Chapter 1 - Bad Business
In Odo's security office, Quark says to Odo "Odo, you have to arrest him!"
"On your word? Look, Quark, I need some sort of evidence. Start from the beginning, tell me word for word what he said."
"Alright, so there I was, tending bar, when this guy comes in dressed in a sparkling blue suit. I instantly made my way over to him."
"Because anyone who dresses that flashy is either an entertainer, or he has something to sell."
"Anyway, I make my way over to him, he orders a Phaloxian ale, expensive stuff, and so I ask him what kind of business he's in. He tells me he's a trader. Well, I figure if he's going to answer with something that vague, either he's not selling anything, or I have to work him a bit. I give him his drink. He introduces himself as Sarelle, and he starts talking about the dabo girls, and how lovely they are. I agree with him, and we spend about ten minutes or so talking about women, sexy women, entertaining women, professional women, women who do favors for money. Finally we talk about sex slaves. He goes into lots of detail, like he knows the business. He asks me questions, he probes. I'm curious at this point, so I'm playing a long, smiling and going with the flow. He starts talking about young women, short, small, very young women. Women who are so young they don't know anything about sex, and so you can teach them to do whatever you like. Well at this point I quit smiling, I tell him 'look buddy, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about, I think you need to leave my bar'. And when I said that, he finished his ale, and he left. Then I came here immediately."
"I see. But did he actually say he had children, or anyone on his ship, being held against their will?"
"No, he never came right out and said it. But Odo, he hinted at it, he did everything but spell it out!"
"Quark, what motivation do you have to turn this guy in? What did he do to you?"
"Nothing. I just think what he's doing is wrong. Look, Odo, I draw the line at children."
"I have wondered for years where you drew the line, if ever."
"And now you know! So what are you going to do about it?"
"Well, I can't search his ship because someone merely suspects something. If he had come out and confessed that he had slaves on his ship, that would be grounds. But if all he's done is hint at the possibility, I can't search his ship."
"So you're not going to do anything!?"
"Oh I am. And you're going to help me. We need to set him up, get him to show the merchandise."
Quark smiles and says "Now you're talking. What do we do?"
AT THE SHIP DOCK.
In one of the ship docks, Quark, with a brief case in hand, is walking nervously around a ship. Suddenly he hears a voice say "Hold it right there!"
Quark freezes in place. He hears the voice say "Turn around, slowly."
Quark turns around to see Sarelle pointing a phaser at him. Sarelle asks "What are you doing here, snooping around my ship?"
"I was looking for you."
"Oh really, I thought you didn't want any part of my business."
"Nonsense, I just said that in case someone was listening. You see, the security chief around here is relentless, he has half the station keeping their ears out for him. I wanted to get you out of there as fast as possible before you said something incriminating."
"Oh, I see. So you're interested in buying?"
"Yes, very much. I mean, I'm not personally into... minors. But I have a close friend, who is very wealthy, and is very much into minors. I'm thinking I could make a respectable prophet" Quark says with a greedy smile.
"Yes yes, well. What does your friend like?"
"Well I've seen his collection, and... well I know what he goes for visually."
"Like I said, he's wealthy. And, would you mind putting away the phaser?"
"Oh sorry." Sarelle says, and tucks the phaser pistol into his sparkling jacket, and continues "Now, where were we?"
"You were about to show me your selection."
"Of course, come with me."
Sarelle leads Quark into his ship and says "Wait here."
Quark stands there, looking around the room. The room was highly decorated. There were statues and pictures of soldiers dressed in various armors. There were vases, and earns, and what appeared to be both artistic and religious sculptures. One sculpture in particular stood out. It was of a half humanoid, half bird.
Sarelle comes back into the room, sees Quark looking at the statue, and says "Ah, I see you've noticed my Bajoran Takanak."
"Takanak? Never heard of it. Anyhow, let's have a look at the merchandise."
Quark looks at the 4 children. He walks up to them, and around them, looking them over.
Sarelle says "Would you like me to have them remove their clothes?"
"Oh no, no, it's all in the face. Take this one for example, such high cheek bones and such smooth flowing hair. In fact, this is the one."
Sarelle says to the children "You three may leave now. You, my dear Abilain, you stay."
The children walk off, and Sarelle says "Now, let's talk price."
"I'll give you everything I have in this briefcase, thirty bars of latinum, and not a strip more."
