Lieutenant Jeto’s eyes were doing their best to close, but she fought them with all her inner strength. She had to get to her quarters first. The long day of work—including that nasty Cardassian engineer, who kept staring at her in that kinky way—had been preceded by another long day of work and she was exhausted beyond ‘deadly exhausted’.
She tripped over something and at first she thought her feet were trying to join her eyes in sleep, but then she realised her big toe hurt and that meant it had hit against something. Starfleet could have thought of better shoes for their officers. She looked down to see a leg sticking out of the curve of the corridor. A heavily booted leg. A Cardassian leg. She craned her neck to see what was its owner doing on the floor and she saw two Cardassians sprawled on the deck. She stared at them in shock; they weren’t moving, there was no sound, just two Cardassians laying on the deck in a corridor.
Her heart started to beat fast. Were they dead? She crouched by one, leaning on the deck, and checked his pulse. She found none and she realised that her hand, which she used for support, sank in a warm, thick liquid. She raised it to her tired eyes only to confirm what she already knew. Blood. She looked at the other body. A pool of blood under it was spreading in rhythmic intervals, which meant that his own heart was pumping his own blood out of his organism. She crawled to him, ignoring red substance sticking to her trousers and leaned over him, trying to take a look under his armour to find the bleeding place. She put her hand inside, pressed and tapped her commbadge with her free hand.
“Lieutenant Jeto to the sickbay. I have seriously wounded here, deck four, section A-Three.”
,” came a disembodied voice of one of nurses.
She put the other hand to the wound trying to press it even harder, but she could feel the blood pushing and dripping between her fingers.
Cardassian Union Warship Damar
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
27th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar
Brenok was just about to leave the bridge and call it a day, when Gil Tari reported, “Sir, we are being hailed by the Karamazov
“Gul Brenok, I have bad news
,” th’Arshar looked worried, maybe even scared. “We have one wounded Cardassian in our sickbay and...one dead
.” He paused and Brenok inhaled air loudly. Karama, Sabal and Ya’val were working on the Federation ship that day and he wasn’t notified if they returned to the Damar
“Who and what’s happened?” he asked, trying not to show his anger, fear and worry.
Th’Arshar moved away and Ya’val stood next to him. “Sabal is dead. Karama is near death, he lost a lot of blood
.” Brenok could hear Zamarran giving orders to Taret to immediately beam to the Federation ship. “Everything indicated that...
” Ya’val shot a glance at the Andorian, “they were attacked. It was not an accident, sir
Brenok looked at Kapoor who stared at the screen frozen. He rose from the chair and went to her. “I’m beaming over,” he told two men on the screen. Th’Arshar nodded. The Gul grabbed Kapoor’s arm and pulled her toward the lift’s door. “Zamarran, you have the bridge. Tell Taret not to wait for us.”
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
11th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar
The Federation sickbay was incredibly bright and as incredibly cold, but Brenok didn’t care. Kapoor ran toward a room behind a transparent wall, but she was stopped by a human nurse.
“You can’t go in there, they are operating,” the nurse explained.
The human gil turned to Brenok, as if she wanted to ask him to let her in, but he only sent her a sad and worried look and approached the wall to take a look inside. “How is he?” he asked the nurse.
“He lost lots of blood, so he will need a transfusion for sure. Right now they’re trying to stitch his wound.”
“It was you!” Kapoor’s voice behind him was full of fury and hatred. He turned startled to see Kapoor jumping to Jeto, whom he hadn’t noticed before.
“Kapoor!” he ran to her to stop her from attacking the Bajoran; he grabbed her just in time. “Compose yourself,” he said in a firm voice. Her face was wet from tears but her eyes shone with anger.
The doors to the sickbay opened and th’Arshar entered, accompanied by Ya’val. The captain went straight to the gul.
“Gul Brenok, whoever did this, they will be found and punished.”
“Your punishment,” Kapoor hissed. “She will live a comfortable life in a penal colony,” she looked furiously at Brenok. She wanted blood, he knew. “She should be punished according to the Cardassian law,” her eyes went to Jeto’s face. “Why isn’t she arrested yet?”
“Gil Kapoor, you’re out of line,” Brenok warned her. “But her question is valid,” he added looking at th’Arshar.
“Lieutenant Jeto had nothing to do with it,” the Andorian sounded annoyed. “And I don’t appreciate your unfounded accusation,” he added.
Jeto observed them calmly. No muscle moved on her face.
“Sir, Lieutenant Jeto has saved Glinn Karama’s life,” Ya’val said quietly. “If she hadn’t stopped his bleeding, he would have died before help would arrive.”
Kapoor’s body language changed completely. She covered her mouth with her hand and tears filled her eyes again. Jeto looked at her and a small, smug smile appeared on her face.
“I’m sorry, Lieutenant,” Brenok said. “We shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.”
