Cardassian Murder Mystery


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Episode 25 — Cardassian Murder Mystery

     The replimat.  A large breakfast crowd is lined up at the
replicators.  Door Repair Guy reaches the head of the line.
     "I'll have a big bowl of . . . Edgar Rice Burroughs."
     *There is no such item on the menu*
     "All right, then.  How about some . . . Joyce Carol Oates?"
     *Please make another selection*
     "All out of that, eh?  Okay.  Give me a heapin' helpin' of
Will Wheatons!"
     *Security measures have been initiated.  Do not attempt to
escape*
     He feels a tug at his sleeve.
     "Excuse me, but I couldn't help noticing that you're that
new technician everyone's talking about.  Door Repair Guy, isn't
it?  I thought so.  Permit me to introduce myself.  I'm Quark,
proprietor of Quark's Bar.  I understand you've already had the
opportunity to sample our fine selection of holosuite programmes. 
My associates tell me you have a particular fondness for the
Klingon Glories of Battle Collection and a couple of our concert
programmes, Melota and ah BTO Live at Budokan.  Allow me to
present you with a coupon for three free half-hour sessions.  You
know, I've been fascinated by some of the stories that have come
across the bar about you.  There are a pair of Pakleds who can't
say enough about you.  In fact they've been in the bar for about
three weeks now, waiting for you to come in."
     "Malakod and Barchibod."
     "You know, I think you're right!  I'd be honoured if you
would come by some time.  Perhaps we could talk about your days
in the Cuniculi Cluster.  There's an old acquaintance out that
way I'd be very keen to hear about.  Not Fragile?  The surgical
implant specialist?"
     "Sure!  I know him!  He did this."
     DRG pushes Alt-F6 on his forearm keyboard implant and his
right cheek flushes bright red, then fades back to normal.
     "Well!  That's . . . extraordinary!"
     "I think he was talking about setting up franchises around
the Federation.  A place like this would be just about perfect
for one of his clinics.  Maybe you should talk to him."
     "Well!  No need to discuss that here in the middle of the
replimat!  Why don't we meet this evening at, say, 22:00?"
     "What's that?  Eight?"
     "Ten."
     "Can't do it.  I'm on vole duty til midnight."
     "When do you start?"
     "Ten minutes."
     "Why . . . that's draconian!"
     "Commander Sisko says I have to keep at it til there isn't a
vole left."
     "Are you serious?"
     "Ha!  Nope!  Betelgeuse.  Ha ha!  Astronomy joke."
     Odo: "All right, who activated the replicator's mental
cruelty protocol?"
     Everyone in line points to Door Repair Guy.
     "Ah, I should have known.  Make your selection and move on."
     Quark: "I'll have you know that this is a valued member of
the Deep Space Nine community and that I expect you to treat him
with as much respect as you treat . . ."
     "You?  Ha!"  Odo says this over his shoulder as he leaves.
     Quark: "Don't worry about Odo.  His heart is in the right
place.  I think.  We'll make an appointment for supper.  Or a
midnight snack!  We have to keep you fed!  Hunting's hungry work! 
Hey, don't forget your breakfast."
     DRG swings around and looks back at the replicator.  There's
a small glass with black fluid in it.
     "Did I order that?"
     "I'm impressed.  There aren't many Hu-mans with your kind of
appreciation of Ferengi cuisine."
     DRG rolls the drink around in the glass.
     "It's beetle juice, isn't it?"
     "Go on.  Drink up!"
     He drinks.  
     "E-e-e-u-u-u-o-o-o-w, that's something!"
     "It's a sign!  I can see we're on the way to a very
profitable relationship!  We'll meet!"  He pats DRG on the
shoulder.  "Don't worry about when or where.  I'll find you.  And
I'll bring a big thermos of the best Ferengi pick-me-up your
tastebuds can imagine!"
     "Mmm-mmm."


