DS9 Redux: His Way

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***

NOTE: This one’s quite long, quite sleazy and turns most Trek characters into pervs. Don’t read if the idea of Odo having sex upsets you.

——

Vic Fontaine stands on the same set used for Federation sex parties, singing slowly to a tedious beat. The musicians in the background look tired, as if they’ve been playing since Season 1.

Dax, Worf, Bashir, O’Brien, Kira, Odo, Worf, Dax, Worf, Bashir, Odo, Kira, Worf, O’Brien and Worf stand at the bar watching him.

Worf checks his watch, grimaces then leans over to Jadzia. ‘When does it end?’

Dax puts a finger to her mouth.

‘It’s been an hour already…’

‘Worf…quiet.’

‘How can one man sing for so long?’

Vic seems to notice the Klingon turning against him, and the song ends. He walks over and lets Bashir introduce him to everyone.

‘This is Dax and Worf…’

‘Hey…how long have you guys been married?’

Dax and Worf look surprised. ‘How did you know we were married?’ asks Worf.

‘Easy, when you’ve been around as long as I have, you notice things.’

Vic notices the Chief staring at a pretty extra nearby. ‘Hey, buddy, don’t worry…’

‘Huh?’

‘It’s okay to touch, just don’t let the wife catch you.’

The Chief nods. ‘I’ve waited so long for someone to say that…you know, I’ve been poking the same woman for eight seasons now.’

‘And she’s had a pasty, fat engineer sweating buckets on top of her…’ mutters Kira, elbowing Dax in the side.

‘I liberate you, brother,’ says Vic, patting him on the back. ‘What happens on stage in front of fake people, stays on stage…and possibly in the station database…actually, I’m not exactly 100% clear on how it all works.’

O’Brien turns to Bashir. ‘If Keiko asks, I’m in upper pylon four…’

‘Chief…you can’t…’

‘Julian, come on…it’s a holosuite. It’s not like I’m ‘cheating’ cheating, it’s just…it’s like having a wank, innit?’

‘In that case…I’m coming too.’

‘Fine, but I go first.’

The two of them run off towards the extra.

Vic smirks, says ‘crazy’ in an odd pitch then turns to Odo and Kira. ‘And as for you two…’

‘Yes?’ asks Odo.

Vic opens his mouth to ask Odo what’s up with his face, but changes his mind and says, ‘forget it.’

Dax says they have to go, but they’ll be back tomorrow night because there’s nothing else to do on the station.

‘But…these holosuites can do anything, right?’ asks Vic.

‘Pretty much.’

‘Any place or time in the whole galaxy?’

‘Yup.’

‘And you wanna spend two nights in a row listening to me sing showtunes and tell dad jokes?’

‘No,’ says Worf.

Dax elbows him in the ribs. Worf growls, folding his arms.

‘It was lovely to meet you, Vic,’ says Dax. ‘Pre-Worf, I probably would’ve invited you back to my quarters, but alas, I’m now chained to this big lug.’

‘No problem, lady-o. I’ll just keep singing show tunes until the post-Worf era begins.’

‘We’ll see you tomorrow.’

Worf nods then turns back to Vic. ‘Goodbye, not Frank Sinatra.’

They leave the holosuite, a spring in their steps, while Bashir and O’Brien spit-roast the extra in the background.

—-

Back in Quark’s, Dax tells Worf things are getting out of control.

‘What do you mean?’

‘I mean, that whole scene. It was overbearing, all that sex…Trek should not be dealing with this kind of thing, even in a bizarro parody.’

‘You are the one who always says the word ‘sex’.

‘Yes, but…’

Quark appears, holding a tray with a little mountain of condoms on it.

‘Did I hear the word ‘sex?’

‘What do you want, Ferengi?’

‘Same as usual. Latinum, ass, funny lines. Not that I’ll get any of that.’

‘Come on, Quark…you get your fair share,’ says Dax, smiling.

‘Do I? When?’

‘Err…’

‘Let’s see. Latinum? Nope. I’ve gotta stay poor otherwise I won’t be on the show anymore. Funny lines? Maybe. Some. Sex? Sure, I’ve always got a Dabo girl on my arm, but we never actually do anything. It’s all implied.’

