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Old May 7 2011, 03:51 PM   #184
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Here's a "soundtrack" for CUS Marritza http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58ORw31I5uM You may treat is as a teaser of what is to come


Chapter 10



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge



Zamarran entered the bridge and headed for his chair. “Report,” he demanded.

Torpal raised his head to look at the gul. “We have arrived to Rathosia,” he announced. “And, most likely, we have been scanned.”

“By whom?” Zamarran asked, sitting down.

“By a probe of unknown configuration, but my guess would be that it’s from the planet. The trajectory would confirm that guess.”

Zamarran gave the tactician and asking look. “Aren’t they a pre-warp society?”

“They are. It doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t have the technology to scan the space.” Torpal paused for a moment. “I detect a system of satellites in their orbit.” Another pause. “They didn’t venture to space, but they hardly are uncivilised.”

“So it would seem...” Zamarran muttered. “Are you able to determine how much information their probe gathered?”

“Not without scanning it and I am sure it would set some kind of alarm there.”

“How about passive scans?” Zamarran asked, but he already knew the answer.

“Possible, although we still can’t be sure if it wouldn’t leave any trace.”

The gul hesitated. “Were we very close to that probe?”

“No, sir. It is possible that the probe’s range was too short to notice us, but...it would require a lot of luck.”

“Luck,” Zamarran sighed. “Leave it alone for now, Torpal. And keep away from any other probes and their satellites.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you scan the planet?”

“Affirmative, sir.”

“What can you tell me about it?”

“Most of the planet is covered with oceans and jungle. The climate is mild, although a bit too cool for us. Rich in resources and appears to be almost wild without sentient life. However, we have detected many cities of enormous sizes. They are scattered all around the planet and there doesn’t seem to be any connection between them.”

Torpal had displayed the visual scan on the main viewer and Zamarran looked at the dark-green and dark-blue marble in front of his eyes. It looked as non-Cardassian, as any other planet that he had seen in his life, but something was telling him that Cardassia might have looked just like that before the Great Shift, which had ruined its ecosystem and almost killed them all.

The gul looked back at his tactician. “Is it possible that they are aware of the problems that their sun has? Could that probe be sophisticated enough to detect that?”

“I am not sure, sir. It doesn’t seem it could reach that far soon enough, but I cannot tell for how long they have this technology. For all we know, they might be sending such a probe each year to observe the progress of the deterioration of their star.”

Zamarran was tempted to scan their probe and get his answers, but he wondered if it was a good idea. He looked at Yassel. “What do you think?”

“If the probe detected us, then they already know that we are here. Scanning it wouldn’t change anything, unless we’d want to delete that data. But we don’t know if it wasn’t transmitted to them already through some kind of live feed. If the probe didn’t detect us, then we would introduce ourselves by scanning it.”

“So you think we should leave it alone, because our intervention may bring harm but wouldn’t fix the harm that could have been already done?” She didn’t answer. “Yassel, I ask for your opinion, please speak up.” Zamarran hoped he didn’t sound like a father chastising his daughter.

“I think we should leave it alone, sir,” Yassel said quietly. “We can always return and scan it later. With its speed, it wouldn’t go beyond our reach—ever.”

“Thank you for you input, Glinn.” Zamarran turned back to Torpal. “Is there anything else we want to know about his planet?”

“Negative, Gul.”

“Take us to the star, then. And keep away from the side that faces the planet. I don’t want them to see a mysterious shape on their sun and adjust their telescopes to see better what it is.”

“Yes, Gul,” Torpal confirmed his orders, grinning.

“Sir...” Yassel started, but hesitated.

“Yes, Glinn?” Zamarran looked at her, again, hoping that this time he sounded encouraging.

“I don’t think the Talarians were that careful. The Rathosians might be aware of shapes on their sun by now.”

“Perhaps. But I don’t want to add to their confusion.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Sir...” Torpal tapped at his console for a moment before continuing. “The probe has changed its heading.”

Zamarran had a bad feeling about this. “Where to?”

Torpal confirmed the gul’s suspicions. “It’s following us now.”

“So much for a stealth approach.” Zamarran heard Kapoor muttering.

The gul looked at the pilot. “Gil Vornar, take us out of here, best impulse speed. Torpal, monitor if this probe can match our speed.”

“Negative, sir,” the tactician reported after a moment. “It’s falling behind.”

“Sir, I think...I think the Rathosians are well aware that they are not the only ones in the universe and it’s not just our arrival,” Yassel said in a shy voice.

“I agree. The Talarians didn’t make any secret that they were in this system. The question is—do the Rathosians realise that the Talarians are not the only “other ones” in the universe?” Zamarran pondered.

“They do now,” Kapoor said.

“Not necessarily,” Yassel disagreed. “We don’t know how detailed their findings are. They could think that we are the Talarians.”