She gave him a cold look. Kapoor was already stuck to the transparent wall.
“Where is Sabal’s body?” the gul asked.
“We have put it in our morgue,” th’Arshar replied. “It’s ready to be beamed to your ship. Lieutenant Fong has started an investigation--” he silenced as Brenok raised his hand.
“No offence, Captain, but we don’t know who did this. I do not want to accuse anyone of anything but it was someone from your ship. I’d rather have my team to investigate it.”
“It happened aboard a Federation ship.”
“And was committed by a Federation crewmember.”
“Lieutenant Fong was with me all that time, sir,” Ya’val said. “He couldn’t have done that.”
Brenok eyed his engineer and then agreed. “Fine. He can be included in the investigation but my officers will lead it.”
“Agreed. But no Cardassian style interrogations.” Brenok squinted at him. “And we will not extradite the suspect to Cardassia. We don’t have to, there is no such agreement between our governments and this ship is a Federation territory.”
Brenok pursed his lips, his face gaining even sharper look. “It was a Cardassian who had been killed and it is a Cardassian, who fights for his life over there.” He pointed to the operating room. “The guilty must face the Cardassian law. Otherwise we would feel that he escaped the justice.”
“I will not allow you to execute anyone from this crew, regardless of what he or she had done, and we both know that this would be the sentence.”
Brenok kept shaking his head. “I will not allow a murderer to walk away free.”
“The guilty won’t walk away free, Gul. He’s going to face consequences.”
“A penal colony on a comfortable island?” Brenok asked scoffingly.
“NO!” Brenok barked with force, startling th’Arshar who clearly didn’t expect that. “Either you agree to this condition or I lead the investigation and take him by force.”
Ya’val gave his gul a surprised look, but he didn’t say anything.
“I will fight you,” th’Arshar hissed. His antennae bent forward and lay almost flat on his head. “You will not kill anyone from this crew.”
Brenok made two steps forward, eliminating the distance between him and the Federation captain, and spat the words between his teeth, “But of course your crew can kill us, after all your morality is superior to ours, isn’t it?”
“Sir,” Brenok heard soft voice of Ronus. “Sirs
. How about a compromise?”
“You want us to half-execute him?” Mockery in Brenok’s voice was obvious.
“How about a penal colony, but a Cardassian penal colony?”
“This is against the law,” Brenok protested.
“Can’t you ask your friends in the Central Command to make it happen?” th’Arshar sneered.
“The Central Command has nothing to do with it,” Brenok growled. “Maybe your Starfleet tells our archons what sentences they should issue, but on Cardassia the judiciary system is independent from the government.”
“Since many years. As opposed to you, we have reformed.”
“Gul Brenok, please. Can’t you try?” Ronus approached them and looked the gul in the eye. “Maybe this could be a start for starting official talks about subjects like this between our governments. This is not a typical situation.”
Brenok’s eyes moved from the blue face of the Andorian to the spotted face of the Trill. “All right,” he decided after a moment. “I will consult the chief archon. And then we will do what she decides.”
“Eye for an eye,” Kapoor said loudly. She stood with her back to them, as she watched the operation, but her voice was strong and there wasn’t any doubt who she talked to.
“I think you spent too much time among the Cardassians, Kapoor,” th’Arshar commented.
“Actually,” she turned to face him, “the origin of this philosophy comes from Earth.” She silenced for a moment. “But I am sure the killer spent too much time among the Cardassians and took their evil
habits of random murdering innocent people.”
“That’s enough, Gil,” Ya’val said.
“I will talk to the archon,” decided Brenok.
“Sir!” Kapoor looked at him surprised and disappointed.
The gul approached her, took her aside and then quietly explained, “We have to compromise. I understand your feelings, I share them, but this is also about diplomacy. We may not like it, but we have to play this game.”
She pursed her lips and turned away without a word; she went back to the transparent wall. Brenok didn’t blame her. And he knew that there was little chance of convincing the chief archon to forgo an execution, especially if there would be two victims instead of one. He looked at the operating table. “Don’t you dare to die,” he muttered to himself. “I will talk to the archon but I can’t guarantee she’s going to agree to this. What will you do if she doesn’t?”
“Let’s worry about this when we know for sure,” Ronus said.
“That’s very short-sighted,” Brenok commented.
“Perhaps. But it would give me some time to think about the answer to your question.”
Brenok sucked his teeth. “I want Sabal’s body beamed to the Damar
“At once, Gul,” Ronus nodded and gave a nurse necessary instructions.
Th’Arshar didn’t say anything; his eyes didn’t leave Brenok. The gul didn’t care about the captain’s hard glare. He wondered what he would tell Sabal’s family and what kind of interstellar consequences would this matter cause. He had to tell Legate Jarol.
Sabal... He couldn’t believe his pilot was gone.