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Old February 10 2011, 02:42 PM   #131
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Chapter 19 – Day 521

Seeing one’s own mother crying is one of the most terrible and scary things in the galaxy. It was for me.

“Mom, please...” I whispered.

But she only kept shaking her head and sobbing. Dad was sitting next to her, frowning. I could understand how they felt, that’s why I wanted to explain to them the reasons behind my decisions.

I had been sending letters and calling them occasionally, but didn’t share everything—not a word about Tavor. I didn’t know why; maybe I feared their reaction, maybe I was not sure there was any future for this relationship and didn’t want to hear another ‘you sell yourself cheap,’ as if I slept with everyone. Hell, I didn’t even sleep with Tavor!

You must return home,” Dad said. “You must. We watch the news, we know what’s going on there. I always knew these Cardies cannot be trusted and I never liked that you had volunteered for this assignment. And now—this?” He raised his hands and then brought them down to his thighs with a loud slap. “You must return!

“Dad, I don’t want to return.” I didn’t appreciate his calling my friends ‘Cardies.’

Is there anyone beyond the camera view with a phaser pointed at your head?

“No!” I shouted with indignation.

So why can’t you return?

“I don’t want to return, Dad. I can but don’t want to.”

They made you say this. I know they did.” He was visibly shaking now. I wasn’t sure he was angry, nervous or scared.

“Daddy,” I tried to calm him down. “It’s not like that. I have friends here, I have a life here. You know that, I had been telling you about them. It’s not that different from Starfleet, really.”

How can you say this!” Mom shouted. “I know you have friends there, sweetheart, people you care for, that security girl,” I guessed she meant Ma’Kan, “But...this is dangerous place now. After that coup! Do you have any idea what kind of monsters are in power now?

“Actually, Mom, I have a very good idea, because I know personally some of those people. They are not any monsters.” Glinn Brenok was a definition of a non-monster, if anything. “I’m sure it looks bad from over there, but here it isn’t—”

You must return home, now!” Dad shouted.

“No,” I tried to be calm, I really tried. Why couldn’t they trust me? I wasn’t a baby any more, I could take care of myself.


“No,” I repeated. “And I have more news for you. I am getting married.”

Silence for a long moment.

To one of them?” Mom stopped crying a looked at me with round eyes.

“That’s right.” I nodded. “He is a gentle and a wonderful man.”

What is his name?” Mom asked. Somehow, her behaviour changed. Maybe she could understand me better now, maybe she could see that for love a woman is able to do anything and everything. Maybe she started to believe that I wanted to stay and was not forced to it. If being in love and getting married wasn’t a reason good and convincing enough, then I don’t know what would be.

“Tavor Karama.” I said his name softly, as it always sounded softly to me. Once Tavor had told me that I said his name almost the same way that Glinn Brenok did. Tah-voh. I had terrible problems with Cardassian ‘r’ sound, never could get it right and at ends of words I was omitting it completely. Too much contact with British during my school days, I supposed.

Mom nodded, absorbing the name, but Dad fumed.

That rapist?!

“What?” I didn’t expect that. And then it occurred to me that he had to talk about Tavor’s father. No doubt Bajorans shared their list of war criminals with the Federation and Dad could have become very interested in the subject since my coming to Cardassia.

He’d raped that officer, the one that had been there with you. That’s why she had been sent back, not to be able to press charges against him. Cardassian law...” he muttered with contempt.

So it wasn’t about Tavor’s father. Stupid Ullmann! I wanted to scream in anger. “No, Dad, that is absolutely not true.” How come was my voice so quiet?

What did he do to you?” Dad asked suspiciously. “Did he...did he....harm you?” His voice shook. I knew it was hard for him to even think about his daughter being violated that way.

“No, Daddy, he is not like this.”

Did he...did—

“Daddy, no! He never touched me. At all. It’s not appropriate for them. Only after being married.”

Oh, and I suppose they were all married to those Bajoran women they had been raping for decades.

“Dad! Don’t judge the whole race based on minority!” I said sharply.

But it doesn’t seem like a minority to me, baby. That’s the problem.

I clenched my hands, trying not to explode. “He hasn’t even been to Bajor. Ever.” I paused to take a breath. “If you could talk to him, you could see how gentle and caring he is.”

Could we talk to him?” Mom asked.

I thought for a moment. Actually, why not? Maybe if they would see him, ask him questions, see him smile, listen to his soft way of speaking, look in his kind eyes—maybe then they would understand that not every Cardassian was a monster from Bajor. “Sure, I’ll call him.” I pressed a comm. “Kapoor to Karama.”

Karama here.

I made sure the translator was off and said in my broken Cardassian, “Come to me. Mom and Dad want to talk. Be good.”