Quark lays the briefcase on a marble table and opens it. Sarelle takes a good look, and with a smile on his face says "Well mister Quark we have a deal." He then gestures for Abilain to go with Quark. He closes the briefcase and picks it up. Suddenly the brief case transforms into a liquid, and then into Odo. Odo says "You're under arrest Sarelle!"
Suddenly the statues of soldiers turn and fire at Odo! Quark screams and runs away, out of the room through the hall, and jumps out of the ship's hatch. He turns to look at the ship, he sees a pool of ooze slithering like a snake towards the hatch. The ooz transforms into Odo the moment he is out of the ship. Odo yells to Quark "Run!" and begins limping away. The ship's hatch closes, and they hear the engines power up.
Quark asks "Odo, are you alright?
"Not exactly, I was hit with a phaser, but I think I'll live."
Kira and Dax notice a ship power its engines up.
Dax presses a button on her control panel and says "Captain of cargo ship Isis Four, you are not clear for take off."
About ten seconds goes by without any communication with the ship. Kira says "What the hell's he doing?"
Dax answers "He's engaging thrusters!"
Kira says "Captain Sarelle, or whoever is piloting the cargo ship Isis, disengage your thrusters before you tear your ship apart!"
Dax says "He's increasing his thrusters."
Suddenly Sarelle gets on the view screen and says "Release my ship at once or I will kill these children!" He holds a knife to a child's throat.
Kira says "Alright, but you have to disengage your thrusters for us to do that."
"Nonsense!" Sarelle shouts.
"The docking clamps can't release when there is pressure against them!" Kira shouts.
The ship turns its engines to maximum thrust. The ship wobbles a bit and then breaks free, but not before damaging itself. The ship takes off, and not a second later explodes!
The station rumbles lightly as the debris of the ship slams against it.
Chapter 2 – The Aftermath
Later, in sick bay.
Sisko says "Well doctor, will he be alright?"
Bashir answers "Well, I can't make heads or tails out of Odo's physiology."
"I feel fine now, just a mild ache all over, not as bad as it was an hour ago." Odo says.
"Well then, doctor, I assume the patient is well enough for questioning?"
"Be my guest."
Odo says "I'd prefer to have this conversation in your office."
"By all means. And Quark..."
"Yes?" Quark answers.
IN SISKO'S OFFICE.
Benjamin Sisko, Odo, and Quark, make their way to Sisko's office. There they explain the whole story.
Sisko says "So after you two made a run for it, the door hatch closes, and he tries to take off, blows up his ship in the process, killing the children aboard!?"
Odo says "Sir, you're acting as if we were acting in a careless, reckless manner. This is the way me and Quark bust people, we have a system, it usually works."
"Well it didn't this time! Odo, why didn't you come to me and get authorization to search the ship?"
"As I already explained, the word of a bartender, claiming that his personal interpretation of a customer's words suggest that he may have something illegal on board his ship, is not grounds for search and seizure."
Sisko says in a strong and excited voice "It is when it comes to children being held as sex slaves, damn it!"
"Where, exactly, does it say that commander?"
Sisko angrily pulls out a data pad and says "It says it... It says it..." He skims through the data pad for a few seconds and says "It says it right here under the paragraph about common sense, damn it!"
Odo says dryly "There's no such paragraph, commander."
Sisko buries his face in his hands out of frustration and says softly "I know Odo. But there should be such a paragraph." He then takes his hands away from his face and rubs his temples, and says "Alright, it was no ones fault. All procedures were followed to the T. And, I apologize for my tone of voice. Everyone dismissed."
Odo and Quark walk out of Sisko's office. Odo says "You didn't have much to say."
"The mood Sisko was in, I figured I'd let you do all the talking. Besides, I got something on my mind bothering me."
"The restless thoughts of a days worth of lost profits?"
"No, the fact that I ran, by myself, never grabbed the little girl to take with me. I just abandoned her."
Chapter 3 – Our Worst Nightmare
Much later, in Odo's security office, Odo is filling out a report on the incident, when in walks Sisko and Dr. Mora.
The moment Odo sees Mora, the feelings rush back to him. The memories of being in a lab, poked and prodded by this scientist. Odo knows Dr. Mora isn't evil. But the memories of being pressured into things, and tested and zapped, all feel so abusive. Odo doesn't hate Dr. Mora, but the site of him, the mention of his name, it does bring back horrible memories.
