Rating: A fairly strong PG
Disclaimer: Paramount own these people. They probably wouldn't approve.
Warnings: Rather dark. Proceed at your own risk.
Summary: Sometimes there is no right answer.
"I think you have a good case," says the Vorta. "You've shown sympathy for our cause on a number of occasions. And, of course, without you we would never have been able to cure the Founders."
Th prisoner stays silent. To Vorta continues, unperturbed. "I believe I can convince the War Crimes Committee that you were forced into your anti-Dominion activities by the Federation. You were an unwilling victim of their war."
"I knew exactly what I was doing."
"You say that now, but you're still affected by their indoctrination. In time you will come to realise that they were using you, distorting your will." She smiles, benevolent.
The prisoner glares.
"Of course," she continues, "There is still the matter of Lieutenant Dax. You good conduct does not absolve her." The Vorta pauses, playing the moment. "Our intelligence suggests that the two of you share an intimate relationship. I'm sure you wouldn't want to see her come to any harm. Perhaps..."
Julian tries and fails not to look hopeful.
"The Dominion is always in need of good doctors."
"I work for you and you let Ezri go?"
"Yes, that seems fair to me. We're not the heartless monsters your former employers led you to believe. We appreciate the value of mercy."
"What would I have to do?"
"The Dominion is interested only in maintaining our current borders. We are peaceable enough when left alone. But there are those who would attack us, take civilian lives to gain a little extra territory. We cannot allow that to happen. We must have deterrents."
"You want me to help you make biological weapons?"
"NOt weapons, Doctor, merely the capability and the potential." She studies the human before her. "Are you interested?"
"But why do you need me? You have plenty of scientists of your own."
"Alas, they specialise in Gamma Quadrant biology. They will learn in time, of course, but for now we find ourselves rather lacking in certain areas." She tilts her head slightly to one side, fixes her prisoner with an appraising gaze. "How many ways do you know to kill, say, a human?"
He says nothing.
"This really isn't going to get us anywhere, Julian. I should probably point out at this juncture that certain supplies have gone missing from the camp infirmary. Supplies which, if I'm not mistaken, would be very effective in treating the illness Lieutenant Dax seems to have acquired. I don't think the evidence reflects very well on either of you."
He sighs, defeated, "Two thousand four hundred and twenty-eight."
"I'll give you some time to think on the matter. I'm sure you'll make the right decision."
Three hours later and the right decision still evades him. He lies on the bunk staring at the ceiling, following the lines cracked into the thin plaster.
A weak cough breaks into his thoughts and he leans over the side to look down at Ezri. He has been sleeping in the bunk above her, fearful of infection. He jumps down to the ground and kneels beside her, checking her pulse and her temperature. "You're a little better today," he lies, though she is unconscious and he doubts she can hear anything. "And we might be getting out of here. Maybe. If I can overcome my own conscience." Her eyelids flicker as she starts another cycle of REM sleep. "So if you could just wake up for a few minutes to give me some advice, that would be lovely. Also quite helpful."
But she, of course, continues to sleep. "They're using you against me, Ezri. What should I do?"
She moves slightly, murmurs something incomprehensible. For a brief moment, he hates her.
He takes a walk around the camp, breathes in thin air as he tries to work out what he should do. He tries to approach the problem with clinical detachment, but the answer that results in is never the one he wants.
He wanders through a prison camp wracked with disease and tries to justify biological warfare. The war has taught him not to trust the Dominion, and he doubts their claims that they will use his work only as a deterrence.
Night falls, and he is still uncertain. He walks back to the barracks, shadowed most of the way by a suspicious Jem'Hadar guard.
He pulls back the blanket and slips into the bunk with her. She shivers in the disturbed air, moulds her body against his in her search for heat. He wraps his arms around her and kisses her hair. "Everything will be alright," he says, although he knows she cannot hear him.
He lies still for a few minutes, running through his options. None of them bring him peace. He decides to go with the last remaining possibility - he is going to cheat. He prays to a God he does not believe in to tell him that there are no gods.
Reaching inside his shirt he removes the hypospray that he stole from the makeshift infirmary.
"I have something. It'll help." She doesn't resist as he presses the device against her neck, empties its contents into her bloodstream.
Her breathing slows, her movements calm a little.
Careful not to disturb her, he replaces the cartridge, inserting the second dose. His skin stings for a moment as he administers the drug, but it passes, and he feels the tension leave his muscles. He closes his eyes, because keeping them open suddenly seems so much effort.
Beside him, Ezri is still, the fever gone forever. He feels his temperature drop as his heart slows, rests her head on his chest as he mentally charts the steady drop in his own blood pressure.
"It's alright, Ezri," he whispers, "The war's over now." He thinks of Earth, and sunny days.
Eventually, he stops thinking.
When the Vorta arrives with the Jem'Hadar guards, the bodies are already cold. "Now whyever did he do that?" she asks. But she gets no answer from the Jem'Hadar. Like her, they've never really understood humans.
fic by character