“Are you our chief investigator now?” Jarol asked Jotrel.
“Well, someone has to keep an eye on less than perfect people,” he smiled at her from the screen.
“So what do you have?”
Jarol had talked to Daset about Nadar brothers and he'd promised to take care of it. At first he though she wanted him to drag every member of the family and interrogate them, but all she wanted was to know why both brothers shared such strange opinions and if there was a danger that the youngest Nadar would pop out and cause trouble some day.
She was glad Jotrel was in charge of the investigation; she trusted he wouldn't do it “the old way”.
“Well, sisters are no threat. They are good mothers and wives. The youngest brother is the weakest point. In my opinion both Nadars were created by their father, who is... well, enough to say the Directorate protects him. However I'm quite certain that in time the youngest brother is going to be exactly as his older brothers.”
“There isn't much we could do about it,” Jotrel said.
“We need to keep an eye for the old Nadar. If he makes his sons traitors, then he is the source of all problems. I wish we could arrest him. But we're not allowed any more.”
“Unfortunately. How are we supposed to raise a new generation of good Cardassians, if everyone is allowed to express their opinions freely, even those that are edging on treason?”
“We need to change the law,” she said, only half jokingly.
She left his question unanswered.
“How is your Ferengi?”
“Busy, but we should be able to arrange our first meeting within next few weeks.”
“I look forward to it,” she said and they both laughed.
Jotrel disconnected and she looked at her son, who was playing on the floor in her study. She recalled his question about daddy and her eyes filled with tears again. How was that possible? It's been over two years since Demok's death, why did it hurt like it was a week ago? Why didn't it hurt like this a week ago?
She noticed Brenok passing by her study's open door. That's right, it was time for another gathering.
Without thinking, she got up from behind her desk. She picked Laran up and took him to his grandmother. She ignored the older woman's question where she was going and followed Brenok out. She knew he always walked to the... the temple – she snorted – so it wouldn't be a problem to follow him. She wanted to know, she had to know what he was doing there. Did they poison his mind with their superstitions? Did he convert? Was she going to lose her best friend and her aide?
The temple wasn't finished yet, but it looked impressive already. The construction was mostly wooden, which struck her as odd, but she never pretended to understand those people, so she took it as another sign of their weirdness.
Brenok was welcomed by some people, including a group of children. There was a girl there, who stuck to him from the moment he entered the wall-less building, so Jarol guessed it was the Flower Girl. He never revealed her name.
He sat among the crowd on a long bench, and soon everyone else was seated too. A woman stood in front of the gathered people, she put some mask on her face and it started. Jarol hid behind one of columns and observed everything. She could barely hear what the woman was saying for she was too far. She found the body movements of the mistress of celebration really funny. It was like a show, a one woman show.
She was just about to leave, bored, when the woman seemed to conclude the ritual. She said something, someone answered and then the woman spoke again. Jarol had an impression she caught the word “Glinn”, but wasn't sure.
Brenok got up from his seat and went to join the woman where she stood near the altar. He turned to face the people and said something. Then the woman stepped down and sat in the first row, while another man joined Brenok. The man carried a mararak
, a stringed instrument she had seen only once in her life. Brenok looked at the man, they nodded to each other and they started: Brenok sang, the man played.
She didn't expect that. She wished she heard better, because she was really curious about this mini-concerto. Was that Brenok's therapy? Singing? Singing in this manner? With the audience and some instruments?
She looked around, trying to find a way to get closer and not be noticed, but it seemed impossible. She would either have to risk being spotted, or give up. She reluctantly gave up. She didn't want Brenok to know she spied on him. Actually she felt a little guilty because of spying on him.
She turned and quietly left the temple-to-be and headed for home. Why didn't he tell her? Why was it a secret? She knew he liked singing. He sometimes sang even not realising he was doing that.
She didn't understand anything...
They just finished talking about the Shift, when Toral entered the conference room, accompanied by two Ferengi.
“Quag and Zarik,” he said by way of introduction.
The one named Quag smiled and bowed slightly.
“I hope our cooperation will bring us all lots of profits,” he said.
“Maybe,” Tarkan moved closer to the Ferengi, achieving the effect he counted for – Quag recoiled.
“Yes, yes...” he muttered and then noticed Jotrel. “Ah, Gul Jotrel,” he regained some of his confidence seeing a familiar face. “I was thinking about the commission you want to grant us. And it doesn't appear satisfactory.”
“You have to be joking me,” Jotrel snapped. “Considering the scale that this business is going to reach, you are going to be rich.”
“We, we are going to be rich,” the other Ferengi said.
“As an additional incentive we have agreed,” Toral said, “that with every ten new clients your commission would be raised by quarter percent.”
“Aaaah,” Quag seemed satisfied, for a moment. His little eyes found Jarol. “A feeeemaaale,” he creaked, raising his hand.
“If you touch your ear with that hand, you will lose both,” Jarol threatened.
The Ferengi's hand and lewd smile froze in place.
“Can we start?” Daset indicated a table, which had been prepared especially for these negotiations. He seemed amused by the whole situation.