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Old August 8 2010, 12:48 PM   #16
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Jarol welcomed the time to go off duty happily. After a sleepless night, caused by the prospect
of another difficult conversation with Gul Dukat, she was exhausted. She was glad her relief
was ready to take the station in ops; she nodded to him by way of greeting and stood up.

“Have a nice evening,” he said when she directed her steps toward the lift.

“Wait!” she heard Demok's voice. She stopped and waited, expecting him to give her some additional orders, but he caught up with her. He stepped into the lift, turned and looked at her expectantly, obviously waiting her to join him. And so she did.

“Join me at Quark's,” he said, when they were out of ops. “You deserve a drink today. Actually you deserve a lot of drinks.”

“Why?” she glanced at him.

“After your ordeal with the Prefect you must be either pissed off or resigned,” he said.

“I just had a report to present, that's all,” she said, trying not to think about it.

“A report that he had a hard time accepting.”

“How could you know?”

“Oh, everyone, who was in ops at that time, knows.” She gave him and asking look. “That door to his office doesn't keep sounds in as well as he thinks,” he explained.

“You mean... every officer in ops heard that?” her eyes opened wide.
“That's right. That's why I was delegated to buy you a drink. You have our support,” he patted her on the shoulder.

“Oh,” was all she could say.

“So?” he looked at her. “Are you up to it?”

“Do you pay for all my drinks or just the first one?”

“All of them,” he smiled.

“Then let's go. Just promise me you won't let me do anything shameful.”

“You have my word,” he raised his hand.

They arrived to the Ferengi's bar and Demok led her to one of already occupied tables. She looked at gathered faces; she had never drank with station's brass before.

She didn't sit down yet, when her glass of kanar was put in front of her.
“For making your day a little better,” said Demok.

They all raised their glasses and she smiled weakly.

“Do you do this every time he yells at someone?” she asked.

“No, only when he yells at someone, who didn't deserve it.”

“For some mysterious reason he is especially mean when it's not your fault. When you are guilty of a mistake, he's more forgiving.”

“And the show today suggests that what you had to tell him was his fault.”
She nodded. That one was true for sure.

“He gives me impossible tasks, doesn't listen to my warnings it wouldn't work, and then says with that attitude I don't make it work,” she complained.

“Don't worry, just drink your kanar.”

She raised her glass. “How's your wife?” she asked Glinn Jotrel, knowing he got married not long time ago.

His face brightened. “Actually she is expecting,” he said.

They all cheered.

“It's your first I presume?” she asked; he nodded.
“Do you have any children?” he asked her, after taking a sip of his kanar.
“Two, and girl and a boy.”

They chatted about their families, passions, sorrows, even hard times at school. Stories from home felt refreshing to Jarol and she wondered if the senior staff were doing it often. She did see them at Quark's from time to time, but never noticed them laughing as it was now.

The more they drank, the bolder their subjects were. Del started complaining about his wife,
who he believed had an affair. Demok admitted he hated the station, but his request for
transfer was refused. The mood was getting grimmer and grimmer, until Jotrel proposed
change of subject, which all happily accepted.

“Did you know,” he started, “that Dukat has a new one?”

“A new one? Which is it this year?” Demok slowly shook his head; the kanar was clearly getting to him, as his eyes lost their typical sharpness.

“I lost count...”

“He's got a new what?” Jarol was not in the loop.

“Mistress,” they all said almost in unison.

“A w... what?” she opened her eyes wider. She felt power of kanar too.

“A mistress.”

“Who is it?” she couldn't imagine, which of women could that be, could do it to her family and as far as she knew all female Cardassians were either married or soon to be married.

“I don't know her name,” Jotrel shrugged. “Who would bother to memorise those strange names... surnames first?”

“You... you...” she stammered, but it was not just kanar, it was astonishment. “You mean it's a... Bajoran?!”

“You didn't know?” Demok leaned toward her, his armour squeaking. She shook her head.

“I knew they were bringing those poor women and abuse them, but...” she stopped. All those officers here outranked her and it was very possible some of them used comfort women. She shouldn't say too much, regardless what she thought of these things. Or rather especially because of what she thought.

“He changes them often,” Demok explained. “I don't know what he sees in these plain, ridgeless faces of theirs,” he shrugged.

“That's disgusting,” she said, before she managed to stop herself.

