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Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

Production no.: 565
Written by: Ronald D. Moore
Directed by: David Livingston
Stardate: not given 
First satellite airdate: February 27, 1999
Andrew J. Robinson .....
Adrienne Barbeau ........
John Fleck ...................
Barry Jenner ................
Hal Landon Jr. .............
William Sadler ..............
Cynthia Graham ...........
Joe Reynolds ...............
Admiral Ross

Kira chairs a weekly meeting in the wardroom between Worf, Odo, O'Brien, and Senator Cretak, the Romulan liaison, who complains that Romulan ships are continually given low priority for repairs. Kira decides to have O'Brien bump a couple of other ships from the top of his list, to accommodate them. Cretak says she will be gone next week, to the conference on Romulus.

Garak has lunch with Bashir, who will be leaving soon for Romulus; Garak, as usual, is coy about his own time there on assignment for the Obsidian Order. As for Bashir, he doesn't expect anything nearly so intriguing. He will be giving a talk on Dominion biogenic weapons, chairing a seminar on Ketracel-white, and attending a meeting on a proposal to transfer 25 Federation hospital ships to Romulan control. "I trust that Starfleet Intelligence will be sending someone along to make good use of this opportunity," Garak says. To him, the trip is a chance to gather intelligence on the Romulans, but Bashir tells him, "They're our allies, Garak. And with any luck, this could be the beginning of a entirely new friendship between our peoples."

The tailor is disappointed in Bashir's optimistic idealism. "But I live in hope that one day you'll come to see this universe for what it truly is, rather than what you'd wish it to be." "I shall endeavor to become more cynical with each passing day," Bashir smiles. "Look gift horses squarely in the mouth and find clouds in every silver lining." "If only you meant it," says Garak.

That night, Bashir wakes from a deep sleep to find Sloan, the head of Section 31, sitting calmly in a chair in the doctor's bedroom. "Hello, Doctor. It's good to see you. I hope you're well-rested. Section 31 has an assignment for you."

Warned that he won't be able to summon security, Bashir asks Sloan what he wants. Sloan repeats that Bashir has an assignment. The fact that Bashir never asked to join Section 31 is a trivial detail; he passed the test, and he's a member whether he likes it or not. Sloan says that Section 31 is interested in the Romulus conference, but with the Tal Shiar handling security, they can't use technical assets, so they'll have to rely on organic ones like Bashir. Bashir is to gather data on the Romulan leadership. "You want me to spy on an ally," Bashir says. Sloan corrects him. "To evaluate an ally -- and a temporary ally at that." He goes on to state his belief that after the war is over, with the Dominion forced back to the Gamma Quadrant, the Cardassian empire occupied, and the Klingons recovering, that will leave only the Federation and the Romulans to vie for control of the Alpha Quadrant.

Bashir is incredulous. "This war isn't over, and you're already planning for the next." Sloan hopes his report will be equally well put, but Bashir states again that he doesn't work for Sloan. "You will," Sloan states confidently. "It's in your nature. You are a man who loves secrets. Medical, personal, fictional. I am a man of secrets. You want to know what I know. And the only way to do that is to accept the assignment." Sloan then exits through the door, but when Bashir rushes out after him with a phaser, only Ezri is in the corridor, wondering what's going on.

Bashir tells Sisko about his encounter with Sloan. Of course, there's no indication of how Sloan got on the station, or where he went. Sisko has spoken with Admiral Ross, who agrees that the conference is too important to cancel. Bashir will still be going there, and Sisko tells him to carry out his "assignment". "We might have an opportunity here we can turn to our advantage." Officially, Starfleet Command claims they plan to investigate Section 31, but unofficially they've quietly let the matter drop. But now, there's a chance to get someone on the inside. Bashir is to play along, make it seem as if he's come around to Sloan's way of thinking. "One more thing, Doctor," Sisko warns. "Remember, this isn't a game. Section 31 is very dangerous. If Sloan even suspects that you are really working for us -- " "I understand," says Bashir. Sisko wishes him good hunting.

Bashir attends a cocktail reception aboard the Bellerophon, the starship on which he, Admiral Ross, and Cretak, among other people, are going to Romulus. Ross chokes on the Romulan ale (he's probably the only officer in Starfleet who hasn't had it before, despite the embargo), but says he'll manage, and Bashir remarks, "Never say die." Cretak asks about the odd expression; Sloan breaks into the conversation to tell her its origin. Bashir barely manages to cover his surprise as Sloan introduces himself as Wendell Greer, assistant director of the UFP department of cartography. Pretending to be meeting Bashir for the first time, Sloan asks to speak with him about the Bajoran sector, and takes him aside.