‘Really?’

‘Course it is. I may sound and act like a pervert, but I never get any. When was the last time you saw me in bed? Exactly. Even Odo here gets more muff than me…’

Odo grunts and walks away with Kira.

‘Are you okay, Odo?’

Odo grunts again.

‘What’s wrong?’

‘Nothing, major.’

Kira smiles the same way everyone smiles on DS9…like there’s a vice inside her mouth stretching the skin until it shows every single tooth.

‘Okay, well, I’m gonna disappear to Bajor for half the episode. Hopefully, when I get back, you’ll have an answer for me.’

‘Bajor?’

‘Yes. My home. The planet with all the fundamentalists.’

‘Never heard of it.’

‘Odo…it’s the nearest planet to the station. You’ve been there many times. You even protected its first minister once…’

‘Oh, that place. Sorry, Major, I’m…I guess I’m tired.’

‘Get some rest.’

Odo’s eyes go supernova. ‘Fuck you!’

‘What?’

‘Fuck you, that’s my name!’

‘Odo…?’

Odo’s eyes return to normal.

‘Sorry, Major…I don’t know what I’m saying…yes, I’ll get some rest.’

‘Are you sure you’re okay, Odo?’

‘Yes, yes, I’m fine. It was just a bit of confusion…I’m doing Mamet in Philly this summer…for some reason, I’m crossing roles.’

‘Glengarry?’

‘Yeah. You ever done it?’

‘No, no…there’s no female role, far as I remember. Besides, DS9 is my home. I can’t imagine doing anything else.’

‘I don’t understand. Are you telling me you’ve had no other offers?’

‘Not exactly…’

‘Even Jake Sisko got an episode of ‘Veronica’s Closet’.’

‘Forget it. I’m going to Bajor, okay?’

‘Yes, Major. Actually, you better hurry, this scene is going on way too long and we’ve still got that damned piano scene to come…’

‘Ten minutes on the piano? I read about that. Good luck.’

Odo grunts.

Kira leaves to go back to her quarters and pack for her sex holiday while Odo stays behind in Quark’s, folds his arms and mumbles ‘fuck you, that’s my name’ over and over in different pitches.

Quark appears, holding a tray full of lube.

‘Constable…’

‘What?’

‘Everyone’s bored. Can you get to the plot already?’

‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

‘The plot…you know, you want to sleep with the major, Vic knows how you can do it, this is the spark that finally gives you enough motivation to…’

‘Go away, Quark.’

‘Fine…but I don’t know how much longer these extras can stay on their feet.’

Quark moves away, but Odo stretches his arm and pulls him back.

‘Great. That arm thing just cost another 5 bucks.’

‘They can re-use an old shot, same as last time.’

‘Whatever.’

Odo grunts again. ‘Listen, Quark…I really don’t want to do this whole Vic thing, but it’s gotta be done so…go get me the holosuite program, okay?’

Quark nods.

‘And clean the stage area before you hand it over…’

‘Huh?’

‘Bashir and O’Brien…’

‘Bashir, again?’ Quark walks away shaking his head. ‘I must spend half my life cleaning that guy’s spunk off the floor…’

———

Sisko sits in his quarters, alone.

He flicks through a book on Malcolm X and then picks up a random pad.

His face lights up.

It’s the reviews for ‘Far beyond the stars’.

He reads the first few headlines:

‘Good, but over-reaching…’

‘Under-cooked…’

‘At the end, when the character finally breaks down from all the damn racism everywhere, Brooks fumbles the catch…instead of a broken man, we get an asthmatic who can’t speak straight…’

Sisko throws the pad across the room and growls.

———-

Vic Fontaine sits at the bar telling a tedious story about Sinatra and other people Rick Berman likes from the 60’s.

Odo walks around him, trying to get to the plot.

‘So Sinatra sang a song so slow, he slipped into that tunnel from ‘The Altenative Factor’. Then Sammy Davis Jr. came in and said, hey, let’s just stay here forever and do nothing except have sex and shoot H and watch those two guys slap each other…’

‘Listen, Vic, this is all very fascinating but…plot.’

‘Oh, plot. Okay.’ Vic looks at Odo’s brown security costume. ‘I gotta tell you, Odo…you look like shit.’

