Star Trek: From Risa With Love--An Adventure Of Dr. Julian Bashir

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Rush Limborg, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    All right, folks. I've given quite a bit of build-up to this. I hope it'll prove worth the wait.

    Here, I now fully direct my attention to Dr. Julian Bashir. This story is set shortly after he and Ezri break up in Mike and Andy's DS9 Relaunch tale Trill: Unjoined. Though Ezri herself doesn't appear in this tale, she is certainly present in Bashir's mind, in a sense.

    As the title implies, I have heavily referred to elements of the James Bond franchise--due, of course, to Dr. Bashir fantasizing along those lines in "Our Man Bashir".

    This time, however, the story is not on the holodeck--with the exception of a "pre-titles" sequence. (Interesting note: when writing that sequence, I paced it to the score of the pre-titles sequence of "Diamonds Are Forever", which you can find on YouTube under the title of "Diamonds Are Forever score: Gunbarrel and Manhunt".)

    I'll post this tale in chapter-intervals, much as I did for "Rendezvous With Destiny".

    All right. Dim the lights, draw the curtains...and bring on the gunbarrel sequence, set to John Barry's legendary theme....

    Enjoy!



    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Prologue


    It was late at night in the city of Hong Kong. Fa Ling stood at the counter of her shop, cleansing it with a cloth, the light on. She had run this trinket store for as long as she could remember—she literally couldn’t recall doing anything else. She wasn’t looking through the glass window-wall, to the street. All was quiet, in the night. All was peaceful—

    —until the glass shattered. A man had been thrown through it, falling on his back on the floor, with shards of glass around him.

    She let out a yelp at the crash, but froze, saying nothing, as she watched the man whirl out a gun, firing it once at the giant figure outside—doubtless the man who’d thrown him—who went down immediately.

    Fa Ling saw the first man rise to his feet, brushing himself off, turning to her. He looked western, with short curled dark hair and a tanned, handsome face. He was tall and gaunt, and dressed in a western black-tie suit.

    He gave her a small smile. “Sorry for the mess….”

    She found herself returning the smile—until she saw two more figures out in the street, guns at the ready. “Look out!” she cried.

    The man whirled around, firing two shots. The figures went down as quickly as the first.

    The man turned back to her, smiling again. “I’d wager that’s all of them.”

    Fa Ling shook her head in bewilderment—and admiration. “Who…who are you?”

    His smile grew, as he walked to the counter. “Name’s Bashir. Julian Bashir.”

    He pulled out a checkbook from an inside coat pocket, and took a pen from the counter. “I’d estimate…five hundred dollars in damages, hmm?”

    It was actually a great overestimate. But the glint in his eyes made clear that he knew that. He was being…generous.

    Fa Ling swallowed. “Th…thank you, sir!”

    “No need,” he said with a wink. “My government wouldn’t care for the mess.”

    He handed the filled-out check and the pen to her, gave her a nod, and walked off into the night.

    Fa Ling narrowed her eyes and smiled. And then she returned to her work.


    * * *​


    Julian Bashir, Double-O Agent of MI6, opened the door to his Hong Kong suite, ready to relax at last. On the other hand…

    The program isn’t over yet…which means something is still going on. Perhaps there’s still someone left, to take revenge…?

    Whatever it was—tired or not, he wanted to be ready.

    “Scarlett?” he called out to his valet—the replacement for his long-since dearly departed Mona Luvsitt.

    Nothing. It was also dark inside.

    Promptly, he pulled out his Walther, and tread lightly as he entered. He flicked the switch near the door. The light to the foyer turned on.

    He looked about him, listening hard for any sound. Nothing.

    He proceeded, step by step, into the main room. Still no sound.

    He turned on the next switch—

    —and was greeted by four thugs, who rushed him the moment the lights went on, two of them grabbing him by the arms from behind, one each.

    Bashir kicked both his heels back, and both thugs grunted in pain. As he regained his footing, he jerked one arm away, swinging a fist to the ruffian holding the other arm. Now freed, he swung his other arm upward, his fist meeting the chin of a third man, who went down.

    He grabbed the dazed first thug by the collar, and yanked him to the fourth before the latter could pull out his gun. The two heads collided. Both went down.

    Thug 2 swung his arm around Bashir’s neck, tightening with all his might. Bashir knew it would be no use to work on the arm. His vision blurred….

    With the last of his strength, Bashir plunged his elbow behind him, into the man’s rib cage. Thug 2 grunted, and his arm loosened. Bashir dropped, his head sliding through, and he jerked his head back into the man’s stomach. He shot to his feet, and threw his fist into the side of the man’s face. The man went down, unconscious.

    Bashir looked around him. That was all.