"You've managed to attach yourself to the delegation; why do you need me?" wonders Bashir, but Sloan waves the question aside. He tells Bashir there's a PADD in his quarters, which he is to read, and Sloan will join him at 2200. Later, Bashir dutifully reports to Ross about Sloan, and tells the admiral he thinks it's too dangerous to let Sloan set foot on Romulus. "On the other hand, if we move against him now, we'll lose any hope of penetrating Section 31," Ross says thoughtfully. Sloan's access at the conference will be limited, so it shouldn't be hard to keep tabs on him; and it's imperative to find out what he's up to.

In his quarters, Bashir gives Sloan a briefing on some Romulan officials, including Praetor Neral and Chairman Koval of the Tal Shiar, whom Section 31 suspects in the death of Vice Admiral Fujisaki. Koval hasn't been elevated to the Continuing Committee, which the head of the Tal Shiar usually is. This is probably due to his opposition to the Federation alliance. It so happens that Cretak has been lobbying for the open seat.

Sloan mentions a rumor that Koval has Tuvan syndrome, an incurable degenerative neurological disease affecting mostly Vulcans, Romulans, and Rigellians. If Koval is ill, it would be a weakness that could hamper his chances. "Is that what I'm here for, a diagnosis?" Bashir asks. "What's the matter, Sloan, doesn't Section 31 have its own doctors?" Sloan tells him that Section 31's doctors aren't genetically enhanced; they need equipment which the Romulans won't allow at the conference. Bashir argues that he can't make a diagnosis by simply looking at a man, but Sloan counters, "Your genetically enhanced friends determined that Gul Damar killed a woman just by watching him give a political speech. I'm sure you can do better than that."

Bashir thinks he knows now what Sloan's goal is: to find a way to use Koval's illness to keep him off the Continuing Committee. "I suppose it would be naive of me to point out that interfering in the internal affairs of a sovereign power is explicitly forbidden by the Federation charter." Sloan won't confirm or deny Bashir's suspicion, but says that if Koval comes to power, he will argue for the Romulans to break the alliance with the Federation. Bashir protests, but Sloan cuts him off. "Let's make a deal, Doctor. I'll spare you the ends-justify-the-means speech and you spare me the we-must-do-what's-right speech. You and I are not going to see eye to eye on this subject, so I suggest we stop discussing it." He advises Bashir to get some rest; he will need his wits about him.

On Romulus, at the reception that opens the conference, Bashir meets Koval, who is interested in the Quickening, whether the virus can be replicated, and how to introduce it into a population. Bashir admits he knows basically how to do this. After Koval walks off, Cretak comes up to him and observes, "You're going to make a very fine operative, Doctor." She means that Koval rarely speaks with anyone in public. Bashir chats with her for a few minutes. Cretak won't say whether she agrees with those who say the alliance is only a momentary truce. She does tell Bashir that she and Koval have different views. "Which are?" "State secrets," she says with a smile.

Koval attends Bashir's lecture on the Quickening, after which Sloan speaks to the doctor, who tells him about Koval's interest. "It's not news to me that the head of the Tal'Shiar is interested in biogenic weapons," Sloan says. "Pull your head out of the sand and take a look around, Doctor. These are not nice people we're dealing with here." He wants to know the diagnosis on Koval. Bashir believes Koval may indeed have Tuvan syndrome, in the very early stages, and if he does, he has about 20-25 years to live. Sloan asks if there are any instances in which the disease accelerates without warning; Bashir replies that there are, in less than five percent of cases. Then Sloan asks if anything can trigger the acceleration. This sets off Bashir's alarm bells. "Never mind," says Sloan. "Thank you, Doctor, you've been very helpful."

Bashir goes to Ross with his suspicion that Sloan is contemplating the murder of Koval, in the hopes that Cretak will win the empty seat on the Continuing Committee. Ross is appropriately indignant, though he says Cretak would be better than Koval. He will have Sloan confined to quarters, but it may not solve their problem, because there may be another Section 31 agent in the delegation.

Then Bashir gets a brainwave: Sloan could have an accomplice on Romulus. He seems to know a lot about the inner workings of the Romulan government; also, to make Koval's disease accelerate, he will need to expose him to nadion radiation, and only a Romulan would have a chance to maneuver Koval into that situation. Bashir says they have to warn the Romulans. "And how am I supposed to explain Section 31 to the Romulans?" demands Ross. "All hell would break loose if they hear that there's a rogue Federation agency running around plotting assassinations. It could bring the alliance down. Besides, all we have is speculation at this point." He tells Bashir no. He will have Sloan arrested, then inform Starfleet Command of the situation. Bashir is to do nothing until he hears from him.

