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ACT TWO

1. INT. QUARKS

Bashir ENTERS. He’s just exited Sisko’s office and In The Pale Moonlight Act 3.3. In his hand is a PADD - an order, in writing, that he can do little about. The Doctor throws his order onto the table. O’Brien glances at it getting as far as the first line-

O’BRIEN: (incredulous) Eighty-five litres of bio-memetic gel?

Bashir is so angry he doesn’t trust himself to speak. O’Brien scans the rest of the order.

O’BRIEN: To go where?

BASHIR: Cargo Bay Three.

O’BRIEN: And after that?

The Doctor doesn’t have an answer.

O’BRIEN: Eighty-five litres though. And Sisko didn’t tell you what it was for?

BASHIR: No.

Both men know the most likely use of that amount of gel: biogenic weapons. Mass destruction on a planetary scale.

O’BRIEN: The war has been going badly but I can’t believe Starfleet are considering…

The Chief checks the PADD again.

O’BRIEN: Top priority transport. That’s…fast. Very fast.

Bashir is only half listening. O’Brien sees his expression and the danger brewing.

O’BRIEN: (wary) Julian…

If it was anyone else signature on the order, Bashir would be in Sisko’s office right now - raising hell and asking his Captain how he gets out of this. Not an option, not this time.

BASHIR: It’s Sisko. Sisko. He’s a good man. He wouldn’t…

Bashir hesitates - torn between his principles and his loyalty to Sisko. He would die for both. Someone needs to make this choice for him. O’Brien has seen indecision in young officers before. With efficiency, almost as if unpacking a rifle, he sets up two more drinks--

O’BRIEN: It’s an order. We’re in uniform. We follow orders. That’s the way it is. ‘Theirs not to reason why…’

- and in the same continuous movement reaches over and takes Bashir’s combadge off his chest.

BASHIR: What are-?

O’Brien does the same with his own badge--

O’BRIEN: “Theirs is but to do…”

- and places both on the table. They’re off the record.

O’Brien and Bashir share a moment. It’s not a mutiny, not yet. But it is an understanding: whatever Sisko and Starfleet are up to, it’s feels wrong. To both of them. Bashir's words spill out.

BASHIR: That amount… (hushed by O’Brien)…that amount, that fast it has to be for biogenic weapons. Or else organic explosives. It has to be. If it was for medical replication then why risk transporting so much at once? It’s taken me five years of small consignments to stockpile that amount.

(Making up his mind) I can’t release it. I just can’t. Not without knowing where Sisko is sending it.

Maybe Bashir would have reached the same decision if O’Brien hadn’t been there. Then again maybe not. As The Doctor talks, O’Brien reacts to a sound. On the table the small, strange coin is shuddering. The Chief watches as it builds to propel itself up again…

BASHIR: Refined down it would kill an entire world in a matter of hours. Leave it uninhabitable for centuries-

… managing it the second Sisko ENTERS accompanied by GARAK and a nervous TOLAR.

Bashir falls silent as we watch the trio cross the bar toward the holosuite. Once they’ve entered, both men watch the suspended coin teeter and fall. Tails. Bashir reacts.

BASHIR: That’s remarkable.

The Chief is on his feet. He downs his drink, picks up his combadge and the coin and is on the move. Bashir follows.

BASHIR: Where are you going?

O’BRIEN: To find out what Sisko is up to.

BASHIR: Miles, wait. Miles…

They’re moving out of the bar and we…

CUT TO:

2. INT. CORRIDOR, DIRECTLY ABOVE THE HOLOSUITES

O’Brien is unfastening a panel from the wall.

O’BRIEN: This access tube runs right above the holosuites. You can look down into all of them from- oh Bollocks!

Behind the Starfleet grey panel… is another panel. This one is brightly painted and (more to the point) sealed with an elaborate lock. O’Brien inspects the contraption which whirs and flashes.

O’BRIEN: (frustrated) A Rom security special.

He reaches to get a wrench from his toolbox…

O’BRIEN: This is going to take a while to get through-

… turning back just as Bashir finishes picking the lock. It trills and the second panel slides opens. Bashir crouches and makes to clamber in.

O’BRIEN: Julian!

BASHIR: What?

O’BRIEN: How did you do that?

BASHIR: It’s not complicated.

O’BRIEN: The hell it isn’t!

Bashir takes a moment to digest this.

BASHIR: Must be to do with my genetic engineering.

O’BRIEN: Your what?

BASHIR: My genetic engineering. You know, all my superhuman abilities.

O’BRIEN: You’re genetically engineered?

BASHIR: Yes.

A pause.

O’BRIEN: You never mentioned it before.

BASHIR: Didn’t I?

O’BRIEN: No!

BASHIR: Oh. (Considers this) I’m not sure I knew before.

Bashir slides into the Jeffries Tube and pads away into the dark. O’Brien shakes his head in disbelief. Then follows his friend down the rabbit hole.