    Wait—he heard a noise…. It was coming from inside the revolving wall, where his bed lay. Recovering his gun, he pressed the control….

    It was Scarlett, bound and gagged. Bashir put his gun away, and freed her.

    “Julian—thank heaven,” she whispered, gasping for breath.

    Bashir nodded. “Are you all right?”

    She nodded, smiling. “And you?”

    Bashir looked behind him, as the unconscious quartet of ruffians.

    “Been through enough to knock the wind out,” he said. Turning to her with a smile, he added, “Quite a shattering experience.”

    She laughed, and threw her arms around him. Their lips met, and nothing more needed to be said.


    * * *​
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  2. Outpost68

    Outpost68 Ensign Red Shirt

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    "From Risa with Love!"

    Brilliant! :lol:
     
  3. TiberiusMaximus

    TiberiusMaximus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Awesome start! :D

    Favorite line: "Sorry about the mess." Typical Bond one-liner - typically Julian, too.
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you both--and welcome aboard, Outpost68!

    BTW...if you all are interested, here's the "score" I used for this "pre-titles" sequence:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdm2xqvY0wM

    0:20 to 1:31 for the Hong Kong shop sequence (with 1:12 for "Bashir--Julian Bashir"), 1:32 to 2:20 for his entering the suite, and 2:21 on for the fight. :cool:

    For a "theme song" after the sequence...well, what better than:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is8Ha7_KEfg
     
  5. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Chinese lady make a killing I see. :-)

    Loved it, mate. Keep 'em comin!
     
  6. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Yep! Glad you're liking it!

    Funny note: "Fa Ling" is actually a nod to all the "gag names" Bond Girls tend to have. (Hint: say her name fast, with the "a" pronounced soft.)
     
  7. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nice opening with the James Bond scenario. Look forward to seeing what takes place in "real world". At least JB's willing to consider the collateral damage done. Brings to mind the Seinfeld bit about superheroes with secret identities. "'Gee thanks, Superman, for saving my life. But did you have to crash through my wall?'"
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  8. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Well, that...and that I'd wager JB's always been one for generosity to the ladies. ;)
     
  9. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A good, fun opening. Has the feel of vintage Bond, the movies more than the books, and set's up Julian's secret agent fantasies nicely.
     
  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Thank you, Badger!

    And...ask, and ye shall recieve. ;)

    All right. The opening passage for this chapter is my take on the "Ian Flemming" style. Fans of the original Bond novels will recall that Flemming seemed to have a thing for writing his "descriptive" passages with a "travelogue" air--that is, writing them as if to sell the location in question to potential tourists. He often wrote in present tense for these passages--and then, once the "mini-travelogue", went straight to James Bond and the past tense.

    Frankly, those passages, for me, conjure up vast cinematic "wide shots" of the location--such as the first post-titles sequence in Goldfinger, where we see a wide shot of Miami Beach, to John Barry's larger-than-life score.

    As it were...it's that sequence that the first part of this chapter is based on. So, without further ado, cue the music...and obverve from above the beauty of Risa, then untouched by the scourge of the Borg....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpkghbT9660


    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Chapter 1


    Risa. Vacation capital of the United Federation of Planets. Paradise of the galaxy…where one would nearly want for nothing.

    Visitors to this world, no matter how many times they have already been there, never cease to be awestruck at the pristine beauty: the brilliance, the perfection. All who bother to know are fully aware of the all-too synthetic, mechanical nature of its beauty—the artificial weather system, keeping storm patterns and global temperatures completely predictable and controlled—but as far as the vast majority are concerned, that is more an asset than a liability. It is an expression of triumph, a monument to the vast ingenuity of sentient life—what we can control…what we can create.

    Looking out from an arriving shuttle, visitors are rarely able to tear their gaze away from what they see—the vast resorts, from towering themed hotel complexes looking out to the ocean…to a wide variety of amusement parks, extending throughout the mainland…to the jungles…the islands…the cruise vessels, made to look straight out of a history book…and of course, the long stretch of beaches, wide enough to provide the proper balance between peaceful tranquility…and friendly community.

    On one such beach, on a clear summer day, there walked a young gentleman, clad in a blue button-up short-sleeve and tan shorts—tall and gaunt, with a well-developed forehead; short, dark hair; tanned skin…and an easy smile, which he wore on his face as he looked around him, taking in all his surroundings. It’s been too long, he mused. I can’t describe how relieved I am to be back here….

    Eventually, Dr. Julian Bashir found an appropriate place to reside for the next few hours—a long beach chair, with its back lowered just enough for comfort. At the very least, he could adjust it if he needed to. It lay underneath the (variable) shade of an outspread, thick-leaved Earth palm tree. It was perfect.

