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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    ^Thank you, Nasat--very much!

    I'd say you're spot on, too, on Bashir spinning his inner conflict.

    I think, seeing as how the first three months of his relationship with Ezri--the time span before Avatar--Ezri kind of was a conscience for him, as I showed in "Annihilation Fantasies", when she helped him sort out what had happened in "Extreme Measures".

    As for Sloan--I suppose I've always liked the little undercurrent I felt in the last scene in "Inter Arma...", and the "family" scene in "Extreme Measures" where Sloan "thanks" Bashir. By that I mean...behind the bravado and conflicts between them--there was a kind of connection between them. Sloan understood Bashir--which was how he'd been able to manipulate him. And Bashir understands Sloan...in some sense. I can't seem to shake the idea that, somehow...there was a time when Sloan wasn't that much different from Julian--but something tragic happened, to change him into the harsh, pragmatic cynic we see in DS9 (see my "Passing Of Value").

    In a sense...Sloan is almost a "dark side" to Bashir--and he represents the darker elements of Bashir's soul. Frankly, I'd say the moment near the end of Abyss (when the "Sloan Voice" asks, "So, Doctor...what did you learn?") supports this notion.
     
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Now...back to Crolin, Crant--and Miss Holland.


    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Chapter 14



    The makeshift base of operations for the Orion Syndicate on Risa was now on the top level of the Palais de Mystère. Crolin looked up from the desk of his office—fashioned out of one of the false rooms—to see Mr. Crant arrive with two most welcome prizes.

    “The device,” Crant announced, handing it to his superior.

    Crolin took it, and looked it up and down with a smile. “Well…none the worse for wear. Perhaps this wasn’t a complete loss—in time, we’ll be ready to try again.”

    Crant’s second prize—the girl—said nothing, her lovely eyes blazing in contempt.

    “Now,” Crolin grinned, “Perhaps you should make yourself at home, Miss…?”

    “Her name is Cynthia Holland,” Crant said, with a smile of his own.

    “Holland…yes.” Crolin turned to his subordinate. “So…may I ask how you located her?”

    Crant beamed. “It just so happens, sir, that the good doctor injected ‘Miss Gabrielle’ with a homing device. He could keep track of her on his tricorder.”

    Cynthia Holland stiffened, and looked as if she were fighting a look of astonishment.

    Interesting… Crolin chuckled. “I take it he didn’t tell you?”

    No more reaction from her.

    Oh, well. Crolin turned back to Mr. Crant. “What of the doctor?”

    Crant’s grin widened. “Oh, I think he’ll be here…to rescue her. And when he does—well, then…” he spread out his hands, “Whatever strikes your fancy.”

    Crolin nodded. “Still…can we ensure he’ll arrive?”

    “Oh, I’d say so. Remember,” Crant chuckled, “He did spend the whole of last night in her suite….”

    Crolin laughed. “Of course.” Turning to the girl, he added, “Romance is a most curious thing…wouldn’t you agree, my dear?”

    The girl spat out a retort, in what was apparently her native tongue.

    “Oh, we have no intention of doing that, I assure you,” Crant replied with a straight face.

    Crolin raised an amused eyebrow at his underling. “What did she say?”

    Crant shrugged. “I doubt you’d care to know.”


    * * *​


    Julian Bashir was unarmed—the Syndicate man, Mr. Crant, had apparently ensured that both his suite and Holland’s would be cleared of phasers. As he approached the Palais, making sure to keep out of sight, he weighed his options. He didn’t seem to have that many.

    He checked the tricorder. She was at the top level. There weren’t any other life signs. Again—they doubtless had personal cloaks of their own.

    The vast majority of his men were probably claimed by the explosion…but there’s no telling how many are left.

    He let out a sigh. Well—I suppose I’d better take what I get.

    He rushed to the secondary entrance—the same one, he noted, that he and Cynthia had entered through the night before.

    He activated his cloak. It probably didn’t matter—the building’s sensors were probably shorted out. Still, better safe than sorry.

    As he entered the main lobby, which still had a giant gaping hole, he had one destination in mind—a stairway, any alternative to the elevator which was almost certainly damaged beyond use.

    His gaze caught a hallway to the left of the receptionist desk. Careful to stay close to the wall, he inched his way over, his ears sharp for anything or anyone coming his way.

    The hall was fairly short, with a few rooms on either side. At the moment, of course, Bashir was more concerned with the stairway at the far end. Keeping his earing tuned for the slightest sound, he removed his shoes, one hand in each—and rushed across the hall.

    He peered up the stairway, as far as he could, his hearing still tuned. Nothing.

    Either there aren’t that many of his men remaining…or else they’re waiting for me.

    Possibly both.

    Still, it didn’t matter which—he had to finish what he began. And so, still carrying his shoes, he began the long flight upward….

    * * *​


    “He should be here quite soon,” Mr. Crant said, looking towards the hallway.

    Crolin nodded, and turned to the girl, who was secured to the chair of the office. He smiled, brushing her cheek with his hand, as he asked, “Who are you, Miss Holland? Why are you so important to use an assumed name?”

    She said nothing.

    Crolin chuckled. “I must admit…I was a little surprised that Starfleet would assign Dr. Bashir to such an investigation. Surely they would send an agent of…Starfleet Intelligence?”

    Nothing.

    “Are you his supervisor, then? His ‘handler’, if you will?”

    Nothing.

    “Fine, then. Say nothing. Still, I’m amused that someone like you would be in charge of such a mission. Surely someone older…someone with more experience.”

    At this, she turned to him at last, a smile coming to her face. “And what does that say about you?”

    Crolin laughed. “Amusing…but pointless.”