Odo looks up, and with a shocked look on his face says "Doctor Mora!"
Mora replies with a smile and says "Hello, Odo. It's been a long time."
"What... what are you doing here?" Odo says, as he stands up.
"Sisko tells me there was an incident today."
"You mean, about the slave trader?"
"Yes. He tells me you acted impulsively, and got some children killed."
"What!? Now wait a minute! That's not what happened! Me and Quark were trying to set up this criminal, things didn't go according to plan and..."
Sisko interrupts "Odo, I told him everything already."
"But you told me that Quark and I did everything by the book, and this was no one's fault."
Sisko crosses his arms, paces for a moment and says "Well Odo, the more I thought about it, the more I realized your actions were impulsive and reckless. Had you contacted me about this, we could have made all sorts of preparations. Odo, I was talking to the Federation, and they agree that your actions are constantly in conflict with what is expected of an officer."
"Lucky for me I'm not with the Federation."
"Which is one of the problems they have. I don't know how else to say this Odo, but you're fired."
Odo stands there with a shocked look on his face. He finally speaks "Fine then, I'll get my things and be on my way."
"It's not that simple Odo. You see, the Federation believes that you are immature, and possibly dangerous. You are a changeling after all. So the Federation has decided it would be best if you went back to the lab with Doctor Mora, here."
"Well the Federation can kiss my ass, and quite frankly Benjamin, you can kiss my ass too!"
"I'm sorry Odo, but you don't have a choice in this. You have to return to the lab with Doctor Mora."
"Like hell I do! I don't know where you and the Federation get off, but I have rights, and I can't just be forced against my will."
"Well you see, here's the thing. The Federation acknowledges that you are a sentient life form with rights, and that you haven't technically broken any law. However, if you were a Bajoran child of only ten years, you'd be forced back to the custody of your parents, in spite of being sentient and committing no crime. Here on Bajor, the legal age is sixteen years. However, that's for Bajorans, who only live to be eighty to a hundred. You on the other hand might live to be thousands of years old. Thus you may still technically be a child. And on that grounds you are being forced back into the custody of the only person the Federation acknowledges as a legal guardian."
Dr. Mora says, softly, with a smile "Come on Odo, it's time to come home. We're going to have a great time. It'll be just like old times."
"No! I'm not going!" Odo shouts as his face shows panic.
Dr. Mora says "Please Odo, let's do this peacefully, please don't make it phlox yourself."
"Never!" Odo shouts, and makes a run for it.
As soon as he makes it out the security office, security officers start shooting him with their phasers on stun.
Odo suddenly wakes up! Finds himself in his pale, and transforms into his solid state. He feels dread and panic. He has to search his mind to find out what is real and what is a dream. That Sarelle, the ship exploding, the children dying. That was all real. He had gone to his office, filed a report, and then went to his quarters to regenerate. That's what was real. But Odo found it eerie that he had to stop and think about what was real.
IN KIRA'S QUARTERS.
Major Kira is glad to finally get back to her quarters, take a shower, and lay down. She has had a hard day. Having that maniac blow his ship up like that was just the icing on the cake.
She lays her head down and quickly falls asleep. The Alarm wakes her up almost immediately. She turns the alarm off, and with a sleepy grumble says "Oh I can't believe it's time to go back to work. It feels like I just got to sleep."
She puts on her clothes, and orders Raktajino from the replicator and sips it on her way to Ops.
As she's walking down the promenade, she notices the place is empty. She makes her way to Ops only to find no one is there.
She walks to Sisko's office to ask him what's going on. She steps through the door and finds Dukat sitting there. Her face becomes ghostly white. She says "Dukat, what are you doing here on Deep Space Nine?"
"You mean Terok Nor."
"Very funny, and what the hell are you doing in Sisko's office?"
"It's my office now. The Cardassians have reclaimed this station."
"You know what Dukat, I am not in the mood to play these little games with you." She presses her com badge and says "Kira to Sisko."
She gets no response.
Dukat says "He's no longer here. Major, I've had all the Federation officers on this station captured and imprisoned. They are being held for negotiation purposes. All of the Bajorans however will be reassigned to ore processing, just like the good old days. But you, my dear, you get a choice, back to ore processing, or as my lover. I promise, I will treat you nice. You'll be more like a wife than a slave."
