Disclaimer: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and its characters are copyright Paramount®

. . .


. . .

Jake Sisko watched with growing disinterest as miscellaneous objects were being tossed out a walk-in closet. It was another lazy Saturday, and he had went over to Nog's place to hang out. Although the Ferengi had other plans...

"Nog, why do you want to spend all day looking for a ghost? I thought you wanted to go play Halo 193 in the holosuites."

"I'm telling you, Jake, something strange is happening on the station! People have been seeing this-this-apparition of some guy...a Bajoran, I think! Even my uncle saw him in the bar last night! Just pops up in the place and freaks everyone out. Then he vanishes."

"Well, I haven't heard it on DS9 Tonight," Jake retorted, as a couple of tribbles and a voodoo doll of the Female Founder with a knife in it landed beside him.

"That's because they're bias," Nog replied, sticking his head out the closet. "You think they're going to report on something that sounds totally absurd to them?"

"It is absurd."

"Look, I really think we should check this out. Even my dad and uncle claimed that a ghost use to haunt their old home! So what if they do exist?"

Jake sighed. "Alright, alright. But what if we don't find one?"

"We'll find one." Nog went back to rummaging through closet. After a minute, he reappeared with what looked to be a gray, handheld device.

Jake eyed it curiously. "What is that?"

"An ectoplasmic meter."

"Ecto-what?"

"A ghost tracker. My dad gave it to me on my birthday, remember? It's suppose to detect ecoplasm activity...you know, the residual energy that spirits leave behind. It's similar to a general electromagnetic meter, but much more sophisticated."

Nog began fiddling around with the device by pressing a few buttons. The LCD screen powered up and a thermal image outline of the room appeared on its display. "Say Jake, how's your stomach from last night? I mean, you were hurling for quite awhile at Fontaine's Bar."

"Believe me, Nog, I'm feeling fine after getting that worm outta my system. What's worse is if my dad finds out I got drunk off a bottle of Tequila." He shuddered, suddenly remembering a video he watched for a class assignment on child psychology; the subject involved archaic methods of discipline. "It's a good thing he doesn't leave my butt red with a belt, like they use to back in the dark ages on Earth."

"Oh." Nog grew puzzled. "You know, I still don't understand why you humans used objects to beat your kids for disciplinary action."

"Me neither," Jake agreed. "It's practically child abuse! I heard my grandpa's own grandpa used it a lot. But his dad never whipped him; he didn't do that to my dad either, thank God!"

"Sounds like they were brutal back then."

"Yeah. And the only punishment you Ferengi get is having your latinum bonds taken away."

Nog grinned. "That'll really stop us from misbehaving!"

Jake shook his head in slight annoyance, as Nog ran his finger over the device's screen, and soon, the little meter was emitting a low-pitched beep. "Well, it's all programmed!" He glanced up at the tall human, excited. "C'mon Jake, let's go find us a ghost!"

Jake sauntered after his buddy as they exited his quarters. He still didn't believe that the ghost tracker would be able to locate an apparition. Of course, he'd never seen a ghost in his life. What were the chances of them encountering some paranormal activity around here anyway?

Just then, Nog made a stop motion with his hand. "I'm getting something!" The beeping tone had increased its speed, while a map of the corridor they were in appeared on the illuminated screen; a flashing arrow indicated a southbound direction. "This way! The...Habitat C?"

As they walked down the hall, Jake started wondering if anyone witnessed his getting wasted at Fontaine's Bar. Jadzia, Leeta, Worf and Rom had certainly been there. If one of them spilled the beans to Sisko, he was toast. The hapless teen did not look forward to another angry tirade from his father. It may not be belt-whipping, but a loud chewing out was just as bad to his ears and ego.

As both turned a corner, Nog ran smack into someone. "Eeee!"

"Eeee!" the other person squealed, falling backwards on the floor. Jake caught Nog in time before he could meet the same fate. He looked past his friend to see a familiar young woman.

"Ziyal?" Jake asked.

Nog quickly recovered. Thank Gint for the an extra layer of bone around his front head.

Jake took a few steps forward. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I was taking a walk," Ziyal replied dazedly as both helped her up.

"Uh, sorry, I didn't see you there," Nog apologized.

"It's okay," she reassured, with one of her warm smiles.

