Plague, part IV

By Seema

Bashir threw up his hands in frustration and with a quick look at his data, he stalked out of the infirmary. He knew he didn’t have much time to waste, but he really did need a game of darts to vent his frustration. On his way to Quark’s, he bumped into Major Kira.

“Just the man I was looking for,” Kira said, taking Bashir by the elbow. “Walk with me, doctor.”

“What can I do for you, Major?”

“I think the virus has spread to Bajor.”

“What do you mean?”

Kira told him about the rash she had spotted on Dev Taya’s face.

“You're sure?” Bashir asked.

“Looked exactly like Dax’s rash.”

“How did it get to Bajor?” Bashir wondered. “As far as we know, only Dax and Mrs. O’Brien have come in contact with the substance.”

“So that green stuff is responsible for the virus?”

“Yes. That much I know.”

“Genetically engineered?”

“Appears so, mostly because of the relative youth of the virus,” Bashir answered.

“Relative youth?” Kira asked curiously.

“Well, it spreads quickly,” Bashir explained. “And it appears highly contagious. Most new viruses are like that, spreading quickly and incapacitating its host within a matter of days before moving onto its new victim. However, I am optimistic as neither Keiko or Jadzia seem close to death. It might be this is a fairly harmless virus. Or harmless as viruses are that is.”

“Sounds wonderful,” Kira said dryly.

“Tell me about Dev Taya,” Bashir requested.

“Not much to tell. I met him in a bar while I was on my way out. I didn't really talk to him."

“I need to know how he came into contact with the virus,” Bashir pondered.

“You have an idea?”

“No. But if you do, I’m willing to hear it.”

“I have none.”

“I was afraid of that,” Bashir turned back and headed to the infirmary. “But I do know that if this thing is spreading, we don’t have much time.”


“We know it can affect Bajorans now,” Bashir told Kira and Sisko. “I talked to a contact down on the planet and at least three Bajorans have been infected with this virus, including Dev Taya.”

“We should trace it,” Kira said firmly. “Find out how it got to Bajor.”

“Major, you and Odo go down to the planet and find out everyone Dev Taya has ever had contact with in the last forty-eight hours,” Sisko said. “Maybe if we find out where it came from-”

“With all due respect, we know where it came from, Captain,” Bashir interrupted. “We don’t know how it’s spreading. With Keiko and Dax, I have a pretty good idea, but this Dev Taya is a wild card.”

“Major?” Sisko turned to Kira.
Kira nodded, “We’ll leave right away, sir.”


“We should start at the bar where I first met Dev Taya,” Kira told Odo as they strolled down the street. “He should have some friends there and they can tell us what we need to know.”

“Agreed,” Odo answered.

Kira pointed out the bar and they entered, Kira first and then Odo. Immediately, Kira spotted the friend who had introduced her to Dev in the first place.

“Odo, this is Lora Riata,” Kira said. “Lora was in the resistance with me. Actually, Lora was part of the group which led the raid on the Callista mining camps.”

Odo nodded, remembering the mission so long ago when a collaborator had betrayed the Shakaar cell’s raid on Callista to the Cardassian and how Kira had coolly killed the collaborator, a Bajoran called Vetrick. The occasion of Vetrick’s murder had prompted Odo’s first encounter with the young and defiant Kira Nerys and now he was looking at another woman who had known that same Kira Nerys.

“And Riata,” Kira continued. “This is Odo. He is chief of security on Deep Space Nine.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Lora said quietly. “What can I do for you, Nerys?”

“We’re here about Dev,” Kira said.

“Dev Taya?”


“He hasn’t been here in a couple days,” Lora said. “He’s usually pretty regular.”

“We heard he was sick,” Kira said.

“Yes,” Lora nodded. “He came down with it very suddenly a few days ago. Actually, I think the day you came in here, he was complaining that he wasn’t feeling well.”

