“We have new orders,” Ahal announced.
Whole senior staff was in the briefing room, including Jarol. Ahal sneered at her when she entered, but neither he not she had any choice; until he got crew reinforcements, they had to work together.
“How are repairs?” the Gul demanded.
“Progressing,” replied Gil Rabok, Kosut's aide and now chief engineer. “We still are in bad shape. We're good enough to fend off an attack and run away, but no good for offensive action. I advise avoiding any Klingon squadrons for the time being.”
“We are no cowards, we will not run,” Ahal barked.
Of course not, we will all be blown up to Bajoran heavens instead
, thought Jarol bitterly.
“Can we fight one bird-of-prey?” Ahal asked Rabok.
“I don't like this answer. Tomorrow night we have to be ready to destroy such a ship.”
“I'm not sure it's pos...”
“I don't want to hear excuses!”
Rabok silenced, biting his lower lip.
“Jarol, you are to prepare poison.”
“A what? Sir...”
“Poison. We are going to eliminate Klingons poisoning them. Or any other way of releasing some kind of weapon, toxic substance, a virus, I don't know, it's your job to design it.”
“Sir, I am not a science off...”
“You're a woman, you will design the substance to work.”
“Shut up! Don't discuss it with me, get it done!”
Wonderful, she was to do something she had no idea about.
“What is the target, conditions?”
“We are going to eliminate Klingons, who have taken one of our border colonies. Most of their fleet left the area, leaving only one small ship behind, plus the boarding party on the planet.”
“Which colony is it?” a Glinn, whose name she didn't know, asked. Another replacement of another dead officer.
“Adarak Prime,” answered Ahal.
Jarol's heart rate raised. “Sir, this is an inhabited world,” she said.
“You want to release a toxic substance to eliminate Klingons, but it is close to impossible to develop something that would be harmful for the enemy and harmless for our own.”
“Oh,” he thought for a moment. “I didn't even think it was possible to develop such a substance. Can you do it harmless for Cardassians?”
She wasn't even sure she could make it at all. “Such a task would require lots of time.”
“We don't have time. Work with our science department. You are in charge.”
Wonderful. He thinks badly of her as an officer, but is sure she's a great scientists to pull a rabbit out of her hat, while in fact she was everything but a scientist.
“But sir, we can't kill our own citizens,” she protested.
“We have to eliminate Klingons.”
“Not this way, not at such cost.”
“I have to agree with Gil Jarol,” Ahal's aide supported her. “We are to protect our people from Klingon threat, not to kill them in the process.”
“Did I ask for your opinion?” Ahal shot him a hostile glance.
“No, sir, but I will express it anyway.”
“I wouldn't advise defying me, Glinn.”
“Sir, I will try to bring the ship back to fighting condition to defeat the Klingon the traditional way,” offered Rabok.
“You just said there's not enough time.”
“Lives of Cardassians down on the planet will be additional incentive to speed up our work.”
“Do you mean you could do it faster, but were too lazy?” Ahal twisted everything, as always.
“No, sir, I...”
“You will speed up the repairs and we will destroy the bird-of-prey faster, then we will release the poison to the atmosphere.”
“Sir,” someone else spoke, but Ahal rose.
“Not another word from anyone. These are our orders.”
“Our orders are to kill all Cardassians on Adarak Prime?” Jarol muttered.
“You're out of line,” Ahal made a step toward her.
“I will notify Central Command of your actions here,” she looked him in the eyes.
“If your report is going to be full or grammar errors, as your tactical reports are, I doubt they would understand,” he barked back.
Someone laughed at the table.
“My language problems are not an issue here,” she retorted.
“You will develop the poison,” he said, his tone menacing.
“I am not a scientist, I'm a tactician.”
“You are a woman.”
“This,” she pointed to the blue colour in her inverted drop on her forehead, “doesn't make me a scientist.”
“Fine, then prepare a plan of bombardment. We will kill everything on this planet one way of the other.”
“Sir, we can't bomb thousands of our citizens just to kill a few hundred Klingons,” Robok protested.
“What is this?” Ahal looked around. “Detapa counsil at work? I don't ask for your opinions. I issue you orders and you are to execute them. Is that clear?”
“I can't murder our own people,” Jarol rose. “This would be disgrace.”
“You know everything about disgrace,” Ahal smiled madly. “I should know better than put you in charge of this task. Robok, you will design a plan for bombardment.”
“Not another word! These are your orders!”
“We can't shoot at our own!” Jarol's mouth and lungs cooperated in creating a shout, before her brain stopped them.
“You defy me?” Ahal approached her; he stood so close their noses almost touched.
“No, sir, but I am sure there must be another way to accomplish our mission.”
“No one wants you to be sure of anything. No one asks you to think,” he hissed. His breath smelled badly.
“No one expects a Cardassian ship to kill all inhabitants of a Cardassian world,” she growled.
“How dare you! You will never get a chance to be assigned to a warship,” Ahal yelled furiously. “Never!”
“At least I don't have to worry to be under your lousy command again!” she yelled back before she stopped herself. A lot of officers looked at her astonished.
“Dismissed,” somehow he managed to lower his voice to a hiss.
She left the briefing room, striding proudly toward the door. She was too angry to realise her career was over and most likely she was going to be executed.