Here's "Sacrifice," Part 2 of 4:
Title: Sacrifice, Part 2 of 4See next entry for Part 3 of 4
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!
* * *
The next morning, once he was back in his quarters, a guard installed outside his door, Garak sat down to make a plan. It would be just the thing, to take six months off as a sabbatical. A retreat. A retreat from what, he asked himself. It wasn’t as if his tailoring work was so stressful. Still, one made do.
He would be able to indulge in reading, of course. Maybe he’d concentrate on off-world literature as well. There were many that he knew came highly recommended – there were some Vulcan, Romulan, even Bajoran works which had fine reputations. Why, there might even be some Terran literature actually worth reading, if one looked long enough.
Next, he outlined a physical fitness regimen that could be accomplished within the confines of his quarters. It would be difficult to keep his reflexes sharp without the holodeck, but at least he could keep his muscles in shape. He had no intention of getting soft and fat, and becoming if possible more absurd than he already was. He would get next to no exercise unless he worked at it. He sighed. It wasn’t as if he had gotten much exercise at his tailor’s shop and strolling the promenade. He shook his head, then returned to his task. What else? His mind was a blank. He glanced at the chronometer. Guls, it was still early. A slight frown appeared across his face. What next, what next…
When he finally looked up from the computer and checked, it was mid-day. He’d been quite absorbed, disabling Odo’s surveillance on his quarters (again), then, just for fun, replacing the surveillance from holding cell A with an excerpt from an old 2D Ferengi-made pleasure-novel. But that still didn’t address exactly how he was going to fill all those hours before him. Well, he would deal with that question later. Right now, he was beginning to feel hungry. He thought of his standing Wednesday lunch date with Bashir at the replimat, and felt a sharp pang of despair. Before he could stop the thought, it occurred to him that he had already had so little to look forward to in this dreary life; losing the one enjoyable part that remained would be most unpleasant.
His door chime sounded. He looked up, startled. “Come in,” he said, getting to his feet.
Of all people, in strolled Bashir. Garak was not often surprised, but the timing of Bashir’s arrival, coinciding with his thoughts at that moment, were enough to momentarily unbalance him.
“Dr. Bashir,” was all he could manage. Bashir swept by him, entering the center of the living area, and looked around critically, as though he were a decorator. The room was rather plain. There was a desk, a bar area, a shelving unit with a few items on it, and a couch with a low table in front. It did not look as though it were arranged for entertaining. Garak imagined him shaking his head, saying, “No, no, this just won’t do at all!” Instead, he found a chair and dragged it to the couch. Satisfied, he went right to the replicator as though he were in his own quarters.
“I’m starving,” he announced. “Tarkelean tea, hot, extra sweet,” he ordered. “And a double order of hasperat.” He turned to Garak. “What are you having?” he asked politely.
Garak had composed himself, and replied, “I’m… pleased, but a bit surprised to see you, doctor. You’ve never paid me a social call in my quarters before.” More’s the pity.
“It’s Wednesday, Garak. Surely you haven’t been locked up so long that you’ve lost track of time,” Bashir teased. “You can always scratch little marks along the furniture legs, I suppose.” He took his order, placed it on the table, and sat at the chair. “Oh, and grow a long, long beard. Let your clothes get torn and worn. You know, the whole ‘forgotten prisoner’ routine.” He shook out his napkin and placed it on his lap.
“ ‘Let my clothes get worn and torn’? ” Garak raised an eye-ridge skeptically. “I think not. I am a prisoner, not a castaway.” He tried to hide the delight that was surging through his body. Really, he thought sardonically, I must get out more. He turned away from Bashir, afraid that the radiance was showing in his face, and placed an order for a Bajoran root salad with grilled harak and red-leaf tea. Collecting the order gave him time to collect himself, as well. He brought his meal to the table and settled himself on the couch, opposite Bashir. Unable to help himself, he asked, “Am I to understand, doctor, that you intend to continue our traditional Wednesday lunch together?”
“Of course,” Bashir mumbled around a mouthful of hasperat. He swallowed, wiped his lips, and said, somewhat more clearly, “Why ever not?”
Garak was nonplussed. For some reason, he had assumed that Bashir would not come to see him in his imprisonment. His friends would not approve. He could hear Kira’s voice saying, “Don’t bother, Julian. Let him rot.” And, after all, he hadn’t been exactly gracious to the doctor yesterday in the holding cell. Well, well. Perhaps he would not have to commit khastribar after all.
* * * *
Two days later, Garak was involved at the computer again. He had arisen at his usual time, engaged in an efficient exercise routine, taken care of his morning ablutions, and dressed and groomed with his typical care.
He had tried to read, “The Shadows at Dusk,” but found himself unable to concentrate sufficiently for such a complex work. Perhaps he would put off the great classics for another time, and try something… less challenging. The simple act of picking out a replacement also seemed to elude him today, however. With something approaching grumpiness, he turned instead to the computer.
He was amused to see that Odo had found and corrected the corrupted file at cell A, and left a short message in its place: “Very funny.” Aha. A small smile found its way to his face. Let’s see… he starting idly searching through security files. Where shall I go –next?
He was so engrossed in sniffing his way through encryptments that the door chime made him start. “Come in,” he said, turning around in his seat.
