Okay, this was not
,” I repeated, hoping that maybe it was some kind of error in accepting a voice command. And as before, the computer made an acknowledging sound and nothing happened. Great. No breakfast today?
I went to retrieve a tricorder—a scanner, as they called it here—and tricorded, err, scanned the replicator. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. I took off the front panel, put my head and hand inside and hovered the scanner over every part of the machine that I could reach. Nothing. Everything was normal. No broken parts, no leakage, not nothing.
But something was wrong if the replicator didn’t want to replicate me my breakfast!
“Computer, does the replicator in quarters har-kap-seven-forward malfunction?” I asked, suspecting the reply.
“The replicator in quarters har-kap-seven-forward is working within established parameters
.” And dear Mr. Scary Voice Computer didn’t disappoint me.
“Computer, why doesn’t the replicator work?”
“The replicator in quarters har-kap-seven-forward is working within established parameters.
“So you’ve told me. Computer, why doesn’t the replicator replicate?”
“The replicator in quarters har-kap-seven-forward is working within established parameters
“What’s wrong?” Ullmann asked from the bathroom.
“It doesn’t want to make me breakfast!”
“Maybe you need another boyfriend, who could bring you breakfast to bed?”
“Ha, ha, ha,” I said slowly.
“What?” I heard her laughing. “You’re an engineer, the ship is your lover.”
“You’re a scientist, are anomalies your lovers?”
“I’m going to get help, okay?” I shouted toward the bathroom.
“Okay,” she replied and I heard shower starting its work.
So, who could I ask for help. Zamarran was an engineer, but he probably wouldn’t like the idea. I didn’t know exactly why, but something was telling me that asking him was another inappropriate thing to do.
I asked the computer where he lived and went there.
The surprise on his face was enormous.
“Sorry to bother you, but there is something wrong with my replicator and I can’t find the reason.”
“What is wrong?” he asked. He was already wearing the inside part of his uniform, but not the outside armour.
“It isn’t replicating. I checked but found nothing broken. Could you please take a look? I had no breakfast.”
“All right,” he agreed.
We returned to our quarters.
“Please wait here for a moment, all right? I’ll just make sure Ullmann is fully dressed.”
“Of course,” he nodded.
I went back inside. It seemed like Ullmann was still in the bathroom. I knocked. “Are you there?”
“Yes, you need to use it?”
“No. But make sure you are in the uniform when you leave, okay? We have a guest.”
I went back to the door to let Karama in.
I expected him to look around to see how two human women lived, but he went straight to the replicator. He entered some commands at the mini console on it, requesting some data, checked something and then looked at me.
“Did you monitor your rations?” he asked.
“Did I what?”
He pointed to the mysterious, round screen next to the replicator. “Your rations. Each weak you receive a certain amount of rations on your account. According to the counter, you used them all up.”
“I didn’t know what that little round screen meant. I tried to read, but the characters were disappearing so quickly I never managed to translate them.”
“You could have asked.”
“Yes, but I was always forgetting to ask,” I sighed.
He opened his mouth to say something, when the door to the bathroom opened.
“You!” Ullmann yelled.
We both looked at her, startled by her shouting.
“What do you want!” she ran to her cupboard, circling him around and staying as far as she could. She retrieved a knife and pointed it at him.
He raised his hands, indicating he had no bad intentions, and stepped back.
“Get out!” she yelled.
“Ullmann, I asked him here to help with the—”
“Shut up!” She didn’t even look at me; her eyes fixed on him. “Get the hell out, you bastard! I’d rather die then let you touch me!”
He slowly moved backward toward the door, still facing her. He tried not to make any rapid moves not to startle her and provoke her to use her knife. The door swished open and he stepped outside; there he lowered his hands, glanced at me and the door automatically closed.
Ullmann slumped to the floor and started crying.
I didn’t know what to do. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to ask him
for help. But I had asked him a couple of days ago to stop harassing her, even in jokes, and he had promised to stop. She stopped complaining about him and he ignored her completely, he didn’t even greet her in the morning. He treated her as she was air. I thought it was all fixed.
I was so wrong.
