Gul Brenok entered Legate Jarol’s office hoping his face didn’t betray his feelings. He feared that moment. He knew her reaction would be violent and aggressive. He wished he could do that without witnesses, so if she’d hit him he would just forget about it, no execution for assaulting a superior necessary. With the command centre beyond the half-glass door this might prove difficult.
She looked up at him from behind her desk and he hesitated. How should he tell her that? Officially or as a friend?
“Atira...” He started and silenced.
“What’s wrong?” The curiosity on her face changed to worry.
There wasn’t any easy way to do it. Whatever he would choose, it would hit her hard. “I have sent Laran to deal with the plague matter.”
?!” In a split second she was in front of him, the front of her armour pushing on his, making squeaking sound; she literally shouted the last word in his face.
“This mission had to be led by a civilian,” he explained.
Her eyes were full of fear. He expected pure fury but saw mostly fear. She grabbed the collar of his armour and pushed him to the wall, pressing him there. He never realised how strong she was.
“What did you do?!” she hissed.
He knew she heard him, he knew she understood. He didn’t say anything and only listened to her heavy breathing.
“I brought him here because I wanted him near me,” she said quietly. “I brought him because I didn’t want to leave him behind on Cardassia. I brought him because I am an egoist and I didn’t learn anything.” Her eyes glistened with moisture. Suddenly, he understood what she was getting to and started to shake his head. “I brought him here because I thought he would be safe with me. And I brought him here to...die.” The last word was whispered.
“No, no, Atira, no...” He could only shake his head. “He’s not going to die. He will just make decisions. I told him clearly to keep away from the planet.” He grabbed her hands on his collar, removed them off his armour and hid inside his. He wished she said she’d kill him if Demok died. He wished she hit him in the face and broke his nose. He wished she took a phaser and pointed it at him. He wished for anything else than this.
He was glad she had pressed him to the wall—they were not visible from the command in this place. He would hate them to see her crying. It wouldn’t be the first time her crew would see her weak moments but this crew was new and their relationship wasn’t fully formed yet. Zamarran would still respect her but who knew what Borad would think.
She let him go and returned to her desk trying to compose herself.
“Anything else, sir?” she asked, not really looking at him.
“No,” he replied softly. It didn’t escape his attention that she addressed him ‘sir.’
“I’m busy, so if you don’t mind...”
He left her office without a word. He felt horrible but still believed that his decision was right. He only hoped he wouldn’t have to change his mind later.
Glinn Korel observed the team of eight Cardassians leaving the Hideki shuttle Elar
. Seven of them wore military armours and one, the youngest, a civilian attire.
The civilian approached the glinn. “I am Sub-Archon Demok,” he said.
“Gul Toral is awaiting you. Please follow me to the bridge.”
Isn’t he too young for this?
Korel thought, stealing a glance at the sub-archon. But then, it wasn’t his place to criticise anyone who has made the decision of sending Demok here.
Without any more word he led them to the bridge, where Gul Toral, in even worse mood than he had been in the morning, argued with some grey-haired human on the main viewer.
“Ah, there you have your civilian presence,” Toral barked toward the screen, pointing to Demok.
The sub-archon stood next to the gul and looked at the human man. “I am Laran Demok, Sub-Archon of the Cardassian Union,” he said in a calm but firm voice. “From now on you may address me in all matters regarding your problem.”
“How old are you?” the human asked defiantly.
Toral and Korel glanced at Demok who sent a cold stare and did not bother to reply.
After a moment the human spoke. “I am Governor Krause. What kind of help can you offer us?”
“I have two more medics with me who are ready to join those that already work on the solution. Hopefully, their fresh ideas would prove fruitful.”
“And if not?”
“Then we will have to come up with other solutions.”
“When will you be here?”
Demok glanced at Toral.
“Two hours,” the gul said.
Korel went to his post to prepare full information for Demok.
“We will talk then,” Krause barked and without any more word disconnected.
“Charming,” Demok rolled his eyes. “I thought politicians should be sickly sweet.”
Korel tried not to smirk—the last thing one could say about Demok’s mother was ‘sickly sweet.’
“Gul Toral,” the sub-archon looked at the warship’s commander. “I will need some office, a small room with a screen with suffice. I would also appreciate if your medic would find a place where Boreep and Albek could work. I guess they’d require some kind of laboratory.”
“My medic already volunteered to help too.” Toral nodded.
“Good.” Demok looked around the bridge, then moved closer to Toral. “Gul Toral,” he said quieter, “I don’t want to undermine your authority. I will be our ‘face’ for Krause, since he refuses any military involvement, but I can’t do it without you and your crew.”
Toral smiled slightly. “You can count on me, Sub-Archon.”
Demok let the air out of his lungs. He seemed relieved but maybe it was only Korel’s impression.
“Now, about that office?” the sub-archon asked.
The glinn interrupted his work. “We could adapt secondary tactical centre on deck two for this purpose,” he said. He looked at Demok. “It is small, but close to the bridge, only a deck away, and the equipment should meet your needs.”
“Won’t you need it?” Demok looked at Toral.
“It is needed only in specific tactical situations.” The gul shook his head. “I don’t foresee a battle in near future, so it’s all yours.”
“Lead the way.” Demok looked at Korel. The glinn felt irrational irritation that he was being ordered by not-his-gul, but since Toral gave him an expectant look, it was clear that the order was as good as issued by the commander.
“Follow me, Sub-Archon,” he said and noticed that Demok waved to his team to follow him, which they did. It didn’t escape him that Toral observed the whole scene with great amusement.
“Medic Boreep and Medic Albek, please go directly to the infirmary,” Demok said to both men when they all entered a lift. They acknowledged by nodding and, along with the nurses, stayed in the lift while everyone else left the car and headed for the tactical centre that was just about to become Demok’s office.
“I will send you full information about the situation,” Korel informed the sub-archon after they arrived to the room. “I have it almost ready.”
“Thank you,” Demok smiled.
Korel nodded and left. The door closed behind him and he stopped, shaking his head. Through the door he heard a moan “Aladar” undoubtedly in Demok’s voice. Definitely too young
, he grinned to himself and returned to the bridge. The young sub-archon was just about to face the real life.