The Time of Hagalaz, Presumed Guilty Part Two

Chapter Four

"You are as insane as any Klingon," Worf declared to Pfrann as he caught up with him. They were up and off the rail like a springboard, dropping down in the arms of the second small faction of six finding themselves hemmed in by Martok and his men being joined by Worf landing on his feet with a thud behind Pfrann. "I repeat, you are a diplomat. The Rules of Protocol are clear -- insure his surrender!" he quickly disarmed the Bajoran nearest him, tossing the phaser rifle to Pfrann who missed. Worf groaned. Once for Pfrann colliding in mid-air with a Bajoran when he leapt to catch the rifle. A second time for General Martok making the most of his battle easily won.

"Absurd," Martok wrenched the Federation toy away from his capture, casting it aside to hungrily eye his prize still free to continue his battle like the warrior he pretended to be. "What is the point of battle if there is no lesson learned?"

"The point of battle is victory," Worf assured. "Which has been achieved."

"Nonsense," Martok loomed close to the Bajoran stepping back from him. "The enemy we fight is elusive. Look, even now this one attempts to flee. Confident in his victory over some one-eyed old man -- some being in a Federation suit who cannot decide if he is Klingon, or who he is -- his opinion, of course," he promised his friend Worf. "Not mine…And of course some child." he chuckled at Pfrann scrambling to get to his feet. "Seeking to get out of the way of a man -- eh?" Martok ignored the assistance of a squad of Sisko's security officers taking control of the secured Bajoran terrorists; his attention caught by the child on his back on the floor, a broken leg of a table in his hand.

"The point is still victory," Worf's firm hand came down on the shoulder of Martok's opponent. "You are under arrest. Remand yourself to Captain…"

"Anar," Hawk offered, in what the Klingon couldn't know was a malicious attempt to implicate the honorable elder uncle of his honorable First Minister Shakaar of Bajor. Any more than the Klingon could know the officer standing in front of him was the Leader of the very enemy he fought. How could he know? Hawk's yellow skin shed for the far more suitable standard security uniform of Constable Odo's Bajoran Security Force in anticipation, of course. Naturally in anticipation that the yellow jumpsuit that got him in would, in turn, impede his getting out? But then who did the Federation think they were dealing with? Who did this Changeling of the Dominion? Who did Shakaar, or for that matter Kai Winn and her Klingon Chancellor Gowron, his employers?

"Captain Anar is now your leader," Worf instructed the Bajoran dissidents. "Obey him and his men or the consequences will be severe. Captain…"

"With pleasure, Commander," Hawk took repossession of his men. Five of them. The sixth was preoccupied with wondering what Pfrann was planning to do with the broken table leg.

Worf sighed. "Dukat…"

"No!" Martok stopped him. "Look at the way he grips it -- two hands towards the ends, and now one hand in the center. What does that remind you of?"

"A weapon," Worf assured. "The table leg is off a medium alloy -- "

"Precisely!" Martok's hand clapped him in the back. "A weapon. Not just any. Bat'telh! Eh? Bat'telh."

Worf looked at him. "Bat'telh."

"Perhaps a slightly crooked one," Martok shrugged. "Twisted in the shape of an S -- but, see? Those are his points. The blades of his sword. The square, shaved foot -- and, of course," he shrugged again, "her ragged broken end."

Worf frowned at the slow, deliberate precision of Pfrann's movements. "It is perhaps reminiscent of the bat'telh…"

Martok's hand struck him in his back again. "Worf! You know the bat'telh as well as I do. That is bat'telh."

"Fine," Worf sighed. "It is bat'telh. A weapon, not a dance. This battle is over, we have more to fight."

"What fight?" Martok scoffed. "The spitting of a phaser over here -- the spitting of a phaser over there. It was over before it started. Now it is nothing but crowd control. The Bajoran is intrigued. Excited himself by the prospect of letting the blood of Dukat. Let them play it out. They're only toying with each other. Seeking to make their point."

