Part 10: Guided Tour


Jim waited for the doctor to leave before he spoke.  “What were you thinking, Sandburg?  How do we know we can trust him?”


“I had to call someone who could get into your quarters.  You could’ve died, Jim.  Anyway, he seems like an ok guy to me.  He really wants to help.  And I think we convinced him about your sentinel abilities—that’s got to be a plus, right?  Besides, you have nothing to worry about.  You’ll pass those scans.”


“Nothing to worry about?  These senses are driving me crazy!  I don’t know when I’m going to have one of those fits because I stared at something too long or picked up on an unusual odor or…”  Jim pounded a fist on the dining area table.


Blair came over to stand beside him.  “I’m sorry if I made it sound like you don’t have any problems.  But I don’t think they’re unsolvable ones.  I’ve been looking through all my notes on sentinels.  They all started out with difficulties, but they learned to control their senses and became great protectors of their villages.”


“In case you haven’t noticed, there’s no village here.”


“I wouldn’t say that.  True, it’s not what usually comes to mind when you think of a village, but DS9 is a unique community with its own character.  It’s a very…challenging kind of village.  But you can do it, man.  With me here to guide you, we’ll have the bugs worked out in no time.”




“Yeah.  According to all the stories, every sentinel had a guide to help him learn about his abilities and watch his back.”


Jim smirked not too kindly.  “So you’re going to watch my back?  A pacifist?”  What was it about the mention of a guide that gave Jim a strange feeling of déjà vu?


“I think you’ve got me confused with an Organian.  Uni-Spiritists aren’t pacifists.  We just believe that there are a lot of better ways to solve conflicts than with violence and force.  But we will use force if we have to.”


His tone was dismissive.  “Whatever you say, Chief.”  This discussion was making him feel a little uncomfortable anyway.  “We have to get to work on this case.  Odo did just as I expected him to.  He picked up Bendelay for questioning last night.  I didn’t think he’d find him so soon, though.  I guess I underestimated the Constable.  I was still on duty at the time so I made sure I was near the holding cells during questioning so I could hear them.  I tried the dial thing.  It worked pretty good.  Bendelay was a tough criminal, but Constable Odo can be pretty persuasive when he wants to be.”


“You mean he talked?  We’ve got a name for the killer?”


 “Solen Enel.  Twenty-year-old drifter from Kelto Province.  He moves around a lot, working odd jobs here and planetside.  Lately he’s been working as a courier.  His parents and brothers died in the ore processing plants during the Occupation.  He’s been very vocal about his hatred of Cardassians and what he’d do to them all if he were in charge.  Lucky for us he’s not, because he hates the Federation, too, for not helping Bajor.  Solen’s been in trouble before--small time stuff like vandalism, assault.  Until now.”


“Man!  He probably thinks Theryl’s a traitor for wanting to work with the Cardassians.  No wonder he hates him.”  Blair shook his head sadly.


“Don’t tell me you feel sorry for this guy?  He’s trying to kill your friend!  For a xenopologist, you’re pretty naïve.  You probably think serial killers would deserve a break if they had tough childhoods.  Lots of people have it rough, Chief, but they don’t become killers.”


“I know, but it just seems…I don’t know.  Solen’s suffered a lot.  It’s just sad that this is the only way he knows how to fix things.  He’s got to be stopped and punished, but their should’ve have been another way for him to deal with his problems.”


Jim shook his head.  Just when he thought he was getting a handle on Sandburg…  “Getting back the business of actually catching Solen.  Odo took some men to Solen’s quarters, but they came back without him.  He must have gotten wind of them and bolted.  He could be anywhere on the station by now.  There are a lot of places a person could hide on DS9.  Our best bet at this point is to keep an eye on Theryl and catch Solen when he makes his move.  There’s not much else we can do in the investigation part.”


Blair looked thoughtful.  “Maybe, maybe not.  Do you know where Solen’s quarters are?”


“I overheard them mentioning it.  Why?”


“Because you might be able to find something there that Odo’s men missed.”


“How are we going to get in?  I don’t have clearance to open sealed quarters.”


“I have an idea.”


“I’m not going to like this, am I?”


Blair was grinning at him with bubbling excitement.  “Probably not.”


What was it about this kid that made him want to trust him?  Jim shook his head in exasperation.  “Alright, Chief.  Let’s go.  I just hope whatever you have in mind won’t get me drummed out of Starfleet.”


Blair had a wicked grin on his face.  “Nah.  Would I do that to you?  I bet you’ll only get thrown in the brig or something.”


“What a relief.  That’s so much better.”


“Look on the bright side.  You’ll have plenty of time to hone your senses.”


“And where will you be?”


“Probably in the cell right next door.”


“You’d better not snore.”  This strange conversation continued until they got to Solen’s quarters.  Jim folded his arms and looked at Sandburg.  “Ok, genius.  Now what?”


“You’re going to punch in the right code to open the door.”


“How do you expect me to do that?”


“Look at the key pad.  There are five columns.  A person punches in one number in each column.  I want you to listen to the sound of my voice so you won’t zone-out on your vision.  Look at the numbers on the key pad.  You should be able to tell which ones have been punched more than others—they should be worn or oily from being touched.”


Jim concentrated with his eyes, trying to also keep tuned in to Sandburg’s voice.  “Got it!  You were right.  This is so strange.  I can actually see the oil residue from his fingers.  I know which keys he touched.”  Jim punched in Solen’s code.  The door slid open before them.  “Ok, Sandburg.  Try not to disturb anything.”  A pungent aroma assaulted Jim’s nose.  He quickly dialed down his sense of smell a notch like Sandburg had told him in order to take the edge off.  Jim followed the scent to a package on the counter.  It was some kind of herb--Bajoran chew.  Jim had seen the stuff around a few times.  Smelly habit.  Jim dialed down his sense of smell even more.  The two of them proceeded to scan Solen’s quarters without finding much else.  Most of what they did see only confirmed what they already knew: Solen hated Cardassians and wanted to kill them all and anyone he thought was a Cardassian sympathizer. 


Jim stopped.  He smelled something else.  Disruptor discharge.  Had Solen fired the weapon here in his quarters for some reason?  No.  The smell wasn’t strong enough.  Disruptors had a tendency to bleed a little energy—not enough to be harmful.  Was that what he was picking up on?  “Bad news, Chief.  He’s got another disruptor.”


“Why a disruptor?  They’re so hard to get a hold of.  I know this sounds morbid, but why not use something like a phaser?  Less headaches.”


“Using a disruptor makes a sick kind of sense.  The Cardassian sympathizer killed with a Cardassian weapon—poetic justice.  And a disruptor doesn’t kill automatically like most energy discharge weapons.  It causes extreme agony as its energy eats away at the victim.  He wants to kill, but causing a little suffering is a satisfying bonus.”


“We’ve got to stop this guy.”


Jim had a sinking feeling.  “Today is the dedication of the new shrine, isn’t it?  Theryl is supposed to give a speech there.”


Blair nodded.


“It would be the perfect opportunity to kill him in front of lots of people and make a big statement.”


“But the dedication’s already started!”


“Come on!”



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