“I know that. I was hoping for some more information than that. Can you tell me a little bit about Dev? You see, we think he’s infected with the same virus that has infected some people on board Deep Space Nine. Anything that could give us a clue about what this is about would be very helpful. Please, Riata?”

Lora sighed, looking down into her drink.

“I met Dev about a year ago,” Lora said. “Actually, I met him right here in the bar. He was waiting for his girlfriend, I think, and I was waiting for a friend of mine, Pino - you know him.”

“Of course,” Kira nodded and then in an aside, she explained to Odo, “Pino Barin. Also part of the raid on Callista.”

“Ah,” Odo nodded, thinking that there were some subtleties in humanoid relationships that he could discern in Kira’s voice when she spoke of Lora and Pino, but those were subtleties he could not understand.

“Go on,” Kira prompted her old friend.

“I liked him. He was very funny, very smart and ambitious too. Turns out we knew some of the same people because we had grown up just a few blocks from each other. That was an amazing coincidence. And then of course, he’s a doctor. A very prominent doctor, in fact. He’s personal physician to Kai Winn.”

“To Kai Winn?” Kira asked in surprise.

“Originally, he served the Vedek Assembly, but apparently the Kai took a liking to him and that was that,” Lora shrugged. “He comes here often, almost every night, except for when his girlfriend is here.”

“His girlfriend. Where can we find her?”

“Don’t you know?” Lora asked with a strange glint in her eyes. “He is seeing a Starfleet officer.”

Odo and Kira looked at each other.

“Who? What is her name?” Odo asked.

“Jane or something like that,” Lora said. “Honestly, I’ve only seen her a few times. She doesn’t really like coming to the bar and I’ve never spoken to her. The only thing I remember about her is that she has red hair.”

“Her rank? Do you know that?” Kira urged.

“No, just that she wears a blue Starfleet uniform.”

“Science officer,” Odo said pensively. “Thank you for the information.”

“Listen, is Dev in trouble? Because he really is a good guy,” Lora said.

“No, we just want to talk to him. This sickness, well, two of our people have it too and we want to know how it’s spread,” Kira answered. “Thank you, Riata. It was good to see you again.”

“Good luck, Nerys. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”


The next stop was Dev Taya’s home, a small brick building on a side street. Kira knocked and almost immediately the door was opened by a small woman, dressed all in black.

“I’m Major Kira Nerys, this is Odo,” Kira said. “We’re here to see Dev Taya.”

The woman sniffed, “I’m sorry, but Taya died this morning.”

Odo and Kira glanced at each other.

“We’re very sorry for your loss,” Odo said gruffly.

“We’re old friends of Taya’s,” Kira said suddenly. “Could we come in for a moment just to say good-bye one last time? Would that be all right?”

The woman nodded, “Yes, you may.”

She led them up a set of rather dark stairs up into a small room flooded with light. Dev Taya, who must have been a handsome man in life, was lying on the bed, his hands folded neatly over his chest. Kira looked at the man, noting the splotches on his face, especially the yellow discoloration around his lips.

“When did he become sick?” Kira asked softly.

“Four days ago.”

Four days ago. Just about the time Keiko and Dax had returned from Epsilon Three.

“So fast?” Odo asked and Kira knew he was thinking about their two friends who were fighting the same disease.

“Just like that. He came home from work and laid down one evening and did not wake up again,” the woman continued. “I begged he should see a doctor, but he refused. He said this was a small price to pay.”

“To pay for what?” Odo asked.

“I don’t know,” the woman shook her head. “I don’t know.”

Kira touched the woman’s arm gently, “Thank you for letting us see Dev. Can you tell us who else might be infected with this virus?’

“I haven’t heard of any other cases.”

“Thank you. If you hear anything, please let us know as soon as possible.”

Kira and Odo let themselves out.

“What do you think?” Kira asked.

“I think we should go back to Deep Space Nine. I want to find this girlfriend. She might know something. And Bashir should also know about Dev Taya.”

“You wanted to see me, Captain?” Kira asked.

