Disclaimer: I don't own these characters or the show Star Trek DS9 and I don't make any profit out of this. So please, no lawyers.
1st A/N: Huzzah, she lives! Oh, I know you all are thinking that. It's been a while since I last posted something. Surprise, surprise it's not a LOTR story. I've had this story on my mind for a while now and had to write it. To all my LOTR fans, don't worry, I'm not leaving my Erestor stories. I've got a juicy one lined up for you, but it's still a work in progress. Please review and tell me how I did on this. It's slightly AU, as in this didn't happen, but it does mention events that are canon.
2nd A/N: A special thanks to trekboy, TrekPhan, and Trekkie907 for helping me with some of the technical issues. Thanks you guys/girls! Also, a special thanks to my beta, Will, without whom this story would not be here.
3rd A/N: I use a torture device called a neurowhip. The way I'm using them I read about in a story on here called Only Human by Alara Rogers. I'm giving all credit for this idea to her. Also, you should seriously read her story. It's beyond awesome!
4th A/N: The cover picture belongs to shintetsuya from deviantart. He let me use it as a cover. Thanks shintetsuya!
A friend is someone who can see the truth and pain in you even when you are fooling everyone else.
September 13th, 2373,
(Julian Bashir's Quarters)
The hiss of air as the automatic door opened alerted Julian that he stood in front of his room; which was now open, waiting for him to enter. Without hesitation the young man strode in, listening to the door close behind him almost immediately.
"Computer, lock door, Bashir one beta seven."
"Acknowledged," the neutral tone of the computer droned, directly followed by a sound that indicated that his order had been completed. Only then, when Julian knew himself to be absolutely sure no one could walk in on him without permission, did the shoulders of the young doctor relax, followed by the rest of his body. Alone, he was finally alone. All this morning, he'd had to endure the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, glances of different crewmen and residents of Deep Space Nine. However, it wasn't the stares that bothered Julian, he was used to being stared at…no it was the emotions behind those stares that made his skin crawl.
Julian ran a shaky hand through his dark hair. Things had certainly changed since the time he'd first arrived on this station, almost five years ago. During his first year, Julian had befriended a Cardassian tailor named Elim Garak - an exile from his home world of Cardassia for some unknown crime – Julian still wasn't quite sure if the man's tailoring wasn't a cover to hide that Garak was really a spy. A year after his arrival, Julian had been telepathically attacked by a Lethean. This year held its own excitement.
He'd been captured and held for 37 days in an internment camp by the Dominion. As if that hadn't been enough, his genetic enhancements, illegal in the Federation, had been discovered and made public knowledge. It was this latest development that garnered these recent stares from the station's residents; some of them hostile, some curious, some even fearful. It almost made Julian wish that he wasn't the CMO of this station.
"Computer, lights, fifty percent," Julian said as he walked over to the replicator, leaning against it a little. The firmness of the machine gave him some sense of stability, however silly that notion logically seemed.
"Tarkalean tea, extra sweet," Julian watched as a tall, medium-sized, glass materialized, steam rising from it. Grasping the warmed cup in his hand, Julian brought it to his lips and took a small sip. A burst of sweetened flavor filled his mouth. Julian gave a small smile. Even though he had widened his taste selection, Julian still fell back to this particular amber-brown drink whenever he felt distressed or over-worked. It soothed his nerves, helped him clear his head so he could think clearly.
"Computer, what is the time?" Julian asked, sipping more of the hot tea.
"The time is twelve hundred five hours."
Julian gulped down the rest of his tea, burning his tongue in the process, and placed the cup back on the replicator, the cup dematerializing almost at once. He had agreed to eat lunch with Garak at the Replimat today at this time, which meant he was going to be running a bit late, but Garak was usually understanding about those kinds of things. He turned around to exit his room, only to be propelled into the wall in front of him by some unknown force.
At first, nothing happened other than his forehead beginning to ache, but then a sharp, overwhelming pain flared in a thin line and spread across his back. The pain was unlike anything he'd ever felt before, blocking out all thought even as he fell to the floor with a cry. As the pain receded to reasonable levels, Julian became aware that someone's hand grasped his arm in a viselike grip. He could feel them speaking into his ear.
"…genetic…!" was the only part of the dialogue that Julian caught, but that little part was enough to understand what was happening. An intruder had somehow gotten into his room and hidden, waiting for him to arrive. It also seemed as though this intruder, this man if his voice was any indication, hated him for being genetically enhanced. Wonderful. Julian tried to shake the man's hand off him, but even that small movement sent the nerves in his back burning.
A loud hiss escaped him before he could stop it and the man above him gave a chuckle. Julian heard him get up again. Julian thought quickly. If he couldn't prevent this man from attacking him then maybe he should call security.
He swiftly tapped his communicator. "Security, this is Bashir, intruder alert in my quarters!"