"The Bajoran," Word assured, "is confused by our lack of intervention, not wishing to be struck by the leg of some chair."

"Table!" Martok corrected. "Deservedly so. Look around you at the chaos, destruction -- death that man has caused. You think that is right? Any of you?" he challenged Sisko's patient and waiting security crew. "Do you see something worthy of applause rather than punishment for this man's actions? He has killed you. His own people. Your wives, your brothers -- the children you will now never have. If he wants to fight Cardassians or Klingons, let him. That woman's body I see lying over there is Bajoran. Her head and heart crushed as if she were nothing."

"She is Bolian," Worf caught Martok's pointing hand. "If you do not desist, I will be forced to arrest you for attempting to incite a riot."

"It is a riot!" Martok laughed until his stomach ached. "Oh, Worf, where are your Klingon hearts? Grant the child his revenge. His opportunity to become a man. He has been denied his dinner -- we know how much Cardassians like to eat! As much as a Klingon likes to fight. Why do you think they are all fat by my age?"

Worf's eyes rolled. "An old insult which constitutes propaganda that cannot be supported by fact."

"Have you ever seen one who wasn't?"

"A senseless debate. Sentinel Dukat will surrender his weapon now, or it will be taken from him."

"What about the Bajoran?" Martok checked.

"You try my patience, General," Worf moved him aside with a final notice for Pfrann and the intruder also now armed with a makeshift weapon and circling the Cardassian Sentinel circling him. "This area is secured. The intruder will remand himself to station security as ordered. Sentinel Dukat will stand down from his battle -- that is over."

He was too late. Pfrann disarmed the terrorist with a raking upward strike of the blunted foot of the table leg, plunging its broken end into the center of the Bajoran's chest. The flesh of the man's back bulged outwards from the controlled force of the thrust. Pfrann yanked the table leg out. The torn Bajoran heart ripped from its cavity dangling on the sharp fingers of the leg's end.

"One of those severe consequences," Hawk turned away with his squad of men and prisoners. All of them visibly unperturbed, and inwardly remembering.

Thirty meters away Kira poised in her hobbling run unable to believe what she was looking at.

"Believe it," Odo grunted. Certain there was a reason for Mister Worf's lacking response, as well as the lacking response of his squad. Shock, coupled with satisfied revenge. Martok's response was also reasonable for a Klingon. Actually, the only one Odo could see was questionable was Pfrann.

"Questionable?" Kira whirled on him. "Questionable?"

"For lack of a better word."

"Oh!" Kira stormed forward.

"Now it's over," Pfrann held his weapon with its grizzly prize in presentation to Worf. "His life for the attempt on my brother's."

Martok howled in ghoulish delight. "An honorable sentiment! Surely you would not punish the child -- this young man -- warrior," he beseeched his friend focused on the sharp, cool Cardassian eyes as cold and brilliant as yellow diamonds. "For an act you would commit yourself in your brother's name?"

"'A warrior's blood boils before the fire is hot,'" Worf quoted the Klingon proverb to Pfrann. "I misjudged the extent of your anger. The responsibility of the intruder's death is mine, not yours."

"Excellent!" Martok approved. "That's true, you did. It's all right. So did I," he patted Worf's chest, stopping him from taking Pfrann's offer. "No, wait a minute. A valuable lesson I wish to teach the child in his love affair with my bat'telh. Don't concern yourself. We have no argument with each other -- keep it," he instructed Pfrann. "I'll take this one…"

"General," Worf sighed to Martok securing the Bajoran's lost weapon.

"Ignore him," Martok encouraged Pfrann. "He whines like a female. We are men. I want you to attack. Lunge! At me as you did at him -- you refuse the opportunity of a lesson from a master?"

