“The following tale of alien encounters is true. By true, I mean false. It's all lies, but they're entertaining lies – and, in the end, isn't that the real truth? The answer is no.” -Leonard Nimoy, The Simpsons
They came out of nowhere! One medical vessel, versus five Dominion ‘bugs.’ We haven’t got a prayer!***
Captain Thaddeus Oxmyx gripped the arms of the command chair. Now was not the time to panic. He was charged with a very important mission, to save the life of a famous personage who had served the Federation long and well. And, indeed, had just recently died in the line of duty.
“Try opening a channel again, Lieutenant.”
“I will comply,” the Vulcan communications officer responded. “However, I anticipate that our chances of success are roughly the same as we experienced in our last futile attempt to…”
“Never quote me the odds!” Oxmyx bellowed. He was a short, compact man with a natural attitude of command. Much as he admired Vulcan coolness under fire, their precision could get on his nerves.
“This is Captain Thaddeus Oxmyx of USS Hyperion. We are a medical vessel, repeat, a medical vessel. We are non-combatants. We’re not even armed! Scan us if you don’t believe me!”
He waited a few seconds. No reply.
“We are dealing with a serious medical emergency onboard…” Oxmyx’ pleas were met with more polaron cannon fire. The Hyperion’s shields buckled under the assault.
“That’s it, Sir,” the con officer said. “Shields are gone.
Oxmyx heard a voice on the comlink. “Not now, Doctor!” he snapped.
“This isn’t the doctor,” a quivering voice replied. “He’s busy. This is Lieutenant Tiegan. The symbiont has gone into cephalic shock. We have to do the transfer now.”
“Damn! What a time for this to happen.” But Oxmyx knew that the situation would be far more stressful for Tiegan. As the only Trill on board, she would have to serve as Dax’ emergency host.
“I’ll try to keep the ship in one piece, Tiegan!” Oxmyx said. “How long does Doctor Z’vor think the surgery will take?”
“Only a few minutes.”
“What? He’s not going to try transport surgery, is he?”
“He has to! Dax won’t last long enough for conventional methods.”
Oxmyx grimaced. Using the medical transporters to beam new organs into a patient was normally not a very risky procedure. Transport surgery was common enough, but Z’vor had never dealt with a symbiont before. Still, they had other things to worry about now. Keeping the Hyperion in one piece, for instance. At least the bugs seemed to have stopped firing for the time being
“Captain, I’m detecting transporter beams,” the security chief yelled. “We’re being boarded!”
Oxmyx reached for his phaser as several large forms materialized: Four Jem’Hadar on the bridge, doubtless more elsewhere on the ship. They probably want to capture the vessel intact, Oxmyx thought. We won’t be much of a match for them, but they won’t get the Hyperion without a fight.
Without shields, there was no defense against Dominion transporters. The phasers of every Starfleet officer disappeared in a sparkle of light.
Nice trick, Oxmyx thought absently. Haven’t seen that one before…
A small man walked out from behind one of the Jem’Hadar. Oxmyx’ jaw dropped. Everyone in Starfleet knew the Vorta, Weyoun, by sight.
“Ah, this is much better. I really prefer face-to-face negotiations, don’t you? Now, as to your terms of…” The Vorta staggered and clutched his midsection. “What is wrong with me?” he gasped before collapsing to the ground.
The Jem’Hadar froze, unsure what to do. The First aimed his disrupter at Oxmyx. “You! What did you do to the Vorta?”
Oxmyx stared at Weyoun’s inert form. “Me? Nothing! I have no idea…”
Weyoun groaned and staggered to his feet. He blinked twice, seemingly disoriented, then lurched backwards when he saw the Jem’Hadar. Noticing Oxmyx, he said in a wavering voice, “Captain, what is going on?”
“What is…what are you talking about, Weyoun? You’re the one who boarded my ship!”
Weyoun looked at his hands and patted the brown and green uniform common to all Vorta. A strange look stole over his face. “Yes, I see…” Then, with a decisive air, he turned to the First. “Argun’Evor, take the boarding party back to the command vessel and wait for further instructions there. I don’t want a single Jem’Hadar on this ship, do you understand me?”
If Argun’Evor felt any astonishment, he didn’t show it. “As you wish.” The Jem’Hadar soon vanished and Weyoun turned frantically to Oxmyx. “Get us out of here now, before they realize what’s going on!” he hissed.
Oxmyx nodded, perplexed but happy to get his crew out of danger. “But where should we go?”
Weyoun thought for a moment. “How far are we away from DS9?”
Doctor Bashir ran all the way from his quarters to the infirmary. He had to see it for himself. Sure enough, it was true. The USS Hyperion had docked, and brought a very unusual patient in. It was Weyoun.***
“How did he get here?” Bashir asked, amazed. “And what’s wrong with him?”
Ezri Tiegan stepped forward. “It’s a strange story. We were ambushed by Dominion vessels while on our way to Trill. Weyoun beamed aboard with some Jem’Hadar, and then he…he seemed to want to defect. He ordered the Jem’Hadar to leave, and asked the captain to take us back here. He was acting oddly, but refused to go to sick bay to be checked out. He wanted to be on the bridge, in case the Dominion ships followed us and caused trouble. He got worse and worse, and by the time we docked, he was so white he was practically phosphorescent! He collapsed, and we brought him here. Our sick bay was badly damaged in the fighting, and half our medical systems are still out.”
Bashir recalled that the Hyperion was the vessel that took Dax after he had extracted the symbiont from the dying Jadzia. “And Dax…?” he said, fearing the answer.
“We…don’t know. We’re trying to figure it out. Doctor Z’vor was attempting emergency transport surgery, when Dax just…vanished.”
Bashir felt sick. I tried so hard to save Dax. To just die afterwards in a meaningless transporter accident! It’s not fair.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to say,” Tiegan said. “We have no idea what happened, but Dax is…gone.”