     An icy asteroid rolls by, spewing cometary material.
     "Crawlspace.  The final frontier.  These are the voyages of
The Door Repair Guy.  His mission: to install and maintain
proximity-activated entranceways, to stake out new rooms and new
service conduits -- to boldly go where no one with a pass key has
gone before."
     Deep Space Nine space station drifts into view.  A runabout
shoots past, revealing the words:


               Star Trek: Door Repair Guy


                         Starring

                    Door Repair Guy as
                         Himself

                    Avery Brooks as
                         Commander Sisko

                    Rene Auberjonois as
                         Odo

                    Siddig El Fadil as
                         Doctor Bashir

                    Terry Farrell as
                         Lieutenant Dax

                    Colm Meany as
                         Chief O'Brien

                    Armin Shimerman as
                         Quark

                    Nana Visitor as
                         Major Kira

                    Max Grodenchik as
                         Rom

                    and Marc Alaimo as
                         Gul Dukat

     The runabout shoots by again, just as the wormhole does its
picture postcard thing.


[Commercial:
     The Nabob Coffee guy digs into the coffee vat and spills
beans out of his hand.
     The South American plantation owner twirls his moustache and
smiles.
     "They are good, no?  Twelve million dollars."
     "They were picked too early.  I can't even use them for
instant coffee.  No deal."
     "Ha ha, northern pig!  These are the only coffee beans
between here and Terra Del Fuego!  Now the tables they are
turned!  You buy or I sell to Maxwell House!"
     "All right.  Twelve million.  Where's the scoop?"
     The plantation owner hands over the little silver scoop and
the Nabob Coffee guy fills his little coffee bag.]


     Quark tightens up a thermos and presents it to Rom.
     "Here.  Take this to that Door Repair Guy."
     Rom blinks and looks around.  
     "Where is he, brother?"
     Quark waves a hand.
     "Oh, somewhere off in the service conduits.  Follow your
ears.  Go on, go on!"
     "But, brother!"
     "No buts, Rom.  This is the service edge.  When people think
of Quark's Bar I want them instantly to associate it with the
motto 'We deliver.'"
     "But we don't!"
     "In this case we do.  So hop to it and don't be all night
about it or it'll come out of your paycheque."
     "But . . . but he could be anywhere!"
     "Then the sooner you start looking for him the sooner you'll
find him.  Go, go!"
     "But, brother!!"
     "Rom!!"
     "O-o-o-o-o-o-h!!!  What if I stumble on a skeleton?  I'll be
all alone with it in the dark!"
     "Rom, be reasonable.  There are kilometres and kilometres of
tunnels.  What are the chances of you coming across that
skeleton?"
     "What skeleton?"
     It's Odo.
     "Ah, nothing!  No skeleton.  We were just talking about, ah,
Red Skelton.  Yes, that's it, Red Skelton."
     "Yes, Red Skelton!"
     "Hm.  I've never heard of Red Skelton.  Who is he?"
     "Oh, just a guy."
     "A red guy!"
     "A red guy.  Could it be that you've never heard of him
either?"
     "That doesn't mean he doesn't exist."
     "No, it doesn't.  But if Rom and I were to take a good look
through the service conduits, which do you think we'd be more
likely to find: a nonexistent skeleton or a hypothetical Red
Skelton?"
     Quark shrugs.
     Odo: "Let's find out."
     He hauls Rom out the door.


     The service conduits.  A flashlight beam circles and probes
down the darkened passageway.  It illuminates an approaching
tunnel intersection.
     "Which way now?"
     "Left!  No!  No!  Right!  I don't know!"
     "Judging by the size of the shoe prints in the dust, I'd say
right."
     Odo shines the beam down the righthand tunnel, picking out
an opened access panel and a pile of bones in Cardassian armour. 
A vole stares back with bright green eyes before scampering away. 
Rom takes a deep breath, preparatory to shrieking.  Odo swings
the light on him.
     "Go ahead, Rom.  Make my day."
     Rom looks back with wide eyes and swallows.