They all nodded, but she was sure that whatever they agreed with, it wasn't what she meant.
She could not imagine herself being dragged out of her home and forced to be a comfort
woman. It was the most barbaric, low and appalling thing and she kept refusing that good men
would use women, Bajorans or no Bajorans, as tools in that manner. Gul Dukat lost many
points of respect on her scale.


“I must go,” she stood up.
“Already?” Dusat seemed disappointed. “Don't, we enjoy a female company.”
“I had a bad day and sleepless night. I need rest to face a... happy day tomorrow,” she finished, pulling her face.

“I'll see you off,” Demok rose and almost immediately fell.

“You're in no condition to see yourself off,” she laughed. “You better get beamed to your quarters.”

They all laughed loudly. She could hear their laughter behind the bar's door.

She walked slowly. It was late and the promenade wasn't as crowdy as during the day. It was also quieter. Even the Bajoran sector was calmer.

She was only a few steps from the lift, when she heard sobbing. She looked around, but didn't
see anyone. There was some commotion on the Bajoran side, but it was too loud there for the
sobbing to reach her ears here.

There it was again. Jarol stopped, trying to determine where it came from. She kept listening
until she heard it again. She made a few steps toward the spot she thought it came from and
stopped again, waiting for another sound.

Sob again and then explosion into a full blown crying. Child's crying. The sound was coming
from behind stacked packets. She went there to see a small figure curled in a tight corner. The
child raised his head and she saw eyes wide open with terror and a wrinkled nose.

“Are you lost?” she asked him. Louder crying was his answer. He pulled his arms toward her, so
she picked him up. He couldn't be older than three. “Where is your mommy?” she asked, but
he nestled his face into her armour and kept sobbing.

She went toward the fence, dividing the promenade to Cardassian and Bajoran sections.

“Hey!” she called, trying to be lauder than ongoing commotion, but not too loud to additionally startle the boy.

“Kamar!” a Bajoran woman shouted.

Suddenly Jarol understood the reason of the chaos on the other side of the fence – they were looking for the boy. She nodded to the soldier on duty to open the gate and went to the other side to hand the child to his mother. “He must have walked to the Cardassian side and after the gate was closed he couldn't return,” she guessed.

The Bajoran woman eyed her distrustfully, turning away to shield the boy, like she expected the Cardassian officer to tear him back out of her arms. Jarol turned and left the Bajoran sector, headed for the lift.

“Wait!” she heard behind her. She stopped and turned. Thank you, the Bajoran woman expressed her gratitude soundlessly, just moving her lips without actually speaking. Jarol nodded, smiled slightly and headed for the lift.


“How's work?” Jarol asked her husband after their first supper on Terok Nor.

He and the children arrived earlier that day. Corat tried to tell her about all wonderful things
he'd seen on the way to the station, Mayel brought one of her artworks with her to show to her
mother. They were so excited they didn't feel any fatigue and it was very late when their
parents managed to put them to their beds to sleep.

Now the officer was sitting with her love and finishing their late supper.

“Dull,” he answered honestly.

“Oh, come on, it can't be so bad...” she smiled.

“It's dull, that's a fact. But I didn't say it was bad. It gives me stability and I have plenty of
time for our children,” he tried to fake a cheerful tone, but in spite of a smile on his face there
was no joy in his eyes.

“You should live my life and I should have a cosy position in Ministry of War,” she said grimly.

“No, no,” he shook his head with passion. “I am proud of you,” he said. “And so are our children. Corat wants to be a soldier, like his mom. I tell them all about you, about your wonderful Final Flight manoeuvre, about your promotions...” he smiled, genuinely this time.
“Each evening they ask for new stories about their mommy and when I have no new stories to tell them, they choose a story already told to be re-told. I think... no, I am sure my mother is sick with those stories after listening to them so many times, but children never get tired of
them. They keep asking for more.”

“Do they?” she smiled.

“In their eyes, you are a hero.”

“In my eyes, you are the hero.”

“How about new armours?” he asked, eyeing her uniform thrown on a sofa behind her. “Are
they better than the last design?”

“Depends. They are surely more comfortable, don't limit your movements, like the old ones
sometimes did, but... they are damn heavier. I got used to it already, but I remember...” she couldn't stop and laughed quietly, “my shock, when I put it on the first time.”

“I suppose wearing civilian clothes makes me luckier,” he took a sip of fish juice.

