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Old November 17 2010, 01:58 PM   #108
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Warning: These chapters contain quite terrible descriptions, so...well, you’ve been warned.




Chapter 10


Cardassian Union Warship Damar
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar



“Sir,” Gil Sabal squared his shoulders in front of Brenok’s desk in the gul’s office.

“Yes, Sabal, what is it?”

“I would like to ask to be included in the investigation team, sir.”

Brenok, whose eyes were on his monitor until now, looked at his pilot. “Why?”

“I believe I could be useful, sir. I don’t posses any specific knowledge, but maybe there is something I could help with. I do know how the Obsidian Order worked and thought, so I hope to be of some use.”

Sabal wondered if Brenok could hear the sound of his beating heart as clearly as he could. He feared so badly that the gul would assume he was hiding some secrets and was willing to reveal them on need-to-know basis only, but it was not the case. His offer was sincere, as sincere as it was possible.

“It might require to reveal your past connections with the Order,” Brenok said.

“I realise that.”

“Your crewmates might grow distrustful of you and feel cheated, after all you have been lying to them for so many years.”

“I know. But I put the good of the mission and their safety before my own comfort.” Like a good Cardassian should do, he thought.

“Permission granted,” Brenok nodded. “You will join the away team today.”

“Yes, sir.” Sabal headed for the door, but stopped before the door parted into the bulkheads. “Sir,” he said, turning back to face Brenok. “I know that Jattok wasn’t executed and still is in prison. He was in the Orias system.”

Brenok looked at Sabal. “We know, Gil. I’d already talked to Archon Fepor. She had granted permission to interrogate him but, as suspected, he was not willing to share any information.”

“It could be extracted, sir.” Sabal used the euphemism, but he was sure Brenok understood.

The gul smiled slightly. “There was an...extraction...attempt, Sabal. He didn’t reveal anything.”

“Did you remove his implant?” the pilot asked, referring to an implant each Obsidian Order agent had in his or her brain.

“We can’t without killing him.”

“Shame. I am sure he knows just something.”

“According to Gul Toral, Jattok was teasing his interrogators, enjoying their frustration. He knows more than something.”

“I wish I could help...”

The gul sent his officer a warm smile. “I know. Right now you can help by doing your best during this mission.”

“Yes, sir.” Sabal’s back straightened.
“Dismissed.”
Sabal returned to the bridge, locked his console, reported leaving the bridge to Zamarran, who acknowledged with a nod, and headed for the engineering where he knew the away team was preparing for departure.

“You?” Ya’val seemed surprised by Sabal’s presence in the team. “Why you?” he asked in his blunt, direct way.

The pilot looked at the faces of the officers who were included in the away team: Ya’val, Ma’Kan, Karama, Kapoor, Garesh Tarub and three of his armed to teeth men.

“I have volunteered because...” Sabal started but hesitated. He didn’t have to tell them, but he decided to stop hiding the truth.

“Your piloting skills are formidable but unnecessary at this time,” Ma’Kan commented.

“It’s not about my piloting skills, it’s...” They patiently waited. “It’s... I used to be...” It was harder than he had thought it might be. “I could be useful because I know similar vessels.”

“How come? This isn’t anything I had seen before,” Ya’val said.

“Because I had been in the Obsidian Order,” Sabal whispered.

Kapoor’s eyes opened wide. She looked at her husband who appeared to be stunned by the revelation. Ma’Kan squinted at Sabal, observing him carefully. Ya’val’s eye ridge cocked and then he nodded once. “Why didn’t you say before?” the engineer asked.

“It’s not exactly something I’d like to be public knowledge. I don’t want people to think that I spy on them all the time.”

“Do you?” Ma’Kan asked suspiciously. Ya’val gave her a surprised look.

Sabal shook his head with an extremely unhappy face. The tactician’s eyes narrowed to thin slits as she scrutinised him. After a moment her face brightened and she amicable poked Sabal’s arm. “Got ya!” she laughed.

“That was cruel,” he said, smiling with relief. “We good?” he asked, looking at Karama and Kapoor. The communication officer’s face was unreadable. He grunted and went back to his preparations. His wife followed his example. Sabal glanced at Tarub, wondering what his reaction would be. I was one too, the garesh mouthed and half-smiled. Obviously, he didn’t want it to be public knowledge too and understood what Sabal was going through.

“Ready?” Zamarran’s voice rasped behind Sabal. The pilot spun to look at the gul’s aide; Sabal was the only one not in his suit yet. Zamarran eyed him and then said addressing everyone, “first the troop team will beam and test the conditions. If everything is fine, the rest of the team will follow them. Ya’val, you will test the security protocols. After you’re done Kapoor will beam,” he looked at the human woman. “Do you understand that this is a great risk?” She nodded. “If nothing goes wrong, we notify the Federation team that it’s safe to beam and they will join you. Tari will keep the channel open in case the ship wants to talk to us or we need to talk to it. Just a precaution. Questions?”

