TITLE: Working Lunch
AUTHOR: The Plaid Adder
SUMMARY: A gift from Ophidia has interesting side-effects...
DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns it; Plaidder just plays in their sandbox...  Ophidia and Altaria are products of the Plaidder's imagination.
COMMENTS: Kamireh the Wonder Substance was originally invented by Janis Cortese and introduced in her "Delightful Education of Julian Bashir" series. It is an extremely powerful aphrodisiac described by its creator as "a cross between marshmallow fluff and flamenco guitar." Janis has kindly allowed me to borrow it for this story. Thanks, Janis!

* * * *

(We are in Ophidia's guest quarters, where she is sitting in her pajamas at a table covered with scattered sheet music. She is apparently making herself lunch, and has a glass of milk and two pieces of bread on a plate in front of her. She is spreading one of them with stuff from a jar of what looks like chunky peanut butter, which is on the table next to another jar full of white sticky stuff. As she finishes the peanut butter half and moves to the other jar, the door bleeps)

OPHIDIA: Come in. (BASHIR enters, carrying a large red blooming plant.) Doctor! Long time no see. Nice of you to drop by, have a--what is that?

BASHIR: (a little awkwardly) It-it's for you. (OPHIDIA continues making her sandwich; he approaches the table) I hope I'm not interr--

OPHIDIA: Oh, no, no, Doctor, I've been up for hours, I just didn't bother to get dressed. (BASHIR still looks doubtful)

BASHIR: Where's--

OPHIDIA: Sssssh. She's sleeping. She's not used to space travel and she still has planet lag.

BASHIR: Ah. We have stuff for that at the infirmary, you know.

OPHIDIA: Thanks. So anyway--

BASHIR: So I was glad to hear you were coming back for the gratitude festival, I didn't get a chance to give it to you before you left for
Caledonia. It's a kind of Bajoran azalea. I wanted to say--you know--thank you for saving--(OPHIDIA waves at him dismissively)

OPHIDIA: Please. It was the least I could do. (She finishes her sandwich and starts munching on it, holding it in one hand and taking the plant in
the other. She looks at it appreciatively, chewing. Stickily) Is ver nice, Octor, Altaria will ike it. Anks. (Keeps chewing.)

BASHIR: What on earth are you eating? (OPHIDIA sets the plant down on the table and takes a drink of milk, after which she can finally articulate)

OPHIDIA: Peanut butter and kamireh sandwich.

BASHIR: Peanut butter and what?

OPHIDIA: Kamireh. Great stuff, I got it from this woman I met in an alternate universe.

BASHIR: In an alternate--

OPHIDIA: It's a long story. (Takes another bit and chews, talking with her mouth full) Mmmmm tasty. I tell you, this stuff is better than Nutella. The woman who gave it to me said it had some kind of stimulant properties, but I think Caledonians are immune to them, whatever they are. Or else she was lying. Still, makes a hell of a sandwich. Here, try some.

(OPHIDIA offers him the half that she hasn't been chewing on; he takes a small and very cautious bite. After a moment he suddenly perks up)

BASHIR: My God, you're right. This is fantastic. Where did you say you got it?

OPHIDIA: Don't ask, you can't get there from here. (Caps the kamireh jar and tosses it to him) Here, take some home for the wife. (BASHIR laughs)
Really, I've got a case of this stuff back home in the root cellar.

BASHIR: (Laughing) Well, thanks. I'll leave you alone now...are we still on for dinner tomorrow?

OPHIDIA: We'll be there, Doctor. Altaria can't wait to meet you. Only...well, we may be a little late. (BASHIR smiles and turns to exit) Wipe that smirk off your face!

