“May I join?” A voice that she immediately recognised said over her head. She only nodded. “Captain,” the newcomer greeted Ronus.
“Mr. Demok, how are you?”
“Errr...mister?” The young man pondered that word for a moment and then smiled; Jarol knew he liked to be called ‘mister.’ “I’m fine, thank you. How do you like the station?”
“I’m glad it’s on our side,” the Trill smiled.
Demok laughed, glancing at his mother.
“Legate,” Ronus’s attention returned to the woman. “Can I ask one more question. A...naughty one.” She put her fork away and nodded. In a meantime, Demok ordered his food. “You said that giving power to someone, who didn’t prove their worth yet, is wrong. That they have to climb the ladder of career first.”
“That’s right,” she confirmed.
“Then how do you justify a coup? How do you justify your
coup? You took power by force, not by proving anything to anyone.”
Demok’s eyes opened wider, as he listened to Ronus and then slowly, without his head moving, his eyes shifted to his mother’s face.
She didn’t reply at first. She was looking at Ronus who, she had to give him that, bravely looked her in the eye.
“It was the only way not to let Cardassia be destroyed,” she said finally. “Our group consisted of people who had proven themselves in command and on battlefield. We weren’t anonymous civilians out of nowhere.” She paused, thinking for a moment. The truth was she didn’t have a good answer to that question, but she would never admit it. Not to an alien. Not to many Cardassians. She still believed it had been the right thing to do and she would participate in it again, if she had to face the same choice once more.
“But you didn’t use legal ways of getting that power. Ways that you seem to believe in.”
“There was no time.”
“Sounds like an excuse.”
She stared coldly at him for a long while before answering. “Cardassia was in ruin, that included also its political system. We couldn’t do it the right way, because the right way didn’t exist any longer. We needed to bring back something that had been corrupted and destroyed. We had to reach far into the past and restore it. The Federation didn’t want us to restore, they wanted us to copy them.”
“I don’t understand,” Ronus admitted.
“When the Cardassian Union was formed, there was a new law implemented. That law, those rules, had been changing and getting corrupted with time until they reached a climax about a hundred years ago. We had to clean that law from the trash and restore its pure form with some modifications that wouldn’t allow a new disease to grow on it.”
“So, in other words, at that moment you felt you were allowed to go above the law and now you try to deny that right to others.” Jarol noticed that her son stared intently at the Trill and slowly shook his head; a warning—‘don’t go there.’ Ronus seemed not to notice. “What if someone attempts to overthrow your government the same way?”
“No one would dare,” she smiled sinisterly. Suddenly her attention was drawn to her son’s plate. “You’re not going to eat that
!” she shouted.
“Yes, I am.”
“Do you want to look like Legate Fostor?” Every mother used that historical figure to warn her children not to eat too greasy food; her son might be an adult but his love for unhealthy food required constant reminders. Legate Forstor who, the legend claimed, was too fat to get through a door so all doors in the Central Command building had to be widened for him, was a perfect example against relishing junk food.
“Someone has to look like a legate in this family,” Demok smiled.
“You won’t be my Droplet, you will be my Ocean,” she poked his arm.
“Yeah!” He put the first bite into his mouth.
She looked at Ronus, who observed the whole scene with amusement, and asked him. “Do you have children?”
“No,” he shook his head. “Not in this life, I mean.”
“Lucky you.” She jabbed her finger into Demok’s arm again. “How about in previous lives? Were they as annoying as he is?”
“Sometimes even worse,” he smiled. “But I loved them all.”
“Well, I hate him
“Of course you do.” He was smiling. She wondered if what he had just seen reminded him of something from his past. She smiled too.
“You’re going to have a salad with that,” she told her son. “Vitamins, you know.”
“Uhmmmm,” he muttered. She knew he hated all greens. Fruits weren’t his favourite either. He liked the same food as his father and Legate Tiron Demok’s line was getting more and more ‘legatish’ with time.
“Isn’t there any law against this kind of food?” she asked.
Demok smiled widely and shook his head.
She heard Ronus giggle. She looked at the Trill and he immediately silenced, but she sent him a friendly smile and he guffawed, covering his mouth with his hand.
“I’m afraid, Legate,” he started, “that there is no way I will ever again shit my pants in your presence.”
“You won’t what
?!” Demok swallowed his food and stared at the Trill.
“I intimidate him,” Jarol said.
“Mommy, you intimidate everyone
,” the young Cardassian said slowly. “I think even Grandpa is afraid of you.”
“I wish I could intimidate you
“Not in this life!”
“Can I borrow your symbiont?” Jarol asked Ronus. “I have to kill him but I’d like to retain his memories for a new son.”
“Sorry, this symbiont likes its current host.”
“I’ll give it back, promise.”
“Uh-uh,” Ronus shook his head.
“He’s right, you don’t
intimidate him any more,” Demok smiled mischievously.
“Shut up or you’ll have to eat two sets of salads.”
Demok pursed his lips but his eyes were laughing. So were Ronus’s.
Jarol knew the political conversation has not ended and, in a way, she looked forward to the next instalment.