‘What?’

‘I mean, literally, you look like a walking turd.’

‘Argggh…this was a mistake, I’m leaving.’

‘No, wait…Odo, all I’m saying is…if you want to sleep with the Major, you’ve gotta loosen up a bit. How about wearing a tux?’

‘You mean…’

Suddenly the background looks incredibly fake and we know there’s about to be some sfx.

‘…like this.’

The sfx happens. Odo changes into a tux.

‘Better,’ says Vic. ‘Now let’s work on your personality.’

They walk up to the stage and Vic leads Odo over to the piano stool. Odo checks the cushion and keys for jizz then sits.

‘Okay, cue music…’

‘Wait, I don’t understand…’

‘It’s simple. I sing for ten minutes, you pretend to play the piano and together we perform the most drawn-out piece of character change Trek has ever seen.’

‘The piano scene…’

‘Exactly.’

‘Oh God…’

‘Don’t worry, it’ll fly by. Besides, they can re-use some of the shots as it’s all the same thing over and over.’

‘Let’s just get this over with…’

Vic starts to sing in front of the crowd. Odo tries to follow the piano keys and slowly becomes more relaxed. Finally, we begin to see that he’s not as uptight as he usually is.

Damn, he’s loosened up a little.

Great.

But the scene doesn’t stop.

It keeps going.

And going.

And…

Odo takes a break from the piano and phones his agent.

‘Look, this thing is taking an age…you’re gonna have to cancel Glengarry…’

‘What? But it’s still two months away…’

‘I know…there’s nothing I can do. I’ve looked at my contract and it’s watertight.’

‘Odo…’

‘I don’t wanna hear it, I’m balls deep here. This damn scene has been running for four weeks, my fingers are hurting, my neck’s stiff, I can’t feel my feet…’

‘Man…’

‘…and I’m telling you, if that damn sax player comes smirking towards the piano one more fucking time, I’m gonna…’

‘Relax, Odo. It’ll be over soon.’

‘It better be…’

Odo hangs up and returns to the piano. He fake plays then looks at the audience and wiggles his head as if he’s enjoying himself.

The scene continues…

The director goes back to her apartment and finds the divorce papers. She pours a drink, reads the details then throws the glass at the wall.

The next day, she goes to work and tells Vic and Odo the scene’s not long enough.

‘What?’ they both say.

‘The change is too fast…Odo would never lose his inhibitions like that…’

Odo strokes his beard and remembers the time a few years earlier, when he had a scene that didn’t feature a piano.

‘Fine…’ he mumbles. ‘Let’s just get this thing done.’

‘That’s the spirit, Odo.’

The scene goes on…

…the sax player goes back to his starting position, Vic spreads his arms out wide, looks at Odo then sings the last line of the song.

‘Cut’ says the director.

Vic smiles and walks to the bar, asking for a drink, any drink.

Odo stands up and walks slowly off the stage and towards the door marked exit. It takes a few minutes to get over there, but finally he stumbles out, back into the LA sunlight.

He falls down and kisses the concrete outside, tears in his eyes.

——-

In Vic’s quarters, Odo says he feels confident about playing the piano now, but he still doesn’t know if he can ask Kira to sleep with him.

‘Odo, Odo…you just need to practise, that’s all.’

There’s a knock at the door and two second rate actresses enter the room. The prettier one heads over to Odo and asks to see his fingers.

‘They’re a bit sweaty…’ mutters Odo.

‘I don’t mind.’

Odo offers his fingers and the woman inspects them.

‘I like musicians and I like fingers.’

Odo stammers something about ‘Vic teaching him everything he knows.’

‘Do you wanna go somewhere to…talk?’ asks the second rate actress.

‘We’re talking now…’

‘Sorry, I meant fuck. Wait, you can’t say that on Trek, can you?’ She laughs and slaps Odo on the shoulder. ‘Sorry, I just did an ep of the Red Shoe Diaries, it’s hard to adjust sometimes…’

‘I know what you mean,’ says Odo. ‘I was supposed to do Mamet…years ago…’

‘Oh, Mamet? I did Oleanna back in college…he’s great, isn’t he?’

‘He’s a writing God.’

