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ACT FOUR

 

FADE IN:

 

34 EXT. PARLIAMENT ANDORIA BUILDING - MORNING

 

The next morning, two separate CROWDS of Andorian EXTRAS stand in the square outside the capital building.

Andorian Guard members are keeping them under control and in two separate groups - one advocating for the Federation, the other against it. Over this...

 

VOICE (comm, v.o.)
We do not believe our demands
are unreasonable. We simply ask
that Starfleet uphold one of the
Federation’s founding principles
- the right to self-determination.

 

35 INT. PARLIAMENT ANDORIA - PRESIDER’S OFFICE

 

Sisko, ROGEIRO and Presider SH’THALIS sit around the coffee table in the seating area, unhappily listening while a device on the table plays the Treishya’s announcement.

 

VOICE (comm)
Of course, we cannot be surprised
if Starfleet will not abide by its
own promises. In recent times the
Federation has allied itself with
parties who value such principles
not at all. The Klingons, whose
history is rife with violence and
conquest. The Ferengi, who count
the value of sentient life in bars of
gold-pressed latinum. Even as I
speak, the Federation twists out
of shape to ingratiate itself with
Cardassia, against whom it fought
a bloody war barely a decade ago.
How can we trust an organisation
that so easily throws aside its
own most closely held values?

 

The listeners grow more annoyed with every word...

 

VOICE (comm)
The Federation may well offer us
life, but what is the cost of this
gift they see fit to bestow upon
us? Are you prepared to pay that
price? If not, then stand ready,
children of Andor, because the day
of reckoning is fast approaching.

 

The message ends, and the listeners glower in response.

 

ROGEIRO
How can anyone be so stupid as to
believe this? Anyone who’s taken
a children’s history class can see
what this guy is trying to do.

SH’THALIS
Do not discount the power of
passionate rhetoric, Commander.
And don’t think there aren’t
people outside right now who
are eating up every word of it.

SISKO
Then I have to suggest cancelling
the conference, Presider. I have
no doubt the Treishya will try to
disrupt it - they’ve already made
three attacks against facilities
where Starfleet and Andorians
are working together. They’ve
warned us worse is on the way.

CH’LHREN (o.s.)
That would be a mistake.

 

They turn to see ch’Lhren, who has been standing at the window watching the protestors. Now he turns to them...

 

CH’LHREN
Commodore th’Deminesh questioned
the Treishya prisoners from those
incidents. They insist they have
no intentions of harming anyone.

ROGEIRO
Their actions to date do not
support that assertion, Minister.

CH’LHREN
It’s a disinformation campaign,
Commander. Nothing more. They
are simply trying to elicit sympathy.

ROGEIRO
They’re trying to provoke us into
hurting them, so they can claim
the moral high ground - just what
you’ve been insisting we not do.

CH’LHREN
(cold smile)
Then instruct your officers to
control themselves, Commander.

SISKO
Presider, if you won’t cancel the
conference, then could we at least
move it aboard the Robinson, where
we would have greater control?

CH’LHREN
That seems to me to be going to
the opposite extreme.

SISKO
(glower)
Minister ch’Lhren, I was speaking
to the Presider.

SH’THALIS
Threlas has a point, Captain. To
cancel the conference outright
would seem like capitulating to
terrorists. But to move it aboard
the Robinson would seem like
Starfleet interference. They’ve
manoeuvred us very cleverly. No,
the conference will go ahead, and
it will do so here, on Andor.

 

This is not a solution Sisko is happy with, but sh’Thalis is resolute. ch’Lhren smiles enigmatically...

 

36 EXT. BAJOR - VANADWAN MONASTERY - DAY

 

Establishing the monastery clinging precariously to the top of the mountainside...

 

37 INT. VANADWAN MONASTERY - HOSPICE ROOM - DAY

 

VAUGHN lies in bed, as unconscious as ever, while his life support machinery softly beeps and hums around him.

OPAKA sits by his side, a book in her hands but forgotten for the moment - she is gazing sadly upon Vaughn’s body.

 

FLASHBACK - 9x10 “FRAGMENTS AND OMENS”

 

Vaughn and Opaka stroll contentedly down a flowered path...

 

FLASHBACK - 9x10 “FRAGMENTS AND OMENS”

 

Vaughn takes Opaka’s hand, not wanting her to go...

 

FLASHBACK - 10x21 “INTO THE FIRE”

 

Vaughn caresses Opaka’s face, then they gently kiss...

 

BACK TO SCENE

 

Opaka smiles faintly at these memories. A moment to decide, then she puts aside her book and stands, moves to Vaughn’s side... and reaches out to grasp his earlobe.

She closes her eyes, breathes, concentrates...

...and an amazed SMILE spreads across her face. She lets go and stands back, surprised but happy at what she sensed.

The door CREAKS open, and Vedek KIRA enters quietly.

 

KIRA
Sulan? Everything okay in here?

OPAKA
Nerys, please come in. And yes,
everything is okay.

 

Kira is intrigued by Opaka’s beatific, serene smile in the circumstances, but she lets it go - she has business here.

 

KIRA
Do you have a moment? I wanted
to talk to you - about Raiq.

OPAKA
How is our expectant mother?

KIRA
I think... scared. But you know
how she is - it always comes out
as anger.

 

Opaka smiles, nods - they are used to the Ascendant by now.

 

KIRA
She asked for you specifically.

OPAKA
For me?

KIRA
You’re the first Bajoran she ever
met. You took care of her, nursed
her back to health. Now she wants
you to be her midwife. I think...
she trusts you.

