Distant Voices
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 10 Apr, 1995

[Replimat]

(Mealtime)
BASHIR: Can I interest you in some more Yigrish cream pie?
GARAK: No, thank you, Doctor. I'm quite full.
BASHIR: But you've hardly touched your food.
GARAK: The truth is, I'm trying to lose a little weight. Hemming women's dresses may provide me with a modest income, but it offers very little in the way of exercise.
BASHIR: Well if you like, I can help you set up an exercise programme in one of the holosuites here.
GARAK: I might just take you up on that. And speaking of holosuites
(Garak takes out an isolinear rod with a ribbon around it and hands it to Bashir.)
GARAK: Happy birthday. I know it's a few days off, but I wanted to give you your present early. It's a Cardassian holosuite programme. An adaptation of one of Shoggoth's enigma tales.
BASHIR: Is it? I see.
GARAK: You sound disappointed. I thought you enjoyed mystery novels.
BASHIR: I do. Human mystery novels. The problem with Cardassian enigma tales is that they all end the same way. All the suspects are always guilty.
GARAK: Yes, but the challenge is determining exactly who is guilty of what. Is Lieutenant Dax throwing one of her surprise parties for you this year?
BASHIR: Oh, so I'm told.
GARAK: You don't sound enthusiastic about that either.
BASHIR: It's not that I don't appreciate all the trouble she goes to and everything. It's just that this year is a little different.
GARAK: How so?
BASHIR: This will be my thirtieth birthday.
GARAK: And?
BASHIR: Well, in many human cultures, the thirtieth birthday is considered a sort of landmark. It marks the end of youth and the beginning of the slow march into middle age.
GARAK: And that's considered bad?
BASHIR: No. It's just that when you hit thirty, it becomes harder and harder to ignore the passage of time.
GARAK: I wasn't aware that humans saw growing old as a negative experience. On Cardassia, advanced age is seen as a sign of power and dignity.
BASHIR: Well I am aware that aging is part of the natural process of life. It's just that I don't want to be reminded of it, that's all. Look, Garak, in two days I turn thirty. If I choose to be grumpy about it, that's my prerogative.
GARAK: By all means, Doctor, be as grumpy as you like.
BASHIR: Thank you for the support.
QUARK: Excuse me, Doctor.
BASHIR: What? Oh, Quark. I'm sorry. How can I help you?
(Quark approaches, accompanied by a large reptilian with red eyes and horns or teeth sticking out of his face.)
QUARK: Er, my friend Altovar here is looking to purchase a small quantity of er, biomemetic gel. And I was wondering if you might be able to tell him where he can find, let's say, a few hundred millilitres.
BASHIR: Biomemetic gel is a restricted substance. Its sale is strictly prohibited by Federation law.
QUARK: I thought so. You see, I told you.
ALTOVAR: I'm willing to pay whatever's necessary. Name your price.
BASHIR: Why do you need it?
ALTOVAR: That's my business.
BASHIR: Oh. I am sorry, but biomemetic gel can be hazardous if handled incorrectly. It's not for sale. At any price.
QUARK: Well, we tried. Thank you, Doctor.
BASHIR: Quark, you might want to warn your friend that even attempting to obtain biomemetic gel is a felony under Federation law.
QUARK: I know. I told him that. But he insisted that I ask you anyway. Letheans can be incredibly stubborn. I hope you'll forgive the interruption.
GARAK: Of course.
QUARK: You know, we just introduced a new lunch menu at the bar.
BASHIR: Goodbye, Quark.
GARAK: Don't take it personally. He's turning thirty.

[Infirmary]

BASHIR: Lights.
(Altovar is ransacking the shelves)
BASHIR: What do you think you're doing?
(Altovar grabs Bashir's head and there's a prolonged electric discharge. Bashir collapses)
(After the opening credits, Bashir wakes among flickering lights, static ridden monitors and the mess. He starts tidying up.)
BASHIR: Bashir to Security. Bashir to Ops. This is Doctor Bashir. Can anyone read me? Computer, locate Commander Sisko. Computer, respond. Computer?
(Noises that might be voices.)
BASHIR: Hello? Is somebody there? Hello?

[Promenade]

(Dark and deserted. Some of the noises are clearly words in familiar voices.)
BASHIR: Hello? Is there anybody there? Where is everybody?
(In the mirror on the kiosk next door he catches sight of grey hair at his temples. There's a crash and breaking glass in Quark's across the way.)

