Tincture of Madness 3/6
Dax studied the readings on the tricorder. Slowly, she looked up and
smiled. "I dare say this will bring you more than a little notice from
the medical community."
Bashir dismissed the comment with a wave of his hand. "The research
was already there, it was simply a matter of wading through it and
putting the right parts together." He looked at Linthe and smiled. "I
couldn't have done it without Linthe's help."
"Julian is the one that deserves the credit. He's a brilliant doctor."
Dax smiled. "Yes, he is, isn't he?"
Bashir turned to his patient, embarrassed. "The filter is at one
hundred percent efficiency." He adjusted settings on the support unit.
"If all continues to go well, I'll remove this unit in a few hours and
see how she does on her own."
"I think we should celebrate," Dax announced. "How about dinner
tonight?" She caught the flicker of irritation on Linthe's face and
quickly added, "All of us, of course, and I'll ask some of the others
to join us."
"I appreciate the invitation, Dax," Bashir said with a smile that
backed up his words. "But if she's holding her own by tonight, I think
I'm going to celebrate with twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep."
Dax noticed for the first time the lines of weariness around Bashir's
eyes, the fatigue in his expression. It had been masked with his
excitement earlier, but now was beginning to show through. "I'm
sorry," she said apologetically. "I forgot how hard you've been
working on this. Maybe tomorrow night?"
"Sure, that'll be great," Bashir said gratefully. "I'll be much better
company after a good night's sleep." He turned to Linthe. "Is that all
right with you?"
"Of course, Julian. I know how tired you are. Tomorrow night will be
"Good. Then I'll make the arrangements and get back to you." Dax
reached out and lightly squeezed Bashir's arm. "Congratulations,
He smiled warmly at her. "Thanks, Jadzia."
Neither of the two noticed the look of irritation on Linthe's face.
* * * * *
Linthe entered the infirmary later that day and looked around for
Bashir. He was not to be found but she saw that the Thesian was still
sleeping on the back bio-bed. Nurse Jabara hovered over the woman's
monitor, keeping close watch on the readings. Linthe walked over.
"How is she?"
Jabara looked up, smiling when she saw Linthe. "Thanks to your help,
she's going to make it. The new filters are working at one hundred
"It wasn't my doing. It was Doctor Bashir's determination that saved
Jabara turned back to the monitor. "He is a wonderful doctor, isn't
Linthe heard the pride in the Bajoran's voice and felt a sharp twinge
in her chest. "Where is Doctor Bashir?"
"He's at lunch, the replimat, I suppose. Do you want to leave a
message for him?"
Linthe shook her head. "No, that's all right. I'll catch him later."
She left the infirmary and turned toward the replimat. She would join
him for lunch. He would like that, she was sure. He had come to
appreciate her company in the past several days, maybe as much as she
appreciated his. Besides, she had good news. She had just learned the
*Camery* would be at least a week late picking her up. Bashir was sure
to be pleased by the news.
She rounded the corner of the facility and searched for the doctor. It
didn't take long to find him. She took a step forward and stopped
suddenly. Bashir wasn't alone. Sitting across from him, talking
animatedly, was a young woman in a Starfleet uniform.
Linthe stepped back quickly, before Bashir could see her. She stood,
half concealed behind a tall, exotic plant and studied the pair.
From where Linthe stood, the woman appeared Human. She was very
beautiful, with short blond hair that swept forward with each movement
of her head. She was slender and graceful, everything Linthe was not;
a study in contrasts.
Linthe turned her attention to Bashir. He was very attentive to his
companion, smiling brightly at everything she said. Linthe bit her lip
As she watched, the woman reached over and placed her hand
possessively on Bashir's arm. There was no mistaking the expression on
her face. She was very interested in the doctor. From where Linthe
stood, she couldn't see if Bashir returned the sentiment.
Linthe turned angrily and hurried away, unwilling to see anymore. By
the time she entered her quarters and locked the door behind herself,
her anger had abated. She found herself questioning what she had seen.
Maybe there was a logical explanation for their behavior.
Maybe...Maybe they were just friends. Bashir was so charming. He must
have plenty of friends; of course, some of them would be beautiful
women. That didn't mean he was interested in them. He was just being
polite. Besides, just because she was interested in him didn't mean he
felt the same way.
Linthe pulled her travel case from under a low table and opened the
special digital lock she had devised for it. Inside was an assortment
of private papers and data chips. She dug through them, pushing them
aside to expose the photograph on the bottom of the case. Gently,
carefully, she removed the photo and studied it.
