“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.