The Time of Hagalaz, Presumed Guilty Part Two

Chapter Twenty-Seven

It was probably worth the long and draw out wait. As it was probably worth the look on a few of the faces Odo could see, together with most of the faces he could not. Nevertheless, there was one small problem with Lange's identification, beyond the large one of daring to speak the word Maquis in mixed company. And that small problem was likewise registering its way across Major Kira's face. "Yes, well…" Odo rose, his hand up in reassurance to Kira that his memory was as sharp as hers.

"Doctor Lange's identification is so noted as a matter of opinion, Constable," T’Lara had her politically correct answer ready.

"And so it is little more than an opinion," Odo agreed. "For the court's record, the assignment Hawk, or the Hawk, is not unknown to the station's security logs, Bajoran, Federation or Cardassian. I believe we have about twenty-six Hawks logged to date. With the earliest record dating back approximately twenty-five years to the old Federation-Cardassian wars…the Chief may be able to confirm the then reputed Hawk's occupation as a Federation agent, or informant," he nodded to O'Brien, caught up in recalling something himself. "Whichever. Believed Bajoran, the Hawk was obviously not Maquis regardless of his species -- Chief?"

"Yeah, actually…" O'Brien nodded slowly at first and then with confidence. "It's an old intelligence ID. But, no, I never met the…man…Bajoran. I believe he was supposed to be Bajoran; long-time resistance. Real long time. From way back before the Cardassian wars; if he even existed. Rather than just some catch-all phrase like 'Source: Reliable'. That kind of jargon. I don't know. I never met him, as I said. Heard of him, yes. Definitely heard of him -- you ever hear of him?" his squint turned to Sisko.

"No, Chief," Sisko shook his head. "But I'm sure it's simply a matter of checking the security archives."

O'Brien chuckled. "Archives. Right? Before your time. Mine, too, Don't we wish. But, no. Never mind us. Seriously, he's got to be, what? A hundred? If he's even a 'he'."

"He's a he," Odo believed. "And he's 'got to be' somewhere in the vicinity of sixty to seventy Bajoran years old, at least. A man, in other words. Now and at the time; an adult."

"Twenty-seven," Lange reported what was little more than a child by Bajoran standards.

"Yes, well," Odo grunted, "whoever your informant is, he or she was apparently detailed, though mistaken. We'll settle for your assailant calling himself the Hawk. How's that?"

"Just Hawk," Janice nodded.

"Deal," Odo accepted. "Further for the court's record the name Jin'Mir is unknown to my recollection, but we'll just add it to the security logs. Carry on," he sat down.

"Thank you, Constable," Ch'Pok smiled, not to be outdone on the politically correct side of things. "It the court would also note the Klingon Empire to uphold the complete and utter obliteration of the Maquis entity by the Cardassian Union during the time of the last Federation-Cardassian war -- until the point of the Union's bitter defeat at the hands of the Federation and her ally, the Klingon Empire, eight months ago. A time, which, yes, roughly concurs with Constable Odo's last security record of any Maquis agent known as Hawk, or otherwise."

"Yes, well, utter and complete obliteration of the entity perhaps," Odo concurred. "But I wouldn't discount the existence of some straggling survivors or sympathizers."

"An opinion apparently upheld by Doctor Lange's informant as well," Ch'Pok's brow remained arched in an angle of intrigue. "Interesting tale, Doctor Lange. Do you mind telling the court why your informant felt it necessary to notify you of the potential threat of the individuals calling themselves Hawk and Jin'Mir? I presume there was potential for threat. As I presume your notification transpired at some point earlier than your liaison with Gul Dukat to discuss -- what was it? His desire to cancel the political conference between your worlds and the Federation?"

"Yes Anon wanted to cancel the conference."

Ch'Pok waggled his finger in scolding. "One wouldn't hope you're attempting to avoid the questions surrounding your informant, Doctor Lange by choosing to answer last questions first, which, of course, you aren't. I have no objection to pursuing Gul Dukat's most intriguing and apparent request of you -- was there a request incorporated with his disclosure to you of his desire to cancel? Was he, in turn, seeking agreement, or some form of support from you in presenting this call for cancellation to Legate Damar and/or First Minister Shakaar? And/or perhaps Captain Sisko? Take your time, Doctor Lange, before answering. Would you perhaps like another opportunity to confer with Constable Odo before responding?"

