Rayak Nor; SS Zagta
Zamarran, Kapoor and Ya’val from the Damar studied readings of Zamarran’s scanner. Engineers were in the middle of repairs of the small Federation craft in which Kunn Dorak travelled, while the three officers tried to learn what happened to the ship.
“This is reeeaaaaallyyyy strange,” Ya’val said eventually.
Kapoor rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it. Any more, any useful
“This is unusual,” Ya’val answered.
Zamarran chuckled. “Very useful indeed.”
“I’m not finished.” The Damar
’s engineer sounded hurt. “These readings make little sense to me too, but there is something specific about them. Do you see this?” He pointed to one spike on the display.
“I do but I have no idea what it means,” Kapoor admitted.
“Any guesses?” Zamarran looked at Ya’val who smiled.
“Take a look at these numbers,” the engineer from the warship said. “Do they look right to you? Do they look like all other numbers?”
“It’s gibberish,” Zamarran judged. And then looked at Ya’val, obviously thinking the same thing. “You think it’s some kind of subspace fissure?”
“Oh, I’m not sure its subspace, but it was a fissure.”
“Fissure?” Kapoor raised her head and looked at both tall men.
Ya’val explained. “My theory is that the space cracked, something came out and then disappeared. Too fast to really register on sensors.”
“But long enough to damage the ship that was in that place at that time.”
“Can we learn more about this phenomenon?” Kapoor asked, looking back at the scanner.
“I suppose we could study the ship and that part of space, but you know...” Ya’val smiled.
Kapoor’s head bobbed in nods. “I know, I know, both are Federation. We are not allowed to go there and the owner of the ship doesn’t seem to trust us that much.”
Ya’val couldn’t stop his smile. Kapoor, a tiny human woman, called a Cardassian ‘Federation’ and herself ‘us, Cardassians.’
“So, no discoveries for your Federation instinct of exploration,” Zamarran teased her.
“Eh? What?” She didn’t understand at first and Ya’val found it even more amusing that she started to think she was
a Cardassian. “Hey!” she shouted when it sank in. “Sir!” she added dutifully after a moment and Ya’val burst into laughter. He missed having her aboard the Damar
“Summarising, we know nothing and we won’t know anything,” Zamarran said becoming serious again.
“That’s right,” Ya’val confirmed.
“What if we asked politely?” Kapoor suggested.
“Why?” Zamarran looked at her.
“This fissure was in the Federation space, but still awfully close to Cardassian. Do you want to leave it like that?”
The oldest engineer observed her for a moment. “I’ll see what I can negotiate,” he said eventually. “But Dorak was very hostile, so don’t expect him to agree to let us sniff on his ship.”
“It would be a great honour to meet him,” Ya’val said.
“It would. But it won’t.” Zamarran’s voice was sharp like a knife and Ya’val gave him a surprised look. Was there something that bothered him?
Ya’val glanced at Kapoor but she only shrugged. Obviously, she also had no idea what was wrong.
They left the small ship and headed to the transporter chamber, from where Ya’val would return to his warship. Kapoor excused herself on the way, so the younger engineer decided to used the opportunity.
“So? What happened?”
“I went to him. I went to him to tell him how much I appreciate his bravery. I went to him because I wanted to tell him something my brother had said about him once. You know what he did?” Ya’val shook his head. “He yelled that he wouldn’t talk to anyone that wears armour and he shut the door in my face!”
“For many years he had been hunted by people wearing armours. You can’t blame him.”
Zamarran stopped. He turned to Ya’val and Ya’val thought that Zamarran would hit him. But the older man composed himself. “Why does he blame me for something I haven’t done?”
“He’s a bitter, old man. And he’s probably scared.”
“Some heroes Cardassia has these days,” Zamarran muttered and Ya’val understood that there was something more, that Zamarran didn’t tell him everything. He wouldn’t be so angry about it, he wasn’t some over-sensitive lady, he could take things in and deal with them. So, what was so different in this case?
“Gul Zamarran!” Ya’val didn’t recognise the voice, so he turned to see who called the other Cardassian.
“DaiMon Delva.” Zamarran didn’t seem surprised at all. “Do you have my merchandise?”
“Do you have my payment?”
“Not before I inspect it and make sure it is genuine, not a copy or a forgery.”
“You wound me with your accusations.”
“I don’t accuse you of anything, but I also don’t know where you have the item from. I pay you a fortune for it, so I want to get exactly what I pay for.”
“Fine,” the Ferengi sighed and handed Zamarran a small box. “Inspect it. When can I expect my latinum?”
“Soon.” Zamarran took the box. Seeing Delva’s unhappy face, he added, “I will get on it right now.”
“Perfect. I have to talk to Legate Jarol about the payment for my recent services.”
Ya’val gave Zamarran a surprised look. The older engineer only shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Ferengi...” Ya’val muttered, amused.
Still, Zamarran’s earlier irritation grated on him. He had never been very close to his former boss but he knew someone who was. He decided to talk to Karama, maybe Zamarran just needed a trusted ear to listen to his grumbling.
Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
Demok entered one of labs in which Boreep worked with other scientists.
“Please tell me you are tired,” he said upon seeing the medic.
“I am...” Boreep answered but the way he said the words clearly left unspoken ‘but.’
Demok was worried. He knew the virus was fast and aggressive but would it make someone sick that quickly? And why didn’t he feel its effects yet?
“Any luck? Any progress?” he asked.
“Boreep. Keep in mind that the virus was created to kill us. Someone here might be involved and deliberately hinder the work.”
“I know that but...” He didn’t finish.
“Boreep?” Demok’s heart stopped for a moment. He put his hand on the medic’s shoulder.
