“Sir.” Damar entered Dukat’s office with, he hoped, air of confidence.
“Yes, Damar, what is it?” The gul didn’t even raise his head from a padd he was studying.
“Are you unsatisfied with my performance, sir?”
That caught Dukat’s attention. “No, not at all. Why would you think so?”
“I must admit I am puzzled.” Damar took a step forward, closing to Dukat’s desk. “If my service as an aide is satisfactory and up to your high standards, then why do you need an aide from another warship?”
Dukat leaned back in his chair. “Damar, she is here not to replace you, but to co-ordinate our manoeuvres with the other ships.”
“I can do that. I am not afraid of taking more responsibilities...and I don’t want to fail you.” Damar knew that if he wanted to achieve his goal, he had to make it look like it was Dukat’s benevolence and kind heart that had led him to the ‘unnecessary’ decision of bringing Jarol on board. And stroking Dukat’s ego never failed. The glinn was unable to read Dukat’s face and as the moment of silence stretched, he began to wonder if he hadn’t just brought trouble on himself. It was possible that Dukat assumed Damar was an idiot who didn’t understand the real reasons why Jarol was on the Ravinok
“I know what you’re thinking,” Dukat said finally, raising from his chair and approaching his officer. “You are angry with her for her disrespectful behaviour on the bridge a few days ago.”
Damar didn’t lose a second and immediately used the opportunity. “Her behaviour was outrageous and I don’t want her on the ship. You deserve a crew better than that.”
Dukat smiled graciously. “All right, Damar. Send her back to her warship.”
“Thank you, sir.” The glinn didn’t have to fake his relief.
He left the office and at once went to Jarol. “Leave the ship,” he said quietly. “And do it quickly, before he changes his mind.” She uncertainly looked at the door to the gul’s office. Dukat observed them through the half-glass door. “I said get off the ship!” Damar barked louder for his commander’s benefit and then added impatiently, “I’ll do it myself.” He grabbed her elbow and pulled her toward the lift door. She was so surprised that she didn’t resist.
They entered the lift. “Sorry,” he said, withdrawing his hand as soon as the door closed, cutting them off from the bridge. “I had to put a show for him.”
She observed him for a moment. “Can I really return to my ship?” she asked.
“Yes. Tell your gul everything that happened. I complained to Dukat about your presence here and your outrageous behaviour.” He rolled his eyes as a sign he didn’t really mean it. “He bought it. So it’s better if your gul plays the game for your and my safety.”
“Damar, how can I thank you?”
He smiled. “If you want to thank me, help Yassel get off this ship, too. She deserves better than that.” He felt almost sick, saying those words. He liked women; he liked them a lot. He liked their company, but wanted it to be enjoyable for both him and his lady. ‘No’ meant ‘no’ and he had no problems with accepting refusal. But for Dukat it wasn’t about beauty of blue chanth
s, it was about power and domination over someone’s life, including their body. For Yassel’s safety, Damar and Yassel pretended she was Damar’s woman, but the glinn was sure he had noticed Dukat losing patience and it was more than probable that soon the gul would stop being loyal to his officer and take his woman. Damar liked Yassel and didn’t want any harm to happen to her.
“I’ll try,” she promised.
“Don’t try,” he snapped. “Do it!”
She nodded sharply. “I’ll do it!”
The lift doors opened and they headed for her temporary quarters to pick up her things. Then he escorted her to the transporter chamber. He had no idea how nervous he was, until she safely left the Ravinok
and was beyond Dukat’s reach.
He was on his way back to the bridge, when he was informed about the alien delegation returning for another session of talks. It was the fifth meeting and Damar already knew a great deal about their society. They called themselves the Dominion and were led by the Founders, whom Weyoun and his guards considered gods. The glinn found it amusing, but did his best not to show his opinion to their...guests. However, he was impressed by the order the troops were organised by and wondered if some of those solutions couldn’t be adapted to the Cardassian military.
