A New Race Discovered Jarvinia This story is a crossover between Forever Knight and Star Trek Deep Space Nine. It has not been beta-ed, and as such all mistakes are purely mine. ;) DISCLAIMER: The concepts of vampires as used in this story and the characters of Forever Knight are the property of James D. Parriott, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia TriStar Television, and the Sci-Fi Channel, and are used without permission. The concepts and Characters of ST:DS9 used in this story are the property of Paramount, and are used without permission. Other characters not part of either series are mine, and may not be used without permission. No infringements intended on copyrights, etc. NOTE: When Nicholas is spelled Nikalas, it is NOT a mistake. It is explained the first time it is seen. Do not archive anywhere else without my permission. Send all comments/feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org ~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~#~ A New Race Discovered - Part 1/4 "Is everything prepared for the arrival of the Federation Ambassador and the Zualtechian representatives?" Commander Sisko asked Odo, his chief of security as he entered his office. He wanted to make sure nothing went wrong. After all, the Federation needed all of the allies they could get, and with their technology, which was just as advanced as the federation, more so in some areas, they would be a very good ally. Odo sat down in the chair across from the Commander, also thinking about their usefulness as an ally, and answered, "Yes. Quarters have been prepared, and security is being strengthened in preparation for their arrival." "Good, I think we might need it. Right now, is there anything unusual going on at the station that might be a problem, and are there any other ships docking?" "Nothing unusual. The U.S.S. Lexington is dropping several passengers off and getting more supplies. They will dock in about three hours." He waited a few minutes, his attention not focusing on any one thing, then asked, "The Zualtechian ship, when is it supposed to arrive?" "Tomorrow morning at 10:40 hours." He shook his head, amazed that it was that close, time seemed to have lurched forward. He thought there was still another day, not less than twenty-four hours. He then remembered the main reason he wanted to talk to Odo. "This federation ambassador, what do you know about him?" Odo handed a file to Sisko, suspecting the question would come up sometime before negotiations started. He then replied, giving a general overview of the man in question, "The ambassador's full name is Nicholas B. Knight. For the past year and a half he has lived on Zualtek as the Federation representative, and for a year before that he lived among the Zualtechians to observe them. To them he is called Nikalas Kintok, their translation of his name." Sisko read through the file, one that was very unusual for someone assigned to observation, and questioned, "Why was he chosen for this? It says here this was his first and only time doing observation and being an on planet representative. Yet it also mentions how difficult it was to blend in with the population." The facts didn't mix, and wondered why they would put someone that seemed to be inexperienced in such a situation. "He has a severe sun allergy, and therefore cannot be outside during the day. About seventy percent of the Zualtechian people have a similar allergy, not the same cause, but the same result. The planet runs on a night schedule, their day is night, and their night is day. This made him the perfect choice, as he could easily pass as a native due to this common condition, and it would help him blend in. Also, his hair color, length, and type, along with his skin color are typical in Zualtechian society. Although he did have to have a minor number of implants when he first lived there, he no longer wears them. Other than that, I don't know anything more about him, other than what is in that file. And as you can see, it is almost completely empty." Sisko nodded, it was awfully small, but then he had been gone for almost three years, and that was to be expected. 'Three years. That's an unusually long time.' "Why was he gone so long?" "The Zualtechian culture can not be easily observed by outsiders. Most of their buildings have advanced security systems, and their technology could not be observed without prolonged access to these buildings." "And they needed someone that could stay a long time without being suspected." He then remembered a question he had meant to ask the day before. "For tomorrow I'm supposed to introduce ourselves and greet them in their native language. Do you know anything about the pronunciation of their language?" "It should have been in the file I gave you earlier. The one with all of the other information in it." "Do you have a copy of it?" he asked. The other file didn't work, and he needed it to learn the greeting. The words looked very strange to him, and that it impossible for him to know if he was pronouncing it right or not. "Yes," Odo responded, then went to the computer consol and made a copy of the sound file and gave it to Sisko. "Here is the file. Remember, it has to be memorized." He again nodded, "Who will be making the introductions for the Zualtechians? Will it be the Ambassador, or their leader?" "Their leader will make the introductions. No one will be allowed to use translators during the introductions, and afterwards the Ambassador and one of the Zualtechians will not wear one." "How will they understand the other's language?" "They both learned the other language. How well, I'm not sure, but they did learn it." "Okay, so basically I will need to recite this," he waved the file with the sound on it, "and then we can begin negotiations. Is Admiral McCarthy coming on the Lexington?" "Yes, he is, and he will be expecting us to meet him." He nodded, then said, "Let's get ready for tomorrow. How many of the Zualtechians are coming, and how many have the allergy?" "There are five coming. Their leader, two of his consuls, a guard, and a student of one of their universities. Their leader, one of the consuls and the student all have the allergy. Their quarters will be on the inside of the station, and will not have any windows. They will all have separate quarters, except for the Ambassador and the student, they will have the same quarters." He was slightly confused as why they would share quarters, but said, "Good. Well I guess I'll see you in three hours, when the Admiral arrives." They both stood up and Odo left the office. Commander Sisko opened the sound file and let it play back. It was fairly complex, but made a lot of sense when he looked at the written out version while listening to it. Their syntax was easy to understand, the characters usually corresponding with the sounds, about as easy as reading English. He put his hand to his face and then began the task of memorizing the foreign greeting. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. It was time for the Admiral to arrive, and he was right on time. Admiral Joseph McCarthy stepped arrogantly through the bulk head and quickly shook the hand of Commander Sisko. McCarthy was an average man. He had medium brown hair, turning slightly silver, and was in his early fifties. Immediately he approached Sisko and shook his hand. "Commander Benjamin Sisko, I have heard much about you and Deep Space Nine. It's a very hard command, especially since the Bajorans have made you their emissary, isn't it?" the Admiral said in a deep voice, a slight distaste surfacing in the pronunciation. "Yes, well, you get used to it after a while," he stated, not liking the tone the Admiral had used in his question. He introduced Odo and Kira, who were also present and then showed the Admiral around the station. "Have you meet the Ambassador before?" Sisko eventually asked, wondering what the man was actually like. The computer files didn't have anything more than facts, and very few of those, and facts don't really give a good indication of what to expect out of a person. A look of disapproval quickly crossed McCarthy's face and he answered, "Yes, I have. And I'm not sure that I approve of him on this mission, or any other. He seems to like to make his own rules. He's a little too independent." The Commander shook his head in understanding, and commented, "I hope he doesn't try to bend too many rules." 'Independent. If the Admiral isn't exaggerating that could be a problem.' The Admiral also shook his head in return, and they continued on their walk through the station. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. The next morning Sisko, Odo, Kira, and Dax arrived a few minutes early to meet the Zualtechians so they could talk. The Admiral was not present, because he was to attend only the negotiations, nothing else, and seemed like he really didn't want to be there anyway. "Commander, do you have the greeting ready?" "Yes, I do have it ready, and I hope I am going to pronounce this right." 'I better, don't want to offend them,' he thought, knowing that in some languages, words changed meaning with only a slight difference in pronunciation. He'd had first hand experience with that. Sisko's communicator beeped, and he hit it saying, "Sisko here." "*Commander, the Zualtechian ship is ready to dock, and will be docked in about a minute,*" came O'Brien's voice. "Good, Sisko out." The group waited for several minutes, then their visitors appeared. They walked through the bulkhead and stood across from the stations officers. They were a humanoid race, and also appeared very much like humans. Their pale complexion was the first characteristic that was noted. All of the men had long hair, about ten inches below the shoulder, and the two women, one of the consuls and the student, both had hair all of the way down their back. They all had wavy golden blonde hair except for the female consul, who had slightly lighter hair, and the guard, whose hair was slightly darker. Feathers were placed in their hair at differing intervals. Their leader, the male consul, the student and the Ambassador had black feathers. The female consul had white feathers. Black representing night, white, day. They hung down below the hair line except for the first set feathers on those that had to sets. The leader and the female consul had two sets of feathers, and everyone else, except the guard who was not permitted to wear any, had a single set. Their eyes were slightly slanted, eyes like a human's, and their ears were slightly pointed, not as much as a Vulcan's, but more than a human's would be. At first it was hard to tell who the Ambassador was, but his features were not quite as defined as the others, and stood between the student and the male consul. All but the guard and the student wore long flour length cloaks over equally long draped fabrics, with either pants or a dress underneath, the two females wearing variations of purple, and the men variations of blue. The student, who compared to a human child of about fourteen years of age, wore a lavender dress, with a slightly darker cape that came down to two points in the front, and one in the back near the ground. The guard wore pants with a long shirt, both of a medium grey, which was belted at the waist. All of the Zualtechians, including the Ambassador, wore elaborate jewelry containing precious metals and stones, and what was probably a communicator on the inside of their left wrist. Their leader nodded to Sisko to begin, closing his eyes for about two seconds, then raising his head. In Zualtechian he said, "We welcome you to Bajor, Deep Space Nine, and to the Federation. I am Commander Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space Nine, this is my second in command Major Kira Nerys, this is Lieutenant Dax, and this is my chief of security, Odo." After a few seconds the Zualtechian leader said in perfect English, "I am the Zualtechian President Zantchen Menton, these are my Consuls, Shyana Ronfrin, and Derank Zuntal, my personal guard Shune Namlon, a student from our most esteemed University, Techanienca Montoan, and the Federation Ambassador Nicholas Knight. We look forward to this visit and hope to join your federation." He had a little bit of trouble pronouncing ‘Knight' because of its unusual spelling to him, but other than that did fine. All but two switched on translators, then Sisko continued, "If you will follow me I will show you to your quarters." The security chief and Dax both left to their usual duties, and Sisko and Kira led the group down the Promenade, eliciting surprised looks and words, as other races walked by, most also looking at them, curious as to where they were from. "Tonight a dinner will be held in your honor at 19:00 hours. We will escort you there, then later tonight we will give you a complete tour of the station." One by one the Zualtechians were dropped off at their quarters, all right next to each other in a high security area, until only the Ambassador and the young student were left. "Commander, if it would be all right with you, I would like to show Tania around the station myself." "Yes, that would be fine Ambassador Knight." "Commander, please call me Nick or Nicholas when it isn't official, I absolutely hate being referred to as Ambassador. It makes me feel too important," Nick said, a grin appearing on his face. The Commander smiled as well, knowing what it was like to always be considered important. Sometimes he wished he could just disappear for a while, get away from all of the responsibility. "Of course, Nicholas. Remember to be at the dinner." "Of course. And don't worry we'll be there." Nicholas and Tania, walked back the way they came, back to the