A chime. She glanced at the door and saw Zamarran and Kapoor standing outside. She allowed them to enter. Did they see her hitting the desk?
“Lieutenant Kapoor has something to report, sir,” Zamarran spoke.
“What is it?”
“Gul, I have been collecting data regarding Skarrat history, especially the newest history, related to Cardassians.”
“And I found something very disturbing.”
The Terran handed her a padd. She took and activated it.
“I had searched local archives and found out that the previous Prefect had been executed according to the local law. I found it quite odd, so I tried to find the reason of his execution.”
“Did you find it?” Jarol raised her eyes from the padd to look at her, since Kapoor did not continue.
“Yes, I did. You're not going to like it, Gul.”
“There used to be resistance on the planet. Every member of it was found and executed by Cardassian forces. Almost one fourth of the planet's population was wiped out. That called the Central Command's attention to the Prefecture and the Prefect, and they decided to send a new Prefect, Gul Kadal, to replace the old one. Gul Kadal brought the old Prefect to justice, local
justice, for crimes against the Skarrats.”
Jarol was speechless. She wasn't sure what angered her more: the gravity of the revelation, or the fact that Kadal hid it all.
“I suppose you will place it in your report too,” she said.
“Gul, my task was to investigate the current situation and to find proofs that the Skarrats really don't want Cardassians to leave. I went deeper in my research than the task required, and yes, I have found disturbing information, however it was long time ago and Gul Kadal did his best to fix the situation. He was in trouble after that and I am not sure how come the Obsidian Order didn't take care of him, but he still is here and he made it work. The history is history. If the Skarrats could forgive the Cardassians, then who are we to tell them they can't live together in peace any longer?”
“If you don't see it as relevant and would not include it in your report, why do you tell me all this?”
“Because if someone checks our report and finds that information is missing, it's better for you to know about it too, instead of being faced with it by someone else, by someone opposing you.”
Jarol liked her way of thinking.
“Thank you for your report, Lieutenant. If that's all, you are dismissed.”
Kapoor turned on her heel and left the office. Zamarran lingered for a short moment to exchange weak smiles with Jarol and then left too.
The Gul hailed the Prefect.
“You lied to me!” she hissed.
He sighed, but didn't say anything.
“I did not tell you the whole truth, but I did not lie either.”
“Why didn't you tell me? I didn't come here as your enemy.”
“Because I feared you wouldn't understand. No one does. If not my cousin, who was in Central Command at that time, I would have been executed. Prefect Markor was a monster and a sadist and he deserved what he got. He would have committed genocide if I wouldn't stop him. No one deserves that. No one!”
“How come you can now live in peace with them? Or rather how come they
can live with you in peace now?”
“I begged for their forgiveness and they are forgiving people. That's why I want to live among them. They are warm, friendly, passionate and wonderful people. They don't spy on each other. They don't start wars. They don't attack and torture others. They share what little they have, instead of fighting over it.”
It sounded like he was not listing good things about the Skarrats, but bad things about the Cardassians.
“You should have told me,” she said, her anger subsiding.
“And what would you do?”
“I would know. I have to know everything if I'm to represent your case. I shouldn't be surprised by this revelation by someone, who would insist we should abandon Skarrat, and would use it as their argument,” she was surprised hearing herself repeating Kapoor's words.
“All right. Hiding it was a mistake. What will you do now?”
“Now I will ask you to be completely honest with me. No secrets.”
“No secrets,” a faint smile appeared on his face.
Did he also feel it was highly inappropriate for her to scold him like that? After all he was much older and he outranked her.
“Now, is there anything else I should know about?” she asked calmly.
“No, not really. Everything else I've told you about is the truth. And I don't have any more secrets. Hell, it wasn't even my secret.”
“Gul Kadal, you did something unbelievable here,” she said after a short moment of silence, not hiding her admiration.
“It didn't happen over night, but I'm glad it worked out,” he smiled. “And I'm really glad you understand it.”
“Cardassia is not what you think it used to be,” she said.
“So I've heard. I'm just not sure where it's sailing now.”
“Neither am I. But I try to help to steer it in the right direction.”
“Good luck with that.”
They could use someone like Kadal, a Prefect with a heart and conscience.
“I'm sorry I snapped.”
“That's all right, Gul Jarol. I should have trusted you and told you everything.”
“I think we are finished here and I'll return to Cardassia. I'll keep you apprised of the situation.”
“I'll appreciate that, thank you.”
She was just about to leave the office and enter the bridge, when she noticed Ullmann heading for her door. She waited for the woman and then let her in.
“What is it?” she expected more revelations regarding the Skarrat, but Ullmann stood there in front of her desk with face expression full of doubt and fear.
“Well?” she tried to encourage the woman, removing the harshness from her voice and speaking more like to her son than her officer.
“I... I would like to file a complain, Gul.”
“A complain?” now that was unusual. “What kind of complain?”
“It's about Gil Karama. About his behaviour.”
She looked through the closed door to glance at her comm officer, who was busy at his console.
“What did he do?”
“He...” she lowered her head.