    And so, he set his bag down, and sat, leaning back against the rest. He reached into his bag, pulling out a thick old-style hardcover book, which contained the adventures of a literary hero of his…a certain intelligence agent, whom he tended to regard as something of a role model….

    He read, with the smile on his face…as his mind simultaneously picked up the sounds around him—the roar of the waves…the rustle of the leaves of the nearby tropical foliage…the endless chatter of beachgoers…the joyous laughter of doubtlessly beautiful young women. As he took in the smell of the sea…he knew he was, at last, content to relax, to forget all his troubles, to cast off his cares for another day….

    “Doctor…Bashir?”

    Upon hearing his name, he looked up—to see an angel standing about a foot away from him.

    Well…not quite an angel. As far as he was concerned, only…his last former love…deserved that title. But this woman—a girl with airy, windswept, flowing golden hair and a petite figure, in a sparse two-piece beige swimsuit—was quite close.

    He kept his gaze focused and blank. “Yes…?”

    She blinked, and broke her gaze in apparent unease. In a soft voice with a somewhat European flair—French?—she said, “I-I simply…wanted to know, sir, if…if it was you.”

    Bashir gave a polite smile. “Well…I suppose it is.”

    She met his gaze again, with a small smile of genuine admiration.

    Bashir tilted his head. “I’m afraid you have me at a disadvantage, Miss…?”

    “Oh—my name is Holland, sir. Cynthia Holland.”

    Bashir chuckled despite himself. “Well, Miss Holland, since you keep calling me ‘sir’, I’m going to assume you are either a helpless hero-worshipper on my part…”

    The girl’s smile became more confident.

    Bashir narrowed his eyes slightly, returning the smile “…or you’re a Starfleet officer, addressing a superior.”

    She laughed—a soft, musical laugh. “I…am, sir. Well, I suppose I am, anyhow.”

    Bashir raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

    “I’m…” she looked around her, and leaned forward, lowering her voice to a near whisper. “I’m actually a member of Starfleet Intelligence.”

    Bashir leaned back. “Indeed?”

    She straightened up, nodding. “Yes, sir. I would…show you my identification, but…as you can see…”

    Bashir chuckled. “Yes, of course. No, I don’t need proof, Miss Holland. You haven’t given me any reason to doubt you….”

    “Well, be that as it may, sir…I still would like to prove my trust.”

    “Really? Why so desperate?”

    “Oh, it’s not that, sir. It’s only…I don’t want you to have the wrong opinion of me.”

    Bashir felt his smile widen. “What wrong opinion?”

    She cleared her throat. “That…I’m only trying to impress you—I-I mean…”

    Bashir’s eyebrows rose. “Impress…me?”

    The girl started wringing her hands.

    “My dear…if anyone’s going to be doing the ‘impressing’, it had better be me, trying to impress you.”

    She looked at him oddly. “Sir…?”

    But he caught himself. Julian Subatoi Bashir—what on Earth do you think you’re doing? Keeping his composure, he replied, “Never mind. My point is…I believe you.”

    She nodded, her posture easing up a great deal. “Thank you, sir.”

    “Oh, call me ‘Doctor’. I don’t seem that much older than you, anyway.” He waved her to the beach chair right next to his—which had been completely flattened out by whoever had sat there before. “Sit down,” he offered, with a smile.

    “Thank you….” She lay down, relaxing completely into the material with a smiling sigh. Bashir suddenly found himself highly attracted to her, as he saw her lying there with such confidence in her posture…her attire leaving little to his imagination.

    Oh, knock it off. What are you doing, ogling her like that?

    She turned her head to him. “Ten years.”

    Bashir blinked. “Pardon?”

    “You’re ten years older than me, Doctor.”

    Only one of his eyebrows rose this time. “You’ve been reading up on me, Miss Holland?”

    “Well, actually…yes, sir.”

    “Goodness—you are a hero-worshipper, aren’t you?”

    She didn’t tense up this time. She turned completely, so that she lay on her side, facing him. She smiled, her arm propping up her head. “Oh, it’s not that, Doctor. You’ve simply…made an impression throughout the fleet.”

    “Particularly in Intelligence, I presume?”

    “And the Academy.”

    Julian frowned for a moment, thinking. “I…see. I suppose I should be flattered.”

    “It’s all right, sir. I understand.”

    “Oh, I’m glad you do….” Bashir returned her smile, and turned to rest on his side as well, facing her.

    He took this opportunity to register more of her in his mind. Cynthia Holland’s eyes had a rather wide, yet slightly narrowed look about them. Her lips were full…her face soft and filled with the bloom of youth, with a slight dimple in her chin.