    “Is it? Someone like me—and someone like the doctor—we were able to defeat you so easily?”

    Crant snorted. “You forget, Miss Holland—we now have all we need to begin again, in time. You haven’t defeated us.”

    Holland laughed, and leaned back in the seat, closing her eyes.

    “Let her be, Mr. Crant,” said Crolin. “In time, we’ll properly compensate them both or their insolence.”


    * * *​
     
  3. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Checking in when I can while I'm on the road. Everything seems to have backfired disastrously. How will Julian get out of this mess???
     
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now--out of the frying pan...


    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Chapter 15



    As Julian Bashir approached the top floor, he made sure to slow down—first, to conserve energy; second, to conserve any noise he might unintentionally make.

    Finally, reaching the entrance, he slipped his footwear back on, and pressed his ear to the door.

    He could hear…he estimated two men nearby.

    He straightened up, swallowing hard. Well…here goes nothing.

    He pressed the control on the door—and jerked to the side as it slid open, so the guards would see nothing but an empty stairway.

    They had apparently frozen in anticipation at this…and were now waiting for what would come next. Bashir waited, not moving, not making a sound.

    Finally, the door closed. He darted to the controls, pressing the control again, and rushed back to the side.

    He could hear the two guards approaching, stopping a matter of feet away.

    The door closed—and Bashir repeated the process.

    At last, one guard stepped through, the other close behind.

    Bashir swung his arm into the man’s jaw—sending him careening backwards into his associate. Thinking quickly, Bashir yanked the guard’s disruptor from his hand, shooting it at the other, who went down.

    As he grabbed Guard 2’s weapon, Guard 1 clutched his ankle, tripping him. Bashir kicked back with his free foot, and the disabled man released him.

    A disruptor in each hand, Bashir fired across the hall at a third man, who had looked like he was speaking into a comm unit while reaching for his weapon. He was out.

    That looked like it was all, for now. Bashir checked his tricorder, and went on.


    * * *

    “Mr. Crolin, the doctor is—AGH—!”

    Crolin yanked his comm unit off his belt. “What is it?”

    Nothing.

    Mr. Crant burst out laughing.

    Crolin sighed. “It would seem the good doctor wants to make this as difficult as possible.”

    Crant nodded, still chuckling.

    “Ah, well. Deal with him, Mr. Crant.”

    Crant grinned. “Gladly, sir.”


    * * *

    It was simple enough to dispatch the other four guards he encountered as he turned a corner into another hall. But as far as Bashir was concerned, there might as well be twenty or thirty waiting for him at his destination.

    However, it was quiet now. He swallowed hard, looking about him as he tread…ready for anything.

    There was a door open in a room to his left. Now, that’s odd…the door from the stairway didn’t seem shorted out…why should that one be any different?

    He frowned, taking a step forward, disruptors at the ready. He briefly looked inside. He saw and heard nothing. Bashir turned to go on his way—

    And he froze at the voice of one Mr. Crant, as the barrel of a disruptor pressed into his back.

    “Hello again, Doctor,” Crant said, a smile in his voice. “Now, I’d advise you not to do anything…stupid.”

    Bashir sighed, shaking his head. He was hiding in that room…only he did exactly what I’d done, keeping off to the side, staying silent until I’d passed. He probably had the toe of his shoe in the doorway until I went by—and he let me keep the door open with my presence.

    Well, whatever it was… “Looks like you’ve won this round, Mr. Crant,” he said, in a tone of false cheer.

    “Looks that way, doesn’t it? Now…shall I take you to Crolin, without any further trouble?”

    Weighing his options, Bashir dropped his weapons. “Well! At least this saves us some shooting along the way,” he quipped.

    Crant chuckled. “All in good time. Right this way, if you please….”


    * * *​
     
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Apologies for the delay, folks--the next chapter should be up some time, tomorrow.

    In the meantime--any comments, so far?
     
  6. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Besides reiterating the usual one-liners? :rommie:

    Garak's remark that Bashir has used every opportunity to "show off" rings true. He has seemed to get complacent throughout this tale.
     
  7. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And now, the finale begins. Here we go....


    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Chapter 16



    Mr. Crant led him through two more corridors, until they came to the doors of a suite. “Go on inside, Doctor,” Crant smiled, “Mr. Crolin is expecting you.”

    “So I gather,” Bashir replied. “You’re not coming in?”

    Crant chuckled. “Not yet—Crolin has something else in mind, for later. Don’t worry…I’ll be back soon, if you need me.”

    Bashir shook his head in bitter amusement. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he muttered, as he stepped forward. The doors opened to allow him to enter.

    In the center of the room was Cynthia Holland, strapped to a chair, dressed, he noted, in nothing but a linen robe—probably the one he’d taken note of last night, the one she’d teasingly made it a point not to put on—

    Stop it. This is no time for distractions, or regrets, or pain in your conscience.

    Holland met his gaze, saying nothing. It was clear she felt the same way: the anger and resentment that he’d caused her to feel was absent, now. Her expression was serene and professional. For now, once again they were colleagues, once again associates on assignment.

    In her eyes, he read a message of support. Be careful.

    He gave a subtle nod. I will.

    Crolin sat at a desk off to the side, where a bed would normally be. He rose to his feet with a smile. “Good morning, Dr. Bashir!”

    Bashir nodded in his direction, not returning the smile. “Mr. Crolin.”

    Crolin chuckled. “Quite a merry chase, I must say. You’ve interfered a great deal—you and Miss Holland, here.”

    Bashir crossed his arms. “Should I feel impressed that you know her name, Crolin? Because I’m not.”

    “No…of course not. I am simply amused that you thought your misdirection would work for too long.”