"No," Janice said. "I know what Anon wanted."

"And what did Gul Dukat want?" Ch'Pok encouraged. "Before what he came to want? And that was to protect you from the Bajoran assailants by volunteering himself as a necessary accomplice to their most vile and repugnant scheme, rather than risk your potential fatal harm at the hands of Legate Damar…his brother, Sentinel Dukat…the Cardassian assistant Mister Paq…Interesting Dukat's mention of Mister Paq, Doctor Lange, wouldn't you agree? Killed in the terrorist attack the evening prior? Are you certain it was Tuesday evening the date and time of this alleged assault by Bajoran extremists? Or was it instead Sunday? The first evening of your arrival? Could that explain Gul Dukat's inadvertent slip with mentioning the name Paq among the roster of Cardassians he felt could or would do you harm, rather than protect?"

"No, it was Tuesday," Janice shook her head.

"Emotion then," Ch'Pok decided. "Clearly an emotional outburst on Gul Dukat's part. This claim of Paq, Damar, Pfrann. An effort to emphasize his claim of self-sacrifice and chivalry."

"Is that a question?" Janice asked. "I'm sorry, but you're confusing me."

"Apologies," Ch'Pok's head tipped. "I certainly do not mean to confuse you. I can, if you like, begin again."

"No," Janice said. "If I could just answer one question at a time."

"Question of your choice, Doctor Lange," he consented.

"Anon was extremely upset by what happened at Quark's and wanted me to agree with him and cancel the conference. He felt more would be accomplished by adjourning all sessions to resume at a later date on Cardassia Prime with Captain Sisko and First Minister Shakaar in attendance -- "

"Indeed," Sisko reacted, surprised to find himself so suddenly competent and valuable in the young Gul's eyes.

Janice nodded. "Anon was emphatic about First Minister Shakaar's attendance. More lenient with the idea of you, Captain, acting as Federation representative -- And also the idea of Commander Dax intrigued him once he realized she was -- Curzon?" she hesitated. "The Federation Ambassador mentioned during the opening session?"

"Curzon Dax, yes, Doctor," Sisko agreed. "A joined Trill, former Federation Ambassador to the Klingon Empire. Commander Jadzia Dax hosts the symbiont Dax, formerly hosted by Ambassador Curzon."

"Who is reputedly deceased," Bashir reported in not quite cloaked malice, and questionable accuracy for Janice. "Hence Jadzia's adoption of the name Dax. Which isn't Jadzia's name at all, but rather a way of identifying her willing surrender of her own identity to the accumulated lifetimes of the symbiont."

"To put it one way, yes, Doctor," Sisko agreed quietly.

"To put it another?" Odo hinted.

"Yes, I'm silent," Bashir took the hint with a farewell-for-now pat of Janice's hand, even though he wasn't going anywhere, any more than she was. "Other than to say, it is all rather complex and involved -- out of balance in some respects. For while Jadzia's mission, if you will, is to advance and accumulate wisdom, knowledge and experiences gleaned over several lifetimes, she does prefer to focus on Curzon. More or less taking up his crusade rather than finding her own…I suspect that, in turn, could be the basis behind Dukat's proposed interest in having Jadzia attend the conference; the Klingon Empire. Something Jadzia not only lives and breathes, but has decided quite literally to become; a Klingon. Short of requesting surgical alteration -- a personal nightmare of mine; hopefully irrational. But at times I'm not so sure. Finding myself terrified Jadzia will carry this obsession of hers just that one -- I'm attempting to be gracious when I say only one step too far. For I do know Jadzia, far better than Mister Worf, or even Captain Sisko, can ever hope to. And while I respect, and admire greatly, the strength of Jadzia's passion, I can't help but worry, damn the clear and obvious benefits to embarking on this theory of intellectual mastery, Jadzia has bound and cast herself into a dangerous, and utterly abusive relationship. Not only with Worf, but most importantly with herself. I scarcely recognize her by this point; truly I don't. And while I long for the return of the Jadzia I once knew, certainly more than willing to assist her in any way I can, short of issuing a doctor's order that she divorce Mister Worf -- which, believe me, I have been more than tempted to do. Not to be injurious, or rude to Jadzia, or God help me," his hand and eyes fluttered melodramatically, "to disavow the sacred Klingon tradition of marriage -- barbarous as it is, as every one of them are. But to help Jadzia, clearly quite ill and desperately in need of skilled intervention…I can't just sit idly by…

