Location: Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
SigCat/Shaping a Cardassian: "The Lightless Ends of the World"
This story is a crossover between my Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius
series--which takes place in an alternate Cardassia where Cardassian and Bajoran roles are reversed and one Skrain Dukat is a very different man--and Gul Re'jal
's Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
series, which follows canon but after 2375 presents an alternate post-Dominion War scenario to the one portrayed in official Treklit. Though there are spoilers for both of our series, we very much hope you will enjoy this crossover between our universes and take the time to delve into both of our series.
crew's perspective: Gul Re'jal
AU Dukat's perspective, final editing: Nerys Ghemor
Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius / Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian
"The Lightless Ends of the World"
The Bajorans were getting smart, Skrain Dukat thought as he raised his Kurabda spyglass towards the cargo landskimmer moving closer and closer to their position, and dug into the dunes. They had learned by now that even the most tantalizing rumors of an Orb’s presence on Cardassia Prime would never lure him or any member of his cell into the city to attack. And especially not him…not after the horrific price they had exacted from him after planting just that sort of information about their activities at the Culat University indoctrination center. No…they wouldn’t openly broadcast the whereabouts of their bloody talismans, not with what they meant to the longevity of their cult.
But they had to remind their soldiers of the reasons for their loyalty every so often—at least, a select few. That meant that once in awhile, the Red Orbs had to be on Terăm. And if they tracked the right Bajoran officials long enough, that eventually meant the Orb would come to them.
That wasn’t where they attacked, though—no matter how tempting a target it might be to take out a general and an Orb in the same place. That was where the Orb would be the most secure on Cardassia Prime, after all. Better to wait until it was in transit from one city to the other. And now the Orb was outbound from Culat to Lakarian City.
How that had made Dukat’s blood boil! How dare they even think about bringing their demons’ relic to desecrate the place where the love of Oralius had first become known to the ancient Hebitians!
He clasped the handles of the magnetized pads firmly in his hands as the skimmer sailed closer and closer over the desert sands. If they timed their run correctly—with a soundless nod, he and Corat charged at the craft, magnetopads outstretched. There—the angle was right; there was a blind spot where the skimmer’s crew had no hope of getting a visual lock on them. And just as they felt the pull of the magnets towards the hull of the craft, they leaped.
Dukat edged his way across the landskimmer’s running board. He saw Corat laugh out of the corner of his eye, though he heard nothing over the roar of the wind. He didn’t need to; he’d heard Corat ask it enough times: How can you move like that in those robes? The answer to that was simple, of course...ever since his capture, Dukat hardly wore anything other than Kurabda tribal robes unless the mission absolutely demanded it. And out here, the charcoal-grey robe was exactly what he needed to blend into the night, as far as lightsighted Bajoran eyes were concerned.
There—that glow illuminated the hatch control. He skirted closer and closer, right hand hovering over the panel, his body in front of the hatch. Through his bioelectric node he felt Corat at his side, ready to follow him in.
He slapped the button, throwing himself inside the Bajoran landskimmer. His hand flew towards his disruptor, but the Bajoran drew first—
What in the icy tundra was that thing? It looked like a standard Bajoran phaser rifle, but its tip—red warred violently with flickering indigo, and the beam shot through the swirling…crystal?...slamming into his body just as his fingers wrapped around the grip of his disruptor. His hand spasmed and the disruptor clattered to the floor, and he reeled violently back, his momentum grotesquely exaggerated by the movement of the vehicle, traveling too slow to need an inertial damper, but too fast to escape the impact undamaged.
His heart cried out as he flew. Ziyal!
He was hit, yet he still lived. Hit—yet the beam was still coming! Every inch of his body—head—back—everything—slammed into the bulkhead, except in the last instant the bulkhead itself seemed to grow thin. And then there was darkness…
Garesh Aladar looked at the closing door of Transporter Chamber Two. It was the fifth supplies transport and there was only one left to be done. He operated his console, preparing for the next and final batch and waiting for a signal from Cardassia's Supply Department, which would inform him that it was ready.
As usual, it didn't take long. He entered the sequence of commands, which his fingers were so used to that he didn't have to think about it any more, and looked up at the transporter pad, expecting to see containers filled with goods.
The transporter's hum changed its pitch and Aladar's eyes returned to his console.
“No, no, no...” he muttered, worried. Transporting supplies to the warship was his responsibility and failing in it would mean severe consequences. One doesn't misplace or damage provisions; they are too valuable to be negligent.
His fingers frantically ran over the flat surface of his console, trying to save the containers from annihilation. His panic rose as he realized that the mass of the supplies was dropping significantly, becoming barely a fraction of its original status. In addition the pattern in the transporter buffer appeared mostly organic. Food only? What had happened to the equipment and containers?
There was nothing more he could do to save the cargo. He decided to retrieve as much as he could.
He sighed, listening to pounding of his own heart, and executed the final command to materialize the remainder of ship's supplies.
The transporter hummed and the orange light concentrated near the deck, beaming in a dark flat shape, stretched on the floor.
“What the...?” Aladar went around his console to check the object. Whatever it was, it looked nothing like what he expected to see.
As he approached closer, he realized he was looking at some sort of fabric, covering a shape...which was unmistakably a person's shape! He ran to the person and knelt down next to her, making sure he didn't touch anything.
