I noticed Glinn Brenok looked at us and I tried to shut up. His eyes returned to his console, but there was a smile on his lips, too. Okay, so I’ve become the ship’s idiot, right? As clever as Zamarran’s daughter when she had been four years old.
Oh, how much I wanted to ask about his family. However, I was pretty sure it would be inappropriate.
I concentrated on my task instead. I wouldn’t say anything stupid if I would stop talking, that was sure.
Karama approached us with a padd in his hand.
“Zamarran, could you run it through our database?” he asked, handing the padd to the engineer. “There is something familiar in it, but I can’t put my finger on it.”
“Of course.” Zamarran put the padd on his console and downloaded the data.
Karama looked at me and smiled. I smiled back.
“Do you want me to check something specifically?” Zamarran asked him.
“Er, no. I’d rather have the computer confirm my suspicions and maybe answer my questions.”
“It’s going to take some time.”
“That’s all right. No rush. Are you going to let her have a meal break?” he asked, nodding at me.
“You hungry?” Zamarran asked me.
“A bit.” Among all those new experiences around me I completely forgot about food.
“We don’t wait till the end of our duty?” I asked.
“Our duty is quite long, Kapoor,” Karama explained. “We are short-handed, so we need to fill double posts and work long hours.”
“Oh. Until the evening?”
“That’s right. Each day shift and each night shift is divided to alpha and beta shifts.”
“Then I’d better grab something. Sir?” I looked at Zamarran.
“Go,” he nodded. “Take your colleague,” he added a second later.
“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” I went to Ullmann. “Let’s go and eat something.”
“Good idea, I’m starving,” she replied.
There was some rule, or a tradition, I wasn’t sure, but I knew it had to be done.
“Sir.” I stood next to the throne and looked at Glinn Brenok. He raised his head to look at me. “Lieutenant Kapoor and Lieutenant Ullmann report end of their alpha day shift.” I hoped I did it right.
“Noted,” he said and we both headed for the lift.
We had to wait for it, so I heard Karama reporting end of his duty to Brenok. He used exactly the same sentence as last evening. Hmm, maybe it was just this particular phrase that had to be used and I unnecessarily made it so precise and complicated.
Karama joined us and all three of us entered the lift when it finally arrived.
“Did I make a fool of myself?” I asked. “By my reporting of leaving the bridge? Was to too...innovative?”
“It was...unusual, but don’t worry about it. You at least tried to follow the protocol.”
“Is it a serious offence to leave the bridge without being officially dismissed?”
“Yes, it is quite serious. Even if it’s obvious you leave, the officer in charge must be notified.”
“How is your day so far?” he asked Ullmann.
“It is fine,” she replied quietly.
“So what have you been doing?” He moved closer to her to take a look at a padd she kept in her hands.
“Stay away from me?!” Her reaction was violent. I stared at her astonished.
And so did he. He was looking at her, not sure what to do and then asked calmly. “What is your problem?”
“You, you are my problem! Don’t you dare to touch me!”
His face expressed total surprise, but then it suddenly changed. At first I thought he was angry, or irritated by her attitude and I thought he felt offended by her rude behaviour, but a moment later he smiled. He squinted his eyes and put his hands on his hips.
“But I would so looooove to touch you,” he said in a deep voice.
She gasped and I thought she’d hit him, but the door opened and he left to the corridor. He winked to me on his way out—I liked when he did that.
We entered the mess hall and it was full.
“You two sit here.” He pointed to a table, at which two seats were free.
“How about you?” I asked him.
“I’ll find something, don’t worry.” He smiled at me and left, looking around.
“Uffff, I was afraid he was going to join us,” Ullmann whispered to my ear to make sure other Cardassians at the table didn’t hear her.
“Why afraid? He’s nice.”
“No, he’s not. He scares me; he doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and I fear he won’t stop on threats.”
“Threats? What threats?” Was there something I didn’t know about?
“Didn’t you hear what he said in the lift?”
“Oh, come on! He was joking.”
“I don’t think so. It’s not the first time he said something like this.”
“Don’t you remember? You were there too! He talked about my hair.”
“Oh, I think I remember. But he only said he liked it.”
“Yes, but it’s how
he said it.”
“Oh, you must be deaf, really.” She became irritated.
We ate our food in silence. I could see she was upset, but I thought she exaggerated. We were barely in the middle of our meals, when Karama appeared again.
“You finished?” I asked him, not seeing any dish in his hands, therefore assuming he didn’t come to join us at the table.
“Yes. I have lots of work today. I just wanted to say ’see you on the bridge.’” He smiled at me. Then he leaned very close over Ullmann and said quietly in a growling, lewd voice, “I look forward to see you again later.” Then he made a move like he smelled her hair and left, followed by laughter of a few crewmen, who witnessed the scene.
Ullmann curled on her chair and became visibly smaller. She had tears in her eyes.
“Ullmann, he is not serious,” I told her. “Don’t let it bother you.”
“It’s easy for you to say. He doesn’t say those things to you
“To be honest—you started. Even when he was just neutrally nice you assumed he wanted to rape you then and there. He just started to play your game.”
“Why do you defend him?” she shouted.
“Because he is not what you think he is. He is really nice.”
“He’s a rapist!” she said way too loudly.
A few heads turned toward us.
“This is Cardassia, not Romulus. People are not guilty until arrested, and so far I didn’t see him raping anyone, you included.” I was getting annoyed.
“Oh, so you’d rather wait for him to do it?”
“Don’t twist my words,” I said and pushed my plate away. I lost appetite. “I go back to the bridge before Zamarran sends troops for me.”
“Fine,” she muttered.
She didn’t speak to me for the remainder of the day.