INT. JEFFRIES TUBE, DIRECTLY ABOVE THE HOLOSUITES
At the sound of muffled voices below, Bashir stops crawling. Very carefully, very quietly he lifts out a floor hatch to peer down on the frozen scene of a DOMINION MEETING ROOM. A graphic of Romulus fills the wall with the planet surrounded by ships.

The holograms of WEYOUN, DAMAR and two nameless Cardassian Legates are paused around the conference table. The real Sisko, Garak and Tolar move around them; already midway through ‘In The Pale Moonlight Act 3.4.

GARAK: (To Sisko) That’s all the new material. The rest of the program plays out just as you saw before.

He gestures to Tolar, who moves to a control panel. With a flick of a switch the Dominion Room vanishes, leaving behind an empty holosuite. From above Bashir watches Tolar hands Garak a unique looking DATA-ROD.

BASHIR: (Quiet) Curiouser and curiouser…

O’BRIEN: What is?

O’Brien has caught up with Bashir. He stretches, trying to see the action below. It’s cramped in the tube: not room for both of them.

SISKO: (O.S) It’s better. They seem more real.

GARAK: (O.S) All I had to do was add a little petty bickering and mutual loathing.

O’Brien puts his elbow - and most of his weight – on Bashir’s leg. The Doctor stifles a yell.

BASHIR: (hissed) Get off, you big lump-

O’BRIEN: Julian, for God’s sake-

BASHIR: Ow!

O’BRIEN: Would you get your leg out of my face?

BASHIR: You’re in the way-

O’BRIEN: I can’t see what -

SLAM. The noise stops O’Brien and Bashir struggling with each other for space and they look below. Sisko has Tolar pinned against the wall. The Captain’s new position gives a clear view of his face. Sisko’s eyes are burning with ferocity behind a set of round, gold framed glasses.

The two men watch with fascination as Sisko slowly relaxes his grip on the trembling alien and steps away. Released, Tolar slinks and exits.

4. INT. HOLOSUITE – CONTINUOUS

Garak smiles at Sisko pleasantly.

GARAK: Felt good, didn't it?

Sisko…or perhaps Benny… looks at him, taken off guard by the question.

GARAK: That moment of pure brute force. Must have been a… refreshing change of pace.

There may be an element of truth in what he is saying. But what Benny can't believe is the way Garak keeps poking and prodding at his psyche. Garak is getting too clever…too clever by half. He begins to smile at the absurdity of it all.

BENNY: Mister Garak. Why is it that no one has killed you yet?

This is not idle pondering. This is unmistakably a threat: a Shakespearean King who is growing tired of his Fool. Garak falters a little before recovering.

GARAK: My innate charm?

The Captain laughs. Reprieved, relieved - Garak manages a smile back.

KIRA'S COM VOICE: Ops to Captain Sisko.

SISKO: Go ahead.

KIRA'S COM VOICE: We've just received the coded Sub-space signal you were waiting for. Should I reply?

5. INT. JEFFRIES TUBE, DIRECTLY ABOVE THE HOLOSUITE - CONTINUOUS

Bashir and O’Brien listen in.

SISKO: (O.S) No reply, major. Sisko out. (To Garak) Senator Vreenak’s here.

BASHIR: (hushed) Vreenak!

O’BRIEN: You know him?

BASHIR: Of him. Secretary of the Romulan War Council. (starting to put pieces together) The man who negotiate the non- aggression pact with the Dominion…

6.) INT HOLOSUITE – CONTINUOUS

Sisko is at the point of no return. Vreenak’s arrived: the plot is in motion. He’s going to take a moment before he leaps. He closes his eyes, rests his head on the wall. Momentarily, despite his 24th Century surroundings and the uniform is undeniably Benny Russell.

BENNY: (To himself) This has to work, this fiction. They have to believe it. They have to act, come in on our side. Join the struggle. I have to make them believe… that it could be the truth. This has to work. Otherwise…

Sisko is back. He flexes his hand in and out of a fist.

SISKO: (pause) It did feel good.

Garak has moved into position behind him. He offers the data-rod. Sisko takes it.

GARAK: While you're entertaining the Senator in the wardroom, I'll take the opportunity to make a quick search of his ship's database.

SISKO: For what?

The Cardassian gives the Captain his patented infuriating half-smile.

GARAK: Information.

SISKO: Just make sure you don't get caught.

Sisko exits. It’s the end of In The Pale Moonlight Act 3.4. At least it is for Garak. The action’s moved elsewhere. He waits a moment then addresses the “empty” Holosuite.

GARAK: Could you hear alright?

7. INT. JEFFRIES TUBE, DIRECTLY ABOVE A HOLOSUITE - CONTINUOUS

In their cramped hiding place with limbs awkwardly positioned around one another, O’Brien and Bashir freeze.

BASHIR: (under his breath) Bastard.

8. INT. HOLOSUITE - CONTINUOUS

Garak affects an air of irritating nonchalance as the two men sheepishly emerge, climb through an open panel and down a wall ladder.

