One Terran year later
The Federation's universe
Deep Space Nine
Quark's Bar, Grill, Gaming House and Holosuite Arcade
To say that the young woman in military dress was gawking at the sights around her would be an understatement.
Never had she stepped on an alien ship, nor had she seen aliens in the flesh. The Star Wars movies she saw in her youth barely prepared her for this assignment.
The woman was so transfixed by the aliens around her, at the bar and gaming tables, that her determination not to embarrass herself or her country fell by the wayside.
She wasn't so transfixed, however, as to not notice the short, big-eared alien walking towards her from the side.
"Welcome, welcome!" the alien said as he spread his arms out. "I'm very glad you've decided to visit my establishment! The first drink's on the house, and by your uniform, you qualify for the ten percent military discount."
"Excuse me--oh, my goodness, I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what, Miss? The name's Quark, by the way." Quark reached out his hand for her to shake, which she did.
"Petty Officer Miranda Collins, United States Navy," she answered. "I mean, I'm sorry for standing here embarrassing you like an out of place tourist--"
"Nonsense!" Quark said, gesturing around him. "You're not the first 'tourist' I've had here and everyone who visits Quark's ALWAYS comes away having had a good time. Now...may I interest you in a good meal, or perhaps a hot cup of rakatjino? Or would you like to try your hand at one of the Dabo tables?"
Petty Officer Collins suddenly remembered the long, five-hour meeting where hundreds of items were discussed regarding the visit, the station, and the locals. She had forgotten most of them, especially due to the presenter's sleep-inducing monotone delivery.
The warning about the bar wasn't one of them. It snapped back to her, especially about its host being a shady character willing to do anything to make a buck.
She tightened her grip on her purse without noticing it.
"I, I'm not sure--"
Collins didn't get to finish her sentence, shutting up as a tall humanoid man suddenly appeared by her and Quark's side.
"Quark was about to tell you that, 'whatever you choose, you'll get a fair deal'. Right, Quark?" said the alien in the brown one-piece suit. "I'm Odo, Chief of Security, by the way."
"I'm Petty Officer--"
"Petty Officer Miranda Collins, from Terra, on the other side of the Multiversal Wormhole," interjected Quark. "She's from, uh, from--where did you say you were from? Russia?"
"America," she said, smiling politely but annoyed by the incorrect reference.
"You're part of the delegation from the United States," Odo said.
"Yes. I'm with Admiral Kelley. As I'm sure you both know, we're part of Ambassador Stewart's party."
"Here on behalf of the Federation and the provisional Bajoran government," Odo replied. "The United States of America is one of several nation-states from Terra which the Federation has established formal relations with."
"I heard that the ambassador's here to look at his new embassy on Bajor," Quark interjected, "and the admiral is here to look at the station. If you see him, Miss Collins, please tell him Quark's is here to tend to his EVERY need."
Collins frowned at the Ferengi's cagey-looking smile.
"Thank you both, but I, um, must be on my way," she said with a nod, heading down the corridor past the bar.
Quark called to her a couple of times, then Odo grabbed the Ferengi by the arm. "YOU are to keep your nose clean at all times ESPECIALLY while the Terrans are on board," the Changeling said with a growl. "Have I made myself clear?"
"Are you going to keep harassing me, Odo?" Quark protested. "I'm as interested in the welfare of our visitors as you are."
"Your only interest is in whatever profit you can gain from these people...HOWEVER you can get it."
"If you're accusing me of running a business that gives the customer what they want AND happens to make a good profit, I'm guilty. In fact, Constable, I'm rather offended by your insinuation."
"You mean my justifiable suspicions of business practices you've engaged in since the day you stepped foot on this station. If Sisko--"
Both Odo and Quark, along with most others in the Promenade, turned at the sound of a shriek coming from above. They noticed a Dabo girl, hand over her mouth, screaming her head off.
Odo called for backup and ran up the stairs, two levels to the upper deck. The Dabo girl stood in the doorway of one of the holosuites operated by Quark, frightened by whatever she was seeing, her hands over her mouth. The few bystanders nearby were ignoring her and gaping at what was inside.
"Miss. Miss. MISS!" Odo shouted after he gently and firmly grabbed the girl's biceps, stepping in front of her in an attempt to calm her. "I need you to calm down immediately!"
She only saw Odo, who blocked whatever was inside the holosuite from her view. That was enough for her to stop her shrieking. Odo gestured to a security officer. "This woman is going to stay with you," he said to the panicked girl as the officer ran up to them. "I need you to remain calm. I'll likely need to speak with you, and," he said to the others in the vicinity, "with the rest of you as well."