They ate slowly, telling each other how they were doing, and arguing amicably from time to time. Corat and Mayel slept in her bedroom and Atira checked on them several times during the evening. Not that she worried there was any danger in the bedroom; she just couldn't
resist the need to go and stare at them, at their innocent faces covered with delicate ridges. Her daughter's patterns were resembling Joret's, but Corat's face was more like her own, he
also inherited her blue eyes, while Joret and Mayel were looking at the world with two black shining diamonds.

Their days were passing quickly. Dukat allowed her to leave duty two hours earlier each day of
their seven-day stay if she would stay two hours longer for next seven days. She took the offer
and had more time to be with them than initially expected.


She stared at the empty space. Intellectually she knew there were debris, really fine due to quite effective explosives, but she did not want to accept it. She could not think there were tiny pieces of her family, drifting in emptiness, spreading farther and farther. Soon there would be nothing left. Nothing.

Corat's smile, his innocent, round eyes; he used his cute little face to manipulate her. He knew he could achieve everything with just a twitch of a face muscle. It was enough to look at her and she ran to him to ask what he wanted. He used to come to her and ask if she could tell him a story. She ran out of stories, but he didn't mind hearing any of them multiple times. He just wanted stories. Later, when her service took her away from home, he turned to his sister
for stories. Mayel was better than her, Mayel was making stories, so no story was the same. He didn't have to listen to the same story ever again.

What would she do now? Who would she ask for advice? Who could she complain to about hardships of her career? Who would take her into his arms and not see her as weak?

Her head was full of thoughts, then full of realisation and in the end completely empty. As empty as the space on the other side of the bulkhead, where a Hideki should be, headed for Cardassia. Only remains of her family left.

There were sounds around her, but she was barely aware of them. She knew there were people behind her, maybe even speaking to her, but none of them was of consequence. None were important. This was just her job, just business; her life was destroyed on that vessel.

“Atira.”

She was aware someone was behind her, but it took her a while to realise one of those
surrounding her sounds was directed to her.

“Atira”, the voice repeated. There was no one on this station close to her to have a right to call her by her given name. The only person, who could do that, was here temporarily, and he just
left to never reach their home.

“Atira...”

She turned and looked into her commanding officer's face. It was expressing sadness and sympathy.

“Atira, I...” his voice trailed off, “I am so sorry...”

“Did you see it?” she asked whispering, feeling tears gathering in her eyes for the first time since these eyes saw that... that... saw this...

“No,” he shook his head. “I was in my office.”

“How come you got here so fast?” she asked, her voice breaking down.

“You have been standing here for over an hour,” he explained. “No one could take you away from here, but I don't think it's a good idea to stay here either.”

“You didn't see it...” she whispered.

He approacher her, grabbed her elbow and gently pulled. “I'll take you to your quarters.”
Her empty quarters. So empty. Still filled her their odours, unclean dishes left after the last meal, maybe some forgotten... toy...

She let him pull her to her cabin. She was vaguely aware of crying in Dukat's arms, she wasn't sure if there weren't also Demok's arms to cry into. Someone was bringing her food or trying
to convince her to eat. She didn't want to eat, she wanted to die.
She was in service. If Bajorans hated Cardassians, they should have hated her; she was here.

She wore an armour and carried a disruptor. It was all her fault, she wanted to see them so desperately she brought them here, in spite of danger. And they paid the price for her selfishness.

But no, these wrinkle-nose monsters didn't care who they were killing, as long as it were Cardassians. They must be proud of themselves, their target was surely worth it. What an impact, Cardassia is ruined: two young children and one clerk. A deadly blow for sure!

Her quarters' door opened and Glinn Demok entered. She looked up at him; she saw he carried a tray with food.
“Oh, I'm so sorry,” he looked at her a little startled, “I know I should have chimed first, but for last ten hours you hadn't reacted to that, so we stopped doing it,” he explained himself.

She kept staring at him. He knitted his eye ridges and put the tray on the table next to her.
“Thank you,” she said weakly. Her voice was rough and coarse.

“You're welcome,” he answered. “How do you feel?”

“Angry.”

He sat opposite her. “If you need anything let me know.”

“You can't give me what I need,” she said, thinking about her family.

“We will find responsible people, you can be sure of that,” he said, raising.

“Uhm,” she muttered under her breath.

“Try to eat, you need to eat,” he said softly and left.



tbc
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Old August 8 2010, 03:40 PM   #17
Nerys Ghemor
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Location: Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

How horrible! Of all the people on that station for that to happen to, she's the last one who deserves it!