     The service conduit, now fully illuminated.  Doctor Bashir
climbs out of the righthand tunnel.
     "Well, he's dead."
     "Thank you, Doctor.  It's always comforting to have a
professional on hand for these hard decisions.  How long since we
lost him?"
     "He's completely skeletalized, so we're talking about
several years."
     "The Occupation, then."
     "Yes.  One of those faceless casualties of war, I suppose."
     "Really, Doctor?  I am continually surprised by the humanoid
capacity for lumping every manner of felony under the general
heading of war.  It's as though you all occasionally just give up
trying to keep track."
     Bashir looks unimpressed.  Odo climbs into the tunnel, still
talking.
     "Quark and Rom discover a skeleton in full Cardassian body
armour stuffed behind an access panel in a dark out-of-the way
tunnel.  The body dates from a time when Cardassians in full body
armour had complete control not only of this station but of the
entire sector.  I don't think he died in battle."
     "You suspect foul play?"
     "I do."
     "Aren't you discounting the possibility that he was killed
by the Bajoran Resistance?  I would think the fact that he wasn't
disintegrated suggests that his killers had no access to phaser
weapons.  His killers could have been part of a Resistance cell
within one of the ore processing gangs.  I imagine them luring
Cardassian guards into these darkened tunnels, strangling them,
and spiriting the bodies away."
     Odo backs out of the tunnel with the Cardassian skull in his
hands.
     "Strangle?  With those necks?"
     "Well, then, how did he die?"
     "That's what I need you to tell me, Doctor.  While you're
doing that, I'm going to find out who it is we've been talking
about."
     As he says this Odo holds up the skull, revealing the fine
set of teeth and the gap where one molar used to be.
     

[Commercial:
     A customer comes to a bank wicket.  The harried teller says,
"Next window, please!" and dodges away.  The customer looks
annoyed, then stops and does a double take.  Juan Valdes smiles
and waves from behind the loans desk.]


     The doors to Odo's office open and Major Kira enters,
looking a little uncertain.
     "You wanted to see me?"
     "Major, are you familiar with this man?"
     He puts the skull on his desk.
     She stands there with her mouth open.
     "Lieutenant Dax informs me that you told her the tunnels are
full of Cardassian skeletons."
     "Ah, come on, Odo.  I was speaking metaphorically."
     "Metaphorically."
     "I think there are probably more Bajoran skeletons down
there than anything else."
     "I'm aware of Cardassian methods.  I'm also aware that such
methods often breed similar counter-methods."
     Odo indicates a map.
     "Here's where they found him.  I just wanted to make sure
you don't recognize the place from an earlier map."
     "Odo, there was a war going on.  The actions of the
Resistance are fully endorsed by the Provisional Government."
     "So you're telling me you don't know who did this?"
     "I don't.  The way Resistance cells were structured I
wouldn't know unless I'd killed him myself."
     He lets the question hang in the air.
     Her body language says she's about to leave.
     "You'll let me know if you remember anything?"
     She leaves.
     

     "Arsenic."
     "Arsenic?"
     "Well, properly arsenic trioxide."
     Odo and Bashir stand over the Cardassian remains spread out
on the examination table.
     "It's a classic.  I've checked and cross-checked.  This man
died of arsenic poisoning."
     "Fascinating."


     The turbolift deposits Odo at Ops.  Kira's voice can be
heard behind Sisko's door, shouting.  Odo glances in that
direction as he approaches Dax.
     "Lieutenant, I would like you to send this message to the
Ministry of Records on Cardassia Prime."
     She glances at the Sisko's door and winces.
     "I'll have to tell Commander Sisko."
     "Fine."
     "She's not taking it very well."
     "I didn't think she would."
     Sisko's doors open and Sisko emerges.
     "Constable, I've just been hearing about your investigation. 
Proceeding smoothly, is it?"
     "I require certain information from the Cardassian
authorities.  Once I provide them with the victim's dental
records they should have no difficulty in determining his
identity."
     "Major Kira has expressed to me the concerns of the Bajoran
government that Cardassian involvement might lead to demands for
costly and intrusive searches for Cardassian war graves."
     "Commander, that is a political issue.  It cannot be allowed
to interfere with a murder investigation.  May I send the
message?"
     Dax: "You're assuming that they'll even acknowledge the
request."
     Sisko glances at Major Kira who is standing glaring up at
him with her fists on her hips and her lip stuck out.
     "Let's send it and see."
     Dax: "Transmitting."
     Sisko stands with his hands folded behind his back.  He
glances up at the ceiling.  It becomes evident he's counting.
     Dax: "Incoming message."
     "On screen."
     Gul Dukat appears.
     *Commander.  It appears you've uncovered the body of our
poor missing comrade, Borot.  Done in by Bajoran extremists no
doubt.  You know, I've been waiting for an occasion just like
this to illustrate the pressing need for the repatriation of the
bodies of our brave fallen . . .*
     Odo: "If I may move directly to the point, Gul Dukat.  Your
comrade Borot was killed by a member of the Cardassian Occupation
Force.  I intend to come to Cardassia Prime and provide your
authorities with all the evidence they need to convict the guilty
party.  Good day."
     He walks to the turbolift and departs.
     Dukat closes his mouth and glances from the poker-faced
Sisko to the astonished Kira.
     *Same old Odo, I see.  Dukat out*
     Sisko turns magisterially and walks into his office.