OPAKA
Please tell Raiq... that I would be
honoured to assist at the rebirth
of the Ascendant race.

KIRA
Great! Thanks, Sulan. I was afraid
if I sent Ransel in there again
they’d end up killing each other.
(beat)
You know... it is ironic...

OPAKA
What is?

KIRA
That you and I were the first two
Bajorans Raiq ever met, the ones
she focused all her hatred on as
enemies of the Ascendants.

OPAKA
(nods)
The warrior and the priest. The
two sides of the Ascendant soul.

KIRA
And now we’re the two she trusts
most in the entire galaxy.

OPAKA
And to think some say the Prophets
don’t have a sense of humour.

 

Kira and Opaka smile together at the turns of fate.

 

OPAKA
And what of Vexh? How does his
impending fatherhood appeal?

KIRA
(sigh)
I honestly can’t say. He doesn’t
seem to care about... anything.
It’s all pointless to him. I guess
he’d accepted there weren’t going
to be any more Ascendant babies.

OPAKA
Don’t discount him yet, Nerys.
Becoming a parent is a profound
experience - it changes one’s
entire perspective in a second.

KIRA
Well... I wouldn’t know.

 

With a smile, Kira leaves. Opaka turns back to Vaughn...

 

38 EXT. SPACE - ANDOR ORBIT

 

The Galaxy-class Robinson in standard orbit over Andor...

 

39 INT. ROBINSON - SCIENCE LAB

 

SHAR and BASHIR work together in a dimly lit room, where displays reveal page after page of complex data and genetic information. Shar is hunched over the screen, intent...

 

BASHIR
You do realise that sitting in
such an awkward position for
extended periods of time is
bad for the spinal column...?

 

Shar looks up - had almost forgotten anyone else was there.

 

SHAR
I’m sorry, Doctor. The work is
very absorbing.

BASHIR
There I certainly agree with you.
Professor zh’Thiin’s research is...
well, it’s extraordinary.

SHAR
Given the circumstances, I’d say
that extraordinary is exactly
what’s required.

BASHIR
Oh, absolutely. But some of this
stuff is over even my head.

 

That catches Shar’s attention at last - he sits back and looks at Bashir, who seems frustrated and defeated.

 

SHAR
I don’t understand, Doctor. I
assumed your experience in
genetic engineering would be
greater than most, given your
own status.

BASHIR
Honestly, I would have thought so
too, Shar. But... it’s where she
charts her new protocols that
I get lost. Look at this...

 

Shar gets up to join Bashir, who brings up a GRAPHIC of a dense, multi-coloured double helix with tags to point out various bit of interesting information. Bashir points...

 

BASHIR
This is one of the simulations zh’Thiin
created to test her theories on
inserting new recombinant DNA
sequences into a sample of
Andorian genetic code.
(points)
These are the new sequences here
- a hybrid of Andorian DNA with a
new code intended to fill the gaps
left by genetic deficiencies after
fertilisation. It’s all recorded in
great detail in her notes. But
there’s a small but noticeable gap
between these simulations, and
the protocol she actually used
on live volunteers. You worked
with Doctor sh’Veileth - does
any of this look familiar to you?

 

Shar makes over the screen, flicks through a few pages...

 

SHAR
It is almost two years since I
left that project to return to
Starfleet. And the Borg attacked
in the meantime - perhaps the
relevant notes were destroyed.

BASHIR
No, that’s not it - the gap comes
within the last six months.

SHAR
Perhaps it was simply inspiration
born out of desperation, then.

BASHIR
Maybe... but wouldn’t you think
she’d want to document that? We’re
talking about saving your entire
species from extinction, Shar - if
it works, she’d want to remember
how she got there, surely.

SHAR
But the new protocols do work -
the reports show that the trial
subjects are developing with
no detectable defects.

BASHIR
Yes, whereas previous protocols
produced results only marginally
better than the Yrythny therapy.
Such a leap is... incredible.

 

Shar sits back to consider what Bashir is saying...

 

SHAR
Are you suggesting that Professor
zh’Thiin is employing an untested
procedure on live patients?

BASHIR
I don’t think it’s that simple. There’s
no denying the effort she expended
postulating, documenting and
testing her theories. It’s just
this one gap that bothers me.

SHAR
Perhaps she’s simply overcautious.
You did say she had access to the
Federation’s library of banned
genetic research.

BASHIR
But what if she exhausted all that
information without a solution?
What would be her next step?

SHAR
I suppose... she’d seek out other
parties. As long as she doesn’t
violate any laws it’s not illegal, or
even unethical, to look outside
the Federation for help.
(beat)
Doctor... is there some reason you
haven’t approached the professor
directly with your concerns?

BASHIR
I don’t want to come off as if I’m
accusing her of anything. Right
now, it’s just a puzzle with a
missing piece. I need more data,
then I’ll know what to do.

 

Bashir begins typing quickly into the computer, requesting that more data. Shar moves back to his own computer...

 

40 EXT. STARFLEET COMMAND - NIGHT

 

The familiar complex in San Francisco, late at night...

 

41 INT. ADMIRAL AKAAR’S OFFICE

 

The private space of the Starfleet C-in-C. Akaar is working late, reading endless reports. But his screen suddenly changes, revealing an urgent ALERT...

 

INFORMATION REQUEST RECEIVED
ACCESS TO SHEDAI DATA FORBIDDEN
CONTAINMENT PROTOCOL ACTIVATED

 

As Akaar sits staring at this appalling development...

 

BLACK OUT

 

END OF ACT FOUR



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