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 Here's a new fanfic.  

Sadly, it's only PG13/R, but perhaps it has some redeeming features...  Actually, I wrote it in a bit of a hurry, and the only one who beta'd it for me (who's not a G/B shipper or even that much into DS9) thought it was slow and talky...  So, I'd really like honest feedback.  If it's OK as is, if it's worth anything but needs tightening, or if it just... you know... sucks.

Title:       Sacrifice, Part 1 of 4
Author:   PrelocAndKanar
Series:     DS9
Code:       G/B
PG13/R for theme
Disclaimer: I fully acknowledge that Paramount has exclusive rights to the Star Trek universe, All Rights Reserved, and that all characters and locations are the property of Paramount television. No infringement is intended. STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE is a Registered Trademark of Paramount Pictures.   Paramount owns all. I own nothing but my twisted mind.
approx. 9,000 words
Comments, constructive criticism, and any other feedback are very welcome!
Takes place immediately after Broken Link
“Can I see him?” Bashir asked Odo. 
Odo grunted his consent. “I’ll be in my office if you need me.”
Bashir approached the cell. Garak was sitting on the bench, staring straight ahead. He didn’t look up.
Bashir waited a moment, then spoke softly. “Hello, Garak.”
Garak pressed his lips tight. The last thing he wanted right now was to hear that voice. He let the silence fill the space between them. Perhaps he would leave.
Instead, Bashir got that look on his face – that oh-so-solicitous, warm, helpful look. Did he learn that at medical school, he thought scornfully, or was it just another of the doctor’s innate talents? Garak concentrated on keeping his breath slow and even.
“I understand how you’re feeling,” said Bashir soothingly.
A flame, such as he hadn’t felt since the removal of his implant, shot through Garak’s chest. He could see that Bashir was not going to be satisfied until he had poked and prodded, gotten whatever reaction he was looking for. And here he was, trapped. No choice but to have this dreadful, pointless exchange.
“And just how do you think I feel?” he asked.
Bashir sighed. “I think you feel bad because you almost killed us. But you were doing what you thought was right. Just as you said – your heart was in the right place. It’s OK. We don’t blame you.” He thought of Sisko and Worf’s reactions. And Odo. “Well – I don’t blame you.”
Garak closed his eyes. His heart. His heart was most certainly not in the right place, not at all. It was, in fact, in as wrong a place as it could be.
Before he could stop himself, he thought of the time when his implant broke down.   Bashir taking his hand as he lay there. He had been so sure he was dying. He remembered that expression on the doctor’s face, smiling, caring, bemused. He could still feel the human’s hand holding his own. He could hear the voice saying, “I forgive you.”
He opened his eyes and saw that face. That warm face, radiating – something, that beautiful, kind, stupid human face. Rage filled his belly. 
“You think I feel – bad – because I almost killed the one I – the ones I think of as friends? Is that it?”
“Not just us. You were willing to die, as well.”
That dense, naïve, simple human still didn’t understand. Willing to die? He had been counting on dying. Though it was hard to admit, Garak knew he would never have had the strength to attempt it at all, if he hadn’t known that the Jem’Hadar were nearby, that he would have to live only minutes with the knowledge of what he had done. Not that it mattered about any of the others. Only about this one.
He spoke very quietly, conversationally, not letting the bile into his voice. 
“Do you remember, doctor, the first book I gave you to read?
“Of course,” said Bashir. His face, which had begun to frown at Garak’s rigid posture, relaxed into a smile. “The Never-Ending Sacrifice.”
“Do you remember why I gave you that book to read first?”
“You said it was the finest Cardassian novel ever written.” Bashir’s smile changed into something that could almost be called a smirk.
“You didn’t care for it, though, did you?”
“No. I thought it celebrated martyrdom, elevated a sick kind of death-wish into a perverse, cultish aspiration. I thought it displayed a disdain for the sanctity of life. I thought it viewed life as cheap. I thought its values were twisted, and sad.”
Garak nodded. “Yes, doctor. That was your reaction. But what about Cardassians? Do you think they see the novel in the same way?”
