‘It has always been a great mystery to me. The exact time and personalities that were involved in the founding of our culture, the culture that arose from a people seeking discipline and strength in a time of chaos and bloodshed, the people of order. We don’t know how it all happened as the records are unfortunately fragmented and provide little information on that time, not to mention the old regime was rather strict about how the history of the era was portrayed so most of it was lies and propaganda.
We may never know the truth of it but it still haunts me that we have no idea who the real Tret Alkeen was...’
JagGul Verak Dijmas, private conversation, 2383.
For five hundred years the Union of the Cardassians has strived to create order out of chaos and marched with discipline across the stars. Their history is a long and bloody one but until now the story of the founding of the Cardassians has not been told...
These are the tales of The Great Work, a joint effort of two archivists, Thor Damar and Gul Re’jal, who made the impossible attempt of separating legends and officially approved version of history from the pure facts.
The Great Work
The Donaran Trouble
‘A great work is often judged by the actions of your enemies’
He entered the room and looked around, his dark brown eyes studying every inch of the room carefully. After so many years in the military, it was his habit to scan every enclosed space to check whether it was sufficiently secured. This time it wasn’t only a matter of his personal safety, but also that of the colonist, Trek Akleen, who was now called the First Castellan.
He still couldn’t believe that the Cardassians – he still wasn’t fully used to this new word describing his people – of the core world had followed that... immigrant, who had no idea how it was to live on Prime. Akleen hadn’t experienced the hunger, the fear, the plagues; he’d just come and...
, he shrugged mentally. Akleen had come here with good ideas and made them come true. The change was what counted, not who had initiated it.
After checking the whole room, Stoaln Prakesh stood by the only window and waited for the leader to join him. His
leader. Everyone’s leader. The head of the Union. The Cardassian Union.
He looked outside. They had already moved their headquarters to this new, nameless place. He scratched his ear ridge and raked his hair aside. He had cut it shorter recently and followed Akleen’s style, which had proved to be quite comfortable, but a few untamed wisps liked to release themselves from behind the ears and fall onto his face.
His attention was drawn by the sound of boots in the corridor. Someone was coming. Hopefully, it was Tret Akleen, as expected, not some unauthorised individual. The access to his building, which was soon supposed to be one of the safest places in this town, was much too easy, to Prakesh’s taste. He knew there had to be done something about it and soon. Which gave him an idea...
Tret Akleen, he whom had founded this august new Union, he whom had birthed a new order and a new race walked swiftly and majestically down the corridor. His robes of office billowed out behind him as the desert wind followed him into the new headquarters of the Cardassian Union, spraying sand before him as he strode up to the most central room in the building.
And his left leg still ached.
Trying to maintain his newfound dignity and decorum, the new First Castellan slowly limped into the room keeping his hands firmly at his side and making sure not to grab at his wounded leg. It would do him no good to show any signs of weakness, especially not at this time. After all a good Cardassian does not display any
weakness or feeblemindedness to anyone as one’s friend could very well become one’s enemy soon enough...
And Tret Akleen was a very good Cardassian indeed.
His dark eyes met Prakesh as he walked towards him, a relived smile crossing his gaunt face at the sight of his most loyal and true friend. Akleen knew that he could rely upon his old friend and most stalwart ally above all others and it was a tremendous joy to see him again after such a long campaign against the dregs of the reactionaries still plaguing their new Union.
‘How goes the day, my JagGul’tal
? What news of the rest of our beloved Union whilst I have been away craving the most
High Gul Sural to pieces?’
Prakesh had observed Akleen, as the Castellan had been walking toward him. What a dignified stroll
, he thought. His chest swelled with pride at the name Akleen had used to address him, immediately warming his heart, but he quickly concentrated on the grim reality. He didn’t have good news.
‘Not good, my friend. We have riots in Donaran Prefecture. The army ran out of food and medicines and has no more left to distribute, while the people got used to expect the military to solve their problems. According to the commanding gul, Sertop, the civilians are accusing the soldiers of hiding the supplies to keep them for themselves. We need to send them more food, or the military is going to be pressed to use force against the people and we don’t want that to happen, do we?’ He recalled the first thought he had in the room and added, ‘There’s also one more thing I’d like to discuss.’
Akleen stared at Prakesh silently for a few ominous seconds, his whole body frozen in frustration and the slow burning fury that his men had learned to respect, if not fear. ‘What food stocks do we have in reserve either here or at the other prefectures? And has someone contacted the local Oralian temples to see if they can assist in terms of either spare food or goods and money to exchange for some? What is the Gul doing to assuage them that the Cardassians have their best interests at heart and...’
He paused and took a deep breath. There would be little or no point in haranguing either Prakesh or the others about these unforeseen events he needed to find a way to solve this soon or everything that he had worked for would be in vain.
And the people would die.
‘Send several heavy duty transports to the Uvenkar storage depot with a battalion of the Guard and “explain” to them that we need to use the food that they have in reserve. We’ll work out a more helpful exchange afterwards but since they were forced into the late High Gul Sural’s camp they might just be willing to help us of their own accord...’