[Commercial:
     Knock knock.
     "Well, hello."
     "Hello.  I was just in the neighbourhood . . ."
     "Were you?"
     "I thought I might drop by for a little . . ."
     "Yes?"
     "Taster's Choice."
     "Yeah, right!"  Slam.]


     Odo finds Bashir and Garak at lunch in the replimat.
     "Gentlemen."
     "Constable Odo!  A pleasure as always!  How was your
interview with Gul Dukat?"
     "I've only just returned from Ops.  We can't have spoken
more than five minutes ago."
     "Come now, Constable, there are no secrets in a station this
small."
     Bashir: "No secrets!  You're a walking one-man conspiracy."
     "Really, Doctor.  Conspiracy?  Secrets?  These are the
euphemisms with which people console themselves on their clouded
intellects.  There is plenty to be discovered by those who have
the eyes to see."
     Odo: "My eyes are open.  As are my ears.  Why don't you tell
me about Borot?"
     "Ah, Borot.  The poor fellow.  He fell in with some bad
company.  How he loved to eat.  Spent most of his free time here
in the replimat.  Most, mind you, not all.  He loved his yamok
sauce.  Covered everything he ate with it."
     "What did he do?"
     "Do?  He was the assistant underquartermaster.  He
specialized in importing and exporting on behalf of the
government's war effort."
     "Did he have any enemies?"
     "The Bajorans."
     "Besides them."
     "None.  A thoroughly amiable character.  How many times did
he reach over to me as I sat in this very chair and insist I try
some of Nufrek's yamok sauce?"
     "I don't know.  How many?"
     "One could spend the rest of one's existence on such a
question."
     "Steady, Odo.  He's fading into the mist."
     "Doctor!  I'm making my meaning as plain as it can be."
     "Without committing yourself to a single honest statement."
     "You see, Constable, what I put myself through every time I
sit down to eat?"
     "And yet you always come back for more."
     "Precisely.  And yet I always come back for more.  Now, if
you'll excuse me, I must attend to my shop."
     With that he leaves.
     Bashir: "I still haven't decided if he's the snake or the
snake-charmer."
     Odo: "I don't care.  It's the pickpocket working the crowd
who concerns me.  It's time I spoke to Chief O'Brien." 


[Bob:
     Bob: (Fast) "Okay, Star Trek coming up on CHRO and ah well
here's some big Star Trek news too if you're on the Freenet. 
Doug McLeod's here from the Freenet *auction* which is under way
now, right?"
     Me: (Slow) "That's right.  We've got all sorts of . . .
stuff ah available . . . in the online auction." 
     Bob: (Jumps in) "Including software from Corel."
     Me: (Still slow) "That's right.  Services of all kinds."
     Bob: (Jumps is) "And also the Door Repair Guy series!  The
Star Trek series.  You actually wrote a Star Trek episode and you
can be written in the script and also win a spot on the couch."
     Me: "That's right."
     Bob: "And you *know* this is going to be produced!"  (Makes
that'll-be-the-day eyes at the ceiling.)  "So good luck!"
     Camera guy: "And clear."
     Me: "Boy, thirty seconds don't last long."
     Bob and camera guy telepathically exchange the thought,
"Amateurs!"]
     
