"Bajorans, always Bajorans. Easy to accuse, difficult to prove," Martok taunted the engineer moving to spread his weight before him, blocking the path of the Klingon, one or ten Cardassian giants of little interest to the General.
"So we are," Anar activated his link to the audio implant deep within Tan's brain. "Tan, it's Anar. The corridor is secure; attempting to engage transport. Allow Martok to pass; begrudgingly, of course."
Tan smiled with a step back, daring the General to attempt to proceed. "So says you, Klingon."
"So says Chancellor Gowron," Martok ignored the Cardassian to promise Worf. "The Klingon interests in the Alpha Quadrant shall be protected, as they shall if necessary, be avenged."
"What?" Kira's face twisted, angry and disbelieving.
"I'll second that," Odo grunted.
"Unnecessary," Martok told Kira. "For the Cardassian fleet stands halted at the border, though ordered by Damar two hours ago now to cross -- "
"Ordered?" Damar bolted to his feet, his engineer starting to chuckle, stepping aside to allow Martok to pass.
"He lies. Who knows better than you he lies. Down, sit down," Tan encouraged the Emperor with a rough shove back towards his seat. "It's Sisko's problem, let him handle it."
"I know what you said," Kira screamed at Martok. "And it has nothing! Nothing whatsoever to do with any of this -- the Klingon interests in the Alpha Quadrant?" she gripped Odo, shaking him. "What do the Klingon interests in the Alpha Quadrant have to do with the Bajoran-Cardassian orphan population? Tell me. Explain it to me. I want to know."
"Yes, well," Odo said.
"It doesn't!" Kira hissed.
"Major!" Sisko insisted.
"Order…" T’Lara's gavel hammered up and down. "Major Kira will come to order or she will be removed from the courtroom…"
"Oh, for!" Kira released Odo. "Never mind, I'm leaving! Get out of the way! You, too!" she brushed savagely past Martok. "Out of the way! Klingon interests in the Alpha Quadrant! Klingon interests in the Alpha Quadrant!" the door swished closed behind her.
"You do lie, General," Worf agreed with a roll of his eyes, and not as inclined as the Cardassian Tan to let Martok pass. "We would have been notified if the Cardassian squadron crossed the border."
"I hear a voice, distant. See a face that acts as if I should know it; I do not," Martok pushed Worf aside to plow on to Sisko.
"General…" his friend cautioned him, "I am not in the mood…"
"A small lie to suggest Cardassia Prime is so in love with Emperor Damar to risk war with the Empire or the Federation; if he makes it home, he makes it," Martok ignored the blustering O'Brien and hammering of the Vulcan alone in the corner of the room to confide to the Captain he gently seized by the arm. "Necessary only as a diversion, that is all."
"Why is that?" the Trill Dax leaned forward interested.
Martok eyed her long, sable hair and painted violet markings; she was beautiful. Quite beautiful. Too beautiful to be the wife of some cowardly son of Mogh. "Your husband grows weak with his marriage, as he should learn to listen. With one hand I moved him aside. I said the squadron is halted at the border, not crossed -- irrelevant both or either," he returned to Sisko. "I bring news from the Empire, the reason as to why I am late…"
"Here perhaps, but late?" Dax agreed with a smile for the Chief.
"Yeah, huh?" he snorted. "Who says you're even supposed to be here?'
"True," Sisko disengaged himself from Martok's grasp. "Trusting, General, you respect that unless your news has to do with this hearing, you will agree to a private conference -- some other time," he finished with meaning.
"An attempt to conference with Gowron on the whys of this one," Martok assured. "Ch'Pok. His intent, never mind Dukat's. I have secured several communications from the station to Cardassia…one to Bajor Prime demanding Shakaar's immediate response or he stands to be exposed. By what, to whom, why? Who knows? I have an idea. The Empire stands poised for the same fate they conspire to inspire here -- war, Sisko. Civil war. Between the witch of the Vedek Assembly Winn and Shakaar. A dishonorable venture, worthy of no Klingon…and, yes," he acknowledged to the dark eyes watching him closely, "a suspicion of mine, as you suspect. I have no proof, irrelevant either way -- "
"Well, what the hell is relevant?" O'Brien insisted.
"Point," Dax agreed.
So it was, except the damn lock kept failing and Anar was beginning to become tense.
