“Try hailing them again.” The Chief said from the command seat.
“I’ve been hailing them for an hour.” Nog complained.
“Then we’ll keep hailing them for another hour or until they..”
//This is Abermarle, come in Rio Grande.//
“Julian?” O’Brien sat up straight. “What is your position?”
“We’ve just cleared K-25’s atmosphere now.” He said gruffly. “Care to pick us up?”
“Hold on, we’ll be there in…” He glanced over toward Nog.
“Approximately 10 minutes, sir.”
“Ten minutes.” O’Brien said with a huge grin.
//We’ll be looking forward to it.//
“Are Kira and Garak with you?”
Julian looked over at his companions. Garak was sitting at the controls, as Kira lay on the cot unconscious.
“Yes. We’ll need to be beamed up for medical attention.” Julian said, “We…took a few bumps along the way.”
//I’ll just bet you did. Hang tight, O’Brien out.//
Julian gave Garak a troubled glance. “The captain…he’ll expect a full report when we…”
“Nothing happened, doctor.” Garak replied gruffly.
“Nothing happened.” Garak repeated. “We were tortured but that was all. Dukat was killed during our escape.”
“Garak, I’m going to resign my commission when we get back.” He shook his head. “My career pretty much ended after I told the truth about my genetic enhancement anyway, but with the criminal charges they’ll expect…”
“I will deny anything ever occurred.” Garak’s eyes never wavered from the viewscreen, but Julian knew his expression was probably as rigid as his posture.
“A crime was committed by me, Garak. I won’t ask you to lie about it.”
Garak finally turned to the younger man, his eyes determined. “I’m not doing it for you, doctor. I’m doing it for myself.”
Confused, Julian asked, “How is protecting me going to help you?”
“I’d rather we just dropped this subject.” He responded stiffly. “The Rio Grande is going to be transporting us up in a few minutes so I suggest you make sure the Colonel is secure.”
Reluctantly, Julian got up and walked to the back of the compartment. Garak’s eyes followed his reflection before glancing back down to the controls. He then adjusted their heading toward the ship hailing them.
It was the last conversation they’d have for a very long time.
Julian sat at the table in silence. For nearly a week he’d suffered as a reluctant, patient in his own infirmary until his intern had pronounced him fit for duty again. Garak’s wounds were a bit more severe so he remained a few more days but on the many occasions that Julian had attempted to join him at his bedside for a game of chess or lunch, Garak had sent him away. In fact, the only time Julian had ever been able to come near Garak’s bed was when he had been medicated into a deep sleep. Julian had taken the opportunity to glance at Garak’s chart where he noticed no mention of sexual assault. The doctor who had taken care of Garak had walked in and calmly asked for the chart back saying that as long as Bashir was a patient he didn’t need to be working.
Julian had seen the man’s eyes though and knew that he had kept whatever he’d found out of the chart on purpose. The doctor, a Bajoran, had looked at Julian as though he were a monster despite his pleasant smile. Imagine that, a Bajoran protective over a Cardassian patient.
Julian hadn’t attempted to approach Garak since.
“I still don’t understand why you would just run off like that.” Ezri said. “It wasn’t exactly the wisest course of action, Nerys.”
“Tell me about it.” The Bajoran woman shook her head.
Odo gave her hand a squeeze, “It was family, you had to go.”
“I wasn’t even aware you had a brother.” O’Brien said as he took another swallow of beer.
Kira sighed, “Neither was I until about six months ago. I had been doing some digging around in the old Cardassian data banks for anything on my mother I could find. She…she did what she had to do to keep us all safe—it took me a long time to accept that. I thought that if I could learn more about her life after she became Dukat’s mistress that maybe I would get some sort of peace of mind.”
“Closure.” Ezri injected.
“Maybe.” Kira looked down at her glass. “When I found out she had a son by Dukat, well, at first I was angry. I mean, the idea that she could bear that man’s child…” she shook her head, “but then I realised that it wasn’t the baby’s fault who it’s parents were. Ziyal hadn’t asked to be Dukat’s daughter, so why should M’yal suffer for it? I decided to track him down but all I found were dead ends. Every person I contacted said that the baby had been stillborn but there wasn’t a death certificate or any burial records. When I saw his name on that flight plan, I knew it wasn’t him. I knew it was Dukat, but if he was escaping, then all my hopes of ever finding my half-brother went with him. I had to go."