    “Perhaps I didn’t intend for it to be needed for too long.”

    “Of course. You thought you could thwart us completely, with that interesting stunt of yours, last night. Of course, had you destroyed this,” he gave a light pat to the device on his desk, “You would have. But you didn’t—for the simple reason that you couldn’t. It’s a very rare form of technology, which I admit cost a great deal to apprehend. And therefore, you needed it intact, to study it for your own purposes.”

    “I suppose so,” Bashir nodded, exchanging a glance with Cynthia, who gave a barely perceptible sigh, with a lowered gaze.

    Crolin continued. “Unfortunately, you’ve now given us the opportunity to—”

    “Yes, yes, you’ll naturally want to start over. Frankly, I’m amused you think you can do that, Mr. Crolin. Next time, we’ll be ready—and you, sir, won’t be able to set foot on Risa again.”

    Crolin burst out laughing. “That’s assuming, Doctor, that anyone other than you are even aware of what our intentions were.”

    Bashir smiled. “I’m disappointed in you, Crolin. You really think we haven’t sent in any reports of this to our superiors?”

    Crolin shrugged. “Whether you did or not…it will be similarly more difficult to know where to find us. I can assure you, Doctor, we’ll take care to modify our activities as needed—cover up our tracks more efficiently, and so on.”

    “Indeed. Now—how do you intend to finish with us, exactly?”

    Crolin smiled. “Ask Mr. Crant. He should be back, momentarily.”

    As if on cue, the doors opened behind Bashir. He turned to see Crant, followed by three other armed men—one of which he recognized as the man he’d knocked out with the heel of his shoe, who was even now sporting the bruise on his forehead.

    Goodness—is that all he has left? I shot six—meaning only nine survived the explosion, alongside Crolin.

    Bashir smirked inwardly. I suppose one should never underestimate the efficiency of Section 31. They certainly know how to clear their targets.

    Crolin’s smile widened into a grin. “Now, tell me the truth, Doctor. Did you really think you would have been able to rescue her, recover the device, and leave this building alive?”

    Bashir shrugged, as he turned back to the Syndicate boss. “To be honest, I wasn’t particularly sure. But then, I didn’t have any particular choice. My duty, and all that. You understand.”

    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 the boss had swung his arm around him, trying with all his might to strangle him. He felt his grip on his disruptor weaken…and heard it clatter to the floor.

    Bashir plunged his elbows into Crolin’s ribs. Unfortunately, this man seemed far sturdier than the thug in the spy program—there was little effect.

    He plunged again—again—again, with what strength he could conjure up.

    Finally, Crolin let him go—and stepped back, as if anticipating Bashir’s next move.

    Thinking quickly, Bashir swung his legs around, hitting Crolin’s ankles as hard as he could—and the boss went down.

    Apparently, Crolin’s bulk cushioned the fall, because no sooner did Bashir rise to his feet, kicking Crolin’s disruptor over towards the window—then the boss leapt up, swinging his arm to Julian’s torso with such force that the doctor felt himself fly across the room.

    He landed at the feet of Cynthia Holland’s chair. The girl sighed, and muttered, “I don’t suppose I could offer any help—”

    Bashir rushed behind the chair—whirling it around, so that her back was to Crolin.

    He sighed at her. “Sorry about this…”

    As Crolin rushed to him, Bashir pushed the chair back—and it collided with the Syndicate boss. Crolin shoved the chair aside, and Cynthia let out a yelp as it hit the floor.

    Bashir rushed for Crolin’s disruptor—but the boss lunged for him again, tackling him down. Crolin swung a blow to the side of Bashir’s head, weakening him. Then, the boss stood up, picking up his disruptor. Bashir stiffened, preparing for death.

    Crolin grinned. “I bid you adieu, Dr. Bashir.”

    The screech of a disruptor beam filled Bashir’s ears—

    And Crolin went down…crashing through the window, tumbling down…down…down….

    Bashir heard one last, faint, distant thump, as Durantel Crolin met his all-too-timely demise.

    Bashir shook his head, and smiled. “Adieu, Mr. Crolin.”

    He turned to see what had happened—who had shot Crolin.

    He did not expect to see Mr. Crant, now recovered, give a contemptuous chuckle as he stood up and holstered his disruptor.

    Bashir looked to the window, to see if Crolin had dropped the disruptor before his fall. He did—thank the Bird.

    He lunged for it, and aimed it at Crant—just as the Syndicate operative pulled his own weapon.

    “Come now, Doctor,” Crant said, with a smile, “Let’s behave like civilized men, for once—shall we? After all…I did save your life, just now.”

    “I know,” Bashir narrowed his eyes. “But that’s the question, Mr. Crant: why?”

    Crant chuckled. “Doctor, you’re a brilliant man; surely you can find the answer yourself.”

    As Bashir stood up, the answer did come to him. “Of course…. You saw all the errors Crolin made—how he rushed everything, how he allowed slight, subtle ‘clues’ to creep up …and it frustrated you, didn’t it?”

    Crant spread out his hands. “Not at first. I thought the plan itself was brilliant, to be frank. Nonetheless, I doubt the Syndicate would give him credit for it merely ‘working on paper,’ as the saying goes. It’s…so often the little things that matter.”

    Bashir nodded. “So—you’d allowed yourself to shrug off those ‘little things’, because Crolin has never paid for them, until now. And because of his previous successes…the Syndicate hadn’t taken note of them, either.”

    Crant shrugged. “Perhaps….”

    Bashir stepped towards the desk. “But, of course…mistakes tend to grow…and finally, they became just barely noticeable for people like Miss Holland, there…and her superiors.”