You really captured Dukat's personality, BTW--"forgiving" when someone's guilty (to make himself look magnanimous, I think), but harsh about circumstances that can't be controlled. And for him to fake sympathy for Jarol and get her to become vulnerable in front of him...sounds like him. He must want something, and it can't be good.
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Old August 9 2010, 12:53 AM   #18
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

She's going to have more "fun" with Dukat
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Old August 9 2010, 06:59 AM   #19
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Those in command are not always right
2372 (2372)


“You have an incoming transmission,” said the computer.

Jarol growled. “You have an incoming transmission,” repeated the computer.

Must be good news, since such always come in the middle of the night. She reluctantly got up and approached the comm panel.

“I'm sorry to wake you on such an ungodly hour, but I have a proposition for you,” Legate... no, wait... Gul Dukat's face was looking at her from the screen.

“You may not know, but I am not an officer in demand right now,” she said. And neither are you, she added in her thoughts. Actually, when to think of it, they were a good match.

“And you may not find any good post any time soon, I know,” he voiced her fears. “So I have a proposal you shouldn't refuse.”

“A proposal, or an order?” she asked.

He smiled. “A proposal. It isn't a dream post or a dream ship, but it is a step leading you back to your previous glory.”

My or your glory? crossed her mind, but then she thought it didn't really matter, if the glory were shared.

“What is that proposal exactly?” she asked.

“Join my crew. We are currently quite short handed and could use skilful officers. I'm in command of a... freighter,” he almost spat out the last word.

She thought of it for a moment. She was waiting for her new assignment, and while serving on a freighter was no honour, her next assignment might occur to be a lot worse; actually there was a serious threat that it might be charges and facing the Tribunal, not another assignment. The new civilian government supported her decision to protect civilians on Adarak Prime, so Central Command – what was left of it – could not execute her for defying her Gul's orders, but her case was still unresolved. Her only satisfaction was that the rest of the crew didn't let him do as he planned and he was relieved of duty in the end.

“I accept,” she simply said.

“I send you coordinates and time schedule. Be ready, you will report aboard as soon as your new orders are approved.”

“Yes, sir,” she answered and he disconnected. “Splendid,” she muttered to herself.


Three months earlier




“Another bird-of-prey decloaking starboard!” Jarol tried to be loud enough for Gul Ahal to hear her, but wasn't sure it was possible in the noise of exploding bulkheads and consoles. She saw he said something, but didn't hear word; he probably cursed under his breath. Then he turned to her.

“Shields' status!”

She glanced at her console and gave him her report; he ordered to face the newly decloaked ship with the strongest shield. Not that it would make much difference, as all shields were almost equally weak.

“We need to retreat,” she suggested, “sir”, she added after he turned to look at her. His eyes were throwing thunders at her, so she lowered hers and looked back at her console.

The ship had been attacked by two Klingon birds-of prey. Cardassian Union Warship Saset had been on her way to Foskal system, where they were supposed to meet with a small fleet of transport vessels and escort them to one of colonies near newly formed DMZ. Jarol had welcomed a break from battles. She'd thought it would be a nice change to protect someone from danger and be their hero. However the fate planned it differently. They hadn't managed to get as far as Foskal when Klingons attacked. They managed to take down one of the aggressors, but not before their torpedo launchers were crippled. With only disruptor their effectiveness diminished and their tactical advantage over the small Klingon vessel was gone, evening the odds. It became a fight of equal bumps and shakes, testing sturdiness of both ships. Constant attacks were unnerving: the noise, the shaking, the smoke filling the bridge – it was all frustrating Jarol, who tried to regain the advantage the Galor had had. With the other Klingon ship appearing their chances were slim to none.

“Incoming volley of torpedoes from both Klingon ships!” she shouted, watching on her console in horror small red dots, which were quickly closing to their ship. “Brace for impact!” she grabbed her console and prepared for the hit.

The torpedoes' strike was worse than she expected. In spite of her preparation she was almost knocked out of her chair. Something exploded behind her.

“Hull breaches all over the ship!” she heard chief engineer's voice. “Warp drive is off...” she couldn't hear rest of his report, as another explosion covered his voice. She felt, not heard, a thud behind her.

“Report!” the Gul shouted over the noise. He was getting up from the floor and getting back to his seat.

