Through the door to her office, Legate Jarol heard some kind of minor alert sounding off in the command centre. She waited for a short moment but as no one bothered to inform her of the problem, she decided to go to the command herself and ask.
“What’s going on?” She approached Zamarran and looked over his shoulder. He was working at the main engineering console and clearly not on a task related to the alert, which by now was turned off.
“A security alert, Legate. Garesh Dalar is taking care of it as we speak. Nothing to worry about.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” Dalar’s voice reached them from the lift that was just arriving to the command. “I found this in the restricted area.” The garesh left the lift pulling a weakly resisting Ferengi by his elbow. “Obviously, he tried to gather intelligence on our station.”
The Ferengi hissed. Jarol was not sure if he was more scared or angry.
“What were you doing there?” she asked.
He only looked at her.
“I found this on him.” Dalar handed her a Klingon scanner. “My guess would be that he is a spy.” The last word was said directly to the Ferengi’s face—Dalar had to lean low to the level of the shorter alien.
Jarol felt her fury raise.
“Lock him up,” she said to Dalar and went back to her office. She hailed the Ferengi ship.
“Ah, my pretty Legate
,” the DaiMon greeted her with his toothy smile.
“Delva, you little, miserable troll!” Jarol hit her desk with a flat palm causing the image on the monitor to flicker. Then she leaned on the desk, putting her hands on its edge and shifting her weight on the hands. She didn’t feel like sitting at that moment, so she remained standing.
“What did I do?!
” the Ferengi shouted surprised.
“Did you really think we wouldn’t detect it? You sent a man to scan the station! Did you really think we wouldn’t detect it? Who sent you? Who did you want to sell it to? Let me guess...”
“Now, now, Legate.
” Delva raised his hand. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. We have not been scanning your station. If you detected anything, it’s because we keep scanning the surroundings of the station. You didn’t say anything that we cannot!
“Delva, stop pretending,” she hissed. “We have caught him!”
“That man you had sent to scan the interior of the station with a Klingon scanning device.” She didn’t speak, she growled.
The DaiMon seemed puzzled and for a moment and Jarol thought that perhaps he really didn’t know anything about it. Then he turned to someone behind him. “Frek, who is not aboard the ship?
” Jarol didn’t hear a reply, but Delva’s face expression told her that he got an answer. He looked back at the Cardassian woman. “Believe me, my sweet Legate, this is a rogue action on his part. He is going to be severely punished.
“And I am supposed to believe that?”
Delva’s demeanour changed completely. His toothy smile disappeared, his eyes opened wider and he straightened. “Look, Legate Jarol,
” he said in a respectful and serious tone of voice. “I am a serious businessman. I want profit and a lot of it. Selling stolen intelligence may be profitable but it’s a one-time deal. Having a fruitful and long-term co-operation with another serious party—such as yourself—would bring a stable and handsome profit and I would not choose the former. In the long run, business with you would be more profitable than one deal with the Klingons, the Romulans or whomever. What’s more, I don’t appreciate my own crewmember trying to cheat you and endanger our agreement.
My agreement with you.
” He paused. “Whatever data he has collected, feel free to inspect it to know exactly what it was and deal with that knowledge how you deem necessary.
She had never seen a Ferengi behaving like this. It could have been an example of good acting, for all she knew Delva could have sent that man to spy on her station himself, but for some reason she believed him.
“All right, Delva,” she said. “Let’s say I believe you.”
The relief on his face was very obvious. “Can I have him back? I will punish him accordingly.
“‘Accordingly’ meaning what exactly.” She sat in her chair.
“I will confiscate all his assets and cut his wages in half.
“This better be a harsh punishment.”
“Believe me, my lenient Legate, it is. For a Ferengi it is.
“You owe me one,” she said.
He eyed her. “On the other hand, I could leave him in your hands to be executed.
“But then you’d have to hire a new crewmember...for full wages.”
He chuckled. “You are a Cardassian and a female, but you have lobes for business.
“You’ll get him back after we interrogate him. Don’t worry,” she added, seeing his face expression. “We’ll return him in one piece. I want to know who he worked for.”
Delva sighed. “All right, but be gentle. He must be able to work.
She only smiled. “You may leave the station as soon as we are done with him.”
“What about our agreement?
She picked up a Ferengi padd he had left her a day before. “I have it here. Signed.”
“Oh, my wise Legate, you will not regret it.
“You will also find a short list of requests on this padd,” she said.
“Ah, wasting no time.
“Expect someone to deliver you the padd. Make no mistake, I have a full copy of its content in our database, so don’t even think about cheating.”
“Do I have to repeat my speech about the value of a good customer?
“No, I have a good memory.” She pointer her finger to her temple.
“You are a Cardassian.
” He grinned.
“That I am.” He raised his hand to cut the connection, but she said, “Delva?” He looked at her. “Sorry I called you a troll.”
He smiled. “You can call me whatever you want, my scale-y Legate.
” And he signed off.
Do I start to like him?
She thought. Nah, she shook her head, impossible.
Toral wondered how it was possible that Demok didn’t lose his patience yet. That prefect of theirs was rude and sometimes was just a step away from verbal abuse and the sub-archon was able to control himself. Toral would have snapped long time ago.