Hesitated perhaps, Pfrann did not refuse. He lunged, the chair leg slicing down on Martok's weapon that did not quiver. Martok smiled, easily thrusting Pfrann away from him. "As I thought, your strikes are as weak as they are strong. You understand the difference now between bat'telh and the Bajoran and the Sword of Honor and the Klingon? One you fight to protect a brother too weak to fight for himself…The other…" he goaded Pfrann circling him, "you fight for the honor of your home -- a father who is fat! Cardassia Prime which is mine!" Their swords clanged again. Martok delayed in thrusting the child away from him, amused by the straining effort in Pfrann's arms and the hatred he could see in the golden eyes -- looking down instead of straight at him. Pfrann's foot kicked out, catching the General around his ankle of his blind side. Martok was down, flat on his back on the floor, the child's table leg poised to pierce his throat.

"Or heart," Martok laughed, moving the blade to a more appropriate location. "You take his, you're afraid to take a Klingon's?"

"If you insist," Pfrann's arm jerked up and then down piercing the General's armor deeply enough to wound more than his pride. Martok was surprised to find the meter long pole, or whatever it was sticking out of his chest. Odo wasn't quite sure why Martok was surprised, but he was.

"What do you think you're doing? Give me that!" Kira descended on Pfrann and Martok, grabbing one by the arm and the other by his chair leg? Odo surveyed the stick.

"Table leg," Worf identified.

"Yes, I see that now," Odo agreed as Kira yanked it out of the General's chest. "Probably should be glad she has a broken ankle -- that goes for you, too," he alerted Worf. The station's security squad was smart enough to get out of there with their prisoners -- all but one Odo nodded to the bloodied corpse. "Heart of targ, I don't suppose?"

"Sentinel Dukat was defending his brother," Worf sighed. "I am responsible."

"Tell it to the judge," Odo suggested, doubting if Major Kira would be all that interesting in listening. Just ask Sentinel Dukat.

"He has two!" Pfrann jeered his defense, not exactly concerned to find himself taken by the hand.

"Hearts." Odo directed Kira's attention back to the one heart now lying on the floor instead of dangling off a table leg.

"Bat'telh," Martok was on his feet, bleeding, but otherwise fine. "I was attempting to teach a lesson, had I known the child had the soul of a targ, I would have declined."

"Yes, well, I believe there's a proverb about the dangers of lying down with targs," Odo grunted, more interested for the moment in protecting Sentinel Dukat from Kira. If the need be. There was no need.

"I see it," Kira snapped. "Give me the cuffs. Give them to me!"

Odo did. She twisted them on. One cuff around Pfrann's wrist, the other around hers with a firm, emphatic yank to test them, or him.

"Now behave yourself," she chastised, fair to say Pfrann not the only one with the incredulous expression on his face. "That's not how the Federation does things. Do you understand me?"

If Pfrann did, he was alone. If he didn't seek to antagonize Kira anyway, he would not have been Dukat. Which he was. From the nerve, to the leer, down to the whine. "Oh, but, Nerys!"

Kira's hand cracked his cheek. "I said that's enough!"

It was. Obvious also. Again, Odo wasn't quite sure what Worf or Martok or Pfrann saw as being obvious. An outraged surrogate mother silencing any further back talk? He had an idea Pfrann at least felt he was being treated as a naughty child. That's what captured Odo's attention. The naughty child. Apparently Pfrann wasn't the only one who was angrier than he looked. Major Kira was not about to express sympathy for the deep pool of blood on the floor regardless of the Bajoran ridges on the man's nose. Odo's gaze cast itself over Rom joining them wearing his own pool of blood on his knees, waist, and elbows of his trousers and shirt.

"Um, sorry…" Rom prefaced what he had to say with his usual and unnecessary apology.

"Quite all right, a minor display of brotherly love, that's all," Odo nodded.

"Um, yup, I see him," Rom agreed. "That's okay. Doesn't upset me. One of them hit Leeta. She hit him back. Morn, too. Pow! Didn't have to hit him again."