Someone ran toward the engineering console behind Jarol. She looked back to see Kosut thrashing on the floor in a pool of blood. She tapped her comm: “We need a medic!” she shouted. She crouched by Kosut, noticing the pool of blood was quickly expanding. He was missing an arm and open wound was bleeding profusely. She looked around to find something to stop the bleeding, but there was nothing.

“Tactical report!” Gul Ahal demanded. “Jarol, back to your post!!”

She waved to another officer to take care of Kosut. “Try to stop his bleeding,” she told him, then rose and looked at her console. “Birds-of-prey coming for another attack!” she shouted over the noise. “Their weapons are fully charged.”

“Do we still have shields?” he asked.

“Negative.”

He stood and made a step toward the screen. “Tactical, fire at the weaker ship as long as you can,” she nodded acknowledgement, even though he was turned to her with his back and couldn't see it. “Helm,” he continued, “collision course with the stronger ship. Ram them!!”

No one opposed. Jarol heard a few officers shouting “For Cardassia!” She prepared for death, hoping they would destroy the Klingon ship and take all filthy monsters with them.

She thought of her dead family and glanced one last time at her console, before closing her eyes and preparing to join her children. Then she opened the eyes to re-examine the tactical reading, as she thought she'd seen something.

“Sir, two Galor class warships coming out of warp!” she shouted.

“Evasive, evasive!” roared Ahal and helm immediately executed.

“We're receiving orders to withdraw,” communications reported.

“Do it, we're in no shape to fight, we'd just stand in the way,” answered Ahal.

Jarol looked back at Kosut. He wasn't thrashing on the floor any more, so she assumed his status improved. She sat on the floor and asked the soldier, who attended to the engineer: “How is he?”

He just shook his head in reply.

She lowered her head. She knew Kosut wasn't the only casualty, she didn't dare to think how many others died this day. Instead of escorting a convoy they were being dragged on a tractor beam to the nearest dry dock. Some heroes, she thought bitterly.


She helped to carry bodies to the cargo bay. They kept regular, lower deck soldiers separated from officers – Ahal's order. He believed officers would mind laying next to regular crew. Jarol believed it was idiotic, but no one asked her.

One of last bodies brought was Kosut. She waited until everyone left the cargo and sat on the floor next to his body. Kosut was a good officer, a great talent and it was his skill that kept the ship in working order, even after all fighting they had to endure. He also was the only one who spoke to her, really spoke, not just issued orders, insulted or mocked.

Since her disgrace and two-year reprimand, entered into her files by Gul Dukat four years ago, her service was a long, sad duty under the worst officer she had even seen in her life. His servant was smarter than him; he at least could think ahead, an ability completely alien to Gul Ahal. He had absolutely no regard for his own crew. She started as delta shift tactical officer and now was alpha. No, he didn't promote her, if it depended on him he would shoot her where she stood once she had been assigned to his ship. His bad, bad, bad commanding style filled this very cargo with many bodies many times before, including all other tactical officers, who served with her. She was the last one.

She looked at Kosut's body. He was a good man. He worked hard to climb up the ladder of career, he was experienced and always ready to share his ideas and offer advices. He was the only one on this ship, who cared to ask what she had done to deserve her reprimand, which virtually stopped her career in place. The reprimand was supposed to be in effect for two years only, but Ahal was not a forgiving man – he never trusted her and never gave her a chance to prove herself.

Kosut tried to convince her that her reprimand was unfair, but in this case she didn't agree with him: she hadn't secure her family's safety and they'd lost their lives because of her negligence. Gul Dukat had every right to enter the reprimand and she felt he was lenient; if she were in his place she would demote such an officer and leave permanent reprimand in his file. She failed her family. She wasn't welcome in Joret's parents' house any more and her own sister didn't speak to her. As it should be. Her egoism brought death to them, and she deserved the worst.

However Kosut had told her she was punishing herself enough and didn't need anything more. She believed no adequate punishment was possible.

Was that what life would give her? Would everyone, who she cared for, die? Would she spend her life as a mediocre officer, on a mediocre ship, under a poor Gul?
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Old August 9 2010, 06:59 AM   #20
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

“We have new orders,” Ahal announced.

Whole senior staff was in the briefing room, including Jarol. Ahal sneered at her when she entered, but neither he not she had any choice; until he got crew reinforcements, they had to work together.

“How are repairs?” the Gul demanded.

