Brenok entered the bridge, but did not approach his station to relief the assistant chief engineer on duty, Gil Ya’val. He headed straight for the gul’s office, causing the heads turn toward his direction because of his heavy steps. He hit the wallcomm with his fist, hearing the metallic cling the device emitted under the brute force. Through the half-glass door he saw Zamarran’s surprised look.
He had spent the whole night thinking about the disgusting thing that had happened to his friend and the longer he thought about it, the angrier he was becoming. His blood was now boiling no less than it had been when she’d first told him about Dukat’s behaviour the night before. Without her calming presence, there was nothing stopping him from what he believed he should have done the day earlier.
Zamarran made a gesture with his hand, inviting Brenok to enter. The glinn didn’t hear it, but he knew the gul gave the computer the command to open the door, as it parted in front of the engineer.
“What can I do for you, Brenok?” Zamarran leaned back in his chair, looking at his officer.
“Did Jarol tell you what happened on his ship?”
“She did.” Obviously, he didn’t have to clarify whose ship he’d meant.
The engineer felt fury flooding his soul. “And what did you do about that!” He knew his tone was too defiant and he spoke too loud, but he didn’t care. All he cared about was Atira.
Zamarran pointed to the chair next to Brenok. “Sit down.” The glinn fumed and opened his mouth to say something, but the gul repeated in a tone that accepted no refusal. “Sit. Down.” Brenok didn’t want to sit down. He wanted to run. And to smash someone’s face. But Zamarran patiently waited and his calmness seemed to be stronger than the glinn’s fury. Grudgingly, the younger man sat in the offered chair. “Now, listen. There is a plan we have to follow and Jarol agreed to that.”
“I don’t care about—”
“Don’t interrupt me.” There was a faint warning—or perhaps a threat—in Zamarran’s voice, which immediately silenced the glinn. “Don’t make a mistake thinking that I would allow some...person—” He spat the word. “—to sexually harass my officer, but there is something I have to do and to do that I have to play a certain game. As soon as that game is over and...as soon as it’s over, Dukat will pay for his behaviour. For both cases.”
Brenok didn’t care for games or plans, but the word ‘both’ drew his attention. He bit his lower lip, but didn’t say anything.
Zamarran stood. “Now return to your duty.” The glinn rose and headed for the door, but before he left, the gul said, “And Brenok...don’t you dare to speak to me in such a tone ever again.”
Hot fury was flushed away by icy fear. He had crossed the line. “I won’t, sir. I’m sorry, sir.”
The gul only grunted and sat back in his chair, while the engineer went to his station, feeling like a walking failure. This day had not started well.
Gul Toral was surprised by Gul Zamarran’s request, but he was intrigued enough to accept the strange invitation. It felt wrong to meet behind Dukat’s back, but Zamarran had promised to explain everything. The condition was that they had to do that in person.
Both the Roumar
and the Radalar
were the same Galor
-class warships, but as soon as Toral beamed aboard Zamarran’s vessel, he knew he wasn’t home. In spite of everything being the same, everything was different. He wouldn’t be able to tell what was different, but he could feel
He knew the way to the gul’s office, so he didn’t need any escort, but he also knew the protocol, so didn’t protest two gareshes accompanying him all the way. It didn’t matter, really.
On the bridge, he stole a glance at the beautiful gul’s aide and then entered the gul’s office. But before his attention was fully on the other gul, his narrow eyes had spotted the civilian man on the bridge, who was observing him suspiciously. There was only one civilian allowed on a warship’s bridge, so Toral was sure it was the local political officer. He also knew the man was nothing but scum; he could smell them from a distance.
Zamarran raised his hand to give Toral a sign not to say anything and then he raised his other hand with some device in it. Toral didn’t have to ask what it was. He was no engineer, but almost all jamming devices had similar elements and were easy to recognise even if they were completely different constructions.
’s gul motioned to a sofa in the far corner of the office, so Toral followed him. They sat with the device between them, like a chaperone, not seen from the bridge.
“We have a situation,” Zamarran began in a hushed voice. “It’s about Dukat and I want you to be informed of everything in case we need to interfere.”
Toral’s eye ridges travelled high. Interfere? With what?
“What are you suggesting?” He wouldn’t even dare to use the word ‘mutiny.’
“His aide came to me with some disturbing observations.” Zamarran related everything Damar had told him.
Toral listened carefully. “There’s one thing,” he said after the older gul had finished. “Whatever we do, it’s better to have the Obsidian Order backup. If they agree with us, we can safely act.” After all, with the Obsidian Order support event a...mutiny—he again shuddered at the thought—wouldn’t automatically mean execution.
