Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
Acknowledgements and thanks :)
First of all please have mercy and forgive any English grammar nightmares I have surely produced, but English is not my native language. However don't let your lenience stop you from correcting me :)
I have followed the series and movies cannon, a little bit of Trek Lit cannon, but ignored most of the latter. The Cardassian military ranks are based on PBeM RPGs.
Many thanks to Nerys Ghemor, who has let me use her idea of Cardassian Union language, even in my misunderstood, twisted form.
This is work in progress, so more will follow, less melodramatic and hopefully less dull :crazy:
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
As the twig is bent...
The only choice
“Cadet,” commandant Girol's voice always intimidated Atira Darok, first year cadet of Military Preparation Academy, a school, which she attended to maximise her chances of getting to the Cardassian Military Academy. His voice was raspy and low; each time he spoke she had an impression the floor was vibrating. “It was brought to my attention that you have some problems with some of school subjects.”
“Yes, sir,” she had to admit it was the truth.
“Could you elaborate?” he asked, looking at her from under his scaly brows.
“I... me...” she started forming a sentence in her mind, but realised she lacked necessary vocabulary. After a moment of fruitless thinking she gave up and closed her open for speaking mouth.
“As I suspected,” he nodded his head knowingly. “You do not speak the Union language well, do you?”
She shook her head. “No, sir.”
“But you understand.”
“That explains why you are the quietest cadet in this school's history,” he smiled a weak smile, then rose. “Look, cadet, your tactical skills are too valuable to lose them because of such a trivial thing as a language. We have additional classes for cadets, whose command of the Union language is not as it should be. I will assign you to one of these classes.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Don't thank me yet. If you are not fluent by beginning of your first grade at the academy, you're out. Is that clear?”
“Good. Now, go back to your classroom.”
Six months earlier
Darok didn't believe it. It could not have happened. Not again! She left the house and her sister's whining behind and went toward desert's sands.
It was a hot, dry day. She felt warm breeze on her face, and sun's rays; she could see the horizon through clear air. This beautiful day was the same as any other day of harsh, desert weather; but this day was marked with death, just as the other day last winter.
Another child died. Another child suffered, because Cardassia was too dry, too hot and too poor to feed it. It wasn't just any child, it wasn't statistics. It was her sister's youngest. The little girl followed her not much older uncle – Atira's youngest brother.
And that was not the end. If something wouldn't be done, another family member would starve to death.
She roamed the desert; her initially shy idea was growing ripe and taking shape and after a few hours she knew what to do not to let anyone else to die. She just needed courage to tell her father about her plan. He would find a way to explain it to others. She quickly headed for the house.
Old Vares Darok was sitting outside, sipping tea and looking at those few fruit trees, which grew near their house. One of trees died last year, the rest wasn't giving many fruits.
“Dad,” she approached him. He looked at her, but said nothing. “Dad, I made a decision.”
One of his eye ridges raised. She sat next to him.
“I will go to serve in the Guard,” she announced. “I will work hard and send you money, and I will become a Gul and send you lots of food and you won't have to worry again.”
He smiled; it was a sad, melancholic smile. He reached and stroke her cheek ridges with the back of his hand.
“You always were brave, my girl,” he said. “It's very considerate of you to want to take care of your family, but I don't think it's a good idea.”
“It wouldn't be easy for you, you're a girl, and usually boys go to the academy. And you're a poor girl from province, not a noble born child from the capitol. They would mock you.”
“So I'll prove them a good soldier is a smart soldier, not a rich one.”
“And at the academy,” he continued, just as she hadn't said anything, “they speak the Union language. The same we listen to in broadcasts. Since you always liked watching broadcasts with me you understand the Union language well, but we never spoke it at home. You can't speak it.”
“I'll learn,” her voice was full of resolve... and hope.
He just shook his head.
“Dad, Let me try. Just try. If I fail, I'll return here, but at least you'd have one mouth less to feed for a few of months.”
“I'll talk to your mum about it.”
“All right,” she smiled. “Want some more tea?” she asked, seeing his cup was already empty.
Atira was in her room, listening to a podcast, repeating words, determined to learn the Union language as soon as possible. She heard knocking.
It was her mother.
“Your dad told me about your idea,” she said simply.
Here we go, thought Atira. “Yes,” she replied slowly, awaiting what Lanita would say.
“Are you sure you want this?”
“Did you think it over? It's the first time I hear of it.”
“Mum, I would be able to help you, all of you. My pay would...”
“Atira, it is not about money,” her mother cut her off. “Our relations with the Federation get tensed and people say a war is going to break out soon. They could send you to fight and to die. Do you understand it?” The girl didn't have an immediate reply. “It is going to be hard, because you're a girl, a scientific career would be more appropriate,” Lanita continued.
“You don't want me to go,” Atira said bitterly.
“No, it's not that. I would be very proud of you if you'd make a career as an officer. It would mean prestige for you. And a better life. And a distinguished service to Cardassia.”
“But you have to really want it. You would never make a good officer if you'd follow only your pay, and being a mediocre officer is below your skills and intelligence. You need to put your heart into it.”
“So you don't think I can do it...” it wasn't a question, she was stating a fact in a resigned tone, lowering her head.
“No, you don't listen to me,” her mother said. “I want you to think it over. Give it a few days, sleep it over. And then make a decision, all right?”
“All right,” the girl nodded.
“Remember about the glory, but also remember about the sorrow. Remember you may serve Cardassia with your life, but don't forget you might have to give your life for it,” she paused. “Here,” Lanita handed her a holoimage. “This is your great grandfather. I am sure he would be happy if you'd choose to follow in his steps, as neither my father nor I did.”
There was a tall, lanky male in the picture. He wore an armour, his face was showing pride and dignity. Could she ever look like this?
Her mother left her room and she heard her steps leading downstairs.
She stayed sitting on her bed, listening to the podcast and looking at her great grandfather for a long, long time. She had no idea her family had any military history. She found this revelation intriguing.
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
The other half of her heart
2352 (2348 - 2350)
She waited, pacing the corridor in the hospital back and forth. So many hours and doctors still didn't tell them anything.
She glanced at his mother; the Cardassian woman cried. Darok felt slight irritation, she thought crying was like giving up on him, like acknowledging he was already dead.
She still could hear whistling in her ear, but was ignoring it. It was not important. He was important. His life was important.
Finally a doctor left the operation room. Everyone ran to him, but he waved them away, searching for something. “Are you Cadet Darok?” he asked, looking at the young Cardassian female. She nodded. “He wants to see you. And only you!” he added louder, seeing others were ready to demand letting them in too.
She followed the doctor. He was laying in a bed, his skin light grey. He opened his eyes when he heard them entering.
“Atira, come here,” he said quietly. She noticed the doctor left. “I... I will not be able...” his voice faded and he didn't finish the sentence.
She sat on a stool next to his bed.
“Don't speak, you need to rest,” she said.
“No, this is too important,” he said with difficulty. “They didn't save my leg. I will not be able to fulfil my dream. My career is no more.”
“You will do something else,” she interjected.
“I relieve you of your word,” he said.
“What?!” she was shocked.
“You do not need to keep your word,” he repeated. “I will not be an officer, I will be someone insignificant. You don't have to stay with me.”
“Shut up,” she said softly. “I don't care of you were a Gul or a worker. I care about you, not your job and I want to be with you, not with your job.”
He looked at her. “Are you sure?”
“Don't you even dare to ask again,” she made a serious, threatening face, but her heart was breaking, seeing his suffering. “Just tell me this one thing.”
“What?” he whispered. He was clearly getting weaker.
“Why didn't you beam out when the fighter showed first signs of malfunction?” she asked.
“We couldn't let it fall on people. These types of fighters weren't equipped with automatic pilots. We had to stay to change the course away from the audience.”
She grabbed his hand and squeezed. He was the bravest and best man she had ever met. She was proud of him.
“How could you think I would want to break our vows,” she whispered.
He smiled and closed his eyes. His breathing levelled and after a few minutes he was sleeping. She looked at the bed; the sheet was thin and she could clearly see his silhouette under it. He was slender, tall man. His long leg was reaching end of the bed. The other leg was ending just under his knee. She felt almost physical pain. She would take his suffering on herself if she could. She wished she could...
Four years earlier
Darok swept all pads to the floor, frustrated. So that was it. The end. Time to start packing. She failed her family, she failed herself.
“Seems like you need some help,” said a voice above her head. She looked up from the floor, from which she was picking up pads she had just swept off.
“I don't need help,” she picked up the last pad and rose, “see?”
“I didn't mean the mess,” he smiled. He was tall, handsome and his voice was smooth like a balm. “I meant the reason of the mess.” His eye ridges were oval and slightly slanted above his eyes, like hers; was he from Nokar too?
“I don't go after,” she answered.
“The correct expression is 'I don't follow',” he smiled.
Yes, his voice was smooth and his Union language had a perfect, Lakat area's accent. He was not from Nokar.
“I have some free time, so if you'd like to improve your Unionese, we could meet several times a week to talk. You would talk, I would correct.”
“Why would you do this?” she asked suspiciously. He just smiled. She considered his offer for a while and then nodded. “It's a deal.” Whatever his motives were, she had a lot to gain.
“My name is Joret Jarol.”
They agreed to meet each evening to have conversation on various subjects. To make it easier for her, Jarol was preparing subjects of their discussions parallel to her classes, so that she could practice required vocabulary and grammar structures. He was patiently correcting all her mistakes and mispronunciations, never getting irritated when she was repeating the same error over and over again.
This time their subject was food; Jarol decided to talk about food over food, so they went to have a dinner together. Darok thought they were going to one of academy canteens, but Jarol had other plans.
He took her to a small, but very pleasant restaurant. She had never been in such a place before: it was quiet, walls were decorated with flowers, and all tables, except one, were occupied. They were led to the empty one.
Darok realised that in spite of living near the city for so many months, she haven't actually been to the urban area. All her life she had been living in a village, visiting a nearby town a few times each year, but that was all. She had never been to a big city, and now she was so busy with her academic duties she didn't find time to sightsee Lakat.
And now here she was, in this wonderful restaurant, among those beautiful people, with this handsome man... Wait, don't let your thoughts go too far, he wanted to help you, he was friendly, but don't fall in love with him, because he surely doesn't fall in love with you. Why would he? He was an educated, big city boy, and you were a peasant, who didn't even speak Unionese well.
“Jarol, can I ask you a question?” she asked after he ordered their food. He nodded. “I was wondering. You clearly look like a Nokarian, how come you speak natively Unionese?”
“My parents left Nokar when my brother and I were very young,” he replied. “All my younger siblings were born here, in Lakat.”
“Why did they leave Nokar?”
“They wanted better lives for us, their children. After those series of droughts forty years ago all their land became desert and there was no way for them to be able to support whole family. So everyone packed and we moved.”
“Yes, those draughts ruined my family too, but no one ever spoke of moving out. My father loved our land. I don't think he would like a big city.”
“I understand,” he nodded. “My maternal grandparents returned to Nokar. They hated it here.”
“Have you been to other cities too?” she asked.
“I have been to Lakarian City and also off planet, once.”
“Really?” her eyes opened wide. “Where?”
“It was a planet our military was preparing to annex to the Union. There were aliens living there. Strange creatures, no ridges, their necks were like tubes, they lacked scales... Really weird,” he stopped, as their food arrived. “And what shocked me most was how much they were wasting. Food, for example. They weren't always finishing their food, leaving it on plates and then disposing of it. They were throwing it out!” he said in dismay.
“Throwing out food??!” she was shocked. “You mean... you mean they wasted food?”
“Yes. Barbaric, isn't it?”
“Actually, there were many goods they didn't appreciate having,” he continued. “I can't even imagine how many things were wasted, because of their lack of respect for riches of their world. We can't allow such behaviour. Spoiled children need to be taught, so we need to teach them how to properly allocate resources.”
“How long have you been there?” she asked.
“Only a few weeks. It was a training mission.”
She was impressed. If he was chosen for an off world training mission from the academy, then he had to be really promising material for an officer and he had to have a sponsor. She was getting even more astonished he even talked to her.
“Atira,” he said. She looked at him, it was the first time he called her by her given name. “Would you like to try home cooking next time?”
“What do you mean?”
“My family would like to meet you,” he said.
“Would they?” this was an evening of surprises.
“Yes, I told them about you and they'd like to see you, to talk to you. There aren't many Nokarians here and...” he smiled sheepishly, “I like you.”
He... He... He... liked her.
Suddenly she realised it wasn't just a language practice dinner.
Darok left the room, relieved it was over. She strolled down the corridor, when Jarol appeared in her way.
“How did it go?” he asked.
“I passed,” she replied dismissively.
“Could you elaborate?” he smiled.
“Well,” she stopped. “The professor said I was well prepared technically.”
“But... I put no heart into it.”
“Ah,” he smiled knowingly.
“What's that supposed to mean?” she attacked.
“I noticed that too. I don't know what was or is your incentive to join the Guard, but it seems to differ from average reasons most of us have.”
She didn't reply.
“Atira...” he started, but hesitated.
“Why did you join?” she asked him.
“Because I have dreamt of service on a warship since I was a child. I had never had any other plans, other dreams. Just this one.”
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
He shrugged. “I don't know why. It's just how it is,” he paused. “Why did you choose it?”
“To run from poverty and starvation,” she replied honestly.
“Sometimes... sometimes I try to think that I follow my great grandfather, but everyday duties are far from any glory I imagine he had experienced.”
Jarol smiled. “Yes, it can be dull sometimes, but don't let it discourage you. Glory will come too.”
“If you say so...” she muttered, unconvinced.
“Do you have time tonight? We could talk about it more... over a dinner?”
“I have sentry duty tonight.”
“Tomorrow is fine.”
“Great, see you tomorrow at our place then.”
She nodded. He smiled. They pressed palms and he left. And just then Darok realised he came here only to ask her about her examination. She looked after him, his slim, tall figure, jet black hair falling on the ridges on the back of his neck and felt a warm wave in her heart. Her mood improved significantly.
They met the next evening, and another one after that. They talked about their plans for the future. First they were telling each other about their respective plans, but with time, without them realising it, these plans started entwining. Darok's visits to Jarol's house and dining with his family became more frequent, then more regular to become a routine: every ten days they both were going to spend an afternoon at his family house.
They also talked about their duty to Cardassia. Sometimes Darok felt like she was cut off the rest of the world in her little house on a desert. There were so many things she didn't understand, didn't know, never heard about. She was a provincial girl and she could not understand why he liked spending time with her, how come there was anything to talk about with him. He claimed he found her point of view refreshing, but she was sure he was only polite.
They argued often, challenging each other's opinions and tastes. Darok was happy, when she managed to win their arguments and have the last word.
She still had two years left, when it was his time to pass final exams and start his new life as a real officer.
“Now, that you leave, I will have no one to make sure I pass all my exams,” she said.
They were sitting outside main academy building. It was sunset, the sky was gaining dark colours and stars were becoming visible.
“Yes, after my graduation all your friends will leave you and you won't have anyone to talk to,” he nodded, mocking a serious face expression.
“How about failing the Final Flight?” she asked.
“I'll consider this idea,” he laughed. “Atira,” his mood became genuinely serious. “I wanted... I don't know where they send me to. I don't know if I am going to stay on Cardassia, or be assigned to a warship. But I know one thing. When I get back home, I want you to be there, waiting for me.”
“You don't understand. I don't just mean you being here. I mean you being my home... I...” he grabbed her hand. “I have rehearsed it so many times and forgot all I wanted to say.”
“What are you trying to say?” she asked.
“Atira, I want to be with you. For good and for bad. I want to know that when I go back home, I go back to you. To you and our children...”
“Joret... Joret...” she was looking at him wide eyed.
“Yes? Yes?” he looked at her with hope in his eyes.
“Yes! Yes!” she squizzed his hand. “And by the time I graduate you'd better be a Glen at least, or I'm not talking to you!”
“What? You'd be a Dja only!”
“That's right. And as a self-respecting Dja I won't listen to anyone of lower rank than a Glen,” she smiled viciously.
“I see,” he said slowly. “Well then, to make sure you speak to me I am going to make a Gul by then. What do you say on that?”
“Perfect. Then you get the right to decide where I would be assigned.”
“As far from me as possible,” he said, nodding his head.
“I hate you!”
“I know, that's why you have to be assigned to far edges of Gamma Quadrant.”
“With you in Beta.”
“That's right, on the other side of the Klingon Empire.”
“What if they send you to the war?” she asked, getting serious.
“Then I'll do all I can to survive to destroy as many Federations as I could.”
“You know it's not what I mean.”
“I know. But I don't intend to spend time worrying about things I can't change, things that didn't happen yet and may never happen.”
“You one of the best in the Academy, you're going to get one of best assignments available for fresh Djas these days.”
The Final Flight was spectacular each year. Darok experienced them only twice so far, but she'd been told they were like that year after a year. This one, however, was special for her. This time she would really cheer for the participants. One in particular.
The Final Flight was a great honour; only the best graduates were chosen to participate and only the best could manage to keep the high level of the show. Darok's love, Darok's betrothed, was one of the best and she was proud of him more than if she were chosen herself to participate.
She knew his family would be somewhere, as all families were invited, but she was in cadets' sector and couldn't spot them from her place.
It was a beautiful day, almost no clouds and the sun was warming the air pleasantly. Perfect for an air show.
A gong silenced all voices and commandant Girok stepped into a small platform.
“Welcome,” he started, his voice amplified by speaker system, “to the Final Flight show. The Final Flight is an old tradition, reaching times before Cardassians started exploring space and created the Union; union of planets, colonies and friends. The Final Flight proves skills of our best pilots, our best officers-to-be, our best men.
“Today you will see seven old-fashioned fighters, two pilots each. They will present their piloting skills and battling skills. This is their final test and final task. This is the last time they do it for fun. Next time they will make decisions, next time they will pilot a Hideki class fighter or steer a Galor class warship, it will be for real. Not for me, their commandant, not for you, their families, but for Cardassia, their home.”
Everyone cheered. He silenced the crowd raising his hand and then said: “Let the show begin!”
The cheering was louder than before.
Girok left the podium, which was immediately removed, and all eyes were directed toward the old-fashioned hangar, from which the fighters were expected to emerge. A few moments later three did, but no sign of remaining four. The three fighters flew over cadets' heads and just then Darok noticed the other four closing from distance. She knew Jarol would be in a fighter with yellow markings. As the four fighters closed she spotted yellow lines on one of them. Her eyes were rarely leaving it since.
First the fighters simulated a battle. Their manoeuvring skills were impressive. Then they engaged into a show of figures and patterns. Some of them seemed really difficult and dangerous, and each time they were successfully accomplished the audience cheered.
Darok found the design of the fighters interesting. They looked a lot like Hideki class vessels, but were longer and their fronts were curved more; they looked like stretched Hideki.
Two of the fighters had just finished a difficult trick, when one of them started having some sort of problems. Its flight wasn't as even as before. A few seconds later the vessel started to fall, followed by a thick trace of dark smoke. Darok stopped breathing when she realised the fighter with problems had yellow markings. She hoped Jarol and his co-pilot would beam out on time. It was standard safety procedure to program pilots' commwrists to beam them out to safety with one touch in case of an old fighter's failure.
The fighter was falling directly at the audience. People started to move away in panic, but there were too many of them to clear the area on time.
Suddenly the fighter changed its falling direction slightly, but visibly and away from the audience. Darok was glancing at the transported platform, but no one was materialising there. The fighter was almost reaching the ground. They were touching tops of trees, sliding on them and finally disappearing behind them. She looked at the platform again. No none beamed and she heard a noise of crash, which caused a whistling and ringing in her ears.
She, along lots of other cadets, started to run toward the crash site.
Why didn't he beam out? she was wondering, running.
She was one of the first on the site. A few medics were already there, presumably beamed in to be there and help as quickly as possible. One medic was covering a body, two other were leaning over another.
“NO!” she cried, running to the body. She raised the sheet to look at his face, but it wasn't Jarol. She felt a mixture of relief and guilt; relief, because it wasn't her love; guilt, because this young man didn't deserve to die and someone would suffer his loss, while she was glad it wasn't going to be her.
She ran to the other cadet and pushed her way between others, who gathered around him, to see him.
The medics were tending to his wounds; he was still alive, although it was clear even to her he was in bad shape. His body was battered and his armour caked with blood.
“Three to beam to the infirmary,” said one of the medics.
“Take me with you,” she asked.
Both medics looked at each other and then the ranking one said: “We can't,” and they disappeared in orange light.
She sat on the ground, hiding her face in her hands.
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
You're doing very well so far. :)
The one grammar area I am noticing is that you don't distinguish between the "normal" verb tenses and the progressive tenses ("going," "doing," "saying"). If you would like me to, I can find a good explanation and link it here for you. I'm not sure if I could do a good job explaining it myself, so I'll see if I can find a good one for you, if you're interested. :)
As to the story itself, I really am liking it!
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
I understand the theory, but I didn't know I mix them that often. I'll pay attention to that, but if you find a good explanation then by all means, please link it. Maybe I just think I understand the difference :)
Oh, just found a short article claiming it's better to use simple tenses over progressive tenses in writing :)
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
In the narrative that is sometimes true (and that usually refers to the passive voice). In dialogue, however, it won't always sound natural.
Here's a description...there are even exercises linked to the bottom of the page. :)
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
Dialogue is a different animal, it's more "here and now", so different rules apply.
Thank you for the link! :)
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
You're welcome! :)
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
This first thing was smell. Foul, unpleasant. Atira Jarol felt a strong temptation to turn back
and return to the Hideki that brought her to this appalling place.
Is this supposed to be the next step in her career? She had been told her transfer was a result
of her distinguished service and she had been requested by the station's commander himself,
but why in heavens would someone wish her so badly to bring her here? She rubbed her nose
and stepped out of the airlock.
“Ah, Gil Jarol,” the voice startled her at first, as she did not expect anyone to greet her upon
her arrival. “It is a real pleasure to meet you. I am Gul Dukat, station's commander. I hope
your journey was pleasant.”
So it's you, who brought me here, she thought, but was wise enough not to say it out loud.
“The journey was fine, thank you,” she replied instead. She tried to smile, but the smell
twisted her smile into an ugly grimace.
“Your belongings will be taken to your new quarters, however I am afraid you cannot rest as
yet. There are some... rules you need to know before you can explore the station,” he
“That is all right, I am not tired. A Hideki is such a small vessel all I could do was sit all the
way here. I am rested,” she lied. In fact all she wanted was a bed and a good, long sleep.
“Splendid!” he seemed genuinely happy. She could not resist his smile and smiled back, this
time without grimaces.
“You were saying about rules,” she said in a neutral tone. “Are they different from any other
“Indeed they are. This is not an ordinary military installation, Gil. There are some...” he raised
his hand and inclined his head a little bit, looking for right words, “security precautions you
need to follow for your own safety.”
“For my safety from what?”
She abruptly stopped. “You mean the workers pose a threat?” she asked raising her eye ridges
“Not exactly. Ordinary Bajorans are benign, it is terrorists you should worry about.”
“I understand,” she said, but she didn't. How did I land here? she wondered. “Gul Dukat, why
exactly did you request my presence here?”
“You have successfully solved the situation on Izarha, I hope you can use your diplomatic skills
here, on Bajor.”
Six months earlier
“How dare you stealing our tools!” Ondracek stormed into the tent, yelling and apparently
headed for the Gul's temporary office. Jarol quickly got up from behind her mobile console and
stood in his way.
“You cannot enter!” she said as loudly as she could to be heard over the Terran's voice, but not
crossing the line of shouting herself.
“You steal our tools!”
“We do not do such a thing,” she replied calmly.
“A troop of Cardassian soldiers entered our warehouse and took almost everything.”
“It was necessary to acquire more tools, yes, but by no means were they stolen,” she answered.
“And how do you call it?!”
“A loan. Your officials have approved lending us tools.”
Ondracek found no words, obviously surprised.
“Officials? Lending?” he looked at her suspiciously.
“Correct. Our settlers...”
“We told you not to bring any Cardassians here!”
“We do not need your permission,” her voice changed its tone from friendly to menacing. ”It is going to be a Cardassian world soon, and we can settle here.”
“We live here! It's a Federation world! We are here and we don't go anywhere!! We live here!”
“No one is denying that,” she tried to stay calm not to add oil to his heated cries. “However this planet is rich and fertile. Cardassian settlers will help our homeworld, providing food and other resources. We need it more than you, so we have priority to use the mentioned tools.”
She smiled friendly, albeit insincerely. “I'm sure you understand that.”
The Terran stared at her for a while, clenching his fists. “This planet belongs to the Federation. You have no right to be here.”
“According to the treaty, this planet will be Cardassian,” she replied flatly.
“Treaty is not signed yet! This is not your world.”
“The treaty talks are in progress, true. But fate of this place has already been decided. We cannot waste time. The decision was made, this practically is a Cardassian Union territory.”
“It's not over yet,” he hissed, turned and left the tent.
Jarol returned to her chair and sat with a sigh. Terrans were so troublesome.
Gul Envek left his office. He liked calling it “office”, but in fact it was just another tent, which
entrance was connected with the... “lobby”? in which she had to sit.
“Is he gone?” he asked, looking around.
“He is,” she answered, not raising her head from her console.
“I could hear him in my office. Those people are so annoying.”
“At least we manage to keep them in line.”
“Yes, yes. You handled him very well,” he nodded.
She ignored him. Her opinion of Gul Envek was so low she didn't even bother to pretend respect. His lack of reaction to that deepened her despise even more. If not her, the Terrans would have overtaken the Temporary Cardassian Overseer Office long time ago.
“I will be aboard the ship if you need me,” he said and headed for the exit.
She didn't even acknowledge him. It wasn't the first, and surely not the last time he left “the office” before his office hours passed and it was time to go. He was a lazy, fat creature, who didn't like to work, but liked to party. He was quick to organise celebrations for any success his crew had worked hard to achieve. They were buried with work, he was awarded with medals.
Another message arrived, a general communiqué from Cardassia. She opened it and started reading.
Now this was an interesting thing. They were changing the armours. For whole Guard. She opened the attached file with graphic content. It contained a holoimage of a soldier wearing the new design. Interesting. Seemed more comfortable than the angular, edgy armour
currently worn by the military. And there was no head piece this time. She smiled – no need to
wear anything on her head meant she could start doing something with her hair, instead of dull
braids day after day. Men, especially military men, had to follow the state instructions
regarding their appearance, but she never read anything applying to women. Of course
civilians had their freedom, but she was not a civilian. No one minded her make-up, so no one
should mind her hairdo. She wondered when she would get the new armour.
She shook her head and returned to work. She needed to finish equipment register tonight and
she still had a lot of information to set in order. The list of next group colonists, who were yet
to come, was being updated all the time, some of volunteers resigning, some being added; all
of this made her work harder, as she had to keep track of all these changes and instantly apply
them to her planning. Dull and unrewarding assignment.
She was so deeply concentrated on her work that she didn't hear the noises outside at first.
Only when the commotion got closer to her tent, she realised there was something happening
there. She got up and went outside to see what was the cause of all that commotion.
She saw a group of people. Terrans. And they didn't look very friendly. And she was all alone
“What is this?” she asked, but no one paid any attention to her. Finally Ondracek came out of
the crowd and silenced them. Then he addressed Jarol: “We want you to take your Cardassians
“Or what?” she challenged him.
New murmur started and threatened to become another havoc.
“Or we will force them out!” shouted back Ondracek.
He had no answer for a moment and then he replied: “We will make them go away.”
“And how will they leave? As soon as our business here is finished, we leave. Cardassian
colonists are on another continent, without long range vessels. Do you expect them to fly away
It was her idea to place Cardassians far from Terrans. She had explained to Envek that it would
be best to keep them apart, at least for the time being, and he readily agreed. He had decided
that she was best qualified to continue that job and left her in charge. That's why she had to
sit here and deal with Terrans.
Her words clearly surprised Ondracek. “You mean... they won't come to take our homes?”
“Of course not. First of all this climat is too cold for them,” and for me, she thought. “Second –
there is enough land for everyone, it's a big planet.”
“So why do they need our tools?”
“Because they don't have their own, that's why.”
“Why didn't they bring their own?”
“I don't know that,” she said, admitting to herself that it was a valid question. The transport
ship had been dispatched to deliver the colonists, and after transporting them to the surface it
left immediately. She didn't know who planned that operation, but her opinion of his logistic
planning was less than flattering.
“I tell you what, Ondracek,” she said after a moment of silence, “I'll take you to the Cardassian
colonists and you can tell them yourself to give you back your tools and leave your planet. How
“That's some kind of a trick,” he eyed her suspiciously.
“No tricks,” she raised her hands, open palms toward him. “I'll take you to them, you'll talk
and I'll bring you back here.”
“She'll kill you!” someone in the crowd shouted.
“You can take two friends with you,” she said.
“I'll think about it,” he replied after a moment of hesitation. “I'll give you my answer
“She'll kill you!” the same voice from the crowd.
“Nothing would happen to you, I give you my word,” she said.
“Your word...” the voice was full of disdain.
“Shut up, Honza!” Ondracek barked toward the unseen man. “We will consider your offer and let you know tomorrow.”
“Agreed,” she replied and returned to her tent, listening attentively to the sounds from outside
to make sure they would disperse, not attack her.
A comm woke Jarol up. “Yes, what is it?” she asked in a raspy voice, not yet fully awake.
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
“Sorry to disturb you, Glen, before your shift starts, but there is a comm for you from Izarha.
It's the Terrans.”
“Give me five minutes and then put them through.”
She got up and tied her hair to give it at least appearance of tidiness, then put some nondescript cloak over her body – for some reason she felt uncomfortable not wearing an armour in front of aliens – as there wasn't enough time to put on the armour.
“Jarol, I accept your offer. We will talk to those Cardassians today. I will take two friends with
me and we're going there armed.”
She considered the last statement for a moment. “I will shoot you were you stand if you attack
the colonists without provocation,” she warned.
“Fair enough. When do we go?”
“I have some matters to attend to before I can beam down. Let's say... one hour.”
“Fine, we'll be waiting by your tents.”
She wasn't sure it was such a good idea to let them carry weapons, but she knew refusing
would make any cooperation impossible, ironically. She didn't trust them, they didn't trust her
and most likely it was the only thing they could agree on.
They waited for her outside her tent, as they had said. There were two men and one woman.
Jarol have learned to recognise Ondracek, but all other ridgeless faces were all alike to her.
She was glad she could tell who was a man and who was a woman.
“Can we go?” Ondracek asked, not even bothering to introduce his companions. Not that Jarol
minded; she didn't care for their names.
She tapped her wristcomm. “Garesh, beam us to colonists settlement, four people.”
They dissolved in orange light to reappear in new surroundings. It was clearly warmer there
and the humidity was higher. They were on a hill with the settlement in front of them downhill.
She moved downhill. The woman whispered something to Ondracek and he nodded.
“A problem?” Jarol asked.
“No, not at all,” he replied. “On the contrary,” he added and -surprisingly – smiled.
She led them downhill and then asked to stop. “I will warn the settlers they have...” she didn't
finish, as a man approached them.
“I am Dazar,” he said. “I represent our group,” he added. Jarol guessed he spotted them
walking toward the settlement and went to greet them.
“Glen Jarol,” she said. “These are Federation colonists, who live here and they would like to talk to you.”
“What about?” he eyed the Terrans suspiciously.
“That you will have to ask them.”
The Cardassian hesitated for a moment and said: “First I'd like to ask you something,” he addressed Jarol.
“What is it?”
“When will we get more resources? This,” he motioned his hand, pointing to the settlement, “is
all we have. Yes, you have sent us some tools, but we have little materials to use the tools for.
How are we supposed to start new life here,” he was getting more agitated with each word, “if
we have nothing.”
“Dazar,” she started, but he cut her off.
“No, no. Before you say anything, please take a look.”
She nodded and followed him, waving to Federation citizens to join them.
She expected Dazar to describe everything, but he didn't speak. She just walk behind him, observing.
The first thing she noticed was housing. No, 'housing' was too big word. Settlers seemed to live
in shelters, built from stones, wood and mud. There were fires or remains of fires outside
each... cottage? Shelter? Hole in the ground? A woman was cradling an infant in her arms,
another was cooking a meal over a fire.
“Where is your equipment?” Jarol asked Dazar.
“What equipment?” he looked at her. Bitterness in his voice was obvious.
Jarol noticed the Terran woman was whispering something to Ondracek's ear again, but before
she had time to ask, she noticed something else.
A Cardassian woman, middle aged, was walking toward them fast. She was clearly agitated.
She stopped in front of the Glen and attacked her: “How do you suppose we can live like that?!
How are we...”
“Matzar, she can't understand you,” Dazar interrupted her and then spoke to Jarol. “We are
under pressure, a little bit nervous, so...”
The officer raised her hand to silence him. The woman he called Matzar spoke one of Nokar's
dialects. Jarol was from another part of the continent, so her dialect was a little bit different,
but she still understood her and hoped Matzar would also understand what the Glen wanted to
“I don't know much about your situation,” she said, surprising all Cardassians within ear shot,
as she spoke in Nokarian language. “I was given instructions to deliver what you need from the
“And you never bothered to come here and ask what we needed,” the woman said, but her
tone was calmer than before.
“I am here now,” Jarol looked around.
They stood between shelters, and all eyes were at them. Sad eyes looking at her from
And just then it started to sink in. These people had nothing. They had no materials to build
their new homes. No replicators to make their food quickly and tidily.
“Didn't you bring anything with you?” she asked quietly in Nokarian.
“The truth is, Glen, we'd been told to take most necessary belongings, documents and nothing
more. Then we had been taken to a ship and brought here and beamed down with a few boxes
of basic equipment. We have to hunt our food, dig our homes and soon will have to skin wild
beasts to have clothes, when these are worn out.”
“Jarol, can we talk?” Ondracek spoke.
Dazar moved away, and Jarol went closer to the Terrans.
“We won't take out our tools back... for now,” he said.
“Why the change?”
“These people are desperate. They have nothing, they were forced here, they lost everything
and they are scared...”
“Aren't you exaggerating?” she asked him quietly.
“No, he isn't,” the woman spoke. “I am a Betazoid. Petr asked me to come here to see if your
intentions were sincere. And what I see in their minds is horrible. We will help them, because
we don't believe anyone deserves such treatment, especially from their own government.”
