ODO PAUSED AT the railing overlooking the Promenade He had made a
general announcement to the public areas of the station regarding
the emergency docking order. He thought it would calm everyone to
know that the tremors were caused by emissions from plasma storm,
yet the level of excitement continued to heighten along with the
influx of evacuees from the newly arriving vessels.
The activity on the Promenade reminded him of a Bajoran festival
day, right down to the singing and dancing, as streams of people
entered the temple. Not only were there more Bajorans, but there
was a sampling of every other sort of humanoid race, especially
in Quark's Bar. Odo had stopped by the bar for a moment but he
couldn't stand Quark's jubilant pleasure in the face of the
emergency. The tight Ferengi wasn't even complaining much about
broken serving ware or spills, so you knew it had to be a
Odo surveyed the throngs, mystified by the humanoid tendency to
react to a crisis by throwing off all self-restraint. It was as
if they were compelled to mirror chaos with chaos, when, by
rights, they should be extra cautious during times of
uncertainty. Many seemed to be indulging in a sensory abandonment
comparable to his liquid state, yet he would no more start
sliding down the banister right now than he would enter an open
airlock with a Cardassian at his back. Didn't humanoids know how
fragile they were?
Take Jake-there he was, leaning too far over the railing, trying
to see everything happening down below on the Promenade.
Odo casually strolled past. "Back up there," he warned the young
man. "You wouldn't want one of these shock waves to send you over
Jake straightened up, undaunted by Odo's tone. "Hi there,
Constable. isn't this great?"
"I'm not sure what is so 'great' about an emergency docking
order," Odo replied, clasping his hands behind his back. "The
station has already reached maximum capacity, and several more
ships are waiting to dock."
"It's not really dangerous, is it?" Jake asked, more concerned.
"No, not really," Odo assured him. "But whenever this many people
are gathered in a confined area, there's bound to be trouble. Not
to mention accidents. Why isn't everyone more careful?"
Jake shook his head in amusement. "You've just got to see it as a
surprise holiday. A lot of these crews weren't expecting to get
shore leave for weeks."
"Hmmm . . . I'm not sure your father would like you to be
wandering around in all of this."
"My father is the one who keeps telling me to experience life.
He'll probably want a blow-by-blow report when he gets home
Odo made a disapproving sound, but he let the matter drop. "I
would suggest you stock up on food supplies. I hear there's a run
on the replicators."
That hit Jake in a vital spot. He instantly started for his
quarters. "Thanks for the tip! See you around."
"I'm sure," Odo murmured to himself. He had recommended a curfew
for nonessential personnel, but Sisko had vetoed his suggestion.
As the shock waves grew worse, perhaps the captain would
One of his security staff signaled. "Sir, Starfleet security say
they're having some trouble at the airlock to the Ceres. A Sattar
is there looking for Commander Worf."
Odo had flagged any unusual activity among the Sattar for his
immediate attention. He had noticed that Commander Worf had
established surveillance on the Reaper shortly after it arrived,
and Odo was interested in anything that caught Worf's attention.
"Where is the Sattar now?"
"They're holding her at the airlock."
"Send two security personnel there. I'm on my way." He intended
to handle this personally. The Sattar were the best covert
transports available, with the captains controlling the "members"
with a combination of familial and dictatorial authority. Then
again, the Sattar had learned their trade while dodging the iron
fist of the Klingons.
Odo unobtrusively made his way to the back of the Promenade, into
one of the crossover bridges. With the slowdown in turbolift
service, he decided to allow himself the luxury of traveling
through the maintenance corridors.
Checking to make sure no one was watching, he slipped into the
shadowed bulkhead. Unlocking the access door, he poured himself
through the crack. Using the gravity of the station, he streamed
down the ladder of the lower pylon, curving around power conduits
and passing effortlessly through grillwork.
He had to reform to clear the security checks, but it was quicker
than any other route. Besides, he usually excused his liquid
forays through the station since they enabled him to become
familiar with every nook and cranny. If shapeshifters were
actively moving around DS9, they would be doing it this way.
Odo reformed before leaving the maintenance corridor. With the
current alert regarding Dominion infiltration, he didn't want to
take the chance of anyone seeing him re-solidify. If he ever got
shot, he would wake up in a puddle in front of Captain Sisko, and
his pride wouldn't allow that.
Copyright © 1997 by Susan Wright
Excerpted from The Tempest by Susan Wright Copyright © 1997 by Susan Wright. Excerpted by permission.
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