Cardassian Union Warship Damar
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
28th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar
“How did you do it?!” th’Arshar stormed into Brenok’s office, followed by quite scared Dole.
“Sir, I tried to stop him, but unless I used physical force, it was--”
“That’s all right, Gil,” Brenok raised his hand to stop the nervous stream of words. “You’re dismissed.”
The tactician nodded and left while the gul looked at the Andorian.
“How did I do what?” he asked calmly.
“Who did you contact and who did you bribe to have my crewmember extradited to your poor excuse of justice?”
Now Brenok was so puzzled that he ignored the bribery insinuation. “What?”
Th’Arshar looked like a balloon from which air was escaping. He clearly expected the Cardassian to join the heated argument, but the gul not only stared at him calmly with his greenish eyes, he also appeared not to know what th’Arshar was talking about.
“Starfleet contacted me this morning. They told me I am to give you the guilty of the murder as long as his or her guilt is undoubtedly proven.”
Brenok leaned back in his chair and was sure a satisfied smile appeared on his face in spite of his efforts not to let it happen. “I filed my report and it seems like Cardassia reacted,” he said.
“It reacted, yes.” The Andorian put his hands on the desk, leaning toward the gul. “I don’t know how you did this and why Starfleet agreed to this atrocity, but I will fight it.”
“Atrocity, Captain? We will execute a murderer
. This is justice.”
justice!” The word ‘your’ was so full of contempt that it was telling the gul everything about th’Arshar’s opinion of the Cardassian tribunal.
Brenok didn’t say anything. He didn’t care about that opinion, he was satisfied that the public need for justice would be satisfied. And he was glad that they could tell the public the Federation agreed to their solution. He was only a little surprised that the matter was solved within one night. Jarol’s words still rang in his head and he wished he could talk to someone about what she had told him the previous evening, but he couldn’t.
He knew one thing for sure: th’Arshar could fight it all he wanted; the Federation made their decision and they were ready to ‘sacrifice’ one of their own and give him to ‘suffer Cardassian atrocities in form of their tribunal’. He was sure that was how th’Arshar saw it.
“Sit down, Captain,” he said, pointing to a chair on the other side of his desk.
The Andorian exhaled air audibly and stormed out of the office.
“Or not,” Brenok shrugged and returned to his work.
He knew that Kapoor and Ya’val kept working on the database, but didn’t put a lot of hope in a swift solution. He was sure Kapoor was far from normal state of mind and he felt guilty of ordering her to return to duty, while her husband lay in the Federation sickbay. At least they knew he would make it and should fully return to health. Taret had told him that they should be able to transport him to the Damar
infirmary within next two days.
Zamarran was busy with the investigation. He had beamed aboard the Karamazov
in the early morning and joined Lieutenant Fong in his security office. Brenok hoped that they would quickly find the guilty ones as for now he feared to send any of his people to the Federation vessel. The science lab, in which Kapoor and Ya’val worked, was guarded by five militiamen and Zamarran had two gareshes with him at all times but somehow the gul didn’t worry any less. A murderer was a murderer and as long as someone who targeted Cardassians on that spaceship was on large, he would not feel that any Cardassian there was safe.
“Taret to Gul Brenok
,” said the medic’s voice through the comm.
“We’re ready, sir
“I’ll be there in a few minutes,” the gul replied and rose. He didn’t come from behind his desk yet when the doors to his office opened and th’Arshar entered.
“I want to make one thing clear,” he said. “You will not get any of arrested suspects in your hands until their guilt is undoubtedly proven.”
Brenok’s eyes opened wide in astonishment. “Err...what?”
“You heard me!” Th’Arshar boomed.
“Captain, why would you arrest people whose guilt is not proven yet?”
Th’Arshar’s face mirrored Brenok’s in its expression. They started at each other for a moment and then th’Arshar sat down. So did Brenok.
“Ok, seems like we have some unclear matter here,” the Andorian spoke first.
“So I can see,” Brenok nodded. “You said you wouldn’t give me someone who is not proved guilty but was arrested. How can you arrest someone without proving his or her guilt?”
“Suspects get arrested and they remain suspects until their guilt is proven. Then and only then they become referred to as guilty.”
“You mean you arrest people, keep them locked and all this without proving their guilt first?” Brenok was more shocked than surprised.
“They always is evidence of their guilt. They face the court to publicly prove their guilt, to prove that investigators were right to arrest this person and not someone else.”
“Do they make mistakes?”
“Sometimes. Sometimes suspects occur to be innocent and are let go.”
“And how do you give them back the time they had spent in a jail?”
“I didn’t say the system was perfect,” th’Arshar grinned slightly as if he apologised for something. “How do you do this? I thought that once someone is suspected of something, they are automatically guilty of it. And a public trial starts just for a show, as the outcome and the sentence are already known.”
