Celeste spun around in her seat to see Weyoun leading back another man. This one's face looked odd - tight, almost, and his hair was slicked back, almost so as not to be seen. It also looked as though his lips were permanently pursed inward. He was dressed in a sharp uniform, hands clasped behind his back, and he looked rather annoyed.
"Look who I've found, Celeste!" Weyoun sat down next to her again, gesturing for the other man to take a seat as well. He didn't though; he just stood there and stared at her. "I told you about him. This is Odo - he's a Founder as well."
Celeste quickly bowed. "A-An honor to meet you, Constable Odo."
Damn it. A real Founder! She got the feeling that it was about to get pretty deep in here.
When she looked back up, Odo was still studying her. "You are... Celeste? A pleasure." He looked back down at Weyoun. "Now, what were you going on about? A new Founder arriving on the station?"
Weyoun looked up at him in confusion for a second, then chuckled. "Er, Odo... this is she. Celeste is the Founder I was speaking of. You are linked, are you not? Surely you must know of her."
Odo made eye contact with Celeste, and she gulped. She furrowed her eyebrows in toward each other and shot him a pitiful look. She was silently begging him to play along. Yes, she wasn't a Founder, but for the moment being, she needed him to verify to Weyoun that she was. "You... You know me, don't you, Odo? I'm sorry, it's been a while since I've left the Great Link..."
Odo blinked a few times, seeming to get her silent language. "Oh! Oh yes, yes, Weyoun. Now I recognize her. She's changed her clothing style, that's... that's what it must be."
Weyoun chuckled nervously, running a hand through his meticulously coiffed hair. "You were both joking with me, Odo, weren't you? I knew it. I knew it must be a joke. You both arranged it before she even got here. It was quite funny, actually!"
"Yes..." Odo said slowly, never taking his eyes off of Celeste. "A joke. That's it, we were just... playing a trick on you." He put a hand on Weyoun's shoulder, but still kept his eyes trained on the young lady. "You are dismissed, Weyoun. I must speak with Celeste in relative private."
"Oh... oh, yes, very well then." He bowed his head, raising one hand. "Until the next time we meet."
"Weyoun, wait a moment," Celeste called as he turned to leave. "You must come visit me sometime, yes?"
His face lit up, and a genuine smiled drew his lips up. "Oh! Yes, yes, of course, my Founder. You need just tell me when you want me."
"Alright, then. Tomorrow morning... around ten. Be fashionably late, yes?"
"I shall see you then, Weyoun. Have a good night."
"I wish for you as well."
Odo sat down where Weyoun had been, next to Celeste, as Weyoun practically skipped away down the hall like a naughty schoolgirl. "Miss Celeste, I'm going to... cut to the chase, I believe you would say. You and I both know that you are not a Founder. So... who are you?"
"My name's Celeste Hart," she blurted out immediately. "I'm twenty-three, I'm a human, and I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry! I didn't mean to insult you or anything-"
"So you're simply parading yourself as a Founder when you're not. That fact, I understand." He leaned against the counter, raising an eyebrow. "What I'm not quite perceiving is why you are doing this. What do you gain from it?"
She took a deep breath and then let it out, rubbing her arm. "Weyoun... I ran into him about ten minutes ago."
"And? That explains why you were sitting with him, but I still do not understand why you are pretending to be a Founder."
She sighed. "Alright, well, when I ran into him, I tried to apologize. But he started being mean to me, like I wasn't giving him respect - oh, where was I going, was it a matter of life or death, who did I think I was. So I said I was a Founder, and you should have seen the look on his face-"
Odo shook his head, holding up a hand. "So... that is the reason you lied? Because you wanted to spite Weyoun?"
"Not just because of that!" She fell across the counter, leaning her cheek on her arm. "He would never look twice at me if I were a human. Now that he thinks I'm a Founder, he's gazing at me. Gazing! This is the first time in my life a guy has ever looked in my general direction more than once. Someone's finally noticing me."
"For something you're not," Odo pointed out.
"Because of something I'm not," she countered. "He noticed me because I'm a Founder. My personality is what kept him interested in me, the thing he likes me for."
Odo sighed. "Celeste... this is impersonation, and suppose the other Founders discovered you were doing this. What do you think would happen then?"
"I don't know. But if I get Weyoun to trust me and like me, he'd protect me from anything they wanted to do."
"Right. Of course. Because he really likes humans. What if you can't get him to like you, or trust you? What about that dilemma?"
"Don't worry - I know I can. I'll spend time with him... let him see who I am. He'll be my friend, and it'll be great. We'll hang out - go to the movies, play game and stuff in holosuites, you know... that kinda thing. He also promised to take me to Garak's." She pouted, putting her hands together against her chest and blinking. "Please, Odo. I can't let Weyoun find out - not now. We just met, and he'll think I'm a liar."
"Well, you are..."