He started to stride across the room the pain in his left leg forgotten in the rush of leadership. He swung around to face one of the younger soldiers just entering the room. ‘Torr, you will go to the High Temple at Lakaria where you will arrange a meeting between myself and the Speaker for Oralius. I hope to gain the support of the Way or at least make sure that we are both working together during this crisis.’
As the young man hurried out on his endeavour Akleen turned back to the others. ‘I want you all to do a detailed inspection of all units in the Guard and the Fleet, I do not, repeat, not want to find out that any Cardassian has been hoarding food or any other essential resource whilst our people are starving. If you find any evidence of this, punish those involved and immediately send the surplus to wherever it is needed.
‘Is that understood?’
He waited for them to nod their assent then gestured toward the door.
‘Then get to it fellow servants of the Union.’
As the officers swiftly and quietly made their way onto the hot day and their important duties, Tret Alkeen frowned and then turn to face Stoaln Prakesh once more.
‘What is this other matter then?’
‘It’s the matter of your safety.’ Prakesh looked around, making a wide gesture with his hand at the same time. ‘Take this room, for example. It appears perfectly safe, doesn’t it? But can we be certain it really is? You came here alone. Was your short trip uneventful, or were you observed carefully by unknown individuals in service of unknown enemies?’ Hoping he’d drawn Akleen’s attention, the officer continued, ‘I’d like to propose creating a special... order, which sole duty would be securing your safety wherever you go and whatever you do. A secret, invisible order, hiding in shadows and not easily detectable, so also not easily neutralised by malicious elements.’ He fell silent, awaiting the Castellan’s reaction.
‘A bodyguard? MY own personal
bodyguard? What might I ask is wrong with the fine soldiers of the Guard whom are ever present at my side, hmm?’
Still Prakesh did make a good point. Akleen was certain that he had not been followed on his way here and there was always the chance that someone would target him in a way that his soldiers could not always anticipate, as brave and capable as they had proven over the past few years.
‘Am I that important that you would take such a step my friend?”
Prakesh shifted from one foot to the other a bit nervously. The last thing he wanted was to show lack of faith in Cardassian military; it not only would be unfair to the hard-working soldiers but also not very wise to do in the Castellan’s presence, because no one in their right mind wanted Akleen angry. But Prakesh knew that the military couldn’t do everything.
‘The Guard’s brave soldiers certainly do their best to fulfil their duties, but they have a wide range of duties. A special unit – a small one would be sufficient – dedicated exclusively to your safety would be more efficient. And the soldiers could be directed to more appropriate to their skills tasks.’
The First Castellan felt his slow burning temper subsiding into cool reflection as he pondered his second’s words and the possible wish therein. It was true that his boys quite often lacked the mindset required for the patient work of intelligence or even dedicated personal guard work, in hindsight it should have been obvious to him, especially after all these years of fighting the warlordism and chaos gripping their world that the Military was more suited to crushing the large scale enemies of the Union. They had proven to be very good at that, very good indeed.
Still, in didn’t seem right to Akleen that such an exception should be made just for him. No matter what he’d done or who he was at the current time Tret Akleen was just an ordinary mortal man. And could this new organisation carry out its assigned role without falling into the corruption that had befallen both the Hebitian Republic and now seemingly the brand new Cardassian Union?
He saw that Prakesh was still looking at him rather nervously; the JagGul’tal
was clearly worried about having to face an enraged Akleen and was therefore visibly bracing himself for the eruption to come. Well, he couldn’t let his old friend and closest ally feel that sort of fear, it wasn’t good for morale. And Prakesh did make a good case for his idea after all...
‘I believe that a preliminary investigation into the costs, operations and long term benefits of this organisation that you espouse would be our best avenue to approach this issue. I do not want to rush headlong into this, no matter how sliver your tongue is!’
Akleen smiled warmly at Prakesh as he spoke seeking to reassure the other man of his calmness and that he was taking his thoughts into consideration. There would be no rushing into this however as there were more important matters to deal with such as the wretched crisis over at Donaran and the reliability of his officer corps.
May the Gods Whom are Not take this, barking out orders and reassigning supplies might be one way of dealing with this, this chaos
but Tret Akleen was always a firm believer in the personal touch.
‘Let us put this issue to one side my friend. The situation in Donaran Prefecture concerns me too much to leave in the care of others, summon me a fast transport and contact Gul Sertop immediately.
I would see what is happening there with my own eyes.’
And may all the Gods in existence show them mercy if they have failed for I shall have none.
‘Your consideration is all I’m counting for right now,’ Prakesh said returning the smile. He still wasn’t feeling completely relaxed but the truth was that he was never completely at ease in Akleen’s presence. Not that he feared the First Castellan but there was something in that man, something that didn’t allow him to lower his guard. ‘Do you want me to accompany you to the prefecture in trouble?’