Bashir tried to put it out of his mind. He had a patient to attend to, after all. Since being brought into one of the infirmary’s bio-bed, Weyoun, still wearing the familiar brown and green garb, had not regained consciousness. The bio-readings were bizarre, but what else did he expect? He’d never monitored a Vorta’s health, with a full infirmary hook-up, before. As far as he knew, the readings could be entirely normal.***
“Hmm, you’re certainly a mystery, aren’t you?” the doctor muttered as he peered at the readouts. “I’m just going to get to know you better, before I’ll know what kind of approach to take…”
“Oh, Julian. Are you trying to flirt with me again? Honestly, you never give up.”
Bashir whirled around. “Pardon me?”
Weyoun’s expression changed when he saw look on the doctor’s face. “Damn! Julian, do you have a mirror?”
Bashir couldn’t think of anything to do besides comply. He passed the mirror through the stasis field. Weyoun snatched it, looked at it, and cringed.
“Damn! Damn! Damn! I was hoping I’d imagined it all! The Symbiosis Commission has made some mistakes in its time, but this has got to be the worst!”
Seeing Bashir’s puzzlement, the Vorta explained. “Julian! It’s me. Dax! It must have been the transporter surgery. Bad idea to try it when another transporter beam is being used in the vicinity. Instead of Ezri Tiegan, I ended up inside of Weyoun!”
Bashir looked skeptical and the Vorta became angry. “Come on, Julian, it’s easy enough to check! There’s a tricorder right over there.”
One quick swipe with the tricorder confirmed it. “How is this possible?” Bashir gasped. “Vortas aren’t compatible…”
“With symbionts? Well, it looks like they are. Probably something to do with their immunity to poison. They don’t reject foreign substances, whether it’s a dose of tricyanate or a small, sluglike creature.”
“We have to get you out of there right away!” Bashir said, lowering the stasis field.
“Not so fast, Julian. How long have I been in here, anyway?”
Bashir checked the medical records from the Hyperion. “One hundred and three hours, in all.”
Dax sighed. “Too long. To remove me now would kill the host.”
Bashir mulled this over. They were both thinking the same thing, so Dax said it first. “And no, Julian, it’s not okay to kill Weyoun just because he’s not a nice guy.”
Bashir objected. “I wasn’t going to say that!”
“I know, it would be against your Hippocratic Oath anyway. But other people are going to think that’s what I should do. What they don’t know is that symbionts have an oath of our own. When we are placed in a new host, we have an obligation to them. And if we should end up in a host that, for one reason or other, we dislike, well…that’s just too bad. We have to make the best of the situation. As long as the host does not medically reject the symbiont, it’s our obligation to remain.”
“But what about…Weyoun’s mind? I mean, can you integrate it all?”
Dax smiled. “I seem to be pretty much in control here. Okay, having to deal with eight lifetimes of memories is bad enough without having five more tossed at you all at once. But I think I can cope pretty well. In fact, I feel great! I think I’ll go check out Quark’s. Give that Ferengi rat a good scare.”
Before Bashir could stop him, Dax jumped off the bio-bed and walked out onto the promenade.
“Oh, you’ll have no problem coping,” Bashir mumbled. “But I think the rest of us will.”
“Quark! You mindless son of a tube grub! You owe me money!”***
As usual, Quark was working behind the bar. It wasn’t out of the ordinary for people to burst in, demanding payment of some fictitious debt or other. Picking up a glass to clean it, Quark turned. “I’ll have you know, I always pay my…” The glass shattered on the ground. A very familiar Vorta was sitting at the bar, with a huge grin on his face.
“We- We- Weyoun…when did you get back?”
“Oh just now. And you owe me ten strips of latinum from our last game of dom-jot.”
“Dom-jot? You never played dom-jot! Vortas don’t gamble!”
“Vortas don’t drink, either, but I’m thirsty enough to clean out your entire supply of Saurian brandy.” The Vorta banged the bar. “So line ‘em up, Quark!”
Quark watched with amazement as his new customer tossed down one jigger of brandy after another. The entire bar was silent now. Every eye was trained on the Vorta.
“Well, I never thought I’d see the day,” Quark said. “I always thought your kind were party poopers. Can I interest you in a trip to the holosuites?”
“I’ve already got one reserved. Spire-climbing on Rigel IX. I’m afraid I missed my original slot, it would have been last Tuesday.”
Confused, Quark checked his padd. “Wait a minute. That time slot was reserved for…”
“Jadzia Dax. Jadzia may be gone, Quark, but Dax is alive and well.”
Quark gasped. “You’re kidding me! Has the Symbiosis Commission lost its mind?”
Dax shrugged. “It was a little mistake. But I’m learning to adjust.”
“A little mistake?” Quark echoed. “This is a tragedy! If they had to put you in a male host, all right. But couldn’t they have found one more attractive?”
“Oh thank you, Quark. You were always such a flatterer.”
“Don’t get me wrong. You’ll always be Dax. But there isn’t a species in the quadrant with less sex appeal than a Vorta.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, Quark,” Dax said, with an ironic wink. “I can think of one that has less.”
“Hey, that’s low! Don’t you at least think Ferengi lobes are sexy?”
“Sorry, Quark, you’re barking up the wrong pylon. And speaking of sex appeal, look who just walked in the bar.”
Quark looked. “All I see is a bunch of mangy Klingons.”
“But look at their captain! Holy rings of Romulus, Quark, that’s Curzon’s old… friend…Mowrath.” Dax jumped off the barstool and strolled over to the Klingons, who looked like they needed a fight, a drink, and a bath, although not necessarily in that order.
Quark ran to the comm station behind the bar. “Put me through to Ops! Sisko, anyone! Get down here and stop Dax…he’s going to get himself killed…wait a minute. Weyoun will get killed. Then Doctor Bashir can put Dax in a different host. I wonder if any of my dabo girls are Trills?”
Captain Mowrath surveyed the bar imperiously. She was tall and bronze-skinned, with long, wavy, golden hair shot through with strands of silver. Not young, but still in possession of a ferocious beauty. She and her crew wore the traditional Klingon armor. In defiance of DS9’s proscription on weapons on the promenade, each had a small, ceremonial-looking dagger hanging from his or her belt.
Mowrath spotted Quark through the crowds. “You! Ferengi! I hope you have a warehouse full of bloodwine. The Bortagon has destroyed no less than a dozen Dominion vessels, and my crew is thirsty!”
