Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
8th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar
Lieutenant Jeto stood in front of th’Arshar’s desk and stared blankly above his head. He observed her, his antennae rolled forward and unmoving.
“You had promised me you could deal with them,” he said finally.
“Was their presence enough? They didn’t do anything threatening, they didn’t treat you any differently. They didn’t ask you any annoying questions. They didn’t ask you any questions at all! So tell me... Why?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“That’s not good enough!” his voice raised as he rose from his chair.
“I know, sir. I am sorry, sir.” Finally, she looked at him. Her eyes expressed sadness. Did she really understand how wrong her behaviour was?
He went around his desk and stood next to her, she followed him with her eyes.
“Lieutenant, your work on this project will be limited to shipboard activities. You will have no direct contact with the Cardassian crew. I still need your expertise, but you will work only with our crew and the data they would deliver. Is that understood?”
“I will also make an appropriate note in your profile. Additionally you will increase number of counselling sessions. These issues cannot remain unaddressed.” She blinked at him with anger, but didn’t say anything. He knew she probably had enough of counselors and sessions of all types, but he believed she had to learn to deal with her problem or it would burn her from inside and destroy her in result. He didn’t want that. “Dismissed.”
She left his ready room and he sighed heavily. He was lenient, too lenient, he knew, but he couldn’t bring himself to yell at the girl, who wasn’t completely guilty of her behaviour.
But there was someone, who added oil to the fire and who did control himself fully. “Th’Arshar to Ha’varra, please report to my ready room.”
Ha’varra must have expected to be called in and waited on the bridge, as he appeared very quickly.
“Sit down, Counselor,” the Andorian returned to his chair and slowly sat. “I had a talk with Lieutenant Jeto and I think she needs more help regarding this incident.” Ha’varra only nodded. “Her behaviour proves she can’t work with the Cardassians. I also think that the incident itself left some mark and she needs to deal with that too.”
“I’m glad you do. Now, what do you have to say to me?” The Counselor stared at his Captain blankly. “Your behaviour left a lot to be desired, Counselor. You asked questions which were clearly making the situation worse and in spite of heated atmosphere you kept asking more.”
“Those were valid questions, sir.”
“No. Not in this place and not at this time. I am not a fan of the Cardassians, but I would not confront them about their nasty past, or nasty present, or nasty anything. Especially since these people didn’t seem nasty to me at all. I don’t agree with what they’ve said. But we haven’t met tonight for political debates. We have met to know each other better in the light of our scientific
co-operation. They didn’t have to agree to our participation in this project, but they did. Let’s not ruin it. They still didn’t ask us to leave, so I hope this unfortunate dinner haven’t ruined this chance, but I am sure they don’t have enough patience to let it go again.”
“Yes, sir,” Ha’varra muttered.
“Good. Now. You will take care of Jeto’s mental state. You won’t have any direct contact with the Cardassians either, especially since it’s not necessary. Keep an eye on all crew members, who might have hard time to deal with their presence and working with them. I will not tolerate any more incidents.”
Th’Arshar felt like an idiot, because he also was the cause of the incident himself and now he was rebuking someone else and there was no one to rebuke him.
He waited for Ha’varra to leave and then called Av’Roo.
“Lieutenant,” he pointed to a chair and she sat. “How would you describe today’s dinner?” It was hard for him to read her face, but since she didn’t reply at once he assumed she hesitated. “Be frank, Lieutenant.”
“It was a disaster, sir,” she said.
“How do you feel about the Cardassians?”
“The Cardassians in general or these Cardassians?”
“These and in general.”
“These seem reasonable, unless pushed and accused. I think their reaction was defensive, they felt accused of things by us.”
“You don’t want to tell me they are innocent, do you?” he grinned.
“And what are they guilty of, sir?” she asked, looking at him with her dark purple eyes.
He opened his mouth and then closed it without a word.
“My point exactly, sir. Everyone at the table assumed they are guilty of something, because they are Cardassians. Surely each of them had to commit something terrible, no?” She paused for a moment. “I have checked their names against our database. I haven’t found much, but there are a few interesting things. Glinn Zamarran used to work at the Cardassian Inventory Bureau for years until he was moved to an active duty aboard warship Roumar
when the Klingons attacked Cardassia. I didn’t find anything on Ma’Kan, or Ya’val, but I found some information about Gul Karama. He served on Bajor and was a real bastard. This Karama has lower rank and is too young, so I suppose he is either family or this is just surname coincidence, if it’s possible on Cardassia. That way or another I wouldn’t hold him guilty of atrocities committed by someone else, even a member of his family, when he himself was a boy at that time. I also checked that Kapoor. She used to be a Starfleet Lieutenant and was sent to Cardassia as an exchange officer along with another Lieutenant, Maeva Ullmann. Ullmann had returned shortly after, with a report full of Cardassian crimes, but Kapoor stayed there and in spite of her parents’ attempts we couldn’t get her back, especially after the Cardassians isolated themselves from the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. Her parents claimed she was held prisoner by some Cardassian monster, but to me it seems like she made a conscious choice. She serves with them, lives with them, she even married one of them.”
“She seemed to even think like them,” th’Arshar muttered.
“My point is, sir, they are normal people from a foreign geopolitical structure. It’s not our place to judge them and accuse them of anything. I talked to Karama and Kapoor during the dinner. They seemed nice, polite and friendly. They asked me a lot of questions about my people. They answered my questions about theirs. They have told me they have two wonderful children and that she tries to learn to cook Cardassian food for years and the results are still very poor.” Av’Roo’s flexible beak changed its shape as she grinned. “This was one really nice conversation until Jeto called them ‘spoonheads’ and their attitude changed completely. And I don’t blame them.”
Th’Arshar observed the Skorr as she spoke. He had noticed she didn’t have any particular problems with the Cardassians, he had to admire her data collecting approach and checking on their guests and he thought she has just given him a speech which he should have given Jeto and Ha’varra.
“Lieutenant,” he started. “I want you to be the head of the science team. You will be responsible for most of direct contact with the Cardassians as well as most of our work. For your information, Lieutenant Jeto is limited to the Karamazov
crew only, so she won’t be able to accompany you in case of additional data collection events.”
“I would also like you to keep an eye on your team members. If there is any risk that someone might have problems with the Cardassians, remove them from the team.”
“Questions?” She shook her head. “Dismissed.”