It was Bashir, taken shortly after his arrival here on the station.
She had copied it from the one in his personnel file. He was not
smiling, but she had no trouble imagining the sparkle in his eye
despite the flatness of the copy. She wished, not for the first time,
that she had a 3-D holopicture.
He was just being polite, she repeated to herself. He wasn't
interested in that woman. He couldn't be, he was attracted to *her*.
She was brilliant, a compliment to his own genius. Could that woman
offer him stimulating, intelligent conversation? Could she listen
attentively as he described his work at the end of a long, tiring day?
Linthe laughed out loud at the absurdity of the thought. That woman
probably couldn't grasp the basic concepts of a tenth of Bashir’s
work. He would never be seriously attracted to such a shallow mind.
She was just a distraction. If he didn't already know that, he would
soon see it.
Linthe smiled. And when he acknowledged it to himself, she, Linthe,
would be waiting.
* * * * *
Garak pulled the expanse of silk into place and tacked it down. When
he finished, he stepped back and surveyed the results. Not bad, but
maybe if there were more pleats...
The Cardassian turned at the voice and saw the Besimi engineer Doctor
Bashir had been working with. He was somewhat startled to see her
here. Her taste in clothing, he noticed with a sharp glance, was not
He smiled politely and half-bowed. "At your service, dear lady."
Linthe returned the smile but to Garak's sharp eye, she appeared
nervous. "I'm looking for something new. Several somethings in fact."
Garak frowned. What did he have that might fit with her sense of style
- or lack thereof?
He suddenly remembered a line of robes and gowns he had assembled for
some of his more conservative Bajoran patrons. They were made on very
simple, straight lines, with dull, almost boring colors. He detested
the garments but, he admitted dolefully, they paid the rent.
He took a few steps across the shop and removed one of the gowns from
the rack, spreading it against his arm to display the material. "This
lovely gown is spun from the wool of a..."
Linthe interrupted, shaking her head. "No, you don't understand, Mr.
Garak." She fingered the plain clothing she wore. "I want to get away
from this. I want something attractive."
Garak smiled now in genuine pleasure.
"You don't have to worry about hurting my feelings," Linthe continued.
"I know my...tastes...are somewhat unattractive. I want to make some
changes. I was told this is the place to start."
"You were told correctly, my dear woman." He replaced the gown and
indicated a rack of brightly colored garments to his left. "I can
supply almost any design you desire. If I don't have it, I'll make it.
Why don't you explain to me what kind of changes you would like to
make and I'll see what I can do."
Linthe chewed on her bottom lip for a few seconds. "I want something
more stylish, something maybe...flattering."
"I know just what you want." Garak removed a dress in a soft shade of
green. It was much shorter than what Linthe now wore and made of a
material that promised to cling tightly to the figure.
"It's...lovely," Linthe said, "but that may be a bit too much of a
"Nonsense! This will look charming on you. The color will draw out
your eyes and the cut is perfect for your frame." He forced the dress
into her hands and gave her a gentle push toward the dressing room.
"Once you slip into it, I'm sure you'll fall in love with the
Garak pulled the door of the changing room closed behind the Besimi.
This would be an easy sale. He was sure she would be pleased with the
dress. It would do wonders for her appearance. She wasn't
unattractive, his trained eye had noticed, but she obviously didn't
know how to show this off. He selected a few more garments, both
formal and casual.
After a few minutes, the door opened and Linthe stepped timidly out.
Garak's smile returned. "What did I tell you? The style is very
flattering and the color is perfect for you."
Linthe surveyed her image in the floor length mirror. Garak watched
from a short distance away. The dress clung tightly where it should,
but was not too revealing. The Besimi was compact and very muscular,
surprising Garak. There was nothing delicate or graceful about her
but, in the dress, she was still feminine.
"Are you sure this is stylish?" Linthe asked pulling at the hem of the
"The very latest thing, I assure you, as are these." He held up the
garments in his hand, "Perhaps, if you are pleased with my first
choice, you would like to try these as well."
Linthe tried on the outfits, smiling wider with each selection. Garak
watched in amusement each time she stepped before the mirror to view
the results. It was amazing how drastically her appearance had
Garak gathered the woman's final selections and prepared to pack them,
pleased with himself for the large sale.
"Now, Mr. Garak," Linthe said, "I would like to complete my
transformation. If you could recommend a place where I could get some
help with my hair and make-up..."