[Quark's]

(Again dark, with sounds of objects and glass being broken.)
BASHIR: Who's there?
(Quark is cowering behind the bar)
BASHIR: Quark? It's all right. It's me, Bashir. What is it? What's going on? Tell me.
QUARK: He's going to kill us. He's going to kill us all.
BASHIR: Who? Who are you so afraid of? Where's Sisko? What happened to the rest of the crew? Why don't you come with me? We'll go and try to find them.
QUARK: No. Don't you see? If we move, he'll find us. If we stay here, we might be safe.
BASHIR: Safe? From whom? Quark, you have got to tell me.
QUARK: He's here.
BASHIR: We've got to find a way to put these lights back on.
QUARK: It's too late. He's found us. We've got to get out.
BASHIR: Wait.
(Quark runs out.)
BASHIR: Who's there? Show yourself!
(A table flies at him. Bashir leaves to the sound of smashing furniture.)

[Promenade]

BASHIR: Quark? Quark!

[Replimat]

(A replicator is pouring out a constant stream of liquid but no mug.)
BASHIR: Tarkalean Tea. Constable?

[Security office]

(Someone grabs him and pushes him against the wall.)
BASHIR: Garak?
GARAK: Doctor, what are you doing here?
BASHIR: I was about to ask you the same question.
GARAK: I was looking for Constable Odo. Everyone on the station seems to have disappeared.
BASHIR: Not everyone. I just saw Quark cowering behind his bar. He believes that someone is terrorising the station, and I'm not sure I disagree with him.
GARAK: What do you mean? Tell me, what's going on.
BASHIR: There's some thing in Quark's tearing up the place. I didn't get a really good look at it, but believe me, it was not friendly. Computer.
GARAK: It's no use. As far as I can tell, the station has suffered a massive systems failure. Aside from life support and simple functions like turbolifts and doors, nothing seems to work. It's been like that for hours. I was up late programming some replicator patterns for a suit I'm designing when everything went dead.
BASHIR: I can't believe that you, Quark and I are the only people left on this station. Sisko and the others must be around somewhere.
GARAK: Maybe. Or maybe they've fallen victim to some kind of rampant virus, or space anomaly, or Dominion plot.
BASHIR: All the more reason to try and locate them.
(The whispers start again)
BASHIR: Wait. Do you hear that?
GARAK: Hear what?
BASHIR: That sound. It's like voices whispering.
GARAK: I don't hear anything. But then Cardassian hearing is not quite as acute as human's. Doctor, are you feeling all right? You look different somehow.
(There's more grey in his hair)
BASHIR: What is it?
GARAK: Your hair. It seems to be turning grey.
BASHIR: So I've noticed.
GARAK: I guess you had reason to worry about turning thirty after all. Either that or your job is even more stressful than I thought.
BASHIR: Look, Garak, we haven't got time for this. We have to find out what's going on here.
GARAK: I agree. Perhaps we should split up. I can search the docking ring while you look around the habitat ring and the central core.
(Bashir gets a pair of phasers and two hand beacons.)
BASHIR: I'll meet you back on the Promenade in an hour. Be careful.
GARAK: Hey, you too. And Doctor, try to relax.

[Corridor]

(Bashir walks along, opening each door and looking inside. The lights start to go out behind him and his hand beacon does not penetrate the approaching darkness. He backs into a forcefield. Just before the dark arrives he gets into a)

[Turbolift]

BASHIR: Level H one, section A.
(Hands stop the doors from closing. Bashir's grey is very pronounced now. Bashir kicks at Altovar's hands and the doors close. The turbolift starts to move. Then there's thumping on the roof and it starts to cave in. The turbolift stops.)

[Corridor]

(Now we can start to make out the words more easily.)
DAX [OC]: Look, what are we doing standing around here?
O'BRIEN [OC]: What do you want to do? Rush out and get us all killed?
DAX [OC]: It's better than doing nothing. Let's go.
ODO [OC]: Of course. And follow you right into a trap. Is that what you want?
KIRA [OC]: You're all crazy. None of this is helping us deal with the Lethean.
DAX [OC]: Well I don't see you coming up with anything.
KIRA [OC]: If you'd stop talking and gave me some time to think, maybe I would.