"Bashir to security!"
Again nothing happened.
"Bashir to ops!"
"They can't help you, freak," a calm voice interrupted his frantic calls for help. Julian's voice froze in his throat. He dared a slight glance over his shoulder, pain flaring again at the venture. Above him stood a human male, who looked to be in his late forties, well-built, Starfleet uniform. In his right hand, he brandished a neurowhip. Julian's eyes widened at the sight of the whip.
Without any prompting, his heightened mind started to give him all the information on the weapon. Ferengi made, used to over stimulate the nerve passages for pain, torture device, fully powered. Julian winced, no wonder his back burned in agony.
"Why are you doing this?" Julian asked.
"Because you're a freak." The man sneered as he gazed down at him.
"That's not a reason," Julian retorted before he could stop himself. Curse his errant tongue! He saw the man raise the whip. Watched it descend as if in slow motion. He felt the braided thong strike against the back of his upper arm and shoulder blade, then a few moments later a symphony of pain erupted. His vision went black and somewhere past the agony Julian heard himself scream. It took longer this time for the pain to recede, but when it did he could hear that the man talking again.
"…enough," the man snarled. "People like you don't deserve to live! You think you're so superior to the rest of us, don't you? Well, you're not! And I'm going to make sure you remember that!"
Julian didn't have time to answer before the man continued his attack.
Elim Garak glanced about the Replimat. Midday. Many of the station's inhabitants were gathered for their luncheons, some in groups and others by themselves. The Dabo girls carried different colored drinks to the patrons, while the establishment's owner, a Ferangi named Quark, yelled at his younger brother to fix Holosuit 2. He himself waited for Julian Bashir to arrive. They had agreed to have their luncheon together this day, something which they frequently did. Garak frowned.
Bashir wasn't usually one for being late for these meetings; in fact he sometimes arrived early. However, right now, Bashir was ten minutes late. The oddity sent off warning signals to Garak. This isn't like the doctor.
Garak glanced about again. He stood, departing the crowded establishment, and hurried to his store .He left the "Out for Lunch" sign up and sat in front of his comm.
"Computer, location of Bashir," Garak demanded as he stared at the blank screen in front of him. Maybe he was just being paranoid, maybe the doctor was on his way right now to the Replimat.
"Doctor Bashir is in his quarters," the neutral voice of the computer said a few seconds later.
Garak blinked. Bashir was in his room? Was he ill? No…not ill…if that were the case, Bashir would've just given himself something while in the infirmary, or at least told Garak he wouldn't be able to make their appointment. So, not ill.
Another blink of the eye. Garak's brow creased in thought. Not ill, so…He frowned in earnest now as an idea came to him. Was Bashir…? No, couldn't be! But maybe…Bashir was hiding.
Garak knew that ever since the doctors' genetic enhancements had become common knowledge people treated him with distain, fear, or hostility, sometimes all three. The news had come as a surprise even to Garak, and he prided himself on knowing these types of things about people. Bashir had done a superb job of hiding this so that no one would be able to find it, unless they really looked. Garak mentally applauded the doctor for his evasive skills, his respect of the young human growing.
When he had first met the doctor, Garak thought Bashir just another young, eager, naïvely innocent human. A useful asset. Easily read. However, most of that illusion became quickly discredited. Garak found that beneath that façade of inexperience lay an intelligent and brave man who cared for others. Garak still felt a twinge of annoyance with himself for not seeing through this little of the façade until after the doctor had risked his life to go to Cardassia and visit Enabran Tain to save Garak's own life.
That was when the doctor had truly started to interest him. Garak also knew now that the information was out about the genetic enhancements, Bashir had been feeling even more excluded from others, which was why Garak had suggested they eat together. Two exiles keeping each other company…of course, he hadn't proposed it that way, but somehow he got the feeling Bashir knew.
In his quarters then? Well, the least he could do was make sure the doctor was all right.
"Garak to Bashir," Garak said.
No reply. Was the doctor deliberately ignoring him?
Still no reply from Bashir's end.
"Computer, explain why I cannot contact Bashir."
"All communications have been cut off from that room."
"All of them?"
After the time he'd spent in the Obsidian Order, Garak had learned to listen when his instincts warned him. Right now they screamed at him. He stood and left his store. His customers would have to wait a bit more for their orders. Garak wondered if he should call security, but he wasn't completely sure that anything was actually wrong.
In short order, Garak found himself in front of the doctor's quarters. He stood there for a moment, undecided, then pressed the pad beside the door. Nothing happened. The door seemed to be locked from the inside. Odd, but maybe it was because communications were down. Maybe there had been a power outage…..that only affected Bashir's quarters? Right. Garak glanced about the empty corridor before going back to the pad.