Promenade. "So what do you think of them?" Sisko asked Kira, once the others had disappeared from sight."The Zualtechians, or the Ambassador?" "Both." "I think the Zualtechians will make a great addition to the Federation. They remind me of a cross between Humans and Vulcans, with almost a feline quality. The Ambassador I'm sure I've met before. He looks exactly like the first human I ever met. It was during the occupation, and I was about ten years old. He helped keep a group of us hidden from the Cardassians. I remember him as if it were yesterday. He has the same appearance other than his hair being longer, and wearing different clothes. Even his voice is the same, and he told us to call him Nicholas. At first we thought he was a Bajoran because he spoke our language perfectly, but then we realized his face was different, and his name was too. When we asked him if he was a human, he said he was." He turned to face her, "But it can't be the same man. That was twenty years ago. If he were alive, he would have to be at least fifty years old. And the Ambassador isn't fifty, according to the file he's only thirty-two." Kira shook her head, becoming more certain by the second, and said, "I'm positive it's him. Everything is the same." "Okay, you can look into it, but don't let anyone know." They continued their walk back to Ops. and as soon as they arrived, Doctor Bashir walked up to them. "What's wrong doctor?" Sisko asked. "A human and a Bajoran have both become ill. They are also both female, which could mean nothing, but so far is the only commonality. Right now they are both in sickbay in very weakened conditions. Upon first examination I didn't find anything wrong with them other than a strange structure to their blood cells, but nothing that would explain their condition. I'm waiting for O'Brien to fix the computer so that I can do some more tests." "When did this happen?" "About fifteen minutes ago." "Just after the Zualtechians arrived. For now I'm not going to do anything, but if we get more cases, I'm going to have the station quarantined until this is solved." The doctor's communicator beeped and he hit it saying, "Bashir." "*I got the computer working again,*" O'Brien's voice responded. Bashir sighed, "Good, I'll be there in a couple minutes. Bashir out." He turned back to Sisko and said, "As soon as I find anything else out, I'll let you know right away." Then he hurried back to the infirmary, wanting to get this quickly solved, and hoping it was only an isolated case. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. "Nicholas," Tania said as they walked out onto the Promenade. "Does the Commander know about your food allergies?" "No, he doesn't. The only allergy he knows about is the main one, and that's only because many of your race have the same condition." "Aren't you going to tell him before the dinner?" "Yes, I'll tell him I'm only going to eat a little bit, that I have several food allergies that limit what I am able to eat." "Have you been to this station before?" she asked as she looked around, her curiosity growing, wanting to learn as much as possible. "Yes, I have. Several times actually. The first time was many years ago." His mind began to stray into the past, to the occupation, but was stopped by Tania's voice. "When was. . ." she stopped when she heard, and in the corner of her eye, saw someone stumble and fall. Nick went up to the woman, a Bajoran, and asked her in Bajoran, "Are you all right?" She also answered in her own language with, "Yes, um, no. I mean now I'm all right, but I've been very tired all day today. I thought it was just temporary, but I guess I was wrong." "If you've been this tired you should see a doctor," Nick told the woman who was just a little older than Kira. "Yes, I probably should." She tried to get up, and when she couldn't, Nick helped her. He then let her hold on to him for balance. "Would you mind helping me get there?" she asked, a forced smile appearing on her face. "Not at all." He switched back to English and told Tania, "Grab her bag and follow us, I'm going to take her to the infirmary." She did so and slowly followed as Nick and the Bajoran woman slowly made their way toward the infirmary. He told her, "I'm Nicholas Knight. What's your name?" "Taron Myrien." Soon after, she fainted and Nick picked her up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way. After another minute they were in front of sickbay and the doors opened for them. Doctor Bashir immediately came up to them and helped Nick lay the woman down on one of the empty bio-beds. "What happened?" Nick moved out of the doctor's way, guiding Tania in the same direction. "She stumbled and fell on the Promenade. I helped her up and was bringing her here, when she collapsed and fell unconscious." "What's her name?" he asked as he began to examine the Bajoran woman. "Taron Myrien." "Did she say anything before she collapsed?" "Yes. She complained of being tired. She had said she'd been tired all day, and that she had believed it would pass soon, that it wasn't anything serious." He paused and watched as the doctor examined the woman, taking a blood sample and running it through the computer. "Do you know what's wrong with her?" "Yes, and no. She has the same thing these two have," he said gesturing to the other two women laying unconscious in the room. "But I don't know how to make them well again, I'm not even sure what is making them sick yet, I can only see the effects." He stopped and took a closer look at the two, recognizing their characteristics, knowing they were Zualtechian. Then noticing the man wasn't wearing a translator, yet spoke very good English, he asked, "You're the Ambassador, aren't you?" "Yes, I am." "Well, then, I'll see you tonight at dinner." "Will you tell us how she is doing tonight?" Nick asked. "Yes, I will." He watched as the Ambassador and the Zualtechian walked away from sickbay and back down the Promenade. He then hit his communicator and said, "Bashir to Sisko." "*Sisko here.*" "Commander, another has come down with the virus. A Bajoran woman. She was brought here by the Ambassador and one of the Zualtechians." "*Okay, I'll make sure no ships leave the station. What have you found out about this virus?*" "Only that I have no way of treating it, and that so far its only symptom seems to be exhaustion. I'm not even sure it's a virus yet." "*Well, keep me informed, and remember to be at the dinner.*" "Yes, of course." "*Sisko out.*" Bashir turned back to the computer and looked more at the blood and DNA samples he had taken, putting his hands up to his head in frustration. Nothing was making any sense whatsoever. He couldn't even get a scan to show anything. It was as if this virus, if it was even a virus, was invisible. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. That night everyone arrived to dinner on time. Nick, still dressed in Zualtechian clothes, went up to the Commander before everyone sat down and said, "Commander, before dinner gets started I should probably tell you I will not be able to eat very much because of certain allergies I have. I will also be drinking something different than you." "Why wasn't this in your file?" the Commander asked, aware that's where the information should have been, and it wasn't, otherwise he would have already known about it. "As you probably have noticed, my file is very spartan. That is a result of moving around so much and because of the work I do, it isn't accurate in some respects. I'm sorry if it creates any difficulties." That was very true. Files sometimes got lost when someone spent most of their time away from Earth, or when they don't stay in one general area for a long time. "It's all right. I just wish I'd have known about your allergies sooner." Nick could tell the Commander was annoyed, and he had a right to be, but he would have had trouble explaining that all food creates a problem, a very large problem. "Yes, well we should probably all get seated, after all, everyone has arrived." Everyone sat down, the Zualtechians at one end of the table, the others on the other end. After the food was served, Nick poured three-fourths of his cup full with a deep red mixture, and allowed the remaining fourth to be filled with a Cardassian drink. He ate as much as he could. He picked foods that would both disappear faster, and wouldn't give him too much of a problem. Dinner proceeded smoothly, the Admiral was introduced to the Zualtechians, and Nick decided McCarthy was definitely against the Zualtechians from becoming a part of the Federation. He did everything but say it aloud. After dinner the Admiral left quickly as the Commander, Major Kira and himself stayed to give the Zualtechians a tour of the station. He wanted no part of this new race, and made it clear. As they walked down the Promenade, explaining the different areas and activities, a man dressed entirely in black slowly approached them and attacked one of the consuls, Derank Zuntal. The attacker had a knife and thrust it into the Zualtechians chest, and pushed him over the railing to the lower level. He ran, and because of the unexpectedness of the action, was able to get away with little trouble. Nick almost took off, exposing himself to all present, but was stopped when he realized that Derank needed help, and Tania was already moving to jump the railing. There was nothing he could do to stop her, but he knew if he didn't do something she was going to seriously injure herself because of the increased gravity compared to their planet, and the great height of the fall. He quickly grabbed her and jumped the railing himself, holding on long enough to make it appear as if he was slowing his decent, their flowing garments swirling slightly behind them. He used his vampiric powers to slow his decent enough to soften their landing slightly. Not completely, but just enough to prevent injury. He then released Tania, allowing her to examine the consul. "How is Derank?" he asked, coming close to her from behind, and kneeling down. As she checked his vital signs, she answered him, "He needs a doctor, but I think he'll be all right. The attacker didn't know what to aim for, and didn't do as much damage as they meant." The Commander and the others took the stairs down to the lower level, which caused them to take a little longer to get there. Immediately Nick told him, "Get a doctor here." The Commander contacted Bashir and about a minute later a medical team arrived. He decided he should probably get the Ambassador and the other Zualtechians comm badges, that way if something like this happened again, they could get help faster. "What happened?" Bashir asked, immediately kneeling on the ground, pulling out the necessary equipment. "Someone attacked him and stabbed him with a knife, then pushed him over the railing." Bashir scanned Derank with the tri-corder and found nothing permanent was damaged, and amazingly no bones broken, but that he still needed to be taken to sickbay before anything could be done. "Could you help me pick him up and lay him here," Bashir said as he pointed to the emergency transport bed. Nick did so and told Tania to go with the doctor and help him in any way she could, after all she had knowledge of their physiology that would help the doctor treat Derank. She had followed her father into the medical field, and would be of great help to Bashir. Once all of the commotion was over, and most of everyone had left the area, Commander Sisko asked, "How did you do that?" glancing slightly up at the railing. Nick was going to answer, but Zantchen said, "Most Zualtechians are able to fall from great heights and land uninjured. While he lived amongst us he learned how to do this very well. With the increased gravity here it makes it harder, and because of that he took Tania down before she jumped herself, probably injuring herself in the process." Nick shook his head in confirmation when Sisko turned toward him. It was fairly close to what he would have said, and for the most part it was true. Sisko accepted the explanation and told Zantchen, "Well, after this I'm going to add security to all of your people, and no arguments." He seemed to consider this for a moment, then said, "Very well, but I would like Nikalas to be the only one to look after Tania." "Why?" the Commander asked, wondering why Zantchen would only permit the protection of the Federation Ambassador for one of his own people, one who was not trained in such manners. "Both of her parents were murdered by supposedly friendly guards. Since then she has been nervous and afraid when around guards." "But why Nicholas? Wouldn't you rather have one of your own people protect her?" The Zualtechian leader again answered, "Nikalas is Tania's guardian, and I trust him as if he were a Zualtechian himself, as if he were a member of my own family." At least this explained why they were sharing quarters, and why the Ambassador seemed so protective of her, but he was still irritated at his silence. This was not something that had a reason to be hidden. It would have made virtually no difference if it was known. "Why didn't you tell us this? That you were Tania's guardian?" Sisko asked, a suspicious and angry look shot at Nick. He definitely did seem to go by his own rules. First he didn't say anything about his food allergies, then he said nothing about his guardianship of the young Zualtechian girl. He was afraid this would come up, and did his best to explain, "I didn't think Starfleet would approve. I told them I couldn't be her guardian, because I wasn't like them. But they said I had to, otherwise she would end up in some kind of orphanage, she wouldn't be able to go to school or anything. They also stressed that her parents