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In the blink of an eye, Luther Sloan had vanished.

Sloan was right about one thing. The Federation needed men like Julian Bashir--men of conscience, men of principle, who could sleep at night. Bashir wasn’t sure he could get much sleep this night, knowing that he had played right into Section 31’s hands; that Sloan and Chairman Koval had so cleverly exploited his strong moral fiber. That such an intelligence organization, that mirrored the tactics of the Romulan Empire’s Tal Shiar or the Cardassian Union’s Obsidian Order, existed within the ranks of Starfleet was disturbing to Bashir. He was so obsessed with exposing it to the light of justice, he couldn’t see that they might have been playing him from the beginning. When he had concluded that Sloan intended to assassinate the chairman of the Tal Shiar, he assumed the responsibility of preventing it.

And in doing so, Senator Kimara Cretak had been arrested and charged with treason for having helped Bashir prevent the assassination. It was all a ploy to have Cretak removed from the Continuing Committee of the Romulan Senate and to allow a Federation informant to take her place. That informant was none other than Tal Shiar Chairman Koval. How did his genetically enhanced brain not see it? Maybe it was something Miles had reminded him of almost a year ago. Despite his greater intellect, he was still a human being--one who could still just as easily succumb to human frailties. That was of little consolation today, knowing of his role in meddling in Romulan political affairs.

Without giving much thought, he pushed the call button on his nightstand. “Bashir to Security.”

“Odo here.”

That didn’t sound like Odo. Bashir got a niggling sense that Sloan was faking Odo’s voice. How silly of me, he thought. Sloan and the rest of Section 31 are too good at alluding station security. “Never mind. My mistake.”

Section 31 had not stayed off the grid this long by being so obviously careless.



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