GARAK: Glad you could drop in.

Bashir strides toward Garak. No time for their usual cat and mouse game, this calls for the direct approach.

BASHIR: What's on the data-rod Garak? What’s Sisko’s passing on to Vreenak?

Garak takes a step to the side: trying to evade and move toward the exit. O’Brien blocks him.

GARAK: Oh just…greetings. From the Federation to Romulan High Command. Expressions of loyalty. Asking of favours, obscure promises balanced by vague threats. (pause) You know-- diplomacy.

BASHIR: Rubbish. It’s a holoprogram. Of Damar and Weyoon and… (The penny drops) … invasion plans. You’re trying to bring them into the war!

O’BRIEN: Bring the Romulans in to…?

Bashir advances on Garak.

BASHIR: With forged evidence of a Cardassian-Dominion plot against Romulus! Are you insane? You’re fabricating a conspiracy!

GARAK: Not me Doctor. Captain Sisko.

O’BRIEN: It could work.

BASHIR: Chief!

O’BRIEN: The Dominion aren’t going to pack up and head home to the Delta Quadrant once they’ve finished with us. The Romulans will join eventually. They’ll have to.

BASHIR: But trick them to war? Lie?

GARAK: “To thine ownself be true and you cannot be false to any man.”

BASHIR: Oh I think you would still manage it.

O’BRIEN: We're losing this war, you’ve told me often enough: the casualty lists, the front line reports…

Bashir can’t argue with reality nor with the opportunity.

BASHIR: This could tip the balance. (resigned) I know.

GARAK: I’m delighted we are all in agreement. Now if you will excuse me there is somewhere I really need to be.

Garak moves towards the door. Both men block his way.

BASHIR: And the gel?

GARAK: (Honestly unknowing) The gel?

BASHIR: The eighty-five litres. To cargo bay three. I want to know where it’s going.

GARAK: (recalling) The gel, yes. Forgive me Doctor, I have rather a lot on my mind at the moment.

I forget some of the more trivial details…

BASHIR: The more trivial details!? Eighty-five litres of a highly dangerous substance! (An appalling thought occurs) Don’t tell me we’re giving that to the Romulans as well?

GARAK: It’s going to an – associate - of mine.

BASHIR: An associate!? If you think for one moment-

Garak rubs his temples, more tired than usual.

GARAK: What is it that you want Doctor?

BASHIR: A clear conscience.

GARAK: And I thought your taste for luxuries stopped at Delavian chocolates.

BASHIR: (resolute) I’m not releasing the gel.

Garak stares at him blankly for a moment. Then realisation dawns and he starts to laugh.

BASHIR: Care to let us in on the joke?

GARAK: You actually believe you can change things! That something can be done! My dear Doctor, you will find that you’ve already released the gel. That right now eight-five litres are whizzing their way across the quadrant.

BASHIR: I didn’t release it.(to O’Brien) You’ve been with me… I didn’t!

GARAK: Computer, how much bio-memetic gel is currently in the medical holding bay?

COMPUTER: That information is classified for Starfleet officers only-

GARAK: Authorisation code O’Brien One, Sigma, Delta, Whisky.

Garak returns O’Brien affronted look with a shrug and a disarming smile.

COMPUTER: There are currently four litres of biomimetic gel in the medical holding bay.

BASHIR: What? No. That’s not right. Computer, how much bio-memetic gel is in the medical holding bay?

COMPUTER: That information is classified-

BASHIR: (impatient) Authorisation code Bashir, Seven, Delta, Omega

As his friend argues with the Computer, O’Brien takes out the small, strange coin from his pocket. Flips it…

COMPUTER: There are four litres of biomimetic gel in the medical holding bay.

The coin land tails. O’Brien flips it again…

BASHIR: And this morning?

Tails. O’Brien flips the coin again.

COMPUTER: Ninety one.

BASHIR: Eight-five litres have been released?

COMPUTER: Correct.

Tails. Again--

BASHIR: By who?

COMPUTER: Bashir, Julian. First Medical Officer.

Tails. O’Brien is grasping the futility of their situation.

BASHIR: I didn’t! (To O’Brien) Will you stop playing with that bloody coin!

GARAK: A data-rod capable of fooling the Romulans for eighty-five litres of bio-memetic gel: That was the deal. This entire plot depends on it. Now, Captain Sisko has the data rod. Therefore my associate has the gel. Therefore, you Doctor, released it. A chain of cause and effect.

It doesn’t matter what you do. Or don’t do. You cannot change what has happened… is happening. Not here.

Bashir isn’t going to listen to this.

BASHIR: Computer, open Holosuite doors.

Garak reaches out and grasps his arm.

GARAK: Try to see. Please. See this world for what it truly is. See yourself for what you truly are.

Bashir pulls away from Garak's touch, moving toward the exit. O’Brien follows.

O’BRIEN: Julian, wait -

O’Brien reaches the doorway, he takes the small step over the threshold and -

CUT TO:

END OF ACT TWO


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