Kira runs out of the office as Dukat laughs.
She runs down the promenade and runs to Quark's bar. She sees nothing but Cardassians, and Quark serving them food and drinks. She stands there frozen. She's not sure what to make of any of this.
Odo walks up behind her and says "Kira?"
She turns around, puts her arms around him and says "Oh Odo, I'm so glad to see you."
"Dukat informed me that I am to take you to ore processing immediately."
"What? No! Odo, no, please."
"I don't like this anymore than you do, but I work for Dukat now. Please Nerys, don't make this difficult."
Kira starts running away. She looks behind her and there are Cardassians chasing her.
Suddenly she wakes up! She looks around her room. She quickly puts her clothes on and steps out of her room. She looks around, she sees everyone walking around as usual. She still has to check, and make sure everything is the way it is supposed to be. She walks to Quark's bar. No Cardassians, just his normal customers. She sits down at the bar and says "Quark, can I get a Raktajino."
"Of course, anything for you Major." he says with his slimy grin that Kira can't stand. He hands her the Raktajino and says "So what brings you in here? Replicator offline?"
"Yeah something like that."
"At the risk of being hit, can I just say, I am really not a fan of your new hair due."
"My hair? What's wrong with my hair?"
Quark hands her a mirror. She looks at herself and realizes her hair is a mess from where she didn't even brush her hair.
"I had a rough night."
"Shut up Quark! I mean I had this horrible nightmare."
"You're not the first person to come in here and tell me that. A lot of people have been complaining about nightmares today."
Kira drinks her Raktajino and heads to Ops, and finishes out her day without giving it another thought.
Chapter 4 - Looking For The Cause
Major Kira wakes from her nightmare. She quickly puts her clothes on, and suddenly realizes this is the second time she's had this exact nightmare. She orders a Raktajino from the replicator. She realizes the time, she is 15 minutes late. She briskly walks to Ops. Once there she sees Dax and Sisko. She says "I am so sorry I'm late."
Sisko says "Let me guess, you had a really bad dream, and woke up late?"
"Yes, how did you know?"
"Same thing happened to me and Dax. I just had to call O'Brien, I bet when he gets here, it's going to be the same story."
"Well, that's really weird. But this isn't the first time I've had this dream. I've had it twice now."
Dax says "Same with me and Ben."
Just then Sisko gets a call "Bashir to Sisko."
"This is Sisko."
"Commander, I need to see you in the infirmary."
"Does it have anything to do with nightmares?"
"Ah, I see I'm not the only one getting complaints of nightmares. Yes, that's actually why I wanted to see you."
"On my way, Sisko out."
IN SICK BAY.
Bashir is showing Sisko some slides of brain scans. He says "Now as you will see here, there is less activity than normal, and elevated levels of serotonin. All of the evidence points towards the notion that people on this station haven't been getting any sleep for the past 48 hours."
"But that's impossible, we've been dreaming."
"That's just it, these nightmares are apparently not counting as dreams, they're just occurrences."
"Doctor, what could be causing this?"
"I haven't a clue. Blood tests don't reveal either toxin, or foreign body."
"Could it be some sort of energy impulse, a type of radiation?"
"I'll be honest, that never occurred to me. Let me conduct a few tests."
Sisko watches as Bashir plays with some equipment. After a few minutes Bashir says "My instruments aren't picking up anything. However, to be fair these instruments aren't meant for this sort of testing, nor am I an engineer or physicist. However, O'Brien is an engineer, and far more qualified for this sort of thing."
"Exactly what I was thinking... Sisko to O'Brien."
"Meet me in sick bay, on the double."
When O'Brien gets there they fill him in on what's going on and what they need. He says "I'll need to get my entire staff on this, have them sweep the entire area, scanning by hand. I'll get started analyzing the computer's internal scanners."
"The sooner the better." Sisko says.
About 4 hours later O'Brien walks into Sisko's office. Sisko says "Chief, have you found anything?"
"No, nothing, nada. According to my scans, and everyone elses, and even after crossing all the data, there is nothing unusual. We've looked for every type of energy known to man, there doesn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary. Not even anything remotely suspicious. I've looked at all the data, and so have my best men. Nothing."
"This certainly isn't good news. I'm going to sick bay and see if Doctor Bashir has come up with anything."
"I think I'll join you, I've developed quite the headache staring at all those readouts."
