NEW: "Tincture of Madness" (4/6 DS9 Bashir)

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Nov 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/7/96

Disclaimer: See part 1

Tincture of Madness 4/6
Donna Gentry

Jibril Garbett edged slowly forward in the tunnel on her hands and
knees. Just a little further...The power conduit she was headed for
was just around the corner of the next junction. Her routine sensor
sweep had shown a power surge originating from that conduit, which
left her confused. She had just run a level two diagnostic on all of
these power conduits a couple of days ago. Any problems should have
shown up then.
Reaching the junction, Jibril rounded to the left and stopped before
the access panel. She opened her tool kit and, setting her tools out
within easy reach, removed the panel, exposing the circuits beyond.
She ran her tricorder over the circuits and frowned. There was nothing
here to indicate a problem.
Garbett set the tricorder aside. The links would have to be checked
manually which would take a good bit of time. She lightly touched her
communicator badge. "Garbett to Bashir."
He answered almost immediately. "Bashir. Is something wrong, Jibril?"
Garbett smiled at the concern in his voice. "I just wanted to let you
know I may be late. I've run into some problems here. It shouldn't
take more than an extra half-hour. Do you mind waiting?"
"You know better." She could hear the smile in his voice. "I've got
plenty here to keep me busy anyway. Just hurry."
Garbett closed the line and reached forward to disconnect the first of
the links. For the briefest of seconds her fingertips tingled. Her
mind barely had time to register the impending danger before
electricity surged through her body. She lost consciousness
immediately, falling forward into the open panel. Sparks flashed for
several seconds longer. Then, all was silent.
* * * * *

Bashir stared quietly at the lifeless body of Jibril Garbett. After an
eternity, he pulled the sheet up to cover the pale face and turned
He looked up at the sound of Dax's voice, embarrassed at the unshed
tears he knew showed in his eyes.
Dax moved forward to place a hand on his arm. "Are you all right?"
He saw the concern in her expression and forced a smile to reassure
her. "I'm fine." He turned back to the body, placing it in the stasis
unit before continuing. "It was such a stupid way to die."
"Is there a smart way to die?"
"It shouldn't have happened," Bashir said tiredly. "O'Brien said that
Jibril should have picked up the energy surge on her scanner." He
paused and swallowed hard. "We had plans for tonight. She called to
tell me she was running late and I told her to hurry. What if she was
careless because of that? My God, Jadzia, it was my fault!"
Dax turned him to face her, both hands on his shoulders.
"Julian, it was an accident. It wasn't your fault. It's just one of
those things that happen."
Bashir nodded somberly. "I've seen enough of this that you would think
I would know that by now." He sighed deeply and let Dax put her arms
around him, drawing comfort from the embrace.
Neither of them noticed the whisper of movement in the nearby shadows,
or the expression of stone that crossed the Besimi features.

* * * * *

O'Brien double checked the readings with a frown. This was just too
big a coincidence for his liking. First, the accident with Ensign
Garbett, now, this.
He reached up and touched his communicator. "O'Brien to Sisko."
After a brief pause, "Sisko here. Go ahead, Chief."
"Captain, we have a problem on Runabout Pad Four. I think you should
see this."

* * * * *

Sisko examined the data padd O'Brien handed him. After a minute, he
turned a grim face to the Irishman. "If I'm reading this correctly,
there is a back-flow in the port power transfer conduit."
O'Brien nodded. "Normally, I probably wouldn't have noticed it. It's
deep in the system, in an area that doesn't show on normal scans, so
occasionally I run a diagnostic on the whole system, just to be on the
safe side. I wasn't scheduled to run it until next week, but I was in
the system already so I went ahead with it. Thank heaven I did. If
that had gone unnoticed..."
"Then, the runabout would have most likely exploded the minute the
plasma injectors fired." Sisko paused, thinking. "Dax is scheduled to
take this runabout out in the morning." He suppressed a shudder at how
close his friend had come to ending her eight lifetimes. "Can you tell
what caused it?"
O'Brien frowned. "It could simply be a glitch."
"Why do I have the feeling that you don't believe that?"
"I've never been one to believe in coincidence, Captain."
Sisko nodded, knowing O'Brien referred to Ensign Garbett's accident.
"Could this have been sabotage?"
O'Brien lifted his shoulders in a frustrated gesture. "If it is, it
was a damn good job. I can't find any evidence of tampering
"What about Ensign Garbett?"
It was a question O'Brien had already asked himself several times. It
just made no sense that she would have make such a careless mistake.
"I've been over those links myself a half-dozen times. I can't find
anything to suggest it was anything but an accident." He shook his
head. "I just can't buy it. It makes no sense."
Sisko trusted O'Brien's instincts. "Why would someone want to kill
Ensign Garbett? Or Dax either for that matter?"
O'Brien was silent. He had no answers.
"Keep on it, Chief. If someone tampered with either of those systems,
I want to know about it."
"If there is evidence to be found, sir, I'll find it."

