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.