(BASHIR laughs and exits. The camera follows him down the hall toward a turbolift; he seems preoccupied and is accelerating without noticing it. The lift takes him to the corridor outside his quarters, which he enters in a hurry. GARAK is in the living room with fabrics spread all over the floor and the furniture and is working on something complicated. BASHIR pounces on him. GARAK seems mildly, but not unduly surprised, and responds until they realize they're rolling around on the piece he was working on)

GARAK: Watch it, watch it, there's still straight pins in this. (They leap to their feet and GARAK starts checking BASHIR's clothing) I don't think
you picked up any. (BASHIR walks to the kitchen to put away the jar; GARAK follows him and gets his arms around him from behind as he stretches up to put it on a shelf) What was that all about?

BASHIR: (shrugging) Compliments of the season? (GARAK groans) I don't understand what you have against the gratitude festival.

GARAK: Doctor, first of all, the one thing most Bajorans are thankful for is that the Cardassians are gone, which does somewhat take the zest out of
it for me. Second, it means I have to spend all day tomorrow doing fittings and alterations because everyone's got to have a new outfit for it. (BASHIR
turns around and hugs him)

BASHIR: Oh, poor pookums.

GARAK: (pouting) I won't even be able to break for lunch.

BASHIR: Now that *is* tragic. (Leads GARAK into the bedroom) Although it's just as well, I wouldn't be able to make it anyway. Iliana's replacement
managed to schedule back-to-back surgeries for me tomorrow.

GARAK: (sighing) Temporaries. You'd be better off doing it yourself.

BASHIR: I know. (Kisses him)

GARAK: I'll miss you.

BASHIR: Me too.

(The next morning. BASHIR is puttering around in the kitchen making two kamireh sandwiches, one with peanut butter and the other with some kind of dank-looking weed. He puts the peanut butter one in his medkit and sneaks into the bedroom with the other one. GARAK is still asleep. BASHIR carefully opens his tailor's kit, puts in the sandwich with a note, closes it, and tiptoes out, looking childishly pleased with himself.

We now see him in the infirmary in the early stages of the first surgery. The patient is an elderly Bajoran female getting a hip replacement. His
nurse JARELLE is monitoring her vitals)

JARELLE: Stable so far, Doctor.

BASHIR: That's good...(He starts making the incision. The intercom bleeps)

GARAK: Garak to infirmary.

BASHIR: (Smiling) I'm here, Garak.

GARAK: Doctor, you shouldn't have.

BASHIR: Ah, but I did.

GARAK: You're so sweet sometimes it could almost make one ill.

BASHIR: Just because I finally managed to surprise *you* for a change--

GARAK: I appreciate the gesture. I'll think of you as I snarf it down, if I get a chance--ah, Madam Ambassador, I'll be right with you.

BASHIR: The Ambassador! (Laughs) You're a lucky man, Elim Garak.

GARAK: I'm a martyr to my profession. (Transmission ends)

(We now see BASHIR, having finished the surgery, taking off his gloves and hat thingie and stepping into his office for a quick rest between patients.
He unwraps his sandwich and bites into it. As he chews, JARELLE enters)

JARELLE: Ensign Giton is prepped and ready to go whenever you are, Doctor. (He nods; she is about to leave)

BASHIR: Jarelle? (JARELLE turns) What's the matter?

JARELLE: With me? Oh, nothing, sir--

BASHIR: You want to go to the lighting ceremony, don't you?

JARELLE: Oh, Doctor, we've got Giton's knee reconstruction and then--

BASHIR: Nothing I haven't done on my own a million times. (Her eyes light up) Really. Go on out, I'll give you a beep if I need your help. It only
happens once a year.

JARELLE: (like a kid who has just seen a candy store open its doors) Thank you, Doctor!

(She disappears. He laughs and wolfs down the rest of the sandwich, sticks his hands under the sterilizer, then enters the biobay where GITON, a young
Bajoran male, is lying already anaesthetized on the table. BASHIR starts in on him. A few seconds into the operation it hits him.)

BASHIR: Oh my God. (Tries to keep working without paying it any mind, but from the sweating and the irregular breathing it is clear that this is a
struggle. After a few minutes) Bashir to Garak's House of Couture.