“Maeva, I’m sorry,” I said quietly. “I didn’t mean to. I...I didn’t think you would...”
“Get out!” she yelled. “You too, get out!”
This was bad, really bad.
“He didn’t come here for you, but for me,” I said a little too harshly. And then I left.
He was long gone, but I knew I had to talk to him. To apologise for her behaviour. If he had done something, if he had said something, then I could understand her reaction, but he just had been there. He had stopped bothering her and...What had she though? That he’d come to rape her? He hadn’t donned his armour, so that it was more comfortable for him?
It was all my fault, wasn’t it? I shouldn’t have brought him to my quarters, should I? I had to make it up to both of them.
No breakfast for you today, my lady. Report to the bridge and you better think out a way to fix this.
I reported to the bridge, greeted whoever I was supposed to greet and went straight to work. I had another huge chunk of Skarrat database to process today.
Ullmann appeared on the bridge shortly after me. Her eyes were still a bit red from crying, but no one seem to notice.
“I’m so sorry, Maeva,” I whispered, when she stood next to me at our console.
She just shook her head. “Let’s not talk about it. I know what to do with him,” she said.
I opened my mouth to defend him and explain that he hadn’t been in our quarters for her, but decided against it. I doubted she would listen and I was sure she didn’t want to talk about it any more. I made myself busy instead.
Karama entered the bridge in full uniform, but didn’t even look in our direction. Ullmann glared at him and then returned to her work. We worked in silence, gathering, screening and entering important facts to our padds. Everything seemed fine, until I found a really strange thing. I stared at the screen, not really sure if my TP translated it correctly.
“What is it?” Ullmann noticed me being a motionless statue and looked over my shoulder. “Oh, my God.”
The document was a record of an execution. What made it different from other documents of that sort was who had been executed. Not another Skarrat, or a rebel. It was their prefect. The Cardassian had been sentenced to death and hanged according to the Skarrat law.
“Let’s see if we can find more on this,” Ullmann said.
She found another Cardassian document, signed by the prefect, Gul Markor, who had ordered executing all members of Skarrat resistance, including their families and friends. Everyone, who had any ties with the resistance, was supposed to be killed. I closed my eyes. I was quite sure that by that time almost every native on the planet had some connections with the resistance, which meant that the Cardassians would have killed all Skarrats—all of them, to the last one.
I looked at Ullmann.
“I’m not going to tell them that,” she whispered. “They’d kill us.”
“It’s their report,” I said, but could clearly hear doubt in my own voice.
“Will you go and report it?”
“Can you imagine what the Dragon Lady will do to us?” I could. She was off the warship this very moment, visiting the planet, but she was supposed to return in the afternoon. “What will we do?” Ullmann asked.
“I don’t know,” I whispered.
“We could pretend I didn’t find it.”
“No. If they find out that we found it and hid it, it could be even worse.”
“It doesn’t matter how they execute you, you’re still dead.”
“But they must know about it anyway,” I said.
“Do you really think they will allow us to prepare that report, if they knew that we could have found it?” I shook my head. “What do we do?” Ullmann asked again.
“We have to tell someone,” I said. Brenok was on the bridge, but I couldn’t imagine going to him and saying, ’Hi, I have the report ready. By the way, you have almost committed genocide on the Skarrats’. However I could
imagine him going angry. Maybe Zamarran? He was our direct superior, so we should follow the chain of command. And he could take it to the gul. She probably would be less angry hearing about this from another Cardassian than from a human, wouldn’t she?
“We can’t hide it,” I whispered. “And you know it?” Ullmann’s eyes filled with tears again. “I’ll go,” I volunteered. “I’ll talk to Zamarran first and report it to him.”
I decided to dig a little deeper, hoping I could find something to weaken to blow, but the more information I had, the worse it got.
I waited for Zamarran to return from his ’lunch break.’ I’d lost my appetite completely and didn’t feel like having a break at all. The longer I waited, the more nervous I was. The fact that the Dragon Lady had returned and was in her office wasn’t making me feel any better.