Sabal finished donning his EVA suit by the time Zamarran explained everything. “Do we attempt to activate environmental controls?” he asked.

“Yes,” Zamarran confirmed. No one else had any more enquiries. “Report to the Transporter Chamber One.” Everyone headed for the door. “Sabal,” Zamarran called. The pilot returned to him. “Memorise everything. I want a full report on what you see from your perspective. Every similarity and difference to the projects you had seen in the Orias system. Maybe we will learn something useful from it.”

Sabal knew it would mean breaking his word; the word that he had given to the Order. “Yes, sir,” he replied. A splash of zabou shit.

He slowly followed the rest of the team, almost bumping at a young engineer who rushed somewhere. She looked at him and smiled. “Bei’asara, Gil Sabal,” she said.

Bei’asara, Kara Takiya,” he automatically replied.

“Good luck.”

“Uhm,” he muttered.

When he reached the door, he looked back over his shoulder at her; she still stood there, looking at him. She smiled and somehow it improved his mood. He smiled back and left the engineering feeling a little better.



The Obsidian Order vessel
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar




When the orange light of the transporter beam dissipated, Karama looked around. It was dark and foggy. Dusty rather. He felt a strong urge to cough in spite of wearing a protective EVA suit.

“This way.” Ya’val’s voice sounded in Karama’s headgear and he looked the way the engineer was pointing to. There was a door with a huge hole in it. “There’s the control centre.”

“Did you locate the bridge?” the communication officer asked.

“Negative,” Ya’val shook his head behind his face plate. “And I am sure this is not it. You’ll see for yourself.”

They entered the control centre. There were a few consoles lightened, but most of the room was hidden in the dark.

“Ya’val to the Damar.”

Brenok here.”

“We’re ready for the power transfer.”

Acknowledged.”

The engineer operated one of consoles—Karama could see it was an engineering console even from the spot he was standing in—and the chamber hummed with life: consoles activated, lights in bulkheads lit and environmental systems started to ventilate the dust.

Ma’Kan busied herself at another console. Karama, in a meantime, tried to find any communications station, but there didn’t seem to be any. Either the builders didn’t think the crew would need to talk to others, or this wasn’t the bridge indeed.

“All security systems appear to be down,” the tactician said. She tapped her wristcomm. “Sir, we are ready to beam Kapoor in.”

Karama’s breathing became heavier and faster. He took a riffle from one of the gareshes and stood ready to defend his wife in case anything would attempt to attack her. He didn’t care what others thought about him right now, Amrita was his priority.

She materialised near the door. At first she didn’t move and only her eyes were searching the surroundings. Then she slowly raised her hand and Karama as slowly readied his riffle. However nothing happened. She made a few steps forward—still nothing.

“The systems might detect her EVA suit as Cardassian and not react,” Ya’val said.

“So what now?” Karama asked, not taking his eyes from his wife and not lowering his weapon.

“Now we double check the environmental controls...” The engineer was tapping at the panel as he spoke. “And—” He raised his hands to his headgear, but Tarub stopped him.

“No! You’re too important to risk losing you, Glinn.” The garesh pointed at the man from whom Karama had taken the riffle and the soldier slowly took off his helmet.

“Stinks,” he said. “But breathable. Should be fine.”

Everyone took their headgears off, except for Kapoor. The communication officer raised his riffle to be ready and nodded to her to free her head. As she did so he had an impression that everyone in the room stopped breathing.

Nothing happened.

Kapoor didn’t stop there and started to take off her suit.

“You don’t have to do this, Gil,” Ya’val said.

“I do. If the Federation team is to beam here too, I want to be sure they are safe.”

The engineer smiled and nodded. He looked impressed by her dedication.

Karama felt a needle piercing his heart. She cared about them and she was ready to risk her life to protect them. Did she miss her people? Did she miss them badly? Did she regret her decision now, after seeing all those alien faces she grew up with and she was accustomed to see?

“Gul Brenok, you can notify the Federation that it is safe—at least for humans. They can beam to our location.”

Acknowledged.”

It didn’t take long for the USS Karamazov away team to beam in a blue light to the control room. The group included Av’Roo, Ronus, Fong and some blue person. Karama smiled to Av’Roo and her beak changed its shape in response, so he assumed she smiled back.

“Welcome to the mystery,” Ya’val said to Ronus.

The Trill smiled and nodded. “You know part of my team, Lieutenant Av’Roo, Lieutenant Fong and this is our assistance chief engineer, Lieutenant Churmou.”

No Bajoran then, Karama thought. A Bolian woman instead, he guessed, as the blue officer had a ridge splitting her face vertically to two halves.
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