“Does it matter?” Kapoor asked. “I mean, what difference does it make for them? They know there is sentient life out there, flying in their huge spaceships—”

“And damaging their sun,” Seltan interjected. “They might think that we are just another Talarian ship that will break their star, or they might see that someone else came. I think it makes a huge difference.”

“They are curious,” Yassel said. “Their probe moved closer to see us better, not away to run from us, as it would run from danger. Either they see us as something else than the Talarians, or they don’t realised that the Talarians are responsible for their star’s problems.”

“We cannot be even sure if they are aware of their sun’s problems,” Torpal reminded them.

Zamarran listened to them, patting the tip of his nose. He looked at the tactician. “Torpal, was there anything on the probe that would remind weapons?”

The glinn shook his head. “Not that I could recognise.”

“They are curious, just curious,” Kapoor said.

“Sir,” Torpal reported. “We are being hailed.”

Zamarran’s eyes opened wide. “Please, don’t tell me that by the Rathosians,” he said. “I have enough of their technological surprises for now.”

The tactician grinned. “No, sir. It’s the Talarians. It appears that they have their ship in the vicinity.”

“On screen.”

A Talarian man appeared on the screen. “Cardassian warship, state your business here,” he demanded.

“This is Gul Zamarran from the Marritza. We are here regarding the Rathosians and their current situation.” The gul thought that the ‘repair the sun’ operation might get much more complicated if the Talarians were still mining the star.

We have no interest in the planet, you can exploit it for the resources all you want.”

Zamarran’s blood boiled. He knew that the Cardassians worked hard for such a reputation and that it wasn’t completely undeserved, but the thought that he had come here to exploit anything or anyone—it was disgusting him. “We didn’t come here to exploit them,” he said, standing up and approaching the screen. “We came to stop you from destroying their sun and killing them all.”

The Talarian laughed with contempt. “Of course you did.” He became serious again. “Make no mistake, Cardassian, if you try to interfere in our affairs, it will mean war.”

Zamarran was not impressed. He bluffed, “The Klingons didn’t dare to go to war with us. Are you stronger than them?” He hoped that by now the news of the Klingon unsuccessful attack on Rayak Nor would have spread all over the quadrant.

We are ready to protect our interests,” the Talarian assured him. Or maybe it was a threat?

“Even if it means war with the Cardassian Union?” Zamarran asked.

Absolutely!” the man shouted.

The gul felt a presence behind him. Someone approached him close—much too close—and stopped just behind his right shoulder.

“He’s bluffing, sir,” Yassel whispered to his ear. How could she know? he wondered. To his surprise, she added, “I don’t even think that he is in a position to make any threats.”

“Withdraw now,” Zamarran said loudly to the Talarian, hoping that this conversation wouldn’t escalate to a skirmish. Yassel returned to her post.

The alien signed off without a word.

“He’s moving away,” Torpal reported. Then he raised his head from his display and looked at the gul. “Something tells me that he will be back soon...and with friends.”

Zamarran nodded his agreement. “Most likely.” He turned to look at Yassel, whose post was behind him. “How did you know he was bluffing?” he asked her.

“I am not sure, sir. But his voice clearly indicated that he lied. And he was scared. I guessed it meant that he was making empty threats.”

“And you based all these observations only on his voice?” the gul asked with surprise.

She lowered her head. “I am so sorry, Gul Zamarran. I know this is hard to believe but...I really always knew when someone was lying, or honest, or dishonest, or anything else. I don’t know how.”

He approached her console. “Yassel, I don’t say I don’t believe you.” Did she take his surprise for lack of trust? “I just never expected any Cardassian to have such telepathic abilities.”

She looked at him. “No, sir, I didn’t read his mind. Just his voice.”

“A walking lie detector,” Kapoor said, startling already stressed Yassel. “Handy.”

“I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t want to sound patronising. I thought I was helping. It won’t happen ag—”

Zamarran raised his hand to stop the flow of nervous words. “Calm down, Yassel. If your assessment of his...voice was accurate, then we have the upper hand. Please, keep me apprised of the real intentions of my interlocutors in case that their intentions aren’t what they appear to be.”

“Yes, sir,” she said quietly, lowering her head.

Zamarran returned to his seat, wondering what he had done wrong that she looked like he had just chastised her, while his intention was to encourage her. Couldn’t she read his voice?

“Vornar, take us as close to the sun as possible. Then, Kapoor will commence a full active scan. I want to know everything about the chemical condition of the star. Yassel, assemble a team of the best chemists and other specialists that we have aboard. I want them to immediately start to study the results of the scans.”

The officers confirmed their orders and made themselves busy.
__________________
Archer: "You're going to drown my dog?! "
Phlox: "Only for an hour, Captain... "

Last edited by Gul Re'jal; May 7 2011 at 04:03 PM.
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