Chapter 3: Plots
Benjamin awoke in the cargo bay, surrounded by boxes, his hands and legs tied by strong cords. Not the changeling, who was standing with arms folded and leaning against some crates like a drug dealer from old Earth. But, he still couldn't move, and the changeling smiled triumphantly over him.
"What do you want from me?" he demanded.
"I'm here to kill you, Captain," he spat the word out.
"That can't possibly be all," Ben shook his head, struggling against the cords, "Otherwise you would have done so already."
"I won't until I have gloated a bit," the changeling agreed.
"You're not a nice changeling," Ben said, hoping to force out of him information, even if no one would hear.
"Niceness is something only humans try to do," he responded, "Klingons aren't nice. Romulans aren't nice. What makes you think we should be?"
"We have a treaty," Ben reasoned, "One that ended war."
"Do you seriously think we retreated just because of you forced us?" the changeling demanded.
"That's usually is the reason for such things," Ben shrugged his shoulders.
"We fell back to regroup," he laughed, "Not to cower. Now the whole military might of the Dominion is ready to attack. We have done away with Ketracel-white. Obedience is now perfect, absolute."
"You never will succeed," Ben angrily responded, "We will stop you again."
"With the Romulans at our side," the changeling smiled, "We have already neutralized all your starbases patrolling the Neutral Zone. Your DS7 has fallen. We have taken over the government of the Romulan Empire and the Federation Council has been replaced with changelings."
"You will put up a valiant fight," he pressed his nose up to Ben's, "And you might hold us off for a while. But once our allies from the Delta Quadrant arrive, you shall fall. Even now your Odo is being followed by a changeling, with orders to kill his beloved Kira. He had neutralized your sensors to save her. You cannot stop us."
"You certainly won't leave this room alive," Ben snorted in derision.
"Oh really?" the changeling laughed, "Why is that?"
"Because," Ben smiled, "Cardassains aren't nice."
The changeling whirled around as the top of a crate was kicked off, and Garak sat up, roaring as he pulled out two disruptors and let the changeling have it. The changeling stumbled and shook as the bolts of energy struck him, but he was not going down. He slowly began to move towards Garak, holes appearing in his body. He would be unable to change shape.
Garak aimed and fired at Ben, catching the metallic cords and shooting them apart. Ben was grateful Garak had been a member of the Obsidian Order, or he could never have made that shot without so much as looking.
He looked around, and saw a broken metal bar. He picked it up and rushed the changeling, who was reaching towards Garak, who had rolled up and out of the crate and was still shooting him. The changeling was refusing to die.
He came up and rammed the bar through his chest and the changeling fell to the ground finally, looking at him shocked.
"You set me up," his gasped and Ben nodded.
The changeling slowly melted away, never to rise again.
Ben held out his hand to Garak, and pulled him up on his feet.
"Thank you," Ben said, clasping him on the shoulder, "I never thought I would need to use a member of the Obsidian Order."
"My dear captain," he replied, "I am not a spy. I am a tailor."
Ben rolled his eyes. Never tell the truth when a lie will suffice.
"Blasted Changeling drained the cells on both," he growled, tossing the disruptors aside.
"Well," Ben shrugged, "We can get more."
A week had passed, and despite their best efforts, they seemed unable to catch the other changeling. Finally, Kira called Ben, Julian, Garak and Chief of Security Kevin Gilles to a small meeting in her office. She was not happy.
"For all we know," she exclaimed, standing in her anger and slamming her fist on the desk, "Is that Odo has a changeling forcing him to do stuff he knows is wrong. We need to catch him before he does more damage!"
"This changeling is good," Garak admitted sourly, "In all my years of being a tailor, no one has been able to get their hands so dirty and I miss it."
"As a tailor?" Julian asked, leaning towards him, "Or a spy?"
"My young, over imaginative doctor," Garak hit his arm lightly with the back of his hand, "You never cease to amaze me with your crazy ideas."
"This is no time for jokes gentlemen," Gilles chided them angrily, "We have two changelings on board committing sabotage and we can't even find a trace of it!"
"And who freaking knows?" Kira exploded, throwing her chair over in anger, making Ben wince in sympathy towards his old friend, the chair, "They could have disabled more than our sensors! What about our weapons? Our life support? Gravity? You can rig it so these things can shut off at any time under any circumstances."
"And don't I know it?" Garak leaned back and looked at the floor in front of him, his eyes widening in memories of sabotage he had personally committed.
"The real problem here," Ben said slowly and calmly, "Is we have grown way too complacent. We took the Dominion at their word, and so disabled most of the detection devices we had installed to find changelings if they ever got back on board."
"What we need to do then is set them back up," Gilles replied, "We could get this whole station so covered even a spider couldn't crawl without our knowing."
"As a spy once told me," Bashir said, "Never tell the truth when a lie will suffice."
