...the battle may be over. But now, it is time for some intrigue.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
Julian Bashir sat in his suite in the Resort of the Vulcan Stone. His mind was racing, reflecting on the events of the past few days…and especially, on Cynthia Mirabelle Holland.
This mysterious woman…so alluring…so fascinating—but the events of tonight had brought to the forefront questions—questions which had been simmering in the back of his mind from the moment he had met her.
It was so convenient, wasn’t it…that she would be on assignment here, for Starfleet Intelligence…and would at first dismiss it as “work I brought along, which needs finishing”. And then she would reveal herself that night, over dinner, and the mission she was on…and recruit him to assist her, without trouble.
devices to cloak them against the scanners of the Palais…as if either she or her superiors had expected
there to be two people on this assignment. And yet…she had arrived alone.
It was almost as if her superiors had arranged
for her to meet him there, on the beach…and perhaps, arranged that he would go to Risa in the first place—or at least, they were aware
that he was there, and took advantage of their good fortune without his knowledge….
And now…after what had happened…how her actions in the end had not
been in keeping with the mission as she had described it…
Whatever her reasons…it seems most curious that S.I. wouldn’t simply
tell me about this mission. At the very least…why would they deceive me about the nature of it all? Why wouldn’t she tell me about…whatever it was she took from the reactor?
A thought occurred to him—and it disturbed him.
There was something Ezri had once said…what she’d described as one of humanity’s greatest axioms:
“Contradictions don’t exist, Julian—not in reality. If you see something that looks like one…you have to check your premises. At least one of them is wrong.”
But the most probable faulty premise…was one he was almost afraid to check.
Are you…are you
hiding something from me, Cynthia? Do you have an agenda far different from what you’ve told me? And if so…why would S.I. tell you to keep it from me?
On the other hand…why would you lie to me, about who you are? Who
are you…Cynthia Holland?
A possibility entered his mind—an answer that, as far as he was concerned, would explain the whole thing. But he found himself driving it away.
No. No, it’s not possible. Not
her. If it were anyone else…but not Cynthia. The sort of woman she is…this gentle, kind, innocent woman…could
never work for—
And yet…it was so simple. And he had no other explanation. Was he deliberately blinding himself to the truth about her, for the sake of a romantic fantasy?
Well…there’s only one way to find out—without fear of being lied to.
He turned to his console, setting it for Code 47—the most secret and secure channel in Starfleet, which no computer would keep a record of. He entered his personal security code…and sent a request to open a channel with Commander Clark Boehner, of the Agency Records department of Starfleet Intelligence.
* * *
Cynthia Holland stepped into her bedroom, sitting down at her desk.
Her mind was filled with the events of the night. She could not help but notice how Julian had…how he’d been so silent as they returned to their apartments. He was so deep in thought. Was it possible…that he suspected something?
It doesn’t matter. The mission’s done. You just need to finish it all…and then you can put his mind at ease. That’s all
First…there was something she had to do.
She turned to her console, setting it for Code 47. It was time to report her success.
The computer worked for a minute or so…and then, the curt voice of Mr. Burns came on. “We copy.”
“Holland. Mission accomplished. Repeat: mission accomplished. The item is now in my custody. Repeat: item now in custody.”
“Acknowledged. Well done. Anything else?”
“Negative. How long until transfer of item?”
“You will meet your contact tomorrow at 1800, at Andorian Blues Café. Begin conversation: ‘It’s quite warm today, even for Risa.’ Contact’s response: ‘On Vulcan, this is winter’s weather.’”
The last line identified her contact, without saying it outright. She nodded. “Acknowledged.”
“Well done. You will report to base three days following the delivery.”
She swallowed. Four days. She could only hope that that would give her time to reconcile with Julian…and whatever problems he had. He deserved that much—to return home without a care in the universe.
Holland leaned back in her seat, sighing. It was so simple. So…why this feeling of regret inside her? Was it…could it be over her keeping Julian in the dark?
What does it matter? It’s better that he cannot know everything.
Intellectually, she knew that was true. And yet…
Cynthia…be careful. He’s such a charming man. Don’t let that charm affect you more than it should.
I know…but—it’s so very
frustrating not to be open with him!
It’s how it has to be. He would not have helped you otherwise.
But that didn’t make it any easier.
She rubbed her forehead with her hands, closing her eyes. Then, she moved them both down her neck…the sides of her dress…down her legs.
I…I feel so…
dirty. Filthy…all over.
Do not get ideas like that into your head. You only need a shower. That’s it…that’s all it is.
Holland opened her eyes, and rose from her seat with a sigh, smoothing out the wrinkles in the dress. And then she turned, and headed straight to the shower.
* * *
The screen came to life, showing the face of a dark-haired American gentleman with a bushy yet well-trimmed moustache. “Doc, it’s been a long time!”
Julian Bashir smiled at his old Academy friend. “Clarkie! Too
Commander Clark Boehner, Records & Analysis, S.I., gave a nod…and leaned forward, clasping his hands in front of him on his desk. “Yeah…but I’m guessing you didn’t pull a 47 just to catch up on old times.”
“No…unfortunately. I need you to do me a favor.”
Clarkie spread out his hands. “I owe you a dozen!”
Bashir chuckled. “Of course…. Look, I want you to do some checking of your personnel files.”
“Oh—you met one of ours, and want to check’em out, to see if they’re for real.”
Clarkie frowned. “Well…look, that depends, Doc. As a rule, we don’t like to have official records of our agents ‘til they rest in peace. Their protection—you understand.”
“Don’t worry. She’s not an agent, per se—not primarily.”
“Oh, she doubles in field work?”
“That’s what she said….”
“That could be a problem, too—for the same reasons.
“Oh, I’m sure there are records of her day job.”
“Well, sure…but there are provisions for
their safety, too. Still…I’m sure I can pull up something. If it’s that important…”
“Great…then I’ll also see if I can’t crack into the locked files, too—the ones on the agents.”
“Thank you, my friend.”
“Ah, think nothing of it. So…who am I looking for?”
“Her name is Cynthia Mirabelle Holland. She works in Communications.”
“Okay. Describe her, just in case?”
“Approximately…five-foot-seven—mid-20’s age range—long, airy blond hair—full-lipped—dark green eyes.”
His friend smirked. “I don’t suppose you’ve got her
Bashir stiffened. “Now, wait
“I’m just saying…”
Clarkie turned to a nearby computer console, entering in the information. He turned back to Bashir. “All right
. I’ll call back when I get something—still on 47.”
“Thank you, Clarkie—this means a lot, you know.”
“Hey…what are friends for?”
Bashir smiled, and nodded.
Bashir leaned back in his seat, staring up at the ceiling. He wasn’t generally a praying man…but he found himself hoping, begging
in his mind…that the amazing, beautiful woman whom he’d been so eager to trust with his heart…was who she said she was. If not…
He fought down a shudder. Please…don’t make my fears well-founded.
* * *