Jarol observed her for a moment and then an unthinkable thought appeared in her mind. She knew Karama for years, and she would never expect him to do anything indecent, but this woman was clearly shaken and scared.
“What did he do?” Jarol asked, hoping she was wrong. “Did he hurt you?”
Ullmann shook her head, confusing Jarol.
“He... not yet, but I think he is going to. He talks to me in such a way... He suggests he would...” she started sniffing.
“Calm down. When did it start?”
“Right after I arrived. That first day. And then it got only worse.”
Jarol thought for a while. It was hard to believe that Karama, of all officers Karama, would behave like this. However it was clear the woman was terrified and she was sure there was a reason. For a moment she considered confronting them both, but it could be too stressful for Ullman, so she dropped the idea.
“Go back to your quarters. I'll talk to him and he is going to be punished accordingly.”
Ullmann raised her head and looked up at Jarol.
“Thank you, Gul,” she whispered.
She waited for the Lieutenant to leave the bridge and then stood on the threshold of her office.
“Karama, my office!” she boomed.
He looked at her, then got up and went toward her. She waited for the door to close.
“What did you do or what did you tell Ullmann?” she hissed and didn't hide her anger.
“I didn't do anything.”
“How about the latter part of my question?”
“When she arrived here, she was full of prejudice. I was nice. I complemented her several times, but each time she reacted like I said something lewd. I said 'I like your hair' and she heard 'I'll come to your quarters and take you by force tonight',” he got agitated. “She assumed that I am, we are, we, Cardassians, are all rapists.”
“So why didn't you stop talking to her? Why didn't you just leave her alone?”
“I wanted to punish her. I wanted her to live with her prejudice, with her fear.”
“Karama!” she was furious, she wanted to strike him.
“I wanted to teach her a lesson not to assume bad things about people, about us. Yes, I had been making some... nasty comments, but I would never act upon them. I don't even find her attractive!”
“And do you seriously think that she considers us nice and friendly now? Instead of proving her wrong, you only strengthened her wrong impression.”
He had no reply and she wasn't sure why he fell silent. Was it because he understood his mistake or because he realised how angry it made her?
“You will stop talking to her,” she ordered.
“I already did,” he said quietly.
“I didn't finish! You will stop talking to her, not a word, not a whisper. Don't even look at her. From now on you are assigned to duty on lower decks for two weeks,” until now she had thought she'd never use Daset's punishment, but in this case it seemed appropriate. “Your pay will be suspended for one month. I will put a reprimand into your file and you can forget about a promotion for long time.”
She was in the middle of preparing necessary documentation for promoting him to a Glinn.
He listened to her, his face was expressing confusion and worry. She paused and then finished – she spoke calmly and quietly. “You disappointed me, Gil Karama.” Regret. Confusion on his face changed to regret. “Dismissed,” she barked and he left the office, his eyes on the deck. She followed him to the door to call Brenok to come inside.
“What is the problem?” he asked, glancing curiously at Karama. It was clear that the Gil was shattered.
“You will reschedule Lieutenant Ullmann's duty. Move her to the night shift. Make sure she has no common duty with Karama. I don't want them in the same room ever.”
“Don't ask, I have to calm down first.”
“That serious? All right, I'll change the duty roster. Do you want me to notify her?”
“No, I'll do it myself. Give her one day off duty tomorrow and make her duty start tomorrow evening.”
He knew better than to press her; he left her office.
She accessed the database to edit Karama's file, but closed it without applying any changes. She decided to do it when she cools down. Anger was not the best advisor in command decisions, Gul Corak had often repeated that and she tried to follow that advice, although it was never as hard as this time.
She went to Ullmann's quarters. Both Terran women where present.
“Gul Jarol, we didn't expect you,” Kapoor said.
“I wanted to talk to Ullmann.”
“Your duty will be changed to the night shift and you will not share duty time with Gil Karama.”
“Thank you, Gul,” it was the first time Jarol saw Ullmann smiling.
“Gil Karama has been disciplined. If he bothers you again, report it immediately and I will deal with it again, severely.”
“Gul,” Kapoor spoke.
“Gil Karama never meant any harm--”
“You knew about it?!” Jarol asked her, her tone shifting from soft to harsher.
“I asked him to stop and he promised he would,” she answered.
“You knew about it and you didn't report it?” Jarol asked again.
“I didn't think... I...” Kapoor was clearly confused.
“I don't know what kind of regulations are aboard Federation starships, Lieutenant, but here is Cardassia. We expect our officers to keep some standard. I
expect my officers to conduct themselves exemplary. This was far from exemplary. It was your duty to report such outrageous behaviour. As a Cardassian, who you are on this ship, or a law-abiding person, if you prefer. As an officer. As a colleague,” she glanced at Ullmann and then back at Kapoor. “And as a woman. ”
“Yes, Gul. I didn't think it was that serious. I'm sorry, it won't happen again.”
“I hope so.”
Jarol left, but there was one thought that rang in her head. Karama had said he had stopped his comments. Kapoor had said she had asked him to stop. Had he stopped because she asked him to?
Did it matter?