Star Trek: Deep Space Nine--The Cleanest Food To Find

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Rush Limborg, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Now that you show the roots of this story...I think I understand now why there's one thing that's bothering me. Bashir runs the risk, with what he said, of giving exactly the opposite impression to Simon than the one I think he meant to. I see the Objectivist argument of wanting only the best for the job--but the way he phrased it is could be a problem because he COULD be interpreting as saying, "I don't care about ethics--only results." If that's taken the wrong way, it could ALMOST give Bashir a very creepy, Crell Moset sort of sound though what I think he MEANS to say is something more to the effect of that one mistake when Tarses was very young does not say who he is as a grown man.
  2. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Hmm...I see your point, Nerys.

    I wouldn't worry, though, because considering the rest of the two doctors' conversations, I'd feel confident that Simon won't get the wrong impression. After all, Ezri had just explained that Simon doesn't want charity--and that he needs to know that Julian respects his abilities, regardless of the problems of his life....

    Come to think of it, I guess you could say Ezri had Julian take charge here for a bit because putting Simon on the right track needed some "tough love" in this sense, which she knew she was a bit too "kind" to provide. A..."man's touch", as it were. (After all, Ezri might be a little uncomfortable with the possible implications, as you were. ;))

    Still, she can get tough when she has to be....

    Okay, folks. I'd put off continuing the tale for a couple days--but don't worry. Here's the climax of the tale, as Ezri goes to Simon's quarters once again....

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    The Cleanest Food To Find
    Scene 8

    Ezri rang the door chime to the quarters of Simon Tarses. When the door opened, Ezri stared at the man, to study him. She could see that Simon was a bit more stable than when she had first met him.

    She could honestly say that progress was being made. She had planted the seed, Julian had watered it down…and all it needed was a little something…to make it sprout.

    She just…didn’t know what it was.

    Simon frowned. “Counselor?”

    Ezri snapped back to reality. “Hmm?”

    “Shall…we begin the session?”

    Ezri burst out laughing. “Oh, I’m sorry. Just…deep in thought, I guess.” After another chuckle, she asked, “Can I come in?”

    Simon nodded, stepping aside.

    The first thing Ezri noticed as she entered the room was that there was an open piece of luggage by one of the chairs—and that on the table was a Vulcan lyrette.

    She smiled. “Do you play that?”

    Simon nodded. “Yes, ma’am—but…I wouldn’t exactly call it orchestra quality….”

    Ezri nodded. “Well…I know the feeling.”

    “You play music too?”

    She shrugged. “A little—one of my past hosts was a pianist.”




    Ezri frowned. “All right…let’s sit down.”

    Ezri took the seat she had taken before. As he sat on the couch, Simon’s gaze focused on the instrument on the table, which Ezri was now sitting very close to.

    “You know,” he said, “For most of my childhood…I’d actually thought my grandfather was Vulcan. So…I discovered a fascination for Vulcan culture—logic…science…music…. I admired it—and frankly, I was very proud…to know that it was a part of me.”

    Ezri nodded. “And when…you found out he was Romulan…?”

    Tarses smiled. “I’m already over that, Miss Dax. Counselor Troi helped see to that.”

    Ezri smiled. “Well—looks like we can say…you were in good hands.”

    “You know her?”

    “Oh, I met her once—or at least…Jadzia met her once.”

    “Well…yeah. I have to say…for a while, she was the only counselor I liked. She was nice—she could understand me, if you know what I mean….”

    Ezri shrugged. “Well…I’d think Betazoid counselors would have a knack for that.”

    “Oh, it was more than that—she knew me, not just in a ‘mind-reading’ sort of way…she knew how to talk to me…how to relate to me. I could…open up to her….”

    “And…you are telling me this…?”

    Simon stopped short. But then, he sighed and said, “Because…I had thought she was one of a kind…that no other counselor I would ever meet would be like that….”

    Ezri nodded slowly. “But…?”

    “But…then you came along.”

    Ezri chuckled. “Well…thanks…but I hope this isn’t just another attempt to direct this away from you.”

    “Oh, it’s not. I’m just saying….”

    “Well—” Ezri leaned back in the chair, “Why don’t we talk about you for a bit?”

    “Uh…all right. What would you like to know?”

    “Well…for starters…how’s the Infirmary?”