specifically requested it, and at the time they knew I wasn't like them." Again, he accepted the excuse, and told him, "Well, you still should have said something, but then again it should have been in your file. Okay, Knight, go to Tania and make sure she's all right, and don't leave her. I'm going to put guards on the rest of you, but first I would like all of you to go through a medical examination." "Why?" Shyana asked, not understanding the reason. They had gone through one before arriving at the station, and didn't see the point in going through another. "Well, you were actually supposed to go through one upon your arrival here on the station, and also there is a virus on the station and we are doing medical examinations on everyone." "Okay. Do you want us to go to sickbay right now?" she again asked. "You probably should, we'll go with you." They all went to sickbay and when they arrived they noticed no one else had come down with the virus yet. At least that was a good sign. Derank was also stable and resting, so the medical examinations were able to be carried out immediately. From them, Bashir discovered that none of them had the symptoms of the virus. But he did discover that all of the Zualtechians, with the exception of Tania, had an unusual depletion of blood. At least that's what he suspected. As far as he knew it could be normal, but he had a feeling it wasn't. Bashir was about to examine Nick, but was stopped forcibly by his arm, and the words, "It's against my beliefs to allow a medical examination." Bashir was annoyed with his answer. With this virus or whatever it was going around, he could get infected and not even know about it, but he could do nothing. When someone stated it was against their beliefs, that was the end of it. Unless of course that someone could cause injury to others, and at this time that argument could not be made. "Very well, you may all go," Bashir said. "Doctor, how is Consul Zuntal?" Commander Sisko asked. "He will be fine. I'll release him to his quarters in a few hours." Nick and Tania returned to their joint quarters and so did everyone else. Once he returned to his quarters he wondered how he was going to get blood now that it had been noticed that the Zualtechians have a depleted amount. He would have to be very careful about what he did, and when. Discovery was not an option he wanted to think about. A New Race Discovered - Part 2/4 Later that night after Tania had fallen asleep, Nick quietly left their quarters and walked along the promenade. He looked for someone that was sleeping, someone that by the night's end would be short a few pints to help satiate his growing hunger. Since he had arrived on the station he had been hungry, much more than normal, and was now almost starving. Perhaps he had spent too much time away from other humans. He had been surviving on replicated Zualtechian blood for the past couple of years. He returned his mind to the task at hand, and when he found someone, he took a device, one that drained off the one's blood without leaving a mark, out of his pocket and placed it to the woman's neck after making sure no one was around. He then took the bag off and drained the Bajoran blood with his elongated fangs. He took two more full bags from the young woman, then left her, and did the same to another. He then went back to his quarters, his hunger only slightly fulfilled, but it would have to do. At least it would hold him to the next day. After entering the room, he could see that Tania was awake, and when he entered she came up to him. She leaned on him, her body trembling faintly, and he took her in an embrace and asked, "What's wrong?" "I woke up and when you were gone I became scared. I don't want to be left alone," her soft voice pleaded in her native tongue, her words almost running together with her fright. Nick answered back in the same tones of her language, soft tones meant to comfort, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you." "Where did you go that was so important?" she asked, wanting to know what was so important that he leave in the middle of the night, especially after what had happened to Derank. He was trying to think of something to say when Odo's voice interrupted the silence, "*Ambassador Knight?*" "Yes?" he said hitting the communicator the Commander had given him in the infirmary. "*The chest of belongings you had asked about?*" "Yes. Did you find it?" he asked, relieved it wasn't anything to do with his recent activities. "*Yes, in the confusion it was put aside. Would you like me to bring it to your quarters now?*" "If it's not an inconvenience." "*I'll bring it by shortly. Odo out.*" As silence again filled the room, Nick answered Tania's question with a lie, "I went to talk to Odo about my chest. It seems that he found it." "What's in it that's so important?" "It has all of the things that are important in my life, that aren't on Zualtek. Several of my belongings from Earth." Just then Odo arrived, and after Nick opened the door, he set the chest down on the ground. "Thank you for bringing it by for me, especially this late at night." "It's no problem. If nothing else, it gives me a task to do," responded the changeling, sensing that Knight knew how that felt, a smile almost appearing, but not quite. "Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow," Nick said, and Odo left to his duties. "Open it! Please open it!" Tania said excitedly as the door swished shut, wanting to know more about her guardian's past. He opened the chest for her and pulled out a picture of a woman with long, curly, chestnut brown hair, sitting on a park bench in the afternoon sunlight. Nick handed the photo to Tania, and she took it, asking, "Who is she?" "Was. . . She had helped me a lot with my allergy, we were trying to find a cure for it, but. . . she died first." He watched Tania's fascination with the photo, both with the subject of the photo, and the sunlight it was taken in, then said, "If you want, you can have it. I have many other copies." "Thank you Nicholas." After a couple of minutes she asked, "Did you have any luck in your search for a cure?" Nick knew she asked both curious of what happened, but also curious because she knew what it was like to live only in darkness, and wondered what it would be like during the day. "I was able to spend a day in the sunlight, to live like the other humans for a small fraction of time. The only time we found something that worked, didn't really work. I became addicted to it." "I'm sorry, I didn't know." She put the picture down and picked up a small box, and asked, "What's in it?" "Go ahead and open it," he told her, knowing she'd be fascinated by it as well. She did and at first just looked at it. Then asked, "It's a religious symbol, right?" Nick nodded, and she picked it up out of the box very carefully, holding it so she could look at it more closely. "It is very old isn't it?" He watched her carefully, avoiding contact with the wooden crucifix, and suppressing his reaction. "Yes, it was originally Jean d' Arc's cross. It was given to one of my ancestors and has been passed down from one generation to the next for almost a thousand years," he said, not telling it was actually given to him, those many years ago by that very person. She was about to reach for an old leather wallet, but he grabbed her wrist lightly and said, "We should get some more rest, we have a long day ahead." She nodded and went back to her bed. When he was sure she was sleeping he took the wallet out himself and opened it to reveal a police badge from Toronto with his picture, his present name and other information that revealed he was the same person. He took it with him into his room, and put it in the drawer next to his bed, aware that if someone saw the wallet, it would raise far too many questions. Then he himself fell asleep. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. The next morning Doctor Bashir went to the Commander's office and told the Commander about the present situation. "Several others have succumbed to this virus. They aren't almost entirely Bajoran either, more humans are being affected, and other species as well. So far no one has died, but it has a wide range of people it affects. Now the only commonality is that all the people being affected have iron- based blood." "Have you discovered what is causing this?" Sisko asked after contemplating the situation for a moment. "No. So far we have only been able to see it's affects, but I fear if we don't, all of those that are susceptible to it will be ill, and fairly soon." The frustration was laced in his words, he had never had such a problem finding an answer, but then he'd never come across anything quite like this before either. Sisko nodded, and let some of his frustration out in his words, "Okay, continue to do research, and find out what is causing this!" After Bashir left, Sisko went to Zantchen's quarters. As he approached he saw that the two guards that had been on duty were now lying on the ground unconscious, both appearing to have been shot with a phaser. He also saw that the door was open and he heard noises from inside. He used his communicator to call for security, then drew his phaser and cautiously entered the room. Zantchen was backed into a corner by a Starfleet officer with a phaser, who because of the low light levels present in the room, could not be identified. "Put down the phaser!" At these words, the attacker moved slightly, which allowed what light there was to reflect off of his features. Sisko recognized the man as Admiral McCarthy, and almost didn't have enough time to stun him before he attempted to shoot the Zualtechian President. Just after Zantchen thanked Sisko for saving his life, the security detail entered and asked what happened. Nick also entered with them, Tania following close behind. "What happened?" Nick asked. "We found the attacker," Odo answered and gestured toward the Admiral, who was now waking up from the effects of the phaser. Nick approached McCarthy and exclaimed, "Why?! I thought you were supposed to be against such actions! I thought you were supposed to be for the expansion of the Federation! Why do you try to murder these people?!" McCarthy just stood under the icy glare of the Ambassador, returning it with one of his own. "I know why," he continued. "You just do what is best for yourself. You don't care about other races, other individuals, just what will further your career. Well, I don't think that's going to continue much longer now is it!" Nick turned and stormed over toward Odo, barely containing the vampiric anger that was threatening to unleash itself. It was difficult to control in the best of times, almost impossible when he was virtually starving. "Make sure he can never do this again, or I will!" he told the security chief then took Tania out of the room and back to their quarters. Sisko watched the young Ambassador leave the room, then turned to Odo and asked, "Take care of this. I'm going to go talk to the Ambassador." He then too left the room and walked down the hall to Nick's quarters. Once there he touched the sensor panel and waited for Nick to answer it. Instead he only heard the door open and then he walked inside. An old chest of yet unpacked belongings sat on the floor of the dim lighted room. Tania and Nick were sitting on the couch, and Nick stood up when Sisko came in. "Commander. I am sorry about my abrupt departure, I won't. . ." Sisko cut him off, "Don't worry about it. Anyone else would have done the same in that situation. I can't exactly say I really like the Admiral much anymore, although I didn't like him all that much to begin with. Someone had to say something, his actions were completely uncalled for. You just did what others were afraid to do." Nick decided to ask why the Commander came to his quarters and asked, "Is there anything in particular you wanted to talk to me about, Commander?" "Not in particular. I came to see if you were all right and to give you an update on this virus that seems to be taking the station. More people are being affected, and if we don't find out the cause soon over half the station will be ill. So far it hasn't affected the Zualtechians, but that doesn't mean it won't. So far the only limiting factor is that it only affects those with iron based blood, and the Zualtechians definitely fall into its range." Nick nodded his head, knowing from past experiences watching unknown viruses spread that what the Commander was saying is true. He almost forgot about Sisko, and decided he should probably say something, "Thank you for updating me. I really do appreciate it." As Sisko looked at the Ambassador he realized just how similar he looked to the Zualtechians. His hair was exactly like Tania's, and without seeing the slight differences in their faces, one wouldn't even be able to tell he was human. When Nick again looked up, the Commander saw the same alien stare he saw in the Zualtechian's eyes when they first came aboard, then it disappeared, instead becoming the unique appearance they usually displayed. Sisko nodded his head at the Ambassador, then left to Ops. "Nicholas, what else is in the chest?" Tania asked, not wanting the silence. He knew they weren't going to get anymore rest, so he decided to let her. Earlier he had taken out all of the things that directly linked him to his other lives, things that could cause his discovery, so he simply said, "Look for yourself and I will tell you what each item is as you look at it." She did so and the first item she picked up was a folder. It was a thick leather folder, one among several. When she looked to him, Nick told her to open it, and when she did, she found pages upon pages of writings. She didn't know what it was until she examined it closer. She discovered it was very similar to the music she used when playing her instruments, although the notation was slightly different, but she could tell they used somewhat similar systems. Tania looked toward Nick, the question in her eyes, and he said, "Yes, it is music. Most of it is written for the piano. It's that instrument over there," and pointed to the baby grand in the corner of the room, something he had requested before arriving on the station. For the next several hours Nick explained how the music was written, how it was similar to the kind she knew, and how it differed. He also played several things for her, and even showed her how to play a few simple things which she picked up easily. The piano was similar to an instrument she had learned on Zualtek, one which she had seen Nick play a couple of times. By then, Nick was supposed to meet with the Zualtechian leader, but first decided to contact Commander Sisko. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. "*Commander, I understand you have a son?*" came Nick's voice through his comm badge. "Yes, Jake," he said, not sure what the Ambassador was going to ask next. 'Why would he want to know about Jake?' "*I was wondering if he could show Tania around the station some more, and give her something to do while I talk to Zantchen and his consuls?*" "Of course, Jake would be willing to do that for you," Sisko answered as Jake entered the room. "*Thank you, I will be by in just a couple minutes. Knight out.*" "Dad? Wasn't that the Ambassador? What did he want me to do?" Jake questioned once his father was done speaking. "Yes, that was the Ambassador, and he would like you to show one of the Zualtechians around the station. He and the others have to attend an informal meeting, and he doesn't want her to be alone." Jake was still a little surprised that he was chosen, but when he thought about it, he realized he was the most logical choice. Suddenly the door chimed and his father answered it revealing a man and a girl about his age. They both had on traditional clothing, Knight even still had the feathers in his hair. He knew the Ambassador wasn't Zualtechian, but their resemblance was amazing. He could have been her father and he wouldn't have known it, except he knew it wasn't possible. He realized he was starring, and said, "I'm sorry, I've never met an ambassador before." "It's okay. I don't always like all of the formality, the importance. I would like you to address me as Nick or Nicholas, Knight under more formal conditions, but never Ambassador. I already have enough people addressing me that way." Once he was done speaking, a smile inched its way to his face, his eyes gesturing to Jake's father. Nick introduced Tania, and he introduced Jake to her. He turned back toward Tania, and in her native language told her that he wanted her to spend the rest of the day with the Commander's son, and to not get into any trouble. After they had gotten done talking, Nick raised his hand in parting and left the Commander's quarters, Tania was standing next to the Commander. "Jake, take Tania around the station, and you can do whatever you want, as long as you can't get in trouble for it." She smiled, the Commander's words almost mirroring Nicholas'. "Yes, of course." He paused then said, "Come on, I'll take you to the Promenade first." They too left, and as soon as they were out the door Tania asked, "Was that your father?" "Yes." They started to walk and Jake said, "I wasn't aware anyone other than your president and his consuls were coming. How come you got to come?" "I am one of the top students at our main University. Even if I were not, I still would have been able to come by Nicholas' request," she said, still slightly unused to using the English pronunciation of his name, even though they were almost the same. "Why would you still have been able to come?" he asked curiously, not understanding how the Ambassador could make such a request, and have it obeyed. "Nicholas is my guardian." "What do you mean, guardian?" Jake asked, confused at the use of the term. "My parents were killed about the same time we found out about the Federation. In their will, they stated I were to have Nicholas as my guardian, that he would be the one to take care of me. He had become close to my parents, and had saved my mother's life, which put my father in his debt. He has obeyed their request even though he shouldn't have because of being who and what he was, but I begged him to, told him what would have happened, and he agreed." "What would have happened if he hadn't agreed?" "I wouldn't have been able to go to the University, I wouldn't have been able to go to any school. Instead, I would have been taken to an orphanage, and probably would have died within five years." That surprised him. They were an advanced civilization, but in some ways they weren't as advanced as others. They walked along the Promenade discussing different experiences they had each had, and once they reached Quarks, Jake introduced Nog to Tania, and after explaining what Root Beer was, had some brought to her. They introduced several other things to her during the course of the day, and she told them about her home, asking questions about their's. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. "Commander," Doctor Bashir said as he entered his office. "I have found one commonality that connected the unexplained blood loss among the Zualtechians and the virus." When the doctor didn't continue, Sisko said, "Well? What about it? What's the connection?" "Well first of all, no one came down with the virus until the Zualtechians arrived. Second, of the six on board the Zualtechian ship only two, the Ambassador and his charge were unaffected, although I can't tell for sure since he won't allow me to examine him. After closer inspection I also discovered that several of the victims of the virus, almost a dozen actually, also had an unexplained depletion of blood that weakened their bodies just enough for the virus to take hold. This is why the virus is spreading so fast. The only people that can be connected to both incidents are Ambassador Knight, and Tania. I don't think Tania knows much about what is going on, and when I looked in Knight's file I wasn't able to find much, although I did notice he didn't have any files from Starfleet Academy, something that should definitely be present due to his position." "Are you saying the Ambassador is the one that caused this virus, or at least has contributed to its spread?" "Yes. That and the fact that he might not be whom he seems to be. I think his file is a fabrication. What his purpose is, I have no idea." After Bashir finished speaking, Sisko thought and remembered what Kira said about the Ambassador. That he looked exactly like the first human she had ever met. "I'm going to find out a little more about Knight, but we'll probably arrest him today if we find evidence." When Bashir didn't say anything he said, "You may go, and tell the Major to come here." A few seconds after the Doctor left, Major Kira entered the office and asked, "You wanted to see me?" "Yes. I want to know what you have found out about Knight." "Well, I looked through his files and found that about five years ago his hair was much shorter, the same length and style as when I first met him." She walked over to the computer, and after a few seconds, pulled up the picture she was referring to, then said, "Then I went in search of a picture of the Nicholas I met during the Occupation. There was a human by the name of Nicholas de Brabant, he had been captured by the Cardassians about five years after I first met him, and was believed dead when he had been recaptured after helping other prisoners, about twenty, gain freedom. This is Nicholas de Brabant." Kira pulled the picture up right next to the Ambassador's old picture and they were identical. Even the lines in their faces were the same. "Either they are the same person, or they are identical twins, but, which because of the difference in time that is impossible. Also, after a lot of searching, I discovered that the ‘B' in Knight's name stands for Brabant." "So in other words, these are pictures of the same person?" Sisko asked gesturing to the two identical pictures, taken nearly twenty years apart. "Yes," was her short answer. Sisko leaned slightly forward, and asked, "What is he? I mean he looks the same in these two pictures, and other than longer hair, no different now." "There are no medical records on him, he will not even allow a doctor near him, always mentions it's against his beliefs. I also looked at the transporter files. They show he is human, but they are also all identical, even with the ones from Nicholas de Brabant fifteen years ago." He again leaned back in his chair, and commented, "But, no one can remain unchanged for that long. We change all of the time, right?" "That's right. The transporter files are falsified, and so are all of his other files. Whoever did it was a genius though, it was made so that even under a small investigation nothing would be noticed. The only reason we figured it out was because I had met him before. Otherwise it would have been overlooked." She stopped and asked, "Are you going to arrest him?" "Yes. At first because of the transporter logs and files, then for the other crimes once evidence is found." He paused then said, "Return to you regular duties Major, and don't say anything about this yet." After she left, he said to the empty room, "Computer, what is the location of Ambassador Knight?" The computer identified his location as Zantchen's quarters, and Sisko hit his comm badge saying, "Sisko to Odo." "*Odo here,*" came his security chiefs voice. "I have some evidence you need to see. Ambassador Knight has been falsifying records, and I believe he is also not human. I wish to find out if he is involved with this virus, and have him arrested and put in the brig." "*What evidence do you have?*" "His transporter and other files, all the information on him, is falsified and untrue." Odo pulled up the transporter logs, and saw that they were indeed false, they were all identical, which was an impossibility. "*Yes, I see what you mean. Do you want me to take him to the brig now?*" "Yes, and search him for weapons before you go anywhere." "*Where is he?*" Odo asked figuring it would be easier to ask Sisko than get it from the computer. "He is presently in President Zantchen's quarters. Have him exit the room and arrest him there, we don't want to cause undue alarm to the Zualtechians." "*Of course. I will see to this immediately.*" "Sisko out," said the Commander ending the conversation. He picked up the baseball on his desk and absently tossed it, catching it and repeated the action over and over. He contemplated what should be done with the negotiations, since they obviously could not continue without the Ambassador, or while this virus ran its course. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. Odo and his security team arrived outside of Zantchen's quarters moments later, and he touched the sensor panel, announcing their presence. The Zualtechian guard opened the door and asked, "What do you need?" "I need to speak with Ambassador Knight, out here. This may take a while, so you might not want to wait for him." The guard went back in the room and after speaking to the group, Nick came to the door and said, "Yes?" "Would you please step outside Ambassador?" Odo said as Nick moved out of the doorway. As soon as the door closed Nick was frisked by one of the Bajorans, revealing a small Zualtechian weapon used for self defense, another unrecocnizable device and a clear, plastic bag. Both his comm badge, and his wrist communicator were also removed. Nick didn't stop their efforts, but asked, "What are you doing? What right do you have to do this?" The guards held him, fearing he would try to escape, but Nick just stood slightly perplexed, and annoyed that he had been discovered, at least that it was he that was taking the blood. He knew that he couldn't let his unique existence be discovered, that he would die first. As he was taken to the brig, thankfully one in a different area of the station than Admiral McCarthy, he walked calmly and completely in silence. He was led into the small area and the force field was activated. Nick did not turn around but starred at the back wall until they left, after telling him they would soon return to question him. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. Commander Sisko entered sickbay to see Odo and Bashir, expressions of concern on both of their faces, and he asked Odo, "You had something important to tell me?" "Yes. We found a small weapon and another device on his person. At the moment Doctor Bashir is analyzing it to find out when it was last used, and what it was used for." He held the weapon in his hand, allowing the Commander to look at it. It was smaller than a phaser, and more powerful than one, a very interesting weapon. Before Odo could continue, Bashir came over and handing the device to Sisko, said, "Actually I'm done. It's function is to remove blood from a living being. It was last used about three hours ago, and still contains a small amount of Bajoran and Human blood. From several different victims." Sisko remembered that approximately three hours ago Knight had asked Jake to show Tania around the station, he was probably trying to cover his actions up, both from us and her. He was not pleased with this turn of events, and grimly stated, "So, Knight is our blood stealer. I want to know if he has anything to do with this virus." "It is a possibility. No one came down with the virus until after he arrived. At the moment there is no proof of this, you'll have to get him to talk, unless anything is found in his quarters that would show proof of it, and then we'd still need to speak to him. Unless anything is found soon, you're going to have to let him go." Sisko shook his head knowing that's what they will have to do, and as soon as possible. "Do you know anything else about this virus yet?" he asked getting frustrated that the virus seemed to be impossible to get rid of. "Nothing more than we did before. So far we haven't found anything that will cure it, although I think we may have found a way to prevent it from spreading, a vaccine against it. Those that were among the first affected by it are beginning to weaken further, although not enough to kill them, at least not yet." Bashir, and everyone knew it was probably just a matter of time before someone died. "In fact I have the vaccine right here, and would like to distribute it to everyone here." The others let him give them the vaccine, and then they wanted to get back to work. "Come on Odo, let's start going through Knight's quarters," Sisko said as he left, wanting to get the answers now, Odo going after him. "Commander, you know it's not regular for the Commander to take part in searching with security. . ." Odo was cut off. "Yeah, I know it isn't normal, but I want to clear this situation up, and we might find something there to solve the problem," was his solid, and unopposed response. About two minutes later he was overriding the door lock, and stepping into Knight's quarters once again, this time there were a few additions. There were very few personal belongings in the room. Dozens and dozens of candles, most of them a cream color and obviously used often, were scattered throughout the room. Most were in old holders, some possibly a couple of hundred years old, although a few had modern ones. An old wooden chest, now half empty, sat partially opened on the floor, and a piano sat in the corner, with several original manuscripts scattered across the top. Another piece of music sat unfinished on a table next to a small wooden box, and several other items. Sisko opened the box to reveal an old wooden bound cross, and then closing the box, told Odo, "I'll check out the other room, you finish up in here." A New Race Discovered - Part 3/4 He entered the adjacent room and found only two personal belongings other than clothes, and a few dozen more candles. His eyes were first caught by the picture of a chestnut haired woman, clearly from earth, whom he did not recognize. When he saw there was nothing else visible, he started looking through the drawers and found one other item. At first he thought it was an old wallet, but when he opened it, discovered it was an old police badge, one from the late twentieth century. The picture and name were what amazed him though. The man looked exactly like the two pictures Kira showed him, and the name was Nicholas B. Knight, the same as the Ambassador's right down to the initial. The only explanation he could think of was that somehow Knight had found a way to make himself immortal, either that or he wasn't human. He returned to the other room and asked, "Did you find anything?" He closed the trunk, and told the Commander, "Nothing that would help us. Did you find anything?" "I found an old photograph and this old police badge," he said tossing the badge to Odo. Odo opened it up and saw the name and the photograph and commented, "Looks like this Knight, or Brabant is a lot older than we thought. I'm going to see if I can find anything out about this person," he said holding up the badge, then left the room. Sisko looked around a little more, and he was about to leave when Doctor Bashir's voice suddenly filled the room. He answered Bashir's insistent voice with, "Sisko here, what do you need?" "*Your son's here.*" Before the Commander could panic, he continued, "*Don't worry, nothing happened to Jake. Tania suddenly collapsed. From what I can tell she has contracted the virus. He and Nog brought her here a few minutes ago.*" "Tell Jake I'm going to talk to Knight, and then I'll come there. I probably won't be very long." "*Okay.*" "Sisko out." The Commander left the room and walked toward the brig, traveling at a faster than normal pace. Commander Sisko entered the Brig and told the security officer at the computer to leave for a few minutes, explaining that he was going to speak to Knight. He approached the cell where the Ambassador was currently imprisoned, and watched him as he appeared to sleep. He was still dressed similarly to when they first met, although without the top cloak and the jewelry. Suddenly Knight opened his eyes, startling Sisko slightly, and stated, "I am awake," letting him know Sisko could speak and he would hear. He stopped, then after only silence was heard, he asked, his tone tired, "What do you want to know? I'm sure you're here for something." "Actually, yes, I do have some questions for you." When Knight didn't do or say anything in response, he asked, "First, I would like to know, what is your real name?" Nick didn't answer, but asked another question, only showing minor concern that they had discovered he wasn't who he said he was, "How did you find out?" Realizing it would take a lot of time to get anything, he decided to go along with Knight's question, "Major Kira recognized you, from the Occupation. She said you had kept a group of them safe from the Cardassians." Nick closed his eyes as the memories started to surface, assaulting his mind, and within seconds he was claimed by the past. ~~~~~~~~~~ It was turning out to be a good day. The Cardassians hadn't tried to raid them, and all of the lookouts were silent. Perhaps nothing would happen that day. He was a lone human among the Bajorans, and most were so occupied with staying alive, that they didn't notice he wasn't a Bajoran like themselves, and even if they did, didn't care if he was or not. They were being helped, and almost everyone knew that without him, they probably would have been found by the Cardassians, and would most likely be dead. All of the Bajorans were between the age of five and twenty-one, and had been either separated from their parents, or their parents had been killed, some only a month or two before. One of the younger children, only nine, approached him and asked curiously, the excitement showing in her eyes and expression, "Nicholas, are you a human?" "Yes I am. How did you find me out?" Nick asked the brown haired Bajoran girl, a smile forming on his face. She was very smart and observant for her age. "Your face is different, and so is your name," the young girl responded. "You're very observant," Nick commented, nodding slightly, then asked, "What's your name?" "Kira Nerys," came her slightly shy, but at the same time confident voice. He could tell she would be a great leader someday, that is if she were able to survive, but he had a feeling she would. "Well, Nerys, would you like to come with me as I walk the perimeter?" She knew that usually only the older ones were allowed to do this, and wanted to do something interesting, and also to be more like them, so she answered, making sure he was really asking her, "Can I really?" After he nodded, his grin getting broader, she responded, "Yes, I would." "Come on," Nick said as he led the wide eyed young girl, and showed her the exits and entrances and all of the hiding spots. He also told of battles and confrontations which seemed to interest the young girl greatly. As they were on their way back they heard a shot and the sound of several Cardassian soldiers approaching. Nick picked Nerys up and ran as fast as he could without his secret being discovered through the caves, his feet barely touching the ground. Once to the main chamber, he put Nerys down and said, "We need to get hidden, now! The Cardassians are on their way!" They all picked up any evidence of their presence, and Nick and some of the older Bajorans helped the younger ones into the hidden spaces overhead they had found in the cave, unnoticeable when stones were placed over the holes from the inside. Once all were in, Nick helped the oldest up, then lifted himself up and pushed the rock solidly over the entrance. ~~~~~~~~~~ Nick then remembered the complete silence they had to endure for well over an hour as the Cardassians intently searched the caves for the group of Bajoran refugees unknowingly hidden safely away in the ceiling and walls surrounding them. "Knight?" he heard, and was snapped out of his past, the memories scattering. He didn't know if he missed anything and said, "Yeah?" Sisko looked in wonderment at the uncaring this man seemed to have for his own existence. He was going to just sit in the brig and not answer anything, not even deny or confess his guilt as many would. "Is your real name Nicholas de Brabant?" Nick turned toward the Commander, and had a slight look of surprise on his face, then remembered that Major Kira would have known his full name, and if she didn't, could have easily looked it up. "I guess you could say that." His face became a mask, and then turned back to the wall, and became silent once again. Since he figured he wasn't going to get any information out of Knight, at least not now, he left the brig and went to the infirmary. When he entered, he saw Jake and smiled, but it disappeared when he saw Tania. Her already pearlescent skin was even whiter, causing her to look like a delicate porcelain doll. The Commander asked, "What is her condition?" "It's like all of the others. She is extremely weak and it's progressing faster in her system because of the differences in her physiology." Bashir paused then continued, "I don't think Knight is involved with this virus. If he was, I believe he would have made sure Tania wouldn't have gotten the virus." "Wait a minute," Jake interrupted, not aware of all the facts of the investigation. "What did the Ambassador do that would put him under suspicion?" The Commander sighed, and said, "Jake, he's the one that has been taking the blood, both from the Zualtechians, and from many people on the station." "Why?" "We don't know his reasons. Perhaps it is for some religious ceremony. We are almost positive he isn't human, but then what else could he be, especially with the badge that we found in his quarters," said Bashir. "What badge?" Jake asked, looking at the others in the room, who obviously all knew about it. "A Toronto Metro Police badge from the late twentieth century. It has a photo of him and the name he is presently using," Odo answered. "That means he was probably born on Earth, at least four-hundred years ago, if not more. This would make a great. . ." Jake was cut off by his father. "No it won't. I don't want this spread around until after all of the facts are known, and then perhaps not even then." He paused then said, not wanting Jake to find out too much more about what was going on, "Jake, go home, I'll talk to you about this later." Jake hesitantly did as he was told, and as soon as the doors closed, Sisko asked Odo, "Did you find anything out about the wallet?" "As you know, it is a Toronto Metro Police badge from the late twentieth century. The photo is of Nicholas B. Knight, a homicide detective. He lived in a warehouse apartment for almost six years, while also working as a police officer. He suddenly disappeared after his partner had been killed, and a woman, the county coroner, Natalie Lambert was found dead in his loft." While he spoke pictures of both his partner, and the woman were handed to him, shown on a Padd, along with other bits of information about them. The woman was identical to the one in the picture in Knight's quarters, it was proof he was far older than he looked. Sisko then listened as Odo continued with what he had found. "Using the names Nicholas B. Knight, Nicholas de Brabant, and pictures of him I was able to compile a fairly complete listing of the Ambassador's life back to about 1900, and then before that with random references, with the first one being a Nicolas de Brabant born in 1193. A family portrait of the de Brabant family in 1217 clearly shows that the Nicolas in the picture, is Knight, although several years younger." "Do you mean that he is about 1200 years old?" the Commander asked incredulously, to no one in particular. Bashir didn't know how it was possible, and wanted to keep on the topic, so told him what he had found out before the Commander had arrived. "Well, he could be. But listen to this, he used to be a doctor about a hundred years ago, using the name Nicolas Clermont. He discovered the cure to several viruses, such as the Merentco Virus and the Hemlain Virus. Two very deadly and very complex viruses." "Are you suggesting we should let him try to find the cure to this virus?" Sisko asked and added, "Even though he is under arrest for stealing blood?" Bashir knew he would remind him of that, and told him, "If we don't, we may not find a cure. This virus is completely different than ones I've run into, I wouldn't know where to begin and would waste a lot of time. I can't even get it to show up on scans, the only way I can tell if someone has the virus or not is from its symptoms and physical changes is the patient. It would take days just to get its characteristics. Knight has had experience with unusual viruses like this one, and I also discovered that while on Zualtek, he had become both a doctor and a teacher." Sisko thought about it for a minute. Knight was definitely guilty of taking the blood, but if he knew as much about viruses as was believed, it might be their only chance at stopping it. "Very well. Come with me, you can explain to Knight what we want. Odo, you should probably come