“How can I trust you, Cardassian. You have never done anything to gain my trust
,” the prefect was saying.
“All right.” Demok paused. “All right. I’ll try to gain your trust.”
“Oh, Sub-Archon, it’s not only about you,
” Krause said. “How about him?
” He pointed to Toral who was leaning against a console on the right side of Demok.
A smirk came to the gul’s face. He enjoyed being feared by this human, oh, he did.
“Toral,” Demok growled. Toral looked at him and did his best to remove the smirk from his face. The sub-archon looked back at Krause. “Governor, Gul Toral is under my command. He will do what I say.”
Toral moved to stand behind the young Cardassian. “He is in command here, Prefect
. I obey.”
He knew Krause wanted to be called ‘Governor,’ but he didn’t care.
“Excuse me for a moment, Governor,” Demok said and gave Yamuc a signal to cut off the sound. Then he turned to face Toral. “Who do you have a problem with, Toral? Me or the governor?”
The gul was surprised. He didn’t expect Demok to attack him
. He opened his mouth, but didn’t get a chance to say anything.
“You will behave diplomatically, that is my order,” the sub-archon said. His voice was calm and even but left no doubt—no disobedience would be allowed. “You will be polite and co-operative. Is that clear?”
“Yes, Sub-Archon.” Do you have any idea how much like your mother you are right now?
“Good.” Demok turned back to the screen. “Sound,” he barked not looking at Yamuc, but the gil understood the order was addressed to him. He pressed the right sequence of buttons. “Govern—”
“Cleared your hierarchy dispute?
” Krause’s voice was full of sarcasm.
“Governor Krause.” Demok still sounded calmly but Toral could hear a note of irritation in his voice. “You will stop abusing my patience and insulting me and my people right now
. If you cannot behave like a civilised man, like a representative of your colony, then we set course for home and leave you alone with your problem. I am tired of your impertinence and accusations. You called for our help, we came with help and now you keep insulting us. We, Cardassians, are not patient people.”
Demok silenced. Krause’s words were neutral and Toral wondered if all that abusing behaviour wasn’t a test of some kind.
” Krause continued. “If you guarantee, if you give me your word that you are in command of this operation, and not this gul, I will do my best to co-operate with you. But I want to make one thing clear—I do not trust
him. And there is nothing you can say or do to make me change my mind. I’ve seen too many like him not to know what they are capable of.
“What about me?”
“You, Mr. Demok, are young. I don’t know what to expect from you. I can see that you are trying but I can also see that he is not.
Demok thought for a while. “As a sign of my good intentions, I will beam down to the planet to discuss the matters with you in person and be your direct contact with my medics.” He paused for a while, while Toral felt a gag grow in his throat. “I will take one of them with me.”
“Absolutely not!” Toral shouted. “This planet is infected.”
“As much as it appals me, I have to agree with Toral,
” Krause said. “I don’t want you to become infected.
“I will wear an EVA suit all the time.” Toral kept shaking his head but Demok seemed to ignore that. “Prepare two EVA suits,” he said to Korel. The glinn nodded and, without looking at his gul, went to his console to issue necessary orders. “Tell Medic Boreep to meet me in the shuttle bay. We will take a shuttle—”
“Sub-Archon Demok, I strongly advise to drop this insane idea,” Toral said slowly.
“No, Toral. This is something I have to do.”
“No, you don’t.”
“That’s an order.”
Toral clenched his teeth and pursed his lips. “Demok, you have no idea what kind of risk you’re taking,” he said quietly. “Please, don’t do this.”
“I have to.”
“This is a mistake.”
“I have to.”
Was there anything he could do to stop his? Apart from locking Demok in his quarters? “The risk is too great.” Maybe locking him up was an option? He would deal with the consequences later.
“Expect me in your office in thirty minutes,” Demok said and gave Yamuc a sign to cut the connection. He moved toward the door but Toral stood in his way. He tried to go round the gul, but Toral made a step and stood in his way again. “Move aside.”
“This is suicide.”
“I will be careful.”
“Move away or I’ll have you executed for insubordination!” The sub-archon didn’t raise his voice but sounded commandingly enough to make the gul step aside before Toral realised what he instinctively did.
Demok left the bridge.
Toral pressed his wristcomm. “Toral to Boreep.”
“Medic, Demok and you are going down to the planet.”
“Yes, I have been informed.
“Now listen to me carefully. You are personally responsible for his safety. If he gets infected, you get executed. Is that clear?”
” came an answer after a second.
“Good. Toral out.”
He was angry, he was furious. That kid was going to kill himself on his, Toral’s, watch. And there was nothing he could do about it. Absolutely nothing. He could only hope nothing bad would happen. He could only hope the precautions were sufficient.
He slammed his fist on the nearest console. Glinn Nevir, who worked at that post, startled and looked at his gul. Relieved that the anger wasn’t directed at him, he returned to work. Toral patted his shoulder. “Didn’t want to scare you, carry on.” Nevir nodded and Toral returned to his seat.
Korel approached the gul’s chair. “I have checked the medical protocols aboard the shuttle which they will take. We will be able to decontaminate them successfully.”
“Let’s hope there’s going to be someone to decontaminate,” Toral muttered.