Jarol looked at Borad from the top of the stairs to her office. “Come again? A Federation starship?”
“Confirmed. A Federation starship, Excelsior Class.” Borad studied his display, reporting the readings and not raising his head to look at the legate. “If their course doesn’t change, they head straight for us.”
Jarol looked to Ronus and T’Sarik who were both working at the Federation console. “Do you know anything of this?” she asked.
The Trill shook his head. “Negative, Legate. I have not been notified of any visit and I don’t expect any.” He glanced at Borad. “Are you able to tell which ship it is?”
“One moment.” The glinn operated his console. “USS Petrona
,” he said after a few seconds.
“Do you know this ship and its captain?” Jarol asked Ronus.
“No,” he shook his head again. T’Sarik didn’t say anything.
“Hail them,” Jarol barked to Borad.
“They tell us to stand by,” came his answer after a few seconds. Then he looked at her but didn’t say anything more.
She felt irritation and impatience. What could a Federation starship want of her station? Such a big one, at that. She couldn’t tell them to go away as this was no one’s territory and their response clearly showed that their destination was the station. Were they damaged? Why would they look for help here? Or did they come to pick up Dorak and his children? She hated being kept in dark.
“They are hailing us now,” Borad reported and the screen below the ceiling activated.
Jarol saw a woman that appeared human but for her unnaturally black eyes. A Betazoid then.
“Legate Jarol in command of Rayak Nor
station. What can I do for you, Captain?”
“Captain Ram of
USS Petrona. I have received a disturbing news and would like to discuss it with you.
“What kind of news?” Jarol suspected a few possibilities but she didn’t expect to hear what the captain told her.
“Starfleet Command has been informed of your attempt to commit a genocide on one of your colonies, a former Federation colony. Know this, Legate Jarol, we will not allow it.
” Jarol was speechless. “We will enter your territory and defend the colony, if necessary, even if it means violating out non-aggression treaty.
The legate looked at Ronus who appeared as shocked as she was. She wondered if the captain of the starship realised that violating the treaty was as good as declaring war.
“Captain Ram,” Jarol used the opportunity that the Betazoid took a breath and the list of her threats paused for a moment. “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”
Jarol shook her head. “We have a situation on one of colonies, yes, but it’s not under our attack. A plague struck that colony and we assist in finding a cure.”
“By deploying and arming orbital weapon platforms?
Jarol furiously spun around and stared at T’Sarik. Ronus, startled, looked at her and then at his officer. The Rigelian’s face was made of stone, there was no emotion on it, almost a Vulcan look.
“Commander, do you know anything about this?” he asked T’Sarik.
Jarol slowly approached the Rigelian and looked expectantly at her; she wanted to hear the answer as well.
“I have notified Starfleet of your actions, yes,” T’Sarik said looking the legate in the eye. “I felt it was my duty to do so.”
Jarol bared her teeth slightly and then returned to where she had been standing a moment ago, at the top of the stairs to her office. She looked at the screen. “Captain Ram, I am not the right person to talk about it. You should contact Gul Brenok.” She hated shifting the responsibility of dealing with this person to Brenok but the truth was that he was the best person to talk to and he would know everything about Toral’s actions. She knew nothing. “Borad.” She called her officer but her eyes stayed on the Betazoid’s face. “Locate the Damar
and establish connection between the warship and the good captain here.”
“Yes, Legate,” the glinn dutifully confirmed. “The Damar
answers our hail.”
“It was nice talking to you, Captain Ram,” Jarol said and the Federation officer disappeared from her screen.
Ronus walked fast to her. “Is Toral trying to kill everyone on that planet?” he asked horrified.
“I know nothing, Captain,” Jarol replied, but she asked herself the same question. She couldn’t imagine Toral doing something like that but she knew that if the situation demanded it, he would follow orders and do what was necessary. She looked over Ronus’s shoulder at T’Sarik. “About that informing the Federation...” The Trill turned and looked at the Rigelian. Jarol squinted her eyes. “My office, both of you. Now.” She turned and went to her office.
From the corner of her eye she saw that Ronus gestured to motionless T’Sarik to follow Jarol into her room.
Jarol stood behind her desk and looked at both Federation officers. “I want to know how you managed to pass that information to the Federation,” she demanded.
T’Sarik didn’t say anything. Jarol stared at her, barely controlling her anger. She wished she had power to punish the woman for her action.
“I have allowed you an unobstructed contact with the Federation. You can report to your superiors in scheduled times and there was no such contact within the last day. I assume you had used your private connection to report this.” The legate leaned her hands on her desk, bending forward. “I had been ordered to exempt you from recording interstellar communication and I did just that. Captain Ronus has promised me that you wouldn’t abuse that privilege. You made him lose face.” She straightened. “Your privileges are revoked. All your conversations with your husband will be recorded. If I suspect you of another attempt of espionage, I will apply for opening those recordings and if I find anything suspicious, you will be arrested. You will—”
“Legate Jarol,” Ronus interrupted quietly. “If I may...” She nodded, so he continued, “What if I would control her conversations with her husband? I would be personally present during them to make sure she talks about private matters and not about Cardassian secrets.”
“Wouldn’t it be a violation of her privacy?”
“It would be. But what you propose also is.”