“Yes,” Sisko tapped his personal view screen and turned it so Kira could see. “The Kai is broadcasting a message on the evils of the Federation.”

“What!” Kira exclaimed.

“Listen,” Sisko replied.

Kai Winn’s face filled the screen, “...this illness proves exactly what I’ve been saying along. This virus first was brought to Bajor by the Federation. More specifically, it was spread by a Starfleet officer and while our doctors are looking for a cure, it is infecting more and more Bajorans. Just today, my personal physician died of this disease and I mourn him deeply. But keep in mind, his death comes at the hands of the Federation -”

“That’s enough,” Kira snapped, turning off the monitor. Sisko smiled at her cryptically, touching his fingers together.

“What are you thinking?” Kira demanded.

“I’m thinking that the Kai can turn even the death of a simple man to her advantage.”

“Is it coincidence?”

“That Dev Taya was her personal physician? I don’t know.”

“Odo to Kira.”

“Kira here.”

“Major, I’ve found the girlfriend.”

Kira looked at Sisko. He nodded.

“Dismissed, Major.”


“Her name is Jenna Rei,” Odo said as he and Kira made their way to Jenna Rei’s quarters.

“Oh, Lieutenant Rei,” Kira said, remembering the young woman she had met while disembarking from the transport a few days before. “Of course. I don’t know why I didn’t think of her before.”

“It’s probably because she’s so new and you don’t know her well. I did some research on Lieutenant Rei. She has only been on the station for a few months. She’s a biologist and I think she may know Keiko O’Brien. At least in passing, I think, as they served together on that expedition to the Agricola Mountains six months ago.”

They approached Jenna Rei’s quarters and Odo sounded the door chime. A moment later, the doors slid open.
“Lieutenant Rei?” Odo asked.

“Over here, Constable,” a weak voice called from the next room. A second later, a red-haired woman limped out to greet them.

“Forgive me,” Jenna Rei said. “I haven’t been feeling well. Please, won’t you have a seat?”
Kira and Odo nodded, sitting on the sofa Rei indicated.

“I’ve been expecting you,” Rei said simply. She pushed her hair back with her hand, a gesture which brought Kira’s attention to the red spots dotting the young woman’s skin.

“You have?” Odo asked suspiciously.

“It’s only been a matter of time. Especially when Taya died, I expected you.”

“You knew Taya was ill,” Kira said.


“Do you know what it is?”

“It’s a virus of some kind,” Rei answered. “How did you find me?”

“We got your name from Lora Riata,” Kira answered. “One of Dev’s friends. And there are only so many red-haired science officers with a name similar to Jane on this station.”

“Very clever,” Rei tried to smile, but Kira could see the effort was painful.

“Do you have the plague?” Kira asked gently. “It is a plague, isn’t it?”

Rei nodded, “Yes to both questions, Major.”

“From Taya?”


“When I saw you that day?” Kira queried.

“No, after that. I was down on Bajor just three days ago. Taya was just getting sick. I touched him and now look at me,” Rei gave a forced laugh. “I never expected this.”

“What did you expect?” Odo asked.

Rei shrugged, but it was easy to tell she was rapidly losing strength.

“Have you seen Doctor Bashir yet?” Kira asked.

“Soon,” Rei nodded. “Soon.”

“There isn’t any time! Dev Taya is dead and others could be dying too,” Kira said. “You have to tell us what you know.”

“Epsilon Three,” Rei whispered. “It all started back on Epsilon Three.”


Bashir glanced wearily at his three patients; Jenna Rei had fallen unconscious just as she was about to explain Epsilon Three to Kira and Odo.

“At least we’re right about the origin,” Bashir told Kira. “It’s from Epsilon Three.”

“But I don’t believe Dev Taya was on Epsilon Three recently,” Kira said puzzled.

“I should check the transport logs,” Odo mused.

“No,” Kira shook her head. “It wouldn’t have been an official transport. It would have had to be a private venture. I don’t believe there are public transports going through the wormhole.”