Quark glanced through the crowds; Dax was nowhere to be seen. But the Klingons were tall, and he was short… “Coming right up, Madame,” the Ferengi said, and started hauling out bottles from his stash under the bar.
“OW!” Mowrath bellowed. Her crew drew their daggers and stood ready for attack. “Who PINCHED me on the BOTTOM?”
The crowd behind Mowrath drew back like a receding tide as she turned, dagger in hand. One person remained, grinning hugely.
Mowrath was temporarily unable to speak. Then she found her voice. “This is not possible! No Vorta would have the pra’cHuQs to do that!!”
Dax laughed with glee. “Well, Mowrath, you’ve met one Vorta who does.”
A wicked smile stole over the Klingon’s face. “Then you are the bravest Vorta pe’taQ that I have ever met. Prepare to die!” She lifted the dagger to strike.
“Tell me Mowrath, do you still have that tattoo of a Trixian flower on your…well, you know where.”
Mowrath stared at the Vorta in amazement while her crew howled with laughter. “Captain! How does the Vorta pe’taQ know about your tattoo?”
“Shut up! None of you k’larGs know about it, either!”
“We do now!”
“Gaargh! Vorta, before you die, you will explain yourself to my crew! There is only one man who has ever seen the Trixian flower, and he is dead!”
“You mean Curzon?” the Vorta said, still chuckling. “Curzon Dax? The Trill ambassador? The joined Trill ambassador?”
Mowrath understood. “No! You cannot be…I heard you were a woman, now!”
“Doesn’t look that way, does it?” Dax said, opening his arms. Mowrath grabbed him in a bear hug and lifted him entirely off the floor. “DAX! You motherless peta’Q! What kind of joke is this? A Vorta host?”
“I’ll be stuck in this host for a while, I’m afraid. But it’s not going to stop me from having some fun!”
“That’s the spirit,” Mowrath said. “Ferengi! Where’s that bloodwine?”
Sisko strode into Quark’s with a very concerned look on his face. Right behind him was Bashir. It wasn’t difficult to find the person they were looking for, since he standing one of the tables, stamping his foot to keep time for a loud Klingon chorus of The Death of the Tyrant Molor, and waving around a bottle of bloodwine that sprayed unwary passers-by with a shower of red alcohol.***
Quark grabbed Sisko’s arm. “Am I glad to see you! You’ve got to do something about Dax before he and his friends wreck the whole bar! They say they won’t leave until they either run out of bloodwine or finish singing every one of Barak-Kadan’s operas.”
“How many operas did he write?”
“Forty-seven! I can’t believe that Dax knows them all!”
“He’s had several lifetimes to memorize them. Don’t worry, Quark. Dax is going back to the infirmary, where he belongs.”
“Infirmary?” Quark said. “Is Dax sick? He sure doesn’t look sick to me.”
“He may not look it, but he is,” Bashir said. “He may be having trouble integrating all the new Weyoun personalities. Five lifetimes at once, that’s got to be rough. Dax says he’s got it under control, but he’s certainly not acting like Jadzia ever did!”
Sisko nodded. “More like Curzon, I’d say. But even the Old Man was never quite this wild.”
“It could be the interaction with the Weyoun personalities,” Bashir guessed. “Vortas always struck me as a little manic.”
Sisko rubbed his bald pate worriedly. “Curzon crossed with Weyoun. We may need to put a stasis field around him to get him under control.”
Spotting Sisko through the crowd, Dax jumped off the table and rushed over. “Ben! What, no hug for the Old Man?”
Sisko grimaced as Dax gave him a big hug. Mowrath and the Klingons followed behind, still singing and obviously tipsy.
“Join us, Ben, and you too Julian!” Dax yelled over the singing. “I’m teaching these Klingon peta’Qs how to drink! They hold their liquor like Romulans!” The Klingons growled and swatted at Dax with their daggers good-naturedly.
Quark whispered to Sisko and Bashir. “I’ve never seen anyone drink so much bloodwine and still be able to stand up straight! How does Dax do it?”
“It’s not Dax,” Bashir whispered back. “It’s Vorta physiology. Poisons don’t effect them, and I’ll bet neither does alcohol.”
“Great,” Sisko muttered. “Now we have a hedonistic Vorta who can drink Klingons under the table. Doctor, I think you should tell Trill to hurry up with that ship.”
Dax introduced Sisko to the Klingons. “This is my oldest friend on the station, Benjamin Sisko! I think he’s a little disoriented by my new appearance. Same thing happened before, when I showed up as Jadzia.”
“That, er, wasn’t quite as big an adjustment. Dax, Doctor Bashir thinks you may be suffering from associative joining disorder.”
Bashir explained. “The doctors on Trill were very concerned when I told them what happened. They’re sending a ship out to pick you up and take you to the Symbiosis Clinic for observation.”
“I don’t need any observation! I feel great!”
“Dax, listen,” Bashir said patiently. “You may think you feel great, but you’re integrating five highly alien consciousnesses all at once. Not to mention the trauma you suffered when your former host was killed. Even if the joining had gone as planned, you would have needed to be in the clinic for several months.”
Mowrath elbowed her way into the discussion. “Your former host? Wasn’t that Jadzia? What happened to her?”
“She was treacherously murdered by Dukat!” Dax said angrily.
Mowrath snarled. “Dukat? We cannot allow him to live! I declare a Blood Quest of Vengeance against that Cardassian peta’Q!”
The Klingons cheered and stomped while Sisko yelled for calm.
“That is impossible,” Sisko said. “How are you going to get through Dominion lines?”
“I can get them through!” Dax said excitedly. “I remember all of Weyoun’s security codes! And I can certainly pass any DNA or retinal scan.”
“And we have a bird of prey!” Mowrath added. “The Bortagon is docked at this station. We can leave immediately! It will be glorious!”
Sisko tried again to calm the Klingons down, but Dax got up on another table and yelled for silence. “But we cannot leave yet! There is one more person we need for our Blood Quest! Worf must come with us to avenge his par’Machai and ensure her soul’s entry into Sto’vo’kor!” Then, holding up a dagger that he swiped from one of the Klingons, Dax led them in shouts of “Worf! Worf! Worf!”
Dax jumped off the table and, with the Klingons, stormed through the promenade, still chanting Worf’s name.