    Crant nodded. “To be honest, Doctor, you were right to imply that Crolin was deluding himself, thinking he could simply redo this assignment. Of course, had you not overpowered us like you did, just now...we may have."

    "But...?"

    "Unfortunately, the Syndicate wouldn’t allow him to try again, were he to return like this—just him and I, the rest killed, or else taken in by Starfleet. They’d kill him for his incompetence—and, just to err on the side of caution, they would have killed me, too.”

    Bashir smiled. “But now, you get off clean as a whistle—because as far as they’re concerned, you cleaned up the mess for them.”

    “Precisely!”

    Bashir chuckled. “With any luck…they’ll promote you, and make you into a crime boss of your own.” He raised an eyebrow, “A chance to put your brilliance to good use, instead of subordinating it to him….”

    Crant gave a nod. “Call it that.”

    “Yes,” Bashir narrowed his eyes, “But before you gloat over your great fortune—there’s still the issue of this impasse we seem to have reached—”

    Crant snorted, and tossed his disruptor aside.

    Bashir’s eyebrow shot up. “You seem very trusting, Mr. Crant.”

    “Not at all. I simply happen to know that you’re a Starfleet Officer, Doctor—you have rules, which demand that you not shoot an unarmed man.”

    “You could simply have another one, hidden.”

    Crant shrugged, and spread out his palms upward. “I understand you’re genetically enhanced, Doctor,” he explained, as he slowly turned in this position, “and that you can naturally perceive things others would miss. So, tell me...” as he finished his rotation, “…am I armed?”

    Bashir sighed, and set his weapon down on the desk.

    “Good. Now,” Crant said, “I suggest you untie your little girlfriend, there.”

    Holland let out a scoff. “I am not his ‘little’—”

    Crant chuckled. “Well, regardless…I’d wager she can’t untie herself.”

    Bashir narrowed his eyes, weighing his options. Finally, resolved that he had no other choice, he knelt down beside the toppled chair, untying Miss Holland, his eyes still on Crant.

    As Cynthia stood up, bushing herself off, her eyes narrowed at the Syndicate operative, as she whispered, “Doctor, we should arrest him—we can’t risk his telling the Syndicate about us.”

    Bashir thought for a moment, considering it. Finally, he sighed, shaking his head. “Look, we can’t be certain of what he and Crolin have already 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. Here, at least as far as they’re concerned, they have nothing to worry about…and neither does Crant.”

    Crant nodded. “You’re quite right, Doctor. It’s cleaner, this way. And further…I owe you, don’t I? Thanks to you,” he spread out his hands again, “I’ll command my own cell.”

    Cynthia stepped forward. “That does not prevent you from changing your mind, when you’re given that power. You know who we are, and what we look like. How can you expect us to trust you?”

    Crant shrugged. “I don’t! However…the alternative is for us to all lunge for our disruptors, and kill one another. And…I doubt you want that any more than I do.”

    Bashir sighed, putting his hand on her shoulder, “He’s right, Cynthia.”

    Cynthia let out a sigh of her own, and spread out her hands in defeat.

    Bashir turned to Crant. “Now, as for the device—”

    Mr. Crant spread out his hands. “It’s yours, to do with as you please.”

    Cynthia scoffed in disbelief at this. “No trouble?”

    “No—no trouble, for two reasons. First: as I said, the Syndicate will not simply try this again. As far as I am concerned…it would be some time before we’d have further use for this.”

    “And the second?”

    Crant shrugged. “There are two of you, and one of me. I am not one to take unnecessary risks. So consider it…an exchange—I let you keep the device, without a fight, and you let me walk free—without a fight.”

    Bashir turned to Cynthia. “Well, it’s your mission, Miss Holland.”

    Cynthia bit her lip…and finally nodded.

    Mr. Crant chuckled, and spread out his arms, giving a slight bow. “Well, Doctor Bashir—Agent Holland—it was a pleasure doing business with both of you.”

    Bashir crossed his arms. “Save it. You only did it because you had no other choice. In the meantime, 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 earlier that you admired how worthy I was, as an opponent?”

    Crant nodded. “I still do.”

    “Of course. And therefore, I’d wager we’ll meet again…and you and I will take the same pleasure as we did here—if not more,” Bashir smiled.

    Crant returned the smile, and nodded.

    “But until that happens…I trust you’ll make sure the Syndicate doesn’t retaliate for our…interference here? After all, I hate the idea of looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life.”

    Mr. Crant chuckled. “As would I. All right, Doctor—I’ll make sure to keep that sort of burden off of your shoulders this time. But take care, both of you…because I hardly think I’d 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 took his bow, turned, and left the room, off to see his ambitions fulfilled.

    Julian Bashir turned to Cynthia Holland with a smile. “Well, that was an adventure!”

    Holland shook her head, not amused. “Doctor,” she muttered, “You’re far too trusting for your own good.”

    “Well, that’ll just be my problem, not yours. Somehow, I doubt your Bureau would be susceptible to the Syndicate’s…retaliation, if any. Now, when were you supposed to deliver that device?”

    She let out a sigh. “Tonight—at 1800.”

    “I’m going to deliver it with you.”

    She whirled to him. “You—”

    “I am not letting you out of my sight, my dear. Frankly, I don’t trust Crant to not try to get it back, if he can.” Bashir leaned to her. “Perhaps I’m not as ‘trusting’ as you’d think.”

    She shook her head…and a thoughtful look came to her eyes.

    “No,” she said, “Perhaps not.”


    * * *​
     
  8. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How 'bout that. So Crant saves the day, but only so he can become the new boss and continue to wreak havoc. Very clever.
     
  9. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Thanks!

