"I'm not sure why I did that," Anar remarked thoughtfully after wishing Sisko and his staff happy and safe landings. With the Prophets' blessing, perhaps Legate Damar might just be killed.
"He'd do the same to you." his son resumed scanning to locate Janice.
"For all the right reasons, simply the wrong Shakaar." The comment was cold, not joking. So was its following one. "That includes Adon. Remind me not to kill him either with my bare hands. The child hasn't the heart for this. If Adon saw anything, he saw that, too -- "
"I have Janice," Sian interjected. "At the front…first level…between the bar and the stairs. Anon's with her…that's his proximity detector?"
Anar was already over the rail; it was fastest way down. Gesturing for his son to toss the Cardassian field unit to him before he followed.
"Yes, that's Anon's," Anar returned the field unit; disappearing into the crowd, his son next to him. "Block it and that security tag of Janice's. We don't want Hawk tracking them. Keep looking for Pfrann…"
"If I block Pfrann, I won't be able to track him other than by his life signs."
"It'll have to do. Try signaling Tan. See if he can locate a window to transport -- Doesn't have to be the ship, just somewhere a little quieter -- "
"Anon's injured," Sian reported. "Life functions are registering abnormally low… no evidence of molecular disruption or thermal exposure…he's in shock whatever it is."
"A fall perhaps?" Anar proposed, pushing onward through the crowd, wishing the unit was capable of medical analysis; he activated his com badge. "Security to Doctor Bashir…"
"No attempted response," Sian shook his head. "Communicator's working."
"It was quite a drop," Anar admitted. "Would have thought though Sisko's young, dashing Starfleet officer was made of stronger stuff…Override data, control, encrypt, decrypt, Bashir, Julian, Medical SO -- now do you have him?"
"Dermal sensor Bashir…" Sian nodded to his father's relief. "Communicator decrypt, encrypt Michelle Faraday CN…Voice discrimination Bashir. Location… Center, first level."
"Close enough," Anar activated his com badge. "Security to Doctor Bashir, you're needed at the bar right now." He got there himself just after Commander Dax.
They had a semblance of order going anyway as Odo slithered his way through to Sisko at the entrance in his role as traffic director, determined to control the swarm and keep a path clear; now largely for medical personnel moving in. What station security they had available already appeared to be there. About two hundred Odo estimated out on the Promenade, which put about a hundred inside, not three as the Chief lamented. They only had three hundred. That should make it a little easier to count uniformed heads if suddenly Sisko did end up with four hundred station security officers on the inside and no Special Forces.
"Wouldn't count on it," Odo rethought his thinking of security uniforms under those yellow jumpsuits eyeing the added trouble of spectators being held back now that the immediate area of the Promenade was being brought under control. That was good news. One fully involved riot was enough for one night.
"Where to?" he asked Sisko directing the patrons' egress into an orderly single file.
"Straight on to the Infirmary," Sisko assured.
"Temple and Security Holding Area. Got it," Odo nodded, a more interested eye on those Special Forces unarmed and being kept into the same single file moving slowly and steadily down the Promenade. "I'll take over. There's something else you'll probably want to check on…"
"What?" Sisko's head bent closer, trying to hear; his attention distracted by the Chief abandoning his post to work his way forward.
"Dukat," Odo repeated just as quietly as the first time, correctly interpreting the Captain's expression. "Quite. Of all people."
Sisko snatched the com badge from the security officer next to him, overrode the communicator's assigned authority with his authority and was hailing Bashir; by then Chief was there about to mouth Dukat.
"Yes, yes," Sisko's nod was rapid, hailing the unresponsive Bashir again, and barking at the computer to locate and lock.
"Locating…" the system agreed, locating the doctor and locking him in as requested.
Bashir answered his hail for immediate assistance. "Yes, I know. I'm on my way…Did you just call?"
"No," Odo shook his head at Sisko's glance.
"Me either," O'Brien shrugged.
"Kira, maybe," Odo grunted.