“Those recordings wouldn’t be listened to without a good reason. If there would be no such reason, they would remain locked and a secret. No one would know what she talked about to her husband.”
“But they would stay in your archives.”
“How do I know I can trust you
?” Jarol eyed him.
He didn’t answer. She knew that he knew he had some of her trust. However, after this incident she wasn’t sure if that trust didn’t diminish. She still didn’t know what to think about it all.
“You are dismissed, Commander,” Ronus said to T’Sarik. He and Jarol watched the woman leaving the legate’s office and then the captain looked at the Cardassian. “I will deal with it.”
“I certainly hope so!”
“Now, about that planet. Why Toral needed those platforms?”
“What is it business of yours?” she asked but the thoughts of possible reasons left her feeling uncomfortable.
“Jarol...” He paused and shook his head. “I don’t believe you would allow this.”
“Ronus, this is not up to me.” She shrugged and sat in her chair. “I don’t even know what is going on. I’m not in command. Whatever Toral needs those platforms for, he has Brenok’s permission to use them.”
“And that’s suppose to calm me down?” The Trill frowned and sat too.
“I don’t know. But I know Brenok for years and he is not a person who would condone a genocide.”
“He is nice and smart but...this feels wrong.”
, she thought, I know
. “I could ask him about details as a friend but, to be honest, I don’t want to use my friendship for duty matters or to get information that is not for me. This would be wrong too.”
“I can understand that.” He silenced and she thought that he probably thought he was on a station among monsters. She had worked so hard to change the face of Cardassia, she had tried so hard to make things different. During the negotiations with the Federation she had done her best to show them that the Cardassians—the new Cardassians—were not brainless, bloodthirsty bastards any more, that they had morale and heart. And now a friendly Federation captain was just about to witness one of the worst things that one group of people could do to another.
Maybe she could use her influence, maybe she should
use her friendship and ask Brenok what was going on and, perhaps, make him change his mind. Toral would have to follow Brenok’s orders.
And where was Laran in all this? Worry about her son returned with double strength.
“I’ll return to my duties,” Ronus said raising.
She only nodded, acknowledging that she heard him, but didn’t say anything.
Gul Toral entered his office and immediately went to his desk. He activated the oval screen that stood on it. “Gul Brenok,” he greeted his superior officially, as he knew it was an official matter.
“I just had an interesting conversation with a Federation captain who threatened me with war if we kill all inhabitants of Mazita colony
,” Brenok said.
Toral was surprised. “Federation? War? Kill?”
“You heard me right. I have to keep an eye on them now and not allow them enter the Cardassian territory and start a conflict, but this is not what worries me most
“How did they know about Mazita?” Toral asked.
“That’s precisely what I want to know
.” Brenok frowned.
“You think...they know from me?” Toral shouted.
“Who did you talk to about your plans?
“No one. Besides, they know shit, not plans.”
“You don’t have to tell me that. But I still want to know where’s the leak
“Before I had contacted you yesterday, I had made sure that there were platforms on Rayak Nor.
I told her nothing. I wouldn’t, not without consulting with you first. I just wanted to make sure there was a reason to have that conversation with you.” Toral was getting nervous. Did he make a mistake? Was it someone on his ship? Was there somewhere a Federation spy?
“What exactly did you ask her?
“If she had the platforms. She confirmed but refused to tell me how many. Nothing more.”
Brenok thought for a moment, staring at something below the camera. Then he looked at Toral. “Where’s Demok?
“On the planet.” Toral’s voice was very quiet.
The long-haired gul seemed to be frozen. “Could you repeat that? I think I heard you say he was on the planet.
“That’s what I said.”
Silence. Accompanied by a stone stare. “On the
Toral bit his lower lip and didn’t answer. He didn’t need Brenok to tell him how bad it was, he didn’t need Brenok to be angry with him, he was angry enough.
“Are you out of your mind!
” Brenok attacked. “What were you thinking sending him there?!
“I tried to stop him! But you have told me to listen to his orders and you have told him the same thing!” Toral knew his voice was too loud and too aggressive to use to his superior, but he could not control it. “My hands were tied. By your
“Don’t remind me
,” Brenok growled. After a short pause, he added, “She’ll tear me apart.
Toral’s blood boiled. “What did you say?!” he yelled, not really caring that he was just crossing the line of subordination and also of his friendship with Brenok. “That young, wonderful man is going to die and you worry what his mother would do to you
“How dare you!
” Brenok roared and jumped to his feet. Toral had no doubt that the situation would be much more dangerous for him, if they were in the same room and not talked by the comm line.
Brenok sat down and rubbed his eye ridges with his palms.
“Brenok, I tried to stop him, I really did. But had no option. I wish I disobeyed your orders, I don’t care what you’d do to me. But I can’t turn back time, I can’t undo it.”
“That would be all
,” the younger Cardassian said and was just about to sign off, but Toral leaned forward, as if he wanted to have a closer contact with the other gul.
“Brenok, don’t you dare to lower the temperature in your quarters. Don’t. You. Dare.” The long-haired Cardassian gave him a blank stare. “Don’t. You. Dare,” Toral repeated, slowly pronouncing each word.
Not breaking the eye contact, Brenok disconnected.
“I wish I could punish myself,” Toral muttered to himself. “Stupidity should be severely punished.”