"No, I can't do that," Bashir decided quietly thoughtful, and scarcely half-listening to the proceedings. "I simply can't. For Heaven's sake, it's entirely possible I actually love Jadzia; truly love her. Despite my fear of commitment and feelings of gross inadequacy alongside a woman with three times, if not four times, my physical Human strength, and very nearly immortal on top of that; I love Jadzia. I believe that I do. As I believe that beneath that Curzon veneer is Jadzia who loves me as well…

"Why?" he was looking at Janice, staring as a matter of fact. "Not why Jadzia, why Dukat? It's true, isn't it? What everyone's just too timid and nauseated to admit? You and Dukat are lovers, aren't you? Yes, of course, you are. That's why we keep pressing for details, hoping you'll tell us rather than us having to admit to you what a lot of fools we are. The extraordinarily high levels of Ryetalyn are certainly evidence of that. As those same high levels would clearly destroy, not simply distort evidence of Cardassian DNA; after twenty-four hours? I should say. I was barely able to isolate the Chief after little more than an hour -- why?" He was angry. Quite extremely angry. Reaching to hold her wrist in anger and insistence. Miles was a friend of his. Guilty or innocent, right or wrong, Miles was a friend of his. And, no, while he certainly couldn't agree to any sort of attack or assault, in anger or otherwise, what he did have was this image of a snake in his mind. First seducing one man, and then seducing another. "Why?" Bashir demanded. "He's hardly some dashing figure you can't hope to resist."

"No more than his father," Odo interceded, unraveling the good doctor's clenching fingers from around Lange's wrist despite Bashir's mumbling claim something about lacking three times the Human strength, or something or other, about something or other; Odo didn't know, and couldn't care. "Also a mystery yet to be solved."

"He's putrid," Bashir charged. "Quite nearly putrid."

"Close enough," Odo agreed.

"Incident," Ch'Pok mused, of all the things there were apparently to muse about; Bashir's interpretation of silence an interesting one, and equally uninteresting as no one cared particularly what he was mumbling on about to Lange, least of all Lange, transfixed and paying close attention to Ch'Pok. "Intriguing choice, Doctor Lange. Gul Dukat, I believe has referred to the terrorist attack upon Quark's as an unacceptable massacre of innocent civilians, has he not?"


"But you prefer to view it as an incident. Why is that?"

"Because I don't like the word massacre. Not the way it sounds or what it makes me think of."

"What does it make you think of?" Ch'Pok wet his lips. "Blood?"

"Cruelty," Janice said.

"How fragile you are," Ch'Pok agreed. "Is that what you believe Gul Dukat sees? Or saw? Which is why he agreed to participate in your emotional slaughter?"

"Don't answer that," Veronica stopped Janice. "You must be aware, Advocate, you are frightening her as much as you are confusing her -- and spare me a history of your culture. I've known Klingons in my time, and now I've met you. I prefer the warriors who carry their swords in plain view."

"My words are my sword, Counselor," Ch'Pok assured. "Within plain view, and within hearing. Spare me a lecture on the delicacies of the Human condition. I cannot make the subject matter any more pleasant for Doctor Lange, as I cannot make it any less unpleasant. I am not the assailants who attacked her without provocation. Not the Cardassian who sought to protect her…and now, for some reason," he turned around to Anon, "finds himself mute of offering any protection, verbal or otherwise."

Anon's return look was sardonic. "You still have to leave Terok Nor, Klingon. Return to your home world alive. You seem to have forgotten that."

"Let's not add threats of death to your already lengthy list of criminal charges, Gul Dukat," Ch'Pok strode forward. "The truth of the matter is, you were as beset by the same lust and violence as the Bajoran assailants, seizing the opportunity handed to you, and not letting go until you had extracted an oath of silence from Doctor Lange. Not her extract one from you."

Anon scoffed. "No, I wasn't beset by lust and violence. I don't even know what beset and lust is…violence," he granted, "yes, I know what violence is. Something I want to do to you; not Janice. You."