AT SICK BAY.
Sisko says "So Doctor, what have you found out?"
"Well, I've done a lot of research on some sleeping patience. I've found out much about the effect, but not the cause of this anomaly. When we sleep, our brains become overly excited, and actually process more information than when we are awake. Well, at least it does this in intervals. The net effect is the patient wakes up physically rested, but even more exhausted than if they didn't sleep at all. Again, I haven't the faintest clue as to what's causing it."
O'Brien says "We had no luck finding any cause either."
Sisko says "Well we better find out something soon. If we're not sleeping, than in the next day or two, we're all going to start losing our minds."
"Exactly." Bashir says. "it will most likely begin with short tempered behavior and forgetfulness, and then in the next day many of us will begin experiencing momentary hallucinations. And a few days after that many of us will begin experiencing strong, long lasting hallucinations, erratic and dangerous behavior."
Sisko asks "Is there anything you can do?"
"Well, eat plenty of food, lots of carbohydrates, water, and try to keep blood sugar at close to one hundred. The brain is highly dependent on sugar and oxygen. I would love to do more tests to determine the effect of patience sleeping with high blood sugar, and low blood sugar, to see what effect it has on the stages where the brain has increased activity. Unfortunately to draw any useful conclusion, I'd have to do this study over a period of time, and if this problem doesn't go away, I don't think we have the time."
O'Brien pipes up and says "Speaking of carbohydrates and blood sugar, I'm going to head over to Quark's for some food."
Bashir says "I think I'll join you. Commander?"
"I could use a bite, myself."
Chapter 5 – The Round Table
They go to Quarks and spot Kira and Dax. They head over to the table and Sisko says "Ladies, do you mind if we join you?"
"No not at all." Dax says.
Sisko fills them in on what's going on.
Dax asks "So what is everyone's nightmare about?"
Sisko says "Well, you first."
"Okay, fine. I dream about Curzon. He's standing there telling me I am not good enough, and he made a mistake selecting me to be joined with the symbiont. I try to argue back, but he keeps shooting me down, telling me, very personal things. I drop to my knees, and start crying like a helpless little girl."
Sisko says "Okay, my turn. I dream that I am back on the ship, I am trying to save my wife, Jennifer. Only she wakes up, looks me in the eyes and starts talking to me. I keep trying to pull the debris off of her. I keep telling her I am going to save her." Sisko gets a little chocked up, closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and continues "She tells me, that it's my fault, that she never wanted this life. I did this to her, and to Jake, and I got us all killed. She blames me for her death."
Kira says "Okay, my turn. I wake up, and when I step out on to the promenade, everyone's gone. I go to Sisko's office, and Dukat is in there. He tells me that the Cardassians have retaken the station, Bajor is under their rule. And everything goes back to the way it was. Dukat gives me a choice to be his sexual partner, or work in ore processing for the res of my life. I think the scariest thing is, what if after years of working in ore processing, I finally give in to Dukat? That's got to be the most horrifying part of it."
Odo walks up to them and says "Isn't this a lovely gathering. I'd ask to pull up a chair, but there doesn't appear to be any room."
Sisko says "We were just discussing our nightmares. Have you been having any nightmares?"
Bashir pipes up and says "Really? I didn't know you were capable of dreaming."
"Why wouldn't I be capable of dreaming?"
"Well, dreaming takes place in the brain, Specific parts actually. And you, don't have a biological brain."
"I am a biological brain. I think, and I feel. Emotion gives us desires and impulses. Thinking gives us self control. When desire and conscious decision making conflict you have two personalities struggling against each other , a conscious and subconscious. When I rest, my higher conscious takes a backseat to the impulsive emotional side, the subconscious.. That is, I dream."
"I'm sorry, I suppose it was rude of me to assume a brain, as we understand it, was needed for dreaming. I suppose as a doctor I am quick to look at the physical things for cause, and not realize that it is the mental. Or something like that. I didn't mean any offense."
"Of course not, besides, none of us have been sleeping. We're bound to slip and say stupid things, incredibly stupid things."
Sisko says "Anyhow, tell us about your dream."
"Long story short I dream that Doctor Mora has come to take me back to his lab. Talk about a nightmare, it's my worst fear. That I can't handle society, that I have to go back to the lab, and be a thing, a thing without rights."