* * * * *

Linthe sat alone sipping her tea - Tarkalian tea, Bashir's favorite -
and watched the infirmary door. From where she sat at a nearby
restaurant, she could clearly see who came and went. She quelled a
flash of anger when she saw the Bajoran first officer enter.
Nothing was working out like she had planned. Bashir was supposed to
turn to her when that Starfleet woman had died, but he hadn't. Anger
coursed through Linthe as she remembered the humiliation she had felt
when he had politely refused her attempts to comfort him.
Then, her plan to eliminate the Trill had gone awry and she hadn't
even been able to figure out what had gone wrong. Somehow the 'glitch'
had been found and corrected before Dax had taken the runabout out. It
was just bad luck, Linthe decided. There would be another opportunity,
if it was necessary. Dax hadn't gone anywhere near Bashir in the past
two days. Maybe, somehow, the Trill had gotten the message.
Linthe sipped her tea. She would have to make a move soon. The
*Camery* was due to arrive in a few more days. She had to make Julian
see how much he needed her before then.
Suddenly, she stood and headed across the Promenade. It was time to
confront Bashir.
Entering the infirmary, Linthe looked around. Bashir was not in the
main room. Voices drifted to her from the direction of the doctor's
office. Linthe started toward it, stopping short of the door as the
conversation inside became discernible.
"I'll have it ready in about an hour," Bashir's voice said.
"I'll let Sisko know." That was the Bajoran woman.
Linthe took a step forward, intending to enter the room, but the
Bajoran's next comment stopped her.
"How is your...situation...with Linthe working out?" Did she detect
amusement in the woman's voice?
"Somehow, I knew you were going to ask about that," Bashir answered
"There's very little around here lately to lighten the mood. Can I
help it if we've latched on to your love life for entertainment?" The
woman actually laughed!
Linthe stepped back into a shadow, determined to hear the rest of the
There was a short pause, then, Bashir said, "The *Camery* will be here
in a few more days. I can wait it out."
"Now you know how poor Jadzia felt when you first got here," Kira
"That's an unfair comparison," Bashir protested. "I never followed
Jadzia around."
"She's following you?" There was surprise in Kira's voice.
"I think so悠 don't know." Linthe could hear exasperation in Bashir's
voice. "Maybe I'm overreacting. It just seems that every time I turn
around lately, there she is. I've had the feeling several times that
someone is watching me."
"Maybe you're just being paranoid. Have you tried talking to her?"
"A couple of times. It was a disaster both times. Besimi are so damned
sensitive and it seems that I keep saying the wrong thing."
"No!" Kira said in feigned astonishment. "I can't imagine *you* saying
the wrong thing!" She laughed again and, after a short moment, Bashir
joined in.
Unable to bear anymore, Linthe bolted from the infirmary. She all but
ran to her quarters, holding back the tears until the door slid firmly
shut behind her.
They had been discussing her! Laughing at her! The humiliation was
almost too much to bear. Anger coursed through her, replacing the
embarrassment. How dare he discuss her with that woman! All she had
done was show him that she cared for him, and all this time he had
been laughing at her with his friends.
Linthe grabbed the closest object and hurled it at the wall. It felt
good. She grabbed another and threw it after the first. Moving
methodically around the room, she threw object after object. In less
than five minutes, the room looked like a war zone. Finding nothing
else to throw, Linthe stopped, her breath coming in ragged gasps. She
closed her eyes and forced herself to calm down enough for rational
Bashir had betrayed her love! She opened her eyes as the realization
came to her. He had callously tread on her emotions, caring not one
whit how much he hurt her in the process. He couldn't be allowed to
get away with it! He had to pay for what he had done to her!
Linthe clenched and unclenched her fists as she repeated the words. He
had to pay!

