Title: "It's All Jarrett's Fault"
Fandom: Deep Space Nine
Spoilers: "Our Man Bashir"
Summary: There's only so much you can do with a dancing goat.
"I still think you should have just shot her."
Julian sighed and brushed the last hints of distress -- mostly in the form of tiger fur -- from his tux. "But leaving The Magician's seductive hench...woman... in the cage of her man-eating tigers contains more poetic justice. Besides, we've got a dinner party to attend. We don't want to keep the duchess waiting."
Garak huffed. "But there's still a chance your friend back there will survive, you know. A pretty good chance, actually, according to my previous experience with these so-called espionage programs of yours. I hardly think that getting the chance to make a quip about a catfight was a fair trade for the opportunity to shoot her first and make wisecracks later."
This wasn't the first time they'd had this argument. In fact, Julian had already been forced to alter the program so that the holosuite characters would ignore anything Garak said that was so far out of the cold war era that it would disrupt the plot. In the final account, that amounted to just about everything the Cardassian tailor said; Julian was starting to suspect that Garak only came along to annoy him, though Garak swore up and down that he was there to learn more about Julian's 'fascinating psychology,' not to mention the 'periods of history of Earth clothing that must be studied to avoid ever accidentally repeating them.'
Unfortunately, Julian couldn't reprogram himself to ignore the Cardassian as easily. "It's all part of the program, Garak. Now, if you're quite done questioning my methods, I believe it's time for me to find my date for the rest of this program -- a descendant of the old Prussian aristocracy who has information about The Magician..." Julian pushed open the door to what should have been a ballroom full of the European elite, dancing and drinking and letting slip state secrets.
The ballroom was there, as were the elite, but the dancing and drinking had been replaced by animated chatter and gasping and the occasional indignant shriek.
This was unexpected. Julian fingered the watch capable of emitting a stunning electrical jolt to anyone who needed to be quickly incapacitated -- his best weapon for this part of the program -- and snatched a passing catering girl. "What's going on?"
"It's horrible!" she shrieked. "It just... appeared!"
"Another one of The Magician's tricks?" Garak inquired in a stage whisper, referring to the alias of the circus-owning villain they'd been chasing, the same one who had reputedly stolen several nuclear devices by hypnotizing high-ranking officials.
"I don't know..." Bashir, Julian Bashir, pushed through the crowd only to see...
"What the devil!?"
Garak was utterly calm next to him. "Intriguing! I do hope this isn't your date for the evening. Tell me, what does this represent in the fantasy life of Julian Bashir?"
"I was under the impression that humans considered fraternization with animals to be distasteful behavior, but I suppose inviting them to parties-"
It was a billy-goat, and it appeared to be doing a four-legged version of a two-step -- if such a thing was possible -- while stopping occasionally to swing its horns at a dignitary who had strayed too close, or to munch on the edge of a decorative tablecloth.
And over the din of the alarmed party guests, it appeared to be... singing.
"I don't think this quite matches The Magician's M.O.," Garak commented drily. "It doesn't seem as ferocious as the man-eating tigers, or the sharks, or that bird that attacked you... what was it called? Do you suppose its horns are poisonous?"
Julian waved him off, as the goat continued to half-sing, half-bleat, I'm a billy-goat.... "This is definitely not right."
"I'll say! He's rather horribly off-key."
When the goat started to count backwards from ten to one, it occurred to Julian that he'd seen this particular animal before. Not to mention heard this song, sung equally off-key, sung over and over again by a certain five-year-old daughter of an occasional best friend of his...
"I'm going to kill Jadzia."
"Commander Dax? Whatever for?"
"Computer, end program!"
Nothing happened. Of course.
"Perhaps you've got to subdue the animal first," suggested Garak. "If it's meant to be a threat."
"It's not meant to be a threat. It's meant to be part of an educational program for Molly O'Brien. The holosuites must be... malfunctioning again."
That, or Jadzia had thought this would be funny, and had roped Miles into it. He'd had a bad feeling she would try to get her own back at him after the last time she'd joined him in this program -- and ended up tied up inside an ice cave in nothing but a negligee all in the name of what she'd called 'juvenile human sex appeal.' The fact that he had found it rather sexy, at least until she had started yelling at him in some hybrid of Klingon and Trill, didn't speak much for his maturity level, he supposed.
"An educational program! Interesting! Though it seems odd that humans would want to have their offspring educated by lesser species... do you suppose this malfunction has anything to do with the date?"
"Chief O'Brien was saying something earlier today about how things always seem to go wrong on the first of April..."
It took almost ten minutes to chase down the goat and stun him into submission with his watch, and his tux ended up far worse for the wear by the end of it. Garak had commented that at least the chief and the commander had been decent enough to leave the safeties on, but Julian was too busy watching the now-unconscious dancing billy goat morph back into the busty blonde young noblewoman that he'd been meant to spend the evening dancing with.
"Well!" Garak exclaimed, eyes wide. "I suppose you should be grateful that she transformed into that singing creature here rather than in one of the more... intimate scenes of this program."
Julian stormed out of the holosuite in search of his own personal villains of the evening, not interested in gratitude. No, this time he was going to shoot first and make wisecracks later.