    BTW--fans of Quentin Tarantino should see my ulterior motive for "casting" Christof Waltz for Mr. Crant. It's actually something of a nod to his superb role as Colonel Landa in Inglourious B------s, who does something similar....;)
     
  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    All right. With this chapter and the next, we will wrap things up.

    Readers of "Passing Of Value" will remember my creation of Sorak, the v'tosh ka'tur who unintentionally recruited Sloan--and becomes his friend and confidant.

    This chapter also ties together all the post-WYLB encounters we've seen between Bashir and Section 31, complete with the big nod to ZSG I promised you all. It's this sequence, more than anything else, that makes this tale my "prequel" to Mack's novel.

    Note: the way Sorak reflects on Cole and L'Haan is part of my theory, stemming from Sloan's description of "a few select" in "Extreme Measures", that Section 31 is organized in a set group of "divisions", each with a "director", who interact with one another when necessary. Directors we've encountered in canon and TrekLit include Sloan, Cole (Abyss), L'Haan, and Zeitsev (A Time To Kill/Heal).


    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    "From Risa With Love"
    Chapter 17



    Sorak, Director of Division Seven, Section 31—as far as nearly everyone else in the Bureau were concerned, anyhow—sat at his table at the Andorian Blues Café.

    He would never admit it to anyone—least of all, a fellow Vulcan—but he had, over the years, developed a particular liking to Risa.

    Such pleasure the inhabitants, and the tourists, take in the release of emotion…a pleasure he, as a closet v’tosh ka’tur, could only partake in internally. Nonetheless, he partook, such as it was.

    It can be most…stressful, at times, to pose as I must—as a typical calculating machine, as my fellow Vulcans do. Any opportunity for release, however subtle, was therefore welcome.

    He drank a blend of Vulcan tea the waitress had provided for him. It sufficed.

    He looked up, to see Agent Holland approach the table…accompanied by a most welcome addition.

    “Dr. Julian Bashir, I presume,” Sorak said.

    Bashir stiffened, and nodded. “Yes.”

    Holland cleared her throat. “It’s…quite warm today, even for Risa.”

    Sorak raised an eyebrow. “On Vulcan, this is winter’s weather.”

    Bashir shook his head in what appeared to be amusement. “Is it, now?”

    Sorak frowned. “Doctor—”

    “I know, I know,” Bashir muttered, “It’s a spy code. I’m well versed in that….”

    Sorak nodded. “Of course. Please, sit down.”

    Holland sat down, handing him a bag, which he saw contained the mechanism. Sorak acknowledged it with a nod, and turned to Bashir, noting that the doctor did not sit down.

    “I trust you did not encounter any unnecessary difficulties?” Sorak asked.

    “So, you did intend for me to assist Holland.”

    “Of course. We became aware of the nature of your leave…and we saw it as an opportunity to, as you humans would say, ‘kill two birds with one stone’.”

    Bashir crossed his arms. “Really?”

    “Doctor, I can see this discussion will not be over quickly. You’d best sit down, to relax yourself.”

    Bashir rolled his eyes, and sat down. “So, instead of giving this assignment to a team of more experienced agents—a team, mind you—you sent Miss Holland here, by herself, with no backup—”

    “Correction: she did have ‘backup’—you.”

    Bashir’s lip tightened. “You sent her here, by herself…as part of an attempt of yours to—what? Recruit me, once again?”

    “Why would we wish to recruit you again, Doctor? You were already recruited by my predecessor…Director Sloan.”

    Bashir spoke through clenched teeth. “I don’t…work…for you.”

    “And yet you assisted Miss Holland.”

    “Of course I assisted her! She was the perfect lure—a beautiful, innocent young spy on a glamorous assignment, the kind you’d know I fantasize about—of course I’d jump at the chance.”

    Sorak nodded. “Which was precisely what we intended.”

    Holland spoke up. “Director, if I may?”

    He nodded to her. “Agent.”

    Holland swallowed, gathered herself, and said, “Sir…it is my professional opinion that Dr. Bashir is too unstable to conduct further missions to this effect.”

    Bashir looked to her in mild astonishment, which, Sorak admitted, he felt himself.

    “Indeed,” Sorak asked. “Why?”

    Holland’s look intensified. “After we foiled Crolin’s operation, Bashir became suspicious, and, to be brief, he deduced my true affiliations. As a result, he…” her gaze fell, and her face flushed a slight shade of red, “He resolved to meddle with my assignment.”

    Though her vagueness implied something personal, Sorak knew he needed more information. “Oh?”

    She said nothing, briefly glancing in Bashir’s direction.

    The doctor cleared his throat, a barely suppressed look of shame on his own face. “I injected her with a homing device, so I would be able to...to keep an eye on her. As a result—well, to make a long story shorter, Crolin was able to locate her, and the device we’d apprehended.”

    Indeed. This was fascinating. “They were shadowing you, Doctor?”

    “They were watching my suite.”

    “Because you had given them your real name, instead of an alias.”

    “He was under the impression that an alias for him would have been useless,” Holland explained.

    Sorak nodded. “I see. And yet…despite all of that, you are both here, with the device—indicating that you, Doctor, were successful in rescuing both it and Miss Holland—and, I assume, in defeating Mr. Crolin…?”

    Bashir nodded. “You won’t have to worry about him, at least.”

    “Director,” Holland interjected, “The point is—the doctor shows signs of an obsession over gaining control of whatever situation he faces. Now, whether that is due to his training as a doctor, or something more personal, I’m not sure. However—”

    “Thank you, Agent,” Sorak nodded. “Your…concerns are noted.”

    Holland and Bashir exchanged a look following this. It didn’t appear to contain any bitterness. In the Doctor’s case, he looked…grateful.