    She had an “exotic” splendor and enchantment about her, of a far different kind than Ezri’s—Cynthia seemed to carry and present herself as if she were far more conscious of (and confident in) her own beauty than the more modest, demure Ezri Dax—so it would frankly be meaningless to wonder which woman was “more” beautiful, or “more” attractive to him. Different kinds of beauty—“apples and oranges”, as the saying goes. He would say they were both the best of their respective “class”.

    Are you just telling yourself that, Julian? Are you just thinking that, as a way of excusing your—sudden attraction to this girl sitting beside you, now…when the pain of losing perhaps the greatest love in your life…is still not that far behind you?

    He drove the thought away. Thinking back to the conversation he was having now, he shook his head. “You know…it’s so ironic.”

    “What is?”

    “Just…there was a time when I would have given almost anything to know that. That I was a legend among those younger than me…an inspiration to you all.”

    “But now?”

    “Now…I just want to go back in time, and knock some sense into my former self. ‘It’s not about you, you old fool,’ I’d say. ‘It’s about your doing the best you can, being the best doctor—the best man you can be…and leaving it up to history to decide whether you’re worth noting or not….’”

    His voice trailed off. She watched him intently, her features unreadable.

    Bashir stared at her with a frown. “And…I haven’t a clue why I would open up like I just did—to someone I don’t even know.”

    She chuckled. “It’s all right, Doctor. I’ll not tell anyone.”

    “Oh, it’s not that I’m worried about.”

    “Well, what is?”

    “We’ve just met.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “What do I mean? A few minutes ago, you were the one unsure of how to talk to me!”

    “I’m not anymore.”

    “No…you’re not anymore. Should that concern me?”

    She shook her head. “I don’t know…should it?”

    He studied her in silence. He felt he was right to be concerned about himself. Half a year ago…he would have been holding this same kind of charming conversation with Ezri—and Ezri alone. But now…now that she’d left him…now that they’d broken up, due to their lives growing further and further apart…

    He sighed. What is it, Julian? Are you feeling guilty—feeling as though, in some odd way…you’re being unfaithful to Ezri? You two are apart, now. There’s no changing that, is there? Might as well make the best of it. At the very least…this woman could help you get over all that, once and for all….

    “Well…I guess it wouldn’t hurt, anyway.” He smiled again, burying his pain. “Now—once again, you have me at a disadvantage, Miss Holland. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”

    She returned his smile, saying nothing for a while. Finally, she said, “What would you want to know about?”

    Ah. That was how it was going to be, then. A woman of mystery…who wishes to see if I’d prefer to keep it that way….

    His smile grew. “On second thought…nothing. Absolutely nothing…that I can’t figure out just by studying you in person.”

    She chuckled again. “That’s fair enough, Doctor.”

    “Yes…it is, indeed.”

    They studied each other in silence. Finally, Bashir spoke.

    “But let me ask you one thing. Have you been performing your current duties for Intelligence straight out of the Academy?”

    “More or less.”

    “Then you’re not a ‘field agent’, per se.”

    “Oh?”

    “Oh, you definitely have some experience, I’d say—but it’s not your primary duty in S.I.”

    She raised an eyebrow, still smiling. “Indeed? How do you know?”

    “Oh…I have my ways. As you’ve probably heard, I’m genetically enhanced.”

    She nodded.

    “It’s helped me to notice things missed by most others. Your mannerisms throughout our conversation—your initial unease, in particular—strongly imply a limited—one might say uneven—amount of experience in the field. This means that either you have only recently become an agent…or you are primarily not out in the field. However, you do have some practice to that effect…as indicated by, among other things, your retaining your silence about yourself at precisely the right time. My compliments on that, by the way.”

    “Thank you, Doctor.”

    “But I also see a certain kind of intelligence about you—the kind that gives you a…certain attention to specifics. They way you’ve been observing me, whenever you look in my direction…”

    She frowned. “Oh—I’m sorry if—”

    “No, it’s quite alright. I actually like it.”

    Her smile returned. “You do?”

    “Of course. Now—this means you’re a person for details—necessary for someone specializing in the departments related to numbers, formulas, and information. Specifically, considering the structure of Starfleet Intelligence, this leaves,” he held up three fingers of his hand, “three probabilities.”

    She leaned closer to him, smiling in anticipation.

    Bashir pointed to the first finger. “First option: Records and Analysis—unlikely, as records officers and analysts are too well needed in their department to be sent out into the field. There’s always a great deal of work to be done behind the desk, in this day and age.”

    “Of course.”

    He lowered the first finger, moving on to the second. “Second option: Applied Science—which is also highly unlikely, as your hands show no sign of any extensive use in matters of engineering or chemistry.”

    “I might be a programmer.”

    “No. Again, your hands—the immense use of your fingers in matters of program design and maintenance would register in slight, barely noticeable habitual motions on their part to that effect, even off duty. Yours show no such indication.”