"Computer, override this lock, code zero gamma zero one ten." Garak smiled as the computer overrode the lock on the door. It had been some time since he had last use his hacking skills; it felt exhilarating in some small way. The door hissed open. Garak walked through and his blood turned cold.
From what he could see, Bashir lay inert on the floor of his quarters, half curled up in a fetal position. A large human male stood over him, neurowhip in his fisted hand. Garak's eyes narrowed. Bashir had been attacked! Why, Garak didn't know, and he honestly didn't care about the why. Bashir deserved many things, a toning down of his arrogant façade for one, but never this.
Garak strode forward and caught the man's wrist as the human drew his hand up for another assault. Surprise coloured the man's face at the unexpected touch. He instantly tried to wrench his hand away, but found that Garak was the stronger of the two. Anger replaced the human's surprise. A slight change in footing alerted Garak that the man was going to try and attack him now.
Years of training took over as the man swung a fist at him. Garak dodged the reckless punch, turning the man's movement against him. Overbalanced, the man continued his forward momentum right into Garak's own fist. He heard the rush of air as his fist hit the man's esophagus. Moments later the man crumpled to the floor. Garak took the neurowhip from the man's hand, turning it off as he did. He didn't need to worry about the attacker, the punch he'd given would keep him disabled for some time, but Garak knew it was better to be on the safe side.
Giving the weapon in his hand a glare, Garak hurried over to Bashir. Up close the doctor looked even worse. While the whip had somehow not broken Bashir's shirt, Garak could see that it had broken skin. Small blood stains spread across the shirt. Anger rose up, but Garak quickly forced it down. Now's not the time.
He bent down and place two fingers on the side of the doctor's neck. After a moment, he felt a weak pulse accompanied by a soft moan. Good. Garak then strode over to Bashir's comm. He soon had them up again.
"Garak to security."
"Odo here," came the reply. Odo? Chief of Security.
"We have an intruder alert in the doctor's quarters. Would you be so kind as to send someone down here?"
There was a brief moment of pause. "Of course, on my way."
That took care of the attacker. Next on Garak's list, the infirmary.
"Garak to Infirmary."
"Doctor Bashir has been attacked; we need medical assistance in his quarters."
Local gossip was one of the best ways to gather intelligence. Years of practice had taught Garak that lesson. Of course, one had to take such information with – what did the humans call it? – "A grain of salt". Quite an apropos saying, for humans, Garak mused. So far, Garak had learned a great many things through the "grapevine" – yet another human expression.
He'd learned that yes, Bashir was expected to live. Most of the station inhabitants were actually happy the young doctor was going to make. That yes, the damage to Bashir's nerve system had been extensive, which was why the doctors had him staying in the infirmary for a few more days. Some said the electrical charges from the whip had caused some of his enhancements to malfunction. Garak knew that specific rumor to be false. He'd also learned the man who had attacked Bashir was being held for trial.
It was highly suspected that the man had been hired by some higher up in the Federation, though he'd not divulged that information. The residents of DS9 were shocked by that rumor. The Federation venomously denied any involvement, though Garak thought it likely that they had hired the man. Such actions were common place on Cardassia.
A small groan brought Garak back to the present. He turned his head towards the biobed that stood a few feet to his right. Bashir seemed to be waking up, finally. It didn't surprise Garak that it had taken the young doctor this long to wake. They had pumped the man with more Alkysine and Benzethonium chloride – or was it Ambizine? – than imaginable.
It was to be expected though; humans were such an excitable race. Give them one man who went against the norm and suddenly everyone acted as if the whole world was at an end.
A nurse stepped out of the office, grey tricorder in hand. Most likely her comm had told her Bashir had woken now. Bashir's eyes cracked open as she detached the scanner from the tricorder and ran it up and down his body. This done, she closed the tricorder and gave Bashir a halfway sincere smile. Garak gave her credit for trying.
"Everything seems to be in order, doctor," she said with that false cheerful voice that all doctors and nurses seemed to inherently have. "How do you feel?"
"Idiotic question!" Garak thought, "His nerves have just been damaged. How do you think he feels?"
"Other than sore, fine," Bashir said with just a barely recognizable wince of pain.
"Fine, right," Garak retorted silently. "Just as I'm fine with my exile."
The nurse though smiled at Bashir's fake answer. "That's good to hear."
Garak watched as she walked away and disappeared behind the office door, no doubt happy to be away.
"Garak?" Bashir croaked. The young doctor seemed genuinely amazed to see him here. That didn't astonish Garak. He did, after all, take a flippant attitude towards their friendship. He walked over to the biobed, casually leaning on it.
"Doctor, how are you?"
"That's good," Garak said, a smirk on his face as he leaned closer, "Now…how are you really feeling?"
Bashir blinked for a moment before smiling weakly. "Like I got pummeled by a Sehlat."