“What you should have done is gone to the captain.” Nog said patronisingly and everyone glared, “What did I say?”
Worf looked at the young Ferengi impatiently. “The colonel was attempting to uphold her family honour. She could not go to outsiders while on so personal a quest.” He nodded in her direction. “I would have done the same in her place.”
“Thanks Worf.” She said with a wry grin.
“Of course, I would have been better prepared.” He added.
“Again; thanks Worf.” She repeated a bit more sarcastically.
“So how did Garak find out about it?” Ezri asked, redirecting everyone’s attention.
Odo cleared his throat. “He claims that one of his informants in the Orion Syndicate contacted him and said that the colonel was being held prisoner on a remote moon by Gul Dukat.”
“So, why didn’t he go to the captain then?” This time O’Brien asked.
“He said that his informant claimed Dukat still had someone aboard the station feeding him information and if he went to any of the staff with it, Dukat would know.” Kira explained.
“At least, that’s what he says happened.” Odo replied with a scowl. “Personally, I think he’s still hiding something.”
“You always think he’s hiding something.” Ezri chuckled.
“That’s because he always is.” Nog answered for him.
“True.” Odo nodded in the direction of the ensign approvingly. “In order to save Nerys and not risk tipping off Dukat’s informant, Garak devised a plan in which Morn would take his place on Bajor while he and Doctor Bashir went to K-25 in secret.”
“So, Julian was in on it the whole time?” Ezri’s eyebrows shot up in disbelief as she turned to the man in question.
“No.” Julian snorted.
“Tell us then, how much of that story is the truth and how much is a lie.” O’Brien elbowed him jovially.
“Yeah.” Nog piped up, “Does Garak really have an informant in the Mob?”
Julian sat in contemplative silence as all their eyes turned to him for confirmation. For the first time, Julian truly understood how Garak had felt as the naive young officer he had once been questioned him incessantly about his mysterious exploits all those years ago. Garak had not quite lied, nor had he told the truth and they had filled in the rest. Garak had told him that he had been telling him the truth for years and that all Julian had to do was listen. He was right.
“It’s all true, Chief.” He said rising from his chair. “Especially the lies.”
As they all watched him leave, O’Brien shook his head. “Now where do you suppose he’s going?”
Julian knocked on the door insistently, “Open up, Garak!”
Garak opened the panel and stood at the entrance, his hands buried within the folds of his dark grey robe. “Doctor, I’m very tired and it’s late…”
Julian strode determinedly into his quarters. “I’m not leaving until I talk to you.”
Garak closed the door and followed him into the room with an irritated expression. “And to what do I owe this rather unexpected…”
“Why wouldn’t you talk to me?” Julian asked, cutting him off.
“I don’t know what you mean.” Garak replied as he walked up to the replicator. “Tea?”
“No. I don’t want tea, I don’t want mild conversation.” He walked over to him and stood so that the tailor had to look him in the eye. “I want to know why you have been avoiding me.”
“I felt it would be best if we avoided contact for a while, that’s all.” Garak said sipping at the hot beverage.
Julian’s voice dropped as he moved slightly closer to the Cardassian. “If having me aboard this station causes you distress then just tell me. I can get a transfer or I’ll resign like I offered to do in the first place.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” The Cardassian burst out with a sharp laugh as he moved away from him and sat on the couch.
Julian followed him and placed his hands on the back of the cushions. “Then what is it you want me to do? I’ve tried to make amends the best I know how…”
“Julian…” Garak began.
“Julian?” The doctor asked in surprise. “You’ve never called me by my first name before.”
“I’m sorry doctor, I meant no offence.” Garak apologised.
“No.” Julian moved to the front of the couch and sat down. “I want you to call me by my first name.” He gave a dry chuckle, “I think, considering all that we’ve gone through that it’s more than appropriate, don’t you?”
