Read Wounds, Book 1 Online

Authors: Ilsa J. Bick

Tags: #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Adventure, #Space Opera, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Literature & Fiction, #TV; Movie; Video Game Adaptations, #Star Trek

Wounds, Book 1

BOOK: Wounds, Book 1
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Wounds
Book 1 by Ilsa J. Bick

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

An
Original
Publication of POCKET BOOKS

POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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Copyright © 2005 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

STAR TREK is a Registered Trademark of Paramount Pictures.

This book is published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., under exclusive license from Paramount Pictures.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information address Pocket Books, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

ISBN: 1-4165-0960-7

First Pocket Books Ebooks Edition August 2005

POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Historian’s Note

Wounds
takes place between
Ferenginar: Satisfaction Is Not Guaranteed
and
The Dominion: Olympus Descending
, the two short novels in
Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Volume 3.

 

Chapter
1

S
o, contestants, today’s puzzler. Given the choice between a very long trip with Julian Bashir in a cramped little runabout, with nothing to do except stare at the same paragraph over and over until her eyes merged to the center of her forehead, would Elizabeth Lense rather:

a)
have Tev torture her with Klingon painstiks for seven hours;

b)
be reincarnated as Tev’s personal Orion sex slave;

c)
play footsie with Tev in the mudbaths on Shiralea VI;

d)
just forget Tev, and stick pins in her eyes;

e)
What, are you insane? Stop wasting my time. Just
phaser Bashir, then pilot her own shuttle, thanks, and she’d be as happy as a Ferengi in—

“Elizabeth, have I done something to offend you?”

Let’s go with e.
“No, why do you ask?” Lying her head off.

Bashir’s brows tented in a frown. “Because ever since we got the news about the Bentman Prize, you’ve been, well, positively frosty.”

“Frosty? Honestly, I wasn’t aware.”
Just shut up and leave me alone, because you really, really don’t want to go there.

“That’s not true,” he said, like he’d read her mind, and then she started to get mad. Bashir cocked his head a little as if she were a species of fascinating bacteria. “Is there something you want to talk about?”

The way he said it, those words…She felt like she was sixteen again. She felt as if they were back at Sherman’s Planet and it was Gold sitting there and not Bashir. Lense felt as if she’d been having this conversation in one form or another for most of her life. All kinds of people—her parents, her captain, not to mention several doctors—asking if there was something she wanted to talk about. Like talking ever made a damn whit of difference. “No.”

He gave a quizzical half-smile. “I don’t think that’s true.”

“I’d…I don’t want to get into it.”

“Why not?”

“Because it doesn’t matter,” she said, knowing that no, really, it did.

“Anything that’s upset you matters, especially if it’s something I’ve done.”

That clinched it. He asked, right? “Okay. Honestly?” She reeled in a deep breath and said, “I don’t think someone like you should be eligible for the Bentman Prize.”

It was weird watching the way his smile deflated bit by bit, like his face was painted on some big balloon with a slow leak. “Someone like me.” He said it slowly, as if each word was a land mine he had to mince around. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on.” Squaring her padd on her console, she swiveled her seat until she faced him head-on. “You want me to spell it out? Someone who’s been
enhanced
. Someone who’s had his DNA rearranged so he’s some kind of mental superman. That’s what I mean.”

Color flooded his cheeks. “I don’t know that I understand. What’s my…enhancement got to do with anything?”

“Oh, don’t play dumb. Nobody’s keeping score; nobody’s watching. Don’t play dumb.”

He gaped. “Dumb? What are you
talking
about?”

“You. You’re such a fake. You were a fake back in medical school, and you’re a fake now. Take that final exam thing…you threw it, didn’t you? I mean, come on; the question was a gimme. But you missed it.”


Medical
school?” Bashir looked genuinely astonished. “Elizabeth, you’re still thinking about
that
?”

She clenched her jaw hard enough to make her teeth hurt. “Yes, I’m still thinking about
that
. I’ve always wondered why…no,
how
you could miss something a blind first-year medical student would’ve seen with a cane. The difference between a preganglionic fiber and postganglionic nerve…who’re you kidding? It’s a snap. But knowing what I know now? My guess is someone was looking at you maybe a little too closely. So, you figured, do something dumb, they wouldn’t wonder anymore. Worked, too. You played people just right and it seemed like it kept on working until Zimmerman showed up and started asking questions. Thing is, I felt
sorry
for you when I heard about that. Thought, God, just leave the poor guy alone. Not his fault his parents broke the law. But then Commander Selden came after
me
, and now? I don’t feel sorry for you anymore.”

Then everything came boiling out, stuff she’d stoppered up a good long time: about how she had lost a month of her life staring at the four walls of a dingy little room on Starbase 314 where she got to twiddle her thumbs while they poked and prodded and questioned and sampled her stem to stern. Came up with a big fat zero, too, because—gee, look at that—she
was
a pretty sharp cookie, and she hadn’t had a single base pair on any DNA strand tweaked anywhere, thanks. And, oh, by the way, while she was sitting around most emphatically
not
doing her job? A whole bunch of people, including the
Lexington
’s Captain Eberling, got killed, and for what? Because Commander Selden was a righteous pain in the ass. Because Selden made hunting down people like Bashir something of a mission, and no worries if people died because Lense wasn’t there to put on the save. Gosh, what’s a few dozen Starfleet so long as Selden got rid of Bashir and anyone else who—

BOOK: Wounds, Book 1
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