"Oh, dear heavens," Garak buried his damp and perspiring brow in the heel of the palm of his hand.

"Yup," Quark laced his fingers together, resting them satisfied on his rotund stomach. "I'm telling you, he's adopted. So, what am I worried about? I'll just tell them the sauna was for health purposes, and they'll believe me that I believed him; it was for health purposes."

"Um…" Rom said.

"No, ums," Quark snapped. "He can't have a liaison if he doesn't even know what a liaison is, now, can he?"

"The witness will confine himself," T’Lara sharply reminded Anon.

"Confine," Anon sneered. "I am confined. Ask Sisko. For crimes against his security systems. I went to Janice's quarters to talk, not attack. To help, not hurt. She wanted silence, I wanted to kill; I agreed to silence. That's it. You have your answers. I'm not repeating myself again."

Ch'Pok smiled. "Except for why the assailants would even be in Doctor Lange's quarters. How would they know to find either of you there?"

"Pattern of movement," Anon reminded. "Your theory, not mine."

"Tell me yours," Ch'Pok extended.

"Technology," Anon assured. "They traced the transporter carrier wave, like they sabotaged Sisko's systems to gain entry as Special Forces security."

"It does sound like Maquis, doesn't it?" Ch'Pok agreed.

"Terrorists," Anon corrected. "It sounds like terrorists. Ask Nerys what she would do; same thing. Is she Maquis? No, she's a terrorist."

"Bajoran Resistance," Ch'Pok chuckled. "A likely former occupation of Doctor Lange's informant as well."

Anon looked at him.

"Do you know the identity of Doctor Lange's informant?"

"Know?" Anon said. "No. How would I know? Why?"

"Doctor Lange advised you of two of the assailants' identities. Didn't you think to inquire as to how or why she would be aware?"

"No. If I thought, I would have thought of Shakaar's briefing. I did not think, only about how to calm her; she was terrified."

"Astounding," Ch'Pok wandered a few steps away. "Truly astounding. You're a Gul, Gul Dukat. The son of Gul Dukat. I repeat the question perchance you did not understand it correctly the first time. Did you think to inquire into Doctor Lange's personal knowledge of two Bajoran terrorists by the adopted or birth names of Hawk and Jin'Mir -- regardless!" he stepped quickly back to the podium, "of how terrified she was, she knew the names of two of the Bajorans engaged in assaulting you. Two men of the four men you wanted to kill. If Doctor Lange knew the identity of two men, why wasn't it possible she knew the names of all four? Of six? Or ten? Of every man or woman comprising the Threat Force that you had ordered to be hunted down and extinguished?"

"I didn't think about it at the time."

"Didn't think?" Ch'Pok said. "Didn't think, or was your order for extermination, in fact, one in retrospect? One not prompted by some proclaimed outrage over the incident at Quark's, but instead a desperate attempt to locate that data padd before it found itself in the hands of anyone else, other than your own?"

"Emphasized. Reiterated after the assault, yes. The order for extermination was issued to Pfrann at the time I told him to assist Sisko; in Quark's."

"I see…" Ch'Pok wandered a short distance away again to wander back, "so what you're saying is you ordered Sentinel Dukat's execution of the Bajoran terrorist in Quark's upon the intruder's refusal to surrender -- "

"No," Anon was waving, "Pfrann wasn't even there. Assura and Dak'jar were killed by security -- " He caught himself; too late. Ch'Pok's face looming dangerously close to him; Sisko catching Odo's eye with a sharp nod for the Changeling.

Anon shrugged. "Assura and Dak'jar, yes. Two Bajorans we have been able to identify; criminals. Known criminals to the Bajoran State; not Maquis. Check the UFP files like I did," he advised Sisko. "They know. And now I do. You keep searching for conspiracy, I keep telling you where to find it; it's not Cardassia. I don't know the Bajoran who attack Pfrann only to find himself as dead as his brothers. But I will know; all of them."

"Martok's intercepted transmission to Shakaar?" Dax returned in time with Julian's log to whisper to Sisko tugging pensively on his beard. "I doubt if Dukat would be above threatening exposure if he had managed to secure evidence Shakaar was, or should have been knowledgeable of the Threat Force prior to Quark's."

