Rathosia, Forrituloix City
Governor Torrploisaxis entered the guest suit. He was furious. Chief Inspector Gorrtosoilix nervously glanced at him. “I thought I told you to post guards outside their door to make sure that they were safe.”
Gorrtosoilix bowed. “Yes, my Governor, you did, my Governor.”
“Where are the guards?” Gorrtosoilix looked around.
“They are not to blame. The attack was clearly from inside.”
Torrploisaxis glanced at two crime investigators, who hovered their readers in the middle of the main room. A thought came to his mind. He looked at Gorrtosoilix, his anger gone and replaced by worry. “Were they beamed out
?” he asked with dread.
“It would appear so, Governor.”
“By whom?!” This was a scary thought. The visit of the extra-Rathosians was a special and prestigious event and the importance of Forrituloix City raised. Torrploisaxis knew, however, that not all governors were happy either with the Cardassians’ visit, or with the city’s success, or with both. On the other hand, some of the leaders considered the event as the most important in their history and who knows what they might try to claim some of that success. Torrploisaxis feared for his guests safety, but he also feared that their appearance might cause a civil war between the cities over the visitors.
One of crime investigators approached both men. “Governor, Chief Inspector,” she greeted them. “The remnants of the transporter are not indicating that it’s our technology.”
“Meaning what?” the governor asked.
“We have detected that kind of transporter in several places on our world within last ten years.”
“The Sun People,” both men said simultaneously.
“That would be my guess, yes,” the scientist confirmed, nodding. “Since we have a clear confirmation that it’s not only us who possess this kind of technology, this would be a logical assumption.”
“They did say that their people would take them back,” Gorrtosoilix reminded them.
Torrploisaxis eyes him. “Do you really think they would leave without a goodbye? I don’t.”
“Not only that,” the investigator interjected. “We have proof of struggle. One of sculptures was kicked—there are prints of a shoe on the pieces—and it is broken. Also, on that table over there stood a vase with flowers. Now both are on the floor, the vase broken and the flowers crushed, presumably by the same boots.”
Gorrtosoilix frowned. “So they were kidnapped and they resisted.”
“Find them,” Torrploisaxis growled, his ears perking. “Find them. We need
“I will, Governor, I will.”
Torrploisaxis left the room, leaving the investigating team to their job and wondering, how he would explain that to the other leaders.
Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge
Zamarran observed the symbol of the Federation on the screen, which represented a Starfleet starship that had just entered the system.
“We’re being hailed,” Seltan reported.
“On screen.” Zamarran shifted in his chair. Diplomacy, here I come.
A woman appeared on the viewer. Her black irises turned on a warning in Zamarran’s head—a Betazoid. He raised his mental defences not to be violated by the telepath. “This is Captain Ram of
USS Petrona. State your business in this star system
,” she demanded.
The gul felt tired of being verbally attacked by everyone. “Our business here is not of your concern,” he answered coldly.
,” she demanded.
“This is not Federation space, you cannot order me or make any demands,” Zamarran said calmly.
“If you think that we will stand by and watch you subjugate Rathosia, you are very wrong,
” she threatened.
Zamarran’s eyes narrowed in disgust. “If you think that we will stand by and watch you not help Rathosia, you are very wrong,” he replied.
She looked at him for a long moment. Then, she spoke again, but her voice wasn’t demanding any more. “Please, Gul, can you tell me what is your mission?
“My name is Zamarran,” he said. “And why would I share my mission details with you?” He was glad that she didn’t manage to peep into his head to learn this way.
“I had been informed that an armed Cardassian warship fought over this territory and I was sent to investigate. Things didn’t look good, but...
” She hesitated for a moment. “But once I had already been misinformed as to Cardassian intentions. This could be another case of assuming things without sufficient data.
Zamarran sighed. “We are here to stop the Talarians from mining the sun and to repair the sun.”
She seemed to think about his answer. “I have been informed by the scientists that reside on the planet that you have sent an armed troop down there.
Zamarran didn’t even try to conceal his amusement. “If the Federation considers three soldiers a troop, then I have no comment to that.”
Captain Ram blinked her black eyes. “Three soldiers?
“Three of my soldiers had to perform an emergency beam-out after their craft was damaged by the Talarians.”
“Three. The number between two and four.”
Ram seemed to be confused and Zamarran didn’t blame her. Obviously, whatever she had been told was a blown out of proportion report of the events in the Rathosian system.