O'Brien says "Well, since everyone's sharing, I guess I'll go now. I dream that the station is under attack. Molly gets killed. And Kieko blames me. She just stands there screaming at me, that it's all my fault. There I am, holding my dead daughter, and Kieko just screaming 'I told you this was no place to raise a family'. It terrifies me, because I am always afraid that this will really happen one day. I have to often ask myself if Kieko is right. Anyhow, you're turn Julian."
"Uh, no I don't think so. It's far too personal."
Dax says "Oh come on, we told you ours."
"Well it's not terrifying so much as it is embarrassing."
Quark comes up to them with a tray of food. After giving everyone their order he asks "What's embarrassing?"
"Certainly none of your business Quark."
Sisko says "We were just talking about our nightmares. Have you been having nightmares?"
"No, me, Garak, and Worf seem to be the only ones on this station not having nightmares."
"Really!? That's fascinating. Doctor do you have any idea why? I mean, could it be their race?"
Sisko asks "Quark, just out of curiosity, what is your greatest fear?"
"Same as every self respecting Ferengi. My fear is dying without any money."
Sisko shakes his head in disbelief. He then contacts Worf. He asks "Worf is it true that you have not been having nightmares?"
"Yes, that is correct."
"If it's not too personal, can I ask what your greatest fear is?"
"My greatest fear is to die from a disease, slowly rotting away like a helpless invalid. A true warrior dies in battle if he wishes to go to Stovokor. To not die in battle is to die a disgrace."
"I see, thank you. Sisko out."
He turns to Bashir and says "At any rate, Doctor, I believe it's your turn."
"Fine. I'm fifteen years old again. And I am with Lisa Elaine. And it was that party all over again. We both had a little booze. And we went into the make out room. She takes her clothes off, I take off mine. I am so excited to lose my virginity. I touch her breasts, she touches my... you know. And suddenly it happens."
O'Brien says "You get laid? That's your nightmare?"
"No. I didn't get laid. I... I did it. You know, the thing you have sex for."
"You got married? You had a baby? What?" asks Odo.
"I prematurely ejaculated you idiot!" Bashir says strongly.
Everyone at the next table turns to look at him.
Julian, now realizing how loud he said it, covers his face in embarrassment as Quark busts out laughing. Bashir continues "Well, she gets angry at me, like I just did something really horrible to offend her. She puts her clothes on. I try to apologize. She says some pretty rude things to me and leaves. I was so devastated. I hated myself, I really did."
Quark continues laughing. Dax grabs his ear and squeezes it. Quark shouts "Ouch ouch! Stop, you're hurting me. I'm sorry."
"You better be." Dax says.
Sisko says "I wonder what Garak's greatest fear is?"
Bashir says "Oh, that's easy, he's claustrophobic."
Sisko says "I knew it had to be something like that. You see, all of us have been having nightmares about a person. O'Brien dreams of his wife blaming him for the death of Molly. Jennifer blames me for getting her killed, Dukat tempts and torments Kira, Lisa is angry and blames Julian, Doctor Mora is going to take Odo back to the lab. In each of these scenarios, there is a person who represents the scenario. But fear of not dying in battle, claustrophobia, dying without a penny to your name, these aren't fears associated with an individual. Isn't that fascinating?"
O'Brien says "I suppose. Oh, Quark, can you get me another Raktajino."
Kira says "Maybe we're looking at this the wrong way. Julian is looking for a medical explanation, O'Brien's looking for some physical anomaly. Maybe the answer is something spiritual?"
Sisko says "You think there are bad spirits on the station?"
"Do you have a better explanation? On Bajor, we have a lot of mythology about dreams and nightmares. Here on my data pad, I have a list of all the dream demons that Bajorans have believed in through the centuries. This is the most dangerous one of all, it's called the Takanak. Legend has it that there were hundreds of these demons and they would haunt peoples dreams. Eventually they would possess and control the minds of the people who's dreams they haunted unless they were defeated. These demons were eventually put to rest by powerful vedics who imprisoned them in stone, making hideous statues of them."
Just then Quark comes back and says "Here's your Raktajino." then he notices the data pad and says "Hey look, a Takanak."
Kira says in amazement "You actually know what this is?"
"Yeah, it's an ugly Bajoran statue. I seen one on that guys ship. Are they worth money or something?"
"On who's ship!?"
"The child sex slave guy."