"Possibly, Commander," Sisko replied. "Entirely possible."

"Yeah, and what's even more probable," O'Brien scoffed.

"Dukat is lying," Worf assured.

Of that Sisko wasn't necessarily convinced, though he wouldn't go as far as including chivalry and/or compassion as Dukat's underlying motives; certainly not with, or in regard to Lange.

"I think that might be what Kira is most frightened of," Dax observed Kira left sitting waiting, if not forgotten on the second witness stand. "Not Dukat, or even Lange."

"But Shakaar, Commander," Sisko agreed coldly. "Reasonable. Completely reasonable."

"What was that Martok said about a dark day?" Dax sympathized.

"The darkest," Sisko concurred. "I would have to say the darkest, even entertaining the thought." Whereas to actually find Shakaar, together with the Federation, guilty of failing to act against a known Threat Force? One that would ultimately put upwards of six thousand civilian lives at stake? There was no saying the attack had to take place at Quark's, it could have been anywhere. And when it was all over one hundred sixteen civilians lay dead with their forks still in hand. Sisko studied the angry, young Gul perched on the witness stand. The words and the anger still impressing themselves on his mind. Firmly caught up in a web sticky with evidence of seduction and deceit of his own doing, Dukat remained nevertheless adamant in professing his innocence together with Lange's. Why did Sisko persist in thinking there was more to the story; perhaps another side? One that Dukat clearly did not wish to pursue, and Ch'Pok was equally adamant about focusing on; the Maquis.

"Rigelian fever," Dax said suddenly in Sisko's ear, the association momentarily escaping him. "Sorry," she apologized, not to Benjamin, to Julian, feeling his grin and breath brush a grateful near-kiss across her cheek. "It's all I can think of. If that's not what you're thinking of, I'm at a loss."

"Close enough," Bashir took the log. "Ryetalyn."

"The outer colonies," Worf huffed. "Yes. Where Dukat admits to having contracted Rigelian fever himself. It is possible he suspected Doctor Lange of Maquis affiliation, and that is what he hoped to extract during his confrontation with her in her quarters."

"Oh, for!" O'Brien groaned.

"She has a DNA inhibitor," Dax said. "And that hand phaser had to come from somewhere."

"Holographic transmitter," O'Brien corrected. "Holographic transmitter. What are you saying now? She's Maquis rather than a Cardassian sympathizer? Is that what you're saying now? She can't be both!"

"That's true," Dax admitted to Benjamin. "She can't be both."

"No!" O'Brien assured. "And what he can be is slick. He's slick!" he took a breath, Sisko already frowning by the time the Chief got around to asking. "What hand phaser?"

"Kira's," Dax acknowledged to Sisko. "She gave it to Lange for protection following the increase in threats against the conference…and, yes," she smiled at Worf also frowning, "it would have been somewhat difficult for Lange to conceal, other than strapped to the inside of her leg. In the meantime she is the one with a holographic implant that she could have used to confuse the sensors to allow her to gain entry without the phaser being detected."

"Mata Hari," Bashir supplied, hunting through his analyses to prove it.

"Also beautiful," Dax said, if she had her Earth's history right. "Also beguiling."

"And deadly as they come," O'Brien put in. "I repeat, give me a break."

"It doesn't explain Doctor Lange's assault, Commander," Sisko agreed quietly.

"Doesn't it?" she said. "We're the ones insisting Lange's a victim."

"And Dukat's…" Sisko nodded slowly.

"Dukat," Bashir handed Dax the log. "Ripe for the taking, the same as you."

"I believe Julian means you," Dax nodded to O'Brien as she scanned through the report.

O'Brien knew who Julian meant. "Yeah, maybe I am. Heck, obviously, I am; I'm sitting here, aren't I? But you're saying Dukat was set up as well? Come on now. Dukat?"

"It wouldn't be the first time, Chief," Sisko said. "I doubt if it would be the first time."

"Nor the last," Dax looked up to eye Bashir. "It's still all theory."

"Theory?" he said. "It's all right there…beyond the staggering levels of ryetalyn there is clear evidence of residuals of Cardassian DNA. Dukat can't prove Janice's supposed assault by Bajoran terrorists was Tuesday."