[Commercial:
     "Hey, buddy."
     "What?"
     "You finished with that coffee?  How about helping a fella
to the last drop?"
     "No!  Here's ten dollars.  Now buzz off!"]


     Ops.  Odo steps off the turbolift.
     "Chief O'Brien.  I have a problem.  I need to find a
Cardassian voice file."
     "A. . . !  You know those records were destroyed by the
Cardassians when they evacuated the station."
     "So I heard.  Tell me.  Sitting here at Ops, could you
delete all the Federation records from the station computers?"
     "Whoof.  Everything that mattered, yes."
     "And what would remain?  Those ones that didn't matter."
     "Well.  Anything in an autonomous system I suppose.  Door
codes.  Tricorders.  The replicators."
     "The replicators!  How many of the replicators now in use on
the station date back to the Cardassian regime?"
     "I don't know.  Fifty percent maybe.  We're replacing them
all the time.  Really, Odo, I don't follow you."
     "Follow me now, if you would be so kind, to the replimat."


     Elsewhere, somewhere in the Habitat Ring, a spiraling
Ferengi transporter effect appears, shimmers, and hesitantly
begins to resolve into the form of a workman in overalls.  The
beam sparkles and oscillates in a rather dangerous manner.  If
you ask me they can't have their phase transition coils ramped up
to more than 120 gigahertz, and annular confinement can't be
gauging in at more than .95 megavolts!  What kind of a half-assed
transport is this?  They can barely maintain Doppler compensation
sync!  They are *this* close to irremediable pattern degradation!
     The beam pops out of existence.  The workman sways and grips
his jaw with one hand and the top of head with the other.
     "Brother."
     He blinks and looks around.
     "Huh?"
     He examines the metallic shapes that occupy the chamber. 
They do not seem to serve any human purpose whatsoever.  He steps
toward a peculiar obelisk and runs a hand up one edge.  What can
it be?  He rubs his chin.  A thought occurs to him.  Perhaps the
beam has distorted *everything else* in the room.  His
communicator beeps.
     "Bellows here."
     *Bel-lows.  This is Tong.  Why do you not communicate?  Was
the transport a success?  Where are you located?*
     "I'm in a room somewhere.  It's full of weird artifacts. 
It's like something from . . ."
     *Agh!  Anime again!  I have had enough of your Japanese
cartoons, Hu-man!  Verify your co-ordinates and activate the
transporter beam!  We cannot maintain this phasic cloaking device
all day!  O-o-o-oh, those Pakleds!  I do not think they are
honest traders!  If you do not hurry we will never win the patent
on the personal transporter implant!  What do you think will
happen then, Brad-ley D Bel-lows?  You will be back where I found
you!  Unemployed on a mined-out asteroid!*
     "GrrRRrrRrr."
     *I heard you!*
     Bellows turns and stomps across the room in annoyance, but
not before his foot sends an unexpected bucket clattering.
     "Oh, Jeez!"
     The door chimes.  He hears a voice through the door.
     "Odo?  Are you in there?"
     He hits the transporter control on his arm and disappears.
     Kira hesitates outside the door, bites her lip, lifts her
hand to knock, then leaves.