    “Oh, it’s fine.”

    “How is Dr. Bashir handling you?”

    Simon smiled. “Just fine.”

    “Nothing to talk about?”

    “Nothing. No…wait. That’s not true. There is something….”

    Returning the smile, Ezri raised an eyebrow. “Well?”

    Simon leaned back, and seemed to relax a bit. “Well…you know…there are very few people that I think I would follow to death—and do it with pride. Captain Picard was one…. And, well, a few days ago, I would never have thought I’d say this, but…if I were to pick a role model…and I couldn’t pick Picard…I think…it would be Dr. Bashir.”

    Ezri smiled, and shook her head. “And you’re feeling this way…when you haven’t known him for that long?”

    “Yeah…. I guess…there’s something about him…that makes me respect him right away. I don’t know what it is…but…I do respect him…very much.”

    Ezri smiled. “Well…I think you’ve found a good role model, at any rate—if I’m any judge. But…Simon…” as her smile disappeared, “I have to ask you this—and this time, I want a straight answer.”

    Simon nodded.

    Why…are you here?”

    He frowned in confusion. “‘Here’…?”

    “In Starfleet.”

    He sighed. “I don’t know.”

    “You don’t….”

    “No…” Simon looked down, at his shoes. “I don’t know. There’s that little voice I told you about, but…I don’t even know why I listen to it…or why it says what it says….”

    “I’ll tell you why.”

    Simon looked up. “You will…?”

    “Sure. It’s not too hard to figure out, kid. Basically, that voice…it’s you—your self, as it were.”


    “Your self-esteem…your sense of pride in what you’ve accomplished, in the obstacles you’ve overcome…but most importantly—in who you are. It’s telling you not to give in…because you know, in the deepest part of your soul, that this is the life you want—the life of a doctor, who will make a difference in this life, and who won’t let anyone tell him that he can’t.”

    “But…I’m not exactly…”

    “I know.” Ezri leaned forward, and spoke in a low, gentle tone. “You’ve been hit pretty hard in this life…haven’t you? You’ve been smeared…spit on…slammed into the ground, over and over…and now, you’re struggling for a reason to move on.”

    Simon was staring at the floor, saying nothing.

    Ezri felt the intensity increase in her voice as she continued, “Simon, I know. That’s how I felt, once. Did you know…when I was first joined…I wasn’t even prepared for it? It was…a big shock for me, to say the least. I was confused…scared…alone. And…while what I was going through…doesn’t really compare to your own life, still, I felt despair…because I wasn’t really sure that I could possibly move on. In fact, at one point…I was about to resign my commission.”

    Simon looked up. “Resign?”

    Ezri nodded.

    “Well…what caused you to change your mind?”

    She smiled. “I had a friend…who wasn’t afraid to rattle my cage for my own good. It stung—but it helped me realize something.”


    Ezri smiled. “That…I was a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. And Simon…honestly…I could say the same for you.”

    He stared at her, unmoving, unreadable. Finally…he sighed, and his gaze fell again. “I don’t know…I just don’t know….”

    Ezri frowned. She could see the struggle…and she could see his pain. She knew it was probably time to go…to let him reflect on all that she had told him. Still…she wished there was something else she could do….

    “I’ll let you think about it,” she said, as she got up. Her elbow brushed against the table—

    And it hit a padd which had been resting there, without her knowledge, until now. It clattered to the ground. She turned to get it—and saw Simon’s head shoot up. He looked like he was about to lunge forward, but Ezri held up her hand. She picked it up…and turned to him.

    Simon was staring at the padd—and his expression was a mixture of unease…and disgust.

    “Simon…what is this?”

    He leaned back, and sighed. “Read it,” he replied—in a tone that smacked of bitterness.

    Ezri looked at the information of the padd—and froze. A small, silent gasp escaaped her lips.

    It was a report on Simon Tarses—dated a few days after his “cover-up” had been revealed—a few days after the witch hunt of Admiral Satie.

    It was a long document, but Ezri skimmed through it, reading a summary of his deeds. The words at the end filled her with a sense of disgust, such as she had rarely felt before:

    “It is this admiral’s judgment that Crewman Tarses has willfully and knowingly violated his oath as a Starfleet Officer, having falsified elements of his personal history for the sake of personal benefit. This crewman is, then, unfit and unable to be entrusted with the responsibilities entitled to members of this organization, and thus this admiral recommends that Crewman Tarses be relieved of his post and dismissed from Starfleet.