    Of course. He possesses no particular desire to join the Bureau. He clearly must have accepted this as a gesture of compassion, on Holland’s part.

    “Doctor,” Sorak resumed, “Understand that, as a rule, we would not give you an assignment that we did not believe required your particular services—nor one that you would not have a…vested interest in.”

    Bashir snorted. “So you’ll just create a ‘vested interest’, now, whenever you ‘need’ me?”

    Sorak nodded. “If necessary—yes.”

    Bashir scoffed, shaking his head.

    “Frankly, Doctor, you should consider yourself fortunate that you are under my supervision. I sincerely doubt that any of my fellow directors—such as Mr. Cole, whom I believe you have met—”

    “Yes, yes…” Bashir muttered.

    “…I doubt the other directors would be as…restrained…as I am, in their efforts to create such a ‘vested interest’.”

    Holland turned to Sorak with a questioning look at this.

    Of course, it’s not necessary to explain at this time. L’Haan would not care to have the agents in my division aware of her plans concerning her own….

    Bashir apparently failed to notice, as he leaned forward, the frustration burning clear in his eyes. “Why can’t you people just leave me alone?”

    Sorak permitted himself a small hint of a smile. “Sadly, Doctor, you left us little choice—particularly when you accepted one Commander Vaughn’s recruitment into the…the ‘Kirk Cabal’, I believe it is called?”

    Bashir froze.

    “Yes, Doctor,” Sorak nodded, “We know he recruited you, in the immediate aftermath of your assignment on Sindorin. Did you really think we wouldn’t notice?”

    Bashir leaned back in his seat, and shook his head. “No…I suppose not.”

    “Once that occurred, we made sure to increase our watching of you. As it were, I myself am most grateful for the intelligence you have unwittingly provided on the members of the Cabal. As a result…we have been able to more efficiently anticipate their attempts to meddle with and expose our activities.”

    “How could—?”

    “It’s not necessary to go into detail. But the point is…we simply cannot leave you alone. You yourself have made it quite impossible.”

    “Director,” Holland said, “That does not mean we must—”

    “Unfortunately, Agent…it does.”

    Sorak turned back to Bashir. “Doctor…your services are no longer required, as of now. I trust you will enjoy the remainder of your vacation here, on Risa.”

    Bashir rose to his feet, an expression of dejected defeat on his face. And then, he stormed off, leaving the café without looking back.

    Sorak turned to Holland, whose gaze was fixed in the direction the Doctor had left.

    “If you wish,” he said, “You can move to a different resort for the remainder of your stay here—”

    “That would be ideal, Director.”

    Sorak frowned. “Agent, I apologize for any inconveniences—”

    “Director,” Holland turned to him, “I have no one to blame but myself for what occurred. If I hadn’t kept from him the full extent of the mis—”

    Sorak gently held up a hand. “You were uncertain if you could trust him.”

    She sighed, and nodded.

    “Understandable: paranoia, for all its faults, is essential to our line of work. However…are you certain of his trustworthiness, now?”

    Holland stiffened. After a moment, she replied, “Concerning…everything that happened…I’m frankly less certain.”

    Sorak nodded. “Also understandable.”

    She said nothing more. Sorak found his own gaze turn back to where Bashir had left.

    There is so much we persist in keeping from him. Such is both an asset…and a liability. He cannot bring himself to trust us…in part, because we have never seen fit to trust him, in turn.

    And such, he know, was the order of things—and would continue to be, in the foreseeable future.


    * * *​
     
  11. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I've enjoyed this more action-and-intrigue-based story, it's an interesting departure from your usual conversational pieces. As ever, I like the edge of slightly polished sophistry that gives just an air of fantasy to it all, as if this is still in part one of Bashir's holosuite scenarios. I like it because, as with the descriptions of Risa you gave at the beginning, it encourages the sense that in some subtle manner we're filtering this through Bashir's perceptions (even when he's absent). It's a story very rooted in his character as you interpret it - which is usually in a way that works. :)
     
  12. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Thank you, Nasat!

    Out of curiosity--and this question is only becaue we've just started a new page--have you caught the chapter where Bashir and Holland deliver the device to her contact (which I posted shortly before you commented)?
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  13. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Naturally, Section 31 would know of Julian's involvement with an anti-Section 31 group after they were already five steps ahead of him during his trip to Romulus. I await see the final chapter that is a foreshadowing/prequel of ZSG with baited breath. :techman:
     
  14. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^Ah...that last chapter was the foreshadowing/prequel. Note Sorak mentally invoking L'Hann....
     
  15. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Okay, I see. I still await the final chapter with baited breath. :)
     
  16. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
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    All in good time. ;)

    In regards to the Cabal--I actually love compensating for the sorry showing in the Section 31 novels, wherein the Bureau somehow misses stuff that Our Heroes have to discover without 31's resources (the "useless" region of space in Rogue isn't so useless; the Omega molecule in Cloak will backfire miserably, etc.)

    In this case, the reason the mission backfired was because of Bashir's mistake, not Holland's. And 31 is now, in my universe and yours, back to its series status as disturbingly efficient, not disturbingly incompetent.
     
  17. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Right, finally got caught up with this, and what can I say? Good action sequences, lots of intrigue, an interesting villain in Crant (who I hope will return some day).

    Good stuff! :techman:
     
  18. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Thank you so much, Badger!

    And don't worry--I have big plans for Mr. Crant....
     
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
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    And at last...the conclusion.:


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




    One week later…



    * * *

    The night hour still surrounded Julian Bashir as he awoke in his quarters on Deep Space Nine. He felt a slight ache in both his arms. Perhaps—

    But as he tried to move them…he found he couldn’t. They were bound to the wall behind him—with thick strips of linen. His feet were bound in the same way, to the feet of his bed.

