Title: Phoenix Fire

Pairing: C/P (predominantly), (Julian/P)

Chapter Seven (7/?)

Summary: Is ignorance a universal trait?

Minnows are helpless

Caught in the branches of a tree

Set out to lure them,

So we too are tangled

In the snare of ignorance.

--- Lord Toshiyori

The Sickbay of Deep Space Nine was known to be a place of healing. Officers, both human and Bajoran, were sent to the station's medical officers for treatment. The basic cold, stomach indigestion and other annoying bodily disorders were cured with medicine, words of advice and the typical order of 'bed-rest'. Sometimes, scuffles would break out in Quark's bar and the injured parties would be sternly instructed to go to the Infirmary, accompanied by an impartial Constable Odo. 

Healing was what Julian Bashir was trained to do. What he learned at Starfleet Medical, he was willing to use the skills to help the sick. 

Now, for the first time, in his whole life, he hated being a doctor. He felt as if he was only a simple pawn in a larger scheme of things. There were things brewing in the station and he wasn't too pleased to know about it. Jadzia had told him about the arrival of two new starships and he remembered thinking to himself, So the plot thickens.

He took a brief glance at the blonde man on the bio-bed. Tom Paris had refused to speak to him, staring at the ceiling, oblivious of Julian's gaze and the activities happening all around him. 

Dammit, Julian's frown deepened and he strode briskly to his worktable. Tom could walk. He had all the evidence right in front of him. His friend could walk again. With a simple operation and occupational therapy, Tom would regain his ability to stand and walk. Dammit, Tom. Will you just listen to me?

He had known Tom since his Academy days. Tom was the scion of a Starfleet family. The blue-eyed man was well known for his gift of flying and he was touted by many to become someone great in Starfleet. Handsome, charming, witty, Thomas was popular amongst the girls…and the men. Julian was his roommate. While Julian kept his own reservations and comments about the men Tom brought back to their shared flat, Tom respected his privacy and didn't do anything to breach the trust. 

Then, one day, right after a drinking session at the Student Gardens (filled with rude Klingon songs and peanuts), Tom stumbled back to the room. 

Julian recalled being annoyed. He was right in the middle of studying the complications of blood pressure in non-humanoid races. As Tom sang off-key in the living room, he had to run to the kitchen and get a basin of water. 

It was in the midst of washing Tom's face when Julian felt Tom's hand moving up his neck. Startled speechless, he could only sit still as Tom planted a wet beer-tasting kiss on his lips. Furious, his dignity in shreds, Julian left his roommate unconscious on the sofa and went back to his room. 

Dammit, the doctor rubbed his face and put away his PADD. It had happened almost a decade ago. 

No, he wasn't homophobic …or he told himself so. He wasn't one of those cadets who once campaigned to exclude two men from their gym class, simply because of their sexual orientation. Different strokes for different folks

Or simply…ignorance. Pretended ignorance.

Tom had mentioned a name. Chakotay. It sounded Native American. Chakotay. It must be the man he had spoken to in the 'debriefing room'. Julian had seen the brief secret touches between Tom and this Native American officer.


Suddenly, Julian Bashir wanted to drink Russian vodka. 

*** *** ***

"Captain Picard," Benjamin Sisko greeted the man who stepped into his office. "We were informed about your arrival."

Jean-Luc Picard of the Enterprise-E nodded politely. He had received a transmission from Starfleet Command about the return of the Voyager, the Intrepid-class starship allegedly lost in the Delta Quadrant. Now, she was back. Yes, he had seen the beautiful vessel as his own ship came in to dock. 

"I was told about," Picard calmly declined the offer of coffee," the half-Borg woman they call Seven of Nine."

Sisko felt his organs turn cold. Jean-Luc Picard was once assimilated into the Borg collective. His designated name was Locutus of Borg. 

The captain of DS9 recalled Wolf 359…and shivered. 

"Where is she?" Picard's voice bore the tone of authority. It was imperative and Sisko knew that he had to obey.

"She's kept under surveillance," Benjamin answered quietly and the two men headed for the door. As they walked towards the lift, Sisko ignored the glances thrown towards his direction. Kira's face looked unhappy. Miles O'Brien's once-jovial features were tinged with sadness and Jadzia…Jadzia simply looked away. Only Worf managed to appear fierce and unmoved. 

As they were brought to the main level, Picard turned to his companion.

"Where's the captain of the Voyager and her crew?"

Sisko could have sworn that he saw concern in the older man's eyes.

*** *** ***

Seven of Nine, formerly of the Collective, was aware that she was being watched. She was reminded of a conversation she had with Kim about a 'zoo'. Kim told her how the animals were kept in 'zoos', like exhibits. 

With a graceful turn of her neck, she glanced over her shoulder. 

He was there. 

And she knew him.

*** *** ***

Quark, the proud proprietor of DS9's bar, stared avidly at his small entertainment-console. Business was slow today. Morn had gone out with Leeta on a 'date'. So, the Ferengi checked his stocks for any profit, scanned through the various networks for news (a good Ferengi has to listen for latinium) and kept his nose sharp for the scent of a good purchase. Retail was profitable. So were stocks. Even, the smuggling of machine parts was thriving. 

His eyes caught something. Hu'Mons. He would never understand them. They loved gossip, were possessive over the most trivial of things and they loved to talk. Leeta had introduced him to something called a 'message board' and like any self-loving Ferengi, Quark decided to check one out. Profit could be everywhere.

The first thing he saw was: Kill all Borg. We don't like them at all. Kill them and the Federation will relax!

There were hundreds of replies to this message. 

Kill them? Don't be stupid. We don't need another debacle like Wolf 359! --- Patriot

Yes! I support your idea, buddy. Now, let's find a good warship and blow them to kingdom! --- Yay!

Infantile, Quark thought, scrolling down.

Voyager: Ship of Fools?

The title was interesting and Quark decided to read on.

I am sick and tired of the Feds treating Voyager like some sort of alien. C'mon, people. Voyager just came back from the Delta Quadrant and they deserve respect. I hate the way Starfleet is treating the entire matter. Even, the media networks are silent about it. This is so stupid. Only a month ago, thirty channels were talking about Voyager's return and how happy everyone was. Gimme a break, folks. Voyager ain't bad. My aunt's son is serving onboard that ship and she wants to see him back, safe and sound. What's wrong with the Feds? --- AngryMan

Quark snorted. 

The reply to this message was simple. Only one word.


It wasn't signed or anything. 

This time, Quark gave up, turned off the console and went back to his bar. He couldn't stomach the meaningless blathering of silly Hu'Mons.