Zamarran hated waiting. It took them seven weeks to arrive to this point and now this—another obstacle. It wasn’t even about those three additional days they had to wait—what’s three days added to seven long weeks—but about the threat that they might have to resign from finalising this transaction for the sake of the ‘hunt an agent’ investigation.
Oh, of course he understood the importance of catching them all to the last bastard that was still in hiding, but did it had to be at the price of another Cardassian artefact? Zamarran was a native of Lakat, that’s where he had been born and raised and where he planned to have his own family, but Lakarian City was important for him. Before the Dominion War it was the centre of Cardassian culture and while he didn’t remember those times, his father had taught him that culture is an integral part of a nation’s identity and it should be protected. Lakarian City had been completely destroyed and not only people had died there, but also a part of Cardassian soul. It had been almost thirty years since the end of the war and the city had been rebuilt, but it still carried its wounds. And Zamarran was so close to heal a part of that wound and return the Lakarians one of their monuments—a statue that used to grace the biggest bridge in the city—but some stupid agent had to enter the picture! The palaeographer growled.
Yes, he understood that justice and unfairness that the Obsidian Order had imposed on people meant more than a piece of a carved stone, but he didn’t have to like
He glanced at the family holopicture that stood on a window near his bed. Uncle Nerik would most likely smack his head for thoughts like this: how could any inanimate object be as important as bringing criminals, who had changed Cardassians’ lives into hell, to face the Tribunal? Uncle Nerik used to be a dissident and the Obisidan Order had been his greatest nightmare. Zamarran understood that, too. He really did.
Still, the fact that the Statue of Moptor might not return home was driving him crazy.
He couldn’t stand it any longer. He left his quarters, stopped in front of the opposite door and pressed the wallcomm. He knew the chime sounded inside, even though he couldn’t hear it. A moment later the door parted. “I hope I’m not interrupting,” he said, trying to form a smile on his face and—he was certain—failing.
Jarol gave him an attentive look, as if she looked inside him to see what was bothering him. “Is something wrong?” she asked.
He shook his head. “No. I...I just need to talk.”
She moved aside, letting him in. He entered and the first thing his eyes visited was her computer terminal to make sure he indeed hadn’t interrupted anything. The screen was blank but active.
“Please, take a seat.” She offered him the only chair in the room, which stood at the computer console. She went to the bed, sat on it and took a brush in her hand. Then she started to brush Teti’s fur.
Zamarran sat, relieved that she indeed was busy with something that didn’t require secrecy. “It’s about the Obsidian Order and what you said during the dinner.” She gave him an asking look, so he explained, “About the possibility that we’d have to resign from our mission for the good of Ma’Kan’s.”
“And it bothers you.” It was a statement, not a question.
“It infuriates me,” he growled. She smiled gently. “Did you know,” he asked, “that my uncle was a dissident?”
“I didn’t know,” she said, shaking her head. “But I suspected.”
“I didn’t suspect it was your uncle...but I thought I noticed something different about your father.”
“And you never reported it to anyone.”
“No.” Her answer was short and simple, like it meant nothing, but from his father, and his uncle and history lessons he knew that if the Obisidian Order had ever found his uncle and his father—they would have also found her and execute her for not reporting it. Her answer was all but simple. “Can I ask you a question?” she asked. “You are free to refuse, of course.”
“If you have dissidents in your family...why did your father join the military and served the family’s enemy?”
Zamarran smiled. “Well...our family always tried to serve the Union. It’s the tradition
.” He emphasised the last word. “But when the Union started to resemble a monster, it became difficult to be a good Cardassian in a bad Cardassia. I asked my father the same question and he told me that he wanted to prove to his brother—my uncle—that one can serve the Union and still be a good, decent man.”
Something appeared on her face; something that the young man was unable to decipher. A sad smile graced her still beautiful face. “He is a good and decent man.”
“Thanks.” Zamarran smiled, wondering if his words had hurt her. There was something in her behaviour that made him worry he had said something inappropriate. Instead of digging, he decided to return to the main subject. “Do you think that getting this guy is more importa...” He didn’t finish. “That’s not what I mean. I know it’s more important to catch him than to get the statue. But...the price is so high.” He sighed.
She stopped brushing the cat and looked at him. “It is. But I don’t think it’s too high
She resumed grooming her cat. “Do you like your uncle?” she asked.
Zamarran blinked, not sure what this had anything to do with it. “Excuse me?”
She stopped again and looked at him. “Do you like him?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Would you like not to know him?”
“Keeping in mind what he’s given you and how much he means to you, imagine that he was arrested and killed when you were a little boy or before you were born. Imagine how much you’d lose. How much you would not be given.”
Zamarran started to understand the point she was making. “The loss of my uncle would be greater than some stupid statue.”
“That too, but not only. There is a lot of people who never knew their family members because the Obsidian Order had taken them away. There is a lot of people who are no more, because the Obsidian Order took their lives away. There is a lot of people with scars on their souls, because the Obsidian Order ‘took care’ of them.” She pierced her eyes into Zamarran’s. “Would you dare to tell them that their losses and suffering mean less than a statue?” Zamarran shook his head. He opened his mouth to protest but she added, smiling gently. “I know it’s not what you’re thinking and I understand your feelings. I’d love to give the Lakarians Moptor back. To give us all
Moptor back. But if I have to choose between another monster hanging on a rope or a statue—I choose the monster on the rope.”
“Do you think there’s any chance we could have both?”
“I hope so,” she said quietly. “Otherwise, it would be another evil thing that the Obsidian Order did to Cardassia.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Now we are waiting. And I’ll try to find out who this man is.”
“How is the search going?”
“I’m half-way through possible options. I need a few more hours.”
“Any way I could help?” He raised his hand. “Without
breaking some oaths of secrecy, or anything like that.”
“Thanks, but I’ll manage.”
“If you need anything, let me know.” And with that he left her room and returned to his.
He entered his quarters and it struck him that his was bigger than hers. He wondered why she had chosen such small quarters, especially since she travelled with her pet. Not that their ship had any big quarters to offer.
was a Janissen
class vessel. Bigger than a Hideki
, but smaller than a Galor
. Most of their ship was reconstructed and consisted of the tiny bridge that looked more like a cockpit, not much bigger engineering ‘closet’—as Delva called it—plus a few small rooms that served as the mess hall, crew quarters and one ‘family’ room. The rest of space was assigned to three cargo halls. One, which took almost half of the ship, and two half-smaller. Zamarran hoped to return to Cardassia with the biggest one filled with their artefact, but his hope was currently melting like ice in the sun.