A Glass of Synthohol

Author: Ventura33

Website: http://www.ventura33.com

Contact: feedback (at) ventura33.com

DS9, Bashir, rated PG.

Summary: During the episode “Statistical Probabilities,” Bashir has an unpleasant encounter with his own prejudices.

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Julian Bashir could barely repress a sigh as he glanced at the four genetically engineered savants who were, for the time being, his charges. They had been transferred from an institution not long ago, and although Bashir had at first been excited at the prospect of helping to cure their disordered thought processes, he was rapidly losing his patience with their antisocial behavior.

One of the savants, Jack, was so hostile and violent that he had physically attacked another doctor not long ago. Although Jack’s companions–Lauren, Patrick, and Sarina–were not aggressive, they were equally dysfunctional in various ways. Bashir felt embarrassed that anyone might think he, a successful Starfleet doctor, had anything in common with this motley group of social rejects. Why had he ever agreed to work with them?

Giving up on the task for now, Bashir headed for the door. “I’m having dinner with some friends,” he informed his charges.

“You think we don’t eat? We eat,” Jack growled. “We’re going to eat right now. Yum-yum.”

Lauren batted her long lashes and smiled provocatively. “I’d just love to be your dinner date, Julian. And we’re all your friends, aren’t we?”

Bouncing in place, Patrick flapped his hands in excitement. “Yes, it’s a holiday, and we should all go out and celebrate!”

As he walked toward the doorway, Bashir took a quick mental inventory of events on both the Earth and Bajoran calendars. He couldn’t think of anything that merited celebration.

“It’s Neurodiversity Day,” Lauren helpfully informed him. “An Earth holiday that originated in the early 21st century. On this day, we celebrate the beautiful diversity of the mind. Do you think my mind is beautiful, Julian? Will you take me out to celebrate with your friends? We could drink champagne. That’s what people drink when they’re celebrating, isn’t it?”

Bashir pointed at the replicator as he took another step toward the door. “There are synthoholic beverages available for you to drink here.”

Jack glared murderously from beneath his bushy, furrowed brows. “Don’t waste your breath, Lauren. Our keeper isn’t going to let us out to celebrate our diversity. He just wants to observe us, like monkeys at the zoo. That’s what all these monitors on the walls are for, aren’t they?”

In a sudden rage, Jack snatched up a chair and hurled it at one of the monitors. The chair clanged harmlessly off the reinforced screen and fell to the floor.

“But he’s one of us,” Patrick giggled.

“No. He thinks he’s better. Part of normal society. Well adjusted. Mentally healthy.” Jack paced with the barely controlled violence of a restless panther. “He wasn’t put away in an institution as a small child because no foster families were willing to take a genetically engineered monster. He wasn’t systematically excluded from society and then told he was defective for not being part of it.”

Lauren pursed her lips. “Tsk, tsk. Privilege understands so little of its own good fortune.”

“We got thrown away like garbage,” Jack continued his rant. “We shouldn’t have to prove that we are good obedient drones before we have any human rights. You know what they’re doing to us is wrong, Bashir. If you had any conscience, you would let us out of here and help us to escape.”

A silence stretched out for several seconds.

“I can’t do that.”

“Coward,” Jack spat.

“Hypocrite,” Lauren proclaimed, tossing her hair dismissively.

Patrick giggled again, a high, shrill, grating sound. “Maybe we’ll be real people like everyone else when the Dominion takes over.”

Sarina, quiet and shy, deliberately turned her back to Bashir as she went to pick up the chair that Jack had thrown.

“We’re going to eat our dinner,” Lauren declared briskly.

“I’ll set the table,” Patrick volunteered.

“Don’t worry about us,” Jack told Bashir. “We’ll be fine. We’re all going to raise a glass of synthohol in a toast to other people’s diversity.”

Bashir nodded, leaving without another word. Several people passed him in the corridor as the security-controlled exit closed behind him with the usual quiet whoosh of machinery. For a moment, Bashir imagined that he heard the clang of an iron cell door, but then he shook his head in impatience with his own foolishness and went to meet his friends.