Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
Crolin snorted. “Duty
.” He reached into a compartment under his desk, pulling a disruptor of his own. “Now, Dr. Bashir, you will appreciate the consequences of your ‘duty’. I sincerely hope it will be worth it—for both of you.”
Bashir smiled, as he stepped back until he stood just in front of Crant and the others. “Oh, I think it will.”
And with that—he swung around, yanking Crant’s gun-arm around, so that he shot a guard in the chest. Bashir released him, quickly enough to keep Crant from grabbing hold of him. Using his own momentum, he collided with the guard with the bruise—narrowly avoiding the disruptor beam from Crolin.
Bashir grabbed the guard’s disruptor, shooting the third at point-blank. He then lunged for Crant, knocking him flat with the butt end of the gun. The bruised guard, reached for another disruptor—but Bashir was ready, whirling around to fire. Three out, one down—one to go.
He turned to face Crolin—
But just smiled, as he took note of what had apparently happened. As Crolin had stepped forward to assist his men, Cynthia had lunged to the side, the chair colliding with the Syndicate boss. His disruptor had flown across the room as a result…and now, he was at their mercy.
Bashir kept his disruptor aimed at the man, as he walked over to the desk. “All right, Crolin. Now, the way I see things, you’re going to have to do exactly as I say if you want to survive. Do we understand one another?”
Crolin looked around him, weighing his options. Finally, he straightened up, and nodded. “We do, Doctor.”
“Good. Now first—untie Miss Holland.”
Crolin stared at him for a moment. Finally, he tended to the knot.
When Cynthia was free, she went straight to the bodies of the guards, grabbing the weapons. She carried them over to the desk, where she set them down, taking one along with the device.
Bashir smiled. “Very good. Now, I think you’d better watch Mr. Crant. He probably won’t be too pleased when he wakes up.”
Cynthia chuckled, and turned to watch Crant’s unconscious form.
He turned back to Crolin. “Now, as for you
—we’ll be taking that device to Miss Holland’s superiors, which means as far as the Syndicate is concerned…you’re a miserable failure.” He narrowed his eyes. “And we all know how the Syndicate views miserable failures…wouldn’t you agree?”
Crolin swallowed hard, and nodded. “What do you want?”
“Just that you turn yourself over to the Risan authorities immediately—request asylum. They’ll contact the Federation Security Service…and they’ll put you in Witness Protection—if
you’ll provide information on the Syndicate which I think we both know you possess.”
Bashir turned to see Mr. Crant sit up with a grunt.
“He can’t. The Syndicate doesn’t take kindly to—”
“Can—and will,” Bashir said, with a smile. “Frankly, Mr. Crant, he has no other choice. Either die right now, or turn himself in, with a…slight
chance of survival.”
“If he’d do that—I’d kill him right this moment.”
Cynthia scoffed at this. “With what?”
“Actually,” Bashir’s smile widened, “That’s not a bad idea.”
“What?” said Crant and Crolin—in unison.
Bashir chuckled. “Not really…but that’s the story you’re going to tell the Syndicate, Mr. Crant. With any luck…they’ll promote you, and make you crime boss of your own. And to be honest,” he raised an eyebrow, “That’s what you want, isn’t it? A chance to put your brilliance to good use, instead of subordinating it to him
? Admit it…you saw all the errors Crolin made—how he rushed everything, how he allowed slight, subtle clues to creep up, for observant people to see…and it frustrated you, didn’t it?”
Crant spread out his hands. “Not particularly. I thought it was brilliant, myself…but as you implied, it’s often the little things that matter. Perhaps…”
Bashir nodded. “Perhaps you allowed yourself to shrug off those ‘little things’, because Crolin was able to get away with such things many times before. You acclimated yourself to them, as it were.”
“But, of course…mistakes tend to grow…and now, they became just
noticeable for people like Miss Holland, here.”
Crant chuckled. “Yes…I suppose.”
Bashir turned back to Crolin. “I suggest you go now
Crolin took one last look at all of them. Finally, he rushed out.
Crant burst out laughing. “Well! Somehow, I’m not surprised.”
,” Bashir narrowed his eyes at him, “I expect you to keep your
end of the bargain.”
Crant raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“Well, let me put it this way…you told me you admired how worthy I was, as an opponent?”
Crant nodded. “I still do, to be honest.”
“Of course. And I’d wager we’ll encounter each other again. But until that happens…I trust you’ll make sure the Syndicate doesn’t learn about my…interference here? After all, I hate the idea of looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life.”
He nodded again. “As would I.”
Cynthia’s eyes narrowed, as she whispered, “Doctor, this is a mistake. We should arrest him, too—we can’t risk it.”
Bashir thought for a moment…and sighed, shaking his head. “Look, we can’t be certain of what they told their superiors. At least here, they have the scapegoat of Crolin’s incompetence. If they go after us, it won’t be as clean and neat for them. They’ll have to spend time looking for Crolin and Crant, to kill them before they talk, and so on. Here
, at least as far as they’re concerned, they have nothing to worry about…and FSS can glean Crolin for all the information he’d got, without any trouble.”
Cynthia let out a sigh of her own, and spread out her hands in defeat.
Crant stood up, and brushed himself off. “Well, you are brilliant, Doctor. And you needn’t worry—because you’re right. It’s cleaner, this way.”
“However…don’t expect the information Crolin has to be of much use—because I fully intend to restructure the branch formerly under his command.”
“Well—I suppose we’ll have to act quickly, then.”
Mr. Crant laughed. “You can try to. But take care, Doctor Bashir—Agent Holland—because I won’t be open to such deals the next time we encounter one another.”
Bashir smiled. “Well, in that case—I’d advise you
to take care.”
“Really? And why would I do that?”
Bashir narrowed his eyes. “Because, like the Syndicate, Mr. Crant…I always
collect on my debts.”
Mr. Crant nodded, the smile still on his face. And then he turned and left them, to see his ambitions fulfilled.
* * *