GARAK: (chewing) Yes, Doctor?

BASHIR: Garak, you haven't started that sandwich, have you?

GARAK: (swallowing) Just finished. It was delicious. What did you say that stuff was?

BASHIR: Kamireh.

GARAK: (apparently unaffected) It goes wonderfully with trankweed. (BASHIR sighs) Did you want to ask me something, or--

BASHIR: No, nothing important. Bashir out.

(Transmission ends. BASHIR continues working on GITON in a state of pitiable agitation. A few seconds later the com bleeps again)

GARAK: Doctor?


GARAK: Take me now.

BASHIR: (with a whine of frustration) AAAAAAAAGH! I only wish I could!

GARAK: What in the seven hells was *in* that sandwich?

BASHIR: Ophidia said it had stimulant properties. (Winces) I thought she was talking about something like caffeine.

GARAK: If caffeine had this effect coffeehouses would be far more interesting places. I'm coming over.

BASHIR: NO! NO, you can NOT come over here, I'm in the middle of arthroscopic surgery!

GARAK: I really don't think you appreciate the urgency of--

BASHIR: Believe me, Garak, I do, but this is not the kind of thing you can break off in the middle of. (Squirms) I keep telling them they should put
more room in these surgical uniforms.

GARAK: (with a howl of anguish) PLEASE, Doctor, the last thing I need to be thinking about is you in that tight red--why, yes, Ms. Pentley, I've got that dress right here, I'll be just a moment.

BASHIR: Good luck, Garak.

GARAK: I will take my revenge when you least expect it, Doctor.

(Transmission ends. BASHIR continues working, sweating and squirming. The scene dissolves; several minutes have passed and BASHIR is still working on his patient and in no better shape. The com bleeps again)

GARAK: Doctor?

BASHIR: Still here, Garak.

GARAK: I don't want to alarm you, but this tailor's dummy is starting to remind me of you.

BASHIR: How do you think I feel, trying to put an implant in this poor man's knee when all I can think about is putting--

GARAK: I'm stuck here in the workroom with 20 yards of hideous chintz working on Lwaxana's ball dress. At least you have access to something

BASHIR: Garak, he's a patient.

GARAK: He's under anaesthesia, he'd never know the difference.

BASHIR: You frighten me, Elim.

GARAK: Doctor, in this condition I'd frighten anyone. (BASHIR wails) How long do the effects last?

BASHIR: (miserably) I have no idea.

GARAK: Under normal circumstances I'd be angry, but these are exceptional. Do what you have to.

BASHIR: I appreciate your generosity, but I doubt the Starfleet Medical Board would take the same view of the matter.

GARAK: That's only because they're not going through this. If they could--oh NO.

BASHIR: What? (Over the com he hears O'BRIEN in the distance)

O'BRIEN: Garak?

GARAK: It's Chief O'Brien. (calling) I'll be right with you! (To BASHIR) The man has obviously spent his entire life content to wear off-the-rack
ensembles and *now* he suddenly decides he needs a pair of custom tailored pants.

BASHIR: (warningly) Garak, behave.

GARAK: Please, Doctor. If it was anyone but O'Brien I could understand your concern. Garak out.

(Transmission ends; we watch BASHIR work on GITON, clearly apprehensive and muttering to himself.

We cut to GARAK's fitting room. O'BRIEN has his legs slightly apart and is looking down unfriendlily at GARAK, who is crouched by his feet looking up at him. With complete sincerity)

GARAK: I assure you, Chief O'Brien, that is how *all* tailors do pants.

O'BRIEN: (doubtfully) If you say so.

(We cut to the infirmary. BASHIR is now in the middle of a particularly complicated part and is swearing to himself)

GARAK: Garak to infirmary.

BASHIR: (as he fiddles with things over GITON's knee) You had better not be calling over here to tell me you just molested Miles, Garak.