“Julian, then.” Garak nodded in agreement. “I told you before that there was nothing to forgive. I told you to do it and if our situations had been reversed I can assure you I would have done the same.”
Julian winced but continued onward. “If that’s true then why have you pushed me away like this? You wouldn’t even say more than a few words to me when we were in the infirmary.”
“I thought it would be best if we avoided talking about it in front of prying eyes.” Garak looked at him. “In fact, I didn’t want to discuss it anywhere, public or private truth be told.”
“What’s the sense in it?” Garak shrugged. “It’s done. Dukat’s dead and Colonel Kira remembers nothing due to her drugged state. It never happened.”
Garak got up from the couch to refill his cup leaving Julian alone with his thoughts. For a moment, Julian considered just walking out and letting the subject drop forever. It was, after all, what Garak said he wanted. Unfortunately, Julian had never been good at letting sleeping dogs lie.
“Your eyes were open.”
“What?” Garak asked.
Julian’s expression was determined. “You told me that if I closed my eyes and just gave into the moment, that I could leave and pretend it had never happened. You kept your eyes opened though, why?”
Garak didn’t answer as he sipped at the hot liquid; his back turned so that Julian could not see his face.
“I need to know.” Julian said. “Was it real for you or not?”
They had reached a crossroads Julian realised. Whatever Garak said in the next few moments would determine their future, no matter what that future may be.
“What do you know of the Cardassian culture, Julian?” Garak asked.
“Only what you’ve told me.” He replied confused.
“On Cardassia, relationships between members of the same sex are considered…taboo.”
“It’s like that on Earth, too.” Julian replied. “It’s gotten better, but there is still a lot of behind closed doors prejudice, especially in the military.”
“On my world, it’s not behind closed doors.” Garak chuckled. “It’s very openly disapproved of. In fact, in some providence’s it’s still a punishable offence.”
“What are you telling me Garak?” Julian asked walking toward him. “that you don’t want to acknowledge it because you might return to Cardassia some day?”
“I doubt that will ever happen.” Garak shook his head and faced him once more. “Actually, I was thinking of you and your career.”
“I told you, I’m not really all that worried about my career.” Julian shrugged.
“I don’t believe you.” Garak snorted. “You can’t lie, doctor. You never could.”
“It’s Julian, remember?” He said quietly.
“Julian.” Garak nodded, “Old habits…I’m a Cardassian, Julian. For better or for worse, I am the product of thousands of years of my people’s beliefs and customs.”
“I’m not…following you.” Julian shook his head as he came tentatively closer to him, his eyes tracing the shape of his friend’s face in the low light.
“I like to keep some secrets.” Garak finally admitted. “There are some things that I don’t want anyone to know. Call it pride or stubbornness, but it’s the way I am.”
Unable to prevent himself, Julian smiled crookedly. “I hate to tell you this Garak, but I’m fairly certain that everyone knows which way your ‘interests’ run.”
“There’s a big difference between knowing and merely suspecting you know.” Garak’s smile matched his own. “I trust you will keep my ‘secret’ safe.”
Julian nodded solemnly, “You have my word.”
Garak walked toward the entrance and hit the panel so that the doors slid open. “With that said, I think it’s best we bid one another goodnight.”
Reluctantly, Julian headed out the door. Just as they started to slide shut though, he stopped them with his hand. “I don’t want to lose your friendship, Garak. I’ve…gotten used to having you around.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Garak smiled sadly, “I’ve grown used to you as well.” He pulled out a small PADD from the pocket of his robe. “It’s from Earth.”
“Shakespeare?” Julian asked hopefully.
“Gods no!” Garak scoffed. “A new author—Sofia something I believe. Her writing is almost Cardassian.”
Julian lowered his eyes in amusement. “Maybe we should have lunch together and discuss it sometime.”
“I’d like that.” Garak agreed
softly. With a nod of farewell, Julian removed his foot allowing the doors
to shut then walked down the corridor toward his own rooms.
Damar handed the seated woman the small package of artefacts reluctantly. “From what I understand, his death was swift and nearly painless.”
Sha’al Dukat looked at her husband’s former associate coldly. “That will be a comfort to his children I’m sure. What of the people who murdered him? Will they be punished for this crime or not?”
