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Old January 2 2011, 11:44 AM   #1
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

As always, a regular warning about my Pinglish (Polish mixed with English)

The title is a paraphrase of Ability without honour is useless by Cicero.

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Strength without sacrifice is useless


Episode 1


Chapter 1


Gul Zamarran thought he would go mad within next three seconds. His nose was itchy, it was itchy the most itchy way possible and he could not scratch it! He wrinkled his nose, twisted it and even sniffed but it brought no relief. He tried to ignore it but the moment his hand flattened on the faceplate of his EVA suit headpiece he knew that it was impossible to ignore it. His fingers knew better and wanted to scratch!

“Sir,” Gil Kapoor gave him an attentive look, “Is everything all right with your EVA suit?”

“Yes, Kapoor, it’s fine,” he muttered.

She stared at him, clearly not believing him, so he stared back with the most grim look he could muster—and it wasn’t easy with the itchy nose!—and she finally averted her eyes.

“Thirty seconds, sir,” one of engineers behind him said.

“Acknowledged,” Zamarran muttered, wrinkling his nose. He glanced at Kapoor who tried so hard not to look at him...and not to laugh.

He looked at the console in front of him and then carefully, making sure he punched the right keys in the thick gloves he wore, entered a command. He could hear a hum of the station coming to life and lights brightened the interior. He checked the life support readings and it seemed that the place was almost fully filled with breathable air.

“All systems appear to work normally,” Kapoor reported.

“Anything wrong in other sections? The tactics?” Zamarran asked, wrinkling his nose. Again.

“No, sir. Everything is working within established—and expected—parameters.”

Zamarran turned off magnetic function of his boots, then jumped. And returned to the deck, just as it should be. “Artificial gravity works,” he said.

“Sensors indicate that we have the atmosphere,” one of engineers reported.

It took Zamarran only a nanosecond—he growled loudly, punched keys to release the lock on his face plate, which was not an easy task in the gloves, and raised it. Then he rubbed his whole face with his palms, hoping the gloves material would also reach the itchy skin on his nose. The relief was enormous.

Kapoor’s cheeks filled with air as she tried to stay serious and not explode with laughter. She removed her head piece.

“Go and check the neighbouring sections,” Zamarran ordered the others and a moment later he and Kapoor were alone in the maintains section.

As soon as the engineers left the human woman guffawed.

“Damn it, Kapoor! At least laugh quieter so they can’t hear you,” he growled but didn’t manage to hide his own smile. She covered her mouth with her hands, muffling the sound a bit. She was allowed to laugh, she was his best friend’s wife after all, but not in the presence of his other subordinates! That would be disastrous for discipline!

His lips’ ends twitched a bit but he had to maintain his serious face. He was on duty and that required some kind of dignified behaviour, didn’t it?

Reports from all over the station were coming in. He ordered to direct them all to the command centre and headed there himself, followed by Kapoor.

It’s been a year and a half since he had arrived to the Traken system with the plans, men and resources. Since that moment engineering crews worked twenty-four hours a day to construct the station according to his plans as soon as possible. When he had been designing the station along with greatest engineers of Cardassia, he had no idea how difficult it would be to put life into the theory. If he knew, he’d design something smaller and easier to built.

He took of his glove and touched the bulkhead. He slid his hand on it as he walked, enjoying the touch of his baby. It was the first time he had a chance to do it; up until now everyone had to wear EVA suits aboard the station. There still were unfinished parts of it, including five out of eight pylons, but after activating force fields and securing the completed elements—the most of tactical ring, the habitat ring and the pole—should be habitable. So far no one reported leaks, so he hoped there would be no more delays.

They had had some delays, unfortunately. Zamarran knew such things had to happen sometimes and there was no way of preventing them, but he was unsatisfied with himself that he had not foreseen them. He had been told that the time was of the essence, however he had also been told it had to be done properly, so if he needed more time, he’d get it. He knew why; no one needs a military outpost that falls apart after getting hit by one torpedo.

On top of that he had to deal with a dozen of civilian engineers. He couldn’t stand them. None of them. All twelve women were highly skilled professionals and totally arrogant monsters. He could deal with their demands of high standards, he set a high standard for himself, but he hated when they were treating him like an idiot just because he was a man. They were civilians and their thinking was purely engineering. He was also a soldier and they were building a military station, which had to answer to military needs. The women clearly couldn’t understand that and each time he implemented something that was unusual from their point of view, but necessary from the tactical point of view, they insisted he was making things unnecessarily complicated. No explanations could convince them. Fortunately, they had to follow his orders and they did, but not before moaning loudly about how inadequate his designs were.