“That’s how it used to be before the Dominion War. The essential letter of the law hasn’t changed, but of course being a suspect doesn’t make you guilty yet. This was an abuse and we made sure the law was changed accordingly. Nowadays, before you can make an arrest, you have to prove the guilt first and then
you can arrest the offender. Never the other way around. If suspects are innocent, they should not be arrested.”
“I imagine it’s not perfect either.”
“Is anything in the universe?”
Brenok stared at th’Arshar not believing his own ears, but then he noticed a small smile playing on the Andorian’s lip and burst into laughter. The captain joined him.
“You thought I was serious,” he said.
“For a moment you got me there.” Brenok didn’t remember when he had a good laugh last time.
“I still don’t like the idea of executing one of my people.” Th’Arshar was serious again.
“I don’t like the idea of one of mine in the morgue and another one in your sickbay any better.” And so was Brenok.
The Obsidian Order vessel
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
28th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar
Brenok entered the engineering of the Obsidian Order vessel to see that the place was quite packed. Apart from officers, who were there as they had jobs to do, there were guards posted by the door and in critical points of the engineering.
Brenok thought of the irony; here they were, the ‘good’ Federation and the ‘evil’ Cardassians and who needed protection from whom?
“Sir,” Taret acknowledged Brenok’s presence.
The medic, the Federation medic, whose name—Brenok knew—was O’Riordan, Lieutenant Av’Roo, Lieutenant Churmou and, to Brenok’s mild surprise, Lieutenant Jeto were gathered around one of stasis chambers. Captain th’Arshar stood in the vicinity; Brenok guessed he wanted to observe but not interfere with their work.
“Is there any reason you chose this one?” the gul asked, meaning the people in stasis.
“No,” Taret answered simply.
“Proceed whenever you’re ready,” Brenok said and went to stand next to th’Arshar.
The captain appeared to be concentrated as if it were him who had the work to do.
“You realise this person can cause more problems than solve,” he said.
“I do,” Brenok nodded. “But I don’t see any other option.”
Th’Arshar sighed. “And what if this person kills Saratt?”
Brenok looked at him. The Andorian kept staring at working medical team, but his face clearly expressed worry. Not hearing Brenok’s answer he turned his head to look at the gul.
“I hope she doesn’t,” the Cardassian whispered. He wanted to say that he wouldn’t allow it, but he knew there was little he could do once the woman connected to the computer.
“Maybe killing her would be a solution,” th’Arshar said as quietly.
“By the time we’d realise what she did, it would be too late.”
Brenok was sure th’Arshar was still mad because of the extradition matter, but he couldn’t help but admire the captain’s professionalism—the Andorian could put his feelings away and still co-operate in other matters as efficiently as always.
All members of the medical team—both Cardassian and Federation—turned and look at their captains. Waited.
“Proceed,” Brenok said.
Taret entered a command into the stasis chamber padd and stepped aside with a hypospray in his hand. The cover hissed and slowly opened. The woman inside did not move. O’Riordan started to scan her and then nodded to Taret. The medic injected something into woman’s arm and nodded to the doctor to resume her scans.
“So far so good,” she said.
Taret reprogrammed the hypospray and injected something again. Brenok was curious what all those actions meant but he didn’t want to disturb their work. He knew he would receive a report later, a very detailed report.
The woman was leaning against a kind of vertical bed behind her back and obviously this was nothing mysterious to Taret, as he tapped at a small padd inside the chamber and the bed slid down, with its occupant on it, to horizontal position. The woman was now laying on a kind of biobed.
“Interesting solution,” O’Riordan commented.
Taret didn’t say anything. He leaned over the woman and took his own scans, concentrating mostly on her head and the hand with implants. He looked at nurse Malek and he handed the medic another hypospray. Taret took it, his hand hovered over the woman’s neck, then he sighed heavily and injected that new medicine into her neck, just below the ear in front of the neck ridge.
It seemed like the air in the engineering became more dense; it was harder to breath, so everyone stopped breathing.
“Please step back,” Taret said to O’Riordan. “It’s better if she sees only Cardassians at first.”
All Federation personnel moved beyond the woman’s range of sight.
The woman’s eyelids twitched slightly and then she slowly opened her eyes. Taret and Malek stood on both sides of her bed to shield her from as much light as possible. They patiently waited for the woman to wake up completely.
After a long moment, during which no one said a word, her eyes finally adapted to the ambient light and she could look at the faces above her. She licked her dry lips, so Malek wetted them with a damp swab. Her lips then moved and it was obvious she wanted to say something. Taret closed his ear to her mouth, she repeated and the medic looked at Brenok.
“She asks if it’s time yet,” he said.
“Time for what?” Brenok asked, knowing that Taret had no answer to this question.
“When can she normally talk?” th’Ashar demanded.
“Soon, give her some more time.”
“But do we talk about minutes, hours or days?”
“Minutes. She won’t be able to tell much, but she should be able to answer some of our--”
He didn’t finish as she grabbed his arm.