    She nodded. “Go on.”

    He lowered the second finger, leaving his index, which he pointed to her. “Therefore, your primary duties…are in the Communications department of your division. Your main duties: sending and receiving communiqués with agents on the ground, language and code translation…and, in many instances, com-tapping. Your considerable skill at the latter two is a major element in what led your superiors to judge you worthy of beginning field work.”

    He spread out his hands. “Am I correct?”

    Her eyes widened. “You…”

    Bashir felt his smile widen into a grin. “I thought so.”

    She gave that pleasant, musical laugh again. “Well…you’ve certainly impressed me, Dr. Bashir!”

    “I’m certainly glad of that, Miss Holland.”

    They stared at each other once again, smiling. Bashir took the initiative to speak once again.

    “Tell, me…do you have any previous engagements? Tonight, I mean.”

    “Tonight?” She looked off for a moment, as if going over her schedule in her mind. “Why…no, I don’t.”

    “Splendid. Would you care for our…traveling around this part of Risa, looking for whatever strikes our fancy?”

    She smiled, her eyes speaking of endless possibilities. “I would love that.”

    “Dinner afterwards, perhaps?”

    “It sounds…tempting….”

    “1700, then?”

    She chuckled. “Doctor, we’re on leave! You say ‘Five in the evening’.”

    Bashir shrugged. “Old habits. Now…will that be appropriate?”

    “Of course.”

    “Splendid. Now…my rooms are in the Resort of the—”

    “Would you agree to…come to my rooms, instead?”

    Bashir raised an eyebrow. “Oh…?”

    “I have some…work I’ve brought along, which needs finishing. I’d prefer to do so as soon as possible, and—”

    “Rubbish.”

    She blinked. “Pardon?”

    “It that were true…then why lounge here for so long, talking to me?”

    “I was…I heard you were here, and—”

    Bashir leaned towards her with a smirk. “My dear girl…do you have anything against your coming to me?”

    “No, Doctor…but…”

    Bashir nodded, “Then I’d suggest you get to your…‘work’, Miss Holland.”

    She sighed, and nodded in resignation.

    “And then…you come straight to the Resort of the Vulcan Stone.”

    Her eyes widened. “That’s…where my rooms are!”

    “All the better. Ninth floor, suite 973. Five in the evening—sharp.”

    She nodded again. “Very good.”

    “All right!” Bashir sat up. “Miss Holland…you’d better get to it. Consider it an order.”

    She smiled, and rose to her feet. “Yes, sir.”

    Bashir grinned. “Dismissed.”

    She laughed in clear enjoyment, and left.

    Julian Bashir shook his head, wondering how in the universe he had gotten so lucky. Perhaps…fate can be kind to me, after all….


    * * *​
     
  11. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    "Perhaps…fate can be kind to me, after all…." My friend, that is a very dangerous way to think. Kind of reminds me of, "It could be worse."


    Bloody great, mate! The good ol' Doc still has it in him I see. It doesn't look he's losing his touch anytime soon. Don't leave us hanging. :techman:
     
  12. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, remember that it's barely been a month or so since his relationship with Ezri just ended out of the blue. He's been in a dark place, emotionally, and as he noted in the above scene, he's hoping that this will help him recover.

    Dangerous? Hmm...perhaps....

    No indeed! Despite how much he's been through, he's still as charming and smooth as ever. :cool:
     
  13. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

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    Perhaps? Mate, the guy attracts trouble more than I do!

    The Bashir we all love! :techman:
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Absolutely.

    A brief note on "casting" (I'll make these kinds of notes on my "original" characters as the story progresses; I'm a very "visual" writer, I suppose):

    The "model" I used for Miss Holland is Brigitte Bardot--of the late 1950's and early 1960's (before she lost the "kitten" look and her voice seemed to deepen).

    Considering how she once starred alongside Sean Connery--along with her general celebrity at the time--I couldn't help but wonder why she'd never been cast as a Bond Girl....
     
  15. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Having successfully caught the feel of the Bond movies for the 'pre-credit' sequence, you admirably re-create Fleming's literary style for the first proper chapter. It does indeed have that travelogue feel.
     
  16. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It sure captures the mood of Bond stories. Something tells me Julian is in for a universe of trouble especially if Miss Holland isn't all she appears to be.
     
  17. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now, we continue:


    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Chapter 2


    Of course she was going to be late.

    Julian Bashir looked up at the chronometer at his room at the “Vulcan Stone”. It was 1705.

    He leaned back in his seat by the desk. Naturally…she was continuing the little “banter” they’d began on the beach…just without words. She was testing him to see if he’d give in, look her up…and then go to her door, after all.