too." They quickly arrived at the brig and the force field was dropped, Sisko and Bashir entering the cell. "Knight, we need to talk to you." Knight did not move, in fact he showed no sign of life whatsoever, his chest didn't even move slightly as he breathed, and then the Doctor moved toward him and touched his shoulder lightly, saying, "Knight?" This caused Nick to bolt upright, but before the vampire could take over he was able to close his eyes and put his hands up to his face, covering his now elongated fangs and amber eyes. After about a minute, he put his hands down and opened his eyes, revealing normal features and asked, "What?" "You've had experience with viruses before?" Bashir asked to be certain, then after receiving a slight nod, Nick not sure why they would ask this, he asked, "We need some help with this virus and we thought you could help." "Why are you asking me this? Can't you do this on your own?" Nick asked, knowing that Dr. Bashir was a very good doctor, and not knowing how he could really help. "No, I can't. I don't know much about unusual viruses like this one, and if I don't find the cure soon, people are going to start dying from it." After waiting for a response, and receiving none, only a blank stare, he told Knight, "Tania's been affected by the virus, and it is reacting faster on her physiology than on humans, Bajorans, or any of the other species that have been affected so far." Nick was stunned to find out her condition, and knew the doctor was probably right, and at least it would give him something to do. Anything was better than sitting in this cell. "I'll help. I don't know how much I'll be able to since I'm probably out of date, but I will help," Nick told the Doctor and the Commander. Sisko nodded, then he and Bashir stepped out of the cell and gestured for Nick to do the same. As he rose, he swayed slightly, and was steadied by Bashir, before anything could happen. Nick was asked, "Are you all right?" In reply he simply said, knowing he couldn't tell them what it was, the beast inside him being starved, "I'm fine. Just a little tired." "Are you sure it's not the virus?" the Doctor asked, after all the main symptom was tiredness, then those that were infected would collapse, and it seemed like Knight had gotten pretty close. "Yes," he stated firmly, then continued, "It's just hard to sleep with lights on, especially when you are somewhat sensitive to lights." They accepted his explanation, then gestured to the two guards in the room. Then Bashir and the two guards accompanied Nick to the infirmary. Once there, he immediately went to Tania and checked her vital signs. Bashir handed him a medical scanner and watched as Knight expertly started examining Tania, then one of the Bajorans, a human, and one of the others. He then put all of the data in the computer without another word, and moved them into separate columns. Now he labeled the columns, with the race from which the data was taken from, and with ‘y,' and ‘n.'Nick decided which ones were which from a combination of his training, and his tastes of the infected blood. Instead of allowing the computer to sort the information, he sorted it by hand, carefully going through each one and discarding differences in each of the columns. There were so many pieces of information that even with Knight's speed, it still took several hours, and it was the next morning by the time he finished. Nick had taken off the outer layers of his garments, and now wore the equivalent of what the guard had been wearing, only in a dark blue color. Bashir paused in his work, and approached him asking, "Do you want me to get you something to eat or drink?" Nick absently responded, "No, I don't want anything." He thought about telling the doctor what he needed, but that would mean he would be discovered, and he could not allow that to happen, no matter what the cost. The doctor was amazed at the man's avoidance of food. It had to have been almost thirty hours since Knight had anything to eat or drink. He watched as Nick let the computer compare the ‘y' lists, which were now in sentences, and then returned to his own search for a cure. Over the next couple of hours he saw Nick narrow down the list further and further, and work on one of the medical scanners, scanning one of the human patients. Bashir walked up to Nick not long after that, and asked, "Have you found anything?" "Actually, yes. These are the only real similarities between those affected, the rest are just results of the symptoms. A slightly different cell structure, the basic symptoms, and what seems to be a lack of nutrition before and up to the full effects of the virus become apparent. The unusual cell structure," he paused while creating a picture on the computer, "is probably the cause of the symptoms, and the only direct result of the virus itself. If we can eliminate this, we could probably cure those that are affected." Bashir took a medical scanner and scanned one of the patients. He did not find anything even remotely like a virus on the scanner, something he had discovered earlier, and asked, "How did you get that picture?" "The medical scanner doesn't pick up the virus on its scans, so I made some modifications to this one," he said passing one of the other scanners to the doctor. Bashir again scanned the patient and this time the virus showed up. "But, how can we get rid of it, it's becoming a part of the cell structure, integrating itself into the DNA?" "That, I'm still working on, and you can help by trying the different medicines we have on it, I'll work on combinations." Nick walked away from Bashir and started the tests on his own. Bashir looked down at the med-scanner and the modifications done to it and thought, 'Out of date? Yeah, right. He got the virus to appear on the scanner after only a couple of minutes and I've been working on it for days.' Late that night, Nick finally found something that appeared to work and approached the doctor, keeping his hunger, which had grown tremendously over the past twenty four hours, in check. He was now using up energy that didn't exist. "Bashir, here, this works on all of the blood samples," he said, setting down a vile of the antidote, and a Padd with the formula and the results of the tests he had done on it. He stood up and looked at the Padd, noticing the results were very good, and the next step would be to try it out. Yeah it worked on the blood samples, but would it work on a patient. After standing up, Knight started to fall to the ground. He put the Padd down and caught the man that had been helping him, and guided him to the chair he had been sitting in. "Knight, you probably have the virus. At least let me scan you to find out." Bashir, after receiving no response, took the med-scanner and started to scan him, but didn't get anywhere because of the amazingly strong hand that gripped him, accompanied by a sharp, "No!" Nick let go of Bashir's wrist and added, "I'll be fine! Just take me back to the brig." He picked up the cloak, and other articles he had been wearing, and walked out of the infirmary and toward the brig, permitting the guards to lead him once outside of the infirmary. He had to get to the brig, there the others on the station would be protected from his hunger, his control now almost gone. Bashir just watched him, at first only starring after his form as he left, then tested the antidote on the human woman, the first one who had came down with the virus, then ran his scanner over her. The results were outstanding. It quickly broke down the virus, and returned the infected person's body to normal. There seemed to be no side effects, and he went to have more made. He asked the Commander to come to the infirmary and then told the nurses to take care of her and used the hypospray to give the cure to the other patients in the infirmary. By the time he was done, Sisko was standing waiting for him, and he announced gladly, "A cure for this virus has been found, and I am now going to give it to the other patients." "You found it?" Sisko asked, surprised, not aware of the progress that had been made. "Actually, Knight found it, then had himself escorted back to the brig." "What do you mean?" "He left the infirmary and then the guards followed him, and he let them take him back to the brig. I am also almost positive he has the virus. Just before he left he almost collapsed, and he hasn't ate anything for at least forty hours. I'm not sure if he has it or not because he wouldn't let me get near him with the med-scanner." "Okay, distribute the cure, and I'm going to see if I can get Knight to talk." Sisko then left the infirmary, going in the same direction Knight did just minutes before, wanting to know what was going on. 'Why wouldn't he just talk!' *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. Over the next several days, Sisko, Odo, and Bashir, tried to talk to Knight but he wouldn't even look at them or say a word. Major Kira approached the Commander's office and was told to enter. Once inside she could see how frustrated he was as a result of Knight's silence, and asked, "Could I try to talk to him? I mean, I used to know him, and he might talk to me. I'm also not the only one worried. Tania, and the other Zualtechians are as well, and I can't blame them they consider Knight one of their own." "You can try, but I don't know how successful you'll be." "I know, but I have to try something, he's starving himself." "How long has it been since he's eaten anything?" Sisko asked, concerned about her comment. He knew it had been a long time. The last time anyone saw him eat was at the dinner, and then it wasn't much. "At least a week. It is also still believed that he has the virus, but we don't know for sure." "Very well, and stop by Bashir afterwards. See if he can figure anything out from your observations." Kira nodded, left Sisko's office, and thought of what she was going to say to Knight once she got to the brig. Once there, she told the guard to lower the force field, which he did, and she entered the cell and sat on the edge of where Nick appeared to be sleeping, pushing the layers of his clothes slightly toward him. She brushed some of the hair off of his forehead, and he pulled her hand away, and looked into her eyes, then pushed her away. "What do you want?" he asked her, his voice weak, and his movements were slow as he sat up. "Just to talk. You are the same Nicholas I knew on Bajor, aren't you?" she asked making sure. He looked at her and saw the same inquisitiveness in her that he had seen in her wh en she was a child. Then, she had looked up to him, but now she was going to be disappointed. He was not what he seemed to be. "If you mean, Nicholas de Brabant, the human that helped you, then you are correct." "Why did you take the blood, I mean if you are the same person, how could you do this?" Kira asked confused that the two could be the same, and not understanding why someone would want to take another's blood. "It is hard to explain, and not something I will unless I absolutely have to." At the last words he looked into her face, and she could see the fear of both that happening, and what would happen when he told. She also saw that he was determined that it would not happen. She nodded her head slightly, understanding at least what it must be like to not be able to tell your reasons for doing something. Kira then asked, almost pleadingly, "Will you at least eat something?" Nick just laid back down and turned away form her. After waiting a couple of minutes, she exited the cell and had the force field replaced, then as she was about to leave, she heard the door open and watched as Tania entered. Kira walked up to the young girl and told her, "You can't go in to see him." "I just want to talk to him, can I?" she pleaded. Kira nodded and walked with Tania back to the cell. They did not enter, but instead Kira said, "Nicholas, you have another visitor." When he didn't move, Kira nodded to the girl, and Tania said, "Nikalas, I want to talk to you." This caused him to sit up quickly, and as a result he almost lost his balance. He moved as close to the force field as he could without touching it, and asked, "How did you get in here?" "Major Kira let me come." "Can I speak to her alone?" Nick asked, his eyes turned to her, and pleading with her. She thought about it for a couple seconds, then said, "Yes, but the force field will stay on." She then moved away from the cell but not out of the brig area. 'At least he's talking to someone.' "How can they think you did that, believe that you were stealing blood? They messed up didn't they?" she asked knowing it was impossible for him to do such a thing, at least that's what she had thought. She had known him for almost three years, and she didn't understand what was happening, how this could happen. Nick put his head down and answered, "No, they aren't wrong. I am the one that was taking the blood." Tania was slightly startled, and not understanding why he would do such a thing, asked, "Why? Why did you?" "I'm sorry Tania, but I can't tell you why. Only that now I'm going to have to die for it," he said in a very soft voice, too soft for the recorders to pick up. "Why do you have to die?" she pleaded, not understanding anything, she didn't want to lose the only thing left of her family, not now, only a year and a half after her parents' death. "Because, either the virus will kill me, or I will start to kill others." Tania started to protest but he put his hand up to her, telling her not to speak, then continued, and told her, "You have to promise, that if I lose control and try to kill someone, that you will kill me first." She again started to protest, knowing she couldn't kill the only family she had. Nick told her, "You have to do this for me. I promise you won't end up in an orphanage. I'll put you in the custody of a relative of mine on Earth." He paused then said, "Remember what you told me after your parents died. That in return for me taking care of you, you will do anything in return." "I remember, I promise you will not kill anyone. I promise. I will prevent it from occurring," she told him, aware that she may have to kill him, but not wanting to think about it, her eyes beginning to fill with tears. 