A little later, though, Bashir is in the Bellerophon mess hall when he overhears two of the ship's officers talking. An admiral has been found slumped over his desk, having suffered an aneurysm. Bashir asks the officers which admiral, and they say it was Ross. In shock, Bashir starts to head for sickbay, but then he sees Sloan sitting there calmly sipping a drink. Sloan smiles.

Feeling alone, with no one on his side, Bashir turns in desperation to Cretak. He tells her the story, and that he needs her help. "I have reason to believe that Sloan has an accomplice within the Romulan government. Someone who's going to help him carry out his assassination." Cretak notes that Koval has been saying there's a traitor in the senate. But since Section 31 is working to advance Federation interests, they are the Federation's responsibility. Bashir agrees. "That's why I'm doing everything I can to stop them."

He will try to convince Sloan that Koval doesn't have Tuvan syndrome, but since the plan may already be in motion, the only way to stop it is to find the accomplice. Cretak can get him a copy of Koval's personal database, which may contain a list of potential suspects. "You are asking me to hand over secret documents!" Cretak exclaims, but Bashir counters, "I'm asking you to put aside three centuries of mistrust between our peoples, and help me stop a murder. Senator, if we can't reach out and bridge the gulf that is between us, if we can't trust each other, a man will die, and we will be partially responsible. I need your help. Please."

Bashir tells Sloan he's not convinced Koval has Tuvan syndrome; there are other diseases with the same symptoms. The best way to confirm the diagnosis is to examine him, which Koval won't agree to. Sloan asks if he could do it by running an analysis of a skin sample. Bashir can have his hand treated with a microcellular adhesive, which will take the sample the next time he shakes hands with Koval. Bashir has no choice but to agree.

At the forum, Bashir manages to get Koval to shake his hand, offering to resume their discussion of the Quickening, but Koval says Bashir has answered all his questions. However, he would like a word with him on another matter, in private -- somewhere more "comfortable" than the lecture hall.

Bashir goes with him, and finds himself in a Tal Shiar interrogation room. Koval makes Bashir sit in a chair so they can have their "private talk". He wants to know why Bashir is really on Romulus, who he's working for, and who is helping him. An agent attaches a device to Bashir's head; when Bashir raises a defensive hand, the agent backhands him. "This can be painful or not," Koval says. "That's up to you, Doctor. Either way, I will know what you know."

Because of Bashir's genetic enhancements, however, the mind-scanning device doesn't work. Koval says he has other methods at his disposal, but it would save trouble if Bashir simply told him the information. Bashir, exhausted, pants that Koval hasn't asked any questions. "I think you know what I'm interested in," Koval replies.

He has Bashir taken back to the forum, where Praetor Neral and seven other senators are waiting. "Dr. Julian Bashir," announces Neral. "you are appearing before the Continuing Committee of the Romulan people." Cretak is there as well, facing charges for attempting to access a Tal Shiar database without proper authorization. "The Senator has told the Committee a remarkable story. Since you are a key figure in her story, we are most eager to hear your version of events."

Bashir makes a hard decision. "What I'm about to say may be shocking. It may even damage the relations between our two peoples, but it's the truth." He tells the Committee about the plot to assassinate Koval, and about Sloan and Section 31. In conclusion, he says that he contacted Cretak to enlist her aid in stopping the assassination. Neral asks why her; Bashir replies that he had no one else to turn to, and he respects Cretak. He goes on to outline his suspicion about the traitor. When Neral asks Cretak why she didn't come to him with the information, Cretak replies, "I was afraid that if word of this plot got out, it would destroy the alliance. I decided to keep my own counsel. I regret that decision." "As well you should, Kimara," Neral says.

Koval steps forward: he's got another witness. A couple of agents drag in a battered-looking Sloan. "Praetor, this is the man known as Sloan. Unlike the doctor, his mind is quite susceptible to our data retrieval methods. Under questioning, he has confirmed much of what the doctor and the senator have told you. With one important exception: there is no Section 31." He says that Sloan actually works for Starfleet Intelligence, and was a protege of Vice Admiral Fujisaki. Believing that the Tal Shiar had murdered Fujisaki, Sloan sought vengeance by inventing Section 31, so that Starfleet Intelligence could be held blameless for Koval's death. To make the murder look like an acceleration of Tuvan syndrome, Sloan needed a doctor, so he "recruited" Bashir and arranged for him to be invited to the conference. Then Sloan made the mistake of coming to Romulus himself, unaware that his identity was known to the Tal Shiar.

