Cardassian Union Warship Damar
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar
It was very late by the time Brenok was back on his warship. He knew he should go to sleep as there was another difficult day ahead of him, but he also knew he wouldn’t be able to fall asleep. He decided to do something productive instead.
“Brenok to Taret.” He decided to start from an update.
.” The medic’s face on his screen appeared to be ten years older than Taret’s actual age.
“How is he?”
“No change, Gul. I have scanned him in detail and can give you some more information about his state
Brenok could see Saratt in the background, behind Taret’s back. Obviously, Taret had built a kind of tent around Saratt’s body to cover him without touching his skin to offer him some kind of privacy and dignity instead of laying there naked and stretched in presence of so many people, including women.
“His body is weak, some damage is irreversible and part of it is the result of the harm done to him. At first I had thought that speaking loudly in his presence would be enough to break his bones, but the nutrients he has been receiving seem to be good enough to keep some aspects of his health—if this could be called ‘health’ and personally I think it’d be a mockery—is on a level that there still something could be done to help him. I mean, I doubt he would ever have a chance to walk and run, but a well designed rehabilitation should help him. And hereby I’d like to ask you to do something, sir.
“Could you contact Doctor Zabar on Cardassia? She should be reachable in the Military Hospital. She is a specialist in cases similar to this and I am sure she is better qualified to help him than me.
“I’ll find her.”
“Also...sir, I have promised Saratt that he would feel no pain. I don’t want to break that promise and I have an idea. But I need your approval.
“What is it?”
“Do you remember when Zamarran’s shoulder, arm and right side of his body had been burnt in the engineering during the Dominion War?
” Brenok nodded. How could he forget? The fire had taken over almost whole engineering and would reach the warp core and blow them all to hell if not Zamarran’s bravery. He’d managed to activate fire-extinguishing protocols, but not before the fire had enveloped his right arm, shoulder and continued to consume his armour. Zamarran, who had been the chief engineer back then, had spent months in a hospital recuperating. “We had used a specific medical treatment to spare him suffering. There are two types of a drug that helps to eliminate the pain. Both types deactivate pain receptor in the brain, effectively helping in the healing process. Both have side effects. One is highly addictive but works better. The other one, in extreme cases, can additionally eliminate all sorts of sensations and it depends on an individual. I would like to use the latter one on Saratt. Even if I’d have to wake him up, he wouldn’t feel pain, although the pain would be there. If we find a way to unplug him, he would have to get through a long and surely painful series of exercises for—most likely—years. Those exercises would rebuild his muscles and strengthen his body, so they would be unavoidable. The medicine would have some negative influence on his brain activity too.
“Do you think that’s the best option?”
“I wouldn’t even mention it if I wouldn’t think so.
“Proceed then.” Brenok was sure Taret felt uncomfortable making that decision without asking Saratt for permission, but he knew the medic wouldn’t wake his patient up right into the pain just to ask one question. Besides, Saratt’s answer was easy to predict. “I’ll contact Doctor Zabar and see if I could bring her here.”
“That would be the best but I know she’s busy. Any advice would be precious, though. I’m sending my medical report for her. Please include it in your message.
Brenok nodded and signed off. He prepared a message for Doctor Zabar and sent it. Then he accessed the profile database and searched for Saratt’s biography.
His profile was partially marked as formerly encrypted by the Obsidian Order and that part included a visual file. Brenok, intrigued, decided to watch it first.
He expected to see some kind of Obsidian Order interview with a candidate, or maybe the process of plugging Saratt in, so at first he thought there was a mistake and it was a wrong file.
It was a broadcast footage. First a camera showed a collection of paintings. Landscape paintings. Beautiful paintings. Brenok’s heart ached as he recognised that most of them pictured Lakarian City. His
city. The paintings weren’t merely a reflection of reality, there was something in them, some sort of beauty that was emphasising aesthetic aspects of the landscapes. Were it colours, play with shadow and light or slight distortion of proportions to draw attention to one particular object or building, or animal—those paintings had a soul and expressed feelings.
Then the camera moved to the face of a very young man. His face wore a gentle expression, his big brown eyes were smiling and it pained the gul when he realised that this face had nothing in common with the man’s on the bridge face and yet it was the same person. Someone behind the camera asked a question about the paintings and young Saratt started to talk about his work. His voice...Brenok thought it would be wonderful to sing with him. His voice was smooth and as gentle as his eyes. Even when he spoke he sounded like he was singing; there was some barely noticeable melody in his words.
Brenok couldn’t take it any more, he stopped the picture and it froze. Saratt’s lips stretched in a wide smile, his eyes looking somewhere up in search for adequate words that would describe his feelings and all this completed by a painting of Hebitian Valley behind him.
“They ruined you,” Brenok whispered. “They made you go to waste.”
He started to read. Saratt was his age, fifty. He was the only son of a minor local clerk and a medic in the Lakarian Castellia Hospital. He was a promising painter and a passionate pilot. He started to take piloting lessons at the age of fifteen and by the time he was twenty-one and a student at the Lakarian Art Academy he was an accomplished pilot with a few awards. The Obsidian Order and the Guard competed to win his favour and the Obsidian Order seemed to convince him to join their ranks. He left the school and officially disappeared from Cardassia’s surface, as the Obsidian Order transferred him to the Orias system. Brenok decided to find his family. Whatever was Saratt’s future, his family had to know their son was a hero.
He logged off his workstation and locked it. He left his office; it was so quiet on the bridge. The night shift officers greeted him surprised that he was still there.
He headed for his quarters, humming a melody written by one of Lakarian composers, Ador of Vorcal. It seemed to fit the beautiful paintings of Lakarian landscapes by one of Lakarian painters, Saratt.