“Well, of course not. You’ve told me that it’s considered a great work, that it’s a reflection of Cardassian values. The characters are seen as heroes; their actions represent the fulfillment of the highest morals. It demonstrates that showing loyalty to the state, even at the expense of – or maybe, especially at the expense of – one’s life, is…” Bashir spoke more and more slowly. “That sacrificing oneself for the good of the state is the highest, greatest good one can ever hope to –” He broke off and looked at Garak again.
“That’s right, doctor.” said Garak, his voice tight and low. “I’m not – upset –” the word tasted foul and cloying in his mouth – because I tried to destroy the planet.” And you. “I’m upset because I failed.”
Bashir swallowed. He hadn’t thought of it that way before.
“You were willing to die. To save your people. Just like a Cardassian hero,” he realized. Garak grimaced. “You tried.” Bashir whispered. 
Garak couldn’t help snorting. He thought back to when he had realized that this was the only course of action he could take. When that Changeling had threatened his people, had told him that every Cardassian was doomed to die. She had dared to casually remark that they would destroy his race; had said it right to his face, brazenly, as if his people were helpless to prevent it. As if they were beneath notice. She had no clue about what a Cardassian was.
They had killed Tain – or maybe not; the Changeling hadn’t really answered, and he wouldn’t have believed her anyway, but it didn’t matter. Although he was outraged at the threat against his people, if he were being totally honest with himself, he knew that he wasn’t just thinking about the good of Cardassia.
He remembered thinking, maybe this will be enough. Maybe, somehow, Tain will know. Maybe – his face grew warm remembering his thoughts just before Worf discovered him. Maybe he’ll be proud of me. Like that day in the country…
Garak turned away, hiding his face.
“So you wish you had succeeded?” Bashir’s voice interrupted his reverie.
That didn’t deserve an answer. A brief silence, then he spoke. “But that’s not all, doctor. There’s more.”
Bashir just stood there, waiting.
“Why was I unable to compete my task?” Garak prompted.
“You tried your best. Worf stopped you.”
“Oh, yes,” he nodded. “Worf, the warrior. A fine fighter. Very strong. He has proven himself worthy in battles against his fellow Klingons, no small accomplishment. I would imagine that he could even hold his own against a Jem’Hadar or two.”
Garak turned back to him, his face perfectly composed once more.
“Remember when I intruded on your spy holosuite program, doctor?” he asked. Bashir nodded warily.
 “When I first saw you, you were dispatching a rather intimidating enemy with a champagne cork.” Garak forced a smile. “Very – innovative of you.”
“What’s the point, Garak?”
Garak ignored him. “You know, I was intrigued enough by my exposure to this type of entertainment that I did some research afterwards. I accessed some spy novels to peruse.” He paused. “The stories were quite exciting. I even found some excerpts from the original source material of the twentieth century. Fascinating.”
“Do you know one interesting thing that I noticed, doctor? The heroes of these fictions bested so many ferocious enemies, yet they were not particularly, how should I put it, warrior-types themselves.”
Despite himself, Bashir found he was warming to the subject. “No, that’s the point. The hero uses his wits against his adversaries.”
“Exactly! The main villain may be clever, but he tends to send very large, strong, even brutish – what’s the word? oh, – henchmen, to defeat the hero. One would never think the hero would prevail. And yet he does.”
“That’s one of the pleasures of the genre, Garak. The hero could never defeat these thugs through sheer strength. But you see, he’s had years of training, and he knows all sorts of tricks that allow him to overcome a much more powerful foe.” Bashir stopped talking. He started thinking.
“I wonder how true-to-life that part of your fantasy is,” Garak mused. “Oh, I would guess that real spies don’t have, perhaps, as frequent access to helicopters and parachutes at a moment’s notice as your characters do, but I could believe that the real-life counterparts have also received training and may have a variety of tricks up their sleeves.”
“What are you trying to tell me, Garak?”
Garak turned and walked a few steps away. When he spoke, his voice was no longer quiet and controlled. It was harsh and raw.