"Backing, support," Martok assured Sisko. "Of this one, Ch'Pok. Here with the Chancellor's awareness and instructions or here without -- I was unable to ascertain either through a lengthy investigation of my own," he agreed quickly to Sisko's attention briefly flickering away toward Ch'Pok. "What does it matter now, you're right. For he is here now, among us. A black day. A very black day -- "
"Your point, General," Sisko looked back at him, directly.
Martok straightened up with a deadly and somewhat nonsensical promise. "The blood that washes the Council floor will be this one's, Ch'Pok, long before it is mine or any of those I love -- sworn to protect!" his hand gripped the hilt of his kut'luch. "We have an ancient proverb, lost when stolen by the Federation several generations past. Distorted and upheld as something Federation, when it is Klingon-- it's all right," he waved to calm the Captain's deep breathing, "such old wounds die and heal slowly, but they do die. The proverb's meaning remains clear to me. 'The death of all lawyers is the first act we accomplish'. Eh, Sisko? You understand? Dishonorable scoundrels that they are; unworthy to call themselves Klingons. 'The death of all lawyers is the first act we accomplish'."
Worf frowned. "I am unfamiliar with that proverb."
For some reason that did not surprise Anar; he stared at the viewer screen. "'The death of all lawyers…'"
"Quite," Bashir blinked as well, far below the watchful eye of the Tir. "It's Shakespeare, as a matter of fact. A somewhat awkward version of Shakespeare, I'll grant you. Distorted in translation, as you said -- "
"Eh?" Martok grunted.
"Shakespeare," Bashir repeated. "William Shakespeare. A literary genius several generations in Earth's past -- a millennium ago, at least, or almost. Still, I wouldn't think Shakespeare would be out running around a thousand years ago pinching Klingon proverbs and calling them his own…though, of course, one never really knows…" he nodded down on the Chief. "Yes?"
"Hello!" O'Brien said. "Who cares?"
"Well, no one really cares, I would think," Bashir agreed. "I'm just saying -- "
"Shakespeare! Right! I know it's Shakespeare!"
"To you," Martok scoffed. "You sound like Dukat with you say, I say; I say Klingon -- "
"Come to the blasted point!" O'Brien reached up to grasp him.
"Chief!" Sisko warned as the General's black eye bulged in fury.
"I would say it's possible the only point Martok has is he wants to stay," Dax suggested to Bashir.
With that Sisko found he was in emphatic agreement. "Out of the question, General -- if!" he silenced Martok. "You have information pertinent to Chief O'Brien's defense then, yes, I will hear you out. But, other than that -- "
"The child is innocent, Sisko," Martok extolled. "As innocent as the day she was born -- a victim of ardent fervor by this Human," his hand clapped hard on O'Brien's back, his other waving before the amphitheater and her crowd of few. "No more responsible for his actions -- no more guilty than Dukat. Who among you with eyes cannot see this? Eh?" he waited, but not for long. "No one. I tell you, no one."
"Well, yes," Bashir begged interrupting, "Janice is innocent; emphatically, she is. I'm sorry, did you just say something about Dukat being innocent as well?"
"A dark day," Martok reminded him.
"Well, yes, I remember the dark day -- very dark, as a matter of fact…"
"Darkest," Martok insisted. "When a Klingon warrior is forced to uphold the son of the defiler Dukat? But for the sake of honor I would never consider it, never!" his hand cut viciously through the air.
"Definitely the only point he has is he wants to stay," Dax nodded.
"Yes," Worf sighed.
"Yes, well," Odo grunted over from the prosecution side of the arena, "is there a particular reason why you're considering upholding the son of the defiler Dukat now?"
Martok looked at him. "I said honor, Changeling. When Cardassia falls, she falls to warriors, not lawyers preoccupied with morals -- of which Dukat has none, of course he has none. This is startling to someone? Who?"
"Just checking," Odo nodded. "You were saying?" he cued Ch'Pok distracted by the General; reasonable, as time was also being wasted.
"Saying…" Ch'Pok repeated, his brow dipped, his black eyes glittering coldly.
"Saying," Odo assured. "Yes, the General has something up his sleeve; who hasn't? Shocking, and to be investigated…looked over, anyway," he grunted. "In the meantime?"