"No, it wasn't Kira…" Bashir's reply was interesting. "It was definitely a man…Curiosity, that's all. With the distortion, I couldn't really hear who it was."
"Distortion?" the Chief grimaced, knowing that was probably not true, the same as Odo knew it wasn't.
"It's clear now," Bashir signed off.
Sisko was already gone with O'Brien by the time Odo finished casting a second, concerned look over their latest group of assistants three hundred strong.
"Janice…" Anon swayed with the initial, sudden shock to his system, his hand fumbling with Janice's pushing his away from the knife.
"No, don't pull it out. Anon, listen to me, you can't pull it out."
"But that doesn't make any sense…"
"Yes, it does," she promised, straining to keep her footing under his weight. "It's like the ship…Remember the piece of your ship? How you broke it off?"
"I remember I didn't like it…" his mouth brushed her hair, feeling her arms grow much larger and stronger like she had four instead of two.
"Allow me, my dear," Garak offered Janice his services and strength setting Anon back up firmly on his feet. "We really are even heavier than we look."
"Thank you." Janice gabbed up the hem of her dress, stuffing it tightly around the hilt of the knife. "Don't touch it, Anon. Listen to me, don't touch it…Leeta, see if you can find me another knife…"
"No, don't do that," Anon tried pushing her hand away. "You'll ruin your dress."
"Don't worry about the dress, you're hurt. Garak's going to help us get to the bar…Are you listening to me?" her hand smoothed his cheek starting to feel damp, the eyes watching Garak dulled and cloudy as his blood drained steadily into his abdomen. "We're going to let Garak help us. You need to sit down…"
"Elam Garak, Gul Dukat, you remember me," Garak smiled under Anon's inspection. "We met last evening…"
"I remember you," Anon assured.
"Yes," Garak encouraged him to take an unsteady step or two. "And may I take this opportunity to say how I find it so very interesting that you would support the very man who killed your sister…"
"Well, maybe I find it as interesting as my father," Anon retorted, "that Ziyal would chose life with the man who killed her grandfather."
"That would be me," Garak smiled at Janice. "However, I insist my participation in the execution of Ziyal's grandfather -- "
"My grandfather!" Anon snapped, his arm groping for Janice right there with him. "Don't pay any attention to him, he's only trying to frighten you."
"On the contrary," Garak reassured her, "only a friendly word or two of advice -- "
"I said shut up!" Anon's fingers dug into Garak's shoulder. Partially in an effort to keep himself walking, and partially in an effort to inflict a little pain. "I've already told her everything. About Mister Damar. You. What do you think about that?"
"An honesty uncharacteristic of my race," Garak advised Janice. "Not that we can't be honest, our conditioning simply doesn't allow it…As I can only say in defense of Ziyal," he suggested to Anon, "that her lack of sympathy for her Cardassian grandfather was drawn from her Bajoran half."
"As opposed to her ardent loyalty to Cardassia," Anon sneered.
"Precisely," Garak smiled. "A simple matter of dual genetics. Whose confusion has to penetrate…deeper than one's skin," he glanced at the saturated ball of silk wrapped around the knife. "Compression of the abdominal muscles, is that your idea, my dear?"
"One of them," Janice agreed as they reached the bar unchallenged by any new extremists attempting to force their way through the crowd filling and pressing closer moment by moment; certainly threatening enough.
"And the others?" Garak asked.
"Let him help you," Janice kissed Anon's cheek with a soothing smile for his aggravation. "Don't fight him, Anon. Let him just sit you down…we don't want the knife to move."
"Yes, all right, all right. Sit me down. Sit me down." He was down. His breathing increasingly labored and his color fading to an interesting gray. "Now what?" he asked.
"Now we wait for Doctor Bashir," she nodded. "It shouldn't be long at all."
"No, I don't want to wait. You do it. Whatever you need to do. Do it."
"What do you mean you can't?" he insisted. "I know you can."
"I don't have any equipment?"