[Wardroom]

(Bashir is completely gray by now.)
O'BRIEN: I say we do nothing until we get reinforcements from Bajor.
DAX Julian, there you are. Where have you been?
KIRA: Bajor? Bajor doesn't even know we're in trouble.
BASHIR: Looking for you.
ODO: And we can't tell them unless you get the communications system back online.
DAX: Well, I'm glad you're here.
O'BRIEN: It'll take hours. Too many system's have been sabotaged. All my work crews are missing, and I cannot make new parts until we get the replicators fixed.
DAX: The first thing we need to do is neutralise the Lethean.
BASHIR: The Lethean? You mean Altovar?
KIRA: You know him?
BASHIR: We've met. He attacked me in the Infirmary.
O'BRIEN: Oh well, now he's trying to kill us all by destroying the station.
DAX: What are we waiting for? Let's get some phasers and hunt him down. If you ask me, none of us are safe until he is dead.
O'BRIEN: If we go out looking for the Lethean, we're the ones who'll end up dead.
KIRA: Tell you what. If we find the Lethean, maybe we can find you a backbone.
ODO: Maybe he doesn't want us to find the Lethean. Maybe he's in league with him.
BASHIR: Computer, scan the occupants of this room for any anomalies.
KIRA: Doctor, what are you doing?
BASHIR: You're all acting very strangely and I intend to find out why. Computer?
ODO: Don't bother, Doctor. For some reason, the computer isn't working.
O'BRIEN: Don't go blaming me for that, Constable. None of this would be happening if Security had done its job.
BASHIR: That's enough. Where's Sisko? Where are O'Brien's work crews? I've been wandering around this station for hours and the only two people I've seen are Quark and Garak. Where is everybody else? There's something very wrong here.
DAX: I'll say there is. Have you looked in the mirror lately?
(Whispering)
BASHIR: Hold on. Does anybody else hear that?
KIRA: What?
ODO: I don't hear anything.
BASHIR: Garak didn't either.
DAX: Julian, what are you talking about?
BASHIR: I know, I know it sounds odd, but I keep hearing voices.
O'BRIEN: And he says we're acting peculiar?
ODO: So what are these so-called voices saying?
BASHIR: That's the problem. I can't make out the words.
KIRA: Well I think you're the one who needs help, Doctor. Not us.
DAX: Maybe you should lie down.
BASHIR: I'm fine.
O'BRIEN: Except you're hearing voices and you've aged about thirty years in the last few hours.
BASHIR: There must be some logical explanation. Maybe there's a virus or a subspace anomaly. A neural inversion field, an anaphasic parasite.
DAX: You keep thinking, Julian, and while you try to figure it out, I'll find the Lethean and stop him from sabotaging any of the other systems.
O'BRIEN: And what good will that do? You have no idea where he is. We don't know what we're up against, how strong he is, if he can be hurt by phaser fire.
DAX: Don't worry Chief. I wasn't asking for any of your help. If he's here, I'll find him. Even if I have to do it all by myself.
BASHIR: Calm down, Dax. You're not going anywhere. No one is. There are too many strange things going on on this station. My aging, O'Brien's missing crewmembers, the sabotage to the station, your abnormal behaviour.
ODO: You think it's all connected somehow?
BASHIR: I think we should find out. Is there any way of getting the internal sensors online?
O'BRIEN: There's a computer processing junction near here. I might be able to repair the internal sensors from there. But I'm not going alone.
KIRA: Oh, what a surprise.
ODO: Don't worry. I'm not letting you out of my sight.
BASHIR: We'll all go together. Let's move.

[Cargo bay]

