Work Header

331 Hours, 32 Minutes, 7 Seconds

Work Text:

As soon as Julian Bashir finds the strength to do so, he drags himself to a wall of his cell and props himself up against it. It’s been 3 hours, 6 minutes and 27 seconds since they threw him into solitary confinement, and he’s already thinking of ways to die.

That’s not Starfleet, his brain reminds him. He’s meant to push through the pain and suffering and focus on his escape. Never mind that this prison is built on the face of an asteroid in the Gamma Quadrant. There’s no giving up. That’s letting them win. For some reason, the voice of Starfleet in Julian’s head sounds more like Chief O’Brien than it should, but it’s oddly comforting.

No, Julian thinks, the Jem’Hadar will most certainly kill him one way or another, so it’s no use imagining the ways he could escape. He can imagine them though, actually, and in vivid detail. Julian’s been watching and cataloging every possible misstep and exit path that could inch him that much closer to freedom. If only he could suppress the part of his brain shutting down all of his escape plans before they can fully form with bloody statistics.

Not that he could pull off half of these things anyways. Not without getting noticed. Bloody hell, Julian. Now is not the time to focus on keeping up the charade, is it?

Julian doesn’t really know if there is a right time to drop the facade and show off his enhanced intellect or reflexes, even if it is the difference between life and death. This should be the time, of course, but he holds off anyway. What if they escape, but now no one trusts him? What if they think he’s a Changeling? Perhaps they just try and shoot him on the spot because he’s not their Doctor Bashir.

I’m sure this is exactly what my parents intended when they had me augmented. Get out into the world only to die because you couldn’t let anyone know what they had done to you.

5 hours, 53 minutes, and one second. Despite all of his anger, Julian suddenly can’t stop thinking about his mother. It must be the broken ribs combined with his empty stomach or just the dehydration, he thinks. None of those things could be fixed by her being here right now, he knows, but something in his chest aches for the comfort she gave him in his childhood.

Before Julian had known what they had done to him, before he was Julian, he had loved his mother. Her hands pushing his hair back to kiss him on the forehead. Pulling him into her lap to calm him when he woke up from a bad dream crying. Notes she’d stuff in the pockets of his coat that he’d pretend embarrassed him, but secretly hid in a box in his closet.

Those notes are probably still there in that box, deep in the back of his childhood closet.

A shrill, metallic scream from somewhere beyond his cell door jolts Julian back into the present. So that’s what the scream of a Breen sounds like. He wonders why they haven’t removed the helmet yet. Then you wouldn’t know it was a Breen, would you? With some difficulty, he pulls his knees up to his chest and rests his head on his knees. It makes him feel less alone.

9 hours, 17 minutes, and 31 seconds. The screaming has stopped. Julian can fall asleep.

18 hours on the nose. What Julian wouldn’t give right now to stifle his painfully accurate internal clock. And Richard had the gall to call these gifts.

He didn’t hate his father back then either, but especially once he’d reached adolescence, Julian and his father couldn’t truly spend more than an hour or two together before one of them reached a boiling point. Which is now strangely amusing to Julian considering that, unlike most teenagers, he hadn’t just thought he was smarter than his parents. He was smarter than his parents, and they’d known it.

But that’s all gone now, isn’t it? Julian reminds himself. He’s locked away in a cell in Dominion Internment Camp 371, floating through the Gamma Quadrant on an asteroid with a very low probability of escape and a very good chance of being beaten or starved to death. Latent feelings about his parents aren’t going to help him any more than the augments that lead to those feelings in the first place.

It wasn’t immediately after they told him, the drift between Julian and his parents. There was a period of shock, almost disbelief. How could they have done this to him? They said they did it out of love, but what parent forces a child to lie for them? What sort of love is that? One misstep and his parents are locked away forever. What a burden to place on a child.

He hadn’t felt different, he remembers. It wasn’t until he realized it was never about how he felt, but more about who he was. Julian was an augment. He was unnatural. He could be a monster. His parents had made him a could-be-monster, and for the rest of his life, he would have to lie about it. Sometimes he wished they’d managed to keep it a secret from him. More times he wished they’d never taken him to Adigeon Prime in the first place.

29 hours, 33 minutes, and 45 seconds. They’ve fed him now, at least, his captors. They intend on keeping him alive, apparently. He can’t say the same for the Breen.

Could Julian lose his mind? He’s not sure it’s possible. Not with his enhancements. If ignorance is bliss, then intelligence must be torture. The voice in the back of his mind sounds more like Garak now.

42 hours and 7 minutes. So much for isolation. The camp’s Vorta thinks “Doctor Bashir is too comfortable” and makes sure that’s rectified immediately by the Jem’Hadar standing behind him. Julian’s back to wanting his mother, despite himself.

At first, after his parents broke the news to him about his enhancements, Julian had opted for silence. He’d stopped raising his hand in class. Stopped trying out for sports, or competitive things. His friends noticed. His teachers, too. They’d assumed he was depressed. They had been right of course, but not for the reasons they’d expected, and none of the reasons he could talk about. Julian would have to change his strategy. Being aloof made him mysterious. Made people wonder. He’d need to be an open book. Let people believe there was nothing about Julian Subatoi Bashir that they couldn’t find out if they asked. He’d have to be social and cheerful. Good at things, but not too good. Run headlong into everything, and worry about the consequences later. No one would think twice about this Julian Bashir.

42 hours, 59 minutes, and 57 seconds. After the Jem’Hadar leaves, Julian doesn’t move for a long time. He’s conscious, unfortunately, but barely. He imagines Amsha pulling him into her lap, wrapping her arms around him, and kissing his forehead. It was just a bad dream, Jules . Maybe if he ever gets out of here, he should forgive her.

The taste of blood on his teeth reminds him of the Academy. One of more than a dozen times Cadet Bashir purposely made a fool of himself for appearances’ sake. How many times would he have to keep his mouth shut when he could have saved the day? It was why he’d become a doctor. People don’t question miracles as much when their lives are in your hands.

43 hours, 2 minutes, and 8 seconds. He’s got to get up off this floor. Chin up, Doctor. You’ll make it through this. He thinks he hears the Captain’s voice now as he pushes himself up to his hands and knees and crawls back to his spot against the wall.

56 hours, and 31 seconds. He’s angry again. If his parents had just left him alone, he wouldn’t be here. None of this would have happened. You don’t know that, Julian. Yes, I do. But think of all the good things your life has brought you. Think of what you did for the Teplans. Someone else could have created a vaccine. Someone else might have cured it! There’s nothing I could have done that would justify what my father had done to me, Jadzia!

“Quiet, Starfleet!” A Jem’Hadar guard yells through the cell door. Julian hadn’t realized he was talking to himself. Perhaps he can lose his mind.

82 hours. He thinks. It’s the closest to silent his mind has ever been. It’s almost peaceful. Am I dying? Not yet. They are still feeding him.

167- no, a week. He’s been in here a week. What did he do to end up in here? It doesn't matter anymore. He listens at the door for familiar voices. Something to remind him he’s still real. Anything to get him out of his head. You’re never getting out of here, Jules. It’s Julian, and stop being so negative. It doesn’t suit you. This is you.

Over a week. It has to be. The only voice he hears now is his own. He wishes he wasn’t so nihilistic for once. He wishes he could remember Jules.