"Come on! If he thinks I'm a chronic liar, he won't believe I like him. He won't believe a word out of my mouth."
"Celeste, with all respect that's due right now, I find it hard to believe any word out of your mouth. Never mind what Weyoun thinks, and he's a cynic."
Celeste reached over and put her hand on Odo's, wrapping her fingers around his. She looked up at him, furrowing her brow and blinking rapidly, pursing her lips. "Odo... please. I know you just met me, and you probably don't trust me anymore than Quark does-"
"However much he trusts, I trust you that much more!" came Quark's voice from the back. "As long as you become a regular customer, you could kill someone and tell me you didn't do it and I'd believe you! I'd even help you hide the body, if you continued giving me your patronage!"
Celeste rolled her eyes before continuing. "... But, I think that somewhere, deep down inside this..." She poked his chest. "Shell that's protecting your jelly essence, you want to help me. And I think... you should. It would be a nice investment of your time and lies. You'd be helping a pathetic little human girl and making her super happy."
Odo looked at her, then sighed heavily, dropping his head down into one hand and rubbing his forehead. "You know what? Alright, fine, Celeste."
"Yes! Thank you so much!" She immediately began doing a victory dance.
"Celeste, don't rejoice too thoroughly," Odo muttered, unintentionally cutting her celebration short. "You're going to have to tell him the truth sooner or later."
"Oh, I know. And I will, I promise."
"And you're not going to make me tell him."
"No no, I'll do it myself. I'm capable of that, I think."
"Right." Odo stood up. "Now, if you don't need me for anything else... Celeste?"
"I'm good. Thanks so much, Odo. Hey, can we be partners?"
"To keep up the illusion?"
"Yes. But in name only. You will not technically work with me."
"That's okay. I can work for Garak, probably, once I meet him and if he needs any help."
"I'm sure he does. Now... you have a good day, Celeste."
"Yessir!" She saluted happily, even clicking her heels together.
"So, the charade's going to go fairly well then?" Quark commented, leaning against the counter toward her.
Celeste blinked - she hadn't even realized he'd come back. "I guess so. Hey, how does someone earn a little extra cash around here? I mean, you're a Ferengi, I figure you would know."
"The same way you earn everything else - certainly not by standing around doing nothing." Immediately - since he'd been leaning against the counter basically doing nothing, the little hypocrite - straightened up and began wiping the surface down. "Er, what I mean is, you need to get a job." He gave her a wink. "You know, I heard you talking, and I happen to know for a fact that Garak is looking for a secretary. And he likes liars, especially pretty little ones. Hmm? You're cashing in on the hidden job market here."
Celeste made a face, leaning her cheek against her hand and taking a sip from her glass. "Ech, secretary. Do you know how boring that is? You're trapped in an office all day, and you don't do anything but type. You never see anybody but your boss. No, thank you." She gulped down some more of her water, then quickly swallowed and looked up at Quark. "Hey! Hey, are you hiring?"
He gave her a strange look, then blinked. "Hmm... well, I... okay. What position would you be looking for?"
She shook her head. "Oh, I'll do anything. Um - except clean the bathrooms. That's nasty."
"I agree. Well, how old are you?"
"Twenty-three. I'm over legal age."
"Good. Let's see..." Quark drummed his fingers against the table. "How would you like to be a dabo girl?"
"A dabo girl?" She raised an eyebrow. "Is that, like, one of those girls who stand by the dabo wheel and try to distract people with their sexiness?"
"Uh, er - yes, something like that. You've certainly got the... face... for it."
"I... don't think I'd be very good at that. Sorry." She pushed some of her hair back. "What else you got?"
Quark rolled his eyes. "How do you feel about cleaning the floors in the holosuites?"
"Sweeping or scrubbing?"
"Depends. Sometimes both."
"How much would I get paid?"
"Five slips of latinum an hour."
Quark put a hand against his forehead. "I'm starting to believe you've got some distant Ferengi uncle you didn't tell me about or something..."
"Ten!" she repeated simply, plucking the lime off the edge of her glass and plunking it right into the water.
"Agh!" Quark attempted to shield himself from the resulting splash. "Six and a half!"
She pouted, crossing her arms and staring him right in the eye. "Seven."
"Seven, and I won't spread the probably untrue rumor that you like to dress up in girls' clothes and hide in closets."
Quark sighed. "Fine. Seven, but that's as high as I'm going, got it? You can start tomorrow. Bar opens at ten, be here at nine-thirty. You can clean as people get done."
"How many holosuites are there?"
"Five. Once somebody's done with it, you clean it so another customer can use it." He crossed his arms, glaring right back at her now. "And since you started the money argument, Weyoun's not around anymore. Do you plan on sitting here another hour before you pay me for your drink?"
Celeste slowly glanced down at her glass, then grinned up at him sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck. "... I don't suppose I get an employee discount?"