“Transporter Two to Medic Taret,” he barked to his wristcomm. “I have an emergency here.”
“I'm on my way,” Taret's voice was composed and calm. “What is the emergency?”
“I beamed someone aboard. I don't know if she is alive, but she isn’t moving,” the garesh replied nervously. He hoped he wouldn't have to wait long for the medic's arrival.
Taret knew better than to waste time in an emergency. He ran all the way to the transporter chamber and arrived there before his nurse did. Aladar moved aside to let the medic examine the woman and as soon as Taret gently brushed aside his patient's hair the garesh realized he'd made a mistake. This wasn't a woman, this was a man! He should have known better than to assume that every Cardassian with long hair was a female—his warship’s second-in-command was a similarly unusual case, but...the only case Aladar had encountered in his life. Until now.
“Taret to Gul Jarol.”
“Jarol here,” replied a female voice.
“Gul, I have an unconscious man here, who apparently has been beamed aboard by some kind of accident.” The medic shot a glance at Aladar. “Please meet me in the infirmary.”
“Acknowledged,” she responded and signed off.
A few minutes later Gul Jarol, followed by her aide, Glinn Brenok, entered the infirmary. Garesh Aladar was standing by the door with a worried look on his face, while Medic Taret was leaning over a motionless body that lay on one of biobeds.
“Medic.” She announced her presence in a low voice. There didn't seem to be any other patients in the bay, but she felt it would be inappropriate to speak loudly in a place where people were supposed to recuperate.
His head turned to her and he acknowledged her presence, but didn't leave his patient. He waved to her to come closer and so she did.
There was a man on the biobed. He wore a strange, dirty, dark grey outfit, which had signs of burning or scorching. She looked up at his face and...gasped!
“Gul Dukat,” she whispered, her eyes opening wide in surprise.
“W... what?” Brenok approached closer to look over Taret's shoulder.
Jarol looked at her aide and then back at the unconscious Cardassian on the biobed. “How did he get here?” she asked Taret. The medic nodded toward Aladar, who was still standing by the door, now even more nervous as the gul's attention shifted to him.
“I was beaming aboard our supplies, the last batch, and then there was trouble, and I tried to work it out and save what I could, and he beamed, and I...”
Brenok went to the young noncom and put his hand on Aladar's shoulder. “Calm down,” he said in a smooth voice. “And start again.”
The garesh took a deep breath. “I was beaming aboard our supplies. Everything was normal, until the last batch. I don't know what happened, but the signal and the pattern were lost and then reappeared, but with a different mass and structure and I did my best to materialize that pattern intact and he...Gul Dukat beamed in.” He silenced for a moment and then added very quietly, “I lost the cargo.”
“But you saved his life,” Gul Jarol said. “Go back to the transporter chamber and make a full record of the event. Don't talk to anyone about it. Especially not about who it is. Understood?”
“Yes, Gul, I understand.” His voice seemed calmer now.
“Dismissed,” she said. Her eyes went back to Dukat.
“Take a look at this.” Taret moved aside to show something to Jarol. She went closer and leaned over Dukat's head. “Here.”
“What is it?” There was some kind of device behind Dukat's right ear, partially under his skin, partially sticking out of it.
“I'd guess it's an implant, but I've never seen anything quite like it.”
“The Obsidian Order?”
“No. It's too obvious and I don't think Gul Dukat would want to have anything to do with them.”
“What is he doing here? Where did he come from?” Brenok asked.
Jarol turned to look at him. She didn't find the questions relevant; for her it was important that her former commander was alive, in spite of what the Federation claimed. She also didn't like Brenok's tone of voice; it was disrespectful at best.
“I don't know,” she said, trying not to show her irritation. “We can ask him when he wakes up.” She looked at Taret. “Can you wake him up?”
“I'd rather not. Not yet, at least. He seems hurt, some kind of strange weapon signature, and I'd prefer to take care of his wounds before reviving him.”
“Weapon?” Brenok made a step toward the medic. “You mean he was attacked? He isn't unconscious because of the transporter accident?”
“He was already unconscious when the transport began.” Taret thought for a while and then looked at the gul. “You wouldn't have access to his medical file, would you?”
She shook her head. “Is it important?”
“It would make my work easier, but I can do without...” Suddenly he raised his hand and waved as though pushing Jarol away. “Step back, step back,” he said quickly, but softly.
The gul joined her aide near the door and let the medic work.
“He looks different,” Brenok whispered. “His robe, his hair. What has been happening to him during these last few years?”
“I don't know and I don't care. I'm glad he's back.”
“Right in time for his own execution,” Brenok muttered and she gave him a furious glance. “Oh, don't look at me like that. You know very well there is a price on his head everywhere in the Quadrant, including Cardassia.”
She didn't say anything. Whatever they said, whatever they decided, Gul Dukat was her personal hero and nothing could change that. She owned him too much to forget and become as ungrateful as everyone else was. She clenched her teeth and observed Taret, who put his medical scanner away and stood close to the biobed; not so close as to enter his patient's private space, but close enough to be seen by the supine man. His lips stretched in a reassuring smile while he waited for his patient to open his eyes.
Last edited by Nerys Ghemor; November 1 2010 at 04:59 AM.