He was a Cardassian. He was a Cardassian from an unhealthy, broken family and I knew that it bothered him. That some kind of sacred custom has been violated; he talked about it sometimes and I knew he felt terrible because of the situation. Did he want to spare me the same pain? Of hating my own father?
I didn’t hate Dad. I was just so, so, so mad at him.
And Tavor? He was able to push me away, send back home, let me go and not be with me not to let a crack to grow between me and my parents. I wouldn’t be allowed to contact them after Cardassia isolates itself from the rest of the quadrant, and that would be bad enough. Now it was different. Did our last conversation have to look like this? Did it had to be a fight with bitter words? He wanted me to have a proper goodbye with my family, to make sure they knew I was happy. If I were to break my contact with them this way—with ugly words shouted in our faces—he’d rather withdraw his word and return me to my family than be with me. My family’s integrity was more important to him than his broken heart.
If they only knew about it; if Dad knew what Tavor tried to do for us. But Dad wouldn’t listen, he’d just start a rant again, seeking a hidden malice in Tavor’s actions. I didn’t have to listen to that, I wouldn’t
listen to that.
I stroke his eye ridge gently, enjoying the feeling of his scales under my skin. “Go back to your quarters. I’ll join you when this is over.”
He nodded, kissed me and left.
I didn’t wait long for the connection. A commander appeared on my elegant, oval monitor.
“Commander Valatto. How can I help you?
” he asked smiling at me.
“Commander, my name is Lieutenant Amrita Kapoor, Starfleet Service Number JP-583-554.” He entered the number into his computer and I saw that red colour reflected from his olive skin. Clearly, some kind of warning displayed on his monitor. I ignored it and continued, “I would like to file my resignation from Starfleet.”
” Valatto said slowly. “Please wait a moment. I’ll patch you through to Admiral Nechayev.
Before I had a time to ask ‘why?’ his face was replaced by the petite, blond woman’s stern look.
“Admiral,” I said by the way of greeting.
She ignored it. “Lieutenant Kapoor, I’m glad you decided to contact us. You are being recalled from Cardassia, effective immediately.
I ignored her too. “Admiral, please acknowledged receipt of my resignation from Starfleet.”
“No, Lieutenant. You will return to Starfleet Headquarters to be debriefed
What? Am I now a traitor? “Why?” I asked.
“If there is anyone in the Federation that understands what is going on on Cardassia, it is you. You have the insight, you are in the middle of it and you have the information we need.
“I’m resigning from Starfleet, Admiral. I can prepare a full report about everything I know about current Cardassian politics, I can even try to interview the coup participants for you, I would answer all your questions, but I am not returning. I resign from Starfleet.”
She gazed at me for a moment. “You have a direct access to that gul...we need to know what you know. Besides, it is not safe for you there any longer.
“Admiral, you’re not listening, I am—”
“I heard you, Lieutenant. And I refuse to accept your resignation. You will report to Starfleet Headquarters.
I knew it. I was sure they’d try this and I had prepared myself for it. “You cannot refuse it, Admiral. Starfleet Regulation Number forty-five-dash-seven-dash-eighteen, paragraph three. ‘Should a Starfleet off—’”
“Don’t quote regulations to me, Lieutenant, I know them.
” She didn’t sound irritated...or she sounded irritated all the time, I was not sure which.
“Then you also know you can’t refuse my resignation. If you received the file, I am no longer a lieutenant.”
She silenced for a moment. Then she said in a much softer tone of voice. “Lieu...Ms. Kapoor, Cardassia is not safe right now. You can’t stay there.
“Expect my full report soon. It’s going to be the last one.”
“I don’t like it and I think you make a grave mistake.
” But there was nothing she could do about it and she knew it. “Good luck, Ms. Kapoor.
“Thank you, Admiral.”
She disconnected and just then I realised how tensed I was.
I was sure it wasn’t the end, I was sure that Starfleet wouldn’t just take my file and forget about everything. But at that moment I didn’t care. At. All.
The die is cast.
The rope to Starfleet has been cut. The rope to parents has been torn to pieces. I hoped that the new Cardassian strings would prove strong enough to carry me into my future.
I left my quarters and headed for the Roumar
’s bridge and the gul’s office.
Gul Jarol gazed at me, looked at my civilian clothes with interest and then put away a padd she had in her hand.
“Lieutenant?” she asked.
“No longer, G...Legate.” Of course, she wasn’t a gul any longer. What was she still doing aboard the ship anyway?
“I see,” she leaned back in her chair and gave me a more careful look. I’d say there was curiosity in her eyes. “What can I do for you, then?”
“I promised Starfleet the last report about the current situation on Cardassia. I will write what I know. Everything. I wanted you to know that. I can show it to you so you’d know what I wrote, but I wouldn’t allow any censorship.” Bold. She could block it with ease and there would be nothing I could do about it; I didn’t want to do it without notifying her, though. I didn’t want to feel like I spied on them, I didn’t want them to think I spied on them. I worked too hard and too long to gain their trust—her
trust—to fail it now. I hoped she’d understand it was the last thing I had to do, my last duty to fulfil. She was a soldier, she was an officer, she knew duty.
Jarol smiled. “Lieut...Kapoor, if you write the truth, then I don’t need to check it, control it or whatever. Besides, I am really not interested in Starfleet’s opinion about Cardassia. It is of no consequence. Not any longer.” She paused. “All right, that is not entirely true, I’m not that short-sighted,” a small grin appeared on her face. Why wasn’t this beautiful woman surrounded by dozens of adorers again? “Write your report and send it. Thank you for notifying me.” So she did understand. I felt relieved.
“About my stay in the Guard...?” I asked shyly.
“I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to talk to Gul Tarkan, yet. I’ll do that first thing in the morning, all right?”
ask me if it was all right, or were my ears playing tricks on me?
“Of course. I appreciate that, Legate.”
She looked like she wanted to ask something more, but she only smiled and returned to her padd. “Dismissed,” she said.
I left her office and went straight to Tavor’s quarters. I hoped he had a good plan for my mood improvement because I desperately needed it.