“I will check all logs, public and private,” Odo said, bowing his head slightly. “I will let you know.”

“This doesn’t make sense,” Bashir shook his head.

“We’ll have to wait and see what Odo turns up.”

“One thing for sure,” Bashir said, “we now know how it’s transmitted. By touch. Highly contagious, but only if you touch it directly.”

At that moment, O’Brien entered the infirmary and Bashir groaned as he noted the patches of red skin on the Irishman’s face.

“I think I’ll go help Odo,” Kira said hastily.


“I can’t find any record of Dev Taya going to Epsilon Three in the last month,” Odo told Kira.

“We should have asked Jenna Rei,” Kira shook her head. “Now, we might not have the chance to ask her.”

“I did find records of Dev being on Epsilon Three about nine months ago and then again three months ago,” Odo said.

“But this is a virus with a very short gestation period,” Kira pointed out. “If he contracted it three months ago, then...”

“Do you suppose the virus spread from Dax and Keiko to Jenna Rei to Dev Taya?”

“I don’t know. Jenna Rei was quite clear that she had contracted the disease from Dev Taya.”

“Did Keiko O’Brien come into contact with Rei after her return?”

Kira shook her head, “I doubt it. According to O’Brien and Bashir, Keiko was incapacitated by the virus the moment she stepped foot on the station. I doubt she had a chance to see anyone other than her husband and her children.”

“Then Dax?”

“Dax has been in quarantine since she got back from Epsilon Three.”

Odo shook his head, “There must be some explanation.”

“You went there. What did you find?”

“Just a lab of some sort. Bajoran in style. Some residue and this,” Odo dropped a piece of silver filigree into Kira’s hand.

“This is a chain from a Bajoran earring,” Kira said.

“Yes. Of course it doesn’t prove anything,” Odo continued. “Except that at one point, Bajorans occupied a hut on Epsilon Three. The lab could have come later.”

“Not much later,” Kira said. “This silver isn’t tarnished. Whoever wore this was there recently.”

Odo nodded, “I will check to see if anyone has gone to Epsilon Three from Bajor in the last six months.”

“Good. I’m going to go talk to Sisko.”

“Kai Winn has been spreading her propaganda about the Federation all day now,” Sisko told Kira.

She could tell he was perturbed by the way he stood, his back towards her, his hands clasped behind him. “The referendum has been canceled and the people are rioting in the streets.”


“They blame the Federation for this sickness. Three more people have died from it. Total death count is seven now, including Dev Taya. The people are afraid, understandably and they are blaming the Federation for this. Most specifically, Keiko O’Brien and Jadzia Dax.”

Kira shook her head, “There must be some explanation. Bashir and Odo said specifically that that virus was engineered in a Bajoran structure. There was a Bajoran earring there. Everything points to Bajor. At the very least, offer up the Dominion as a possible alternative suspect. But not Dax or Keiko.”

“I’ve tried to talk to the Kai, I’ve tried the Vedek Assembly. I’ve tried to convince everyone I know that this virus is not our doing. In fact, if I thought it would help, I would even ask Dukat for help.”

“That should go over real well,” Kira said sarcastically. Sisko shot her a piercing look.

“You know what I mean,” Sisko said evenly.

“I just can’t help but think how well this plays into the Kai’s hand,” Kira said. “All this nonsense
about the Prophets not wanting Bajor in the Federation, well, how better way to prove it?”

“O’Brien is sick now,” Sisko said. “That’s four of our people now. Luckily, Worf seems to be immune from the virus. He is in fine health.”

“But the rest of us?”

“Well, we know it affects humans, Trills and Bajorans. I wouldn’t get too comfortable.”


“Get some rest, Major.”

“Thank you, sir. I could say the same for you.”

“Good night, Major,” Sisko answered in a voice that told Kira that he had no intention of resting.


“Doctor?” Bashir looked up from his computer console, “Odo.” The shapeshifter took a chair next to Bashir.