“Progressing,” replied Gil Rabok, Kosut's aide and now chief engineer. “We still are in bad shape. We're good enough to fend off an attack and run away, but no good for offensive action. I advise avoiding any Klingon squadrons for the time being.”

“We are no cowards, we will not run,” Ahal barked.

Of course not, we will all be blown up to Bajoran heavens instead, thought Jarol bitterly.

“Can we fight one bird-of-prey?” Ahal asked Rabok.

“Maybe.”

“I don't like this answer. Tomorrow night we have to be ready to destroy such a ship.”

“I'm not sure it's pos...”

“I don't want to hear excuses!”

Rabok silenced, biting his lower lip.

“Jarol, you are to prepare poison.”

“A what? Sir...”

“Poison. We are going to eliminate Klingons poisoning them. Or any other way of releasing some kind of weapon, toxic substance, a virus, I don't know, it's your job to design it.”

“Sir, I am not a science off...”

“You're a woman, you will design the substance to work.”

“But...”

“Shut up! Don't discuss it with me, get it done!”

Wonderful, she was to do something she had no idea about.

“What is the target, conditions?”

“We are going to eliminate Klingons, who have taken one of our border colonies. Most of their fleet left the area, leaving only one small ship behind, plus the boarding party on the planet.”

“Which colony is it?” a Glinn, whose name she didn't know, asked. Another replacement of another dead officer.

“Adarak Prime,” answered Ahal.

Jarol's heart rate raised. “Sir, this is an inhabited world,” she said.

“So?”

“You want to release a toxic substance to eliminate Klingons, but it is close to impossible to develop something that would be harmful for the enemy and harmless for our own.”

“Oh,” he thought for a moment. “I didn't even think it was possible to develop such a substance. Can you do it harmless for Cardassians?”

She wasn't even sure she could make it at all. “Such a task would require lots of time.”

“We don't have time. Work with our science department. You are in charge.”

Wonderful. He thinks badly of her as an officer, but is sure she's a great scientists to pull a rabbit out of her hat, while in fact she was everything but a scientist.

“But sir, we can't kill our own citizens,” she protested.

“We have to eliminate Klingons.”

“Not this way, not at such cost.”

“I have to agree with Gil Jarol,” Ahal's aide supported her. “We are to protect our people from Klingon threat, not to kill them in the process.”

“Did I ask for your opinion?” Ahal shot him a hostile glance.

“No, sir, but I will express it anyway.”

“I wouldn't advise defying me, Glinn.”

“Sir, I will try to bring the ship back to fighting condition to defeat the Klingon the traditional way,” offered Rabok.

“You just said there's not enough time.”

“Lives of Cardassians down on the planet will be additional incentive to speed up our work.”

“Do you mean you could do it faster, but were too lazy?” Ahal twisted everything, as always.

“No, sir, I...”

“You will speed up the repairs and we will destroy the bird-of-prey faster, then we will release the poison to the atmosphere.”

“Sir,” someone else spoke, but Ahal rose.

“Not another word from anyone. These are our orders.”

“Our orders are to kill all Cardassians on Adarak Prime?” Jarol muttered.

“You're out of line,” Ahal made a step toward her.

“I will notify Central Command of your actions here,” she looked him in the eyes.

“If your report is going to be full or grammar errors, as your tactical reports are, I doubt they would understand,” he barked back.

Someone laughed at the table.

“My language problems are not an issue here,” she retorted.

“You will develop the poison,” he said, his tone menacing.

“I am not a scientist, I'm a tactician.”

“You are a woman.”

“This,” she pointed to the blue colour in her inverted drop on her forehead, “doesn't make me a scientist.”

“Fine, then prepare a plan of bombardment. We will kill everything on this planet one way of the other.”

“Sir, we can't bomb thousands of our citizens just to kill a few hundred Klingons,” Robok protested.

“What is this?” Ahal looked around. “Detapa counsil at work? I don't ask for your opinions. I issue you orders and you are to execute them. Is that clear?”

“I can't murder our own people,” Jarol rose. “This would be disgrace.”

“You know everything about disgrace,” Ahal smiled madly. “I should know better than put you in charge of this task. Robok, you will design a plan for bombardment.”

“Sir...”

“Not another word! These are your orders!”

“Sir, I...”

“We can't shoot at our own!” Jarol's mouth and lungs cooperated in creating a shout, before her brain stopped them.

