- Text Size +

ACT ONE

 

FADE IN:

 

6 INT. DS9 - WARD ROOM

 

POP - the bubbly overflows as Starfleet STEWARDS (probably security officers in disguise) catch it in crystal goblets which go onto a catering tray. Once full, the security-steward carries the tray across the PARTY and towards...

 

7 THE COMMANDERS

 

All in formal dress - RO, SISKO, TOMALAK, T’JUL, and two others - Breen captain BELD and Gorn captain SSILITH. They are all trying to act casual and chummy while being careful about what they actually say in front of these... aliens.

Tomalak and T’Jul take their glasses smoothly, familiar with Federation customs. Ssilith grasps his with a clawed hand that could shred flesh. The steward is about to hand a glass to Beld when he stops and glances to Ro and Sisko...

 

RO
We did install privacy booths, as
your government requested, Master.

 

The suited Breen turns and peers through his mask...

 

8 ANGLE - PRIVACY BOOTHS

 

Across the room, past other milling Romulans, Gorn, Breen and Starfleet officers, are three opaque BOOTHS. Another Breen carries his glass into one booth and locks the door.

 

9 BACK TO SCENE

 

Having seen this, Beld turns back to Ro and BUZZES - his words are translated by a computerised device on his suit.

 

BELD
The courtesy is appreciated. I’ll
enjoy the experience another time.

 

Sisko offers the bland party line of diplomatic functions, but it is clear his heart and mind are elsewhere.

 

SISKO
That’s what this whole mission is
about - experiencing new things.

TOMALAK
Quite right. Down the hatch, as
you humans say.

 

Tomalak is also giving the oily smarm of a bullshit artist - Ro sees through it with a smile. Tomalak and T’Jul both Cheers! and sip delicately, make the appropriate noises.

Ssilith throws the wine back in an enormous toothy mouthful and BELCHES with satisfaction. Ro likes him the most.

 

RO
So, what are your plans for the
Gamma Quadrant, Commander?

T’JUL
Captain Sisko and I have chosen
separate but intertwining paths
through unexplored space.

TOMALAK
That way we can each enjoy our
own adventures, but still meet from
time to time to compare notes.

 

Ro looks to Sisko - he has nothing to say. How did she of all people end up as Starfleet’s diplomat? Ro presses on...

 

RO
Makes sense. What about the Gorn,
Captain Ssilith?

 

The gorn HISSES and GROWLS, also translated by computer.

 

SSILITH
We still need new breeding worlds.
My crew will survey for suitable
prospects. Far from the Dominion.

RO
Glad to hear it. Master Beld?

BELD
I plan to speak with your Ferengi
Ambassador. I hope he will inform
us of lucrative opportunities for
commerce in the Gamma Quadrant.

RO
Oh, Quark will happily talk your
ears off, don’t worry about that.

BELD
(looms forward)
How do you know I have ears?

 

A moment of awkward silence - has Ro made a faux pas? Then Beld throws back his head and BUZZES in what can only be a laugh. The Romulans chuckle and the Gorn roars in laughter. Ro relaxes - apparently Breen have a sense of humour too.

 

RO
Well, you are all very welcome in
Quark’s. In fact that’s where the
real party is, after here.

TOMALAK
Thank you, Captain - not that your
security officers aren’t doing a fine
job pretending to be servers.

 

Tomalak smiles, letting Ro know he’s on to her tricks. Ro smiles back - she won’t rise to his bait.

 

RO
You and your officers are free to
roam the station - with certain
exceptions, of course. No offence.

T’JUL
None taken, Captain. If our places
were reversed, I certainly would
not be taking you on a tour of the
Eletrix’s engines or laboratories.

 

T’Jul says it with a genuine chuckle, softening the blow. She is a Romulan officer, but not a monster.

Tomalak’s smirk is much less light-hearted - oh these silly Starfleet children, they have no idea what we’re up to.

Sisko is just gazing out of the windows at the many ships, sipping his drink, clearly a million miles away.

Ro notices all this, and tries to process all of it without giving anything away. But her spidey-sense is tingling...

 

10 INT. DS9 - AIRLOCK CORRIDOR

 

BASHIR stands at the controls, waiting to close and seal the airlock. He calls impatiently back into the passage...

 

BASHIR
Are you coming?

 

Bashir himself is tense, distracted, in a bad mood. But the sight of TENMEI slumping out of the airlock, depressed and withdrawn, is enough to rouse his sympathy.

 

BASHIR
I was going to ask “Are you okay?”
but of course you’re not. Sorry.

 

Bashir makes the airlock roll closed, then turns back to find that Tenmei hasn’t moved. Just staring at the deck.

He gently leads Tenmei down the corridor - she follows, body on automatic, emptied of emotion. But ahead of them...

 

11 ANGLE - ON BREEN

 

...are a trio of BREEN walking across the T-junction at the end of the corridor. They move on, not even noticing...

 

12 ANGLE - ON TENMEI

 

...Tenmei as she stops dead, staring. Bashir notices...

 

BASHIR
Prynn? What is it?

TENMEI
Breen. Not seen them since...

BASHIR
(gently)
They’re here as part of Bacco’s
peace initiative. Besides, they’ve
got the Romulans and the Gorn
keeping them on a tight leash.

TENMEI
(cold laugh)
Yeah, the Romulans who tortured
my dad for weeks. The Gorn who
were our friends until they sided
with the enemy. They’re the ones
to stop the Breen causing trouble.

BASHIR
Look, Prynn... I have to get back
to the Infirmary. But I don’t want
to leave you alone when you’re
in this state.

TENMEI
(dismissive)
Just go. I’ll be fine.

 

Bashir is unconvinced, but he does have other places to be. He nods and heads off down one arm of the T-junction.

Tenmei pulls herself together as much as she can and turns the other way down the T-Junction...

...where she can still see the backs of the three BREEN walking ahead of her like they have every right to be here.

She grinds her teeth and stalks on after them...

 

13 INT. DS9 - WARD ROOM

 

Ro tries to engage with Sisko as they stand apart from the others. The rest of the party continues without them.

 

RO
You’ve been quiet, Captain. Something
on your mind?

SISKO
(caught out)
Oh... just looking forward to getting
out there and exploring again. It’s
been a while.

 

That’s not the full truth, but it will do for now.

 

RO
I kind of envy you, actually. I’ve
been into the Gamma Quadrant, of
course. But I guess I just never
saw myself as the exploring type.

SISKO
Neither was I. I was an engineer,
then a commander, then...
(a father)
...but Elias changed his life. No
reason we can’t do the same.

 

Ro is sombered at the mention of Vaughn. She ventures to ask a personal question without really asking it...

 

RO
Captain... When you were first
promoted, how long did it take
before it felt... right?

 

Sisko is surprised at the question - it makes him think.

 

SISKO
Feels like a lifetime ago. The
compulsion to recheck your work
three times instead of two. To
spend twice as much time second-
guessing your decisions. Even if
your day-to-day hasn’t changed.

RO
Is that kind of thing common?

SISKO
Almost every new captain I’ve ever
met went through the same thing.
Including Nerys... and Elias.

RO
Sounds like the kind of thing a
good counsellor could help with.

 

Sisko considers it, for his own sake as well as hers.

 

SISKO
That’s probably a good idea.
(beat)
Will you make my excuses, Captain?
I have a prior engagement.

RO
Of course. Thank you, Captain.

 

Sisko places his glass down on the ward room table and heads out. Ro watches him go, then goes to join the party.

 

14 INT. DS9 - CORRIDOR

 

Tenmei plods along, in no better mood than before. Ahead of her she spots...

...more BREEN and ROMULANS emerging from the ward room, followed by SISKO. Neither wants to talk, but it would be rude not to, so they stop and make stilted conversation.

 

SISKO
Lieutenant Tenmei.

TENMEI
Captain.

SISKO
I hear you’re serving as the
Defiant’s first officer now.
Congratulations. I’m sure your
father would have been proud.

 

She knows he didn’t mean anything by it, but in her current emotional state she can’t stop herself from hissing...

 

TENMEI
He’s not dead yet.

SISKO
(wrong-footed)
I... didn’t...

TENMEI
He’s a good man. Even though it
seems like everybody just wants
to forget about him.

SISKO
Prynn, I could never forget your
father. And you know he never
wanted to leave you -

REBECCA (o.s.)
Daddy!

 

Sisko turns, and sees his daughter REBECCA pelting down the corridor towards him, arms out, ready to hug him to death. KASIDY walks behind her, warm but not exactly blazing.

Sisko crouches down and lets Rebecca run into his arms, all other thoughts instantly out of his head. He thrills to be back with his daughter, holding her tight. Looking up...

 

KASIDY
Hello, Ben. Major Cenn said you
were in the ward room, so...

SISKO
Hi, Kas. Thanks for coming.

 

Seeing her opportunity to escape, Tenmei nods to Kasidy...

 

TENMEI
Captain Yates.

 

...and heads on down the corridor. Kasidy is curious, but would rather watch her husband and daughter be together.

 

15 INT. DS9 - PROMENADE

 

Dalin Slaine makes her way through the busy crowd of non-allied civilians and aliens roaming the Promenade, a bit nervous. She reaches Quark’s, peers through the window...

...and spots Candlewood sitting and laughing, part of the regular engineers’ gathering. She heads on into the bar.

 

16 INT. DS9 - QUARK’S BAR - ENGINEERS’ TABLE

 

Candlewood, CHAO, PERMENTER and K’UHLLO are there, laughing at John’s last joke, sipping their drinks. They sense a new presence, look up... Slaine is hovering timidly.

 

SLAINE
Hello, everyone. May I join you?

CANDLEWOOD
Zivan! Of course, grab a seat.
Looks like we have a couple
spare tonight for some reason.

 

Candlewood gentlemanly pulls out a chair - she smiles and demurely sits. She looks at the others, hopeful.

 

CANDLEWOOD
Oh yeah, you haven’t met. This is
Bryanne Permenter, and this is
Op’ah K’Uhllo. They’re engineers.
And you already know Jeanette.
Everyone, this is Zivan Slaine.

 

Polite “hellos” around the table. Slaine is the odd one out here, but they’re all willing to be nice and welcoming. Slaine nods back politely to them all, before getting to her real reason for coming here. She turns to Candlewood...

 

SLAINE
John, I’ve enjoyed working with
you the last few days in Ops.

CANDLEWOOD
Well, I am awesome. But you’re
right, it’s been good. We make
a solid team.

SLAINE
I thought so too. That’s why I
wanted to ask if you would like
to join me in a Cardassian sauna
programme in the holosuite.

CANDLEWOOD
Sounds like fun! And by next week,
Prynn and Vakell should be free -

SLAINE
No, not them. Just you and me.

 

Slaine is innocently hopeful. Wonders why everyone else has suddenly gone quiet.

Chao and the engineers avert their eyes, staying well out of it... this is so awkward.

Meanwhile Candlewood is like that gif of Mal Reynolds being speechless in Firefly. Just... what? Does not compute.

 

HETIK (o.s.)
John?

 

John whips around - and HETIK is standing a few feet away.

 

CANDLEWOOD
Hetik...

 

Off Candlewood’s amazement - his boyfriend is back.

 

BLACK OUT

 

END OF ACT ONE



You must login (register) to review.