction of the restrooms.
It would be only a matter of time before someone would arrive for the “tour”. Cynthia would have to be quick in finishing her general scan—she almost certainly wouldn’t be able to finish it anywhere else in the building.
“Ah, you must be Dr. Bashir.”
Bashir turned to see a well-dressed, heavyset man walking towards him.
He rose from his seat, extending his hand. “I’m afraid you have me a disadvantage, sir.”
The man—humanoid, he wasn’t sure exactly which kind…probably Centaurian, or something similar—clasped the hand, shaking it firmly. “My name is Crolin, Doctor. Durantel Crolin. I am the owner of this edifice.”
Bashir smiled. “Indeed? I admit I wasn’t quite
Crolin returned the smile. “Oh, we are somewhat…short on staff, Doctor Bashir. You understand—in time, I trust our services will be most…satisfactory.”
Bashir nodded his thanks. As he did so, he registered the man fully in his mind. Crolin had a somewhat round face, and a receding hairline…but with not a gray follicle on his head. He had a prominent forehead, and a large, sharp nose with a slight hook. He also had an old scar, which started on the side of his nose, and went across the side of his face, under his eye, stopping an inch or so below his ear.
This analysis all took the spans of a second, after which Bashir asked, “If I may, Mr. Crolin…does my reputation precede me that
He shrugged. “Well—you knew I was a doctor.”
Crolin nodded. “Ah, yes. Well…perhaps you underestimate your greatness, Dr. Bashir. You are certainly well-noted among the worlds of the Federation, if you haven’t been aware.”
Actually, he was all too aware—which was why he hadn’t bothered to come up with an alias for himself. Simplest is usually the best.
Bashir heard another pair of footsteps—and turned to see Cynthia coming towards him, giving him a confident, satisfied smile. She had done it. She was now wearing a pair of clip-on earrings…containing, he knew, miniature scanners to record the details of the resort.
He smiled, and said, “Ah, Gabby! This is Mr. Crolin, proprietor of the Palais de Mystère.” He turned to Crolin, spreading a hand to Cynthia. “This is Miss Gabrielle, my associate.”
Cynthia’s smile grew, as she extended a hand to the man. “A pleasure to meet you, sir.”
Crolin returned the grin. “The pleasure is mine
, mademoiselle,” he said, taking the hand and bringing it to his lips.
To Cynthia’s credit, she gave no sign of revulsion.
After releasing the girl’s hand, Crolin turned to Bashir. “Now, Dr. Bashir…how may we service you?”
Bashir shrugged. “Well, it seems that we’re looking for accommodations for a future stay here, on Risa. Consider it…”
He glanced at Cynthia. She gave him a sweet, endearing smile as she clasped his hand, giving it a squeeze.
Bashir turned to Crolin with a similar smile. “…especially
Crolin nodded. “Ah, I see! Well—it will, at best, be a month before we reach our ideal…but in the meantime, I would be glad to give you both a preview of what will come.”
Cynthia grinned. “That would be wonderful.”
Bashir tilted his head. “I trust you’re done with construction and renovations, of course?”
Crolin snorted. “Of course!”
“Excellent! Then, could we bother you to give us a thorough
Crolin blinked. “Oh?”
Bashir shrugged. “Well, I’d imagine my patronage would be a great advertisement…so if I were to have a full knowledge of this place—I could give a complete review—my recommendations for different needs of visitors, which rooms for which, that sort of thing.”
After a split second’s hesitation, Crolin nodded. “Ah, yes…well, that is an excellent idea. Very well—a thorough tour it will be!”
Bashir nodded. “Thank you, sir.”
Crolin smiled. “No…the gratitude is mine, I assure you. Right this way….”
* * *
It was all perfect—too perfect. Frankly, there were a great many things wrong with that, as far as Bashir was concerned—things which he made sure to log in the photographic memory banks of his mind, to conjure them up when he would be able to safely.
As they entered the main turbolift to the ground floor, Crolin turned to Bashir with the seemingly permanent half-smile ever present on his face. “Well, Dr. Bashir, I trust it has been a satisfactory experience?”
Bashir returned the smile. “Oh, yes, it has, sir. Although…are we done, then?”
Crolin hesitated, and nodded slowly. “Of course…?”
Bashir shrugged. “Forgive me—I was wondering about the lower levels.”
Bashir noticed Cynthia, outside the man’s line of vision, stiffen a bit as she also turned to him in concern.
Bashir spread a hand to the control panel on the wall. “There are two basement levels. I was just wondering as to their purposes—merely curiosity on my part, understand. See, one
such level is…usually considered to be sufficient for maintenance and supplies.”
Cynthia’s eyes narrowed slightly, and she gave him a barely perceptible shake of her head.
Crolin didn’t bat an eye. “Ah, of course. Well, the higher level is reserved for offices, should we need them.”
Bashir made sure to raise his eyebrows in admiration. “Really! You intend to expand that quickly?”
“I feel this resort will become…a most prosperous business.”
Bashir let out a single whistle. “Well—I’m impressed, Mr. Crolin!”
Cynthia relaxed, visibly relieved.
Crolin nodded. “Thank you, Doctor. I was sure you, of all people, could understand ambition, and drive for success.”
“I certainly do, sir.”
The lift doors opened, and they stepped out into the main lobby. Bashir turned to Crolin, and said, “Well, sir, all in all, I’ve been most impressed. I believe I’ll give very serious thought to this place, once it is finished.”
Crolin nodded. “Thank you, Dr. Bashir. And Miss Gabrielle…” he took her hand again, “I would be most honored to accommodate you, as well.”
Cynthia smiled, and nodded. “Thank you, sir.”
Crolin chuckled, and released her hand, extending his to Bashir. “Doctor…it has been an honor.”
Bashir took the man’s hand, shaking it firmly. “The honor was mine, sir.”
Crolin went back into the lift, as Cynthia and Bashir crossed the lobby, hands held again, exiting into the warm, sunny climate of Risa.
When they were a safe enough distance away, Cynthia rested her head against his shoulder, and muttered, “I wouldn’t have been as overt as you were in the lift, Doctor.”
Bashir shrugged. “Oh, I thought it was natural enough.”
“But was it necessary? We could have gone over it ourselves—frankly, I think we will, anyway.”
Bashir smiled, and turned to her. “My dear Cynthia…remind me later to instruct you on the importance of banter among gentlemen. It helps to create a sense of familiarity and trust.”
“I’m certain it does. Yet…somehow, it sounded a little too obvious.”
Bashir chuckled. “Well, you’ll have to forgive me. I’m not exactly a professional on this. Still…I do
consider myself something of an expert in, shall I say, the finer points of conversation.”
Cynthia smiled. “Your ego is astounding, Dr. Bashir.”
Julian shrugged. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
* * *