O'BRIEN: It's even worse than I thought. The entire sensor array is burnt out and there's extensive damage to the computer's central processor. The only system that looks salvageable is the subspace communication relay.
BASHIR: Well, that would at least let us contact Bajor.
DAX: See what you can do, Chief.
KIRA: Constable, would you stop doing that?
ODO: Doing what?
KIRA: Looking around like that. It's getting on my nerves.
BASHIR: There's no harm in keeping both eyes open.
KIRA: I don't remember asking your opinion.
ODO: If the Lethean's around, I want to know it.
BASHIR: The last time I saw him, he was in the central core.
DAX: The central core? What level were you on?
BASHIR: Level five. But I doubt he's still there. I think I lost him.
O'BRIEN: You think?
BASHIR: Just keep working, Chief.
O'BRIEN: For all we know, he could be right outside the door.
ODO: And if he is, then you'll have led him here.
O'BRIEN: Hold on, Lieutenant, I think I've got the communications relay working.
BASHIR: Open hailing frequencies. Try to contact Bajor.
O'BRIEN: Hold on. It's not working. But I'm receiving a signal. Audio only.
KIRA: Well let's hear it.
O'BRIEN: Patching it through.
DAX [OC]: Four cc's of cordrazine, but there was no response.
ODO: That sounds like you, Lieutenant.
SISKO [OC]: There has to be something we can do.
KIRA: That's Sisko's voice.
NURSE [OC]: We've tried everything we can think of, but we haven't been able to counteract the telepathic damage. His motor functions are minimal. His blood pressure's dangerously low. I'm afraid
BASHIR: Where's this signal coming from?
O'BRIEN: I don't know. Somewhere outside the station.
SISKO [OC]: Give me the bottom line.
DAX [OC]: The bottom line is that Julian's in some kind of telepathically induced coma. And unless we can get him out of it he'll be dead in less than three hours.
SISKO [OC]: I'll be in my office. Keep me informed.
O'BRIEN: What the hell's going on here?
(Bashir checks a tricorder.)
BASHIR: Delta waves. When I scan myself for brain activity, all I get are low frequency delta waves.
O'BRIEN: And what's that supposed to mean?
DAX: It means that the voices were telling the truth.
BASHIR: I'm in a coma.
KIRA: How can you stand there and say that you're in a coma? That's crazy.
BASHIR: Not necessarily, Major.
DAX: I suppose the next thing you're going to tell us is that we're unconscious.
BASHIR: Not according to these readings.
O'BRIEN: I'm glad to hear it.
BASHIR: Actually, I'm not picking up any life signs from you at all.
O'BRIEN: Let me see that. You want to know what this means? This tricorder is broken, that's what it means.
BASHIR: I don't think so.
ODO: Well what are you saying, Doctor? That we don't exist?
KIRA: I've had enough of this. I am not some figment of your imagination.
BASHIR: But don't you see? That is why you're all behaving so strangely.
O'BRIEN: I'm not behaving strangely. Am I?
BASHIR: You all are. Dax, you're not usually the sort of person to solve her problems by running around with a phaser. And Chief, you're not usually so pessimistic.
KIRA: Look, we are wasting time. The Lethean could be here any minute.
DAX: So if you're in a coma, and we're not real, then what are we doing here?
ODO: Maybe we're just here to give him someone to talk to.
KIRA: A paranoid, a coward, a hothead, and me? Oh, you'd think he'd pick some better company.
BASHIR: I haven't picked any of you. I'm in a coma. I'm the only one who's really here. Which means when I'm talk to you, I'm really only talking to myself.
O'BRIEN: I wish you wouldn't say that.
BASHIR: It's the only possible explanation.
KIRA: So, you're saying I'm you?
BASHIR: In a manner of speaking.
KIRA: And I suppose he's you too?
BASHIR: All of you are. You all embody different aspects of my personality, different voices inside my head.
O'BRIEN: I don't believe we're having this discussion.
BASHIR: If I were to guess, Chief, I would say that you represent my doubt and my disbelief.
O'BRIEN: No I don't.
BASHIR: I knew you were going to say that. Major, you're the perfect choice for my aggression. And Odo, you represent my sense of suspicion and fear. Dax, to me you've always represented my confidence and sense of adventure.
ODO: Ha!
DAX: Thank you, Julian.
ODO: You're forgetting something, Doctor. What about the Lethean? What is he supposed to represent?
BASHIR: I suppose he represents the telepathic damage that the real Lethean did to my mind.
KIRA: So why is this Lethean running around sabotaging the station?
BASHIR: It's not the station he's sabotaging. It's my mind. The station represents my mind just as you represent aspects of my personality. Think about it. When Chief O'Brien fixed the communications relay, we could hear what was happening in the real world.
DAX: It's like he restored your hearing.
BASHIR: Exactly. So if we could repair the station
ODO: You'd wake up.
O'BRIEN: But if you wake up, what happens to us?
(Altovar grabs Dax and takes her outside.)
DAX: Julian! Julian!
BASHIR: Jadzia!
DAX [OC]: Help me, Julian!
(The doors close)
BASHIR: Jadzia! Jadzia!