“I just need some sleep.”
“Then by all mean go and get some.” A Bolian approached them. “You will work better when you are rested. Right not you are not only inefficient, but also could make a mistake. Get some rest.”
“And you are?” Demok asked the blue man.
“Doctor Chu’kra. I’ve been working on the solution since the beginning.”
, Demok thought. Was he one of those responsible? How could he trust any of colonists? How could he...?
You stupid kid! You are a lawyer, you know how to investigate matters and how to find who is guilty. Get to work, instead of criticising others.
“Good luck with work,” he said to Chu’kra. Then he looked at Boreep. “And you, get some rest.”
“Where are you going?”
“There is something I have to do. I have neglected my job long enough.”
He noticed Boreep’s asking look but didn’t want to explain, not here, not now. There was no time and he didn’t want to speak in presence of so many colonists. He could not trust any of them and from now on they all were suspects.
Including Prefect Krause.
“Hello,” Karama raised his hand with a bottle of kanar
Zamarran frowned. “What’s the occasion?” he asked.
“Won’t you let me in?” Karama glanced into Zamarran’s quarters.
“Wouldn’t you rather spend time with your wife?”
“I would like to drink this bottle of kanar
and she wouldn’t let me. And certainly she wouldn’t join me; she would fear her boss’s reaction to her hangover tomorrow morning.”
Zamarran didn’t react to the joke, he just moved aside, letting Karama enter his quarters. The younger man went straight to a cabinet with glasses and retrieved two. He put them on a table and the bottle between them. Then he sat and expectantly looked at Zamarran who still stood by the door.
“What’s going on?” Zamarran asked him suspiciously.
“I’m glad you ask,” Karama smiled. Then he became completely serious. “I heard you had visited Dorak.”
“Ya’val...” Zamarran muttered, obviously understanding now what was the reason of Karama’s visit.
“He thought you might want to talk.”
“Tavor, this is—”
However, Karama interrupted him. “Just let it out. I know it must be something big for two reasons. One—you never snap at people. Two—Dorak was...is...whatever...a dissident. You never mentioned you knew him.”
“Because I don’t.” Zamarran went to the table and sat. He grabbed the bottle and poured some kanar
first to Karama’s glass, then to his own.
“Why did you go to him?”
“I wanted to talk, just for a moment. I wanted to tell him how important his work was and still is for Cardassia, how he helped to shape our new approach to many things.” He paused and then continued in a quieter voice. “But he wasn’t interested in what I wanted to say. He didn’t care. He just saw armour and decided I was a monster.”
Karama saw that knuckles of Zamarran’s hand, which held the glass, became white. He wondered if the glass was thin enough to be broken by a squeeze.
“Why does it bother you so badly?”
“Don’t you understand?!” Zamarran jumped to his feet, startling Karama. “My brother had risked his life to help people like him, to help them leave Cardassia before authorities would lay their hands on them. I, I
!” He pointed a finger at his chest, “Had risked my life hiding two of them in my own house. And that...that...ass tells me now I’m a piece of trash!”
Karama knew that Zamarran’s younger brother had been a dissident. In fact, he believed that whole family had been. Seventeen generations of people who had tried to serve Cardassia but not the Central Command and not the Obsidian Order. Zamarran had told him history of his family—that generations ago a great tragedy had fallen on that family when the state had been put before the family and since then every family member was responsible for not letting that happen again—and he knew that for Zamarran serving in the military was an important factor of his patriotism and at the same time the engineer would have been considered a traitor had the previous authorities found out about his brother and, as it occurred, himself.
“I had no idea you actively participated in that,” Karama whispered.
“It had been just that one time. Zori had brought those two people to my door and I couldn’t have told them ‘no.’ I couldn’t have told him
‘no.’ My wife had been so scared; she had feared for our children.” Zamarran sat back at the table. “But she hadn’t protested, she had known it had been the right thing to do. It had been only one night but it still had been a risk.”
“Did you ever regret it?”
Zamarran shook his head. “No. I am only sorry they hadn’t managed to leave Cardassia. They had been caught near the border, brought back and executed.” Karama sighed, while Zamarran continued. “They had never revealed who had helped them and I am sure they had been tortured to tell that.”
“Those were terrible times,” Karama said.
“How could you know, you are so young.” Zamarran’s voice was soft and he smiled. He didn’t mean it as derogating Karama, he was happy that Karama hadn’t had to experience that dark part of living in the Union.
Kamara moved his chair a bit closer to Zamarran. “Troval, forget about him. Maybe he has some really bad memories and any armour reminds him of something. Maybe his trauma is so severe that he is unable to look inside
armour, his eyesight stops on armour and doesn’t notice anything else. It doesn’t make you any less hero. Or your brother. Or many other soldiers that served Cardassia the best their could and would support him, if they had a chance. Dorak, obviously, is a bitter, old man. Let’s try to remember that in his good days he did a lot of good too.”
The older man looked his friend in the eyes. They gazed at each other for a long moment and then the engineer smiled. “Won’t your wife get mad when you return drunk?”
“I’d rather worry about my gul smelling my breath tomorrow morning,” Karama joked.
Zamarran’s eyes darkened again. “Can you imagine Dorak telling something like this to Gul Brenok? Brenok is...he is...”
“He is someone who should have a monument.”
“It was his idea to establish the Dorak Examination.”
“Yeah...” Karama frowned. “He made sure I’d never take his job; there’s no way I could pass that exam.”
Zamarran looked surprised at his friend and it took him a long moment to realise that Karama joked. “Let’s get drunk,” he said, raising his glass.
“Bottoms up!” Karama raised his and they emptied their glasses.