"Good for them," Odo approved. "Anything else? Or can I get back to the unpopular task of arresting the hero of the hour?"

"You're not arresting anyone," Kira corrected, immediately and heatedly. "You heard Worf."

"I did, and we'll sort it out -- What?" he said to Rom saying something about Dukat.

"Um, yup, Dukat," Rom nodded to Pfrann. "Your brother. He's hurt. Like that… Well, maybe not exactly like that…" he clarified as Pfrann stared at the heartless bastard on the floor, no pun intended. "How…" Rom frowned suddenly puzzled, about to say something like how did Pfrann know?

He didn't. Obvious by his face. But he would find out. Also obvious. Even if he didn't know where.

"The stairs. Maybe. Could be the bar," Rom offered as Pfrann and Kira took off on a mad dash together. Reasonable, they were lashed together. Unrealistic, less the marked discrepancy in leg length and therefore speed, one of Kira's ankles was fractured. Her feet skidded out from under her, snapping Pfrann backward as the handcuffs held and he likewise hit the floor with a crash.

"Children," Martok stooped in his indignation to sever the bond with his kut'luch.

"Wouldn't know," Odo replied as Kira and Pfrann took off again, that time going their separate ways.

"Don't misunderstand the gesture," Martok waved his dagger before reseating it at his waist. "All is not forgiven. Sisko will hear about the unprovoked attack on my person, as will Chancellor Gowron."

"Yes, well," Odo drawled, "under the circumstances then you shouldn't mind seeing what you can do about assisting Mister Worf in finding one of them now."

"If you insist," Martok sighed.

"I do," Odo assured with an eye over Rom.

"Um, yup," Rom nodded, "I'll find Doctor Bashir -- have you seen him?"

"He hasn't been answering his hail…" Odo looked around. "Probably lost his com badge in the shuffle -- either that or he's among the injured himself. Try the rear of the gambling area. Station security was under orders to clear it for triage -- that's probably what some of this nonsense was about…" Odo continued looking around as Rom scurried off; the team of station security and their prisoners were nowhere to be seen. He activated his com badge. "Constable Odo to Captain Sisko…" There was also still no answer from him. He liked that less than Bashir.

"A lot less," Odo glanced down at the unbeating heart at his feet. He had a choice. Step over it, or go around it. He crushed the muscle to flattened pulp under his foot as he left to see what he could do about locating Captain Sisko, even though no, it wasn't the Federation way. Possibly one of the reasons why he preferred his position as Head of the Station's Bajoran Security Force. Still, he had a job to do. That job was to keep order. Or to reclaim order as the case was. He activated his com badge again, that time looking for O'Brien who answered.

"Seen Sisko?" Odo just wondered.

"Not for the last minute or so…" the Chief's voice was distorted by the buzzing hub of the crowd. "No, wait a minute, I see him…Over by the door…Why? Something wrong?" there was chuckle there, underscoring the irony of the question.

"Nothing extraordinary," Odo replied. "There's a possibility our intruders came equipped to blend in with station security as well."


"It's called an escape hatch," Odo nodded. "Simple matter of wearing one uniform under the other. I believe we may have just handed a group of Bajoran intruders to a group of Bajoran intruders dressed as station personnel -- not Special Forces."

"I know what it's called," O'Brien assured. "It's called if there's one, there's 300 of them in here on top of the first three hundred. Now what?"

"Yes, well, now's not the time to panic…"

"I'm not panicking. I'm saying now what? You can't arrest every Bajoran in uniform."

"I can detain them," Odo corrected. "That's an order to disarm and detain them."

"Right," O'Brien scoffed. "From there every damn Bajoran on the station."

"Or at least the one's perspiring profusely from wearing three layers of clothing," Odo grunted.

"Huh?" O'Brien said.

"I said it's over," Odo assured. "Mission accomplished. All of that. Gul Dukat's been injured. Mortally, possibly. From Rom's brief description, more than likely."