[Promenade]

(Bashir is playing tennis with Garak.)
BASHIR: How did I get here?
GARAK: Oh, don't ask me. After all, we're inside your mind. It's a pity about Lieutenant Dax.
BASHIR: How do you know about her?
GARAK: I'm a part of you, remember? I know what you know. Well, maybe a little more.
BASHIR: Still the man of mystery?
GARAK: Oh, you wouldn't have me any other way.
BASHIR: I'm getting a little too old for this game.
GARAK: yes, apparently so. You, or should I say we, are running out of time. Your service, Doctor.
BASHIR: I can't stay here. I have to get the main computer back online.
GARAK: Then you'd better get to Ops. If there are repairs are to be done, that's the place to do them.
BASHIR: You're right. Try to find Kira, Odo and O'Brien Kira. Tell them to meet me in Ops.
GARAK: I'd be delighted. I wonder if any of them plays tennis.

[Corridor]

(There are lots of people slumped on the floor)
WOMAN: Help me.
MAN: Doctor, help us.
SISKO: I'll handle this, Doctor. She's suffering cranial trauma. Treat the fracture with an osteogenic stimulator and then follow it up with
BASHIR + SISKO: With two cc's of inpedrezine.
BASHIR: How did you know that?
SISKO: I'm just doing my job.
BASHIR: No, you're not. You're doing my job. And what's more you're doing it as well as I could.
SISKO: Give him a coagulation activator to stop the bleeding.
BASHIR: You represent my professionalism and my skill.
SISKO: I'm flattered.
BASHIR: Come on. You've got to come with me to Ops.
SISKO: But I'm needed here.
BASHIR: I can't repair the station without your help.
SISKO: I suppose you're right. Look after things here. I won't be long.
NURSE: Yes, sir.
(An arm grabs Sisko and pulls him through the bulkhead. Bashir runs back along the corridor into Altovar.)
ALTOVAR: You're not going anywhere, Doctor.
(Bashir shoots him with his phaser. No effect.)
ALTOVAR: You're staying right here, trapped on this station, watching while I destroy you piece by piece. And when all the best parts of you are gone, when there's nothing left but the withered shell, then, and only then, will I put you out of your misery.
(Bashir runs)
ALTOVAR: You can't escape, Doctor. You can run if you want to, but you can't outrun death.
(Wrinkly Bashir finds Kira's body)
BASHIR: Major.
ODO: Doctor.
(Odo is slowly turning into goo.)
BASHIR: Odo, what happened?
ODO: The Lethean. He came out of nowhere.
BASHIR: He's trying to rob me of my confidence, my intelligence, my strength. I have to get to Ops.
ODO: Use the conduits. They're your best chance.
BASHIR: I have to get there while I still can.

[Conduit]

(Bashir climbs down a ladder and finds O'Brien at a junction)
BASHIR: Chief.
O'BRIEN: Julian, what the hell are you doing here?
BASHIR: I've got to get to Ops.
O'BRIEN: You'll never make it.
BASHIR: I've got to do something. I can't just let the Lethean kill me.
O'BRIEN: The Lethean's too strong, too fast. He's going to kill us all.
BASHIR: You sound awfully sure of that.
O'BRIEN: I know you're not going to stop him. Look at you. You look like you've got one foot in the grave already.
BASHIR: I'll tell you something. I like the real Chief better than you.
O'BRIEN: Where are you going?
BASHIR: I'm going to try and find a way out of these conduits. It's hard enough for me to walk, let alone crawl.
O'BRIEN: Mind if I come along?
BASHIR: I thought you said I didn't have a chance.
O'BRIEN: Well, I'm hoping I was wrong.
BASHIR: So am I.
O'BRIEN: But somehow I doubt it.
(Out through a panel, then an airlock to)

[Promenade]

BASHIR: How did we get back here?
O'BRIEN: You tell me. It's your mind.
(There are medical graphics on the monitors now.)
BASHIR: This monitor. It's displaying my vital signs.
O'BRIEN: What's the prognosis?
BASHIR: Pulse is thready, blood pressure is dropping steadily. I'm dying.
O'BRIEN: I could've told you that just by looking at you.
BASHIR: Ha!
CROWD [OC]: Dabo!

