I ma very unhappy with the next segment, but I guess I won't manage to do anything about it, since it's been written months ago and I seem to unable to improve it. So I decided to publish as it is, hoping that having it out of my way will help me writing continuation.
Jarol’s night was one of those difficult ones: two panic attacks. She knew it could be worse, but naturally it could be much better—a healthy rest instead of waking up with irrational fears. Being away for her husband only made things worse, because there was no one to calm her down. Teti couldn’t give her all the support she needed on nights like that, but his presence helped a little. It helped enough to compose herself and do something useful with the rest of the time before everyone else got up.
She resumed searching for the name of the Cardassian who had accompanied Ma’Kan and finally managed to narrow the results to one entry. She stared at the screen, not sure whether she was more angry or more surprised. She knew one thing for certain—Ma’Kan’s mission took priority.
The Cardassian who had accompanied Ma’Kan used to be a high ranking Obsidian Order agent named Damak. He had been responsible for “internal security,” as it used to be neatly called. What it really meant was random arrests, interrogations and torture—just to keep Cardassians on their toes and to make sure they all had known they were being constantly watched and no dissident thought was overlooked. According to the database, the man had operated in inner colonies.
Jarol desperately needed to contact Ma’Kan to ask if she could assist the “Order hunter” in any way. The thought hadn’t faded away, yet, when she received a weird request from the computer communication system. She followed the instructions given to her in the request, almost sure that Ma’Kan had found a way of contacting her. Finally, she got visual, but the person she saw was not her former tactical officer.
“We have little time before this connection is detected, so I’ll be brief
,” the Vulcanoid—the Romulan
—said in a hushed voice, looking around her. “My name is Herneth. I am sure you realised that I’m here for the same reason you are—to get back what’s ours. My mission isn’t as official as yours, though, so...I’m begging you, please don’t blow my cover
.” Before Jarol said anything to assure the woman she had no intentions of revealing what she knew, Herneth continued. “I know you don’t owe me anything and our peoples weren’t friends, but after the destruction of Romulus we have little left and I don’t want to lose even that little. Please...
“Herneth, I don’t have any intention of harming your mission,” Jarol said calmly. “But there are factors that could ruin both our plans.” Herneth looked like someone who didn’t know whether she should be more relieved, or more stressed. “Is there a way we could meet and discuss things?” Jarol asked.
“I’ll try to arrange something and will contact you the same way.
The Romulan disconnected. Jarol wondered if Herneth would become their ally or enemy; after all, catching some Obsidian Order agent wouldn’t be more important to her than her world’s art. However, Jarol did understand the risks Herneth had taken trusting the gul. The Romulan couldn’t be sure if the first thing Jarol did wasn’t telling the Ferengi about everything. She suspected Herneth felt she had nothing to lose—or little to lose—and a lot to gain. The Cardassian wasn’t sure she’d have the courage to contact someone with the same request, if she were in the same situation. But then—Cardassia, even if bruised, was still there. The Romulans had lost their home planet and that was a huge blow for them. It would be for anyone, so the desperate plea was not so surprising.
After a moment of hesitation she decided not to share that information with her team members. Not that she didn’t trust them, she did, but words had that annoying habit of slipping out of people’s mouths, so the fewer people knew, the better. For now, at least.
She wondered whether there was a possibility of contacting Ma’Kan the same way Herneth had contacted her. She wished she had a good engineer to take care of that—she wished she had Arenn to do it for her—but since there was no one, she had to try to study the strange connection herself.
Did Ma’Kan and Herneth know they were possible allies?
She logged out from her screen, rubbed her sleeping cat’s belly and left her quarters. She wasn’t ready to share the information about Herneth and her real role in the case, but she was more than ready to tell them who was the Cardassian and why Ma’Kan was involved in all this.
“So, how do we get him?”
Jarol stared at Herneth, not believing her own ears. The Romulan had arranged the meeting: they had met on the surface of the planet in a tiny cave, into which they had to literally crawl, but which protected them from scans due to high concentration of gositium composite in the surrounding rock. Now, they were sitting in a small chamber, which probably had been carved by water. There was barely enough space to stretch their legs, but it was a small price to pay for the ability to keep their meeting secret.
Jarol rubbed her nose. “You want to get him?” she asked when her voice returned. “Why?”
“He’s guilty, according to your law, isn’t he?”
“That’s right. But why would you care?”
“My grandfather was murdered by Tal Shiar. For nothing. For speaking out his mind and for wanting what was the best for the Empire. I hate people like Tal Shiar and your Obsidian Order was not better. So I hate them, too.”
Jarol decided to warn her. “You realise if we help Ma’Kan, we could lose our chances of getting our property back.”
“And you’re still determined to help us?”
Jarol pulled her knees closer to her chest. “We need a plan. A good one. And we need to let Ma’Kan know we will co-operate. Is there a way for you to contact her without rising suspicions?”
“This shouldn’t be too hard. We both can freely move around Boik’s compound, so coming to her room shouldn’t be a problem. But I am certain Boik has surveillance everywhere, so we’d have to find a way for him not to hear or see us.” Jarol bit the left side of her lip. “But I’ll find a way,” Herneth smiled. “If you are sure we can trust her.”
“I’ll talk to her.”
“How can we contact each other? I’m sure if we use the same method all the time, it’ll be discovered. It’s only a matter of time.”
“Especially with someone as paranoid as Boik.” Herneth paused. “Let’s meet here again tomorrow, the same time. And then we’ll decide what to do next.”
“All right.” Jarol nodded; she already knew the first thing she was going to do after returning to her ship would be contacting Arenn and asking for a few engineering tips regarding secret communication tricks.
“Will she trust me?”
“When you visit her, say ‘Arenn and Atira send their regards.’”
“Who is Arenn?”
“It’s better if you don’t know. She will understand that only I could tell you that.”
Herneth seemed uncertain, but didn’t argue.