Koval asks Sloan why he took the risk of being discovered. Sloan glares at him. "I had to make sure nothing went wrong. And I wanted to watch you die." "You broke the cardinal rule of our profession," Koval tells him. "You allowed business to become personal." Koval then tells the committee that there's no way to tell if Bashir was trying to kill him or save him; as for Cretak, it's well known that she would welcome Koval's death, if it meant she could join the committee.

"That is a lie, Koval," says Cretak. "I was trying to save your life." "Then you're simply a fool," Koval replies. "You let a Starfleet Intelligence officer manipulate you into committing an act of treason." Neral rules that Cretak is guilty of conspiring to commit treason; her sentence will be determined later. Bashir will be returned to the Bellerophon, while Sloan is remanded to the Tal Shiar for further interrogation. "No!" shouts Sloan, who tries to grab the weapon of one of the guards. Koval whips out a phaser and vaporizes him.

Bashir can't sleep that night. Suddenly he gets up and goes to see Ross, who is back in the Bellerophon briefing room, feeling much better. "I have a question," says Bashir. "Where's Sloan?" Ross says he's dead, but Bashir repeats the question. Looking at him for a long moment, Ross says this discussion will be off the record, and they take off their combadges.

Ross asks Bashir how he knew. "The man Koval described was not the same man who recruited me into Section 31," Bashir says. "Anyone clever enough to pull the wool so completely over my eyes wouldn't have been caught by the Romulans that easily." What made everything fall into place was the realization that Ross was the one who planted the idea of the accomplice in Bashir's head. He didn't want to tell the Romulans about the assassination plot; he ordered Bashir not to contact DS9; and then he had a convenient aneurysm, leaving Bashir with no one to turn to except Cretak. "Where is he?" Ross admits that Sloan was supposed to have been beamed away a split second before the phaser beam hit, but the admiral doesn't know if it worked.

Bashir has another question: "How long has Koval been working for Starfleet?" Ross says Koval has been an informant for the Federation for over a year, but he doesn't know when the chairman started working with Section 31. The Federation, Bashir now knows, has a mole in the highest levels of Romulan government. And Cretak? She will be dismissed from the senate, probably imprisoned, but hopefully not executed. "You set her up!" Bashir exclaims angrily. "She was an innocent woman, and you let Sloan destroy her! Why? She believed in the alliance. She was on our side!" Ross corrects him. Cretak is a patriot who would have pushed for peace with the Dominion if she thought it would serve the interests of Romulus.

For Bashir, this is the last piece in the puzzle. Thanks to this setup, Koval's recommendation that Romulus stay in the war will be all the more convincing. "And how long have you worked for Section 31?" Bashir asks the admiral, who replies that he doesn't. It's more of a temporary alliance. "I don't like it," Ross says grimly. "But I've spent the last year and a half of my life ordering young men and young women to die. I like that even less." "That's a glib answer," Bashir accuses. "And a cheap way to avoid the fact that you've trampled on the very thing that those men and women are out there dying to protect. Does that not mean anything to you?"

"'Inter arma enim silent leges'," quotes Ross. Bashir translates. "'In time of war, the law falls silent' -- Cicero. So is that what we have become? A twenty-fourth century Rome, driven by nothing other than the certainty that Caesar can do no wrong?" Ross does not reply. He puts his combadge back on. "This conversation never happened. You're dismissed." Bashir picks up his own combadge, and leaves.

In his own quarters on DS9, Bashir once more wakes up to see Sloan silhouetted by the window. "Are you expecting applause?" the doctor asks bitterly. "Have you come to take a bow?" Sloan says he just wanted to say thank you. "For what?" Bashir asks. "Allowing you to manipulate me so completely?" "For being a decent human being," Sloan tells him. "That's why we selected you in the first place, Doctor. We needed somebody who wanted to play the game, but who'd only go so far. When the time came, you stood your ground. You did the right thing. You reached out to an enemy, you told her the truth, you tried to stop a murder. The Federation needs men like you, Doctor. Men of conscience, men of principle, men who can sleep at night. You're also the reason Section 31 exists. Someone has to protect men like you from a universe that doesn't share your sense of right and wrong."

"Should I feel sorry for you?" Bashir mocks. "Should I be weeping over the burden you're forced to carry in order to protect the rest of us?" Sloan only smiles and gets up. "It is an honor to know you, Doctor. Good night." He leaves. Bashir calls security, but then he hesitates, realizing it's futile. "Never mind," he tells Odo. "My mistake." He lies back down, but can't sleep.