Okay. I'll close out this week with a big confrontation--where the truth at last will be revealed....
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
An hour or so later, fully dressed, Julian Bashir lay beside her once again, a different hypo at the ready. Her beautiful, helpless face was turned to him, as it had to be.
He swallowed, forcing down the last pangs of his conscience…and pressed it to her neck. A hiss came…and he dropped the device behind him, so it toppled onto the floor.
She made another soft groan, and blinked, looking at him. A warm, pleasant smile came to her face. “Good morning….”
He forced a smile of his own, and nodded. “Good morning, Cynthia.”
“I should get dress—” She frowned, and squirmed a bit. “Julian, why can’t…”
She shook her head in concern. “I…I can’t move my arms…or my legs.”
He felt his smile disappear, as he raised a bitterly amused eyebrow. “Indeed
She began to try and jerk her arms—and then, the answer clearly hit her. She turned her head, to look up, following her left arm…up to the wrist. A long linen strip connected her hand to the nearest bedpost. Her other wrist, and her ankles, were secured in the same way, so that she couldn’t move.
She looked at him in wide-eyed shock. “Ju…Julian—?”
Bashir reached over, clasping his left hand over her mouth. “Now,” he whispered, “If you even think
about screaming, or doing anything of the sort, I swear you will
regret it. Do you understand?”
She nodded, trembling in clear horror.
“Good. Now, you can relax, for the most part. I just have some questions—and this time, I want straight answers from you. This seems
to me to be the only way I can possibly get them. Am I clear?”
you….” He removed his hand, and rose to a sitting posture, looking down at her helpless form.
She narrowed her eyes, her mood changing from fear to righteous fury. “Julian…what’s the meaning of this?”
“Oh, I think you know. And kindly spare me the ‘innocent’ charade—I’m frankly tired of it.” He leaned forward, so his face hovered over hers. “One of my good friends is a former member of the Obsidian Order. You may have heard of him—Mr. Elim Garak?”
She said nothing.
“One of the things he’s taught me…is that in order for a lie to be at its most effective…it must also be, in some sense, true.”
“Julian—what do you mean? I’ve never lied to you—”
“Oh, every word you’ve told me was true, my dear…to the letter. It’s what you didn’t
tell me that lead to a great deal of…misconceptions.”
She said nothing.
“Unfortunately for you, it just so happens…that one of my old friends from the Academy is a high-ranking member of the Records department of Starfleet Intelligence. I had him look over your file last night…shortly after we arrived back here, last evening. It turns out…that there are no records of your career there—official or
She shook her head. “Julian—”
find your complete profile from the Academy. There were…two curious things about it. Are you curious to hear them?”
“That’s the first problem, Cynthia. Your profile had also been removed from the general records. The vast majority of people would never have discovered it…it requires a very
high-level security clearance. Which, unfortunately for you…my friend just happens to possess. Now…why would S.I. go to such trouble to cover up your existence like that…if your field work isn’t your primary duty?”
She swallowed. He saw her tremble a bit more. “It’s not
“I know…but let’s put that aside for a moment—it could be easily justified, if it were by itself—perhaps some mission you were part of was very sensitive, and they didn’t want to take any questions. However, the second problem…is that said profile ends almost immediately after your graduation. That’s it. After that…it’s all a blank. It’s as if you don’t even exist
Cynthia stared at him, silent, still, as if intending to retain what dignity he had not already taken from her. Bashir went on.
“You told me that S.I. has been the whole of your Starfleet career. Now…as far as I’m concerned, that was technically
true. And you did become a communications officer—but there was one…minor detail you left out.”
She said nothing, but her eyes began to widen. She knew exactly where he was going.
“Miss Holland…there is more than one branch of Starfleet Intelligence. Some of them are more secret than others. The existence of one in particular…explains everything
As he said this, he allowed a memory from long ago to fill his mind: “You don’t expect me to believe you’re with Internal Affairs, do you?” “No, of course not. Internal Affairs is a competent department, but…limited.” “So, which department
are you with?” “Let’s just say, I work for
another branch of Starfleet Intelligence
Cynthia’s lip quivered as she shook her head, as if begging him not to go on.
Julian Bashir narrowed his eyes, and his tone lowered to a near growl. “You’re a member of Section 31…aren’t you?”
She looked off, still shaking her head—not in denial…but in a refusal to accept what was happening.
“Don’t bother trying to convince me otherwise. I know you are.”
She swallowed, closed her eyes, and nodded. “All right. I…I am.”
“Well—now, we seem to be making progress.”
Cynthia said nothing.
“All right…now, you’re going to tell me exactly what
is going on, here. What was it you salvaged from the console?”
Her eyes still shut, she spoke through clenched teeth. “It is…it’s what they were using to tap into the weather system. It channeled the energy of the reactor, conducting it along the path we saw on the screen…and with that, it would have allowed them to—to control everything.”
“I see…. So the Bureau wanted to study the technology, then? Perhaps…use it for its own purposes—oh, forgive
me…for ‘the defense of the Federation’?”
She nodded. “Yes….” She opened her eyes, and turned back to him. “Now, what are you going to do to me?”