"In the meantime…" Ch'Pok's tugged at the split breast of his tunic, turning to Anon.
"You will need me, Sisko!" Martok promised, on the arm of Worf, being escorted from the stage, back up the aisle, and out the door. "You will call!"
"Yes, well, that was fun," Odo muttered with a trailing eye over Lange covering what could be perceived as a smile behind her folded hands. "Funny, also, apparently." She glanced at him; he nodded. "What do you know about that data padd? No accusation; just a simple yes or no. Is it true? What about false?"
"False," she said.
Odo nodded again. "Beguiling and reasonably clever himself, apparently. What's not Dukat's forte, however, is lying."
"He's not lying."
"Yes, he is," Odo assured. "Simply a matter of about what? Any clues?"
"No," Janice stared straight ahead.
"Your chance," Odo agreed, listening to the Gul in the process of invoking assistance from Lange despite his claims to the contrary, and whether or not she wanted to provide assistance. "It's all right; you might have another."
"I told you I have no idea who the Bajorans were," Anon insisted to Ch'Pok. "Ask Janice; ask her. Describe them, yes. Know them, no. Janice told me two of their names; ask her!"
"The court is asking you," Ch'Pok reiterated.
"Though the court is not above asking Doctor Lange," Odo stood up.
"Objection, Magistrate," Ch'Pok sighed. "Constable Odo will have ample to time to pose questions upon cross examination."
"Upon your cross examination apparently," Odo agreed, "since Lange is my witness, and has yet to be examined -- which she can be, and will be," he tested a personal theory or two out on Anon. One, that the Gul might not be lying, at least about the four Bajorans. Two, that he and Lange might be lovers. The probability factor was much lower for the latter, as it was much higher for the former. Still, there was a probability factor for both. "The question is, do you want that? Do you mind that? Any objections, in other words to Doctor Lange taking the stand?"
Anon glanced at Lange; neutrally, not lovingly. "I helped, not harmed her."
"By complying with the Bajorans wishes, rather than exerting your own."
"I exerted them," Anon corrected. "Attempted to. Janice stopped me."
"Ask her," Odo nodded. He said it even when he didn't say it.
The thin lips twisted tighter. "No, don't."
"Why?" Odo pressed with the Gul's brief glance toward Lange again. "Stop looking for permission from Doctor Lange. The question's posed to you; answer it."
He answered. "I deferred to Janice's requests."
"Nothing!" Anon snapped. "Do nothing! When what I wanted to do was kill!"
Ch'Pok chuckled with a chastising tsk-tsk. "Come now, Gul Dukat, chivalry and compassion? Was it really the appropriate time to exhibit or promote either?"
"Better question," Odo said.
"He's my witness, Constable," Ch'Pok reminded; a point with which T’Lara concurred.
"The court has shown leniency, Constable."
"It's shown more than that," Odo assured. "Where and when, Dukat? The choices are limited; it shouldn't be difficult."
"Tuesday," Anon muttered.
"Speak up," Odo requested. "Louder, so Advocate Ch'Pok doesn't miss the opportunity not to request a dismissal of all charges against Chief O'Brien."
"Tuesday," Anon resumed his insolent slouch, his hands folded tightly, resting in his lap. "Yes, it was Tuesday…I said it was Tuesday. I didn't even see Janice on Wednesday except for the conference."
"Not so can you say the same for Tuesday, apparently," Odo agreed. "When Tuesday? Some point after you released yourself from the Infirmary, I dare to presume?"
"Yes, of course, it was after the release from the Infirmary. I don't know what time -- a time you would call dinner."
He stared at the wall not Lange, before answering. "No, earlier. Sixteen, 17, 1800. Somewhere in there. After the Infirmary, and before I went to sauna -- I went to the sauna to relax!" he charged. "All right? To relax! Like Bashir said, you have to rest, you have to relax, or you can't go anywhere!"
"Sixteen, 17, 1800 is quite a choice of 'in there somewhere'," Odo replied. "Let's try where and perhaps we can narrow the time. Was it your quarters?"
Anon snorted. "Oh, yes, my quarters. With Pfrann and Tan and fifteen Cardassian sentries. Bajorans are brave, bold and incredibly stupid."
"Ten sentries," Odo nodded. "Lange's quarters, then."
"Fifteen sentries," Anon corrected. "I have fifteen; you see ten."