‘Yup, and no nudity either.’

‘Err…I’m not sure, I haven’t read all…’

‘Or not for women…maybe for guys. I don’t know, I doubt it though. Unless it’s Red Shoes.’

‘What?’

‘The Red Shoe Diaries, the director…the ep I just did…he said it was done by a writing God too. Said it was art and…y’know…’

‘No, I don’t.’

‘Like, for art…Walter…you know, Walter Koenig, check off…he had to get his cock out and rub it on my stomach…like in an expressionistic way. I think that’s what he said. Actually, I get confused between expressionistic and impressionistic…they kinda seem like the same thing to me, but…whatever. The thing was art, so he said…the cock thing…an expression of sexuality or something.’

‘I see. That’s…nice.’

‘I got a copy, if you want?’

‘No, no…’

The Director comes over and tells the actress that Trek is a family show and they can’t do the scene if she keeps talking this way.

‘No, wait, I’ll switch, I swear. It’s just…please, don’t fire me, I need the cash real bad.’

The director says it’s fine, just do the scene without saying any bad words.

‘Okay, I can do that. Wait, should I keep the dress on?’

‘What?’

‘I mean, can you see enough of me?’

‘I repeat, family show.’

‘Yeah, I know, I know…I’ve seen TNG. I’m just saying…if I don’t show something, they won’t give me any more roles.’

‘That’s a very outdated attitude, surely you realise that.’

‘Sure, so outdated. You ever check how many TV writers are female?’

‘Trek has female writers…had a female writer. D C Fontana. Melissa something too. And in case you hadn’t noticed, half of our cast are female and rarely show anything.’

‘I count two.’

‘In fact, Major Kira is one of the strongest female characters on TV…’

‘Sorry, isn’t this whole episode about her hooking up with the liquid guy?’

‘So?’

‘And isn’t their friendship supposed to be an example of woman not being treated as an object?’

‘Look, whatever point you’re trying to make, we don’t have time.’

‘Sure. You’re the boss. Careful you don’t point the camera at my tits, hypocrite.’

‘What’s happening here?’ asks Odo, confused.

‘Sorry, I’ll go back to dumb slut mode,’ says the actress, adjusting her dress.

‘That might be for the best,’ says the director, glancing at the seven male writers hiding in the corner. ‘Okay, cameras ready…’

There’s another knock at the door. Everyone seems puzzled. Vic opens it and Bashir and O’Brien come striding in, asking where the whore is.

‘Is he part of the main cast?’ asks the actress.

The director nods.

She raises her hand. ‘Here…long as you got cash.’

Bashir and O’Brien take her by the hand and lead her off the set and into sickbay, which is empty except for the nurse who’s always there, doomed to press buttons and smile like a nut until the show gets cancelled.

‘Okay, baby, let’s get this party started…’ says Bashir.

‘Yeaaaah,’ says O’Brien, putting on his ‘Stucky from Pretty Woman’ mask.

Bashir lays her down on the sick-bed and takes off her dress.

‘Wait a sec,’ protests the actress, pushing away his hand. ‘We need to talk details.’

‘What?’

‘These are my terms. I’ll fuck you, but not him. And only if you get me another three episodes plus twenty per cent of what you’re getting for this season. Also, that nurse has to leave. I don’t like voyeurs. Agree to all that, and we’re good to go.’

‘Krist, are you an actress or an agent?’

‘I am what you bastards have made me.’

‘Huh?’

‘Forget it. Do we have a deal or not?’

‘Can I at least get a handjob?’ asks O Brien, wiping sweat off his forehead.

‘Sorry, no.’

‘Oh, come on. Why not?’

‘You’re disgusting.’

‘Wha…disgusting…that sounds a bit sexist to me, Julian…’

‘Are you fucking serious?’ The actress sits up and glares at him. ‘You’re calling me sexist cos I won’t give you a…’

‘Wait, relax…we agree to all your terms…’ says Bashir, guiding her back down. ‘We agree to everything. Now open your legs, honeycakes…’

The actress lashes out and catches him on the temple.

Bashir reels back, almost knocking over the nurse [who moved closer to the camera]. ‘Jesus…my eye…’

‘Cut the misogyny or the deal’s off…’

‘You hit my eye, you fucking wen…woman.’