    He smiled. He could wait.

    He was dressed in what was something of a private joke with himself—a mid-20th-century-style black dinner suit with a white shirt and a black bowtie. On a world like Risa…no one would really notice the humor of it.

    He looked around his room. True to the “theme” of the resort, it was made to have a feel of solitude, in the logical, strictly efficient style of Vulcan. Comfortable, certainly, no self-respecting Risan establishment would ever abandon that—but it was effectively supposed to be a “stylized” version of Vulcan architecture. Dark reddish-brown walls, paneled with stone…relics on the wall, from miniature lirpas to a massive rug, covering the wall behind the bed, with a large golden IDIC woven in. The lamps gave off a warm light, with a soothing fire-like hue, when it was too late or early for the daylight to come in through the windows…or when the curtains were closed.

    The bathroom lay across the room from his desk. There was no door, just an effective design where he would go straight forward, to the sink, and turn right, going a few steps straight into the shower—water, of course, not sonic.

    The whole place was ideal for him…even if it did remind him of being alone.

    He heard a knock at the door.

    He glanced at the chronometer. Eight minutes past.

    With a grin on his face, Julian Bashir rose from his seat, walking straight to the entranceway, and pressed the control on the wall.

    Cynthia Holland stood there with a childlike beam, her hands clasped low, in front of her. She wore a long-sleeved, dark green blouse, with a short brown skirt.

    Bashir smirked. She’d clearly intended to charm him with adorability. It was certainly effective. “You’re late.”

    She looked off and shrugged, her smile growing. “As I said…I had work to finish.”

    “I see.”

    She gave him a look of complete innocence. “You did order me to do so, Doctor.”

    “Ah, yes. So I did.” He decided not to remind her that he’d also ‘ordered’ her not to be late. She knew it—she was simply teasing him, appropriately.

    She made a show of looking him up and down. “Well—you seem to be properly dressed for the occasion!”

    Bashir chuckled. “As do you. Now…shall we?”

    She returned the laugh, and extended her hand to him. “Of course!”

    He took it, as he went out into the hall, the door locking behind him.


    * * *

    As the evening sky darkened, they eventually found their way to the Caranala Club. Within, the stone walls were covered in flowered vines and foliage. Palms grew here and there throughout the floor—and in false “breaks” between the walls. There was a ceiling—but it was designed and decorated in such a way to simulate a night sky breaking through the rain forest. Amid the faint sounds of animal life not really there, they could hear a “lounge” musical style which reminded Bashir somewhat of Vic Fontaine’s….

    He looked up from his dinner, and noticed that Miss Holland had barely touched hers. She was looking around at her exotic surroundings, with a look of enthusiastic wonder in her eyes….

    He smiled. He always loved to see that in the personality of a woman—that innocence, that childlike joy for life, and all its pleasures.

    “I take it this is your first time here?” he asked.

    She turned to him with a blink. “Hmm?”

    He chuckled. “I was asking whether you’ve been here before.”

    “Oh…no, Doctor. I haven’t been to Risa at all, before now.”

    “Really? Well, I suppose there’s a first time for everything.”

    She nodded.

    “Now, may I be so bold as to presume that you’re not exactly here on vacation?”

    She blinked again, frowning. “Doctor?”

    “Well—perhaps it’s the romantic in me…I’d always imagined what it would be like to be a…‘secret agent’, sent to exotic places around the universe…serving Queen and Country, as they say, while also enjoying the many pleasures of wherever I’m sent….”

    She smiled, and gave a light shrug. “Well, sometimes that is what happens.”

    “But not all the time, of course.”

    She looked off, shaking her head with a sigh. “No…certainly not.”

    Bashir leaned back in his seat. “So—are you on assignment?”

    She turned back to him, and chuckled. “I see it’s impossible to fool you on that sort of thing, Doctor.”

    “I’d say so.”

    She narrowed her eyes as she leaned forward, beckoning with her finger. Bashir happily obliged, leaning to her, as she spoke in a near whisper:

    “You’re right, Doctor. I’m here on assignment.”

    He nodded with a grin. “Doing what?”

    “Well…if you’ll keep this confidential…”

    “My dear Miss Holland…I pride myself on my trustworthiness.”

    “Thank you, Doctor. Now…” as she folded her hands in front of her, growing serious, “Intelligence has been receiving reports of Syndicate activity in this sector for the past several weeks. We suspect they have a base of operations here—on Risa.”

    Bashir frowned. “The Orion Syndicate?”

    “Is there another ‘Syndicate’ we should be aware of?”

    He shrugged. “Any idea what they’re planning?”

    “Not exactly…but there have also been recent withdrawals of large sums of latinum from certain accounts in the Bank of Bolius which we’ve been monitoring.”

