Soundtrack for the first scene in Jarol's quarters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy4o-...eature=related
Rayak Nor, the gul’s private quarters
He stood there, again. It became his ritual: each evening he relentlessly would stop by her door and ask her to open. And each evening she wouldn’t. Tonight wouldn’t be any different.
She curled up in the corner and covered her mouth. She knew he would listen. He always did.
“Did you eat anything?” he asked.
Her stomach tightened and threatened with another attempt of removing its content in spite of not having any content for a long time.
For a moment she couldn’t hear anything but was sure he didn’t leave yet. He would, eventually, but not yet.
“Mom, unlock the door.”
He sounded angry. She didn’t want to upset him but she knew if she opened, he’d start asking questions. It was much easier to spend her days among people who were her subordinates and wouldn’t dare to ask if she had her breakfast, or slept through the whole night.
But after another day in the office—and another panic attack that became a regular part of her days, although the attacks weren’t as bad as the first one any more—an empty quietness of the night came. Each night was more difficult to face than the previous one. Each was more scary. Each attacked her with greater strength: with questions, doubts and visions. She feared to go to sleep, she feared what she would see there, in the messages from the people whom she had failed so miserably. They all were unhappy, furious and disappointed in her and there was nothing she could do to have their love back. She wasn’t even sure if she ever deserved their love. The fate had taken her children because she was a bad mother—to save them from her. They now lived somewhere on the other side of the river with their father. Tiron would take Laran too, but Laran was not a girl and Tiron didn’t want him. Laran had to suffer and live with such a mother.
“Unlock the door, or I’ll ask Borad to unlock it,” her son threatened from the other side.
She leaned her head against the bulkhead. She could feel its cold surface.
“Unlock the door!” The irate yell was accompanied by a dull sound—he hit the door with his fist.
She covered her ears and closed her eyes. She couldn’t take it any longer.
A moment later she felt a warm hand on her shoulder. She rapidly raised her head to see the door ajar and her son sitting by her side. Lost in her anguish, she didn’t hear him finally getting inside. He didn’t say anything, he just hugged her and kept sitting with her on the floor, in the corner of the cold room.
Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge
“The Talarians are back, sir,” Torpal reported, drawing Zamarran’s attention to the main viewer. “Three ships. One is headed for the planet.”
“I don’t like this,” the gul muttered. “Keep an eye on all of them.”
“Shall I hail them?” Seltan asked.
Zamarran shook his head “No. I have nothing to say to them. And this is no one’s territory, we cannot tell them to leave.”
“Isn’t it the Rothasian’s territory?” Kapoor asked.
“It planet is theirs, not the whole star system.”
The human didn’t seem convinced. “We could bluff,” she muttered.
Zamarran shot her a glance but didn’t say anything. Yassel wondered if all humans lacked the discipline or only this one. Kapoor didn’t seem to be afraid of violating the hierarchy and muttering her disagreements in her superiors’ presence was something that Yassel would absolutely never dared to do.
But somehow, for some reason, Gul Zamarran didn’t react as Yassel would expect him to. True, he had already surprised her several times and she had to remind herself that he wasn’t as scary as he appeared to be, but still—she wasn’t sure if he would tolerate such behaviour from anyone else. Did he favour Kapoor? Because she was human and, perhaps, didn’t fully comprehend the Cardassian way? Or because he favoured her the same way that she, Yassel, had been ‘favoured?’ But Kapoor seemed to be very relaxed in Zamarran’s presence, so the glinn didn’t think that it was the option two. At least one more thing spoke for option one, though: the gil’s familiarity with Garesh Aladar. Still, to Yassel it seemed more like a personal characteristic than something that was shared by all humans. Weren’t the humans as differentiated as the Cardassians?
There were so many things that she wanted to ask Kapoor, but she never found courage to. Like, why she didn’t use her husband’s surname? Was it a human custom not to do that? Or why she had chosen to stay among the Cardassians? Was it for her husband or had she met him after her decision to stay? Why she had chosen to serve in the Cardassian military? Did she miss her home? Did she like Cardassian food? Did she want to return to Starfleet some day?