* * * * *

Bashir knew something was wrong the minute he entered his quarters.
The lights were programmed to come on as he stepped through the door.
For some reason, it was still dark.
"Computer, lights." No response. "Computer?" Silence.
He stepped cautiously into the darkness. A rustle of movement across
the room drew his attention. "Who's there?"
For a long moment, there was no answer. A chill of caution worked its
way up his spine. He lifted his hand, prepared to call security.
Before he could follow through with the thought, a soft voice came to
him in the darkness.
"It's me, Julian." It sounded like Linthe, but something was different
about the voice.
Bashir dropped his hand back to his side, irritated. He had hoped she
had understood him the last time they had talked. He had told her
quite plainly that he just was not interested. Obviously, she had not
gotten the message.
The woman moved slowly toward him as she spoke. "I hope you don't
mind, I let myself in. We needed to talk in private and this seemed
the most logical place." Now she was standing just in front of him.
"How did you get in here?"
"Does that really matter? Let's just say, it was easy enough. Have you
forgotten that I'm 'one of the most brilliant engineering minds in the
Something about her voice warned him. Without really knowing why, he
was suddenly nervous. He reached again for his comm badge, not knowing
just who he intended to call. Before he could activate it, Linthe's
hand shot out, snatching the device from his chest. Her other hand
grabbed for his wrist, clamping it in a vise-like grip.
"I told you, I want to talk to you alone."
"Linthe--" he began. Before he could finish, her grip on his wrist
tightened and twisted. He cried out in surprise and pain as he felt
the bone snap.
"I don't want to hear your excuses. I'll do the talking." She
tightened the grip further, driving him to one knee in agony. "I gave
you every opportunity, Julian. I made myself everything that you
wanted. I'm intelligent. I'm attractive. I made myself over to look
just like that woman you seemed to prefer. What else could I have
Pain sharpened Bashir's breath. Did she want an answer? He hesitated,
uncertain of her state of mind but convinced of her superior strength.

"I kept asking myself that question," Linthe continued. "I finally
realized, the problem is not me, it's you." She reached into her
pocket and drew out a small object. In the darkness, Julian couldn't
make it out.
"It's not me that needs to change, it's you. I have to make some
changes in you." She raised the object to his neck and he heard a soft
hiss. A hypospray! The realization came too late for him to react.
Awareness faded as he slumped limply to the floor. As it fled
completely, he heard Linthe's voice at his ear. "Sweet dreams,

* * * * *

Consciousness returned slowly, bringing with it waves of dizziness and
nausea. A soft moan escaped Bashir's lips despite his efforts to stop
it. He heard a rustle of clothing and felt someone move closer, almost
touching him.
"Awake?" It took a minute for his tired brain to place the voice.
"Come on, darling," Linthe urged. "If you try real hard, I'll bet you
can open your eyes."
Her voice was taunting and, though he desperately wanted to ignore her
urgings, his eyes fluttered open.
Linthe was kneeling beside him, her face very close to his. She met
his weak gaze for a minute, then backed up to sit on her heels.
"That's better," she announced. "I thought you would never wake up. I
have to get back before I'm missed. We can't both disappear. What
would people say?"
She fumbled with something out of his line of vision, then held a cup
of water to his lips. He sipped at it. It was lukewarm, but, to his
dry mouth, delicious.
"I know I promised we would talk," Linthe said, "but it will have to
wait. I have to make an appearance to establish my alibi."
Bashir watched silently as she double checked the cords binding his
hands and feet. He couldn't find the strength to speak. With a
satisfied smile in his direction, she turned -- and stepped through
the wall!
Bashir blinked after her, wondering if he were hallucinating. The
place she had stepped through looked just like the rest of the walls
surrounding him. A holographic projection? He glanced around, looking
for the projector. The movement caused a wave of dizziness that forced
him to close his eyes.
He lay very still for several long minutes, waiting for his head to
clear. He felt strangely weak and his broken arm, tied behind him,
throbbed mercilessly.
Turning his head slowly, to forestall another wave of dizziness,
Bashir surveyed his surroundings. The room was small, no more than
three meters from where he lay to the wall Linthe had walked through.
There were no doors or openings that he could see.
He turned his head to look behind him and had to wait again for his
vision to clear. There was a container of water about a meter away and
several blankets; other than that, the room was empty.
Where was he? There was nothing about his surroundings to give him a
clue. It could be an empty hold in one of the lower levels of the
station, he decided. Many areas had not been used since the
Cardassians had abandoned the station, some longer than that.
He had no idea what time it was or how long he had been unconscious,
but he knew he wouldn't be missed until morning, unless there was a
medical emergency before then. A search would be launched right away.
It wouldn't take long for Odo's teams to find him. It was just a
matter of time.
Bashir laid his head back down and closed his eyes, wincing as another
wave of nausea hit him. He should have seen this coming. Linthe was
disturbed, he had suspected that, but he had no idea her problems went
so deep. Had there been signs he had missed? *Damn it!* He was a
doctor, he should have recognized the extent of the woman's problems
and offered her help before she slipped this far.
What did Linthe intend to do now? It was difficult to concentrate. He
struggled to remember all he had learned about psychosis in medical
school. But even with that knowledge, he knew there was no way to
predict her next move.

* * * * *

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Eva Albertsdotter Enblom

Nov 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM11/7/96


What happened to part 3? I've got the rest now, but I can't seem to
find # 3. Did you post it yet?


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