‘Right, I’m going.’

‘Okay, okay…wait…I’ll stop…not that I was being misogynistic, but…whatever. I’ll stop.’

Bashir glances at O’ Brien and rolls his eyes. Another fist hits him on the side of his face.

‘I said cut it,’ says the actress.

‘What…I was just looking at him…are you insane?’

‘Don’t try and make excuses…’

‘Krist on a moon. Should I speak at all? Should I fucking breathe?’

‘You’re pathetic.’ The actress sits up and reaches for her dress. ‘We’re done, by the way.’

‘No, wait…wait, I was joking…’

‘You weren’t.’

‘No, I was. I was. Don’t go, please…I was joking. Honest.’

‘And?’

‘And…I’m sorry. I’m sorry I was…being misogynistic…’

‘Julian…’ O’ Brien said, barely opening his mouth.

‘Shut it, fatty.’

‘But…’

‘I can fuck her, I can’t fuck you.’

‘But that’s…’

‘Not another word.’ Bashir pushes O Brien out of sickbay then turns back to the actress. ‘Are you ready, wen-…honeyca-…darl-…sorry, what’s your name again?’

‘God, I hate this industry.’  The actress drops the dress on the floor and sits back down. ‘You’ve got ten minutes, not a second more.’

‘I’ll be done in five.’

‘Great.’

——-

Three minutes later, the actress sits up and lights a cigarette. Bashir joins her, saying through smoke that this is what acting’s all about.

‘Ah, the male perspective…’

‘What?’

The actress takes a drag and pulls her tights back up. ‘Seems to me, being an actor is pretty limited…for a female.’

‘Come on, that’s nonsense. This is the 24th Century, remember?’

The actress half laughs, finishes her cigarette and tells Bashir she better get back to the scene.

‘I may call on you later.’

‘No, you may not.’

‘Ah, you say that now, but…as FDR once said…let’s make a new deal, you implacable whore.’

‘God, you really are a worm…’

‘Yeah, well, you happen to be the only one who seems to think so…’

‘One of one.’

‘What?’

‘Nothing. I’m leaving.’

On her way out of sickbay, the actress tries to mentally lay out the entirety of her future career. A scene in Trek, a scene in CSI…LA Law, horror flicks, erotic thrillers…obscurity.

I hate the 24th Century, she thinks, kicking a futuristic prop on the promenade and making her dress slide off again.

———

Odo walks into Sisko’s office and hands him a pad of bullshit.

‘This week’s crime report, Captain.’

Sisko starts to read.

‘Should I begin putting people in holding cells?’

‘Just a minute, let me read it first.’

Sisko engrosses himself in the bullshit. No-one else knows this, but what he’s really engrossing himself in is self-pity. Those damn reviews…asthmatic? Over-reaching? Damn critics don’t know a damn thing about acting. The ‘short breaths’ thing was intentional…not my fault asthmatics do the same thing…

Odo, under the influence of something resembling Stockholm syndrome, starts humming one of Vic’s songs.

Sisko hears it, pulls himself out of his pit and joins in.

Odo stops.

‘Captain?’

‘Don’t stop…’

‘Huh?’

‘You were singing…’

‘Yes, I was, wasn’t I?’

Sisko sings again and so does Odo. The song builds a little and then the scene ends, delightfully understated. Odo walks back to his office thinking, yes, that’s how music should be used in a show about Space and aliens.

———

It’s Vic’s lounge again and Odo is sitting on the piano stool, a defeated man, trying desperately to remember where he put his phaser.

‘Hey, why the long face?’

‘Oh, it’s nothing.’

‘Cool. Are you ready for another performance?’

Odo pulls the same face peasants used to have when they were forced to eat their own shit.

‘Look,’ says Vic, patting him on the shoulder [again], ‘this one will be special. Trust me.’

‘Vic…what’s the point of all this? I’ve been playing this piano all week and it hasn’t got me any closer to Kira. I just don’t think it’s working…’

‘Odo, have I steered you wrong so far?’

‘No, I guess not.’

‘Then trust me.’

Vic goes to the mic and says it’s time for a very special guest. ‘If this dame doesn’t raise your temperature then, fuck it, we’ll go get Marina Sirtis instead.’