He appreciated Kapoor’s presence by his side. Not only a woman, but also fully on his side. The civilian engineers seemed to trust Kapoor’s judgement more than his.

“Kapoor,” he said, turning his head to glance at the human woman who walked behind him. “How about a small celebration?”

“What are we celebrating?”

“Success in completing the main core of the station,” he answered. “I also thought that we might celebrate it on the station.”

Kapoor smiled. “Sounds good, sir.”

He didn’t tell her that he would also celebrate the leaving of the civilian engineers. Once the main part of the station was finished, the civilians’ roles came to an end. They weren’t needed for the pylons, those elements were a standard design.

“Where will we celebrate?” the human asked.

“How about in the command? Or do you prefer the tactics?”

“The command sounds great. I won’t be a frequent guest there, so I could use the opportunity,” she smiled.

“Not that you would be a frequent guest at the tactics.”

“No, but hopefully tactics would be mostly abandoned with only skeleton staff.”

He understood her sentiment. The command was the stations operating centre and it’s brain. The tactics was its tactical centre where the commanding staff would move in case of an attack. The command was on the top on the main pole of the station and it was quite a vulnerable place; that’s why Zamarran designed the tactics—a secondary command centre hidden deep in the pole and harder to destroy and kill all command staff of Rayak Nor. Normally, however, the tactics would be manned by only limited staff and all station operations would be performed from the advanced and multifunctional command centre.

“When does the boss come?” Kapoor asked when they entered the lift.

“Tomorrow.”

“And the rest?”

“Soon after that. She wants to inspect the station first.”

“I hope we’ll pass.”

“So do I, Kapoor, so do I.” He silenced for a moment and then smiled. “I am not sure but I think that part of our crew will arrive aboard the Damar.”

The human’s face brightened. Her husband served on the Damar as the gul’s aide and if the warship was coming to Rayak Nor, she would have a chance to see him.

The lift arrived to the command. They left it and entered to spacious chamber.

A row of consoles built into bulkheads, another row of consoles on level three—the commanding officer’s office was on the same level, to the left from the lift—and another row on level two and finally display screen and an oval tactical and operation table in the middle of the pit on the lowest level.

Most consoles were dark, as only life support and related systems were active.

“It’s huge,” Kapoor commented. “It’s bigger than Deep Space Nine’s.”

“Terok Nor was a mining station. This is a military outpost.”

“It was hard not to notice that instead of ore processing core we have torpedo launchers,” she flashed a smile.

“How do you feel about it, Kapoor?” he asked, going toward the door to the office.

“About what, sir?” she followed him.

“About building a Cardassian military outpost? Don’t you feel you work against your own people?”

“As far as I know it’s not about my people.”

They entered the office. There were two oval windows there, through which they could see engineering ships circling the station. A desk stood near one of the windows but chairs didn’t arrive yet. Zamarran leaned over the console that was built into the edge of the desk on left and activated the monitor.

“If we are at war with the Federation, this station would fight against them,” he explained.

“I hope it won’t happen. I’d hate to see any war and such a war especially.”

The gul straightened and looked around. There was a small shelf on the wall; he had installed it personally. He knew the commanding officer would bring a small sculpture with her and this little shelf’s sole purpose was to display that sculpture.

“Shall we go back, sir?” the gil asked him.

“You go ahead. I’ll stay a little longer,” he replied.

They left the office and she headed for the lift.

“Meet me here at eight,” he said. “Bring some real food, in case the replicators here won’t be co-operative.”

“I will, sir,” she smiled. “The inner ring,” she barked to the lift and a moment later was gone.

Zamarran looked around again. “Hi, station,” he said quietly. “Promise to be good, all right? Don’t bring us any shame? And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

He touched one of screens and enjoyed the smooth and cold touch of the cover. He was tempted to activate holographic display that had been installed for the operations table, but resisted. He knew that only two cores out of five had been activated and the available energy might not be enough. The last thing he wanted to do was rto isk his engineers’ lives by taking energy from the life support in their locations.

He went to level two and sat at the engineering station. He entered a few commands and checked some systems. After that he just sat comfortably in the chair and enjoyed the quietness of the commanding centre. Soon, very soon it would be filled with life, noises, beeping and conversations.

Soon. Now, however, he was the master of silence in the command. He smiled and rocked in the chair, enjoying the moment.


tbc
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In a Cardassian library or in a Cardassian gallery?

"Reagan, it appears, is really only an ardent unionist if the unions in question are in Poland" - Stephen King, Skeleton Crew
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