This story takes place in my Shaping a Cardassian
universe shortly after the end of Shaping a Cardassia
n story, however it doesn't require prior knowledge of that story, as everything you need to know is going to be explained.
As always, please be warned of my “creative” English
I'm trying, really
The Shadow of the Order
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
4th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar
“Sir,” Lieutenant Av'Roo reported from her science station, feathers on the nape of her neck bristling. “Our sensors detect something unusual.”
Captain th'Arshar looked at her, his antennae moving forward, but he didn't say anything, expecting her to continue. However, she only stared at her console.
“Unusual how?” he asked after a moment.
“Well, I am not sure, sir. My readings are chaotic at best. And changing. Like the object out there were in a state of flux.”
“Helm, can you take us closer to it?” the Captain looked at Ensign Lantau.
“I could, but we would get awfully close to the Cardassian border.”
The Andorian Captain sighed. Cardassians weren't exactly friendly and inviting people and he had no intentions of starting a conflict with them. Well, maybe a 'conflict' wasn't the best choice of word, as the Cardassians weren't as eager to threaten with a war since end of the Dominion war twenty-one years ago, but entering their territory was still a deadly business. They wouldn't declare war, they would just blow them out of the sky. Without a flinch, no doubt.
“Take us as close to the border as possible, but not too close to provoke a reaction from the Cardassians,” he ordered.
“I don't detect any Cardassian vessels in the vicinity,” the tactical officer reported.
“We don't violate interstellar law, Lieutenant,” th'Arshar looked at his human tactician, “only because we wouldn't get caught.”
“No, sir. You're right, sir,” Lieutenant Fong lowered his eyes back to his console.
“Anything more?” The Captain looked at Av'Roo.
“More, but still unclear, sir,” she replied. “I have strange readings. It seems like there is a vessel there, but it appears to be hidden in a bubble of... something. It's not subspace, nor a warp bubble – especially since the vessel seems to be adrift.” She shook her head in frustration. “I can tell you what it isn't, but not what it is.”
“Can we see it?”
She manipulated her console and the screen activated, showing a brown object in far distance.
“Magnify,” the Captain ordered.
The object became bigger, however it was still unclear. It seemed like it was inside a dark cloud.
“Any life signs?”
“Negative,” Fong shook his head. “The systems seem to be shut down. It is adrift, all right.”
“It seems Cardassian to me,” Lantau leaned forward, as if getting closer to the screen would make the picture clearer.
“Indeed,” Av'Roo confirmed.
“The classification is unknown to us, but it has Cardassian characteristics,” Fong said. He operated his console for a moment and then turned and looked at the Captain. “There is not information about such class of a Cardassian vessel in our database,” he reported.
Th'Arshar was intently staring at the screen.
“There is one thing I can say about this object though, sir,” Av'Roo said. “It is drifting from Cardassian space toward our space and soon is going to be in the Federation territory.”
“So we could examine it without crossing the border,” Lantau added.
“Well, yes, but... I am not sure we want this thing in our territory,” Av'Roo continued. “As of now it is a Cardassian problem, and I am sure it is a problem. I don't want it to become ours.”
“So you do detect something dangerous,” it was a statement, not a question.
“I detect lots of things, Captain. None of them invite me to get closer or to board that ship.”
The Captain stared at the screen, trying to decide what would be the best course of action.
“Commander Farr, please notify Starfleet,” he addressed his Kaitian Ops officer. “Ask them to notify the Cardassians too. In a meantime we will stay in the vicinity and monitor the object, vessel or whatever it is.”