“You defy me?” Ahal approached her; he stood so close their noses almost touched.

“No, sir, but I am sure there must be another way to accomplish our mission.”

“No one wants you to be sure of anything. No one asks you to think,” he hissed. His breath smelled badly.

“No one expects a Cardassian ship to kill all inhabitants of a Cardassian world,” she growled.

“How dare you! You will never get a chance to be assigned to a warship,” Ahal yelled furiously. “Never!”

“At least I don't have to worry to be under your lousy command again!” she yelled back before she stopped herself. A lot of officers looked at her astonished.

“Dismissed,” somehow he managed to lower his voice to a hiss.

She left the briefing room, striding proudly toward the door. She was too angry to realise her career was over and most likely she was going to be executed.



tbc
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Old August 10 2010, 02:54 AM   #21
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Wow...so Dukat punished her for something that I believe was HIS idea (that is, bringing her family to Terok Nor)...what a jerk.

And it cracks me up that the incompetent gul's name seems so close to "A-Hole."

I am at least glad to see that Jarol hasn't given up on trying to do the right thing since losing her family...that could easily have made a person so bitter that they no longer cared at all, but it's good to see there's still something left in her. I hope it will be rewarded someday--though with her going right back to the commander who punished her for HIS IDEA...I can't see things going well for awhile yet.
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Old August 10 2010, 12:47 PM   #22
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

It was his idea, but she didn't have to follow it. SHE brought them to Terok Nor, SHE didn't secure them properly... and he doesn't feel guilty at all. After all - he is Gul Dukat, a Cardassian and Cardassians don't make mistakes. And while Jarol is a Cardassian too, she is NOT Gul Dukat, is she?

Oh, "Gul A-Hole's" name wasn't planned but if it fits, then all the better
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Old August 10 2010, 01:46 PM   #23
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That does sound like Dukat's twisted so-called "reasoning" now that you spell it out that way...after all, acknowledging that ultimately HE is the one who has to answer for station security wouldn't be something he would have the courage to do!
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Old August 11 2010, 04:59 PM   #24
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Oh, they died? The poor children! And poor Jarol... loosing her family like this and then not even having any support from the remaining family on Cardassia!

With Jarol and the other officers you really show us a side of the Cardassians we have seen much to less from in DS9. Looking forward to many more story parts!

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Old August 11 2010, 05:58 PM   #25
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Thanks for reading

Next chapter is ready, I just want to proofread it a few more times.

TerokNor, you will be happy to know that Damar appears in the next chapter. I hope I got his personality correctly.
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Old August 13 2010, 05:19 AM   #26
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

A good engineer's worth his weight in latinum
2373 (2372)


Glinn Jarol glanced at her commender's office door and saw him throw a padd at the bulkhead, shattering it into pieces. She knew Gul Corak had just talked to – now powerless – Central Command, requesting reinforcements, and his mood was clearly indicating he didn't get what he wanted. Maybe it was a good moment to talk to him. In spite of his fury he might be most receptive to it right now, and Roumar, a Galor class warship dealing with the Maquis, needed crew more than any other day, especially engineers.

No risk, no gain, she thought and went upstairs, stopping in front of the doors. The doors parted and it was a sign she could enter.

“You know, how am I suppose to fight terrorists and be affective, if my ship lacks almost a quarter of crew?” he shouted, getting up and started pacing behind his desk.

“Won't they send anyone?” she asked standing on the other side of the desk, following him with her eyes.

“They will. Fresh graduates. What will I do with a ship full of freshmen? It's not a training mission, it's a real war with ruthless enemy!”

“I might have a suggestion for an experienced officer,” she said slowly.

He stopped pacing and looked at her.

“Do you?”

She nodded.

“Go on,” he sat in his chair, not inviting her to do the same on the other side of the desk.

“There is a very experienced and talented engineer, who currently is without assignment. He does not only know Cardassian systems well, but also Klingon.”

“That sounds tempting. And why exactly is this magician without a job?”

“Several months ago he went through a traumatic event, and it left some scars not only on his face, but also on his soul.”

“Ah, another poor man who lost his mind?”

“Sir, I believe all he needs is to start serving Cardassia again, to have a purpose and goal in his life. With no assignment coming he feels useless, which deepens his disturbed state.”

“Can you vouch for him?”

“I will be responsible for him, yes.”

“Fine, Jarol. What is the name of this unfairly neglected officer?”