    “Hold on,” Bashir held up a hand, doing a double-take. “Isn’t that illegal, to spy on the Bolius accounts? They’re supposed to be neutral….”

    “They don’t know about us. Our operatives have been doubling as…as bankers, in order to look at the transfer records….”

    “Of course. Now, you think the withdrawals are to fund something, or…?”

    “We don’t know. All we do know is that an establishment a few block away from here—the Palais de Mystère—has been completely bought out a week ago, by a man named Crolin, who paid all at once…in latinum, Doctor Bashir.”

    He nodded slowly, taking it all in. “By ‘bought out’, you mean…”

    “Completely private—no stockholding. Total and complete ownership.”

    “Well…perhaps it’s a simple case of corrupt dealing and buyouts…in which case, it’d be in the jurisdiction of—”

    “Doctor…if that were all, why purchase in full, so quickly? Why the rush…unless they were planning something to happen…very soon?”

    Bashir narrowed his eyes. “Something…”

    “Something big, Doctor. Something important enough to warrant that amount of latinum.”

    “I see…. So, you’re to investigate the new owner of the Palais.”

    “Exactly.”

    “Why didn’t you check in to that resort?”

    “We didn’t want to risk it. I report regularly to my superiors, and we can’t afford the possibility of anyone spying on me in my quarters, and destroying my cover.”

    Bashir smiled. “I’m impressed, Miss Holland. This seems like a very important assignment—especially for someone who’s not a full agent. And it would seem you deserve it.”

    She smiled, with a blink of her eyes. “Thank you.”

    “Of course. Now…have you made contact with the new owners, as of yet?”

    “Not yet. That’s what I was preparing for, tonight, before I came to you door—I was analyzing the information we already have, and then confirming everything with my contact at Headquarters.”

    He nodded. “Very good…. All right, Miss Holland…how detailed is your plan, then?”

    “Detailed, Doctor? No…I have to anticipate according to things I wouldn’t be aware of beforehand.” She hesitated, and tilted her head. “Are you asking to join me?”

    Bashir kept his face unreadable. “Now why would I ask something so absurd?”

    Holland smiled, and shrugged again. “Because…you’re too curious?”

    Bashir laughed. “Well, that would certainly describe me! All the same…I’m not authorized for this sort of thing.”

    “Of course not.”

    They stared at each other in silence, both struggling to keep smiles from breaking. Finally, they both gave up, laughing despite themselves.

    Bashir shook his head. “All right. You have me—if you want me.”

    Holland narrowed her eyes and grinned, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “I do…Doctor Bashir.”

    Bashir grinned inside at the double meaning of her answer. “Oh…call me ‘Julian’.”

    She blinked, her smile vanishing in bewilderment. “Well, I—”

    “Well, after all, I have a name and reputation—more so than you do, certainly. If I’m to come along, surely we need a cover, don’t we?”

    “I…suppose so. But, I don’t see what that has—”

    “So, in that case, you and I, we are a happily engaged couple, and we’re looking for the perfect resort for our future honeymoon.”

    Her eyes widened, as her smile returned. “Doctor…I had no idea—”

    “That we were going to be married? Neither did I—but after a considerable period of courtship, I found myself proposing almost against my will to you a few nights ago—the end of our first day here, as it were. On the beach, as the sun was setting…the soft sound of the waves soothing our hearts—the usual.”

    “I see. Quite romantic.”

    “I should think so. Now, caught up in the passion of the aftermath, we’re eagerly setting out to plan everything out. In this case…our honeymoon.”

    “Shall we get a ring…Julian?”

    “Oh, not necessarily. Not unless you already have something you could use. As I said, it was all unexpected, and therefore rushed.”

    She nodded. “All right. That’s settled, then.”

    Bashir leaned back in his seat. “So…the Palais de…”

    “The Palais de Mystère, Julian.”

    “Right. You know, you pronounced that perfectly—far better than I could, anyway.”

    She looked off. “Well…I suppose my family history helps me in that, you could say.”

    “Ah. A French background?”

    “Well, yes; my mother was French, my father was English.”

    “Indeed. I wouldn’t have known it from your name. ‘Cynthia’ isn’t French.”

    “Oh, but my middle name is, Doctor.”

    “And it would be…?”

    She squirmed for a moment, and finally blurted out, “‘Mirabelle’.”

    Julian felt his eyes bulge. “Heavens—not the plum!”

    She burst out laughing, and shook her head. “Actually, I’d often asked them about that! Mother swore to me they’d meant it in its literal sense….”

    “Ah.” Mirabelle…“lovely…wondrous…of incredible beauty”. “Well, your parents were certainly on to something, I’d say.”