Bashir shook his head. “Poor Worf. Where is he, anyway?”
Sisko grimaced. “When you called Ops and told us about…Dax’ new host…he left and went straight to his quarters. I’ve never seen a Klingon turn green like that.”
“We’d better call him and warn him. Or else I’ll have another patient in the infirmary.”
Dax and the Klingon horde banged on Worf’s door enthusiastically, but with no response.***
“Worf!” Dax yelled. “We know you’re in there. Come out! Are you afraid of a Vorta?” The Klingons roared with laughter. The door slid open and Worf’s angry face popped out.
“I am a Klingon warrior! I fear noth…” Worf looked down to see a pale, pointed-eared face giving him one of Jadzia’s patented ironic stares. Everything about the expression, right down to the big blue eyes, was disconcertingly reminiscent of Jadzia. Worf retreated, and the door whooshed shut.
“WORF!” Dax banged on the door again. “We need you for the Blood Quest! You’re not just going to sit there and let Dukat get away with this, are you?”
“I will kill Dukat in my own way,” Worf said stubbornly from the other side of the door. “I do not need your help.”
“Oh, no you don’t! You know that when we argue, I always get my way!”
“Jadzia always got her way. You are a Vorta! You will not get your way.”
“We’ll see about that. If you don’t come out right this minute, I’m going to that com station down the hall and tell everyone on DS9 about that time you let me wear your old Klingon uniform and then we…”
The door whooshed open. “You would not dare tell anyone about that!”
“Oh wouldn’t I?” The Jadzia-look was back.
“This is blackmail! Jadzia would never do such a thing! She was a woman of honor!”
“True,” Dax said with mock sadness. “But it’s a funny thing. Ever since I got a Vorta host, I seem to have no sense of ethics at all.”
Worf growled menacingly. “You win, Vorta. I will help you kill Dukat.” The Klingons cheered and dragged Worf with them down the corridor and toward the waiting bird of prey.
Weyoun’s eyes opened. He was lying on a bed in a sparsely-furnished room, and for a moment he mistook it for his own quarters near Central Command. But something was wrong. Something was making noise. Something very close to him was snoring…***
Looking around, Weyoun came as close as any Vorta ever has to having a heart attack. He was in bed next to a Klingon – a female Klingon, although to a Vorta, gender differences generally didn’t register – who was entirely nude and fast asleep.
Weyoun had seen five lifetimes, and been in many tricky situations before. His third incarnation had met a grisly end on Raguntha Prime, when the rebellious inhabitants had tossed him – the local Dominion overlord – into a pit full of giant slimesnakes. Weyoun was just comforting himself with the thought that this situation couldn’t be nearly as bad as that when the Klingon turned in her sleep, throwing a large, beefy arm right over his chest and effectively pinning him down.
At that point, Weyoun noticed several empty bottles of bloodwine on the bed and floor. Judging from the architecture of the room, the lettering on nearby panels, and the rumbling of engines from somewhere deep beneath the floor, he realized that he was aboard a Klingon bird of prey. Then he realized something else: he had no idea where his own clothes had gotten to. The slimesnakes were starting to look better and better by comparison.
The Klingon woke up with a snort. “Ah, Dax, my love! Awake already? After last night, I’d have thought you would sleep through the day!” She traced a finger along one of Weyoun’s ears. For his part, he was trying to come up with an appropriate reply to this entirely novel situation.
A blaring klaxon spared him the trouble. The Klingon bounded out of bed. “Damn! We’ve gotten to the border already! Well, my dearest par’Machai, it’s time we went to the bridge. Don’t bother with that k’larGigk Vorta clothing! I’ve replicated that warrior’s armor you wanted!”
Mowrath gestured towards the corner of the room where a Klingon warrior’s gear, in Weyoun’s size, was draped over a chair. She pulled on her own uniform and turned to Weyoun. “Nothing is too good for a par’Machai with such ullo’Rn as you have!” She winked and strode out of the room.
Weyoun had no intention of donning that ridiculous armor. He located a few his garments, which were strewn disconcertingly all over the room. He found more items in the corridor outside the room. Unfortunately, he couldn’t locate his pants. Unless he wanted to parade around a Klingon bird of prey half-dressed, he had to put on the Klingon gear. It took several minutes to figure out which way everything went, and it was incredibly uncomfortable.
He collected his thoughts. The last thing he recalled was beaming over to a Federation vessel with a contingent of Jem’Hadar. No Klingons had been in the vicinity. There was no rational explanation for any of this. But he had a very bad feeling about it – a strange feeling in his gut – almost as if he had eaten something that had disagreed with him.
With seemingly no other course open to him, Weyoun made his way to the bridge. The Klingon was sitting in her captain’s chair. At the other stations were other Klingons, all of who were in a very jovial mood. Weyoun hesitated at the door. In normal circumstances, he could expect instant death from a crew-full of Klingons.
The captain noticed him. “Dax!” she bellowed. “Take the comm station position, next to Worf. When the Dominion border posts hail us, you must appear to be in command of this vessel!”
“That shouldn’t be difficult!” a young Klingon replied from one of the forward stations. “I’ve heard that he already commands the captain’s bedchamber!” The crew guffawed at this; Weyoun didn’t move.
“Don’t believe everything you hear, Garoth!” the captain retorted. Then she turned to the wide-eyed Weyoun. “But you can regale them with the details later in the mess hall, my little Molor!”
The Klingon at the helm spoke up. “Captain! We are almost within hailing range of the Dominion outposts!”
“The Dominion outposts” was all that Weyoun needed to hear. We’re approaching Dominion space. They’ll rescue me from these insane Klingons! He dashed over to the comm station. Then Weyoun recognized the Klingon next to him at tactical – one of the DS9 staff, a Starfleet officer named Worf.
Worf did not turn his head, but spoke in a deep voice, never taking his eyes off the tactical station. “I am glad to see that you are awake and sober. The way you and Mowrath were carrying on last night in the mess hall, I wondered whether you would be fit for duty this morning!”
The apparent nonchalance of the Klingons bolstered Weyoun’s confidence. Obviously, this situation was not going to be as tricky as it first appeared. “No need to worry about my health, I feel fine! Now, let’s see…how do I hail the Dominion outposts from here?”