Finally the chief engineer arrived on the bridge and headed for his console. I took a deep breath, glanced at Ullmann, who wished me luck, and went to him. “Sir,” I said to call his attention and continued once he looked up at me. “I have some information related to the report Ullmann and I are preparing.”
“What about it?” His eye ridges knitted.
“It’s...disturbing...” I hesitated. Would he
find it disturbing? Or would it be normal day’s work? Did any Cardassians considered things like that atrocities, or just necessary, justifiable force application?
“In what way?” It definitely called his attention.
“If you access the data currently displayed on our monitor.” He switched his view to ’our view’ and studied the revelation. I stood next to him; I didn’t want to look at his face to see how it was changing—or if it changed at all—while he was reading the documents. He looked at me.
“Is there more than this?” he asked.
“Yes. This is just the last material I have found. There is more documentation regarding this.”
“This is not directly related to the current situation and the proof that the Skarrats want to stay within Cardassian territory,” he said.
“No, it’s not, but I think it is
related and shouldn’t be omitted.”
“Download everything to a padd and then call me.”
I returned to my console and did as he asked, and after that I went back to him.
He looked at me. “Come,” he said and headed for the gul’s office.
I glanced at Ullmann and she looked terrified too.
I followed Zamarran, but when I was on stairs I could clearly see Gul Jarol hit her desk with her fist, clearly very, very angry. What a perfect moment to be a messenger of bad news.
We waited for her to allow us to enter and then the engineer said.
“Lieutenant Kapoor has something to report, sir.”
“What is it?” In spite of explosion of fury a moment ago her voice was even and professional.
I gathered my courage and said, “Gul, I have been collecting data regarding the Skarrat history, especially the newest history, related to the Cardassians.”
“And I found something very disturbing.”
I handed her the padd that I had uploaded all relevant information to.
“I have searched local archives and found out that the previous prefect had been executed according to the local law. I found it quite odd, so I tried to find the reason of his execution.” How was I supposed to tell her that? What would she do? Would I be executed for delivering information like this? Maybe it was forbidden to criticise the Union’s politics regarding occupied worlds. But wouldn’t Zamarran have told me? Or he could be executed too, if he hadn’t delivered me to the gul?
“Did you find it?” She looked at me. I must be brave... “Yes, I did. You’re not going to like it, Gul.”
“There used to be resistance on the planet. Every member of it was found and executed by Cardassian forces. Almost one fourth of the planet’s population was wiped out. That called the Central Command’s attention to the Prefecture and the prefect and they decided to send a new prefect, Gul Kadal, to replace the old one. Gul Kadal brought the old prefect to justice, local
justice, for crimes against the Skarrats.”
She didn’t say anything. I think she was shocked. She didn’t expect that. Even more than this: she didn’t like that. She didn’t seem to find it acceptable use of discipline, or whatever they officially called their appalling actions. She didn’t like killing people en mass any more than I did. “I suppose you will place it in your report too,” she said finally.
What did she expect me to do? Should I save my own skin? I couldn’t bring those dead people back to life, but I didn’t want to join them! “Gul, my task was to investigate the current situation and to find proofs that the Skarrats really don’t want the Cardassians to leave. I went deeper in my research than the task required, and yes, I have found disturbing information, however it was a long time ago and Gul Kadal did his best to fix the situation. He was in trouble after that and I am not sure how come the Obsidian Order didn’t take care of him, but he still is here and he made it work. The history is history. If the Skarrats could forgive the Cardassians, then who are we to tell them they can’t live together in peace any longer?”
“If you don’t see it as relevant and will not include it in your report, why do you tell me all this?”
Tell her you care about her being on the top. “Because if someone checks our report and finds that this information is missing, it’s better for you to know about it too, instead of being faced with it by someone else—by someone opposing you.”
Gul Jarol, to my surprise, smiled a bit. “Thank you for your report, Lieutenant. If that’s all, you are dismissed.”
I turned and left, Zamarran followed me after a few seconds.
I hated myself. I hated myself for being such a coward. For this show of bootlicking. For my despicable behaviour and cowardice. I was among Cardassians, and instead of showing them Federation values I lowered myself to their level in hiding their crimes. I bit my lower lip, trying to stop tears in my eyes. I went back to Ullmann and she immediately noticed that something was wrong.