That was right, too. No equipment. No replicators. No phasers. No anything. He was back to inspecting Garak. "What are you looking at? She knows what she's doing. That's a big secret no one can know? Fine. No one can know it. Tell them and I'll kill you -- all of you," he promised Leeta, Quark, and whoever else was there.
"If you insist," Garak accepted for their small group that included the aforementioned as well as Morn, yes.
"I insist." Anon cursed him with a remarkably vulgar Cardassian expression and a second promise of extreme bodily harm. Doctor Lange he merely told her that he loved her with an attempted kiss of her hand stroking his cheek.
"What is this with the bar?" Quark roused himself with an irritable snap.
"He needs to sit!" Leeta gave him a crack in the fourth lobe. "Help me find a knife."
"A knife! She needs to cut her dress. You had a tray load of them."
"Like I remember," Quark threw up his hands. "I remember the dress…I remember the water…I remember he kicked her down the stairs…"
"Pushed!" Leeta gave him a karate chop to the back of his kneecap. He was down, and she was up, tromping on his hand. "You stupid jerk, you were standing right on one!"
"Glad to help," Quark muttered. "Now, let's see if you can trip."
"I heard that!"
"'I heard that,'" Quark mimicked, carefully closing and opening his hand. "Yeow. Ow ow ow! He's not the only one who's heavier than he looks. Did you hear that?"
"This okay?" Leeta held her blade suspended over Garak's hard work and soul.
"Yes, that's fine," Janice nodded.
"I also found some dinner napkins," Leeta took her pile of collected goodies from Morn with a giggle for Janice's hacked and savage looking dress. "I almost like it even better that way -- Garak, what about you?"
"Different, my dear, yes," Garak agreed, perspiring in the tight collar of his dinner jacket as he knelt before the King; Anon's feet propped up on his thighs to insure the abdominal muscles were compressed to their very tightest. "If you could just loosen the top button for me…"
"This one?" Leeta seized his collar in her freshly manicured claws.
"Yes, exactly," Garak inhaled. "Just loosen, my dear, no reason to yank it off…"
"Oh, well," Leeta tossed the button away. "Too late."
"Yes," Garak sighed. "Quite all right. It's a little too Federation in its design anyway. Major Kira made a point of bringing that to my attention -- expert on the subject of fashion that she is."
"Uh, huh," Quark said. "Is this the same Major Kira I know?"
"Unfortunately, yes," Garak watched Doctor Lange gently and calmly mopping Anon's brow. "Doctor?"
"He's in shock," Janice replied. "Keep his feet elevated…Leeta, let me have another one of those napkins…"
"Oh, I understand the premise," Garak assured. "Merely questioning the benefit. The Cardassian heart…"
"It's the same," Janice discarded her saturated silk rag for two fresh napkins to stuff around the wound.
"I beg your pardon?" Garak blinked.
"Pulmonary function. Location, size of the heart is relative only to if he should sit inclined or reclined…knees bent, or straight," she smiled at Anon reclined slightly with his back supported by the bar. "I love you," she kissed his cheek. "Here you were so worried about me…Now, isn't that silly? But that's all right. Everything will be fine. You'll see."
"Really," Garak said. "How fascinating. I'll have to remember to have that discussion with Julian…"
"He'll be here," Leeta promised Janice.
"Oh, I know," Janice never doubted it for a moment.
It wasn't Julian who arrived first though, it was Commander Dax. After a quick look around the stairs buried in an avalanche of patrons, she spotted the outline of a Special Forces officer lying off to the side. From there it was simply a matter of following the right trail of blood.
"No, you don't have to move," Dax reassured Janice. "You're doing fine. I just want to check his pulse…"
"And?" Quark said.
"Pretty strong," Dax admitted, "considering…Leeta, take over for Garak. Just hold his feet, they don't have to be high…" she scanned the crowd quickly for any available communicator happening by.
"To assist Rom in finding Julian," Garak straightened his stiffening back. "If I interpret your request correctly."
"Blood donor," Dax grinned, opting to just use Quark's terminal to effect an emergency beam out.