"Together with a Chief Engineer," Odo agreed. "Interesting one, or all of them would be unable to prevent your abduction even if they couldn't prevent Lange's."
"They could prevent nothing," Anon sat up straight. "The only prevention was to leave. Abort the conference. Surrender Terok Nor."
"To the Bajorans," Odo said.
"No, to the Federation," Anon sneered. "Yes, to the Bajorans. It's theirs, let them keep it."
"Yes, well, until your father decides it's his again, I'm sure we shall," Odo agreed.
"I am Gul Anon Dukat!" Anon was up out of his seat, his finger pounding into the podium. "You talk to Anon Dukat, or you don't talk. Nor complain when I do not answer."
"Fine," Odo said. "If it wasn't your quarters, and I'll concede that it wasn't, both you and Lange had to be abducted, or both you and Lange had to be willing and willfully somewhere together for the assault to have occurred."
"Assault, yes. Precisely. Not mate, assault. We were in fear for our lives. Put in fear for our lives. Four Bajorans, three phaser rifles. How many times do I have to tell you that?"
Odo nodded. "And to that end, to reiterate Advocate Ch'Pok's point, it seems unlikely you would chose to remain silent when by your own words what you wanted to do was kill."
Anon groaned. "It wasn't my place to disagree with Janice's decision to keep silent. It happened to her, not me. How many times do I have to tell you that? I don't have to be my father, you are. All of you! You hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see…" The data padd sailed through the air like a discus clattering into the aisle. Sorge secured it, passing it over to Odo.
"Thank you," Odo took a brief glance over the data; brief was enough. It was graphic. He had seen less, and he had seen worse; Quark's holosuites before the Federation. If he was talking to anyone but Dukat he could see why one or both of the parties involved might be angry over finding their personal life someone's front page news. In the meantime, however, he was talking to Dukat, or rather Dukat was talking to him; shouting still. Caught up in a turbulent mixture of rage, anxiety and angst. But then that's what happens when one gets caught doing something they should not have been doing.
"Exactly what the Bajorans wanted you to see, knew you would believe, and I knew too!" Anon insisted to Odo. "I tried to explain that to Janice, but no, you have to have trust, Anon. You have to learn how to trust…this is what she said to me!"
"And may be asked to say again," Ch'Pok stepped neatly back into the scene, "upon examination. In the meantime, I'm sure my most able assistant, Constable Odo will agree, if you could confine your testimony to what you said. What you did. After all, Doctor Lange certainly doesn't need coaching, does she?" he smiled.
"No, I don't," Janice suddenly stood up. "I concur with everything Gul Dukat is saying."
"Really?" Ch'Pok recovered from his brief and minor surprise to ooze downstream for her. "How interesting, Doctor Lange…but, first, may I remind you, you are under oath?"
"And not on the stand," Odo assured with a hand on Lange and a wave to T’Lara that he heard the hammer, the bell, and anything else the Magistrate cared to bang around on her bench. "It's all right, sit down. Your turn will come."
"My chance?" Lange pushed her hair back from her eyes with a smile.
Clever, Odo admitted. It remained to be seen how clever. Yes, the eyes were different; slightly. Yes, the skin was pale, almost white, blemished with nervousness and her own version of anxiety and angst. The only thing missing on Lange was Dukat's rage over her now second, though apparently first assault. There was probably a reason for that; Dukat wasn't it. They must have all been sleeping as Martok had stopped by to suggest. Blind and deaf. Odo glanced down on the data padd on the table, from the padd to the Chief grinding the edge of his nails across his teeth; it still didn't excuse O'Brien. What it did do was introduce a motive for the Chief's actions into the picture that had so far been lacking one.
"May I take the stand, Magistrate?" Lange was asking T’Lara. "Advocate Ch'Pok's questions have as much to do with me as they do with Anon."
"Yes, well, if she's going to take the stand…" Bashir gained control of his scrambling legs to land with a plop next to Lange.
"Yes, well, she's not going to take the stand," Odo corrected. "She can retract her oath of silence she extracted from Dukat and he can answer; he wants to apparently." He nodded to Anon finding it interesting the Gul not only choose to remain on the stand, but comply with the questioning however much he might be insinuating otherwise. Clearly no one was holding a phaser rifle to his head and so he was up there, for whatever reason, of his own free will; Odo wanted to know why; certain Captain Sisko did also.