* * * * *
Bashir sounded the door chime at Linthe's quarters. For a long moment,
there was no answer and he wondered if he had misunderstood her
request that he come by for her on his way to the dinner. Actually, he
was hoping he had misunderstood. Linthe had been a tremendous help to
him in his work on the bio-filter, he admitted, but beyond that, she
was becoming somewhat suffocating. She spent every free moment at the
infirmary. Her attention was becoming uncomfortable.
Finally, the door slid aside and Linthe stepped out. Bashir stared in
barely restrained astonishment.
Linthe was wearing a gown of a soft blue that hung in delicate folds
to the floor. It was of a material that caught and subtly reflected
the light. It was totally unlike anything he had seen her in before.
The transformation was completed by a shorter haircut that framed her
face in a flattering style. The total effect was stunning.
"You look very nice," was all he could think of to say. Apparently, it
was the right comment. Linthe's face lit up in a pleased smile.
"I'm afraid I was long over due for an update. I've been so busy the
past few years that I haven't really had the time or energy to pursue
styles. I've decided to turn my layover here into a mini-vacation."
Bashir returned the smile. "I think there will be more than a few
heads turned tonight. Are you ready?"
At her nod, Bashir led the way down the corridor toward Captain
Sisko's quarters. Dax had managed to talk the captain into preparing
his famous Creole gumbo for the celebration. Of course, it probably
hadn't taken much convincing. The captain loved to cook and was
probably pleased to have another chance to show off his skills.
The door to the captain's quarters slid open at their approach and the
sound of laughter floated out to greet them. They were met at the door
by Dax, handing out drinks. The Trill took one look at Linthe and
stopped short. Her face betrayed her surprise.
"What a beautiful dress, Linthe," Dax commented. "You look terrific."
Bashir caught his friend's eye and made a silent plea that he hoped
she would understand. After a short look of confusion, Dax smiled and
turned back to Linthe. Taking the woman's arm, she led her across the
room, her voice drifting back to Bashir. "Benjamin has outdone himself
this time. You really have to taste this..."
Bashir breathed a sigh of relief and headed for the closest chair. He
dropped into it and watched Dax maneuver Linthe to the table. Maybe he
was overreacting; maybe he had misread the situation. Linthe's
attentions could be perfectly innocent. He frowned into his drink.
Hopefully, that was all it was. He would really hate to hurt the
"Correct me if I'm wrong," O'Brien said, sitting on the sofa across
from Julian, "but isn't this suppose to be a celebration?"
"Excuse me?" Bashir was unsure what his friend meant.
"You don't look like a man that has something to celebrate."
Bashir smiled. "Sorry. I was just thinking about a potential problem."
"No," Bashir shook his head. "It's probably just my imagination." He
glanced around. Sisko had joined Dax and Linthe and appeared to be
explaining something about one of the dishes to the Besimi.
O'Brien followed his gaze. "Linthe looks great. I wonder why the
"I'd say there was a man in the picture," said Kira, dropping down on
the sofa beside O'Brien.
Bashir shot the Bajoran a frown.
"You?!" she laughed.
"I'm not sure," Bashir's frown deepened. "It just seems that every
time I turn around lately, there she is."
"Maybe she's just bored," O'Brien commented. "With the *Camery*
running late, she doesn't have a lot to keep her busy."
"She could follow you around," Bashir shot back. "She is an engineer,
after all. Your work should be a lot more interesting to her."
"No, it's definitely a crush," Kira observed. "Look at her. No woman
would make that big a change unless there was a man involved."
Bashir sat back, annoyed. "I don't know why you two are finding this
Both Kira and O'Brien laughed at his expression.
"Maybe because it holds a certain element of deja vu," O'Brien said.
Kira struggled to control her voice. "Just ignore her, and she'll soon
give up. It worked for Jadzia and a certain junior lieutenant."
Mimicking Kira's mocking tone, O'Brien said, "I think you had better
let her down gently, though. You know what they say about a woman
scorned, and with that strength..."
Julian snorted derisively and headed for the replicator to freshen his
drink. He could hear the two laughing behind him.
* * * * *
The dinner proved to be as uncomfortable as Bashir had feared it would
be. After Dax's initial attempt to draw Linthe away, the Besimi woman
had practically attached herself to him. While he did find her
interesting to talk to, the constant attention was beginning to annoy
Bashir excused himself early, hoping to make a getaway without Linthe,
but before he rounded the first corner, he heard her call his nArticle Unavailable
It'll be a nice trip to the forest - Mulder, "Darkness Falls"
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