[Quark's]

(There's a crowd shouting their bets.)
BASHIR: Excuse me.
(Bashir is lying on a table where the dabo wheel should be.)
QUARK: Can I offer you gentlemen a drink?
BASHIR: Quark, where did all these people come from?
QUARK: Just goes to show. Give the people what they want, and they'll show up in droves. Now, care to place a wager?
BASHIR: A wager? On what?
QUARK: You name it. On how much longer you have to live. What organ will fail first. Ultimate cause of death. The house is covering all bets.
BASHIR: What if I want to bet that I will survive?
QUARK: It's a long shot, but if you want to throw your money away, who am I to stop you?
CROWD: Dabo!
(O'Brien's body is on the table.)
QUARK: Uh-oh. It looks like all bets are off.
(Someone grabs Quark by the throat. Altovar sits up from the table.)
ALTOVAR: Everyone loses.

[Promenade]

(Bashir falls. There's a hand on his shoulder.)
BASHIR: Garak. The Lethean. He's in Quark's.
GARAK: Well he hasn't caught you yet, Doctor. Let's get you out of here.
BASHIR: I've got to get to Ops.
GARAK: What's wrong?
BASHIR: I don't believe it. I've broken my hip. I can't walk.
GARAK: Well, Doctor, it was a good game while it lasted.
BASHIR: I've got to keep moving.
GARAK: And how do you propose doing that, hmm?
BASHIR: You're going to help me.
GARAK: I admire your tenacity, Doctor, but it's over. Look at yourself. Your bones are as brittle as twigs, you can't catch your breath. You can't even stand, let alone walk.
BASHIR: But other than that, I feel wonderful. Now, are you going to give me a hand or not?
GARAK: It would be my privilege. Now what would you like me to do?
BASHIR: Get me up.
GARAK: Of course. Come on. All right? Let's go.

[Ops]

(Garak cuts into Ops with a phaser.)
GARAK: Anybody home? (silence) All right, Doctor, here we go. Easy now. That's it. Good.
(Methuselah shuffles painfully into Ops. The place is decorated for Bashir's birthday party.)
DABO GIRL: Surprise!
BASHIR: What is this?
DABO GIRL: (sings a la Monroe) Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you
GARAK + DABO GIRL: Happy birthday dear Julian. Happy birthday to you.
(She puts a little party hat on his head and gives him a kiss.)
GARAK: And many more. I really must congratulate you, Doctor. You have a fascinating mind.
BASHIR: I'm sorry, but I really haven't got time for this.
DABO GIRL But it's a party and it's all for you.
GARAK: You must try to enjoy yourself. It's your birthday.
BASHIR: Garak, get me over to the engineering station. Now.
GARAK: Sorry, dear. Come along, Doctor. That's it. Good.
BASHIR: There must be a way to reactivate the central computer network.
GARAK: Any ideas on how to go about doing that?
BASHIR: My engineering extension classes at Starfleet Medical focused mainly on starship operations, but I think if I can re-route the primary command processor I might be able to bypass the disabled systems and get it operational.
GARAK: So, what panel accesses the computer?
BASHIR: If you were really Garak, you could tell me. In fact, you could fix this computer without my help.
GARAK: But I'm not really Garak, am I? I'm just another part of you.
BASHIR: Help me get this panel off.
(It's above head height.)
BASHIR: Yes.
(Tennis balls fall on them and knock Bashir down.)
BASHIR: My tennis balls.
GARAK: This station is in worse condition than we thought.
BASHIR: Garak, the computer controls are behind one of these panels. I just have to find the right ones.
GARAK: Face it, Doctor, there's no way to repair the damage. It's much too extensive.
BASHIR: If you won't help me, I'll do it myself.
GARAK: I'd be more than willing to help you, if I thought it would accomplish anything, but you're only delaying the inevitable.
(Bashir hauls himself up to another overhead panel.)
BASHIR: That doesn't sound like the Garak I know.
GARAK: We've been through this, Doctor. I'm not Garak. I'm you.
BASHIR: Well it doesn't sound like me either.
(More tennis balls from this panel too)
BASHIR: I've been thinking. Why did the Lethean let you live? He killed everyone else who could've helped me. Exactly what part of me do you represent? Is it my conscience? My curiosity? Hmm, is it? Is it my sense of humour?
GARAK: You tell me.
BASHIR: I don't think that you are any part of me. In fact, I don't even think you belong here (his head) at all. Which leaves me with just one question. Who are you?
(Garak transforms)
ALTOVAR: You've put up an entertaining struggle, Doctor.
BASHIR: Well I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.
ALTOVAR: Now it's time to make things easy on yourself.
BASHIR: Oh, you mean just give up? I don't think so.
ALTOVAR: Why not? Isn't that what you've always done? Remember, Doctor, I'm inside your head. I know all about you. When you were younger, you wanted to be a tennis player, didn't you.
BASHIR: I wasn't good enough to play professionally.
ALTOVAR: Don't lie to me. Not in here. You were good enough. But you knew your parents wouldn't approve of it. So you gave up and you became a doctor instead.
BASHIR: I love medicine.
ALTOVAR: But you loved tennis more. And what about medical school? You should've been first in your class. What went wrong?
BASHIR: I made a mistake in the final exam.
ALTOVAR: You mistook a pre-ganglionic fibre for a post-ganglionic nerve.
BASHIR: That's right.
ALTOVAR: But pre-ganglionic fibres and post-ganglionic nerves aren't anything alike. Any first year medical student could tell them apart. You purposely answered the question wrong.
BASHIR: That's ridiculous.
ALTOVAR: You didn't want to be first in your class. You couldn't take the pressure.
BASHIR: That's not true.
ALTOVAR: Isn't it? Then let's talk about Lieutenant Dax. You like her, don't you?
BASHIR: She's my friend.
ALTOVAR: But she could've been a lot more if you'd tried a little harder. But you'd rather give up than fight, wouldn't you?
BASHIR: We'll see about that.
(Bashir totters into the turbolift.)
ALTOVAR: Wait. Where are you going?