There was silence from the Chief's end. Followed by a drawn out: "Oh, Jeez… Now what happens?"

"We'll have to see," Odo agreed.

"Good Lord…" Bashir carefully stepped over the open graves of the gambling area where the terrorists didn't even have the common decency to use disruptor force powerful enough to cause immediate cessation of life. These people died horribly. Their last moments agonizing, terrified cries feeling their ruptured veins and arteries pouring in hemorrhage, their burning flesh falling in chucks off their bones dislocating and fracturing with the eruptive disturbance of their molecular structure. Bashir heard the whimpering of the one being still alive and shivering in thermal shock before he located the life signs. She was Capellan. A Federation planet of humanoids on the Klingon border. A harsh planet with a harsh climate, harsh people and harsh rules. She didn't look harsh lying there with her clothing and flesh fused together as one. Her body destroyed, it was her strength that insisted she live. Even now as Bashir slipped his jacket off to cover her more in act of compassion than any ability to give her some warmth, she was trying to say something, her contorted, burned hand trying to get his attention.

"Doctor Bashir," Bashir smiled gently. "The medical staff is here. You're going to be all right."

"Why?" It was her first word, her only word and her last uttered with her dying breath. How profound the question was coming from the mouth of such an uncivilized species herself. Unless they were all suddenly civilized in death. Maybe that was the key. In order to redeem it you first had to destroy it. He couldn't believe that. He thought of someone else's profound words extraordinarily applicable to the occasion. "'Let there be light, said God, and there was light. Let there be blood, says man, and there's a sea.' Lord Byron," he smiled up at his evening charge nurse Michelle, her round, caring middle-aged face watching the two of them tenderly. "Human poet. Eighteenth, 19th century. He also died quite young…thirty-six?" Bashir frowned. "Can't remember." Any more than he could remember at the moment if the quote was from a letter or a poem.

"Don Juan, I think," Michelle nodded. "Are you all right? I saw you hanging from the dining floor. I couldn't tell if you jumped or fell."

"A combination of the two," Bashir got to his feet. "But, no, I'm fine -- you?" he suddenly realized she was somewhat overdressed for duty rotation.

"It's Monday."

"Yes," Bashir probably knew that somewhere in the back of his mind. "Of course, what am I saying…for God's sake, you weren't here, were you?"

"For dinner. Hank and I just thought we'd have a quiet night out -- it's our anniversary."

"Is it?" Bashir said.

"Twenty-five years. We did what you did -- jumped. I don't know if it was right or wrong. We had just sat down and the next thing I knew Hank was saying to jump -- so I jumped."

"Hank?" Bashir stared at her, hardly a lithe, slender woman herself. "Your Hank?"

"You, he's not," Michelle chuckled in agreement. "He broke his ankle. I told him, Hank, I realize it hurts, but I can't be concerned about that now…He's a good man, he understands. I've called for a full medical detail -- I wasn't sure if you had a chance."

"No, I did," Bashir agreed. "But thank you."

"It's my job. I've also requested any available medical personnel who might be here to try and get to the rear of the gambling area -- what do you think?" She gestured around where she already had about a dozen people lined up sitting or lying down with the assistance of two other courageous souls she had managed to get to help her. Bashir had no idea who either of the people were other than he knew they weren't medical personnel. "It looks like the perfect place for triage to me."

"Oh," Bashir startled. "Well, yes, it's fine…Sorry, but I don't believe I even realized we were walking…" he looked back over the steps he had taken; quite a distance, actually.

Michelle nodded. "Are you sure you're all right?"

"Oh, yes," Bashir promised. "Probably just a residual effect from the disruptor -- why?"

"You're crying," she smiled.