"Now, doctor," Garak let the smirk widen just a bit, "have you ever actually been pummeled by a Sehlat?"
"It's just a saying, Garak."
"Of course it is."
Bashir sighed and closed his eyes. "What are you doing here, Garak?"
"Why doctor, I'm surprised at you. I thought we were friends," Garak replied, making sure he emphasized the word 'friends'. At once, as Garak knew he would, Bashir scrambled to make amends for the self-perceived insult.
"Of course we're friends, Garak! It's just….."
"You didn't think I'd be the one here," Garak finished for him, not in the least hurt by the truth of it. In truth, the doctor probably thought his friend, O'Brien, would be the face to greet him. The chief engineer was busy with a Jeffery tub leek, so Garak had decided to take his place. "You thought, perhaps, the good chief of engineering would be here?"
"Yes," Bashir acknowledged, sounding remorseful. For all his talk of spies, Bashir was lucky he wasn't one. While he had a brilliant mind, his face and emotions gave away far too much for the doctor to ever truly be successful.
"A leek in Jeffery tub 19 called him away. He was here some hours ago though."
"Oh." Again, Bashir's face gave away his thoughts. He'd feared his other friend had left him because of his genetic enhancements. Maybe even sided with his attacker's point of view. Had that truly been the case, Garak would've made a few 'discreet' calls and the good chief would've been mysteriously posted on a different space station before Bashir even awoke.
A few moments of awkward silence passed.
"They say," Bashir began, "that you that saved me."
"Well, you did promise me a surprise dish for dessert," Garak said. "Next week, I suppose."
"I did promise that, didn't I?"
"Yes, and I was so looking forward to seeing what atrocity you were bringing."
"What?" Garak was stunned despite himself. Larish pie could only be found on Cardassia. A rare, delicate dessert. Garak hadn't had one since his exile.
"Ordered some from Cardassia," Bashir answered without looking up. Through private, maybe illegal, channels then. The doctor never ceased to amaze him.
"That…couldn't have been done legally," was all Garak could get out. Bashir gave a tiny smile at that.
Garak shook off his shock. "Well, maybe next week?"
"It will keep til then?"
"You would know better than I," Bashir mused as the nurse walked over and gave him some dosage with a hypospray. Probably more Ambizine. She disappeared into the office without saying a word.
"I'll just let you get some rest," Garak said as he walked to the door. "And don't worry, it'll keep."
"Thank you," Bashir said as a genuine smile made its way on his face this time. His eyes closed as the medicine began to work.
"Of course, Julian," Garak replied softly.
November 6th, 2373
"I just don't see the appeal in reading something where the ending is so obvious," Garak said, folding a teal shirt. He picked up another one, amber this time. Almost a month had passed since Bashir's attack. The young human was recovering quite admirably.
"The ending isn't obvious!" Bashir retorted, his eyes sparkling in anticipation of defending his newest spy book. Garak gave a smirk. Who was he to deny the doctor a challenge?
"On the contrary, doctor, every book you've given me thus far, I've been able to decipher by the second chapter."
"This one's different!"
"Oh?" Garak drawled. "How so?"
"The hero isn't innocent in here," Bashir said, a smug look in his face. Garak raised an eyebrow. He glanced at the title of the book on the pad. The Bourne Identity. Sounded much like the other spy novels the doctor had given him before.
Garak raised an eyebrow anyway. "He's not innocent?"
"I would've thought that went against your morals."
"Just try it, Garak, you'll like it," Julian held out the pad more. Garak glanced at it again and gave a 'put upon' sigh.
"All right, doctor, I'll read it."
"You'll like it!"
"I'm sure I will, doctor," Garak said, making sure his tone was patronizing. Bashir just smiled and put the pad down on a clear space.
"Well, I've got to go. Do you want to have lunch with me tomorrow?"
"I have no other engagements."
"You could've just said yes, you know." Bashir shook his head in amusement.
"Ah, but where would be the fun in that?"
"Yes," Bashir replied, his tone sarcastic now. "Where ever would it be?"
"Doctor, sarcasm doesn't nearly fit as well on you as it does me."
"I have to go, Garak."
"I believe you already said that."
"You're impossible!" Bashir retorted without any heat as he walked away. A few people glanced between the two of them, bewilderment on their faces. Garak just smirked. They would never understand his friendship with Julian. They didn't need to agree to be friends. What was that human saying again? Ah yes! Actions speak louder than words. Such a cliché quotation, but Garak found that it suited his needs just fine.
Alkysine – A drug used to lessen the damage to neurological tissue after a catastrophic injury.
Ambizine – An injectable drug used as a sedative.
Benzethonium chloride – A painkiller used in hospitals.
Sehlat – A large carnivore native to Vulcan. Sehlats have six-inch fangs and do not like to climb, preferring to remain on low ground.
Please review this and tell me how I did.