Garak hummed under his breath slightly as he tapped on the runabout's console causing Julian to glare in annoyance, "Could you please not do that?"
"Pardon me?" Garak asked, breaking the silence.
"Humming," Bashir cleared his throat, "It's rather annoying."
Garak arched a brow ridge, "Forgive me, doctor. I didn't mean to offend."
"I didn't say it was offensive," the younger man replied, "just that it was annoying."
Garak was silent for a moment as he studied the hard countenance of the other man, "Are you angry with me?"
"You haven't spoken a civil word to me since we left the station so I merely assumed you were angry with me for some reason."
Julian looked over at his companion, "I'm not angry, Garak. I am, however, in a hurry and although I realise it's not your fault, my having to drop you off at Bajor is..."
"Inconvenient." he finished.
"Yes," the younger man agreed, "I'm sorry if I was rude about it, however."
"I understand perfectly," Garak waved off the apology, "It's a rather...inconvenient situation for me as well."
"How so?" Bashir inquired as Garak got up and moved toward the end of the small cabin.
"Well, truth be told, I hadn't expected to be travelling with anyone today, although I suppose that was a bit fanciful a notion considering my position aboard the station."
"True," his companion agreed.
"Luckily, I also believe in always being prepared for any eventuality," he added cordially.
"We should be reaching Bajor in less than three minutes," Julian replied as he began to type in the co-ordinates for the transporter, "You might want to get your things together."
"That won't be necessary," Garak assured him as he returned to the front of the cabin.
"Why--ooohhh..." the dusky skinned man fell forward with the hiss of the hypospray at his neck.
"Because," Garak said, adjusting the now prone physician so that he lay back into the chair, "I don't believe I'll be going to Bajor after all."
He quickly sat back down and activated the transporter, ensuring that if someone decided to check the logs, his 'departure' would be duly noted.
On the planet's surface, the air shimmered slightly before again appearing normal. A passing Bajoran man saw this and huffed, "Damned tourists."
Sisko looked up from his paperwork to the chronometer on the wall. By now, Garak should have long since checked in. With a weary sigh, he tapped the console on his desk and almost instantly the face of a Bajoran man appeared onscreen.
"Good afternoon," Ben greeted, "I wish to inquire about one of your guests."
The man smiled engagingly, "Ah! Yes, Emissary. Mr Garak, I believe?"
Sisko nodded, "Has he checked in yet?"
"Oh, yes sir. Just a few hours ago in fact," the Bajoran cleared his throat a bit, "I suggested to him that perhaps he'd be more...comfortable in his quarters until later in the day. It can be quite hectic at this time and Mr Garak is a rather...unusual guest--wouldn't you agree?"
The dark skinned officer nodded politely in response, "Nevertheless, I would consider it a personal favour if you would overlook Mr Garak's unique status, and see to it that he is kept comfortable."
"Of course," the older gentlemen agreed soberly, "We, at the Hotel D'Sarma, are known for our discretion, Emissary."
"I appreciate that," he rejoined with a grateful smile, "Is there any way I could speak to Mr Garak?"
The man suddenly appeared contrite, "Forgive me, Emissary, but I'm afraid that won't be possible."
"Oh? And why is that?"
The man scratched his chin and appeared embarrassed, "The...wiring in this building is quite old. Unfortunately, the power to Mr Garak's suite has been going out intermittently since he arrived. In fact, I've been hearing complaints from several of the guests about..."
"That's quite all right," the officer interrupted, "Just tell Mr Garak that as soon as he's able to, I would appreciate it if he could report in."
"I will, Emissary. Good day."
Benjamin ended the transmission and folded his hands thoughtfully. Although he would have felt better having talked to the tailor himself, knowing that he was settling in did take at least one more worry off his overburdened mind.
Now if only things would continue to go so well...
Bashir awoke to the sound of someone singing off-key, and allowed his bleary eyes to focus on his surroundings. As he looked around he remembered what had happened: Garak had drugged him then, apparently, moved him into one of the small bunks at the end of the cabin. As to why he had done such a thing, he hadn't a clue.
Suppressing a moan due to the dull ache in his head, he reached for a phaser on the wall near the bunk and carefully made his way toward Garak.
The Cardassian froze as the barrel of the weapon was pressed against the sensitive skin of his broad neck.
"I take it our travel plans have changed," Bashir said in a raspy tone.
"Ah, good afternoon," Garak smiled carefully at his angry companion, "Did you enjoy your nap, doctor?"
"My nap?" Julian repeated incredulously, "You drugged me!"
"Yes, and I didn't do a very good job of it either," Garak appeared perturbed, "You were supposed to be out for another two hours. Really doctor, your genetically enhanced metabolism is most inconvenient."