“There have been many transports to Epsilon Three in the last few months,” Odo said wearily.

“Dev Taya?” Bashir asked.

“Not recently.”

Bashir sighed, “Now that we know this virus can kill...”

“I was wondering about the possibility of Dev being responsible for the virus...”

“You think?” Bashir asked, aghast at the possibility of a fellow doctor inflicting such a thing on his fellow creatures.

Odo stood, shrugging his fluid shoulders, “I can’t think of a better explanation, can you?”

“No, frankly I can’t.”


Kira let herself into her quarters, almost forgetting for a moment that she had hired a sitter to care for the children. She found Yoshi and Molly curled up on a little mattress on the floor, fast asleep.

“Thank you, Ensign,” Kira said to the sitter. “I appreciate it. Can you come back tomorrow?”

“Sure,” Ilya Markova replied. “But I think you should look at the little girl.”

“Molly?” Kira said, immediately swooping down on the child.

“No,” Markova said. “The baby.”

“Daria?” Kira whispered. She rushed into the bedroom where Daria was sleeping in her cradle. Mixed in with the baby’s Trill spots, Kira could see the beginnings of a rash spreading across the infant’s face. Kira picked up Daria, and rushed out to see the ensign picking up the O’Brien children’s scattered toys.

“Did you touch her?” Kira almost shrieked.

“Of course. She was crying,” Markova answered.

“Come with me,” Kira said. “We’re going to the infirmary.”

“I feel fine.”

“Please don’t argue with me. Just come.”


“No change in any of them,” Bashir was telling Captain Sisko as Kira burst into the infirmary, clutching the baby and Markova was right behind her.

“Major!” Bashir rushed to her side. “What is it?”

“Daria has the plague,” Kira said breathlessly. “And I’m worried about Markova. She touched the baby. I don’t know about the O’Brien children yet, but I’m going back to check on them.”

“Good God,” Bashir said, taking the baby from Kira. “She’s burning up. Have you contacted Commander Worf?”

“He’s in Ops,” Sisko said. “I will relieve him.”

The Captain left the infirmary and Kira immediately slumped into one of the only chairs in the room.

“You’re tired,” Bashir said, after he put the baby down on a biobed and stripped her.

“Very. I’ve been to Bajor no less than five times in the last six days. I’ve argued with the Kai, been barred from the Vedek Assembly, hunted down a sick man and then his girlfriend. I’ve been caring for my friends’ children,” Kira felt all the energy drain her from her as she spoke. “And now, after all this, nothing.”

“Don’t say that,” Bashir said gently. “It’s good you came right away. Daria is feverish. Look, her skin is peeling.”

“But Commander Worf isn’t sick,” Kira said, getting to her feet.

“I am starting to think Klingons are immune to this virus, because from what Worf has said about his contact with Dax, he should have gotten the virus by now. On the other hand, I think Trills are very susceptible to the rash,” Bashir answered. “Which would explain why Dax’s rash is so much worse than everyone else’s. But then, Keiko O’Brien is much sicker and her REM readings show that her level of sleep is much deeper than everyone else. It may be an equal opportunity to virus, but I’m starting to think it affects different species at a different levels. That’s all I can tell you right now.”

At that moment, Worf beamed into the infirmary. He took one look at Daria and then at Bashir.

“I’m sorry, Commander,” Bashir said. “There is nothing I can do for her.”
Worf picked up his little girl in his arms, “Nothing?”

“I’m looking for the cure, Commander, but I’m not even sure how this virus works. All I know is that is spreads very fast and unless we find something soon, it will be too late. For everyone.”


Kira could not sleep. She tossed and turned all night. She could not stop seeing Worf’s face in her dreams, the stricken look on the Klingon’s face as Bashir delivered the bad news.

“There must be something I’m missing,” Kira whispered. “Kira to Odo.”

There was a long pause and then, “Odo here.”

“Meet me in your office. There’s got to be something we’re missing.”


Go on to Part 5


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