    He leaned back with a sigh. “All right, Cynthia,” he muttered. “What do you want?”

    From the darkness, he heard her soft, accented voice, with a cruelly pleased tone in her voice. “I should think it were obvious…Doctor.”

    She came out of the shadows, dressed in the standard black leather garb of Section 31. He couldn’t help but notice how tight it looked, how much it emphasized her glamorous, enchanting figure. And the way she carried herself as she walked over…it was almost as if she were going out of her way to emphasize her femininity to him—and her triumph over him for this night.

    She gave him a firm, contemptuous smile, as she sat on the side of the bed, facing him…her golden hair spread about her shoulders. She held herself high, like a queen, who now held under her grasp the renegade who had so humiliated her. “Poetic justice…wouldn’t you agree?”

    He just sighed. He found himself wondering what he had hoped to accomplished, then…when he had done this to her. Had it really been necessary—?

    He shoved the idea away, and spoke not only to her, but to his own conscience. “I had to, Cynthia. You know you wouldn’t have told me the truth otherwise.”

    She sighed, her smile vanishing. “I know…. But to be honest, Doctor, that’s what amuses me. You…you always lecture us about ‘morals’ and ‘principles’—how we must never violate them, even if it seems necessary.”

    Her smile returned, as she reached over with her right hand, to stroke his cheek.

    “Tell me…what values were you holding true to, then…hmm? You took me…” her hand moved down his chin…his neck, “You seduced me…. You…held me…”

    Her hand rested on his chest. “And then, as I lay there, asleep in your arms…content…” she gestured around him with her left, indicating the bonds, “You did this to me.”

    Bashir just stared at her, saying nothing. Holland looked down at him, chuckling with amusement, slowly drumming her fingers on his chest.

    “How did it feel, Doctor?” she asked, in a sweet, teasing tone. “Was I a cheap plaything for you, to do with as you please…hmm? Why did you—the moral…virtuous…honorable Dr. Julian Bashir…why did you deceive me into that?”

    Bashir shook his head, his eyes narrowed in contempt. “Don’t insult my intelligence, Cynthia. You people have no concept of ‘honor’, so don’t behave for a moment as if you’re an innocent victim.”

    She stiffened, and her smile turned cold. “Of course. What I did to you was worse, so that justifies it all…doesn’t it?”

    He said nothing.

    Holland doodled on his chest with her finger. “Really, Doctor…you’re a walking contradiction. Why won’t you just accept it—hmm? Why don’t you accept that, in your heart…you’re not that high, noble, righteous moralist you claim to be?”

    “I don’t need to explain myself, Cynthia. I have nothing to say to you.”

    She studied him for a moment…and slowly shook her head. “Of course not. Neither did I, Doctor…five years ago.”

    Bashir blinked, his curiosity getting the better of him. “Five years…was that when you first—?”

    She nodded, and her tone turned dreamy, nostalgic. “I wasn’t that far different from you, really. Someone who knew, in her heart, what was right.” She gave a shrug, which looked to Bashir to be a little forced—an attempt to dismiss how the memories affected her. “And then, one day…reality forced itself onto me.”

    Bashir swallowed a bit. “Reality?”

    Cynthia nodded, her smile fading. “I witnessed—something the Bureau did. Something you might call ‘terrible’…atrocious.”

    Bashir couldn’t help asking, “What was it?”

    She turned away from him without answering, looking out the window, into the stars. “I had nothing to say, either. I broke down…I cried.” She blinked, and her lip seemed to quiver. “I saw myself losing…losing everything. Everything that had made me…made me what I was.”

    Bashir shook his head. “And you let it happen? You stayed with them?”

    She turned back to him, her smile returning…sad, simple. “I wish I could make you understand, but—you’re too stubborn. Even when you keep finding yourself doing what you hate us for doing…you couldn’t understand.”

    For a while, Bashir said nothing. He found himself looking into her eyes—and all his bitterness vanished. He saw…he saw the girl Cynthia Holland once was…the girl she still was…the innocent young woman who was still struggling to make sense of the cruelties of the universe. And he saw how, for all his disgust at her having deceived him…he saw how he had hurt her in her struggle, through what he’d done…despite her smiling protest at the idea of it affecting her like that.

    No, Cynthia…you’re wrong. You said you “lost” that innocence inside you…the purity? You didn’t—it was always there, Cynthia, always visible, just covered in…everything they threw at you.

    And so…he felt his heart soften, and he spoke—not to the agent she imagined herself to be…but to the beautiful girl, inside and out, whom he had allowed himself to fall in love with, for so short a time…the girl who had met him, that first day, on the Risan beach…the girl whom he had held in his arms, that fateful night…the girl who was still searching…still crying inside.

    “Cynthia,” he said, “I’m sorry.”

    She raised an eyebrow at this. “Sorry? For what? For handling me like a cheap, common—?”

    “Hear me out, Cynthia. I still saved your life. You owe me that much, at least.”

    She stared at him for a moment…and nodded. “All right.”

    As he gathered his thoughts, he looked at her sitting there…proud, golden, and still as beautiful and captivating as ever.

    “Cynthia, you know you’re a slave—don’t you? A slave to them, and whatever they taught you to believe about the universe. And, somehow…you hate it. You hate every minute of it.”

    “Oh, do I?” she replied, looking blankly at him.

    Bashir nodded slowly. That’s why you told me what happened to you…somehow, you want me to help you. I’m just not sure if I’m the right person to do it.