"Oh," Garak blinked, momentarily startled by her reply along with the sudden flash of yellow appearing to move him rather firmly out of the way. "Yes, of course, why didn't I think of that…"
Dax saw the same flash of color steps into her dash around the bar for Quark's console. They came from the opposite direction than she had. Two of them briefly, both Bajoran. One officer directing the other to continue on into the crowd while he paused at Dukat. What caught her eye other than the obvious yellow jumpsuit was the white hair.
"See if you can find what happened to Dak'jar," Anar sent his son in search of his sergeant who was supposed to be there to prevent this. Perhaps not his brother's idea of fun, but definitely Anon.
"Don't react." Those muttered instructions were for Janice when he dropped in front of Anon just to have a look at how bad was bad. It was bad enough. He hadn't thought of a knife, certainly not someone's dinner knife. "Bashir's on his way…did you see who they were? Which way they went?" he asked his questions a little louder for the benefit of the trousered legs coming towards him as well as the Ferengi and the Cardassian Garak.
"Oh…" Janice said, her reaction no more surprised than anyone's to find security suddenly at her side. "Well, yes, they went…"
"They're over there," the Bajoran of anyone's dreams agreed, her heavy bosom breathing deeply with her excitement in Anar's face.
"That way," Quark clarified as Anar pardoned himself out from under Leeta's chest.
"Thank you," Anar quickly excused himself from spending any more time with any of them; the approaching smile on the face of the Trill Dax just a little too welcoming. The phaser rifle a little too casual in the way she held it.
"We're requesting all Special Forces relinquish their weapons…" Dax began with an apology to set the officer's mind at ease.
"Yes, I am aware of the order," Anar agreed on his hurried brush past her for the so indicated 'that way'.
"A little suspicious, maybe," Dax acknowledged, acutely conscious of the close quarters, the two conference delegates, one of whom was already injured, the crowd, and the phaser rifle in the Special Forces officer's hand. "Excuse me," she smiled at Janice and Leeta, and left in pursuit of the officer who had failed to comply with her polite request.
"She left," Quark mentioned.
"Yes…" Garak noticed that. "Somewhat in a hurry, too." His eyes were wide, round, searching Quark.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Well, I don't know," Garak breathed. "What are you thinking?"
"The guy's got white hair."
"That wasn't what I was thinking," Garak had to admit.
"Uh, huh," Quark said. "Well, it's what I'm thinking…Excuse me," he apologized for leaving the three kids on their own with only Morn for company. "But as the saying goes, I've had just about enough of this…Give me one of those," he snatched one of the phaser rifles from Morn. "Let me show you how to really get things done -- right or wrong?" he hammered Garak in the gut with the rifle.
"Oh," Garak accepted the offer, or the phaser rifle at least.
"Well, just don't stand there," Quark sneered. "We're waiting."
"Yes, of course," Garak agreed, trying not to think of how twenty years ago he probably would have given his life's career for such an opportunity…"Not to be presumptuous," he swallowed, still not entirely convinced his eyes weren't playing tricks on him. "But was there something almost familiar about our visiting guest…wouldn't you say?"
"Guy on the steps," Quark waddled along.
"I beg your pardon?"
"Guy on the steps." Quark let out a bellow for Dax dogging Anar pretending he didn't notice her as he checked the scattered bodies of security officers commingled among the civilians. "Over here! This is the one!"
Dax cringed with the sound of Quark's call wishing he'd try to cultivate a little common sense to go along with his savvy business acumen. Garak was no better, that enduring Cardassian curiosity unable to keep him away. Who confused her was the Bajoran officer. Guilty, he should have run. Innocent, he should have surrendered his rifle. He did neither, as if her presence didn't matter, and he knew she was there.
"Watch him, he's a slick one," Quark warned Anar circumventing Dax to have a look over the unconscious officer. "A knock in the head and he still came up fighting. So we knocked him again."
"You're sure this is him?" Anar kept his head bent over the Bajoran.
"Excuse me if I didn't take a picture. Yes, it's him. Ask Garak. He's the one with the photographic memory if you don't believe me."