“I believe that our plan was to allow the outposts to hail us, first. Then you respond.”
“Ah, yes. Of course. I’d forgotten, how silly of me!”
Worf turned slightly in his chair and gave the Vorta a quizzical look. “Are you sure you are feeling all right, Dax?”
“I said I was, didn’t I?” Weyoun snapped, peevishly.
“For a moment, you sounded like…”
“Like a Vorta.”
I’m not supposed to sound like a Vorta? Weyoun thought, panicked. What am I supposed to sound like?
Worf sighed loudly; to Weyoun, it sounded more like a growl. “I am sorry, Dax. That was unfair of me. I have to accept that the…situation between us has changed, and you are not the person you once were. Of course, you are not going to act in the way I have been accustomed to.”
Weyoun made no response; he was wondering why the outposts were taking so long.
“It is a…difficult situation for me,” Worf continued. “After all, we
were once very intimate.”
“Oh, undoubtedly.” Just how much of my memory have I lost, anyway?
“How can any Klingon forget his first true par’Machai? Certainly I have had loves before. But it is different with you. We were married”
“Of course. I see what you mean.” On second thought, maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t remember anything…
“But I have adjusted to this situation and I see no reason why we should not still be friends,” Worf concluded firmly.
“The Dominion outpost is hailing us!” Weyoun said, hugely relieved. “Thank the Founders,” he muttered.
“Founders?” Worf said sharply.
“That’s right, Dax!” Mowrath yelled. “Remember the plan – tell those peta’Qs that we want to defect to the Dominion! We want to serve the glorious Founders!”
The bridge erupted in guffaws. Weyoun looked around, confused. The Klingons want to defect? Well, that would explain a few things. Such as why I’m still alive. But I never thought Klingons, of all people, would be capable of comprehending the divine nature of the Founders. Perhaps there is hope for the Alpha Quadrant after all.
“The Ambassador certainly has a silver tongue, to have convinced us of that,” one of the bridge officers said.
“Hah!” Mowrath retorted. “I could have told you that! He was famous for it back at the embassy on Qo’noS!” More laughter.
Weyoun rarely had ever felt so flattered. I am quite the diplomat, obviously. Even if I can’t recall what I said. The Founder will be so pleased…
The Klingons managed to stifle their laughter enough that it wouldn’t be heard on the comlink. The rest, Weyoun decided, would be entirely routine. He responded to the outpost with a terse statement. “This is Weyoun. I am bringing in a Klingon bird of prey. Its crew wishes to defect and serve the Dominion.”
The response from the outpost was equally terse: “Lower your shields and power down your weapons. Any aggressive moves will me met by immediate destruction.”
“We will comply,” Weyoun responded. Behind him, he heard an angry oath, and the comlink abruptly was terminated.
Mowrath was livid. “Dax, what in Sto’vo’kor do you think you’re doing? You’re supposed to convince them to let us enter Dominion space without lowering our shields!”
“Are you mad?” Weyoun retorted. “No enemy vessel would be permitted in Dominion space with shields raised!”
“You said they would allow us in!” Worf growled. “If you told them the Founder wished it so.”
“But the Founder doesn’t wish it so! She hadn’t informed me of such a plan!”
Mowrath finally understood what was going on. Jumping to her feet, she pointed at Weyoun and bellowed: “You’re not Dax!”
Weyoun was indignant. “I never said I was! You Klingons must be mentally unstable…”
The debate was suddenly interrupted by a wave of polaron cannon fire that jarred the Bortagon.
“Battle stations!” Mowrath screamed.
Worf picked himself up off the floor. “Evidently, the Dominion outpost became weary of waiting for us to lower our shields.”
Two of the Klingons grabbed Weyoun. Mowrath raged at him. “Get back on that comlink and tell them to stop firing!”
“What? You’re the ones who are supposed to be surrendering. Now, let me go!”
“Argh! Helmsman, get us away from the border. And you two, take that treacherous peta’Q to sickbay!”
Mowrath and Worf studied the monitor before them, displaying a nearly-flat line that jiggled now and then with a little blip. It was underscored by more serious jiggling as the vessel was rocked with polaron cannon fire, from the pursuing Dominion ships.***
“Let me go! Let me go! When the Jem’Hadar catch up with us, you Klingons will be sorry you ever hatched out of your eggs! Or however your imbecilic species is born…”
Worf whipped around and glared at Weyoun, who was thrashing around angrily on the biobed to which he was strapped. “Be quiet, Vorta! Or I will forget that, in order for Dax to live, you must live as well.” He turned back to the monitor and added, “For now.”
Mowrath gestured at the blipping line. “That line shows Dax’s brainwaves?”
“I believe so. The symbiont is no longer in control. The waves are almost entirely inactive.”
“What is wrong with him?”
“Dax appears to be unconscious.”
Mowrath shook her fist at the monitor. “Wake him up, then! That little peta’Q, sleeping on duty!”
“Drunk on duty is more likely. I cannot wake Dax. The symbiont is intoxicated.”
“That’s impossible. The bloodwine had no effect…”
“It had no effect on the Vorta. But Dax, apparently, can be effected. How much bloodwine did you two consume last night, anyway?”
“Argh! Take Dax out of that Vorta, then!”
Worf sighed. “How? We do not even have a doctor onboard.”
Mowrath drew her knife and stalked over to Weyoun. “A Klingon bird of prey needs no doctor! I will do the surgery myself!”
Weyoun didn’t like the sound of that. “Wait, I think we can negotiate some kind of compromise here!"
Worf intervened. “That would not be wise. There are no facilities for storing Dax on this vessel. And you are certainly not qualified to remove a symbiont from its host. Dax’s health would be at risk.”
“I have a solution!” Weyoun said desperately. “I can negotiate a trade. Beam me over to the Dominion ship and we’ll let you go free.”
Mowrath raged at the Vorta. “I am a Klingon warrior! I do not negotiate!”
Worf whispered to Mowrath and they left sickbay to talk. They wobbled as more blasts hit the bird of prey.
“We must do something,” Worf said. “Our cloak is damaged and useless. We will never escape the pursuing vessels.”
“Then we will die honorably!”