"Gul Dukat may answer for himself, Constable," Ch'Pok reminded. "Doctor Lange's presence and sworn deposition find her ineligible for special consideration under the provisions the UFP has in place to protect Neutrals and others deemed unable or unfit to testify -- "
"What trick didn't you miss?" It was a rare occasion Odo lost his temper; rarer even than Sisko, close to the brink of losing his again.
"That's enough!" Sisko was there to break it up and settle the matter. "The weight and value of Doctor Lange's testimony is in no way hindered or enhanced by its location. The prosecution bench is sufficient under appropriate medical supervision and legal counsel -- sit!" he directed Bashir.
"Quite, I'm sitting," Bashir sat.
"You also, Counselor Sorge," Sisko requested. "And you, Constable -- sit down. Advocate Ch'Pok has the floor."
"Thank you, Captain," Ch'Pok said.
"Save it," Sisko suggested. "Do you anticipate calling witnesses in support of Doctor Lange's testimony, Constable? Other than Doctor Bashir or Counselor Sorge?"
"Yes, well…" Odo said.
"Major Kira," Lange helped him out.
It was not who Sisko expected, if he expected anyone, but he nodded nevertheless. "If Major Kira would please take the available witness stand."
"Actually, Major Kira's been evicted," Bashir cleared his throat in subtle reminder when Kira failed to hop to immediately obeying. "Self-evicted, I should say. Same as myself. Though, yes, I've obviously returned…and, yes," he agreed with the Captain's rabid stare, "all fairly unnecessary for me to continue."
"Indeed," Sisko said. "Commander Dax, if you would call Major Kira to return to the courtroom."
"Yes," Dax rose to find Kira out in the corridor, unknowingly pacing under the watchful and resigned observation of Anar.
She was an intriguing woman, Major Kira. Anar thought that before and he was thinking of that now, following Kira's storm-driven pace up and down the corridor, her hands pulling and tugging their way through her cropped red hair. Anar could see the interest his nephew Adon had found with her, and also see the fear.
"Independence," Anar's chin rested misleadingly docile in the palm of his hand, his fingers drumming a choppy tattoo on the console where the face of child Ziyal watched him. Smiling now that she had managed to convey her message that Anar could sit there until the Federation's hell froze over attempting to lock her brothers and sister Janice in a transport beam. "Fierce independence," Anar nodded to Ziyal, deciding that to be one of Kira Nerys' better qualities. "Remarkably fierce. A rebel long before me with her embrace of you. A guardian once herself, I suppose. I wonder which disturbs her more. The idea Janice is innocent? Or the idea that the child might be guilty?"
Ziyal struggled to reply. Anar watched her stained thin lips move; she had a fascination with numbers Dukat's brat.
"Two what, child?" he asked not really interested as he stretched with a smile for his Cardassian assistants, convinced by this point he, like their Emperor Dukat, was hopelessly insane talking to ghostly images of dead family members he perceived to be around him. "Two months, two days, two hours, two years. You try my patience, even if you don't try my faith. Two years hence I hope to be a grandfather still; a father perhaps again. Depending upon what Major Kira has on her agenda, or that interesting child Leeta, should Nerys prove to be unavailable."
Ziyal laughed; musically. Anar could hear the divinity of bells in her chords. He smiled again, briefly, watching Kira turn her cat-like snarl on Martok requesting her assistance and cooperation; she hit him. She didn't just holler, gesticulate or threaten. She hauled off and gave Martok a powerful smack in the middle of his steel-protected Klingon belly.
"Ow," Anar winced in sympathy pain for the stinging strike that had to hurt Kira more than Martok. The Klingon retreated however without striking back; doubtfully out of fear. Far more likely in an uncharacteristic intelligence and understanding that if he retaliated he could pick Kira Nerys up with one hand and send her sailing into her Prophets' world. Anar could have used Kira on his colony. Used her spirit and her strength and unflinching bravery. Used her until she died.
"Touché," Anar admitted to Ziyal. "I've no doubt Kira Nerys would like to share toys and wonders with her grandchildren as well."
Kira was kinder with the Trill's approach a short time later. Disgusted and resigned, having run with her emotions, and wrung them dry to the point that she was exhausted.