“I, too, have tricks up my sleeves, doctor. I have been highly trained, and I know – things. I do have extensive experience. I should have been able to defeat Worf. Not easily, mind you. But, when it was necessary, I have prevailed over Cardassian soldiers, Romulans, even a Kingon or two, before. I am, like your heroes, a quick thinker. I always seem to find a way.” He spoke into the corner of the cell. “But not this time.”
“What are you saying, Garak?” Bashir repeated.
“I don’t know,” said Garak with shocking bluntness. His insides were churning. He was not a man given to examining his feelings. But there was battle inside him that could not be ignored. And it was spilling over into a part of him that he kept tightly sealed away. That part of him which made it possible to survive his life of exile. The part which warmed him, which was the only thing to chase away the constant cold. The most secret part that no one should ever know. The weakness he couldn’t afford.
But now, he was learning more about weakness. Was he so weak, in regards to this person, that he couldn’t even bear living with his destruction for just a few minutes? Even though the Jem’Hadar were nearby? Had he really sunk so low, become so degraded, so immoral? Had he, somehow, deliberately failed? Even if it meant the destruction of Cardassia? Just so Bashir could live?
If so, he had betrayed his people. He had betrayed the essence of himself. All sold, for the price of being able to look upon this man’s face, to enjoy and bask in this gaze. All for his selfish pleasure. He hated himself. He was trying his best to hate Bashir.
What had he lost? Oh, but what had he held on to?
He turned to look at him. All he could see was compassion. All he could feel was shame. He couldn’t allow himself the pleasure of his relief that Bashir lived. He turned away again.
“Go now, doctor,” he ground out. “Please. Leave me alone.”
Well, thought Bashir bitterly as he walked away, once again he understood nothing about this man. Here, he thought it would be a good thing to offer support, to show his friendship. There was something that always drew him to Garak, something that Bashir didn’t like to look at too closely. But it seems that you’ve once again just made a difficult situation worse, he chastised himself. Clueless, as always. He wondered if Garak despised him.
Bashir stopped to have a few words with Odo. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw the Cardassian once again sitting on the bench in the holding cell, back straight, hands lightly resting on his thighs, still. No pacing or fidgeting. Even though Cardassian hearing was not especially keen, Bashir kept his voice low. No sense taking chances with this particular Cardassian.
“Odo. What are you going to do with him,” he whispered.
“What do you mean?” asked Odo, suspiciously.
“Well, you can’t keep him here for six months!”
Odo looked as if nothing would please him more. “Why not?”
Bashir just looked at him. Then, thinking about it, he said, “He’s not even a Federation citizen. How do you end up with jurisdiction over him, anyway?”
“We offered extradition to Cardassia, but they didn’t want him. Said we were welcome to him. Suggested we execute him. I think they’d have been happy to send the executioner. Garak agreed to submit to Federation jurisprudence. His only request was that he be allowed to do his time here.”
“Well… you still can’t keep him in your holding cell for six months.”
Odo harrumphed, then allowed, “Well… I suppose it would get rather annoying after a while. I don’t think I care to spend that much time in his company.” He thought for a moment, then said with a sigh, “I’ll transfer him out tomorrow morning. He can serve out his sentence as confinement to quarters. Although I think he’s getting off too easy.”
“Too easy?” asked Bashir. “You think six months in solitary confinement is easy?”
“Who said anything about solitary? He can receive visitors.”
“Odo. Think. Who’s going to visit him?”
A moment passed, then Odo replied, “It’s not my fault that the man has no friends. Besides, he’ll have all the diversions available in quarters. Replicator, library, computer access…” Odo thought, then added, “I’ll have to tighten my security protocols throughout the station…” He made note to himself on a PADD, then looked up at the doctor. “I still think he’s getting off easy.”
                                    *                                  *                                  *