“We do not have to abandon the mission! Dax is merely drunk. Eventually, the symbiont will wake up and re-assert control.”
“At that point, Weyoun will most likely be inside Central Command. Dax should have no trouble passing himself off as Weyoun. He will have all of the Vorta’s memories.”
A grin spread across Mowrath’s face. “Ah! I see! Then Dax will be in the perfect position to exact vengeance against Dukat.”
One hasty negotiation later, Weyoun materialized inside the lead Dominion ship. He was sitting on the floor; the Vorta field supervisor rushed over to help him up and then stopped, a shocked look on her face.
“What?” Weyoun said angrily, picking himself up off the floor. Then he heard the clanking and realized he was still wearing the Klingon uniform. He pointed his finger at the Vorta. “Don’t ask me where I was. Don’t ask me what I did. And don’t ask me why I’m dressed like this!”
“Return to Cardassia Prime immediately!” he said and stormed off the bridge, clanking all the way. “And get me some clothes!”
“What has been going on around here? You’ve lost half the Parox system to Romulan incursions! The minute I leave, everything falls apart…”***
After hearing an update of their strategic situation in Central Command, Weyoun was one unhappy Vorta. Dukat and Damar were not exactly dancing for joy, either. They had been enjoying their vacation from Weyoun, and had hoped that the rumors had been true – that he’d gone insane and defected to the enemy.
No such luck. Weyoun was back and as insufferable as ever.
The Vorta pointed at the Parox system. “The Romulans are far too close to sensitive ketracel-white facilities now. You have to take the Second Fleet and…” Weyoun held his head and staggered into a chair. Dukat and Damar stared at him in surprise.
“Ow,” the Vorta groaned. “That’s the last time I ever mix Saurian brandy and bloodwine…”
Damar laughed. “I can certainly sympathize!”
Dukat cocked an eyebrow. “Since when do you drink, Weyoun?”
The Vorta looked up, masking his surprise. “I…don’t. Just a little joke.”
“Hmm,” Dukat replied. “Since when do you have a sense of humor?”
“Maybe you don’t know everything about Vortas, Dukat.” Weyoun had a very odd smile. “Now, where were we?” His eyes darted around and fixed onto a weapons cabinet. He got out of the chair and wandered nonchalantly over to the cabinet. “Damar, we need the latest intelligence reports on the Romulan situation. Please get them now.”
Damar frowned. “I can retrieve them from the computers here…”
“No, no. The latest ones have not been downloaded. You’ll have to get them from the central processing unit.”
Damar rolled his eyes, but complied. “All right. It’s a good thing it isn’t far.”
Dukat folded his arms and turned his back to the Vorta, watching Damar trudge out the door. “Are you sure you’re feeling all right, Weyoun?”
“I’m feeling a lot better than you will be in a few seconds.”
Dukat turned his head to see Weyoun pointing an enormous disrupter rifle straight at him. The weapon looked like it was about half the Vorta’s size. If Dukat was concerned at all, he didn’t show it.
“Weyoun, what in the seven hells of the Hebetians has gotten into you? Put that thing down.”
Weyoun circled around Dukat, still keeping him in his sights. “Why? So you can kill me again, Dukat? I don’t think so! You die, now!”
Dukat stared at the agitated Vorta. “I don’t recall ever having killed you, Weyoun,” he said in a calm voice. “Although I must admit, the idea has crossed my mind once or twice…”
Damar interrupted from the doorway. “The central processing unit isn’t even open at this time of…” Seeing what was going on, Damar grabbed his disrupter and fired at Weyoun, barely missing him. Weyoun dove behind a console and Dukat pulled out his own weapon, obliterating the console in an explosion of fire and metal. The blast threw Weyoun against the wall, knocking him out.
Damar rushed to the unconscious Vorta and raised his disrupter. Dukat
yelled at him to stop. “Wait! He was acting very strangely. Take him to
the infirmary. I want to know why.”
“What is that thing?” Dukat pointed at the image of a shapeless blob, displayed on a Cardassian medical monitor. The doctor on duty replied in clipped tones: “It took some doing, but we’ve finally identified it. The ambassador seems to be hosting a Trill symbiont.”
“A symbiont?” Damar said, with a puzzled expression. “How did that get into him?”
“We have no idea,” the doctor began. “But it’s controlling his actions. I’ve sedated the creature so that it will cause no further disruption.”
“A Trill symbiont!” Dukat echoed. “Must have been implanted when Weyoun was captured.”
“Then they sent him back here, to assassinate you!” Damar said, incensed.
Dukat shrugged. “Evidently. It seems the Federation is getting creative in their tactics.” Then he started to snicker. Damar began to see the humor in the situation, too, and soon they were both roaring with laughter.
“Is the Vorta awake?” Damar asked the doctor. “I want to see the expression on his face when you tell him…mmph…HAW HAW HAW!!”
Dukat gained some control over himself. “Seriously, doctor. This is all very entertaining, but you’ll have to remove the symbiont.”
The doctor, who saw nothing funny in any of this, shook her head. “The symbiont is intertwined in the ambassador’s nervous system. Removing it would kill him.”
Dukat sobered up a little. “Then we’ll let nature take its course.”
Damar looked puzzled. “Nature?”
“Of course. How long does Vorta gestation take, I wonder?” They both started howling with laughter again, while the doctor shook her head.
“I think you should come with me,” she said, scowling. “I informed the ambassador about the presence of the symbiont. He seemed to be…perturbed.”
Dukat and Damar followed the doctor into an inner room. On a biobed sat Weyoun, staring intently at a medical monitor that showed the symbiont’s depressed brainwaves.
Weyoun barely acknowledged the Cardassians. “There is a SLUG inside me,” he said with great indignation.
“Indeed,” Dukat replied. Behind him, Damar stifled some snickers. “You must admit, it’s an ingenious Federation trick.”
“I admit nothing of the sort!” Weyoun said. “It’s disgusting! I want it removed, now!”
“Mr. Ambassador,” the doctor said, patiently. “I explained it to you. The symbiont is too intertwined…”
Weyoun vaulted off the biobed and stalked over to Dukat. The effect of his ire was spoiled by the fact that the Cardassian was far too tall for Weyoun to “get in his face,” but the Vorta did his best anyway.