Two security officers remained outside as Odo went into the holosuite which, since it was not in use, had reverted to its default sparse state. He had walked through the doorway just a few meters inside when he saw the sight that caused the girl to scream in horror.
Admiral Kelley lay dead on the floor, blood pooling underneath his head. His uniform jacket lay several meters away from his body, his cap further back near the rear wall.
Odo decided to begin his investigation by looking over the body. He squatted, noting the small hole in the admiral's forehead. Odo began reviewing the various types of Bajoran and Cardassian weapons which fired physical projectiles as he looked closely at the wound.
"Constable! Don't touch the body!" Odo turned and saw Dr. Julian Bashir, a Starfleet lieutenant and the station's chief medical officer, walking through the doorway. "Not without these."
Bashir handed him a pair of clear gloves. "You'll need these, Constable. I do hope you haven't touched the body."
"Doctor, I defer to your expertise in medical matters. It's only fair you defer to mine in criminal ones."
Odo handed the gloves back to Bashir. "This is both a medical AND a criminal matter," he replied, handing the gloves back to Odo. "And a legal one."
"Legal?" Odo asked skeptically.
"Not that I'm a attorney," Bashir said as he ran his tricorder over the body, "but if, and when, a Terran citizen is killed on a Starfleet installation, matters are handled a little differently--don't touch!"
Odo gave Bashir a stern look when the doctor suddenly grabbed his wrist. "Doctor, even I am aware of basic investigative procedures. I AM chief of security, after all," he said with a hint of sarcasm.
"Forgive me, Constable...it's just, because of who this man is and where he's from, I have to make certain to follow regulations."
"I don't believe that will be a problem for either of us, Doctor. The Terrans won't have to worry about us being lax in our duties."
Bashir ran his tricorder over the admiral's chest. "Readings indicate nothing out of the ordinary...besides the fact that he's dead and obviously died of a head wound. You said the Terrans."
"As you know, unlike Bajor and every other planet in this dimension, Terra is not under a single government. There's the United States -- where our dead admiral is from -- the Soviet Union, the British Commonwealth, France, Spain, Brazil, the Ottomans--"
"Your point, doctor?"
"Each nation-state has its own procedures one has to be aware of. In the case of an American officer, one of them involves the wearing of gloves at a crime scene."
"As not to contaminate the body IF you must touch it," Odo replied. "As a changeling, I don't have fingerprints to contaminate the body."
"Perhaps not, but the principle still applies," Bashir said. "When you're finished with the body, I'll take it--"
"You won't take it anywhere, Doctor...not yet," said an older, balding man wearing a Terran business suit.
"Ambassador Stewart," Odo said to the man who stood just outside the doorway. "We are sorry for your loss."
"Thank you, and yes, I realize you both are more than capable of handing any investigation," Stewart said in his distinct New English accent. "But I insist you pause it for the time being."
"Excuse us?" Bashir said. "We've just begun."
Stewart turned to look at the person he sensed had just walked up to him in the corridor.
Sisko paused and acknowledged Stewart with a glance, then walked past the ambassador into the holosuite and began looking at the body. Odo explained to Sisko how the admiral had been found and repeated the apparent cause of death.
"My security chief and chief doctor are VERY competent at their jobs," Sisko said after he turned towards the ambassador, who had just walked inside the room. "And, I assure you--"
"They're both capable of finding out how Admiral Kelley died, as would be any of your other personnel," Stewart interjected. "As the ranking member of my country's delegation, and its representative to Bajor and your Federation, I'm invoking Article 234."
Odo and Bashir looked at Stewart in confusion. Sisko recognized the reference immediately.
"Article 234 is a small and pertinent portion of the Federation's agreement with the United States of America," the commander said. "Ambassador, I want to remind you that any murder committed on this station is under the jurisdiction of Bajor and the Federation."
"Commander, I'm sure your people are more than capable of conducting this investigation," Stewart said. "But because this man is -- was -- a United States Naval officer, I insist that American investigators be allowed to participate."
"Participate," Sisko said. "So you're not requesting that your people take over the investigation. Because that isn't happening on MY station."
"Of course not, Commander. Article 234 allows for joint investigations, and I already have those investigators in mind. It won't take more than eight Terran hours for them to arrive, if I get transportation through the wormhole immediately to speak to their superiors."
Sisko looked at Odo and Bashir. "Looks like you two are going to have some company," Sisko said. "Constable, in accordance with Article 234, do NOT move the body until these investigators arrive."
"But Commander, the body will begin to decompose," Bashir said, "and the smell will spread into the corridor."
"Then I suggest you put it in stasis -- here -- and make sure the door's shut," Sisko said. "Ambassador, come with me. We'll take the Rio Grande through the wormhole."