“Colonel Kira escaped with two others and is in enclosed in the Federation stronghold, I’m afraid.” He looked up with a determined expression. “I swear to you, after the war is won and we once again control Bajor and Terok Nor, Kira will be brought to justice…”
“I’m sure you’ll see to it.” The woman said dismissively.
Damar cleared his throat nervously. “I suppose I’d best be going. I have several meetings scheduled for today, you know.”
“I’m sure you do.”
Damar clasped her hand and kissed it briefly. “Again, Lady Dukat, the sympathy of the Cardassian people are with you and your family this day.”
Damar walked out of the room in long fast paced strides waiting until he had crossed the threshold to mutter, “Cold bitch.”
Sha’al looked at the small package in her arms sadly before laying it beside her on the sofa. “Send my son in please.”
The servant at the door nodded and opened the door revealing a handsome young Cardassian man in his mid twenties, his features very like Dukat’s, only slightly less defined but still striking. “Mother…”
The woman in the ivory satin gown opened her arms and the man came to her, holding her close. “Mother, I’m so sorry.”
She kissed his temples and smiled into his deep green eyes fondly. “Your father…M’yal, your father was a most difficult man to live with but I will still miss him.”
M’yal nodded silently.
“You are not the son of my body,” she said stroking his face, “but you are the son of my heart and your father’s heir. When we adopted you, we agreed you would have the rights a true son of the house of Kat would be entitled to.”
“But what about Letka?” He asked hesitantly.
“He’s too young, besides you are already well on your way to becoming as good if not a better politician than your father.” She held his chin between her slender fingers, “Legate Kez has said he will arrange a marriage between our two houses and allow you to take over the seat Dukat held prior to his…illness.”
The young man maintained his silence as she went on, “When I was pregnant with your sister, your father brought you to me saying that you were the son of a soldier who had saved his life.” She smoothed his hair and smiled. “A madwoman—a Bajoran prostitute who fancied herself an assassin attempted to kill your father while he was serving on Terok Nor. When she came at him with a poisoned blade, this brave soldier ran to protect him and wound up being killed in the process. Before he died, Dukat swore he would see to it that his children would be cared for as though they were his own. Your mother, a good woman of an honourable if poor house had died in childbirth and he took you to me to raise. I have loved you from that day to this one and always shall.”
The young man kissed her cheek as a tear escaped his eye. “I love you to mother.”
“I want you to be all that your fathers—both of them—wished you would be.” She dried his eyes with her sleeve. “You are the hope of this family, M’yal.”
“I won’t fail you.” He swore.
“Don’t repeat Dukat’s mistakes.” She warned. “The war isn’t going well. I suspect that we will lose, especially with a drunk and a whoremonger like Damar running things. When the Federation wins, they will seek to make peace with us. They will look toward someone young and of a good name to take over the leadership of our world. Someone agreeable to their philosophy.” Her face hardened as she looked upon him gravely. “Use their weakness to destroy them. Become this man they will seek and crush those who tried to destroy your father.”
“I will do as you ask.” M’yal smiled and his Sha’al had to stop herself from commenting on the amazing resemblance he bore to her dead husband. She knew he was Dukat’s bastard and not the offspring of some noble soldier in the field. Even so, it was she had raised him and moulded him into manhood and he would succeed where her husband had failed. He was to be the instrument of her revenge against their enemies.
He kissed her palm lovingly. “First I will rise to power here on Cardassia and then within this ‘Federation’.” He smiled coldly, “And them Colonel Kira and her friends will die for what they have done.”
“You are your father’s son.”
This whole thing started as a gift to Sophie Masse who required the following elements be present in the storyline: NC-17, bdsm, anal, whipping, bondage, dildos, seven gates of hell, leather fetish, shoe fetish, and that it had to be a G/B, K/D, B/D, G/D, or G/K. I think I succeeded at least a little in producing all of those things. In addition, I threw in a previously mentioned character from Duarto’s House of Hair (guess where) and a surprise character death. And to think, it only took me 78 pages to do it all.
How did I do?
Back to the Table of Contents | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five