    Her lips parted as her smile grew. “Merci, Doctor!” she said in a near whisper.

    Julian returned the smile. “You’re welcome.”

    A French background…how terribly ironic. Unbidden, the memory of a woman he hadn’t thought about for years…came to him, now:

    Palis…my first love…the woman whom, for so long, I feared could never be equaled in my heart. For so long…the perfect woman in my eyes, until…until Ezri had walked into my life….

    There was a certain something those two past loves shared, wasn’t there? The same inner beauty…the same grace of spirit…the same tender, romantic heart. Of course, they had looked so very different from one another—but that was irrelevant. What had made them the two greatest loves in his life was still the same, when it mattered—although…he found himself thinking that he wouldn’t have abandoned the latter by his own choice, as he had the former….

    Funny—this woman, sitting across from me…she looks so much like Palis. A little different, but…the resemblance is still there, now that I think if it.

    —Oh, what are you doing, Julian? Comparing this girl to Ezri, over and over—and now Palis…it’s not fair to Cynthia, at all! She’s who she is—no one else.

    And yet…on the other hand…there is something about all three, isn’t there? Something…which always draws me to a certain kind of woman….

    Bashir looked at her, his curiosity—his desire to become closer to her—growing by the minute. “Cynthia Mirabelle Holland….”

    She nodded. “Julian Subatoi Bashir….”

    Bashir returned the nod. “That’s right.”

    “And your background is…?”

    “Yes—my father’s from England. My mother’s Arabic.”

    “Oh, they’re still alive?”

    “Of course. Father’s a landscape architect. He’s been doing very well, I’d say. In fact—”

    He cut himself off, when the implications of her question became clear.

    “Oh…” Julian whispered, staring at her in compassion. She just met his gaze, with a look of sad, nostalgic regret.

    He shook his head slowly. “I…I’m sorry, Cynthia.”

    She blinked, and her gaze fell. “It’s…quite all right, Doctor,” she whispered. “It’s been some years since…since I lost them.”

    “Well…when?”

    “When I was in the Academy, my second year. A climbing accident. I don’t think about it, really.”

    “I…well…how close were you to them?”

    She looked off, and sighed. “Not as much as I would have liked.”

    Julian stared at her, saying nothing.

    She shrugged, and turned back to him. “We seem to be bearing our souls to each other, Doctor.”

    “I suppose so….”

    “Well, thank you—for caring.”

    Julian swallowed, and managed to reply, “It was nothing.”

    She nodded, her gaze falling.

    Julian shook his head again. He was filled with sympathy for her…he knew full well what it was like to be separate, alone—even if his own parents were still alive.

    And so, he found himself taking her hand. It felt so soft…so frail, underneath his own.

    She blinked in surprise as she saw what he did…but she didn’t resist. Her other hand rested on his, and she looked at him, her eyes sparkling, with a warm, grateful smile.

    Despite himself, Julian started musing, Confound it, Bashir—why does nearly every woman you share a mutual attraction with turn out to be emotionally vulnerable, in some way or another? Melora, Sarina, Ezri—is it your Oath as a doctor run amuck, or something? Does that, in some terrible way…does it somehow make things worse for her—?

    He cut himself off again. Oh, knock it off. That’s the last sort of mindset you should be having, right now. She says she’s over it. She’s proven she can live with it. What she needs is your empathy—and you’ve given it to her. With that, you two can move on.

    Finally, Julian cleared his throat, and muttered, “Well, um…we’d best make plans for the mission at hand.”

    The girl nodded…and the two pulled back their hands, and returned to their dinner.


    * * *​
     
  18. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I've always liked the natural ease with which you write conversation, and I think you show similar skills with abstract description in this one; the way that Risa is described is very effective, and really shows a more meaningful and well-considered idea of the planet than the usual "sex and fun" summary. That is, I really liked the insight into what a mind like (presumably) Bashir's might see in it - how the carefully-crafted paradise speaks to more than just the desire for enjoyment (though that's certainly not downplayed or unimportant). It really helps sell Risa as something with a sophistication or other such quality that might be attractive to Bashir.

    I also really liked Bashir's analysis of his new companion's likely function in SI; it fit his character and it made use of his genetic enhancement and their insights in a manner the show often, I think, neglected...and the novels often do as well, for that matter.
     
  19. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    ^Agreed. Bashir's genetic enhancements, coupled with the deductive skills a doctor needs, should give him Sherlock Holmes style insight.

    Hmm, I wonder if there's any significance in the fact that Cynthia's parents died in a mountaineering accident...
     
  20. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Location:
    ares93
    If there is something I've learned about my good friend Rushbo here, its that he doesn't do anything without a reason. Take that as you want, but its the way it is.

    Rushbo: Great chapter, mate.
     

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