"Any more than you can prove it was Wednesday. Julian, I wouldn't call this exactly clear."

"It's clear enough for me," Bashir took his log back. "Supported by Dukat's own testimony -- remember that should you decide to have an illicit affair. The bastard's a bastard, but he's also quite clever."

"I believe Julian means Ch'Pok," Dax offered Sisko.

Sisko knew who he meant. "May I?" he borrowed the log.

"By all means," Bashir said. "It's yours. Evidence to be used as evidence -- and I've no qualms about testifying either. Damn Sorge's misguided compassion in wanting to protect Janice; I'm compassionate myself. Simply hardly to the point that I'd also stoop to protecting Dukat."

"Dukat, yes," Sisko agreed. "However, Doctor, I fail to see -- "

"Where, why, or how Janice suddenly falls from grace? Yes, well, quite frankly," Bashir rose to his feet to return to his side of the argument, "if it wasn't for the fact Dukat's hostility is directed just about everywhere and at everyone except for Janice, I'd likely fail to see a few things myself. Apart from that," he flashed a parting grin for Dax, "call it gut instinct, experience; liberal, I might add."

"It really is all just theory," Dax maintained to Sisko, not exactly convinced herself of Lange's potential for guilt in any way.

So it was. And apart from Lange continued to Sisko to hardly appear 'the type', Dukat's hostility continued to direct itself toward Ch'Pok, the Federation, Odo sporadically, not Lange; never Janice Lange.

"Then why didn't you think to ask?" Ch'Pok pressed Anon. "Why didn't you think to ask Doctor Lange for the name of her informant to further assist you in your quest?"

"Because I didn't."

"Well, fortunately Doctor Lange does know the name of her informant," Ch'Pok turned around with a blistering smile for Janice. "If you would tell us, Doctor?"

She stared at him, from him to Anon who nodded, "Tell him. It's all right, go ahead and tell him, Janice. He's fine. Safe."

"You!" Ch'Pok whirled on Anon to heave, the veins feeding his family crest pulsating, the chords of his throat strangling his neck.

Anon's upper lip elevated slightly with his sneer. "You said informant."

"His name, Dukat!"

"Anar," Janice volunteered. "The Town Elder of my colony. He's not an informant, he's a dear friend."

"Anar?" Damar came down from his disinterested throne to sit up straight in his chair.

"Yes, Anar," Janice turned around. "Why? Do you know him?"

"Yes, well," Odo had to admit with a shake of his head Sisko's direction, "that was also possibly worth the wait…young woman… Doctor Lange," he adjusted that to say, "Anar is not only the believed identity of a Bajoran posing as the Special Forces Task Force Leader assigned to Cardassian corridor just prior to the melee, we'll call it, at Quark's -- "

"You're crazy," Anon interrupted. "Anar was never assigned as Task Leader anywhere; he's an old man. Middle-aged. Older than my father; Tan."

"You can take that part of it up with Damar," Odo suggested. "In the meantime, Anar is also the believed identity of the same or different Bajoran posing as a station security Task Leader in Quark's during the immediate aftermath -- "

"I said Anar was never assigned as Task Leader," Anon repeated.

"I heard you," Odo assured. "Did you hear me say posing?"

"Yes," Janice said. "And Anar was never posing or assigned as any security Task Leader. He was in Quark's, yes, with Sian."

"Sian," Odo said.

"His son," Anon interjected. "And, no, you can't have either of them. They are under protection of the Cardassian Union for purposes of security; their security. Not your interpretation of security. So is the Neutral representative Janice Lange. You can't take her, I, or any of us anywhere. Attempt, and you are in violation of the security protocol agreement the Union has with the UFP and Bajor Prime; not me in violation, you in violation. Your authority over the Cardassian delegates ended Monday with my assault. I extended my authority to include the Bajoran delegate and her people Tuesday following Janice's attack by the Bajoran terrorists. Check the communication logs. One to Cardassia, the other to Bajor Prime informing both the Civilian Council and Shakaar of my decision to intervene and order a squad to embark to Terok Nor to effect order; a lesson, Changeling, in bringing order out of chaos. That is how we do it on Cardassia Prime."

"That's even more interesting," Odo surrendered to Sisko. "It's all yours."

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.