GARAK: (frightened) Get over here RIGHT NOW, Doctor, or there's no telling to what depths I might sink.

BASHIR: (in agony) I would give my right arm to be able to do it, but I can't!

GARAK: Then I'm coming over there.

BASHIR: You CAN'T! I'm right in the middle of the hardest part! (GARAK howls) I'm serious! I can't be thinking about you when I've got my hands
inside another man's knee--

GARAK: Get inside any *other* part of him and he's a dead man. (BASHIR's knees buckle slightly as he whines in anguish)

BASHIR: Oh, *don't* get all feral and predatory, Garak, you *know* what that does to me.

GARAK: Fine. Well, I guess I'll just come over here then.

BASHIR: (sadly) It's a tremendous waste of resources.

GARAK: (pained) I know, Doctor, but--damn, damn damn.


GARAK: (calling) Yes, Captain, those pants you ordered are right--no, please don't come any closer, I--I'm coming down with--(starts coughing;
ends transmission.)

BASHIR: I *know* one of us is going to get courtmartialed over this.

(Keeps working grimly, still going through agonies. Finally things seem to be winding down; BASHIR puts a hand on GITON's knee to clamp something and looks up at the chronometer. He takes a deep breath)

BASHIR: Bashir to Garak.

GARAK: I managed to keep my distance, but--

BASHIR: All right, Elim, I've got five minutes and one free hand. Speak to me of love.

GARAK: Doctor, com traffic on this station *is* monitored.

BASHIR: (roaring) I DON'T CARE!!

GARAK: As if I do. I'd take you buck naked on the Promenade right now if I could do it.

BASHIR: (panting) Garak, say that again slowly, only be specific and use concrete examples.

(We cut to the interior of the station's version of a broadcast tower. A severely traumatized ensign has turned the volume down as low as he can,
but it's not low enough. As the noise increases, he leans forward, flips on a channel, and speaks into the mike)

ENSIGN DERNLY: (nervous, but with the courage of outrage) Com tower to infirmary...

BASHIR: (harriedly) Bashir here--


(Back in the infirmary, a still-troubled BASHIR is finishing off the operation at breakneck speed. He closes, then zots GITON with a stimulant)

BASHIR: Hello, Ensign. How do you feel?

GITON: (a bit preoccupied) Just fine, Doctor. How did it go?

BASHIR: Nothing out of the ordinary. (GITON nods)

GITON: You look...worried.

BASHIR: Oh, that's nothing to do with the operation. You just lie there and recover for a few hours and that knee will be good as new. (Exits to his
office and hits the com) Bashir to Garak.

GARAK: Alas, the relief was only temporary.

BASHIR: I want you to know, Garak, that is the fastest knee replacement I have ever done. I think I may have broken the Alpha quadrant record.

GARAK: Get ready to break another one.

(Bashir smiles and leans back with his eyes closed. Transmission ends.)

(We are now at Quark's. OPHIDIA and ALTARIA, a strikingly beautiful Caledonian woman about the same height as Ophidia with short brown hair,
are already done with the appetizer course and are about to move on to the salad when BASHIR and GARAK come straggling up to the table, obviously tired)

BASHIR: I'm so sorry we're late--

OPHIDIA: That's all right, we were late too. This is my partner Altaria--

GARAK: Charmed, madam. I've heard so much about you. (ALTARIA looks at OPHIDIA) All complimentary, of course.

ALTARIA: You must be Garak. I'm glad to meet you. And you must be the doctor.

BASHIR: The pleasure's mine. (They sit down)

ALTARIA: So Ophidia tells me she's turned you on to Kamireh, Doctor. (BASHIR splorts his soup. GARAK pats him on the back)

GARAK: Yes, indeed.

ALTARIA: Wonderful stuff, isn't it? (BASHIR splorts again; GARAK kicks him under the table)

BASHIR: It certainly does make a hell of a sandwich.