On my way,” he answered. I hoped he understood my message. I wanted to tell him to be patient with them but didn’t speak Cardassian well enough to convey this message.

You speak their language?” Mom looked surprised.

“A little,” I smiled.

A chime sounded and Tavor entered. He wore a civilian tunic and I thought that it was a happy coincidence; maybe it would help them—help Dad—see through the stereotype of a ruthless Cardassian soldier and see Tavor for what he really was—a person.

I rose from my chair and let him sit on it; I pulled another one and sat next to him.

“Sir, Madame,” he greeted them politely.

Mom smiled and nodded back. Her smile was a bit reserved but at least she made the effort. Dad, however, suspiciously scrutinised him. And then it started.

What do you think you’re doing, Cardassian! This is kidnapping!” Dad shook his fist. “I will do everything in my power to get my child back.

“Sir,” Tavor tried to say something but was interrupted; his voice sounded incredibly calm, though. Did he expect a reaction like that?

Don’t talk to me, Cardie! You raped that other woman and now God only knows what you do to my little girl!” I could feel Tavor tense. I glanced at him and he still had that polite smile plastered on his face but I knew it was a mask. “If you think you can enslave everyone to serve your pervert needs, you will have to deal with me!” Mom tried to calm Dad down; she put her hand on his shoulder but he shrugged it off. Tavor seemed not to react. Frozen. “You can kill each other over there for all I care, but I don’t like that you keep my child there. I don’t know how you force her to lie to us like this, I don’t know how you threaten her to lie to us at all, but—

Dhirendra, please,” Mom tried to interfere but he wouldn’t listen.

No!” Dad shouted at her. Then, he turned back to the screen and hissed, squinting at Tavor. “You miserable, little, scheming reptile. Make no mistake, I’ll file a protest and get people to free my daughter. And then you’ll pay for this, you spoonhead!

That was too much. This wasn’t a conversation, my father wasn’t allowing Tavor to present himself, to show who he was. This was a rant, a show of insults and it was clear to me that all my father wanted was to threaten and yell, not listen. Why did he behave like this? He had never been like that, he had never been a racist, I had never heard him using racial slurs. Until now. And all that directed at the man whom I loved. No! I won’t accept this! Tavor was too polite to react, obviously, although I had no idea how come he didn’t talk back. He should have.

“Enough!” I slammed my hand on the desk, hitting the comm button and breaking the connection.

Tavor looked at me astonished. “What did you do that for?”

“Couldn’t you hear? Didn’t you understand what he said?!” I was shaking, angry.

“I did. So what? He’s worried, he fears for you.”

It was beyond worry. “He insulted you. Many times!”

“And I would let him. He would throw all that out of him and then we would have a chance to talk.”

I was flabbergasted. What was he saying? I sat in the other chair and stared at him. “What?” I whispered.

“I thought that if I would let him to let the anger out and he’d calm down, we could talk. Really talk. Have a conversation, with questions and answers. Your mother seemed to have a lot of questions.” He silenced for a moment. “She seemed nice,” he added. “And with your father—”

“He can go to hell,” I growled. “No one will call you...the ‘s’ word.” I was so angry. He had taught me that insulting people was unacceptable, that calling them names was unacceptable and now he did just that. That man looked like my father but behaved nothing like him. I was disgusted by that show of hatred.

“You shouldn’t say such things about your father,” Tavor chastised me.

“You do about yours,” I said defiantly.

“Mine is a rapist and murderer. Yours isn’t. He’s just worried about you. He panics. He fears for your safety and I understand that. He is sick with worry.”

“Well, he expresses it the wrong way!” I got up and went to my tiny window.

“You should call them back and talk to them,” he said quietly, approaching me and wrapping his arms around me.

“No way,” I barked.

I was so mad. I had known that conversation with my parents would be a tough one, I had known there would be tears and accusations, misunderstandings and a lot of explanations. I had been looking forward to it, though, because I had thought I could tell them about my life: that I was happy, that I found true love, that every day was an adventure, even if sometimes adventures were scary and seemed dangerous. However, they weren’t interested in my happiness. They were interested in their assumptions.

“I need to talk to Starfleet now,” I said quietly.

“Come to my quarters after you finish. I’ll have something yummy for you, to improve your mood. And I’ll let you win another kotra game.”

“Nothing can improve my mood.”

He turned me around to face him. “Maybe this isn’t the best idea,” he said very quietly, looking intently into my eyes. “Maybe it would be better if you returned home after all.”

There was pain in his eyes, I could clearly see it now. Was it because the conversation with my parents went so badly, or because of the words he had to listen to? Or both?
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