Zamarran and Brenok looked at each other. Zamarran knew what the gul was thinking: in eighty minutes their officers would suffocate and they had no certain options to bring them back either in a shuttle or by beaming them aboard. They had to try everything.
Zamarran nodded slightly, so slightly that only Brenok, who waited for this signal, noticed that.
“Karama,” Brenok said, looking at the communication officer. “Send a reply. ‘We will help’. Send it the same way we have received it. Send it decoded and coded the same way we have received it. Do everything you can to maximise probability of them receiving and understanding
“Yes, sir,” Karama acknowledged.
Sabal turned to look at Brenok and the gul nodded once toward Karama; the pilot went to the communication officer to help him.
“We’re ready,” Karama announced.
“I heard it, Gul.
“Be careful.” Brenok didn’t finish his sentence yet when the vessel decloaked. The gul punched the comm button on his command console. “Brenok to the Transporter Chamber One. Bring them back, Aladar.”
“I have them, Gul,
” came a reply a moment later. “All three of them
“Report to the infirmary for full check up. And then get some rest.”
“What about the report?
“It can wait. We know all the important things and we can wait with the details.”
“Wait?” Zamarran asked his gul with incredulity.
“Invite th’Arshar and his team to the Damar
.” Brenok ignored his question. “We will have a meeting in the wardroom in the morning and I want the Federation scientists to be present. And the away team’s memories should work better if they don’t have to fight their own fatigue.” He didn’t ignore his question, Zamarran realised, he answered it indirectly by presenting his reasoning.
“Yes, sir,” the glinn acknowledged the order. “I’ll get right on it.”
Gil Tari, who was sitting just next to him, looked at him expectantly, awaiting his orders.
“I’ll send the message, Gil,” Zamarran told him. “You prepare full report for the briefing tomorrow. Highlight the information that we have given the Karamazov
, so we won’t repeat ourselves and tell them things they already know.”
The aide noticed that Brenok signed off of his command console and locked it. The gul’s shift officially ended.
“Sir,” Zamarran went and stopped in Brenok’s way when the gul headed for the lift.
“What it is, Zamarran?”
“Can we talk for a moment, sir?”
“Can’t it wait?”
“I’m afraid not.”
Brenok sighed. “Very well then. Office.”
They went to the gul’s office and sat on both sides of the desk: Brenok in his chair and Zamarran in one of guest chairs.
“What is it?”
“Sir,” Zamarran hesitated. “I understand we have a mystery on our hands and the Federation too, however I do not comprehend the cause of today’s...outburst.” He hoped he didn’t cross the line. All he wanted to do was to help but he wasn’t sure if Brenok wanted this kind of help.
Brenok closed his eyes for a moment and then quietly said, “After Ya’val had beamed to that ship I was contacted by Legate Jarol.”
“What did she want?”
“That is the problem, I don’t know. The connection was worse than bad. I am almost sure it was due to another sand storm.”
the season of sand storms in Lakat Prefecture,” Zamarran agreed.
“True. It’s not the first time that a connection was less than perfect. Usually, when the connection is distorted to a point we can’t see and hear each other, she disconnects and hails us again when weather improves.”
“She didn’t do that this time,” Zamarran guessed.
“That’s right. It would implicate that she had something important to tell me, something that couldn’t wait.”
“Do you have any idea what it was? Did anything from her message get through?”
“I caught a few words. Later I tried to clear the message, but it was pointless.”
“What were the comprehensive words?” Zamarran knew they had to carry enough information to influence Brenok’s behaviour that way.
“Among non-relevant or non-readable words I caught some meaningful, like Daset’s name,” said Brenok and Zamarran thought it must have been related to their orders. Legate Daset was the head of the Cardassian Union. “I also managed to pick out ‘attempt’, ‘hospital’ several times and...‘Latana’,” the gul’s voice shook when he said the last word.
And then Zamarran understood. Latana was one of orphans left by the Jem'Hadar attacks on Cardassia Prime. An Oralian Way follower whom Brenok had met shortly after the war and who, like him, had no one left. Her cheerful personality had helped him deal with his enormous loss, especially since he always saw her as a sign from his daughter. Brenok felt Latana had been sent to him to take care of him, not the other way around. However, her situation was far worse than his, as she was only a teenager at that time and as an orphan she had no status in Cardassian society and no way to fend for herself. She had been under care of other Oralians and with time Brenok took it upon himself to take care of the young lady. He has been living in Legate Jarol’s in-laws’ house since the Dominion War; he had a part of the house only for himself and that’s where he took young Latana, giving her back the taste of the family life. Latana not only won an uncle in person of Brenok, but an aunt in person of Legate Jarol and Jarol’s son became Latana’s little brother.
Now Latana was an adult woman and had a family of her own—a husband—but Brenok still saw a little girl in her and still felt very protective of her. She was a kind of personification of his lost daughter for him and if something happened to her—repeated word ‘hospital’ sounded menacingly—then Zamarran wasn’t surprised Brenok had lost it earlier that day. The glinn would lose it too if anything would happen to his daughter. Certainly, the worst thing was that Brenok didn’t know
what and if anything actually happened and his imagination was surely drawing most horrible pictures in his mind.
Zamarran tried to find comforting words but everything seemed trivial and meaningless.
“Is that all?” Brenok asked him. There was no irritation in his voice.
“Yes, Gul. Thank you for your time. Have a good night.” But the glinn knew it wouldn’t be.
Brenok left the office and the bridge and Zamarran stayed long enough to check if the night shift had reported for duty but not a minute longer. He returned to his quarters.
“Computer, what is the weather condition in Lakat Prefecture?” he asked, taking off his external armour.
“Unable to establish connection with the weather broadcast
,” the harsh male computer voice replied.
“Computer, inform me when such connection is possible.”
He would wake Legate Jarol, if he had to, to let her tell Brenok her news as soon as it was possible.