“This situation is intolerable!” Weyoun ranted. “You’d better come up with a good solution, Dukat.”
Dukat was nonplussed. “Me? What do I have to do with this?”
“It’s all your fault!” Weyoun yelled.
Dukat was both perplexed and amused. “All my fault? Now, I admit, I’ve been responsible for some unplanned pregnancies in my time, but you can’t blame this on me!” Dukat grinned hugely while Damar laughed so hard that his face started to turn aqua from lack of oxygen.
Weyoun was angrier than ever. “If you hadn’t killed that Trill on DS9, all this never would have happened! I read the intelligence reports! That Trill was named Jadzia Dax. And the Klingons on that vessel kept calling me ‘Dax.’ Somehow, her symbiont got inside me!”
This was too much for Dukat, and he doubled over with laughter. After a moment, he regained control of himself. “I am really…MMPPHH…sorry about this, Weyoun!” Dukat straightened up and continued in more sober tones. “Really, I am. Damar, stop laughing, this is serious.”
Damar did his best to obey, but couldn’t help snickering every time he looked at the Vorta. Dukat ignored him and continued. “Dr. Noret here is the best exo-biologist we have. I’m sure that she will soon find a solution…”
“I’m not staying here!” Weyoun interrupted. “This case will be handled by Vorta physicians who know what they’re doing!”
Dukat gave Weyoun a strange look and shook his head. “Tsk, tsk, tsk, Weyoun. You don’t want to do that.”
“And why not?”
“You can’t let anyone from the Dominion know what’s happened to you. So far, you’ve been lucky. Only a few of us Cardassians know. But if the Founder finds out about that symbiont…”
“The Founder won’t mind!”
“Really? Considering what a security risk you pose?”
“The symbiont can be kept quiescent, through drugs!” Weyoun said nervously. “The doctor said so herself.”
Dukat shrugged. “True. Or, you could be terminated and replaced by Weyoun 6. Then there would be no security risk at all. You’ve had an opportunity to observe how the Founder makes decisions regarding her servants. Now, which option do you think she’s more likely to choose?”
Weyoun said nothing, but he knew the answer.
Triumphantly, Dukat nodded to Dr. Noret. “Please continue working on a cure for the ambassador’s condition. If you need us, we will be in Central Command.”
The trio returned to the war room, where Weyoun lost no time in resuming his diatribe. But this time, Dukat was not so complaisant.
“Now, Dukat,” Weyoun said, once again harping on the intolerable situation in the Parox system. “You should redeploy the Third and Fifth fleets to…”
“No, Weyoun, I don’t think I’ll be doing that today,” Dukat said, settling back in his chair. “Or any day.”
“What?” Weyoun raged. “We can’t allow these ketracel-white facilities…”
“Do you actually think I care about the Jem’Hadar?” Dukat spat. “They’re ridiculous. Drones! Cardassian soldiers are ten times as effective…”
“Twenty times,” Damar added, tersely.
“Or thirty,” Dukat replied, smiling. “Or a thousand, does it even matter? The point, Weyoun, is that the Third and Fifth fleets are guarding Cardassian territory. I have no intention of moving those ships away from their positions, just so that you can ensure that some Jem’Hadar get fed on a regular basis.”
Damar, dense as he was, started to understand what was going on. He pounded on the table. “That’s right, Weyoun! You won’t sacrifice any more Cardassian lives for your cloned creatures!”
“In fact, Weyoun,” Dukat continued smoothly, “I think it’s time that the Dominion started living up to its agreements. When I signed the papers that bound Cardassia to the Dominion alliance, I was promised a great many things which, strangely enough, have never materialized. I think that now is a very good time for those things to materialize, don’t you? We wouldn’t want to have to involve the Founder in these dealings, I’m sure you’ll agree.”
Weyoun’s face turned a whiter shade of pale at the mention of the Founder’s name. “Of course not. These matters are too…small…to require her attention,” he gasped.
Hours later, Weyoun was in his quarters, wondering if any Vorta had ever faced such problems. He was staring at a padd, on which Dukat had listed his demands. The list was very long and detailed, but boiled down to one thing: Dukat was attempting to wrest control of Cardassian-Dominion alliance from Weyoun.***
How did Dukat manage to get the better of me? he thought furiously. This damned symbiont! I would gladly give my life for the Founder…but that can’t be necessary…because…because the Founder needs me to stay alive and fight on her behalf against these treacherous Cardassians!
Weyoun flung the padd on a table and paced back and forth, trying to devise a way out of Dukat’s neat little trap. But every line of thinking led right back to the same place: Weyoun had to refuse Dukat’s insane demands. If he gave in, it would simply encourage Dukat to make more and more demands until the Dominion ended up serving Cardassia!
But if Weyoun refused, the Founder would find out about the symbiont…and Weyoun knew what would happen then…so he kept pacing and thinking until a beep informed him of an incoming transmission.
He sat at the comstation and responded. He nearly fell off his chair when Worf appeared on the display.
“Dax! Have you accomplished your mission yet? The Bortagon’s cloak is repaired, and we are in orbit around Cardassia Prime. We will beam you aboard.”
“My…mission?” Weyoun said nervously.
“I am sorry. Perhaps this plan was rash. Mowrath and I thought that, when you awoke in Central Command, that you would know to kill Dukat on your own.”
The Klingons’ mission is to kill Dukat! “Uh…I have not had the chance yet. He is well guarded. Perhaps you could assist me.”
Worf’s eyes lit up. “You are generous, Dax, to permit me the honor of killing Dukat! Mowrath and I will beam down immediately. Secure a transporter room for us.”
“Certainly! I’ll signal you from the transporter room when it’s safe.”
Worf ended the transmission and Weyoun raced out of the room. Those idiot Klingons have saved my life! I don’t dare have Dukat killed myself – Damar or that doctor would figure it out immediately and tell the Founder everything – but if a pack of renegade Klingons gets into Central Command and kills him, well, that’s different! No one would ever suspect me of having helped them. It’s perfect!
At the transporter room, Weyoun dismissed the Cardassian and Jem’Hadar guards and took the controls himself. Four forms shimmered on the transport pad and resolved into Worf, Mowrath, and two Klingon warriors.