Torpal reported that the Talarian ship that was headed for the planet disappeared from their sensors, as it was out of range and Zamarran ordered to send a Hideki attack fighter to keep an eye on them. He chose Aladar to lead this mission.
Yassel scanned the other two Talarian warships. Their armament was impressive for ships this size, but still not a match for a Keldon class warship. However, she wasn’t sure about Keldon class science
ship. Their own weaponry might not be sufficient to defend themselves in case of a Talarian attack.
Torpal’s voice filled the bridge again. “Sir, they seem to prepare to resume their mining. Both ships assume positions in orbit of the star.”
Zamarran stood behind the communication console. “Seltan, now is the time to hail them.”
The gil operated her console and after a moment said, “Frequencies open, sir.”
“Talarian ships, seize your activity immediately!”
Yassel thought that is someone told her to do something in such a voice—she would drop everything at once. Zamarran knew how to sound demanding and commanding and his rusty voice made the impression even stronger.
There was no reply, though, and Torpal shook his head, answering Zamarran’s questioning look. The gul narrowed his eyes.
“Talarian ships, if you will resume your harmful activity, we will defend the local system’s stability. Seize your activity now.” Still no reaction. “Torpal, arm weapons.”
The glinn followed the order without a blink, but Yassel’s heart wasn’t as indifferent. She could feel it beating fast in her chest. Were they really going to attack? She had never destroyed a ship in her life and she was terrified at the thought that this could be her first time. She was not looking forward to this moment.
“Cardassian warship, you have no claim here
,” a voice from speakers said. Yassel could hear that the man on the other side was nervous, although he did his best to sound as demanding as Zamarran.
“Neither do you,” the gul replied firmly.
“We’ve already told you—take the planet if you want. We just want this star
Zamarran seemed to consider the proposal for a moment and then said, “The planet will be useless for us, if you destroy the star. We cannot invest into our operation knowing that it would all go in vain. Withdraw now! You have taken what you wanted.”
Torpal gave Zamarran a bit surprised look, obviously not expecting this kind of tactic, but Yassel knew: Zamarran not only bluffed, he was appalled by his own lies. What appeared to be anger targeted at the Talarians, was his frustration caused by such a primitive and low way of negotiation. The aide understood that the gul was ready to use lies and tricks to save the inhabitants of the planet. His self-respect was a small price in comparison with millions of lives. However, her respect for him grew with every minute.
“There’s still lots of precious resources here. You should understand that better than anyone
“You won’t have any resources if you destroy the source of extraction. You should know that. Find another star of an uninhabited system.”
There was no reply and after a moment Seltan reported, “He close the connection.”
“And he arms his weapons,” Torpal added.
The gul looked at the tactician. “Torpal, you are experienced in tactical planning, aren’t you?” The glinn seemed almost hurt by the question, but he only nodded his confirmation. “Good, because I am not,” Zamarran said and returned to his seat. “You will make tactical decisions. I trust you are ready for that.”
“Yes, sir!” Torpal confirmed in a strong voice. He sounded proud on the trust the gul put in him.
Zamarran looked at the human engineer. “Kapoor, get down to the engineering. You’ll be very busy there soon.”
The short woman left the bridge, Kara Talis taking over her post.
A moment later Torpal shouted, “Incoming!”
“Brace for impact,” Zamarran warned and Yassel was sure he was angry. Not scared, like her, but angry.
Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, lower deck
Aladar was on his way to the hangar bay, when the ship shook. He knew that motion—they were under attack. He wondered how in heavens would he leave the hangar with shields up, but decided to worry about it upon his arrival to the fighter.
He kept running, passing by other officers, who also ran. Another shake of the ship almost knocked him over, but he managed to stay on his feet.
Garesh Pa’Ler almost bumped on him, running fast toward the hangar.
“Did you see Veltek?” Aladar asked the other man.
Pa’Ler only shook his head. Aladar hoped that the third one, whom he had chosen for his small team, was also on his way to the fighter. If the ship had to lower the shields to let them out, it better happened in the beginning of the fight with the enemy, when the Marritza
was still strong and could take some beating with no shields protecting its hull.
“Aladar!” The scream almost torn the bulkheads.