'This was not happening,' she told herself, 'It's just a dream.' But when he answered her thoughts were driven out, she knew he was serious, but she just didn't want to believe it. "In the chest, there is a piece of wood, pointed at one end. Take it and carry it with you, and then stay with me. If I try to kill someone, drive it trough my heart." He again paused, this time seeing her tears start to fall, and holding back his own. "Ask Kira to come here and bring a Padd." She did so and once she returned, he continued, "Could you please record something for me?" He received a nod and dictated, "Upon the event of my death, Techanienca Montoan, my charge, is to live with a relative, Richard de Brabant, on Earth, on the Brabant Estate. Also upon my death, all of my belongings on Earth, Zualtek, and Deep Space Nine are to be transferred to Techanienca." He then asked to see it and placed his signature on the bottom and handed it back. Kira was a little shocked at his actions, but before she could say anything he again turned away form her, blocking her out. She took Tania back to her quarters, who seemed to be slightly shocked, and then she went to Ops. to find the Commander. As soon as she entered he knew something was wrong and had her come into his office. "Major, how did your meeting go?" "Well the good thing is he did talk to me. He is the same person I had met on Bajor, and he basically admitted to taking the blood. He told me he wouldn't say why, unless he absolutely had to. Plus he had me record this," she said as she handed the Padd to the Commander. He read it and then stated, "He's planning on letting himself die." "Yeah, and he already looks like he is dead. I'm positive he has the virus. His skin is almost completely white, and he is extremely weak. I don't think he's going to last much longer, and I think he knows it." "Tell Bashir that we are on our way to the brig, tell him Knight is going to submit to a medical scan, no matter what he says." They then left, Sisko contacting the doctor on the way. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. Tania entered the brig and approached Nick's cell but was stopped by one of the security personnel. "I'm sorry, but you can't enter the cell." "That's okay," she answered. "I just want to talk to him." 'She wasn't supposed to be in here. But the Major had let her in before.' He didn't think it would hurt to let her talk to him. "Very well. I'll be over here if you need me," then he returned to his usual duties. Tania approached the cell and called his name. After receiving no answer, she tried again, this time much louder. When he still laid motionless, she called the guard. Once he was closer she said, "Let me in, something is wrong." The guard looked at Knight then decided he did look awfully bad, much worse than he did when the girl was last in. He dropped the force field and watched as the girl went in and tried to get Knight to wake up. When she couldn't, she checked his life signs and wasn't able to find any. She softly said, "He's dead," and began to cry, although no tears seemed to come. The Commander and Major Kira came in and saw Tania, and saw that she was crying, her head resting on his chest. He asked the guard what had happened and then Bashir came in. He relayed the information to the doctor, and then pulled Tania back from Knight. He had hoped they would get there in time, and it appeared they didn't. Bashir ran the med-scanner over Knight's lifeless body and said, "None of his systems are functioning. The virus is in his system but it is different than in a human, or than in anyone else that contracted the virus. His system appears the same as a human's, same organs, but they seem to have different functions." He called for a medical team to take Knight's body to the infirmary. "I'm going with him," Tania stated, even though she knew there was nothing she could do for him. Sisko just shook his head, not really understanding why Knight didn't ask for help, perhaps he figured he didn't deserve it, then said, "Major, return to Ops. Let me know if anything happens, I'll be in the infirmary." Once the medical team arrived they proceeded to the infirmary, and once there, Sisko asked Bashir, "What is Knight?" wanting to know what he was. "Like I said, he's human, but at the same time he's something else." "Find out what else." Bashir nodded then set up the stations computer to do a detailed scan on Nick and he discovered something amazing. "Commander, come here and look at this. He is still alive, but his body functions differently, no normal human could function at this level of activity. So little occurs in his brain that the med-scanners don't even pick it up, although the station computer will, and his heart seems to beat approximately once every ten minutes." "Can you wake him?" Sisko asked, holding Tania by the shoulders, her expression brightened with the doctor's comment. 'He was alive.' "I can try." Bashir then got a hypospray containing a stimulant, and used it on Knight, the first time with no effect, the same the second time, then finally on the third try he began to wake up. Bashir was amazed he could still be alive, but was a little surprised when it took as many stimulants as it did to wake him up. When Nick opened his eyes they were not the clear blue color they had been before, but an animalistic golden color, only a touch of blue remaining, and it was fading rapidly. At first he didn't know where he was but soon realized he was in sickbay, and knew that everyone had seen his eyes. They knew he wasn't human. He felt as his control began to slip even further and his fangs lengthened, unknown to the mortals in the room. He had to get away from the people in the room. Their heartbeats were pounding in his ears, and it was getting louder as his senses returned to him. He sat up and pushed the nurses away that tried to get him to lay down. Their blood was calling to him, its sweet scent luring him closer to the edge, and he struggled to keep the control he still possessed. His eyes were now even more golden, and his sanity was almost completely gone. He jumped off of the bio-bed, and backed away from most of the people in the room. Bashir approached him and Nick told him, "Don't get any closer if you value your life," in a deep voice, his fangs showing slightly as he spoke. Bashir stopped, but when Nick leaned up against the wall, his head back and eyes closed, he started to approach him again. This time Nick grabbed the doctor and almost sank his now aching fangs into him, but hesitated slightly, his mind and his body telling him to do different things. This gave Tania enough time to take the piece of wood she had retrieved earlier and embed it in his chest, pushing it straight through his heart to the other side. Abruptly, he let go of Bashir, and sunk to the ground, returning to the lifeless state he had been in only moments before. At first everyone simply stood where they were, stunned at what had occurred, Bashir being the first to move, grabbing his dropped medical scanner and scanning him. "His body is already decomposing, I'll have the wood removed shortly," Bashir told the Commander, and left him to talk to Tania. "Why did you do that?" he asked the young woman incredulously. "Because he asked me to. I couldn't refuse because of the promise I had him make." Sisko was about to ask what the promise was when he was interrupted by Knight again grabbing the doctor, who had just removed the stake, this time placing his fangs in his neck. Tania, knowing she still had to uphold her promise in every way possible, rushed over and hit him hard in the back causing him to once again let go of Bashir, this time letting him fall to the ground. His eyes were now pure scarlet, focused directly on her, and without a word or second thought, sank his fangs into Tania's neck. He stopped as soon as his fangs pierced her skin, his mind knowing what happened, and the beast was still demanding to be fed. Nick then let go of her, allowing her to fall to the ground in shock. He knew if he tried to do anything for her, he'd kill her, and moved back. He grabbed one of the hyposprays and quickly found a container of curare. He injected himself with a large dose of the curare and waited for it to take effect. When it seemed to have no effect, he injected himself with another, and then another, letting himself slowly sink to the floor in an intoxicated state, the drug returning him once again to unconsciousness. A New Race Discovered - Part 4/4 Immediately the nurses went to Bashir and Tania. The doctor was okay other than having puncture marks in his neck, and slight blood loss. He was able to stand immediately, and after doing so, put his hand up to his neck, bringing it back with a small amount of his blood on it. He didn't seem to be suffering any ill effects, not even lightheadedness, and hoped that he wouldn't. Right then he needed to make sure everyone else was alright, and he wiped his hand off, going to Tania who had fainted. After scanning her, he told Sisko, "She'll be alright. She just fainted from the shock of everything." Sisko approached the still form of Knight and asked once again, "What is he?" Bashir also approached him. "I have never heard of a race like him, at least not one that is known. If I go by what I've seen, the only thing that makes any sense is that he is a vampire, but vampires don't exist, do they?" he asked himself, then added, "But it's the only thing that even remotely makes sense." "If he was discovered so easily, then how come we haven't heard of his kind before?" the Commander asked, watching as Knight was placed on one of the bio-beds and restrained with titanium braces. "Well first of all, it might not have been that easy. And in a way we have. Myths, legends of a creature that lives off of blood, that can't go in the sunlight. They just keep hidden enough that we think them superstition." Bashir scanned Knight and added, "And if I understand this correctly, the virus is causing a similar reaction in Knight as it did with the others, although with his superior healing powers, it shouldn't have even affected him. It was probably just chance that this happened, with his healing powers he definitely wouldn't have expected to be affected by the virus." He scanned him again, this time thinking aloud, "If he was drinking the blood, his nutrition source, which was infected, he himself would be infected. If the virus works the same way, he would become weak and malnourished, and as a result he needs more blood. It ended up being infected, he gets weaker and appears as if he is starving." "Then he needs more blood," Sisko stated, knowing what it implied, the more he took, the more he needed. "Well, yes, but with the virus he can't get what he needs from it even if he was given some. I guess it causes blood to lose its nutritional value." Bashir paused, and when he wasn't asked anything, said, "I'm going to try to figure something out. I'll tell you when I find something." Bashir turned back to the computer and Sisko left for his office. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. Several hours later Bashir was still trying to find a way to save Knight. Tania was still sleeping, and Nick's condition remained completely unchanged. Restraints had been placed on Knight, making it so he shouldn't be able to move, although with his strength they didn't know if they would hold or not. He had given him the antidote, but it had no effect on his system, not even a temporary one, and not even with a high dosage. Bashir was now sitting at the computer, when suddenly he heard one of the nurses scream. When he looked, he saw the nurse standing with her hand over her mouth, and saw that Knight was now awake, he had moved slightly and was facing the nurse. "Return to your duties, Parker," he said then approached Knight, who now seemed to be asleep, even though he probably wasn't. He was scanning Nick, then just before going back to the computer, Nick turned toward him, eyes scarlet and fangs fully extended. Bashir stopped moving, almost dropping the scanner. His brain could only think of one question, instinctual fear running through him, so he asked it, "What are you?" Nick turned toward the ceiling and said, "A member of a race so ancient and so prejudiced that we can't even speak our name," a low voice, which reverberated even in the sterile room. Hoping he was correct about his suspicions, he asked, "Are you a vampire?" Nick looked sharply at the doctor, then again looked at the ceiling. Softly he said, "Yes," then paused, turned back toward Bashir and said slightly louder, with the vampire definitely in evidence, "Just kill me. I will die anyway, at least this way I won't kill anyone." "Let me help. Let me find a solution to this. . ." Nick cut him off, "Why? I'll just be killed anyway. A creature that drinks blood, a demon that should not be allowed to live! If anyone found out, I would be killed because of not who I am, but what I am!" "I am not to choose who is to live and who is to die! I am a doctor, and I will not kill a dying patient!" "Even one that nearly killed you?!" Nick said, trying to get Bashir to see his mistake. "Yes! As I said, I am a