It was Bashir. “I hope you’re hungry,” he said, lifting up a bag. “Rakalean Kannish loaves. With yamok sauce. On the side,” he added quickly, looking at Garak’s face. “I know some people take theirs plain. I didn’t know your preference.” He tossed the slightly greasy bag on the low table in front of the couch. “And extra napkins.” Garak just stared at him. “What?” Bashir asked, innocently.
“Doctor,” said Garak slowly, rising from his chair. He felt as if he had opened a new book to a random page and was trying to get the sense of the thing. He was at a loss. All he could think of to say was, “This isn’t Wednesday.”
“Tarkalean tea, hot, extra sweet. Yes, I know what day it is, Garak.” He brought the steaming cup to the table. “Slow day today. Plus, the Klingon restaurant’s closed. I hear he flunked the health inspection. Twenty minute wait at the replimat, at least.”
“I thought you said it was a slow day.”
“That still doesn’t mean I want to spend twenty minutes on queue, then another ten trying to find somewhere to sit.” He drew out two large wrapped parcels from the bag and started unwrapping one. A savory aroma filled the room. He spread the paper, translucent in spots, out on the table, and took the top off the foot-long loaf. With great intensity, he poured yamok sauce over the other half in thin, little winding rivers. When he was satisfied, he returned the top and pressed down slightly. You could just see tears of dark red sauce appear at the sides.
Garak watched, fascinated. “Did – Did I invite you to lunch today, doctor?”
“Huh?” Bashir looked up, loaf poised at his mouth.
Garak could feel icy fingers clutching his gut. There could be only one reason the doctor was here.
“I don’t need your pity, Dr. Bashir,” he said with as much dignity as he could manage.
“Pity?” Bashir looked genuinely puzzled. “The pity would be to pass up a Kannish loaf. That vendor – the one opposite the florist’s, you know – he rarely has them. They’re very good.” He began his assault on the food.
As Garak continued to gaze at Bashir, he slowly felt the knot in his stomach loosen. He turned to the replicator to get a proper set of dishes and utensils. He turned back; Bashir was more than halfway finished with his loaf. A fleeting look of bemused tenderness passed over Garak’s face. As Bashir put down the Kannish, a drop of red sauce fell to the carpet. He glanced quickly at Garak. His host, setting the trappings of civilization on the table, pretended he hadn’t noticed. Bashir silently shifted his chair so that the leg covered the spot.
“I brought you something,” Bashir said, missing Garak’s exasperated expression that came and left in a pulse. He took out an isolinear rod and slapped it down on the table. “This one, I know you’ll like.” A look of triumph. “Dostoyevsky.”
* * * *
Garak’s days as a prisoner began to take on a routine. He did read (concentrating on Terran works), and not just the classics. He tried mysteries (obvious and pedantic), thrillers (not very) and war epics (simplistic and naive). He discovered a passing fondness for vampire tales and spent some time exploring erotica. A certain de Sade was intriguing. He stopped a while at Milton and one or two other poets that appealed to him. Ultimately, though, he found little to challenge him, and thought about giving up on human literature. To be fair to his study of Terran culture, he put the written word aside for the moment and browsed through a bit of fine arts, music, and dance, both contemporary and historic. Michelangelo’s David, at least, did not insult his intelligence…
He designed clothing. He designed poisons. He kept up with what little personal correspondence he had. He kept up with current affairs on Cardassia and Bajor. No, he didn’t just “keep up” – he read between the lines, analyzed, filled in the gaps with information very few would know. He found hidden connections. He discovered secret plans, several betrayals, veiled sabotage, even an assassination plot in the making. He did nothing about any of these; this was all strictly for entertainment. His mind was spinning, spinning, spinning. He was bored.
One day in a fit of pique, he over-rode the environmental controls to enjoy some heat and humidity, and decided to remain in his barata robe all day. Unexpectedly, Bashir stopped by. The visit was brief. Garak was unsure which of them had been more uncomfortable; he, as he kept trying to excuse himself to change, or Bashir, who kept politely assuring him that it was unnecessary. Bashir had seemed bizarrely interested in his legs and feet; whether that was from avoiding his eyes or from interest in a part of Cardassian anatomy which was rarely revealed, he did not know. It was, however, the last day that he adjusted the temperature or failed to dress.
Every day, he sabotaged another area of station security in a way that endangered nothing but grew more and more subtle and difficult to discern each time. He always left some calling card which was activated when discovered: a small piece of embarrassing video, a rude noise or a politely-worded but insulting message. Odo, without fail, found each incursion and left a brief response in Garak’s message file. Odo began threatening to extend Garak’s sentence with each security breach. Garak asked by how much. Odo’s first impulse was to say a month, but he hesitated, deciding that Garak might decide it was worth it; he was reluctant to have his bluff called. Finally, to save face, he issued his decree: Any deliberate security breach traced to Garak would result in the extension of his sentence by one day with each breach. Of course, at the rate he had established so far, with one breach per day, his sentence would never be over, Odo mused. Garak gleefully continued to play his game, and Odo, though he never would have admitted it, actually began to enjoy the challenge.
Bashir continued to visit for lunch twice or three times a week. With each visit, they would discuss his latest book recommendations – recently, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Machiavelli.
* * * *
- Current Mood:creative