^I belive that, in some sense, you will not
And now...the action begins:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
There are moments of great satisfaction in the life of a would-be secret agent. Particularly, of course, when one is genetically enhanced. In this case, the moment came when they arrived at one of the secondary entrances to the Palais de Mystère.
Not a sound came from inside—or outside, it seemed. To Bashir, it was akin to the proverbial calm before the storm.
Cynthia turned to him. “Your cloak is on?”
She returned the nod, and started work on the lock.
Bashir surveyed the area around them, eyes sharp for anything out of the ordinary. One of the benefits of his enhancements involved an increased perception of the universe around him…and frankly, he wagered that would doubtless be especially useful for a spy.
He found himself briefly wondering whether he should consider an official transfer to Starfleet Intelligence—not for the first time. Or the last
, he mused with an internal smile.
No…probably not—not yet, anyway. Not unless I feel useless where I am…which probably shouldn’t happen for a while.
He put aside that debate for another night, focusing on the situation at hand. As of now…he saw nothing of concern. Still…this is the Syndicate we’re dealing with. If they are experts at anything, it’s hiding
A whispered French exclamation made him turn to Cynthia with a frown. The girl shook her head and straightened up.
“This is going to take longer than I thought,” she muttered.
Bashir smiled. “Let me have a look.”
She turned to him, raising an eyebrow. “Oh?”
His smile widened, as he held out his hand. Holland sighed, and handed the device to him.
Bashir took out his tricorder, scanning the lock. After a moment, he put it away, worked on the lock for seventeen-point-four seconds—and straightened up as the lock gave way.
Cynthia chuckled. “If you were trying to impress me, Doctor, you’ve certainly succeeded.”
Bashir nodded, beaming. “Glad to hear it!” he replied, handing the device back to her. Cynthia put it in her bag, and pulled out her phaser. Bashir reached to his holster, pulling out his own.
Bashir kept his gaze sharp as they entered, heading directly for the lobby. They moved as slowly and carefully as they could, minimizing the echo of their footsteps.
Finally, they arrived at the lift. Cynthia stiffened, pushed the control—
—and flinched when the single, prominent ding
echoed across the lobby.
They held themselves still, phasers at the ready. After a minute of silence…they breathed a collective sigh of relief. No one was around to hear, apparently.
“I don’t remember it being quite that loud,” Bashir muttered. Holland just shook her head.
The doors opened. Bashir and Holland rushed in. When the doors closed, Cynthia pulled out her tricorder, consulting it for a moment.
“Any life signs?” Bashir asked.
Cynthia frowned at the screen in clear concern. Finally, she looked up, swallowed, and shook her head. “No one—on either level.”
Bashir stiffened again. “It’s too easy, isn’t it?”
She nodded, and put the tricorder away. She checked her phaser, changing its setting.
“Wide beam?” Bashir asked, doing the same.
She nodded. “Be ready.”
He returned the nod…and pressed the control for the subbasement. They stood at either end of the door, meeting each other’s gaze. They’d both clearly reached the same conclusion.
They must be doing exactly what we are—cloaking their life signs. For all we know, it could be
filled with them.
The lift reached the subbasement level. A ding
sounded. Bashir raised his phaser. Holland did the same. The doors opened.
It was just as they feared. Bashir could see at least twenty operatives inside—and they had noticed the open lift.
A disruptor beam shot out, hitting the rear of the lift. Bashir responded in kind, firing the wide beam. Holland did the same.
It was enough to allow them to duck forward, avoiding the next barrage of disruptor fire.
They hid behind a computer console, as Bashir took in their surroundings. It was basically a cylindrical cave, carved out of the rock. There was a second level, with a metal railing—filled with operatives, all armed with disruptor rifles—all firing in their direction. In the middle of the floor was a dome-shaped mechanism—the reactor—surrounded by a large circle of computer consoles, including the one he and Cynthia were now hiding behind.
Bashir logged in his mind the location of all the operatives—including the handful on their level, hiding behind the consoles across from them, firing away.
He turned to Holland. “I think we’ll have to use one of those ‘sabotage devices’ of yours—set it for immediate detonation, and throw it up there,” he pointed past her at the upper level, where six operatives stood.
Cynthia nodded, pulling out a charge. She fiddled with it for a moment, and threw.
It worked. The shock of the explosion threw the men tumbling over the railing.