He headed for a transporter chamber to welcome Weyoun and his Jem’Hadar and to escort them to Dukat’s office. There, as usually, he motioned to his seat but Dukat changed the routine and told him to report to the bridge. Damar found it weird to be asked to leave, but he didn’t protest. The Jem’Hadar guards stayed outside and Dukat was alone in the room with the Vorta—as the alien called his species—who didn’t look like someone who could pose a physical threat to a Cardassian, so the glinn couldn’t use the argument of staying inside for security reasons as an excuse to be present and listen to what they were discussing.
He didn’t like the idea of leaving. He had witnessed some of talks and he noticed that Weyoun not only shared information about the Dominion, but also gathered a lot of information about the Cardassian Union and it was obvious that politics were the matter he wanted to know most about. The last time the Vorta managed to manipulate Dukat to reveal much too much information by manoeuvring the gul and making him presenting his own role in the structures of power greatly overestimated. Damar had to admit that Weyoun knew exactly how to make Dukat tell him everything he wanted; it only took playing on the gul’s egotism. All attempts to warn Dukat failed, as he had seemed to enjoy drawing picture of himself being so great, so in the end Damar was paid with denial to join the discussion as the reward of his caution. He dreaded what might be going on behind that closed door now. He was certain the Vorta noticed his reserve and now, with Damar gone, Weyoun could become even bolder in his approach.
“Damar, there’s something I want to show you,” Yassel said quietly, approaching him. He followed her to the communication console. “I keep an eye...an ear...” She grinned. “On everything in space and I noticed that the Dominion ship is in contact with...something or someone.”
“There’s nothing surprising about that,” he said. “We’d do the same if we were in range of our empire. They probably send reports and such.”
“Well, yes, that was my initial thought, but there seems to be more than that. It’s possible that their technology is so different from ours that it appears to be more than just simple reports, but it’s also possible that...” She hesitated.
He nodded, encouraging her to continue. “Go on.”
“My guess would be that it’s an extensive visual communication. And it happens only when the Vorta is aboard his own ship, so I think he talks to someone. A lot.”
“Informing his superiors of our talks and getting instructions on how to proceed,” he wondered.
“I thought the same thing.”
“Did you tell Dukat about that.”
“I’d rather you do it.”
He understood her perfectly. Limiting her direct interaction with the gul was something he had suggested himself. “I will.”
“There’s more,” Raseen suddenly joined them.
Damar looked at the Obsidian Order agent. “What do you mean?”
“My guess is that Dukat already knows about those communiques. I’m sure Weyoun reports everything to his superiors and each subsequent meeting in the office—” He nodded toward the door to Dukat’s room. “—is the result of new orders he receives.”
Damar tried to hide his impatience; it wasn’t a good idea to irritate the political officer. “You said there’s more.”
Raseen seemed to consider whether to answer, as for a moment he just stood, biting his lower lip and looking to the left. Then he grabbed Damar’s elbow and pulled him away, out of Yassel’s earshot. “I know Dukat is also in contact with Weyoun while the Vorta is on his ship.”
Damar raised an eye ridge. “Talking face to face is not enough?” He didn’t have to ask where Raseen had the information from, because he was certain the agent knew a lot about everyone on the warship. The question was why he was sharing it with the glinn now. It wasn’t a standard procedure.
“I do not know, but I am going to confront him about that. I don’t like the fact that he has secret conversations with some aliens and...right now even the talks aboard our own ship are uncontrolled.”
“What do you mean?”
“You, people, find a lot of ingenious ways to deactivate our...devices and each attempt of bringing them back to operation is counteracted by even more ingenious actions.” It was no news for Damar. Everyone knew that the Obsidian Order bugged everything and everyone tried to have some privacy, scrambling and fooling the bugs. “But he is there alone with that slimy alien and I don’t trust him.”
“You mean you’d trust me
“I trust that neither you nor Dukat would trust each other to do something unlawful in the other’s presence. But right now he’s out of control and this cannot go on.”
“What can you do?”
“Let me worry about that.” Raseen shook his head and went away, leaving Damar puzzled why that conversation had happened at all.