“Me? Absolutely nothing. I have no direct evidence, only a theory which suits all the facts. Besides…much as I despise letting your “Bureau” get their hands on that ‘conductor’, the idea of the Syndicate getting it back is far
worse. So, much as it pains me to not be able to stop you people this time…you, my dear, are going to bring it to your superiors, and as far as everyone is concerned…everything will be as it should be.”
Cynthia shook her head, looking at him with what looked like regret. “Not…everything….”
Bashir stiffened at this. “No, of course not. But again—regardless of my…personal feelings about, oh—your using
me, manipulating me with your admittedly considerable charms…”
She stiffened. “If…if I told you—”
“Oh, please. If you’re going to tell me that it started out as just a mission for you, but then you found yourself falling in love—don’t
. That’s so very…trite.”
She sighed, her gaze falling. “I suppose it is,” she whispered.
am not the one you should be concerned about.”
She looked at him blankly. “Enlighten me, then.”
“Like you, Miss Holland, I told the truth to the letter—just not all of it. I do feel that your life is in danger, so long as you remain on Risa. I do believe that the delay allowed Crolin, and some of his operatives, to escape—and it’s only a matter of time before they track us down, take back what you salvaged, and then…they will kill
He shrugged. “The lie was in my allowing you to think that was my primary
reason for my coming here, last night.”
Holland laid her head back on the pillow, looking up at the ceiling. She chuckled, shaking her head again. “You…you’re even more impressive than I thought, Doctor! You certainly
deceived me, last night—”
“Spare the flattery, Holland. I just knew where to look, and how to respond. I’ve been ‘deceived’ by you people before—I’ll give you that much. In fact,” he smirked, “I’d say your late, lamented Director Sloan was probably the one enemy of mine who ever truly outsmarted me—twice. If it pleases you to hear this, he made a proper idiot
out of me the second time. Not an easy thing to do.”
At the mention of Sloan’s name, Holland turned to him, raising an amused eyebrow—as what looked like a “knowing” smile played at the corners of her mouth. “I suppose not….”
Bashir pushed the curiosity of her reaction to the back of his mind. “Well, I’ve long since trained myself to…put myself in the minds of The Bureau, as it were—so it wouldn’t happen again. It would seem I still need some practice. But then…you people haven’t tried to appeal to my heart
“Well, if you want to ‘protect’ me, Doctor…you are wasting your time. It’s not necessary.”
He fought to keep from rolling his eyes. “Of course not. To be honest, Cynthia…arrogance seems to be something of a common weakness of you people. I suppose that comes naturally with autonomy. Now, whether you like it or not…you need my protection. And whether I
like it or not, I’m going to give it. That’s final.”
“Oh, is it? Now, who
is being ‘arrogant’, again?”
“This is not a joke, Miss Holland.”
“I suppose not—
” she jerked her arms forward once, trying to free herself again. She sighed in frustration, and lay back. “But frankly…your interfering is only going to make it worse
, Doctor—for both of us.”
“You know, I don’t believe that for a moment.”
Her lip tightened, her eyes becoming like daggers. “Whether you believe it or not—
this…show of yours…makes it clear to me that you’ll stop at nothing
to regain control of a situation. I can’t and won’t
allow that to…‘inconvenience’ me…more than it already has.”
Bashir held her gaze, unflinching. “Is that you’re answer, then?”
He felt a smile. “You know… I’d wager you’re supposed to deliver that device to a contact at some point in the future…. Is that right?”
She said nothing.
“Of course it is—to protect it as much as possible. They couldn’t risk having only one agent in possession of it for every stage of its delivery to…wherever it’s going. Otherwise, said agent could be found, caught…and robbed.”
“If that’s true, what of it all?”
“My dear Cynthia…you realize I could
have you lie there, bound as you are, so that you won’t
deliver it…unless and until you agree to my terms.”
Holland nodded. “You could.”
Bashir deliberately sat there in silence for a moment, to give her the impression he was seriously considering it. “Yes…but unfortunately, I’m far too—chivalrous
She shook her head in disgust. “You astonish me, Doctor.”
“I often have that effect.”
Bashir got off the bed, rising to his feet, and picked up the hypo, placing it back in his bag. He then took out another one, walking back to her.
Holland stiffened. “What’s that?”
“Something to prevent any aches from those bonds of mine. It’s the least I could do.”
Again, only part of the truth.
He applied it to her shoulder, as she scoffed and muttered, “You’re despicable
Bashir raised an eyebrow at this. “Looks that way.”
He walked over to the wall opposite the bed, where there hung a miniature ceremonial lirpa
. He lifted it from its rack, twisting off the semicircular blade—
—which he hurled directly at the center of the linen band tied to her right arm, careful to aim so as not to harm her. It sliced the fabric perfectly, freeing her hand from its bondage.
“I suppose you can handle the rest,” Bashir muttered, as he gathered his possessions.
Before he exited her rooms, he turned to her. She still lay there unmoving, staring at him in contempt.
“Consider what I said, Miss Holland,” Bashir announced. “My offer still stands.”
He pressed the control on the wall. The door opened to the floor’s hallway. He smiled, and inclined his head. “Let me know if you change your mind.”
And with that, he turned, and left…knowing full well she wouldn’t accept, out of sheer pride.
When he returned to his rooms, he went straight to his dresser, opening a drawer to pull out his tricorder. He opened it…and smiled, as the signal—from the implant he’d injected into Cynthia with the last hypo—came strong and clear.
* * *