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.