I think in the DS9 relaunch, Macet does have influence--though I've never been able to figure out exactly what. The fact that he seems to take point when it comes to dealing with the Federation to me
suggested that he's one of their premiere guls at that point, much as Picard became in TNG. It's like he's the "public face" they want on their military. Not sure what direction I'll take him in my version, but I do include the Gateways incident in my continuity, at least.
I've often felt like the Cardassian culture was never quite delved into as much as I would like, perhaps because of the whole Orwellian angle they took. Not to say it wasn't done well on the show, but I thought that there had been evidence for a diversity of views under the surface all the way back to "The Wounded."
Look at the way Macet, Daro, and Telle act in that episode and you see three very distinct personalities and approaches to the situation. Telle's behavior is what I think was later expanded into the "typical" Cardassian--but said behavior clearly angered Macet and I personally
decided his threat to punish Telle was more than just show, that he really did follow through on it when he got back to the Trager
. That anger definitely suggests more diversity in views than you see later. As for Daro...he
was the kind of character you almost never saw later in the series. Personally, I suspected a lot more beneath his surface, but not
bad things like you might suspect in watching Garak, Dukat, or your typical post-Wounded Cardassian. I think what captured me about the Cardassians as depicted in "The Wounded" was that they DID have those distinct personalities (not the "all honor all the time" stuff like the Klingons or a lot of the other one-trick-pony races you see on Trek).
Yet you barely see evidence of this in DS9 until later!
Gibraltar and Mistral--I definitely appreciate your assessment of the battle scene. Certainly if you do see any ways to improve, or if anybody else does, I would appreciate it...I always feel at my weakest writing that kind of material.