"Well, let's go Jake!" Nog then pushed past her, eyes glued on the ghost tracker again. "We got us a spook to catch."

"Nog!" Jake protested, a bit irritated over his friend's hastiness.

"Um, what's a spook?" Ziyal inquired.

Jake turned to her. "Oh. It's a slang term for 'ghosts.' Humans use it sometimes."

"You mean, you guys are looking for one?"

Jake rolled his eyes. "Nog thinks he can, using that ridiculous little gadget of his."

Ziyal's eyes widened to saucers. "That's awesome! Can I come too?"

"Well..."

"Sure, okay, whatever," Nog called impatiently. "Just don't hold us up. Now can we get moving? I think I'm losing the ghost!"

Ziyal eagerly hopped after the roaming Ferengi, while Jake sighed. "What is this? 'Ghostbusters'?"

. . .


. . .

Gul Dukat stomped down the hallway to his guest quarters. Damn you, Quark! Having raised the price just for one standard glass of Bajoran spring wine to 8 Federation credits. How dare he stand his ground (as if he really had a spine) and refuse to lower the price after some haggling!

The scheming Ferengi just fed Dukat some crap about the Federation's current economy taking a nosedive after the last Dominion confrontation, and that explained the sharp rise in prices on the delectable assortment of drinks.

But did the Gul really buy it? Not for a second. It was profit, no doubt. And if the station was still Terok Nor, that little conniving swindler wouldn't have gotten away with it.

Besides that scam, it was bad enough being forced into a war ignited by those filthy Klingon animals. Then to live on one of their ships?! Not to mention when Dukat captured it, they had plumbing problems. Neither he nor his crew knew anything about fixing a Klingon toilet.

Most of the quarters stank awful, like a couple of dead vole rodents had rotted away in there. There was no friggin' bed in any of them. Just this piece of metal slab. How the hell did these Klingons sleep?

And then the food they ate?! Dukat mentally focused on something else, trying to avoid a vomit attack. Must not think about Klingon food...must not think about Klingon food...

And to make matters worse, there was Elim Garak.

Damn that tailor too! That lying, cowardly sonofabitch had bewitched his daughter! Not only that, he was bewitching everyone on the station too. Dukat was sure of it. Why else were they falling for Garak's fake hospitality? Fake charms? Fake words? Fake hair?

Just a week ago, Dukat had caught him and Ziyal in one of the holosuites. They were sailing in a yacht across a lake. For some reason, the program had malfunctioned so that it read "Unoccupied" at the door's entrance.

Thinking he had the holosuite all to himself, Dukat went in to relax and drink in the tranquility of nature; soak up the breathtaking mountains and colorful scenery of Cardassia. Peaceful and quiet...and then THAT in the lake?

Who knows what horrid things Garak was doing to Ziyal? The girl was young and naïve, after all; ripe for being taken advantage of.

"No!" Dukat thought out loud. "I won't let you get near her again, you pervert bastard!"

He was so absorbed in his vengeful thoughts that he didn't notice the alien coming down the hall. Both abruptly bumped shoulders as they passed. He turned around, annoyed.

"Hey! Why don't you look where you're-" Gul Dukat froze when he recognized who it was. "Y-You!"

The other turned around, wild hair and regal cloak swaying. A slow, dreaded moment in time, as Dukat was staring at one of the most creepiest aliens in the universe. Poor Gul. This just wasn't his day.

"Where I'm what?" Chancellor Gowron sneered.

The first emotion that flooded Dukat (besides being creeped out) was anger. "W-where you carry your stinking - toady little ass!"

Gowron flashed the bug-eyed stare. Dukat was even more unsettled by that.

"How dare you!" the Klingon exclaimed.

"It's your fault you got my people into this war!" Dukat accused, pointing a finger at him. "YOU did this! You and your race of mindless, inbred pieces of...SHIT!"

"Why you insolent Cardassian bastard!" Gowron growled.

"Nappy-haired, bug-eyed freak!"

"Spoonhead bitch-ass!"

"Smelly oompa loompa!"

"Space Nazi!"

"Space - butthole!"

"Cardie whore! It's known all over this station that you sleep with every female you come across!"

"Oh yeah? Your D'k Tahg is a wussy blade! It's only suitable for cutting bread and butter, not bodies!"

At that snide insult, Dukat hit home the nerve.

"You dare to insult my D'k Tahg? YOU?!" Gowron shook with rage. "That does it! NOBODY insults my D'k Tahg and taints it with their stench of dishonor! I will fight you to the death!"

The infuriated Chancellor then tossed his cloak aside, slowly licking his lips in sweet anticipation. Dukat found that very disturbing. He bet 98% of all the universe's life forms would also, too.

Furthermore, where the hell was Gowron's bodyguards? Did he just think he could take a stroll alone on the station without running into a bitter enemy or two? The sheer arrogance!

"I shall revel in the joy of sending you to Grethor!" Gowron let out a blood-curdling roar and charged straight at the Gul.

"Bring it on!" Dukat shouted, putting up his fists. He looked upward, as a tear rolled down his cheek. "Cardassia...*sniffle*...this is for yooouuuuuuu!"

Dukat ran headlong into the creepy Klingon.

. . .


. . .

Jake was growing worried. He kept wondering if the news would get back to his dad about the infamous bathroom incident at Fontaine's. Besides the usual club crowd, there was a news intern from "DS9 Tonight," lurking around the party with his mini-cam. And in the men's bathroom, where Jake saw him in between puke intervals.

What if that intern reported it tonight? Even if it didn't happen, it was sure to end up on the front pages of tomorrow's tabloids. Jake could just see it: "The Emissary's Son Gets Plastered and Spends All Night In The Rest Room Paying For It." Sisko would flip out, for sure!

His paranoid thoughts were broken by Nog's loud voice. "HEY JAKE! JAKE!"

Jake realized he had been lagging far behind, and ran to an isolated area where Nog and Ziyal were. It was one of the smaller Cargo Bay rooms. But wasn't there security guards stationed here?

Nog's device was wildly beeping. "Come here, I found it!"

"Where are the guards?" Jake asked.

"Who knows? But I found our ghost!"

"Uh, guys, we're not suppose to be here."

Nog barely heard his friend. He was too absorbed in directing the tracker toward a dash control console, resting against the wall beside the cargo bay.

"Is it really here?" Ziyal asked, looking around.

"I bet you guys it'll appear any moment!" Nog held up his tracker, and ravenously eyed the room for any sign of a phantom appearance.

All of sudden, Jake's ears caught the sound of voices. He recognized them as Daijel and Firma, two Bajoran guards. "Guys!" he whispered harshly. "The guards are back!"

Ziyal grew alarmed. "We have to hide!"

Nog scampered over to a security box against the wall. He started punching a code into the system, and then slid a medium-sized panel door open. "In here!"

Jake and Ziyal oggled at his clear expertise. "Well?! What are you guys standing there for? Let's go!" And the Ferengi wiggled behind the panel. The voices were getting dangerously close, so they both followed suit.

As soon as they were in the duct, Nog slid it shut.

"Whoa, I didn't know you knew all the codes to the Cargo Subsystem," Jake said.

"I stole them from my dad," Nog answered.

"You what?" Ziyal asked.

"Ah, it's no big deal. I don't think he'll notice for awhile. I sorta 'borrowed' them for my engineer course, hehe!"

"Yeah, right," Jake muttered.

Nog's ghost tracker resumed its insistent beeping. Holding it up in the dim light, he squinted at the flashing LED of the arrow, as well the fluctuating levels of so-called ectoplasm activity.

"This way, guys!" Not waiting for their responses, Nog started crawling through the duct.

Jake was growing frustrated. "Nog, maybe we ought to head back to your place?"

"Do you guys always do this?" Ziyal asked.

"Not really. I think Nog's gone a bit wacko with this idea of ghost hunting."

Both the Human and Cardassian-Bajoran girl began following the persistent Ferengi. After a few minutes of traveling a ways down the duct system, they came across a tooth sharpener and a bag of unfinished peanuts.

"Hey, I recognize these!" Nog said. "They're my dad's!"

"That's nice, he's a memento man," Jake remarked.

Nog shrugged. "I guess he forgot them when he was working around here."

The beeping noise was picking up speed again. Nog glanced down at the ghost tracker, before realizing a small control chamber a few meters ahead may be palpable reason for the signal's increase in ectoplasm activity. There was another circular opening on the other side of the chamber, leading to a bigger duct. "It must be there!"

. . .

Meanwhile...