See next entry for Part 2 of 4


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 11th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC)
displayed a distain for the holiness of life

I think it should be "disdain", shouldn't it?

“What do you mean,” asked Odo, suspiciously.

Here's a "?" missing...

Otherwise, well, I have only a rudimentary knowledge of DS9; I think I've seen only a couple of eps in total. All my knowledge is gleamed from fanfic, so I can't say anything about content, plot or something like that.

There are a little too many italics for my taste, I think those aren't necessary. If you get your sentences right, the emphasis will go to the rigth word all by itself...

As for too talky, well, I'll have to read the next parts now first ;-)
Apr. 11th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Good feedback!
Thanks! Absolutely, it should be "disdain," and yes, I need to add that question mark. I guess my proofing skills aren't up to snuff past midnight! And, you're also right about the italics -- it's a lazy writer's crutch. Very helpful comments -- just the kind I was hoping for!
Apr. 11th, 2008 02:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Good feedback!
You're welcome. I can't ever proofread my own stories. Never works ;-)

I'm glad you liked the comments.
It's always hard to find the rigth balance. But usually if a story is really, really horrible I don't bother because that often means the writer didn't even bother with a beta reader. But apparently you don't need one, although that can help with those pesky missing questionmarks ;-)
That I did mention these things means I really did like the story. And I don't mind it being talkative... I also liked the ending very much, it's a good change from the usual "they fall into bed and all is well". Although nothing against these kinds of stories either ;-)
May. 3rd, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Good feedback!
> displayed a distain for the holiness of life

I was going to remark on the same sentence--not the typo, but the word "holiness" seemed odd to me as coming from Bashir. He's never struck me as a religious person. "Sanctity," perhaps, instead? The word also has religious origins, but doesn't have the same overtones that make one think of the Pope.

Interesting ideas in the story so far...
May. 3rd, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Good feedback!
I think that's a good point. It's funny, "holiness" didn't necessarily make me think of the Pope, but I agree that the religiousity (sp?) isn't quite right. I do like "sanctity" better. Mind if I take your suggestion and change it?

Edited at 2008-05-04 04:28 am (UTC)
May. 4th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Good feedback!
Go right ahead--I wouldn't have made the suggestion if I didn't think you might take it. (You could refuse, of course... :))
Apr. 11th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm enjoying the story so far and I think you did well incorporating elements from the show. I don't mind italics too much because I am a lazy fic writer and reader (sometimes) and they help. But I think that's really just a matter of preference. One note, when the story switches from Garak to Bashir it was a tad confusing. Maybe a sentence or two to help the reader transition from one POV to the next. p.s. I almost didn't post this comment (but I already typed it) because anonymous posting was disabled and sometimes I like to comment without signing in because I'm lazy. Just food for thought.
Apr. 12th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Thanks for the useful crit! I'm going to review it (after letting it sit a bit, so I can look at it fresh), and see if I can make those transitions work more smoothly. I appreciate the feedback!
Aug. 10th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
a very interesting start. I always thought that Worf defeated Garak a bit too easily in that episode - I mean, yes, it's Worf, but I thought Garak didn't put up much of a fight.

Also, I remember when it was revealed in season 7 that the Federation was essentially trying to commit genocide on the Founders with that virus (and I will never believe that Section 31 was acting without sanction - yeah right...), oh the irony... I think, from a Cardassian point of view, what Garak tried to do made absolute sense. Not to mention from a Klingon point of view as well (if Worf hadn't been raised and hadn't been serving in the Federation, he'd probably have been all for it)
Jun. 20th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
I was rereading this, and noticed:
I have prevailed over Cardassian soldiers, Romulans, even a Kingon or two, before.
Unless Garak has fought the elemental particles of kingship, a la a Terry Pratchett novel, (and I wouldn't put it past him), there seems to be an 'l' missing. ;)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )