“Julian, can you hear me?”
Bashir awoke to see Ezri kneeling over him and shining a flashlight in his face after applying a hypospray. Vaughn was also standing over him.
Neeley was also present, applying a hypospray to Fitzpatrick’s neck. He woke up, looked at Neeley, and then looked at Bashir. “You saved my life, Julian,” he said.
“I suppose I did,” Julian replied.
“It was still stupid.”
“The genetic enhancements to my reflexes got us out of there alive.”
How was that for irony? Bashir’s genetic status aroused Fitzpatrick’s suspicions, but it saved his life as well.
“We stopped the assassination,” Ezri told them. “Starfleet security will be part of Ghemor’s guard for awhile.”
“Including Mik Tarnin,” Neeley added. “The receptionist will just have to get used to that.”
“The question is whether the Cardassian people will welcome alien peacekeepers,” said Vaughn, “The Federation Council hoped to avoid sending Starfleet troops as a peacekeeping force. That would encourage terrorist propaganda, but the Council may reconsider their decision.”
Security officers standing watch outside Cargo Bay 14 got an all-clear signal from Ops. They forced open the double doors calling the attention of Kira and her captors. Tahna grabbed Kira by one arm and held a phaser to her head. “Back off, or she dies,” he demanded.
Kira elbowed Tahna in the stomach with her free arm. He lost his grip, and Kira then slugged him in the face. Tahna lunged towards the transporter controls. The external door opened sucking air out into space. Kira and the security guards held their breaths and grabbed something secure. Tahna and his compatriot let themselves get blown out into space. Kira was then able to gather her bearings and shut the door.
Ambassador Pirak sorted through communiqués from his government when the assassin disguised as Mirt entered. He was not expecting a visit from the Breen. “This is unexpected,” he said. “What can I do for you?”
The assassin slowly raised his phaser. Pirak noticed and began to contemplate his immediate fate. Ro then stormed into the room, grabbed the assassin from behind, and shoved him to the floor.
Ro removed the helmet to reveal a Bajoran, not a Breen, inside. Two Bajoran deputies entered and lifted up the would-be assassin to haul him off to security.
Kira then walked into the room to see Pirak wanting answers. “What just happened?” he demanded.
“He is a member of the Kohn-Ma, a xenophobic Bajoran splinter group,” Kira explained. “They’ve become skeptical of the Federation presence in recent years, especially with critical negotiations with the Breen.”
“They were hoping to create a situation that would convince the Federation to take pre-emptive action against the Breen,” Ro added.
“And the Kohn-Ma would kill me to achieve their goals?” Pirak asked. “What was Turrell’s role?”
“He led a team to seize the station,” Ro replied. “He used this situation as an attempt to place it back under Cardassian control.”
“Hardly seems logical,” said Pirak. “War has cost my people too much. And a large majority of Bajor’s populace welcomes eventual Federation membership.”
“Extremists rarely act rationally,” Kira said before looking down at Tahna’s earring in her right hand. She hated what Tahna had become since the end of the Occupation. She still grieved for him, as they had been through plenty together as friends rather than as enemies.