The crowd boos.

‘Alright, you win, no Sirtis…I swear.’

The crowd laughs, claps and shouts ‘I feel shit, I feel shit.’

‘Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you, Nana Visitor!’

The crowd cheers.

Nana Visitor comes on stage and leads a spotlight around every piece of floor she can find.

‘You give me fever…fever…etc.’

She waits for the scene to end.

It doesn’t.

The music continues.

She looks around. Where can she go?

The only place left is the piano.

She walks over and sings to Odo’s face.

‘Does she seem familiar at all?’ Vic asks Odo.

Odo doesn’t answer. He doesn’t even bother pretending to play the piano. How can he? After six seasons, they’ve finally given Kira a decent haircut.

Kira finishes the song by lying on the piano and trying to lick Odo’s chin.

Odo reaches out a hand to…

———

Back in Vic’s suite, Odo talks to the holographic Kira, relaxing a little when she touches his hands.

‘Ah, but you’re not real,’ he says.

‘Huh?’

‘You’re a hologram.’

‘A what?’

Vic comes in and asks what the problem is.

‘She’s not real, Vic. I could read her last week’s crime report and she’d find me irresistible.’

‘It’s practice…’

‘I’m done practising. I don’t even like filming sex scenes anyway…’

‘Odo…’

‘No, Vic. I’m tired of this. I want to go back to my life. You know, I haven’t folded my arms in days…’

‘But…Kira…’

‘No, I don’t care. I’m done. Goodnight.’

Odo walks out leaving the holographic Kira and Vic together.

‘Are you a hologram too?’ she asks.

Vic sighs.

There’s a knock at the door. Vic walks over, hoping for Odo.

It’s Bashir.

‘Julian, what are you doing here?’

‘I saw Odo leave…is it okay if I…’

Vic gestures for him to come in.

‘Great. Thanks, Vic…you’re the best, baby.’

Bashir rushes in and grabs Kira by the hands, pulling her onto the couch.

Vic goes to the bar and pours himself a drink. He stares at the glass for a long time, wondering what to do about Odo, coming up with new lyrics…trying not to stare at Bashir’s ass bobbing up and down on the other side of the room.

———

Kira is meditating in a holosuite recreation of the underground cave set Trek uses every time they don’t have the budget to show an actual culture/planet.

Suddenly, and a little creepily, Vic barges in and tells her to come to dinner.

‘I don’t know. Are you gonna sing?’

‘I’m a singer, honeycakes, that’s what I do.’

‘I’ll pass.’

‘But…it’s dinner with Odo.’

‘Well, why doesn’t he ask me himself?’

‘Because he’s shy…and he thinks you don’t wanna sleep with him.’

‘I don’t. He’s like, 60 or something.’

‘He’s a changeling, baby. He’s ageless.’

‘Besides, I like my character the way it is. I like my relationship with Odo the way it is. The guy’s not even a guy anyway, he’s just goo. Why would he have sexual feelings for me?’

‘Don’t know, don’t care. The point is, he wants you. And after your lobotomy in ten minutes…I mean, epiphany…you’ll want him too.’

‘My what?’

‘Just come. Have dinner, dance. That’s all.’

‘I don’t know. What if we have nothing to talk about?’

‘It’s a four minute scene, you’ll be fine.’

‘Okay then.’

‘Crazy.’

‘What?’

‘Nothing.’

————

Odo has dinner with what he thinks is a hologram of Kira in Vic’s lounge. Vic lurks in the background, threatening to sing.

Finally, he does.

Odo picks Kira up and dances that dance old people do when they’re got nothing else to do in their lives.

‘Isn’t it weird doing this in a holosuite?’

Odo laughs. ‘Sure.’

‘Maybe next time we could go to a real restaurant.’

‘Ha, you’re a hologram, you can’t.’

‘Maybe the Klingon restaurant on the promenade?’

‘Ha, you’re a hologram.’

‘Do you think Sisko’s still angry about those reviews?’

‘Ha, you’re a hologram.’

‘Remember that time when I killed a guy during the Cardasian Occupation and you let me go?’

‘Ha, you’re a hologram.’