    “Signed: Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev, Starfleet Command, Earth.”

    Ezri closed her eyes. It was firm, to the point—but how could this admiral dare to think that this was justice? Even if disciplinary action was warranted, still—to threaten to discharge him, to treat him like a pariah, for one mistake—which had had no negative effect on anyone…other than himself. To—

    No. This was not the issue at hand. With the greatest of effort, she opened her eyes, and looked at Simon. He was watching her, with the intensity of a phaser beam…waiting….

    Ezri’s voice was barely above a whisper. “You…kept a copy of this…after all these years?”

    Simon nodded.


    Simon’s gaze turned to the padd. “It’s my reminder…of what I’ve done…and what I’ve been told I deserve.”

    “And…you believe this?”

    Simon swallowed hard. “For a long time now…I did.”

    Ezri looked at the padd again. Fury filled her heart—not at Admiral Nechayev, exactly…not even at Admiral Satie, who had caused all of this in the first place—but at the general establishment, and the mindset behind it—the mindset which had led so many to leap so eagerly to conclusions about this man…without considering the whole story, or the simple facts of his career. And now…Simon was, in some horrible, horrible way, connected to this prejudice, bound to it….

    He had accepted it…and thus, had not been able to conceive of an alternative.

    And so, Ezri looked up, looked Simon Tarses in the eye, and said, “Stand up.”

    He frowned, but did so.

    Ezri extended the padd to him. She kept her voice completely calm…and steady. “Simon…I want you to take this thing…and break it.”

    He blinked. “Break it…?”

    “Break it. Take it in your hands—and snap it in half.”


    “Because I’m telling you to. Because you need to move on with your life—and you can’t do that as long as you’re holding on to the past. You have suffered, Simon, because you made a mistake. And any true, objective standard of justice out there says that you have paid for that mistake already—a thousand times over. You didn’t deserve any of that garbage—and you have to accept that. You have to.”

    Simon stared at the padd. He did not move. His eyes were fixed on the text.

    “Simon…what are you waiting for?”

    Simon’s voice was weak. “Why…why don’t you do it?”

    Ezri narrowed her eyes. “You know the reason. You tried to brush aside our efforts to help you…because you didn’t want a crutch. You want to face this on your own. Well…here’s your chance. If you ever wanted a chance to bring yourself out of the gutter, here’s your chance. You have to do this yourself. Do you understand me?”

    He nodded.

    “Then…take this chance.'ve come so far in the past few days--don't turn back now. Your spirit—your dignity—your life…depends on it.”

    Simon took the padd, turning it to a horizontal position. He clutched it with both hands, looked down at the device, and paused for one last time. And then…his featured hardened. His lips parted to reveal tightly clenched teeth. His breathing quickened….

    And then…he bent down both hands with all his might. The padd snapped

    And Simon Tarses stared at the two fragments, in shock. The broken padd clattered to the floor.

    And then…he turned, to face the couch—and fell to his knees. He buried his face in the cushion…and wept. And Ezri knew…it was with tears of an enormous relief—as if, at long last, the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.

    Ezri stared at him. She stood there, watching him finally release all the pain, all the anguish he had felt for so many years. She knew she would ruin the moment by putting a hand on his shoulder, or speaking, or moving at all. So…she just stood there, in silent respect—for this man, who had gone through so much, who had suffered every obstacle thrown in his direction—and, at long last…had triumphed.

    * * *​
  3. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Damn. Just got a bit misty eyed reading that last part. A very powerful piece.
  4. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    ^Thanks, Badger!

    That's a big relief. I was half-afraid that the reaction would be, "That was too cold of Ezri"--or something worse....

    Wow...thanks for the reassurance.

    (BTW...that's not the end. There's an epilogue coming up....)
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2009
  5. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    And now...the conclusion:

    Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    The Cleanest Food To Find
    Scene 9

    Julian Bashir sat down at his regular table at Quark’s, waiting for Ezri. When he finally saw her enter, he saw that she was not alone. Simon Tarses was following her…and, Julian saw, the man was fine, at long last. His posture was straighter, his shoulders held high, and his eyes…showed a new sense of dedication, of purpose, of strength.