Both gareshes stopped, seeing a dja running to them. Aladar recognised her as one of scientists. She ran to him, grabbed his armour and screamed,” Aladar, what do I do? What do I do?”
The garesh looked at the other militiaman. “Proceed to the fighter and start the pre-flight check. I’ll join you shortly.” The man nodded and left, while Aladar looked at the dja. “Calm down,” he said, grabbing her arm. “Take a breath.” She was all shaking and her face was covered with tears. He cursed himself for not preparing his bookworms better for situations like this. “Go to your quarters and stay there until everything is over.”
She shook her head. “But...but the order was to...battle stations.”
He didn’t want to bluntly tell her that she was in no condition to man any station. “Everything is under control. Go to your quarters and stay there.” He tried to sound calm but it wasn’t easy in a shaking corridor.
For a moment he thought that she would nestle to his chest and not let him go, but she managed to compose herself enough to let go off his armour.
“My bookworms are brave, I know that,” he said. “Just let the higher ranking and more experienced ones take care of the fighting. And you wait in your quarters, so that if anyone needs you, they would know where to look for you.” She nodded. “Go!”
She ran toward section ‘blue,’ while he resumed his jog to the hangar bay.
Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge
Zamarran spun around toward Seltan. “They do what
?!” he barked.
Seltan clearly saw that Yassel recoiled. This girl seemed to be afraid of her own shadow.
“Garesh Aladar reports that the third ship started to fire at the planet,” Seltan repeated.
“Are they targeting the cities?” the gul growled.
“Negative. They fire at forests.”
Rotan looked up. “My Gul, even if they fire at uninhabited parts of the planet, it can still terribly impact the lives of its inhabitants.”
Zamarran looked at the scientist, but didn’t say anything. He was thinking. In the meantime, Seltan received another message from Aladar. “Sir, Garesh Aladar engaged the Talarian ship.” Brave but stupid
, she thought. He wouldn’t stop much stronger ship from destroying the planet’s ecosystem, but he could get easily killed.
“Tell him to disengage!” Zamarran ordered.
Seltan sent the message but received no confirmation of receipt. She waited for a long moment and then sent it again. Again, she received not confirmation. “Sir, I am not sure they still are there,” she said, turning back to face Zamarran and caught Yassel’s painful expression.
Zamarran growled again. “Enough playing. Torpal, open fire. Target their weapons systems.” The glinn confirmed his order.
Seltan kept trying to hail Aladar’s Hideki, but the more she tried, the more she thought they were gone. She could only hope that their communication systems were down, not the whole ship destroyed.
One Talarian ship withdrew quickly, but the other one stayed and fought. As it occurred, it was not a match for a Keldon clas war...science ship.
“Sir,” Torpal reported. “We have damaged their warp core. Destruction immi...they have ejected their warp core.”
Seltan felt relief. So, the battle was won and she was still here, alive. Hopefully, now the Talarians would leave them alone, although she didn’t think they would leave the sun alone.
“They are falling toward the star,” Torpal added.
Zamarran leaned forward. “Do they have any propulsion?” he asked.
“It doesn’t seem so, or it’s not strong enough to compensate for the pull of the star.”
“Tractor beam,” Zamarran ordered.
Torpal looked at him enormously surprised. “Sir?”
“Did I speak unclearly? Tractor beam. Pull them out.”
“But sir...They attacked us, we acted in self-defence.”
“That’s right. However, right now they don’t seem like in any position to threaten us. This is not self-defence any more, this is watching them die. And I’d rather jump into that star myself than sit and look. This is my first mission as a ship’s gul and I’ll be damned if I murder hundreds of people as my command’s initiation. Tractor beam, or I’ll relieve you of duty and find someone who knows how to use it!”
Torpal tapped on his panel. “Tractor beam active,” he reported a second later. Zamarran watched the whole procedure on the main screen. “They are safely out,” the tactician said.
Zamarran looked at his communication officer. “Seltan, hail them and ask if they need assistance.”
“Their ship is slowly moving away,” Torpal said before Seltan had time to report her findings.
“Let them go.” Zamarran leaned back in his chair. “Vornar, take us to the planet. I want to know what’s going on there.” The gul looked at Seltan, but she only shook her head—she still didn’t have any contact with the team.