Title: An Apple A Day
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, Paramount, blah...
Summary: Some games are even more complicated than cricket.
Authors Babble: Sort of a sequel to 'What Ails You'
(http://bitextual.gatefiction.com/nostalgia/ails.htm) but also not
really a sequal. It might help to have read that one first though.
Knock yourself out, as they say.
Dinner, on a summer evening on Deep Space Nine with your former
lover, his current lover and their child. One of the overlooked
pleasures in life, I've always felt. Those amusing little moments
when no one knows quite what to say or where to look, pretending to
give a damn about other people's children. Very stimulating on an
This is where I am right now, at least in memory. It's a simple form
of time travel, if not a very practical one. A few neurons correctly
fired and I am a child again, or a revolutionary. But those things
are for another tale, and I should stick to a single evening for now.
And afterwards, when the food is eaten and the infant and its mother
are asleep, I sit for a while and talk to my old friend, my former
love. The preamble is rather dull, so I feel I can leave it out of my
account. It wouldn't do to bore you to death so early on.
So I'll begin with the moment that begins the most interesting part
of our conversation, the moment when I say:
"And now of course we share the same line of work."
And he blinks innocent brown eyes, and says, "You've taken up
medicine, Garak? Well, I suppose there is a certain amount of
"Oh, no need to be coy with me, Julian. I know all about your little
adventure on Selonart. A masterpiece of genetic engineering, I'm
"Told by whom?"
"Oh, you and I both know that I can't reveal my sources. That's one
of the cardinal rules of our profession. A sort of doctor-patient
confidentiality. An eminently transferable skill, as I'm sure you've
There is a perfect, beautiful moment where his facade crumbles and a
resigned glaze appears in his eyes. But he's already very good at his
new line of employment, part-time though it may be. And so the
innocence returns, he contrives to look as naive as he did when we
"I failed on Selonart. A simple mutation of malaria and I couldn't
find a cure."
"As I recall the disease had been thought extinct for over two
centuries. No one could have expected it to reappear. And the
mutation was very subtle, a vicious little thing."
When he doesn't answer me I add, "I do wonder where you managed to
find a sample of the original virus though. I suppose your new
employers had hoarded some away on the off chance it may prove itself
useful at some point. Which is what the Obsidian Order would do,
certainly. Interesting that so many different organisations employ
the same tactics, don't you think?"
He leans back into the couch and says, "Is there anything you don't
"The rules of cricket continue to confound me. And I really can't
fathom why any culture would devise a game simply to allow its former
colonies to continually defeat it in a sporting event."
"I didn't do it for myself. Selonart was a danger to the Federation,
"What a pleasant child you and Dax have managed to produce. Another
fine work of genetics. But not your own brush-strokes, I believe."
"Section 31 are remarkably resourceful."
I smile my agreement. I've always had a certain admiration for their
work. A little amateurish at times, but on occasion awe-inspiring.
And their operatives hold up remarkably well under torture. They all
break eventually, of course, as everyone does. But very impressive
I wonder briefly if our paths will cross in an unofficial official
capacity at some point. I wouldn't like to have to kill Julian
myself. But sending an associate would be rather impolite.
"I trust you haven't told anyone," I say.
And here he reveals his first, rather careless, mistake. "Miles."
"Well, I certainly hope he's sensible enough not to get himself into
any trouble. Or indeed drunk. I hate to think of young Benjamin
growing up without a father because dear Chief O'Brien drank a little
too much and spoke to the wrong people."
"Miles knows how serious this is. He's not stupid enough to mention
it to anyone else."
"Well, I certainly hope you're right. Does Ezri know?"
He smiles, but his eyes are sad, "She thinks I know some wonderful
"Yes, experts on genetic compatibility. A very exciting field of
science. And so much less painful than the truth."
"The Federation wouldn't like to endorse genetic enhancement. And
while they might turn a blind eye when it seems convenient, they
would hate for, forgive me, doctored genes to contaminate the human
bloodline. I'm amazed they didn't sterilise you the moment they found
out what your parents had done to your DNA."
And we stare at each other for a few moments, neither prepared to
blink first. I have the advantage of experience, and he looks away
"It's getting late," he tells me, "You should probably be getting
back to the guest quarters."
"Oh, almost certainly. And how kind of you to show such concern for
my well-being. Sleep does wonders for the skin."
And there my story ends. There's more to tell, of course. But isn't