[Infirmary]

ALTOVAR: What do you think you're doing?
BASHIR: The mistake I made was trying to repair the station from Ops. It may be the nerve centre of the real world, but this is the centre of my world.
ALTOVAR: Get away from that panel.
BASHIR: Or what? You'll kill me? Go ahead. What's stopping you? You've had plenty of opportunities so far. I don't think that it is as easy for you as you say it is.
(The lights stop flickering)
BASHIR: Ah. You know, you don't look half as threatening in normal light.
(The monitors show Bashir on a biobed.)
ALTOVAR: Take a close look, Doctor. You're dying. Why can't you just accept it?
BASHIR: Because that's what you want me to do. You may be inside my head, but you don't know me half as well as you think you do. Take Dax. I do have feelings for her, but the important thing is she's my friend. You know? Friend? And I wouldn't exchange that friendship for anything. As far as my career is concerned, I may have been a good tennis player, but I'm a great doctor. Maybe I could've been first in my class, but it wouldn't have changed anything in my life. I still would've chosen this assignment. This is where I belong. Computer, activate quarantine field three J.
(Altovar is behind a forcefield.)
ALTOVAR: You can't do this.
BASHIR: I can do anything I want. It is my mind. Begin sterilisation.
(And Altovar evaporates)

[Infirmary]

DAX: Julian. He's awake.
NURSE: Vital signs have stabilised. His brain wave activity's normal.
SISKO: Welcome back, Doctor.
BASHIR: You will never believe where I've been.

[Replimat]

BASHIR: As for the real Altovar, he tripped a security alert when he broke into the Infirmary. He barely got two metres before Odo arrested him.
GARAK: Well, it sounds as if he were more dangerous in your mind than he was in the real world.
BASHIR: Actually, I did some checking on Letheans. Their telepathic attacks are almost always fatal. I guess I was lucky.
GARAK: Cardassians don't believe in luck, Doctor. You survived because you're strong.
BASHIR: One thing's for sure, you know. After experiencing life at a hundred plus, turning thirty doesn't seem that bad anymore.
GARAK: In that case, happy birthday. You know, Doctor, what I find most fascinating about this entire incident is how your unconscious mind chose people you know to represent the various parts of your personality.
BASHIR: Well, it did make things interesting.
GARAK: And what I find interesting is how your mind ended up casting me in the role of the villain.
BASHIR: Oh, I wouldn't read too much into that, Garak.
GARAK: Oh how can I not? To think, after all this time, all our lunches together, you still don't trust me. There's hope for you yet, Doctor.

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