Author's note: Not mine. I wish I had my own Weyoun clone. Um, I don't know exactly what the command area on Cardassia Prime is called, so if I'm wrong, feel free to point it out. That's all. Please review.


Weyoun received the summons just as he was about to retire for the night. The Founder wished to see him--so late? The night shift had begun hours ago and technically his presence wasn't required in the command room, but he didn't trust the Cardassians; not one bit. Damar had assured him many times that the transporter malfunction which had scattered his predecessor's atoms between here and Lakarian City had been an accident. Accident indeed. The smug look on the Legate's face when he reported the findings of the investigation was proof enough for Weyoun that that wasn't quite the case. And so, he tried to remain in Central Command as much as possible to keep the war out of the Cardassians' hands.

Now, however, the Founder had summoned him. As he wended his way through the twisted corridors of the Central Command (cursed Cardassian architecture), he wondered if she'd first tried to contact his quarters, where he logically should have been at this time of night. Would she be angry that she'd had to waste time searching for him?

Almost as soon as that thought flashed through his mind, he reached her quarters and entered, genuflecting as he greeted, "Founder. How may I be of service?"

Her tone seemed strained as she gestured to the single chair in the room and said, "Sit down."

Weyoun obeyed. She didn't seem angry, but there was something wrong. His stomach clenched--the Founder only got upset about two things, the war going badly and Odo. Since the Dominion seemed to be winning the war--at the moment--and the situation with Odo was much as it had ever been, this must be something else. And whatever else would upset a god must surely be awful.

He noticed, then, that it was frigid in the room. The metal chair quickly pulled the warmth out of him. Not that he enjoyed the climate on Cardassia, particularly, but if it was much colder in her quarters, he'd be able to see his breath fogging in front of him. What was going on?

The Founder stood in front of him and said, very flatly, "We are dying."

"Dying?" His tongue felt thick and stupid, but his brain had all but stopped at those words, and he couldn't think of anything else to say. "But…that's not possible."

She gave him a withering look. "It's possible, and it's happening. I assume you haven't been so blind as to not have noticed the changes about me in the past several weeks?"

Weyoun cast his eyes downward. "I've noticed." Noticed and tried to ignore them. Occasionally, but more and more often, her skin had appeared dry and cracked, but when he looked again, it was always gone, leaving him to wonder if he'd imagined it. As it became clear that he wasn't, he simply tried to fool himself into believing that it was only a trick of the light.

"You've noticed. And wondered, I imagine, what was wrong? Why I'd allow my form to crack and peel off in flakes in such a revolting manner?"

The dangerous glint in her eyes made Weyoun hesitate before answering, "I assumed that if something was…amiss that you'd inform me when you saw fit to do so." A circumventive answer, perhaps, but he feared one verbal misstep would result in something…unpleasant. And the Founder, if it was even possible, did not seem to be in her right mind.

"Did you really?" She stared down at him, unmoving, for several very long moments. "It never crossed your mind that perhaps I'm suffering from a disease?"

"No." Of course it had, before he'd shunted the thought away. Gods didn't get ill.

She leaned closer to him, her pose becoming threatening, and Weyoun understood that she'd asked him to sit down not out of some concern for propriety, but so that she could become more physically powerful. "It never crossed your mind," she began in a menacing tone, "that gods who have diseases are not gods at all?"

Weyoun felt himself stiffen and knew that the Founder saw it as well; rendering anything he might say pointless. Of course he had to deny it--because it hadn't crossed his mind. How could it? The Founders were gods. And he said as much.

"Ah." At last, she stepped away from him, and he shuddered--though he told himself it was the cold, not her. With her back turned to him, she said, "I'm not sure I believe you, but I suppose what matters most is your obedience. That quality, I assume, carried over from your last clone?"

"Of course," Weyoun answered at once. "I live only to serve."

She dismissed his avowal with a wave of her hand. "If it was any other way, you'd be terminated immediately. Now." Turning to face him, she said, 'The only reason I've told you about the disease is because you're more useful to me if you're cognizant of it. You will begin running tests at once--have our best scientists working on a cure within the week." She handed him a small vial that contained a golden liquid--part of her. As Weyoun took it gingerly, the Founder went on, "The Cardassians must not know of this. Especially Damar. See to it that he doesn't. Now, leave me."

Weyoun bowed his head and left the room quickly, grateful for the sound of the door hissing shut behind him, and went directly to his quarters. Once there, he held the vial up to the light, studying it with what he could only consider morbid fascination. The liquid was translucent and golden. And viscous. It flowed thickly and slowly as he tilted the vial. Was this little globule of Founder sentient, he wondered? Suddenly, he was struck simultaneously with amusement and revulsion. Here he was, holding a tiny bit of his god in a vial, getting ready to send it off to the lab. Ridiculous. Disgusting.

He quickly put the vial in his small refrigeration unit and shut the door on it. For some odd reason, he realized, he was trembling. Not something a Weyoun generally did, if he recalled correctly. But then, the other Weyouns had enjoyed the political game much more. And Weyoun Five, he'd reveled in the authority he'd been granted in the Alpha Quadrant. He had absolutely loved the war and the challenges it had brought. But he--number six--didn't. He didn't like the war. He didn't want the power of his predecessor. Not that he let it show--he was after all, a Weyoun. But somehow, the Founder knew.

The realization of that brought a flood of confusion with it. There were other things that set him apart from Weyoun Five, things he'd been unwilling to admit to himself. It amounted to blasphemy. Not to mention treason. His dislike of the war was more than just an issue with too much authority for his tastes, though--it was, he finally admitted to himself, the fact that he thought the war was wrong. It didn't make sense--the Founders were gods, how could they fight a war that was wrong? By extension, that would make them wrong.

His mind retreated instantly from this and he decided he'd better sleep. Sleep, at least, would blot out thoughts like this. But as he laid down, his thoughts continued to swirl tumultuously around that one idea--the Founders were wrong. Somewhere, their need to protect themselves against the Solids had twisted into a need to dominate them. Imposing order on chaos had turned into imposing their will on as many different peoples as they could.

Weyoun shuddered and felt his gut turn to ice. He could not serve gods who didn't care about anything except conquest, whose worshippers were dying merely to feed their hunger for power. And if he couldn't serve them--or the Dominion--that only left one option. He squeezed his eyes shut and steadied his breath. He would have to defect.