Weyoun swallowed his innate fear of Klingons and walked forward, hands clasped. “I’m so pleased to be working together again! Now, as to our plans…”
“What plans?” Mowrath barked. “We need no plans. Take us to Dukat is so that Worf can send him to the jaws of Fek’lhr!”
“Ah. That might not be such a good idea. You see, Central Command is heavily guarded…”
“What are a few Cardassians and Jem’Hadar?” Worf growled. “I welcome combat!”
But I don’t want to be seen in your company, you buffoons, Weyoun thought. “I have a better idea! I’ll get Dukat to come to us!”
Weyoun activated the transporter room’s comstation, carefully positioning it so that the Klingons would not be seen. He looked at the Klingons and added, “I’ll…uh…pretend to be Weyoun now.”
Dukat appeared on the comstation. “What is it now, Weyoun?”
“I’ve read over your list of demands, and I think they are quite reasonable. But I’d like to discuss a few minor points, if you don’t mind meeting me in the Logistics Strategy Room.”
“Fine. But don’t waste my time, Weyoun. I expect you to sign that list today.”
Weyoun terminated the link and spoke to the Klingons. “Logistics is just down the hall from here. We should be able to get there without running into anyone. We’ll wait there and ambush Dukat!”
“I do not intend to ambush anyone!” Worf said, indignantly. “I will challenge Dukat to honorable combat.”
“Fine, fine!” Weyoun retorted. “Just so long as you win.”
Weyoun led the Klingons out of the room and into Logistics, where Mowrath and the other two Klingons took up strategic positions. Worf stood to one side of the door, hand on bat’leth, calmly waiting for his opponent. But Weyoun slinked off to a dark corner, where he wrung his hands nervously.
The Vorta’s behavior aroused Worf’s suspicions. “Dax, you did not really think I would ‘ambush’ Dukat, did you? That would be entirely dishonorable!”
These Klingons and their ‘honor’ are impossibly tedious! “No, of course not. I didn’t mean to say that.”
“Are you really Dax, or is that Vorta back?”
Weyoun turned pale. “Of course it’s Dax! I let you through the security shields, didn’t I? Wait, do you hear that? Someone’s coming!”
Dukat strode into the room and stopped dead in astonishment. Immediately, one of the Klingons moved behind him to bar his exit.
Quickly, Dukat regained his composure. “How interesting, Weyoun! Has the Dominion signed a peace treaty with the Klingon Empire? You really should do a better job of keeping me appraised of your diplomatic maneuvers.”
Worf brandished his bat’leth ceremoniously. “This has nothing to do with diplomacy, Cardassian pe’taQ! I am on a Blood Quest to avenge Jadzia Dax!”
Dukat grimaced. “Is that what this is all about? I suppose it wouldn’t make any difference if I told you that I am truly sorry about your wife’s death, and I was not in my right mind…”
“Your cowardly excuses count for nothing!” Mowrath snapped. “You will battle Worf with this” – she tossed Dukat her bat’leth – “and if you attempt to draw your disrupter, Hator and Kaag will kill you with theirs!”
Dukat regarded the weapon with disgust. “You Klingons don’t really expect me to fight with this primitive thing? And Worf, I’m surprised at you. Taking orders from a Vorta now.”
“That is no Vorta!” Worf retorted. “That is Dax!”
“Oh is that what Weyoun said? I’m sorry to have to break the news to you, Worf, but Dax is dead. Weyoun discovered the symbiont and had it removed. It wasn’t my idea, I would never have condoned such a thing…”
Worf turned towards the Vorta. “Is what the Cardassian says true?”
“Of course not!” Weyoun replied frantically. “I’m Dax, really I am!”
Dukat shook his head. “As big a liar as ever, aren’t you Weyoun?”
“I am not Weyoun!”
“Prove that you’re not!” Worf challenged.
“Worf! Don’t you trust your own…umm…parmy-ka?”
Dukat grinned. “Oh, a lover’s tiff. Perhaps I should leave and let you two work things out…”
“Do not move, Cardassian!” Worf growled. “Now Dax. If you are Dax. What is the main theme from Barak-Kaden’s opera, The Triumph of Kahless?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Sing the main theme!”
“I…uh…this has gotten me so flustered, I’m afraid I’ve temporarily forgotten…”
“Then sing any of Barak-Kaden’s themes.”
Weyoun opened his mouth, and for the first time in a thousand years, a Vorta attempted to sing. The results were not pretty, being a cross between the screech of a Huyperian eagle and the sound made by the stressed metal of a warp engine in the final stages of core breech.
Dukat held his ears. “Stop it, Weyoun! I’d rather fight all these Klingons bare-handed than listen to that!”
Worf was incensed. “Vorta! What have you done with Dax?”
“The symbiont’s here, inside me! Really! It’s just sleeping…”
Disrupter fire hit the door. Dukat turned. “Ah, Damar has finally arrived. Took him long enough – what’s the use of having a secret signaling device if it takes them this long to arrive?”
“There are too many of them!” Mowrath yelled. “Bortagon, five to beam up!”
When Damar’s team cut through the door, they found the room empty except for one very smug-looking Dukat.
“Well, Damar. Seems our vacation from Weyoun is going to last a little longer.”
“So, where’s Dax?” Bashir said, looking around the infirmary. “You said over the comlink that you’d return him here.”***
“Patience, Doctor,” Mowrath replied. She signaled with her communicator. “Bortagon, begin transport.”
Bashir saw a lumpy form materialize inside the clear container he had set out for that purpose. Dax was now safely ensconced in special buffering liquid and ready for transport to Trill.
“Our work here is done,” Worf said. He and Mowrath turned to leave.
“Wait,” Bashir said. “What about Weyoun? How did you get the symbiont…”
“Weyoun suffered an unexpected transporter accident,” Worf growled. “This time, Doctor, see to it that Dax is put in a worthy host.”
(Since this story takes place in the S6-S7 summer hiatus, it could,
with a stretch of imagination - okay, a large stretch of the imagination!
- be considered consistent with canon: Dax later is joined with Ezri, and
Weyoun 5 dies in a transporter accident.)