Dukat's back roughly hit the wall of the corridor. Looking at the battered Cardassian, one could imagine the nasty wringer he was being put through. Already, he sported a swollen black eye, bloodied mouth and maybe a broken rib or two. Gowron was certainly doing a number on him.

The Chancellor, in turn, had several cuts and bruises on his face, but nothing as horrendous as what Dukat sustained. Before the Gul could gather all his reflexes, he was suddenly pinned against the wall.

The Klingon let out a sadistic chuckle as he pressed further into Dukat's chest armor. But little did he know, the Gul snuck one free arm around, forming a 'V' sign with two fingers. He then raised it up and stuck them both in Gowrons' eyes. The Chancellor cried out, letting Dukat go while he instinctively covered them.

"Aaaaaahhh!" Dukat yelled, using the opportunity to ram into the disoriented Klingon. The Gul shoved him against the other side of the wall, and started pummeling his adversary in the gut. But what Dukat thought was the gut was actually a vestigial muscle that Klingons didn't need...or feel. Sorta like a wisdom tooth?

Gowron could only smile gleefully, deflecting the Cardassian's next blow by swiftly grabbing his fist. Before Dukat could react, Gowron then grabbed his shoulders and kneed him hard in the stomach. The wind knocked out of him, Dukat fell on his knees, doubled over in groaning agony.

"Not bad," Gowron gloated, while walking around him. "For an enemy that comes from a race with..." he grinned toothily, "soft balls. You Cardies are all like the rest...soft, weak, predictable prey. Just like the Federation. Just like the Ferengi. Just like those ridge-noses...the - what were they called again-?"

While Gowron was taunting him, Dukat was seething mad. First this Klingon bastard attacked his homeworld, stole their colonies, and now he was overpowering and humiliating him.

"Ah yes! The Bajorans. They are just as pathetic, but atleast they don't go around pretending they are not. Unlike you Cardie softballs. Yeah..." Gowron looked thoughtful. "That's what I'll start calling Cardassians...Cardie Softballs. The name fits you! BWAHAHAHAHAA!"

Now Dukat was seeing red. The strength suddenly returning to him, the only thing he hated more in the universe right now was this &%$# Klingon! He sprung off the floor with such ferocity, and aimed a left hook at Gowron's laughing face.

Gowron went spinning around. Dukat then seized him by the hair, and hissed in a deadly voice, "So, you think we're just as weak as the Federation and its allies?!"

He rammed the Klingon's head into a panel of the wall. Surprisingly, it bent in both panels in between the wall studs, caving through. Had the station been built with cheap, flimsy material or was the Gul stronger than he thought? Gowron's head popped out on the other side, where Jake, Nog and Ziyal were.

"Gahhh!" all three cried, startled.

Over on the other side, Dukat spat out, "And calling us Cardie Softballs? Well, how soft are yours?!"

With that, he snagged hold of the Chancellor's...er, 'family jewels' and squeezed them hard. Gowron let out a loud scream, his scary eyes bulging out.

"AAAAAAAAHHH!" Jake, Nog and Ziyal screamed in terror. In a blind panic, they turned around and ran fast through the duct.

"It's a monster! RUN!" Nog yelled, scrambling over the other two.

They all leapt out the large duct, and back into the little chamber. Jake was completely scared witless by the horrifying image that appeared before them.

"HolyChristLordAbrahamMotherofGod! What the hell was that back there?!"

"It was a monster!" Nog cried.

Both noticed that Ziyal was still in complete hysterics. "Ohmigod, ohmigod, aaaahhhh!"

"Ziyal!" Jake said, grabbing hold of her.

"Ohmigod, ohmigod-!"

"Ziyal, get a hold of yourself!" Jake said, shaking her.

"Ohmigod, ohmigod, AAAAAAHHH!"

"Ziyal!"

"Ohmigod, ohmigod, aaahh! AAAAAH!"

Jake suddenly had an idea, and looked past her. "Hey Garak, what are you doing here?"

Ziyal paused. "What? Where, where?!"

Jake breathed a sigh of relief. The young woman realized what had happened and her face started tearing up. Distraught, she buried her head in Jake's shirt, bawling her eyes out. Feeling a bit awkward, he could only hold and comfort her. "Shhhh, it's okay, it's okay..."

Nog was staring down at his pants. "Ah shit."

"What is it, Nog?"

"I-uh, wet myself."

. . .


. . .

The End ;;