"Guys that's it! Once the ship blew up, the statue was broken, setting the spirit of the Takanak free, and it attached itself to everyone on this station."
Bashir says "Look, I'm not a big believer in Bajoran beliefs, but under the circumstances, it's the best lead we have so far. So, I'm willing to accept this Takanak as a viable theory for now. How do we defeat it?"
Kira says "Well let me read it a little." after a few minutes she says "Okay, we need a Joronus stone from the Galamin see on Bajor. We then need Chrysigile necklaces hand woven by Bajoran monks. And we need to burn gerger weed incense in the room that we are to sleep in. Once we burn the incense, wear the necklace, and place the stone under our pillow, we can then fight back against the demon in our dreams. It won't be easy. But what we have to do is to confront the person in the dream that most scares us. We have to mentally and emotionally defeat them, so that they don't have fear over us any longer. Since there is only one Takanak on this station, all it will take is for just a few people to defeat the demon in their sleep."
Sisko says "Where are we getting these necklaces and stones, and weeds?"
"Bajor of course. Me and you will go. I know people, and you’re the emissary. Together we start asking for religious items, and we'll get it in no time."
"Well, I suppose this is the part where I express my doubt about all of this, and say in the most diplomatic way possible that I just don't believe in all this Bajoran stuff. And then you tell me I got nothing to lose by trying, and under the circumstances I agree."
"Yes this is that part." Kira says with a smile.
Sisko gives a chuckle.
Sisko and Kira spend many hours on Bajor asking various temple leaders for these supplies. They are able to get enough of these items for 12 people.
Once they get back to the station, they hand these necklaces to 12 people: O'Brien, Dax, Bashir, Odo, themselves and 6 others. When Odo receives the items, he says "How am I supposed to use these items in a gelatinous state?"
Kira says "Can't you set the stone under your pale, and put the necklace in the pale with you?"
"I suppose." Odo says, rolling his eyes.
Chapter 6 – Dream WarriorsIN ODO'S QUARTERS.
Odo goes to his quarters, he looks at his pale. He props it up on the stone. He lights the incense, then looks at the necklace, he shakes his head in disbelief at how silly this is. He drops the necklace into the pale, and then liquifies himself into the pale.
His dream begins, but this time he is aware that he is dreaming.
Sisko and Dr. Mora come in. Odo smiles and says "It's a pleasant surprise to see you Doctor. Here let me give you a hug, stand there." Odo stretches out his hands across the room, and hugs Mora. Dr. Mora laughs and says "How cute. I am glad to see you in such a cheerful mood. Especially considering what happened today."
"Ah, you mean the human trafficker and his ship blowing up."
"Yes." Sisko says. "I was thinking about the incident..."
"And you believe my actions were irresponsible, and the Federation agrees?"
"Yes, that's it exactly."
"And can I presume that is why Doctor Mora is here, because the Federation has found some technicality to remove me from my rights as a person, and deliver me back into the hands of the first humanoid I ever had contact with?"
"Correct again. How did you know?"
"I've always had the suspicion this would happen one day. So, Doctor Mora, I guess it's time we go back to the lab?"
"Yes, Odo. It has been decided that I am to help teach you responsible behavior, and how to integrate better into society."
"Well, integrating with humanoids has been a difficult challenge. I'm sure you'll teach me just fine. I believe the problem last time was my stubbornness. I seen you less as a mentor, teacher, father, and more as an oppressor, or a warden. I just wanted to be free. I suppose I may have spread my wings a little too soon. But let's face it, every young man wishes to leave the nest and take on the world, even when he's not ready. Well Doctor, I hope this time our work can be far more productive. And Commander Sisko, I really do apologize for letting you and everyone else down."
Sisko looks a bit puzzled and says "You know Odo, maybe the Federation and myself were too quick to judge you. I think I can talk to them, get them to give you another chance."
Suddenly a rush of positive emotion comes over him. He says "Thank you Commander, that would be most appreciated. And Doctor Mora, since you're already here, how about we go to Quarks and play a few rounds of dabo. Can you believe all the time I spent in his bar spying on him, I never learned to play the game? I think it's time I play it, find out why everyone loves it so much."
"I think that would be an excellent idea, and you can introduce me to your friend, Quark."
"My friend... of course. He's a great guy. Just don't let him talk you into any investments."
Odo wakes up feeling refreshed, he transforms into his normal physical form. And whispers with a smile "I won."