     Odo, O'Brien and Bashir enter the replimat and approach the
replicators.
     O'Brien: "Here's one.  Old Number Fifteen.  Makes the worst
steak and kidney I've ever tasted, but it's quite good at
Cardassian food from what I'm told."
     Odo looks over his shoulder and notices someone waiting to
get at the machine.
     "Closed for inspection.  Next window, please."
     O'Brien: "So what was it you wanted me to do?"
     "Tell me how to programme one of these."
     "It's just like the replicator in your own . . . ."
     "Yes, well, I've never had occasion to programme that one
either."
     "Sorry.  In a word, you tell it what you want and if it's in
the memory it makes it."
     "And if it's not in the memory?"
     "You describe what you want in sufficient detail or you
supply it with a sample."
     "So, for instance, a chef could prepare a dish, put it in
the replicator and then anyone could call it up at any time."
     "That's right."
     Odo leans toward the replicator says: "Nufrek's yamok
sauce."
     A small bowl of sauce appears.
     Odo: "Scan that, would you, Doctor?"
     Bashir holds up his tricorder.
     "Perfectly normal."
     He takes it out and tastes it.
     "Wheeuh.  That's yamok sauce."
     Odo: "Hmmm.  We're missing something here.  Are you sure the
old Cardassian menu is still intact?"
     O'Brien: "Should be.  I can't imagine anyone taking the time
to delete all the old recipes.  There'd be too much danger of
crashing the system.  I'll run a diagnostic."
     He opens a panel and taps at the Okudagrams.
     "Seems to be working fine.  There are some ten- and fifteen-
year-old files in here.  Here's one with a voice authorization
lockout."
     Bashir: "In a replicator?"
     O'Brien: "All that means is that someone had a dish they
preferred to have prepared a certain special way.  Extra spicy,
you know.  Like Mom used to make.  The sound of that person's
voice would cue the replicator to prepare the menu item
differently."
     Odo: "How would the replicator learn to recognize such a
voice?"
     "The person would have had to activate the specialization
subroutine, speak into the replicator, and there'd be a digital
voice recording made."
     "Can you access such a record?"
     "Sure.  Whose do you want?"
     "Borot's."
     "Hang on."  He taps the controls.  "It's searching."
     "Can you get it to play back audibly?"
     "Just a minute.  Here it comes."
     A deep Cardassian voice comes out of the vocalizer.
     *Testing, testing, testing.  One two three.  A B C D E F G H
I had a girl in Kalamazoo.  I can't wait to get my hands on my
good friend Nufrek's yamok sauce.  Mmmmmm, yamok sauce*
     At the sound of this the replicator produces another bowl of
sauce.  They look at it in surprise.  Bashir scans it.  He closes
the tricorder.
     "Arsenic.  Twenty to thirty bowls of this and any Cardassian
would be dead.  But why would Borot poison himself?"
     O'Brien: "I don't think he did.  It looks like this file was
opened after Borot created it."
     Odo: "Who opened it?"
     "Just a moment.  This is a little tricky.  All I have to do
is . . . Aw, bloody heck!!!"
     "What is it?"
     "It's downloading its entire history into the computer
mainframe!  Every cup and saucer since the station was built. 
Ah, what a mess.  Sorry, Odo, this could take hours."
     "It's all right, Chief O'Brien.  I have what I came for."


[Commercial:
     The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee curls and snakes into the
bedroom and under the sleeper's nose.  The sleeper wakes and
floats out the room on the invigorating scent, wafts down the
stairs and along the hall.  At the kitchen door two armed
security guards grab him by the arms.
     "Got any ID, Mack?"]


     Odo arrives at Ops again.  Gul Dukat is on the screen.
     Sisko: "You're just in time, Constable.  Gul Dukat has some
information on the Borot case."
     Dukat: *You'll be pleased to know you can close your file on
this one, Constable.  The criminal Nufrek has made a full
confession*
     Odo: "Then I take it he is no longer in the land of the
living?"
     *How you must envy us on the expeditiousness of our judicial
system*
     "It is always a pleasure to see justice done.  Nufrek was a
chef by profession, was he not?  I wonder who on Terak Nor would
have merited the services of such a civilian luxury?"
     *Odo, I really don't know what you're driving at.  I'd love
to stop and chat but I am a busy man.  Dukat out*
     Dax: "Transmission terminated at source."
     Sisko: "You look displeased, Odo."
     "I am always displeased by murder, Commander.  The more so
by conspiracy to murder."
     "You suspect Dukat to be involved?"
     "Whom I suspect will have to remain a closed matter, I'm
afraid, until more evidence is produced.  I still don't have a
motive for this crime.  The best I have at this point is an
interesting theory.  Borot was involved in shipping items on and
off the station.  Nufrek the chef was at the very least
unwittingly responsible for his death.  But I know of no reason
for Nufrek to wish Borot dead or to have received orders to
murder him.  Nufrek's execution raises as many questions as it
answers.  Until I learn what this crime was all about it must
remain an unsolved case."