    But he had to try. And so, he went on, “You’re only able to look yourself in the mirror…because you do exactly what you’re accusing me of doing. You’re denying it all…denying that it’s hurting you—that it’s keeping you chained. And you keep on working for them, letting it keep you from asking whether…whether it really is the right thing to do.”

    She just stared at him, her face unreadable.

    Julian felt his eyes blur. He blinked it away, as he whispered, “I’m sorry…. I just—I wish I could find some way to…to free you from all of that.”

    After a moment or two of silence, she tilted her head, and asked, “What makes you think I want to be free?”

    He sighed. Had his hands been untied, he would have spread them out in acknowledged defeat.

    She shrugged. “Perhaps…I want to be ‘enslaved’.”

    He shook his head. No, you don’t, Cynthia. I know you…I know the soul, the spirit inside you. You are not like the rest of them. They could never corrupt what’s inside you—no matter how much you try to accept it. Why can’t you see that…?

    She moved atop him, her face hovering over his, so that the tresses of her hair fell down by the sides of his head. There was…there was a warm, sad smile on her face, as if she understood his thoughts all too well…and was grateful that he cared.

    “Julian,” she said softly, “Believe me…there was nothing you could have done. You…you haven’t said anything right now…that I haven’t said to myself already, many times.”

    “I’m sorry—”

    “Don’t be. It was not as if I’d have left the Bureau for you.”

    He frowned, unsure of what to make of this. Why can’t you see it, Cynthia? Is…is there something you’re not telling me?

    She smiled sadly at him, as if reading the question in his eyes. “Doctor, let me ask you one thing. That night…was it really all an act on your part—or…or did you, despite what you’d discovered about me—did you allow yourself to…put that aside, for a night, and…?”

    Julian felt his heart tug at her words, but somehow managed to keep his voice even. “Are you asking whether my feelings for you were real, Cynthia?”

    Her voice was barely above a whisper. “Yes…I am.”

    He fought to keep his emotions in check. He knew, somehow…that if he told her the truth—that, for that night, at least, he was all too ready to throw aside what he had discovered, and view her as he wanted her to be—it could well be an injury far worse than what he’d already given her. She might accept it as proof that Section 31 was right—that matters of conscience, even matters of love were irrelevant to one’s duty…and she would go even deeper into their camp.

    On the other hand, if he said “no”…she would take it as proof that she was right—that his “values and principles” were only skin-deep, that necessity could demand even a dishonest seduction. Worse…it could well forever close whatever doors she’d opened to him…and he would never be able to reach her, again.

    And so, all he could say was, “Funny…I was about to ask the same question of you.”

    She straightened up. Her eyes lowered, as her smile’s mood turned to amusement once again. When she met his gaze, she replied. “Did I feel anything? No…of course not.”

    There was something…something in the way she said it—

    And with that, the answer hit. Bashir knew full well what she was going to say next. All he could do was shake his head.

    “It may interest you to know, Doctor…that I am already in love with a man.” Her smile faded, as she looked off. “And yes, it…it was hard for me, to have to seduce you, as I did…and then report to him about it all. But…I knew it was necessary.”

    “Report to…”? Bashir felt sick to his stomach. When he could bring himself to speak, he asked, “Does he love you?”

    Holland blinked, and without looking to him, whispered, “I’m not sure if he even knows. We…I’ve never told him how I feel, let alone act on it.”

    Julian said nothing. Cynthia Holland was tied to Section 31 by feelings of admiration and…affection towards another operative of the Bureau—a superior of hers. It wasn’t the Vulcan, Sorak—he hadn’t detected that sort of affection between the two of them. Her mentor, perhaps?

    Whatever or whoever he was…that man, more than anything or anyone else, was directly responsible for enslaving and chaining this innocent young woman. And so, Julian Bashir’s feelings of contempt and righteous fury had found their target—whoever it would turn out to be. And so help me, if I ever find out the identity of that man…

    Holland sighed with what looked like genuine remorse. “I suppose…I’m sorry, too, Julian. If…if I made you…if you did feel love—”

    Bashir tightened his lip, knowing there was nothing further he could say or do—for now, at least. “Miss Holland,” he said evenly, “What we did, that night—I had the same motives you did. Our duty demanded it.”

    She looked at him in astonishment, and it seemed as if she were…impressed. “So you do understand, after all…don’t you?”

    “You’re wrong, Cynthia. Don’t think for a moment I felt any pleasure from it all…because I didn’t.”

    She smiled once again, all the warmth in her eyes vanishing away. “Neither did I.”

    She reached over to the nearby table, and picked up a hypospray. “You’ll wake up tomorrow morning, to the sound of the normal alarm on your chronometer. When you do, you’ll find yourself untied, and free.”

    She leaned over him again, so that her face hovered above his, as she extended the hypo to his neck. “Until we meet again, Julian Bashir.”

    Bashir narrowed his eyes. “If that ever happens…don’t expect to put all this behind—”

    He felt the pressure against his neck, heard the hiss as the sedative took hold. As his vision blurred, he heard her voice, one last time, in a soft, gentle whisper:

    “I am sorry…Julian.”

    He nodded slowly, and managed to respond, “So am I….”

    And the last thing Julian Bashir felt, before sleep overcame him…was the feel of her lips on his…one…last…time….


    * * *



    Julian Bashir Will Return….
     
  20. ares93

    ares93 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Location:
    ares93
    Goddamn! That...that was epic! You, my friend, outdid yourself on this one. I can honestly say i'm speechless. I liked the entire story, but this chapter...damn...

    You get a gold star, mate.
    Cheers

    Oh, btw. What you said about Crant returning, i'm gonna hold you to that.:techman:
     

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