IN SISKO'S QUARTERS.
Sisko retires to his quarters, slips on the necklace, lights the incense, and places the stone under his pillow.
He lays down and drifts asleep almost instantly.
He is back aboard the Saratoga, in the battle of Wolf 359. The Borg cube fires on his ship multiple times in quick succession. He hears that the warp core is about to blow. He orders everyone to abandon ship. He tries to contact Jake and Jennifer, but gets no response. He runs through the halls to where they last were. He sees Jake laying there unconscious. He picks Jake up, and notices Jake is breathing. He hands Jake over to one of the officers nearby and runs over to Jennifer. Jennifer is pinned under some debris. He tries to lift the debris off of her when suddenly her eyes open and she says "Ben, why?"
"Don't worry Jennifer, you'll be alright."
"No, you did this. Why?"
"I didn't do this. Just hold still Jennifer, I'll get this off of you."
"It's too late, Ben. You've killed me."
"Just relax, you're delirious."
"No, I am not delirious. Before I was knocked out, the last thing I was thinking was that I was right. Marrying you, this life of yours, I had always feared it would get me and Jake killed, and now it has. I should never have married you."
"Jennifer, please, don't say that. Besides, Jake is alive."
"But you'll get him killed too."
Suddenly it occurs to Sisko, this is a dream. And this Jennifer, this is the demon he is supposed to be fighting.
Sisko smiles and says "You're not Jennifer."
"Are you delusional, of course I am."
"No." he smiles, and stands up, making no effort to remove the debris from her, and continues "No, you're not Jennifer. You know how I can tell? It's simple. The real Jennifer would not have blamed me for this. She knew the risks of being married to a Starfleet officer, and she supported me."
"I only pretended to support you. But I always wanted you to give up this life."
"That's not true, that's not true at all. I considered giving up this life when I learned you were pregnant with Jake. I wanted to keep him safe, and out of harm. We discussed this, and you encouraged me to stay with Starfleet. If you really wanted me to give up this life, that was your time to speak up, and you did the exact opposite. You reminded me of the importance of being a Starfleet officer and how it was all for the greater good. And you know what, Jennifer, you were right, and I have done a pretty good job. Not only of being a Starfleet officer, but a good job of being a father too. Jake loves me, and he's a good boy. And forgive my bragging, but I think I am a great father. Jennifer, or Takanak, or whatever the hell you are. You have no power over me."
Suddenly the ship disappears, he finds himself on a beach holding hands with Jennifer. Somehow he knew that he had won this battle. And this was far more the sort of dream he wants to have. Walking on the beach with his wife.
Sisko wakes up. He feels refreshed for a change. He puts on his uniform, and immediately heads for the infirmary to see Dr. Bashir.
IN SICK BAY.
"Good Morning Commander." Bashir says.
"Yes in deed it is a good morning."
"Were you able to defeat your worst nightmare?"
"Yes I was, and it feels great. But was it enough to defeat this Takanak?"
"I believe your victory, and the victory of others was enough, because I've had plenty of patients come in and explain to me that they began to have a nightmare last night, but half way through the nightmare ended, they finished with a pleasant dream and awoke feeling refreshed."
"Were you able to defeat your nightmare?"
"Indeed. And I'll tell you something, it's put a pep in my step all morning, knowing I was finally able to resolve that part of my life."
"Well then, I guess work on this matter is done. Hopefully there will be no more nightmares, and we can all get back to business as usual."
Later that day, Odo walks into Quarks. Quark says "Well you're certainly looking chipper. I take it you were able to defeat your worst nightmare?"
"No, my worst nightmare is standing behind a bar, instead of behind bars where he belongs."
"Ha ha." Quark retorts dryly.
"I do have some news that might cheer you up however. I just got through checking the logs on the cargo ship Isis. There were only four children on board, and all of them had terminal, noncontagious diseases. Each of them had between two and six months to live."
"You mean that Sarelle was going to rip me off by selling me defective merchandise!? The nerve!"
"Admit it Quark, it feels a little better knowing that no matter what we had done, those kids weren't going to live much longer anyhow. I guess it might relieve some of the guilt."
"Guilt? What guilt. I didn't do anything wrong. Besides what do I care about a bunch of hu-mons?"
"Of course, what was I thinking?"
Odo walks off, knowing Quark really did care.