Then Jarol understood. These settlers were not volunteers. They were forced to relocate. Nokar
used to be a farmland, but forty-fifty years ago a series of droughts year after year changed
the fertile – for Cardassian standards – land to a desert. These people were farmers without
farms, so they were taken to a place where the soil was fertile and where they could produce
food for their people. But no one asked them if they wanted to go. Her long conversations with
her husband thought her that the good of many outweigh the good of a few or one, and she
agreed with that in general, but... but she knew what her own familiy's reaction to such
resettlement would be like. Their land was sand and dunes, and a few dying fruit trees, but
they lived there for generations. Her father wouldn't want to leave. These men here were like
her father. These people here were like her family.
And she could not help them.
“We will also give them materials to build better shelters,” Ondracek said.
“They can repay when they can spare some materials,” the Betazoid added.
“Why would you do it?” Jarol asked.
“Because we have hearts,” the Terran replied.
“Fenkyoo,” Jarol phonetically attempted to use the Terran word, not sure it resembled the
correct pronunciation well enough to be understood by Federants.
Ondracek patted her shoulder and smiled. “Take us home,” he said.
“Give me a minute,” she asked and looked around to find Dazar. He was talking to another
settler nearby; she went toward them. “The Terrans will help you by providing resources and
equipment. You will pay back when you can,” she knew this condition was only a show; the
Cardassians had to feel like doing business, not accepting charity; they were proud people,
even if desperate and in difficult situation. “I will make a full report, describing situation here
“I don't think your report would change anything, but we will accept their help. And assure
them we will give everything back.”
“I will,” she nodded.
The group of four gathered together and then beamed out back to the Federation colonists'
This is a great success!” Envek seemed happy with her report. “You solved the situation,
Terrans are not protesting, all is fine.”
“What about settlers' needs?” she asked.
“Oh,” he was puzzled for a moment. “I'm sure they will get help from Cardassia soon,” he said
And she was sure neither he, not anyone else would do anything for these people down there
“I was summoned to report,” she said, standing in front of Envek's desk.
“Yes. Well, this is sad moment for me and happy for you.”
You're dying? she thought. “Meaning?” she asked.
“Your exceptional service and diplomatic skills didn't go unnoticed. Your solution to our difficult
situation here proved your skills and these very skills are needed elsewhere.”
A transfer then. Envek was right: that indeed made her happy.
“You are being promoted to the rank of Gil and granted three weeks of shore leave on
Cardassia Prime. After that you are going to report to a mining station orbiting one of our
subjugated worlds, Bajor. Their Prefect personally requested your transfer to go under his
command. I have no power to stop that.”
Fool, thought Jarol. Who would admit he is weak and powerless? True, he was a Gul on a
forgotten planet in the future Demilitarised Zone, but he should at least try to cover that fact.
Admitting it so openly was only lowering his already insignificant status within the military. She
despised him and was genuinely glad she was leaving. Not even promised three weeks with
her family were making her happier than the thought she would not return under his command
after that. Whoever would be her new Gul, he couldn't be worse.
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
I enjoyed reading your story very much. Jarol seems very "alive" so to say, with what what you let the reader know about her life. My fave spots were the conversation between the two lovers about the the Bajorans (?) wasting food and the visit of the Terrans/ Betazoid to the cardassian settlers and their solution. I could imagine very well how it looks there and what the settlers may feel and also what the Terrans/Betazoid feel, when seeing the condition their new "neigbours" have to live in.
Looking forward to read more! :)
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
Thanks for reading.
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
Definitely enjoying the story...and man, I feel bad for all of the settlers--that's a horrible situation: the Federation ones about to be sold out by their governments, and the Cardassians who already have been by theirs. I have to wonder if on this planet--unless things change when the Cardassians truly take over--maybe Federation and Cardassian settlers will truly be at peace.
As for Jarol, I really wonder how this incident will affect her, for her to see what her own government has done...
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
A mother and a wife
“I can't accept this!” Dukat threw the pad on his desk.
Jarol was standing on the other side of the desk, her face unreadable, her back straight, her eyes shining. She didn't say anything. She had brought her proposition for new approach to Bajoran problem. It was clear Gul Dukat wasn't happy with her ideas.
“I understand how you feel...”
“No, you don't,” she interrupted him; her voice was calm, but there was a menacing tone hidden deeply under an artificial indifference.
He ignored her insolence and left it uncommented. “But it doesn't justify such a change,” he finished, as she didn't speak at all.
Her stance didn't change, she kept staring directly in front of her, not moving, seemed like not breathing.
“Dismissed,” he said quietly.
Her eyes shifted to his face. They stared at each other in silence and then she took the pad from his desk and left his office.
Four weeks earlier
Jarol's sadness was enormous. How could that be? She understood the needs of the service, but wasn't the service demanding a little too much from her? Intellectually she understood the reasoning behind the refusal, but her heart ached. She missed her family and there was nothing she could do about it, nothing she wanted to do about it.
She activated her screen again and read the message one more time. Cardassia Prime was too far and the journey would take too much time, added to her absence on the station, which was
unacceptable. This was not a good time, as the terrorism on Bajor was spreading and more Cardassian lives were in danger. She had a job to do and it was not done yet. An argument following another argument. She couldn't dismiss any of them, but she didn't expect her request for shore leave would be refused right away. Didn't she deserve some time off? Was she really that important to the station? Couldn't they survive a few days without her?
A chime to her door interrupted her reverie. “Come in,” she said, raising her eyes to see who was her visitor. Not many other officers had any business here, so not many were coming.
It was Glinn Demok, she could see him through glass door before he entered. He was smiling. Actually, he was always smiling. She has never met anyone, who was always in good mood, who could always find something to be happy about, who could almost always improve moods of those around him.
“Gil, I have a good news for you,” he said, handing her a pad.
“I don't think anything would be good news for me today,” she muttered, taking the pad, but not activating it.
“Oh, I think this would be. Maybe because it's something regarding the bad news.”
“So now everyone knows about my shore leave request?”
“Well, not everyone. But the right person does, so the right person made a right decision. You must understand he refused your request for numerous reasons, but he still understands you need to be with your family.”
“His understanding doesn't help.”
“Oh, but it does! Just read the content of the pad. There are your current orders there and it includes a special permission, regarding your refused request. Just scroll to the last item on the list.”
She activated the pad, then entered the last item and started reading. She didn't have to go to the end to know what an important message it carried. She looked up at Demok.
“Anything else?” she asked him smiling, while his own smile got wider.
“No, I just wanted to see your face brightening up,” he replied, nodded and then left the office.
“What is it?” asked Kotrel.
“We need to work on our last project, seems like some of our proposals are difficult or impossible to implement,” she answered.
“I mean the last item.”
“This is not of your concern,” she replied. “This is not related to our duties,” she added. She had no intention of sharing her private matters with the Garesh.
Dja Evral approacher Jarol's desk and leaned toward her. “So? What is it? Is it really good news?”
She glanced at him and smiled. “I am still not allowed to leave Terok Nor to visit my family, but Gul Dukat allowed my family to come here and visit me. The only condition is to take appropriate security precautions to ensure their safety. Any bodyguard I need would be
provided, but I would have to pay for this. I would have to restrict them to safe parts of the station and keep away from Bajoran sector. Which I would anyway,” her face brightened. “Can you imagine? I'm going to see my children! And my husband! They can come here for whole week, that's even longer than I asked for my own shore leave!”
“I'm happy for you,” Evral smiled. “I know how much you miss them. When was the last time you've seen them?”
“A few months ago, but for young children it's eternity,” she said. “I'm not even sure my son remembers me.”
“Way too long. You deserved it.”
“All right, let's get back to work,” she waved him away. “Our schedule for today is quite busy.”
She felt new energy coming to her. She loved her job again.
She wasn't fond of those meetings. She preferred to pass her reports to be read, instead of presenting them in person. It was safer in case of problems, and was leaving written trace in case of success. But Gul Dukat liked to drag his officers to discuss things and that included those lower ranking ones, like herself.
So she was sitting among other, equally bored, people, listening to long, dragging reports which had nothing to do with her tasks.
“Gil Jarol,” it directed her attention toward the Prefect, “I have noticed that our attempts to improve living conditions of our Bajoran workers did no bring expected results.”
“Well, that is correct. My plans to improve their productivity failed.”
“Why don't they work?” demanded Dukat. “You'd made it work in case of Federation colonists on that planet.”
“There is a significant difference between planet Izarha and this one,” she started explaining.
Dukat was just another Gul, who thought that one solution could be applied to everything.
“Colonists cooperated. Reluctantly, but it was possible to talk to them. These people, Bajorans, don't even listen. How can I tell them to work with us, if they dismiss literally everything we say?”
“Some of them cooperate,” he noted.
“True, but Bajorans can be divided to four groups: those, who work for us, because they chose to; those, who work, because they are scared; those, who work, because they have no choice; and those, who don't.
“All four groups are useless. Group one consists of opportunists, who are driven either by greed or by conformism, or by both. They can switch sides as soon as someone else offers them more. Group two is driven by fear and fear is no loyalty at all. Once they feel secure for
whatever reason, they're gone. In addition fear is not a good incentive for a productive worker. Which leads us to group three, which is similar to group two, just more defiant. Obviously fear
was not enough to convince them to work, so force had to. That force means presence of Cardassian overseers, who could be used elsewhere. I don't think I have to elaborate uselessness of group four.”
“What are our options to change the situation?” asked Dukat.
Jarol didn't like what she had to tell him. “I am not sure we have any. The resource gathering process started many years ago and many mistakes had been made. Some of them are unrepairable.”
“How about better organised camps?” asked Glinn Demok.
“Like Gallitep?” Jarol replied with a questions, shaking her head. “Is a hungry, beaten worker productive? It's exactly that kind of treatment that led to birth of that resistance movement of theirs.”
Demok fell silent. She knew his attitude toward Bajorans.
“We have raised their food rations, did that help to improve the situation?” asked Dukat.
Jarol didn't know how to answer that. She was aware of the situation in her department, but
she wasn't sure Dukat really wanted to know. He must have noticed her hesitation, since he added: “The truth, Gil, all of it.”
“The truth is, Gul Dukat, that Bajorans hardly ever see any of those additional rations,” she admitted.
“Why?” his voice darkened.
“The food is being expedited, but it gets... lost on the way,” she should have said 'stolen', but didn't dare accusing fellow Cardassians, even those corrupted ones, in front of all these officers
in the room.
“Such a situation cannot happen again,” he said.
“Yes, sir,” she replied, knowing very well there was nothing she could do, unless she'd personally looked over each and every soldier's shoulder. Dukat's use of singular form of the noun didn't go unnoticed too. For nth time she wondered if he really cared or it all was just for a show.
“What is our productivity?” Dukat directed the question to Demok.
The Glinn started describing the situation, which, Jarol knew, meant she was off the hook. For a moment at least.
The meeting had come to an end and Jarol was ready to leave, when Dukat stopped her. His smile, present on his face during the meeting, disappeared.
“I want a full report on your progress or lack of your progress. Tomorrow. Dismissed.”
There was nothing she could say. She nodded her acknowledgement and left the room. How could she tell him he gave her impossible task? Bajorans would never wilfully cooperate with
Cardassians, not after forty years of occupation. There were too many matters that negatively impacted any possibility of a dialogue.
He believed she could fix it. He thought that she was some kind of magician, who made it work on Izarha, so she could make it work here. But Izarha was a planet inhabited by humans, not
Bajorans, which fell under Cardassian rule only recently and not much harm had been done. Humans didn't have an infinite list of Cardassian mistakes to point out. She could make them listen. She listened to them. They pitied poor Cardassian settlers. Bajorans didn't say anything except for insults.
Dukat didn't understand her success on Izarha wasn't a result of her skills, but of lucky circumstances. And she had to tell him she couldn't copy that success here, but he didn't listen. She dreaded presenting the report the next day.
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