doctor. I will do anything I can to help you, but I can't do that without knowing what is normal for you, your physiology." Nick didn't want to create anymore problems, but if he had the chance he still wanted to live, if to do nothing else than to raise Tania. But in his present state he couldn't last much longer, and told him, "Very well. I will let you try, but if you don't find a cure within twelve hours, you will either kill me of your own will, or I will force you to kill me." In Nick's eyes, Bashir could see that he was telling the truth, that he could make him do what he wanted, and hoped he could find a cure in time. He had no wish to kill this man, either by choice, or by force. First Bashir asked about the physiology of a vampire, then he asked Nick if he knew why he was being affected. After receiving a negative answer, he asked, "You need blood to survive correct?" Nick nodded then the doctor said, "Could the infected blood you ingested have made you ill?" he asked assuming that's what Knight had used the blood he had obtained for. He received another nod and then said, "What if all of your blood was removed, then replaced with healthy blood. Do you think that would help?" "It might, but I will only allow you one attempt to save me." Bashir was afraid he'd say something like that, but this was his only idea. "Okay. What kind of blood will you need to receive?" he asked, remembering the several different types of blood present on the device. "Human would be best," was the short response. "I figured that much, but what type? A, B, AB, what?" "Any type will work." At Bashir's apparent confusion he added, "My body will change the blood, turn it into my type, my blood." Bashir wanted to find out how that was possible, but knew he could wait, and went back to the computer. Then after a few minutes came back and asked, "What precautions should be made?" "Keep the restraints on, give me enough curare to knock me out, and then a little extra. Also, have a supply of blood on hand for when I wake up." Bashir moved away then contacted the Commander, and told him of the plan. He agreed and said they could proceed at any time, and to tell him of the results as soon as he could. He then told the nurses what to do and took a hypospray filled with curare and moved toward Nick. Bashir told him that they were going to begin, and injected him with the hypospray. Thirty minutes later, the transfusion was finished. When Nick did not wake up right away Bashir used a stimulant to wake him up, and after two injections, was successful. Nick opened his eyes to reveal an amber color, slowly changing to a deep gold. He broke the restraints easily, and grabbed one of the bags of blood that Bashir was holding for him and sank his elongated fangs into the bag. Within seconds the bag was empty, and he reached for another, and did so until there were none left. His eyes still shone with their animal hunger, but diminished slowly as the blood did its work. When he looked up at the doctor, only a sliver of gold remained, and his teeth had already retracted. Bashir watched in amazement as the man, the vampire before him, now stood up and looked at him, showing only the human, yet slightly alien appearance he had seen at first. He asked slightly nervous, "How do you feel?" "Better than I have since arriving on the station," Nick answered, his voice slightly deep from the still retreating presence of the beast. Nick looked past Bashir and saw Tania laying on one of the bio-beds. As he slowly approached her he asked, seeing the marks on her neck, "Did I do this to her?" not remembering all of what happened Hesitantly the doctor answered, "Yes, although she wasn't harmed anymore than that." Nick closed his eyes and moved away from her, and toward the exit. "Where are you going?" the doctor asked. "Away from here. There is something I must do." He then left the infirmary, the cloak streaming behind him, and walked in the direction of his quarters. Doctor Bashir contacted the Commander and told him what happened, and Sisko said he was going to go to Knight's quarters, find out what was wrong. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. As Sisko approached he sensed something was wrong. He hit the door chime and was immediately allowed access. Knight was on the other side of the room wearing traditional Zualtechian garb, almost the same as he had worn when he had arrived on the station. As the Commander got closer to Knight, he could see a small, old cross, the one that was in the box being held in his hands, smoke radiating from them. Sisko interrupted Knight in his actions, calling out his name, "Knight!" Nick put the cross back into the box, closed it and placed it in the chest. He then closed the chest, then standing up asked, "What do you need?" Sisko had no idea what he could be doing, so took a guess, seeing the now packed chest on the ground, "Why are you going to leave?" "Well, first of all I've been discovered, and also I'm too much of a danger to your people." He turned his head down, wondering what the Commander would say in return. The Commander knew the first statement was true, but wasn't sure about the second. He decided to tell Knight of the decision he had made the day before, perhaps it would change Knight's decision, "Just to let you know, I'm not going to put in any reports about what you are." 'He wasn't going to say anything about what I am. But why, why would he do this for him?' He thought he had made it clear that he was a danger to others. "Why?" he asked, looking up to Sisko, his eyes a clear blue. "You helped us cure the virus, the least we could do is keep your identity a secret. Besides, in my opinion, you are not a danger to this station, or any of the people on it." "How could you say that knowing what I have done? Seen what I've done?" Nick questioned, having known very few people that could see the good in any vampire, let alone himself. "I know it wasn't your fault. The virus that was released caused you to starve. Haven't you ever had anyone find out about you that could still see who you are? The man behind the beast?" "Only a few, and all of them died because of me, most within a couple of months." As he spoke, Nick picked up the photograph on the table. "Was she one of the ones that found out about you?" "Yes. Her name was Natalie Lambert. She was a medical examiner, and on her twenty-eighth birthday, I woke up on her table. I knew her for about six years before, before, I killed her." After several minutes of silence, Sisko asked, "How did she die?" Nick took in a large breath, "At the time we had been working for a cure for several years, a cure to make me mortal again. A close friend of hers committed suicide and she was the medical examiner. Soon after, my partner, who was also a friend of hers, was shot and died a few hours later. We both resigned, and we were both emotionally weak at the time. We ended up trying a cure I refused to try before, because it was too dangerous, and as a result, I lost control and killed her." Nick put the photo down and when he turned back, blood tears were trailing down his face. Sisko realized they must have been pretty close. "I'm sorry, I didn't know what happened." "It's okay. It's just when you have a photographic memory, memories are even more painful. You relive them in every detail." "I understand how painful memories can be," he paused, silently remembering Jennifer, then said, "Will you please stay, if not with us, then in your present position as Ambassador? You really are very good at your job, and it would be a loss for everyone involved." "I'll think about it," was the only reply, and it was very soft. He knew what the Commander said was true, he just didn't know if he should stay or not, he wasn't planning on it. Even before all of this had happened, before he arrived on the station, he had decided he would not be going back to Zualtek, that he couldn't. Nick then returned to his room and closed the door. Sisko then left and went to talk to Bashir. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. When he entered the infirmary, Sisko saw the doctor talking to a now conscious Tania. The first words spoken were from Tania, asking, "Where is Nicholas?" Sisko answered, telling her, "He's in his quarters." She was about to leave but Sisko stopped her, saying, "I don't think you should disturb him right now." "Why?" "He wants to be alone right now. Please, don't go there yet. I'm going to talk to Bashir then I'll be right back." He and Bashir went to the other side of the room and Sisko asked, "What do you think makes Knight what he is?" Bashir seemed to think for a second, this was not a question he was planning on answering. But then he recalled what he had found out from the scan he did of him, then replied, "Some kind of virus, well not really a virus, but something that attaches itself to his DNA and changes it." "Do you think you could make him human again?" "I'm not sure. Why?" he asked, never having even thought of trying to cure him. 'If you had gained immortality, wouldn't you want to keep it?' But then Knight had lived over a millennia, he knew what it was like to be immortal. He hadn't even lived half a century, in fact just over half that. He couldn't give an opinion on it. He had no perspective. "Knight has been looking for one for centuries, he doesn't want to be what he is. Would you like to try?" he asked, knowing without Bashir, there was no point in thinking anymore on the idea. "It would be a challenge, and after what he did, I would be happy if I could at least do something for him in return. Does he know you're asking me?" "No, he doesn't. It was my idea. Something he had said made me think about it." Tania was very near them, and she had been slowly walking toward them for a while. She asked, "Would that mean, Nikalas would live on the station?" "Possibly," Bashir answered. "If I could, I would like to live on the station as well," she stated. "But you would be away from your own people?" "I would be with my only family. If I return to Zualtek alone, I will be placed in an orphanage, as I am not yet old enough to live on my own. I don't want that to happen." "Come on, we'll go talk to Knight." They all left the infirmary and soon were at the entrance to Knight's quarters. The door chime was rung like before and also immediately opened. After stepping in, he could be seen writing notes on the music staffs. He looked up when they entered and waited for one of them to speak. "Bashir has an offer for you." Nick turned his attention to the doctor, having no idea what it could possibly be, the confusion clearly evident on his visage. Bashir told him, "If you would like, I will try to find a cure to your vampirism. It would be something I could do in return for you finding the cure to the virus." Nick sat stunned for a few moments, realizing that Bashir was a lot more than he seemed to be. He wasn't just a doctor, he was a caring one. "That's something I haven't dared ask anyone. Not since Natalie's offer. That would mean I would have to live on the station, correct?" He received a nod and then asked, "But what about Tania?" In response she stepped from behind the Commander and while walking toward him said, "I wouldn't mind living on the station. After all, you are the only family I have, and I would like to learn more." She stopped only a few inches from him and when she stopped speaking, they embraced. About a minute later, Nick held her out at arms length, his eyes containing a suppressed ray of hope, not wanting to release it until he was completely sure, and asked, "You really wouldn't mind staying here?" "No, I wouldn't. I think I'd like it." "You wouldn't be able to go to the University any longer." "You can teach me. I want what you want," she told him. As she answered he looked deep into her eyes, seeing if this was truly what she wanted. It was. She knew what it was like to live in the dark, to never see the sun, and she knew he had a chance, and she wanted him to take it. He turned toward the doctor, and told him, "Very well. You may work on finding a cure for me, on one condition. No one else is to know what I am." "That's fine. We weren't going to tell anyone anyway." Sisko paused and then remembered he needed to ask Knight a question. "The Zualtechians want to know when the negotiations will continue." "Tell them, they can continue at anytime that is convenient for them." Sisko nodded, and was then asked, "Did you ever find out who was responsible for the virus?" "Actually we did. Admiral McCarthy brought it on board. Earlier today we found its container, and according to his personal logs which we were finally able to get into, it was only meant to affect the Zualtechians. It was a mistake that it affected anyone else. The man that attacked Derank was helping the Admiral, he is also in custody." Soon after, Sisko and Bashir left, and for the rest of the negotiations everything went along very smoothly. *+.*+.*+.*+.*+. The Zualtechians, Sisko and his officers along with the Ambassador and Tania walked toward the docked Zualtechian ship. Once there, they stopped and Zantchen took the Commander's hand and said, "We are honored to be accepted into the Federation. I hope we are able to meet again." "I also hope we meet again," Sisko replied sincerely. The four Zualtechians boarded the ship and once the doors closed, Kira commented, "They are a unique people, one that will add to the diversity of the Federation." "Yes they will," was Sisko's comment then he added turning to Nick, "And your people, you in particular, have opened my mind, to other races, both yours and the Zualtechians." The group left for Ops., and once again silence filled the area. ~fin~ More?