    They walked over to the table. Julian smiled. “Well…I trust you’ve been busy.”

    Ezri beamed. “Julian…I think Dr. Tarses will agree that we can write this up as a success.”

    Tarses nodded. “I…Is it all right if I sit down with you two again?”

    Julian spread out his hands in invitation. “By all means!”

    Simon did so, as Ezri took a seat next to Julian’s own.

    Quark came by, this time. “All right—what can I get you three?”

    Julian smiled, “Quark, we’re in a rather festive mood, so…three martinis. Mix them—”

    Quark nodded quickly, smirking. “I…memorized it, Doctor. Gordon’s gin…vodka….Lily Blank—”

    “Lillet Blanc—”

    Quark held up his hands. “—whatever—lemon peel, and shaken-not-stirred. I got it!”

    Bashir narrowed his eyes. “And…you remember the exact measurements…?”

    Quark looked hurt. “Perfectly, Doctor!”

    “Good. Now get to it, man!”

    Quark snickered, and rushed off. “Broik!”

    * * *​

    Ezri laughed, and shook her head. “I think they’ll get it right this time.”

    Julian scoffed. “I hope so….”

    He turned to Simon. “So…how are you holding up?”

    Simon leaned back…and smiled. “I’m all right, Doctor. I feel…alive, somehow…like I haven’t felt in a long time. I feel…like I can face the world, again.”

    Ezri looked at him. She knew that this wouldn’t be the end—there were still some problems in his life that needed to be cleared up. But…Simon was taking a big first step—and for this man, she knew, the road would be sure…and steady.

    Simon turned to Ezri. “Thank you….”

    Ezri smiled back, and nodded.

    The man turned to Julian. “Both of you.”

    Julian blinked. "Me? What did I do?"

    Simon shook his head. "You're kidding."

    But Julian kept his innocent look, causing Simon to sigh, and continue:

    "Doctor...I had truly thought...that my career was really over--no matter how long I stayed. I was sure that no one would want me for my work...ever again. But you...both of made me feel wanted, for the first time in...what seems like forever. You hired me, not because you felt sorry for me...but because you wanted me--my abilities...."

    He paused, and looked to Ezri, who nodded to him in encouragement. He went on:

    "You...were willing to look beyond what I did...all those years ago. And...I thank you for that, Doctor."

    Julian smiled. "You don't need to thank me, Simon. I wantyou on my team--and I need you at your best for that."

    Simon's smile grew. "That's why I'm thanking you, Doctor--because you want me on your team."

    Julian nodded—as Broik arrived at the table with the drinks. The Ferengi set them down, and rushed off.

    Simon leaned forward. “Doctor Bashir…can I ask something?”

    Julian shrugged. “Of course.”

    “Last night…you were telling me about…when you first came here.”

    Julian nodded.

    “You told me that…whatever your feelings when you accepted this assignment…popularity and fame were not your motives for…becoming a doctor.”

    “That’s right. I'd wanted to be famous, don’t misunderstand—but it wasn’t why I became a doctor.”

    “Then…why did you?”

    Julian looked down. After a moment, he replied, “Because…I’d been around doctors for much of my life. It was a doctor who gave me the genetic enhancements…that saved my mind. It was a doctor…who helped me adjust to life after that.

    He looked up. “You see…I saw these…men and women…I saw them work…I saw them love their work…and above all, I saw them make a difference—not just in my life…not just in the lives of those they help…but in their own lives. I saw…greatness…nobility. I saw…” and he gave a little smile, “…heroes. I was…inspired by them. And…I suppose…I wanted to follow their example.”

    Simon chuckled. “You know…most people don’t talk that way.”

    Julian’s smile widened. “Well…I do.” He nodded to Ezri. “She does….”

    Ezri nodded, and returned the smile.

    Julian turned back to Simon. “And…I’m sure you do, too. Or at least…I’m sure you think that way.”

    Simon sighed, and looked down. “I don’t know….”

    Ezri put a hand on his shoulder. “You do…believe me. You’re capable of a lot, Simon. All you have to do…is to take the chances you’re given. You do that—and you will succeed. Now…the question is: can you do that?”

    Simon nodded, and looked up, meeting her gaze. “Yes…I can.”

    Ezri nodded, as she released his shoulder, and took her glass. “Julian…what do you say we toast?”

