"How was your dinner with Doctor Bashir?" Sisko asked, despite already knowing the answer.

Jadzia Dax sat across from him in his quarters, the eventful day having finally come to an end. Brow furrowed and lips pursed, she shook her head. When she spoke, her gaze remained unfocused, thoughtful. "I'm worried about him, Benjamin."

"It's not every day a man has his brain hijacked."

She looked up, anger flaring.

Sisko knew her emotions weren't directed toward him but rather toward the opportunistic madman who'd caused the doctor so much pain and humiliation. He waited for her ire to cool. It did a moment later.

"He was so quiet," she whispered. "He barely touched his food."

He shared her concern but wasn't sure there was anything they could do to help him. "He may not be ready to talk yet."

Only a handful of hours had passed since the death of Rao Vantika. "Do you think I'm pushing him too soon?"

He pondered her question but finally shook his head. "Someone needs to keep an eye on him until he's had a chance to process."

Sadness swept over her. "I just wish there was more I could do."

"Coming to terms might take him a little while. Be there for him. I think that's the best you can do."

She nodded, relegating herself to a course of action that didn't seem at all satisfactory.

"How's he feeling physically?"

Dax leaned back in the chair. "He doesn't want to admit it but I'm sure he's still fighting a headache."

"And we don't have any way to know if that's normal."

"Jabara was going to return him to active duty tomorrow morning. Should I have her wait?"

"You're absolutely sure he's clear?"

There had been so much at stake. "I triple checked."

"Then I don't see any reason to delay. Keeping him from his duties will only make the situation worse."

"I agree." Neither one of them had known Bashir very long but his dedication to his work was evident.

Sisko reached forward and placed his empty mug down on the coffee table between them. "What about Kajada?"

"She's scheduled to depart on a transport at 0300. She wants to take the body with her."

Good riddance to bad rubbish. "She can have it."

"I'll have it arranged."

A natural silence fell upon them. Jadzia didn't show any signs of rising to depart.

"Something else on your mind, Old Man?"

"Just something that Kajada said."


"That it wasn't the first time Vantika had faked his own death."

Sisko could see where she was going. "You think he might still be alive."

Again, she pursed her lips and shook her head. "I don't know what to think. A man that desperate to survive wouldn't proceed without a back-up plan."

"Bashir was his back-up plan."

She paused. "Was he?"

Sisko found he had no definite way to answer.