‘I might go to Bajor again next week.’

‘Ha, you’re a hologram.’

‘Hey, I’m glad I’m not a hologram. Imagine not being able to do things like have sex or eat a juju stick…’

‘Ha, you’re a hologram.’

‘Odo? Why do you keep saying that?’

‘You’re a…hologram,’ says Odo, his voice shaking. ‘Aren’t you?’

‘No, it’s me. Kira. Why would you think I was a hologram?’

Vic comes over and tries to talk his way out of it.

‘You lied to me!’ says Odo.

‘And me!’ adds Kira.

‘Guys, wait…’

Odo calls Vic a twat and runs out of the holosuite, arms folded.

‘Crazy,’ mutters Vic.

Kira glares at him.

‘I know, I know…computer, end program.’

Kira shakes her head and walks towards the exit, but is blocked by Bashir, who seems to be sweating.

‘Hey, baby…’

‘Julian, now is not a good time…’

Bashir puts his hand on Kira’s shoulder. ‘It’s always a good time, honeycakes.’ He moves his hand down onto her chest and squeezes.

Kira takes his hand and breaks it.

‘Jesus…my hand…’

‘So this is what you’re always doing in here, huh? You pervert…’

Bashir squints. ‘Wait…Major? Is that you?’

‘Damn right.’

‘Shit…shit, it is…okay, I admit, it’s not good, all this…but you didn’t have to break my hand.’

‘You’re a doctor, you can fix it.’

She walks out.

‘I’m not a doctor, I’m an actor, you dumb…’

A lightbulb flashes in his head. Not a real lightbulb, there’s no budget for that kind of thing, so it’s all in his eyes.

‘Computer…blonde, big tits, malleable.’

A woman appears next to the piano. Bashir walks over and puts his arm around her. ‘Hey baby, I know this isn’t technically a Bashir episode, but…how about we…’

‘I’m sorry, you must be mistaking me for a cheerleader.’

‘What?’

‘Get your paws off me, leech.’ The woman shoves Bashir’s hand away. ‘That’s right. I’ve got integrity, asshole, and an actual fucking brain…in fact, I just opened my own feminist collective on the strip, real nice place,  and not that it’s got anything to do with you, but I’ve got big plans…for starters, a zine based solely on post-gender dynamics and…’

‘Computer…remove intellect, increase libido 600%.’

The woman blinks, sees Bashir, smiles, drops to the floor and starts pulling at his zip.

——–

In the security office, Odo is folding his arms and reading crime reports.

‘Hey Odo…’ says a voice.

‘Go away, I’m not talking to you.’

‘Why not? Are you busy?’

‘Yes. No. Go away.’

‘What are you doing?’

‘I’m reverting to type. Fuck off.’

‘Odo…what’s there to be mad about? I got you further in four minutes than you got in six seasons.’

‘True, but…’

‘Now, get out onto that promenade and find her…’

‘No.’

‘Please? If you do it quickly, I can sing another song before the credits…’

‘I’ve had enough of your songs.’

‘Rick Berman hasn’t.’

‘I don’t care.’

‘You should. Have you seen the outline for Season 7? It’s me singing to Weyoun for four episodes, trying to get him to loosen up a little…’

‘Lies!’

‘I’m not kidding. Space battles cost a shitload, I’m practically free.’

Odo pauses, switching to detective face. ‘Actually, I was meaning to ask…what else have you done?’

‘Nothing, really. Red Shoe Diaries, Passions, Xena…’

‘Ah, Xena…’

‘Did you know Marina Sirtis nearly played her?’

‘God, really?’

‘Seriously, she got this close.’

‘How close?’

‘I’m showing you with my fingers…’

Odo checks his wrist [there’s no watch] and says the scene is running too long.

‘Okay, then…go see Kira, have sex, sleep, have more sex…then come back to me in the holosuite, okay?’

Odo grunts.

———-

Kira talks to Dax about moments of clarity and says she’s just had two of them.

‘Great, go find Odo…and hurry, this episode is slowly killing us all.’

‘Okay.’

Kira sees Odo coming out of his office and catches up to him.

‘Odo…wait up.’

‘No.’

‘I’ve been thinking about last night and…’

‘No, skip that part, crew’s getting restless.’