     Phaser bolts streak down the darkened service conduit and
burst into a pack of snarling voles.  The creatures twine and
leap, tearing at one another in their attempts to escape.  The
bolts rain down on the crazed rodents, vapourizing them by the
dozen.  The bravest and mightiest among them make a stand, baring
their teeth in a last hopeless gesture before they too are swept
to oblivion.  Within moments the tunnel is cleared, the air is
heavy with gaseous vole, and squeals echo off down the tunnel,
and whether they are the cries of voles living or dead I cannot
say.
     A dim spot of red light shifts in the darkness as Door
Repair Guy moves the cigar butt from one corner of his mouth to
the other.  
     "I ain't so tough."
     He slumps against the tunnel wall, butts out the stogie,
fishes a tub of vanilla yogurt out of a breast pocket, unseals
it, and begins to eat, staring off into the darkness.  Gradually
the after-images of the phaser bolts fade from his retinas, and
his eyes begin to probe the darkness.  Just as he's scraping the
last little bit out of the bottom of the tub he notices a strange
faint pulsating light through a seam in the opposite wall.  He
reaches across and feels along the edge.  His fingers find the
shape of a service access panel.  He touches the lock and it
clicks open.
     The tunnel is bathed in blue light.  The uncovered Orb
swirls serenely within itself like a minor universe housed in an
hourglass.
     He is standing in a field of corn.
     Far above him in the blue sky a crow calls.  Behind him a
voice says:
     "'oH DachenmoHchugh vaj 'el chaH."
     ["If you build it, they will come in."]
     He turns toward the voice.  It belongs to James Earl Jones.
     DRG hesitates, and asks:
     "Is this Heaven?"
     "No, it's Eagleson Road."
     "Weren't you the bombardier in _Dr Strangelove_?"
     "Yes.  Defend yourself."  Bzzzztmmmmmmm.
     DRG finds himself looking down the length of a light sabre.
He steps back instinctively and his hand closes on a tubular
shape.  He holds it up, crossing the light sabre with it.  A weed
wacker.  As the two weapons touch there is a burst of light. 
James Earl Jones' deep laughter echoes down the stone corridors.
     Now DRG is in a room lit dimly with reddish light.  There
are three doorways.  In the first doorway stand a pair of actors
in masks and Klingon ceremonial garb.
     The first actor turns to the other and says: 
     "batlh joH SoH."  ["Thou art the king of honour."]
     The second holds up the Fickle Finger of Fate Award, turns,
so that the digit is pointed toward DRG, and intones through his
mask: 
     "Rowan and Martin, in beautiful downtown Burbank."
     Two Starfleet security officers emerge from the second
doorway.  When they spot him they stop and draw their weapons.
One steps forward and demands, "What is the Ninth Law of Door
Repair?"
     DRG stutters.
     The second one points his phaser directly at DRG's head and
hisses, "Let me fry him now!"
     The first turns to DRG, conciliating.
     "You see how difficult it is to control him?  He's a demon
when he gets a temper.  Just tell us the Ninth Law of Door Repair
and it'll go much easier for you."
     DRG: "'Never offend the Door Fek'lhr.'"
     The good cop nods with satisfaction, puts his phaser away
and signals to the other.  The bad cop makes a threatening
gesture with his fist and follows, but pauses in the doorway, and
in a burst of smoke and light becomes the Door Fek'lhr, rolling
his head and drooling down his chest.  He points to DRG
belligerently and repeats, with spit strings dangling from his
chops, "not lojmIt veqlargh yImaw."  He disappears into the
floor.
     Dweenie and Clarabelle are in the third doorway, eating glop
on a stick.
     Dweenie: [Points at him.]  "What d'you think he'll do now?"
     Clarabelle: [Shrugs.]  "I dunno!"
     The scene whites out.  DRG is left in the tunnel, gazing at
the calmly swirling Orb.
     He rubs his chin.
     "Do you think it means something?"


------------
Written by Douglas A. McLeod, ai919
------------

Episode 25 — Cardassian Murder Mystery

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