Bashir leapt up, firing up at the remaining guards. Holland shot across the room, keeping the ones behind the consoles at bay. Finally, the latter group was all that was left.
Bashir hid back down, Cynthia following suit. “Do we have enough for another one?”
She nodded. “Mm-hmm.”
“Good. I’ll keep them there.” He fired at the consoles. After a moment, Cynthia threw the second charge.
After the explosion…there was silence.
Bashir smiled at her. “You play any sports, by any chance?”
Cynthia chuckled. “Here and there—I mostly swim.”
She tilted her head. “A little…why?”
Bashir shrugged. “Well, I’d certainly not want to play against you on a bad day. All right, I think that’s all of them, for now.”
Cynthia nodded. “I sincerely hope so! You’ll stand guard—I’ll work on the reactor.”
He surveyed the area, phaser at the ready—back to normal setting, to increase power. It would certainly only be a matter of time before more operatives arrived—and by that time, those currently sprawled out on the floor unconscious would revive. The price of the wide-beam setting—the effects are not as prolonged.
He could just imagine what was going on in the basement level above—an underling informing Crolin: “Sir—we’re detecting weapons fire near the reactor!” “It must be that Starfleet doctor, and his ‘associate’. Send all hands down there—and bring them to me, dead or alive!”
Or words to that effect.
Minutes past—precious time, counting down to another confrontation. After a while, Bashir frowned. What’s taking her so long? She’s just setting…
He turned to her—and froze in bewilderment. She was scanning one of the computer consoles with her tricorder. After this, she knelt beside it, pulling out a panel, running her fingers inside, as if looking for something.
Bashir raised an eyebrow. “Cynthia—we don’t have much time. What are you doing?”
“Just stand guard,” she called out.
“Cynthia—just set the charges, so we can—”
—you have your orders!”
Bashir stiffened. What on Earth…?
But there was no time to think. His instincts kicked in, and he ducked to avoid a disruptor blast. He returned fire at the operative, who was standing on the upper level by a door—probably leading up to the basement “offices”.
Eight more appeared. Bashir fired at random, to keep them scrambling for cover.
“Cynthia!” he called out, “Whatever you’re doing—we don’t have the time. Just set the charges, so we can—”
Of course not.
Bashir kept firing. Never make a promise you’ll come to regret
Apparently there was another door—because they were now being fired at from the other direction. Bashir heard another phaser—apparently, Cynthia was holding her own, as well. It was clearly still set for wide-beam, because the firing soon stopped at that end.
But not for long, I’d wager
“A few more minutes—keep covering!”
Bashir sighed, continuing to fire.
He stole a glance behind him. Cynthia was taking something—a large cylinder-shape—out of the inside of the console. Finally, she set it inside the bag.
But he had no time to think. There were more coming from the doorway, all firing like mad.
, we have to go—”
“Setting the charges!”
Oh, for goodness sake—
He continued his barrage, making every shot count—at both doorways.
He heard one of the operatives shouting. He wasn’t sure, but he thought he could pick up the name “Crolin”. The man was probably reporting to his superior—what the report was, he couldn’t make out.
At last, he heard her call out, “We’re done!”
She rushed past him, firing at random. The lift opened.
Bashir ran as fast as his legs could carry him. The doors closed behind them, and Cynthia hit the control for the main floor.
“How long?” Bashir asked, catching his breath as he reset his phaser for wide-beam.
“Can they remove them?”
“If they try, their hands will regret it.”
“No time. We’ll talk when we’re out.”
He nodded. “Fair enough….”
The doors opened—and they fired blindly, rushing out to take advantage of what confusion they could cause. Bashir fired at the main entranceway. The explosion cleared the way out to the moonlit streets of Risa.
They had just cleared the building when the ground rocked underneath their feat. Bashir heard the sounds of creaking walls and crumbling ceiling behind him, as they both fell forward.
Bashir turned behind him to see the floor of the Palais crumble—doubtless taking most of Crolin’s men.
Finally…there was silence. All was still.
He reached over, clasping Cynthia’s shoulder, “Are you all right?”
She let out a cough, as she sat up, nodding. “I’m all right, Julian.”
“Good. Now, we’d better get back to the Resort right away. Some of them might still be alive. I heard one of them call Crolin before we ran out. Can you still run—?”
“Yes, I’m fine
, Julian. Let’s go.”
They ran off, as utter bewilderment took root in the mind of Julian Bashir.
* * *