Part 11: Destiny’s Hand
By the time the two of them got to the Promenade, they could barely move because of all the people. “Oh, man Jim! There are so many distractions. Do you think you’ll be able to filter them out?”
“Let’s find out.” With Blair’s voice to guide him, Jim scanned the area for Solen. No luck. “Maybe we should try smell instead. I picked up the oddest odor in his quarters. I’d seen Bajoran chew before, but this blend had a strange smell I’ve never come across.”
“Ok. Close your eyes and inhale deeply.”
Jim winced. “Why do people have to wear such strong colognes and lotions? I feel like I’m suffocating.”
“Careful, Jim. I want you to dial it down a notch or two—so it’s bearable, but still a little strong. Now sift through the aromas as quickly as you can. Picture yourself actually filtering out the ones that obviously don’t match. Got it? Ok. Now examine what’s left more closely. Get rid of each one that’s not quite right.”
Jim’s face was pinched with concentration. “There it is! I’ve got it!”
“Do you think you can follow it?”
“No problem.” Jim headed off towards the lift, Blair right behind him. Jim turned around. “Not this time, Chief.”
“No ‘buts’. I don’t have time to argue with you about this. You need to get Constable Odo. He’s already got Theryl surrounded by security, but they need to get him out of here. Then I want you to go somewhere safe, too.”
“NOW, Sandburg!” Jim took off, leaving an exasperated Blair behind. With a sigh, he went looking for Odo.
Odo stood beside Vedic Theryl, every part of his body on alert. He’d tried to talk Theryl out of this foolish public appearance, but the man would not listen. These Vedics were a stubborn lot. That just made his job harder. They’d caught Bendelay, but Solen was still out there, ready to kill. He tensed as he saw a young man pushing through the crowd towards them. It was that xenopologist Dr. Blair Sandburg. Odo moved as if to detain him.
Theryl put a hand on his arm. “Constable Odo. It’s all right. He’s a friend. Let him through, please.”
Odo did as he asked, but he still kept close watch on Sandburg.
“Constable! You need to get Theryl out of here! The assassin is probably watching us right now.”
“How do you know that?”
“Lieutenant Ellison and I tracked him here. Please! You’ve got to believe me!”
Theryl nodded his head in agreement. “If Blair’s friend says he is here, then he is. I may be a stubborn old man, but I am not foolish. Since you are so certain, I will postpone my long-winded speech for another time. I’m sure no one will mind. But we should try to disperse the crowd. I don’t want anyone getting hurt on my account.”
Odo quietly and quickly got his men to start breaking up the crowd. They gave the people some phony excuse about technical problems with the presentation and got them moving. Odo looked at Sandburg through narrowed eyes. “You will be explaining all this to me later. For now, I want to know where Ellison went.”
Blair told them which way to go. Odo took a few men and headed for the upper level, leaving several men with Blair and Theryl. Blair nervously scanned the area, looking for Jim. Then he spotted him. Jim had his phaser drawn, his nose sniffing the air. Blair looked in the direction Jim was headed. A group of people were starting to leave the area, but one person lingered behind. Blair saw him reach into his cloak. Oh, man! Jim hadn’t spotted him yet! The man took aim.
Jim could smell him, and now he could hear his disruptor humming. He honed in on the Bajoran assassin just as he was about to fire. Jim aimed his phaser and shot the young man, stunning him. But not before Solen got off a shot of his own towards Theryl.
Blair pushed Theryl out of the way without thinking. He felt the heat of the disruptor blast whiz past him.
Jim anxiously looked down to see if the shot had missed its mark. He couldn’t do this again. He couldn’t handle it if he’d been too late again. Just like on Daknar. Jim could almost smell the death. But whose? Not his… The Shavale. He couldn’t quite remember. What happened to him on Daknar? A soft voice wound its way through his thoughts.
“All will come to you when you are ready. For now, it is enough that you have found your guide. Guard the gateway and be at peace with yourself, Sentinel of Bajor.”
Jim looked over the edge to see a goofily grinning Sandburg helping Vedic Theryl to his feet. Sandburg looked up and gave him a “thumbs up” sign. A guide. His guide. Just then security showed up to take custody of Solen. Jim hurried down a different lift to check on Theryl and Sandburg for himself before the Constable could detain him.
“What part of ‘get somewhere safe’ didn’t you understand, Sandburg?”
“We were trying! The people weren’t moving fast enough for us to get out of here. But, hey, everything turned out ok. No one got hurt and the bad guy’s been caught.”
Jim wanted to choke him. Instead he just glared at him. “You know, Chief. You could make a living out of tackling people. That is if you don’t get killed doing it.”
Blair seemed oblivious to Jim’s seething anger. “I guess the hero business does have its downside, huh?”
Some of the anger and worry—yes, worry—began to leave Jim. “Maybe you should just stick to a safe career like your xenopology.”
“Xenopology safe? Whatever gave you that idea? You have to go in and observe really alien cultures. You never how they’re going to react to you at first. And even if you seem to hit it off with the locals, you could eventually break some hidden taboo and turn them all against you. Like the time I was living with the natives of Kedeb’s third moon a few years ago. Everything was going fine until I got a whiff of some strange pollen. I couldn’t help it. I sneezed. I sneezed, man, and they went nuts! They thought I was possessed or something and wanted to perform some rather painful rituals to save me from the demons. You know that’s interesting. Come to think of it, some old earth societies had similar beliefs about sneezing. Sure they didn’t try to…”
“Is there a point to this story, Chief, or do you just like to hear yourself talk?”
“Hey, I was only trying to…”
“Lieutenant Ellison. Dr. Sandburg.” Odo stood behind them, arms folded imperiously. “In my office, now.”
“Yes, sir.” The two of them followed the Constable back to his office, Blair mumbling something about no one ever letting him finish a good story.