‘Okay, fine. Odo, I want to have dinner.’

‘Then you’ll want me to kiss you?’

‘Maybe.’

‘Well, why don’t I do it now?’

‘Well, why don’t you?’

‘Okay, I will.’

Odo grabs her by the shoulders and stabs her with his lips. It looks almost painful, so he pulls back and stares at her with a sweet/creepy face.

‘Jesus, that was a violent kiss…’

‘Sorry, I’m doing Streetcar next month.’

‘Oh.’

They kiss again, slowly this time.

The rest of the station watches, bracing itself for the moment the kiss ends and Vic Fontaine begins.

The kiss doesn’t end.

Eventually the camera cuts to black and then to Vic’s lounge. Odo walks in, clicking his fingers and says thanks to Vic, who’s about to go on stage.

‘Hey, you wanna sit in at the piano?’ he asks.

‘No, not today.’

‘Go on…’

‘I can’t.’

‘Please…’

Odo looks for the exit.

‘Odo?’

‘Sorry, Vic, I’ve gotta go. Kira’s waiting for me back in my quarters.’

‘I get it.’

‘She’s naked.’

‘Right.’

‘I didn’t notice before, but she puts eyeliner on her pussy too.’

‘Crazy.’

‘I know. I don’t think I’ll ever understand humanoids.’

Odo leaves, still clicking his fingers.

Vic jumps up on the stage and grabs the mic. ‘Guys, ladies…I know it feels like a slow death, but hey, let’s sing another tune.’

The crowd laughs because they’re programmed to.

Vic starts to croon…

Cue credits?

Nope. More crooning.

While crooning, Vic remembers the offer he got a few years back. We’re looking for someone to play a Cardassian, they said.

What’s that?

Like a lizard with a really slippery personality.

Do I have to put all that shit on my face?

Make-up? Yeah, quite a bit.

Pass.

You sure? It’s a good character. Like someone out of a John Le Carre novel.

No, still a pass.

Okay.

But if something human comes along, let me know.

Yup.

The crooning continues, each word like a little Cardassian crawling up his throat, scraping away all that muck and saliva and then shooting out onto the stage he really, really…fucking really…wants to set fire to.

A few days later, when Vic’s voice sounds like it’s been lost in the desert for a month without water, the end credits scroll up.

Vic puts the mic down and collapses next to the piano.

It’s over.

Finally.

‘Holo-man…’

A voice from the ceiling. No, from the air above his face.

Vic looks up and sees Worf staring down on him, holding a script in his hand.

‘Worf?’

‘Sing the song.’

‘What?’

‘The song…sing it.’

Vic blinks and pulls himself up. ‘Huh, what song? I’ve just finished.’

‘No.’ Worf pushes the script into Vic’s stomach. ‘It’s season 7, episode 1. I’m depressed. For some reason, I want to spend time with you. Now…sing the song.’

‘But…my voice…’

Worf grabs Vic by the throat and tells him to sing or else.

‘I can’t…really…’

‘I see. Maybe you’d like me to get Rick Berman to come down here, see what he thinks of it all.’

‘Rick who?’

‘Your creator.’

‘Rick Bearman?’

‘Berman. Rick Berman. He dreamed you up to sing….so sing.’

‘I thought this was sci-fi?’

‘Fool. This is not sci-fi, this is a vehicle for Rick Berman. We are nothing…’

‘You mean…’

‘Whatever Rick Berman likes, we like.’

‘Is that…can he do that? Doesn’t that destroy character?’

‘I do not care. Sing the song.’

‘God…’

Worf throws him onto the stage floor and tells him to ‘sing the song.’ Vic picks up the mic, trembling and starts to sing. It sounds like shit, but it’s still music, technically.

The end credits are nowhere to be seen.

They never were.

At the back of the set, covered in paid-for but under-written shadow, Rick Berman stands, tapping his wrist against his thigh, humming something in Japanese and smiling and it seems like a happy scene only this Rick Berman is not Rick Berman he is a shell a shell that is really Palmer Eldritch and the air is pure Can-D or the other one and it is not Trek anymore it is the headscape of Rick Berman and the headscape of Rick Berman doesn’t care what others think about any of…

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