“Are you in trouble?” she asked worried.
“No. Not with her.” I nodded once toward the office. “But my self-dignity and self-respect are gone.”
She didn’t ask any more questions and I was grateful for that.
“Is she very mad?” Ullmann asked me suddenly.
“Who? The gul?” She nodded. “I don’t know. I think she is, but she was all professional to me.”
“Okay. So here goes nothing.” She took a breath and went to Brenok. He listened to her for a moment and then nodded once. She headed for the gul’s office.
What was it about? Did she have something to add about the atrocities? But wouldn’t she talk to me first? It wasn’t long before Ullmann left the Dragon Lady’s office and...left the bridge. What was going on?
“Karama, my office!” The gul’s voice was like a thunder.
It was easy to guess what Ullmann had told her. And she had told me she had a solution. She’d reported it. She had gone to the gul and reported it. But he had already stopped. He wasn’t going to do it any more, so why had she reported him now? Was it because of this morning? Because of me? He was in trouble because I asked him to take a look at my replicator? This day started badly and from that moment the ’bad’ was only escalating. It was the worst day of my life!
Karama returned to his post. He looked like she had beaten him; his head was hanging low and he seemed to shrunk. I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for Ullmann. I felt guilty and miserable.
“It’s time to end your duty for today.” Zamarran’s voice startled me. I was so lost in my own thoughts that I didn’t notice his approach.
At first I wanted to protest, but then I decided to do what he said. “Yes, sir.” And since Brenok had left the bridge and was in the gul’s office, I added, “Lieutenant Kapoor reporting the end of her duty.”
“Dismissed,” he acknowledged.
I returned to my quarters.
Ullmann was sitting at a desk and recording a message, when I arrived.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to disturb,” I said.
“That’s okay, I’ve just finished.”
“How are you?”
I didn’t know what else to say, so I just sat on my bunk and took a padd with cultural information on Cardassia. But I couldn’t read; I couldn’t concentrate for my thoughts were returning to the terrible events of this day.
A chime was an unexpected sound. We never had any visitors. Ullmann didn’t react, so I went to open the door. The Dragon Lady herself paid us a visit.
“Gul Jarol, we didn’t expect you,” I said quietly.
“I wanted to talk to Ullmann.”
“Yes, sir?” My colleague rose and came closer.
“Your duty will be changed to the night shift and you will not share duty time with Gil Karama.”
“Thank you, Gul.” She smiled with appreciation.
“Gil Karama has been disciplined. If he bothers you again, report it immediately and I will deal with it again, severely.”
That wasn’t exactly fair. He was nasty, but he didn’t mean any harm; his behaviour was misguided, but he never really attempted anything, and surely not this morning; and I was sure Ullmann presented this morning as a physical assault and an attempt of rape.
“Gul,” I said. I did so many risky things today that one more didn’t make a difference.
“Gil Karama never meant any harm—”
“You knew about this?!” Her gaze and voice changed and she was menacing again.
“I asked him to stop and he promised he would,” I told her.
“You knew about this and you didn’t report it?” Clearly, it wasn’t a satisfactory answer.
“I didn’t think...I...” But he didn’t do anything that bad. Ullmann was overreacting. He just wanted to scare her. It was more of a stupid joke than real malice.
“I don’t know what kind of regulations are aboard Federation starships, Lieutenant, but here is Cardassia. We expect our officers to hold to some standard. I
expect my officers to conduct themselves exemplary. That was far from exemplary. It was your duty to report such an outrageous behaviour. As a Cardassian, who you are on this ship, or a law-abiding person, if you prefer. As an officer. As a colleague.” She gave Ullmann a short glance and then her yes returned to me. “And as a woman. ”
“Yes, Gul. I didn’t think it was that serious. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”
“I hope so.”
If there was any shadow of self-respect left in me, it was gone now. Ullmann’s gaze made me feel worse. She probably thought I have betrayed her.
And maybe I did.
I wanted to cry.