"I wish you hadn't reminded me of that," Anar sighed, trying to figure out a gracious exit as it was. "You said there was another one?"
"Guy on the steps," Quark nodded.
"Guy on the steps…" Anar was sure Quark meant something by that. Ferengi always meant something.
"The one with you," Quark gave him a clout in the arm. "Last night. I told you I never forget a face. It was him. The big guy. He's over there…past the stairs. You'll remember him when you see him -- if you don't, I do."
Oh, Anar remembered the big guy on the stairs with him last night. Dak'jar. His sergeant.
"Okay, I'll prove it to you," Quark offered as Anar stood up. "Him or not him?" he petitioned Garak winking and blinking down on the security officer like he had never saw him before in his life.
"Why, Commander," Garak breathed just the opposite to Dax, "unless I'm mistaken, I believe that's our luncheon friend from today. You recall, the officer you requested Julian's assistance in reviewing his psychological profile…I'm sorry, I hadn't really noticed…" he glanced up with the interesting notice of Anar just walking away.
"So much for Julian's analysis," Dax agreed.
"Oh, yes," Garak watched the vanishing back of Anar moving on in his search for Gul Dukat's second assailant. "Interesting, I must say. Very."
"A little, too," Dax promised. "Stay here the both of you. Don't move."
"Oh, we won't," Garak swore. "No, we won't."
"Captain?" Dax kept her smile in her voice and herself firmly positioned for a possible strike as she followed Anar stooping to check the body of another fallen security guard. "Your attention is appreciated, however Captain Sisko's instructions are firm…"
"You want your rifle," Anar replied.
"Actually…" Dax paused, realizing something else about him beyond his white hair. She hadn't yet seen his face. Only in a flash when he first went by her and she noticed he seemed to be older than one would expect of a Special Forces officer. He was older. He was also quite clearly hiding his face. Keeping it turned when it wasn't bent. Not only away from her. But from Quark. Garak. "Captain, could you turn around?"
"My child," Anar sighed, signing off from verifying with his son if he had located Dak'jar, which Sian had. Injured, and whom Anar promptly instructed his son to kill without mercy. "Don't you think if I wished to kill you, I would have by now?"
The blast from Sian's phaser rifle in the not too distant distance caught the Trill's attention just long enough. Anar was up and Dax had a fist striking her in the face, not a disruptor striking her in the chest. She saw Worf's head cresting the newly panicked crowd as the surprising power behind the Bajoran's punch knocked her to her knees.
"WORF!" the voice was Benjamin's. So was the hand reaching to pull Dax to her feet.
"He's an older man," Dax collected her shaken senses. "White hair…"
"Yes, we saw him," Sisko assured. "Where's Dukat?"
"At the bar. Go ahead. I'm fine, really…Benjamin," she said as he hesitated, "I know what he looks like."
"Yes, all right. Odo, go with her -- " Sisko hesitated again, briefly with Martok. "Fine, go with them -- but, General! I want that man alive. Bashir!" he hammered his com badge.
"Right behind you…" Bashir answered. "I started at the stairs, I saw you…"
"Dukat's at the bar," Sisko directed him.
"Right," Bashir took off.
"Chief!" Sisko looked around, finding O'Brien already working his way back to him.
"You know who that was?” O’Brien said excitedly. “That was the guy in the dining room -- I'm telling you that was the guy in the dining room. The one with the disruptor -- white hair! It just clicked!"
Sisko stared at him.
"White hair," O'Brien tugged on his dirty-blond locks. "I knew there was something odd about him, it just didn't connect what."
"Check on Dukat," Sisko propelled him towards the bar, and he was gone after Dax, Worf, Odo, Martok.
"Right," O'Brien threw up his hands. "'Check on Dukat.' All right, fine. I'll check on Dukat."
"What about Dukat?"
Damar's leer was waiting for him two steps back into the crowd.
O'Brien looked at him. "Someone beat you to it."
Damar had to think about that.
"He's dead," O'Brien predicted. "Can I get by now?"
"By all means!" Damar gestured.