Zamarran laughed bitterly. “I wouldn’t count on any support from them. Besides, Dukat probably killed his agent.”
“Silly move,” Toral commented. Death of every political officer was carefully investigated; otherwise they’d disappear one day after reporting to their ships. No one hated them more than soldiers, who agents were sent to spy on. “But if an agent says our taking over the operation was necessary, taking down a commanding officer wouldn’t be seen as bad as...it sounds.”
“They care only about their own business.”
“The political officer on my ship is a reasonable man. I’ll talk to him.”
Zamarran raised a sceptical eye ridge. “Can you trust that guy?”
“I can, I’m sure of that. He’s been on my warship for fifteen years and I can tell he looks for spies and danger, but doesn’t suspect each of us of being one.”
Fifteen years of service as a political officer—a job considered the worst and the lowest among the agents—told volumes about the agents career...or rather lack of it. He was stuck on Toral’s ship, because he was too decent to find victims to climb up the career ladder on their graves. There were no dissidents on Toral’s ship and his political officer hadn’t ‘produced’ any either, so he appeared ineffective to his superiors.
“What if he tells my agent? Nadar is a beast.”
“He won’t. He told me they are not allowed to be in any contact with each other, although he wasn’t allowed to tell me why.”
“The Obsidian Order...” Zamarran growled. “They don’t trust even each other.”
Disappearance of the political officer could not go unnoticed, so Damar knew he had to react somehow. But what should he do, say or ask not to risk ruining the delicate situation? He felt disgusted at the scheming and secrecy he had been forced by the situation to employ. He was not a Romulan to do such things...but those things were necessary. Necessary for what? For better good?
“A problem?” Motral asked him suddenly. Damar hadn’t noticed the chief engineer approaching him.
“Why would you say so?”
The gil grinned. “You look like you just ate spoiled yamok sauce.”
It feels even worse than that
, Damar thought. “I...just don’t like...inactivity.”
Motral leaned closer. “I know what you mean. We’ve been sitting here for a few days doing nothing and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to change. Aren’t we supposed to explore and search for resources? Resources won’t come searching for us. Do you have any idea who’s keeping us here?”
The engineer unwittingly had given Damar the excuse to investigate. “Actually, I do.” Without any more word, he turned and headed for Dukat’s office.
He waited to be let in for quite some time. The gul was talking to someone over the comm and Damar’s irritation grew. How dares he put that Vorta before his own aide!
Finally, he was let in. “Yes, Damar, what is it?”
“Two things, sir.” It took all the glinn’s inner strength to speak evenly and not snap. “Both are so important that I am not sure which one I should start from.”
Dukat leaned back in his chair. “I’m listening.”
“I noticed strange absence of Raseen. Is he sick? I didn’t dare to ask Medic Albek, but you are a person to whom even Raseen has to report his inability to report for duty.”
“No,” Dukat slowly answered, “he is not sick.”
“So where is he? I didn’t see him on the bridge today at all.”
“You shouldn’t worry about that, Damar. Raseen is not our problem any longer.”
The glinn knew he hadn’t managed to hide his smirk. Dukat knew exactly what had happened to Raseen—how could he be so certain of his words otherwise—but was not telling. “I see. Another matter is our mission. Our orders are to find resourceful planets. Yet we’re sitting here in this void not even scanning the emptiness around us.”
The gul stood up. “I am working on it.”
“On securing for us as much resources as we need.”
Damar’s heart missed a beat. He was so stunned by the answer that he didn’t say anything at first. “The Vorta?” he whispered eventually.
“His masters are powerful and can give us a lot. They can also help us protect ourselves from the Romulans and finally even destroy the enemy.”
“At what price?!” the glinn snapped before managed to keep himself from it.
The gul stood up. “I can assure you that this is an opportunity we shouldn’t miss. A great change is coming to Cardassia and we—” He put a hand on his chest. “—are going to make it happen.” Damar could hear his own breath trembling, so he feared to speak. Dukat clearly took it as a sign of support, because he continued, “The Vorta offered me—us—something we shouldn’t refuse.” He leaned his hands on the desk in front of him. “If Cardassia weren’t such a barren desert, we’d be the greatest power in the Alpha Quadrant. Instead, we’re beaten, scared people, hiding at the first sight of a pointed ear. This has to end!” He straightened up and shook his first.
“What do they want in return?” The glinn asked cautiously.
“We are in the process of discussing it.” Dukat smiled rapaciously. “But don’t worry. I’ll take care of you and our crew.”
Especially of Yassel, no doubt
, Damar thought with contempt. He was already thinking of the ways of contacting Zamarran without arising any suspicions.
A painful question rang in his head—was it treason to betray a traitor?