"Oh," Bashir touched his damp cheek. "Well, yes, that's true, I am. Definitely a residual effect from the disruptor…All right, let's see…" he stepped into his waiting room. "Standard evac procedures once security gets that entrance cleared for us. We'll reserve requests for emergency beam out for the truly critical cases -- like this one," he hit his com badge; it wasn't there. The jacket, of course. Either that or he lost it in his free-fall.

"Never go anywhere without it," Michelle tossed him hers.

"You're the best," Bashir issued the call for the transport. It worked. Shields up, force fields engaged throughout the station, the computer found her needed window to effect transport. He heard the distant sound of a grenade exploding in the background, sensing the shaking of the dining area overhead from the shock wave and pounding invasion of station security and medical personnel bypassing the riot spilling out and engulfing the first level of the Promenade. In ten minutes he had a staff and a working sterile area for emergency stabilization. Not long after that he had security urgently calling him over his com badge for assistance and Rom standing at his side saying something about Dukat.

"Dukat?" Bashir repeated.

"Yup," Rom nodded. "He's hurt."

"Yes, well, he may be hurt, but so are these people hurt."

"Um…" Rom hesitated as Bashir kept working. "Does that mean you're not coming?"

"No, I'm coming," Bashir assured. "This one's next…"

"Got it," Michelle promised.

"I just find it distasteful that someone's life -- anyone's life is valued at some higher level than someone else's -- especially under circumstances such as these," Bashir informed Rom on a fast trot across the gambling area into the sea of bodies being forced back into the bar to control the madness. "We don't even know who these people are. For all we know he could be the finest mathematician in galaxy. She could be an opera singer -- a molecular cyberneticist -- " he tripped over something. Pushed on by the power of the crowd by the time he managed to turn around all he could see was a thousand pair of feet.

"Does a knife in his stomach count as something serious?"

"Dukat was stabbed in his stomach?" That didn't make any sense. Who was out there fighting hand-to-hand combat in the middle of all of this? Martok? Or perhaps not Martok personally, but some Klingon? Bashir eyed Rom, certainly not wanting to plant a seed of suspicion if there was no cause, but, yes, he did want to ask.

"Um…" Rom was thinking about the position of the knife. "Maybe a little lower? Kind of near his hip?"

"Right or left?"

"Left," Rom nodded. "Yup. He bent over to pick up the phaser rifle and bam the Bajoran got him and all this blood just started bubbling."

That settled who. Bashir frowned at Rom's description. "Bubbling."

"Around the knife?"

"It's still in him?"

"Yup. Janice told him not to take it out."

"Common iliac?" Bashir guessed. "Yes, possibly. Even if the knife managed to penetrate his abdominal muscles to a vital organ…"

"No, it's in," Rom nodded. "Way in. Can't even see it. Just the handle."

"Still…" Bashir said, "the immediate hemorrhage would be internal, not external…"

"No, it's external," Rom promised. "Lot's of it…would, um, that iliac make a lot of blood?"

"Lose," Bashir assured. "It's an arterial branch of his abdominal aorta. He could bleed to death in a matter of minutes."

"Wow," Rom whistled. "Guess it's all right if you help him then."

"Yes, well, that's probably still a matter of opinion," Bashir acknowledged. "But no, it's fine if I help him."

"Good," Rom breathed. "Because she's pretty upset. Janice. And, yup, Leeta, too."

"I'm quite sure they are upset. I doubt if anyone came here with the idea that they, or the person sitting next to them would be dead within a matter of minutes. I know I certainly didn't…Where are we going, by the way?"

"The bar," Rom nodded. "Maybe the stairs."

"The bar…" that sounded familiar.

"Security," Rom pointed to his com badge. "They called."

"Yes, I know," Bashir fingered the communicator. "It's just that it's not mine. I overrode Michelle's encryption to effect emergency transport."

"The computer would know that."

"Yes, I know."

"Then…what are you saying?'

"I don't know." Only that he would have expected Sisko, Kira, Dax, any of them to identify themselves, not simply say Security to Doctor Bashir

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