    Julian took his glass, as Simon did the same. “To what?”

    Ezri raised her glass a little. “To…Simon Tarses: no matter what happens in this life…may he prevail against it all.”

    Simon nodded, tilted his glass in Ezri’s direction—and drank.

    Ezri and Julian followed suit—and, though she knew that none of them could possibly know what the future would hold, still, Ezri knew…that all three of them would be ready to face it. And she knew…that they could find the spirit and the courage—to last for a lifetime….

    * * *​

    And the adventure continues….​
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Good for Simon!!! :)
  7. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network

    So--how far are you at this point, Nerys?

    I'm assuming it's where he breaks the padd...?
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I finished already. :)
  9. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    I'm not sure the epilogue was necessary, as the preceding part ended on such a dramatic high note. Still, it was well written as always, and I like the acknowledgement that this is in many ways just the beginning of the healing process.

  10. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Thanks, Nerys and Badger!

    All right, that's it's all done, what are your overall thoughts?

    (I...hope the others aren't all gone. I've still yet to hear from RobertScorpio, DavidFalkayn, adm gold, and Deranged Nasat....:))
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  11. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    I just finished, and I enjoyed it all. :) I think you did a very good job with a fully character-driven story. The conversations felt real and convincing, and the character interaction did not feel at all forced. The "quiet", contained nature of the tale, without wider implications beyond the people involved and their personal issues, was refreshing and the limited number of characters really helped focus attention on the issues at hand. The emotion is communicated well, too- I think you are quite a skilled writer.

    The counseling is also very convincing. I agree with The Badger- your tale is better than TNG usually was with this.
  12. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Thanks, Nasat--very much!

    BTW, I would also think that fans who've read the Destiny trilogy, et al, would be interested in Ezri's first meeting with the man who would one day become her Chief Medical Officer on the Aventine.

    I must admit, the story spung out of a desire to answer my own question of why Ezri had hand-picked Simon to be the CMO, out of all her options. (I had been wondering why she didn't pick Julian--but then I'd learned about what had happened in Unjoined....*sigh*)

    I figured there must have been some kind of connection, some element of familiarity. And then I remembered Simon's place in the Star Trek canon. And...the rest is history.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  13. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Okay--anyone else want to express overall thoughts?

    If not--thank you all for your time, and words! :techman:
  14. KimMH

    KimMH Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 14, 2009
    The poster formerly known as ORSE
    Thanks for the link - I really enjoyed this one! I usually abhor psychobabble as much as technobabble but you took us through a couple twists and turns I didn't expect. It's always gratifying to see seomeone else in Starfleet through the lens of time after they "guest-star" in a series episode and disappear. If a universe exists for every decision that gets made it makes sense there is a backstory and better yet - adventures ahead for everyone in the multi- Trek-verses.

    I've vented spleen elsewhere about NOT ALL FANFIC BEING EQUAL (from the relative safety of not actually producing any myself!) but you're becoming an author I'll be keeping an eye out for. I'm also enjoying your Aventine adventure now too!

    Regards, and keep it coming! :techman:
  15. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    ^Thanks mate--and I hope you'll like my tales to come, as well! :)
  16. MHT1138

    MHT1138 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 14, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ, USA
    So I just read this story and I thought it was wonderful. The characterizations were excellent and the story was interesting. I especially loved the effective characterization of Julian and Ezri:)
  17. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Wow! Thanks, MHT1138--glad you liked it!

    (Somehow....I hadn't expected this older tale of mine to be brought back to page 1, after all this time. :lol:)

    I have a lot of other tales focusing on Ezri--as she's my favorite character to write for. Hope they're to your liking, too. :)
  18. MHT1138

    MHT1138 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 14, 2010
    Scottsdale, AZ, USA
    I am going to read them. I am really looking forward to it.

    Again, good job
  19. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2008
    The EIB Network
    Thanks again!

    BTW...if you'd like to read the other three in chronological order (they are in a kind of loose "trilogy"), I'd recommend you read:

    "Of Power And Passion" first,

    "A Rendezvous With Destiny" second (be warned...that one's REALLY long!),

    and "Serenity Prayer" last. :)
  20. USS Fardell

    USS Fardell Captain Captain

    Jul 26, 2001
    This is very good. Both Bashir and Dax are in character (not so sure about Tarses though)