The dark skin of the younger man grew even more flushed with agitation, "Am I supposed to apologise! Now what the hell is going on? Why are we heading out of Federation space?" he asked looking down at the flight display.
"If you must know..." Garak began.
"Oh, you're goddamn right I 'must' know!" he rejoined heatedly.
Garak sighed, "There's no need to lose your temper, doctor. We're on a rescue mission."
"Right." he snapped, "Turn this ship around now--as soon as we get within communications range, I'm reporting this to the captain."
“No need to be abusive,” Garak sighed, “I’m more than willing to leave poor Colonel Kira to the mercies of Dukat if you are…”
“What are you babbling about Garak?” Julian snapped.
Garak sniffed in disdain, “I think you had best reword that last statement, doctor. I do not babble.”
The Cardassian hid a smile as he watched a muscle in Bashir’s jaw work in silent fury before the young man finally got his emotions under control; “I…apologise. Now, what was this ‘mission’ about exactly and how does it relate to the Colonel?”
“Care to sit down?” Garak offered the seat beside him congenially.
Reluctantly, Bashir sat but not before cutting the engines.
Garak looked at him with no little annoyance, “You know, we are on a tight schedule.”
“Then you had best talk fast,” Bashir replied coolly.
Almost against his will, Garak gave the younger man a broad grin, “You know, despite having been born into a hopelessly optimistic Federation dogma, you have become almost Cardassian in your mannerisms. Well said, doctor.”
“I don’t take that as a compliment, Garak, and you are avoiding the issue.” Bashir snapped, not amused in the least by the other man’s verbal antics.
“Of course, a true Cardassian wouldn’t be nearly as ill mannered,” he muttered, “ For reasons unknown to me, the Colonel is on a personal quest to capture Gul Dukat. In this mission, she will undoubtedly be outgunned and most likely killed,” he looked at his companion candidly, “We are going to rescue her.”
For a moment Julian just absorbed the tailor’s statement, “Do you honestly expect me to believe a word of that story?”
“No,” Garak replied, “but for once, it is the total and complete truth, Doctor.”
“Somehow I doubt that,” Julian sat back in his chair and stared sightlessly at the carpet of stars ahead of them.
“Well, perhaps I have neglected one or two points of interest,” he admitted, “but then, full disclosure is hardly entertaining.”
“From you, Garak, full disclosure would not only be entertaining, but awe inspiring. How is it you came upon this information, exactly?”
“I have my methods, Doctor.” He stated cryptically.
“Not good enough,” Bashir gave him a hard look, “Why didn’t you bring this information to Sisko if you were so convinced Kira was in danger?”
Garak approached the question calmly; “Certain parties felt it would be of a greater benefit to all concerned if this mission was not handled through official channels.”
“Which parties would that be?” Julian appeared doubtful.
“That I cannot reveal at this time.” He said smoothly.
“Why should I believe a word of this?” Bashir questioned sarcastically.
“You shouldn’t,” Garak rejoined, “but while you sit there congratulating yourself on your Vulcan-like logic, your friend and fellow officer is most likely being tortured by a madman with a grudge.”
Julian hesitated for a brief moment before hitting the panel, allowing them to continue on their journey.
“Thank you, Doctor,” Garak replied checking their heading, “You won’t regret this decision.”
“Oh, I already do!” he stated coldly, “Make no mistake, Garak---I’m watching every move you make and whether or not you are telling the truth, there will be consequences to your misappropriation of a Starfleet vessel and unprovoked attack on an officer.”
Garak merely gave him an enigmatic smile and continued on in silence.
~ * ~
Several hours later they arrived at the small privately owned moon known only as K2-5. Anonymity was apparently more important to the xenophobic rich patrons of this particular sector than poetry. The trip had been spent silently if not companionably, so Garak had at least been able to plan their ‘mission’ in peace.
“You’re not just going to land on the moon’s surface, are you?” Bashir remarked a bit patronisingly, breaking his sulk at last. At least, that’s what Garak had been mentally calling it since their last argument.
“That’s exactly what I plan on doing,” Garak replied as he piloted them into the atmosphere.
“I thought the point of this little excursion was to save the Colonel, not get captured ourselves,” Julian scowled.
“I assure you, I have researched this mission thoroughly and performed scans of the surface. The only security sensors I detected are in the compound itself. The possibility of our being detected is low at best.”
Julian appeared doubtful as he braced for the small bump caused by the landing, “I hardly think that Dukat, mad though he may be, would be so negligent as to ignore the possibility that he may have been followed.”
Garak arose with a long suffering sigh and led the way out of the runabout, “And I assure you, doctor, that I know Dukat far better than yourself and we have not been…”
Both men looked at the small group of conservatively dressed gentlemen who were now pointing disrupters at their heads.
“You were saying?” Julian asked
dryly as he raised his arms in surrender.
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