"Come again?" Gilles asked, raising a condescending look at him, in a how-dare-you-interrupt-me? sort of way.
"If we started setting up these devices," Bashir reasoned, "it would raise their suspicion. However, what we need to do is get him where the devices are already there."
"Bait him?" Kira asked.
"Bait him," Bashir nodded.
Odo walked down the promenade towards the turbo lift which would take him Operations. His feet felt like lead, and his heart was heavy. He knew he was a coward, had betrayed his friends, who had done more than enough to save his own person.
How sad he was for Kira. She had so much to offer him, and would willingly do so, but, he couldn't. To show her that affection that had made their love so unique and genuine. It could never be, and he knew it. He reached the lift, and said, "Ops."
The turbo lift jolted slightly before smoothing out as he rose. He closed his eyes and sighed.
"What is it Odo?" a monotone voice behind him asked.
"I don't want to do this anymore Dracon," he said, not looking behind him at the changeling that had scurried on as a mouse, "I feel sick inside for betraying my friends."
"Friends?" Dracon asked, "They never came looking for you. They never even tried to reach you. What type of friends could they possibly be compared to the Link?"
"They have honor," he replied, "Something the Founders can never understand."
Dracon chuckled behind him. "I will admit," he said, "Such things as loyalty and fidelity escape me. But, I understand power, and the needlessness for so many people to die. You are saving them Odo."
"Huh," he scoffed, "Doesn't feel like it. Why must I do it to her?"
"Everything you do for us," Dracon said, the sounding of melting sounding his transforming back to his previous form, "Is a planet you have saved from destruction. Think about that as you wallow in self pity. She cannot stand in the way of your usefulness."
"I refuse to do it," Odo snapped, "I have done sabotage to my home, and betrayed the trust of my old comrades and love. I will not do this."
The turbo lift shuddered to a stop, and he hesitated. The room had been vacated except for security officers, carrying phaser rifles. They stood at every console, and every door and vent. Perhaps he wouldn't have to carry out the deed.
He walked forward, going towards Kira's office. Two Bajoran guards stood outside, at attention. They had their phasers held in both hands, point downwards to the ground. They took no notice of the spider that was crawling along the wall.
The door slid open to the office and he walked in, and to his immense relief he saw Benjamin still alive. But, he could not let his emotions show. That would prove fatal to all involved. If Dracon was angry, he could not tell.
Behind the desk sat Kira, who was showing signs of controlled anger. Did she suspect something? And beside her, standing, was the chief engineer, a man by the name of Tyler Rand, son of Janice Rand, a woman who had served as yeoman to James T. Kirk. He didn't look in a good mood either.
"Captain," he nodded in greetings, "Captain. You summoned me?"
"Yes Odo," Kira said, "You knew about the assassination of Dummat before it happened? Correct?"
"I knew he wasn't the man he claimed to be," Odo corrected.
"My mistake," she said, "May I ask a question?"
"Certainly," Odo shrugged his shoulders.
"How did you know all this?" she asked, "You never said how you knew. And on second thought, how did you know when to be on the Titan and how did you arrive and meet up with Garak?"
"The Dominion has spies in the Alpha Quadrant," he said, "such as our listening posts are spies for us."
"That would be enough for me," Kira said, "But, things have happened today that makes me question your reasons for being here. At DS9."
Odo brows furrowed in confusion. "As in?"
"Today," Ben said, at the nod of Kira, "Doctor Bashir and myself were attacked in the corridors. With the help of Garak we were able to kill the changeling. But, he said something very odd. It seems someone has been tampering with the station."
"In what way?" Odo asked.
"Let me see," Rand growled, holding up a data pad, "Over the past month our sensors ability to detect has been cut back to the point that we can scan no more than a thousand meters correctly. Beyond that point, all we get is false readings. Our weapons drain energy seven percent faster than should be. Internal sensors have been reprogrammed to block out certain portions of the promenade during certain parts of each day."
"That does sound serious," Odo agreed, knowing that if he had sweat glands he would have started sweating by now.
"That's not all," Kira said, "We have also picked up two transmissions from the station that head towards the Gamma Quadrant. Guess where they originated from?"
"Are you implying something Captain?" Odo asked, raising an eyebrow, "Because, this is not funny."
"Believe me," Kira said, her voice icy cold, "It's not at all."
"Another thing the changeling mentioned was there was two of them on board," Ben said, then touched a switch, "And we will get him now."
The room was flooded by ultraviolet light. They looked as his body's mass fluctuated slightly underneath the bombardment. All they would have to do is wait and see the change of where the changeling was. But, to their shock, he was nowhere to be found.
"Where could he have gone?" Ben demanded, "He was suppose to remain close enough to keep you at heel."
"Dracon would have heard you and made his escape into the Jeffry tubes," Odo volunteered, "He would have gone through the one over there, if he was smart."
"That's where Garak is," Kira said, and they rushed over to the Jeffry tube hatch.