I followed Zamarran, but when I was on stairs I could clearly see Gul Jarol hit her desk with her fist, clearly very, very angry. What a perfect moment to be a messenger of bad news.
We waited for her to allow us to enter and then the engineer said.
“Lieutenant Kapoor has something to report, sir.”
“What is it?” in spite of explosion of fury a moment ago her voice was even and professional.
I gathered my courage and started.
“Gul, I have been collecting data regarding Skarrat history, especially the newest history, related to Cardassians.”
“And I found something very disturbing.”
I handed her the padd, to which I had uploaded all relevant information.
“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.”
How was I supposed to tell her that? What would she do? Would I be executed for delivering information like this? Maybe it was forbidden to criticise the Union's politics regarding occupied worlds. But wouldn't Zamarran tell me? Or he would be executed too, if he didn't deliver me to the Gul?
“Did you find it?” she looked at me. I must be brave...
“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.”
She didn't say anything. I think she was shocked. She didn't expect that. Even more than this: she didn't like that. She didn't seem to find it acceptable use of discipline, or whatever they officially called their appalling actions. She didn't like killing people en mass any more than I did.
“I suppose you will place it in your report too,” she said finally.
What did she expect me to do? Should I save my own skin? I couldn't bring those dead people back to life, but I didn't want to join them!
“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?”
Tell her you care about her being on top.
“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.”
Gul Jarol, to my surprise, smiled a bit.
“Thank you for your report, Lieutenant. If that's all, you are dismissed.”
I turned and left, Zamarran followed me after a few seconds.
I hated myself. I hated myself for being such a coward. For this show of bootlicking. For my despicable behaviour and cowardice. I was among Cardassians, and instead of showing them Federation values I lowered myself to their level in hiding their crimes. I bit my lower lip, trying to stop tears in my eyes. I went back to Ullmann and she immediately noticed that something was wrong.
“Are you in trouble?” she asked worried.
“No. Not with her,” I nodded once toward the office. “But my self-dignity and self-respect are gone.”
She didn't ask any more questions and I was grateful for that.
“Is she very mad?” Ullmann asked me suddenly.
“Who? The Gul?”
“I don't know. I think she is, but she was all professional to me.”
“Ok. So here goes nothing,” she took a breath and went to Brenok. He listened to her for a moment and then nodded once. She headed for the Gul's office.
What was it about? Did she have something to add about the atrocities? But wouldn't she talk to me first?
It wasn't long before Ullmann left the Dragon Lady's office and... left the bridge.
What was going on?
“Karama, my office!” The Gul's voice was like a thunder.
It was easy to guess what Ullmann told her. And she had told me she had a solution. She reported it. She went to the Gul and reported it. But he had already stopped. He wasn't going to do it any more, so why did she report him now? Was it because of this morning? Because of me? He was in trouble because I asked him to take a look at my replicator?
This day started badly and from that moment the 'bad' was only escalating.
It was the worst day of my life!
Karama returned to his post. He looked like she had beaten him; his head was hanging low and he seemed to shrunk. I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for Ullmann. I felt guilty and miserable.
“It's time to end your duty for today,” Zamarran's voice startled me. I was so lost in my own thoughts that I didn't notice his approach.
At first I wanted to protest, but then I decided to do what he said.
“Yes, sir,” and since Brenok left the bridge and was in the Gul's office, I added, “Lieutenant Kapoor reporting end of her duty.”
“Dismissed,” he acknowledged.
I returned to my quarters.
Ullmann was sitting at a desk and recording a message, when I arrived.
“Sorry, didn't mean to disturb,” I said.
“That's ok, I've just finished.”
“How are you?”
I didn't know what else to say, so I just sat on my bunk and took a padd with cultural information on Cardassia. But I couldn't read, I couldn't concentrate for my thoughts were returning to the terrible events of this day.
A chime was an unexpected sound. We never had any visitors. Ullmann didn't react, so I went to open the door. The Dragon Lady herself paid us a visit.
“Gul Jarol, we didn't expect you,” I said quietly.
“I wanted to talk to Ullmann.”
“Yes, sir?” my colleague rose and came closer.
“Your duty will be changed to the night shift and you will not share duty time with Gil Karama.”
“Thank you, Gul,” she smiled with appreciation.
“Gil Karama has been disciplined. If he bothers you again, report it immediately and I will deal with it again, severely.”
That wasn't exactly fair. He was nasty, but he didn't mean any harm; his behaviour was misguided, but he never really attempted anything, and surely not this morning; and I was sure Ullmann presented this morning as a physical assault and an attempt of rape.
“Gul,” I said. I did so many risky things today that one more wouldn't make a difference.
“Gil Karama never meant any harm--”
“You knew about it?!” her gaze and voice changed and she was menacing again.
“I asked him to stop and he promised he would,” I told her.
“You knew about it and you didn't report it?” Clearly, it wasn't a satisfactory answer.
“I didn't think... I...” But he didn't do anything that bad. Ullmann was overreacting. He just wanted to scare her. It was rather a stupid joke than real malice.
“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 gave Ullmann a short glance and then her yes returned to me. “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.”
If there was any shadow of self-respect left in me, it was gone now. Ullmann's gaze made me feel worse. She probably thought I have betrayed her.
And maybe I did.
I wanted to cry.