” she said courtly after a moment, the demanding tone now gone without a trace. “If you don’t mind...I’d like to discuss things with you. In person. I can beam to your warship, or you could beam to my starship. Your choice.
is a science ship, not a warship. And by all means, feel invited for a visit and a discussion.”
“Ah, so this is the famous Cardassian science ship!
Zamarran smiled slightly. “I was not aware that we were famous.”
“The Cardassians turning to the ways of exploration,
” she grinned. “Do you really think the Federation wouldn’t notice?
” She paused for a moment and became serious again. “I shall be there in...ten minutes?
“That would be acceptable. I’ll see you in my transporter chamber in ten minutes.”
With that, she signed off. Zamarran looked at Yassel. “You’re with me,” he said and she nodded.
He headed for the exit and she followed him.
Rathosia, Yapplorettix City, Federation Observation Point #567887
All three Cardassians were seated in an empty room that didn’t look any different from a Cardassian interrogation room, if Aladar had ever seen one. Yellow-clad officers kept their eyes on the Cardassians, but no one said anything.
Finally, the only door opened and two people entered. A big, really big Orion man in yellow, followed by a much shorter woman in red—both had the rank of commander.
“Names!” the Orion boomed.
Aladar raised his head to look in the face of the looming over him man.
“Garesh Aladar,” he said calmly.
The man seemed to be taken aback my his response. He looked back to the small woman and then back at Aladar. “What? You’re just a guard
?” he asked surprised in much thinner voice.
Aladar scolded at him. “What do you mean ‘just
a guard’?” he barked. True, sometimes his duties included sentry and guarding, but he was very proud of that part of his job. It meant that he was protecting someone and making sure no harm was done to them. “Being a guard is an important thing—someone has to protect people.”
The Orion leaned over the garesh. “Or make sure that prisoners don’t run away,” he added with a sneer.
Aladar smiled sourly. “You just insulted all these good officers in this room.”
Veltek giggled but quickly managed to silence himself.
“What are you doing here, Cardassian!” the Orion asked, straightening.
“I asked about your ship!” The Orion seemed to lose control over his emotions, as he yelled the question.
“We like to explore,” Aladar said, narrowing his eyes.
The man raised his huge, green hand ready to strike Aladar, but the woman behind him said quietly, “Golek...” The gigantic hand was lowered but Aladar didn’t feel any safer.
The female commander stepped closer. “Garesh Aladar—if that is your real name and I sincerely doubt it—your presence here is disturbing the natural development of the inhabitants.” Pa’Ler snorted loudly. Aladar knew how his soldier felt—the Federation didn’t do anything to help those people and here she was, pretending that they cared. “However, what worries me most is not your presence here and the pollution to their culture, but your intentions.” Aladar gave her an asking look, not sure what she meant. “Here you are, the almighty Cardassians, preparing to conquer and subjugate another victim. If you think that the Federation would stand by and let you violate these people, then you are wrong.”
The garesh’s eyes opened wide. He didn’t believe what he had just heard.
“I’ve never heard worse zobar
shit than this!” Veltek shouted heatedly. “You don’t give a damn about them. You just sit here and spy on them, but don’t move your scale-less finger to help them!”
Aladar put his hand on Veltek’s shoulder, so the young garesh calmed down a bit. Aladar wasn’t angry with him for this explosion, though, as he shared exactly the same opinion.
“We are not allowed to interfere,” the female commander said flatly.
“But you are
allowed to let them die!” Veltek barked.
Aladar squeezed the young Cardassian’s shoulder and Veltek immediately silenced. The ranking garesh said, “Notify our ship and they’ll take us out of here.” He didn’t like leaving the Rathosians without a word of farewell, but he knew it was a luxury that the Federation would not grant him. “And then you can spy on them endlessly.”
The Orion snickered. “Endlessly, you say.”
Aladar defiantly looked him in the eyes. “That’s right. Because we will not stand by and watch them die. We will help them and save them.”
“To exploit them later,” the female commander added.
“Your claim has no proof. Mine does,” Aladar retorted. He was getting tired of this. “Return us to our ship. Now!” he demanded.
“That remains to be seen,” the commander barked, turned on her heel and left the room with the Orion in tow.
Veltek looked at Aladar. “Are we their prisoners?” he asked half-surprised, half-angered.
The ranking garesh nodded. “It seems so.”