“Brenok, Kara Arenn Brenok.”


Eight months earlier



Gil Jarol entered the mess hall of Cardassian freighter Groumall under Gul Dukat's command, went to the replicator, ordered a soup and looked around. It seemed all of seats were taken. The freighter's crew wasn't numerous, but obviously too many for such a small mess hall still. She was just about to take her soup to her quarters and eat it there, when she noticed a hand, raised and waving clearly to her. It belonged to the helm (or was he tactical?) officer. What was his name?

She headed to his table, smiling slightly. Ah, Damar. Glinn Damar.

“Glinn,” she said by the way of greeting and then sat. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” he nodded and continued his meal.

They ate in silence for a while and then he asked: “So how do you enjoy your new assignment?”

She gave him an asking look. There was a smile crawling on his face, so obviously it was supposed to be a joke. She didn't find it funny; she had found her new posting totally inadequate, but there was little she could do about it. And it still was better than charges. “It's... something new for me,” she replied evasively.

“Oh, I see. You love it,” his smile became clearer.

Was he trying to make her say something she shouldn't? Was he spying? Was he an Obsidian Order agent in fact?

“I have a lot to learn,” she said seriously. “My speciality is tactical, but here I'm more an engineer. And a freighter is not exactly the same as a warship, so everything is slightly... different.”

“Yes it is,” he admitted. “Gul Dukat expects it to work as efficiently as a warship, but... it's not so easy with this level of armament.”

“Yes, I know,” she nodded. “We're trying to upgrade some critical systems, but there is that much we can do. We won't be able to make it a Galor, no matter how hard we try.”

“But I've noticed the shields recharged a little faster”.

She couldn't stop her smile. She wondered if he really was that good at noticing details, or it was just his wishing that made him delude himself something indeed was upgraded. “'A little' is right. We upgraded them and they're three percent more efficient. We could do better, but there is no way to get more energy to make that work.”

“Isn't there any way to improve reactor's output?” he asked, finishing his food. He pushed his plate away and leaned back in his chair, clearly not intending to leave.

“Not really, not if we don't want it to explode in our faces.”

“That would not be desirable,” he smiled again.

“Do you know what's our next assignment?” she asked. She only knew they were heading for Terok Nor, which was now in Federation hands. She didn't relish visiting that place again.

“We are to escort someone to a conference, but first we must take her aboard and she's on the station” he answered.

“So we won't stay there?”

“No.”

He must have noticed the relief on her face, as his eyes lingered on her for a long while.

“That station... something bad happened there to me,” she tried to explain, in case he was an Obsidian Order agent. Last thing she wanted him to think about her was her lack of bravery or defying her Gul. “Visiting it brings sad memories.”

“I'm sorry to hear that,” he said; she thought he sounded sincerely. “But no worries, we don't stop there for long.”

“Good,” she muttered.

She noticed he finished his meal, but still sat at the table, observing her. She was getting sure he was an agent, maybe even sent specifically to observe her.

“How long have you served on Groumall?” she asked for the sake of conversation.

“Too long,” he replied. “They always say I'm a good officer, but somehow never assign me to a better ship,” she heard a note of bitterness in his voice.

“Did you ask for transfer?”

“Yes, I did. I got promoted, but not transferred.”

“Why?”

“I suppose it would be another case of someone's son in need of a good post at the cost of someone less privileged.”

“Ah, same old story,” she nodded with understanding.

“How about you? How did you get here?”

“Straight from a Galor class warship,” she bitterly smiled.

His eye ridges went up. “What did you do?”

“I had to serve under one of those talentless sons of someone's and finally had enough. And frankly, it's better here than in a grave,” she said. “I don't mind to die for Cardassia,” she added quickly, for the sake of Damar being an agent, “but I don't want to die needlessly.”

He smiled. “I understand. Gul Dukat seems capable, so you shouldn't worry here. His demotion had nothing to do with lack of leadership talents.”

“I know. I had served under him.”

“Had you?” he was surprised.

“Indeed, on Terok Nor.”

“Oh.”

She finished her soup and looked at him. He was a handsome man with a friendly face. Perfect looks for an agent, especially if assigned to observe a female. He seemed a few years junior her, but carried higher rank. Maybe he really was just another officer, who had got unfair treatment due to his family's low social status.

She still didn't trust him.

No, wait, Obsidian Order was no more! They were replaced by Intelligence Bureau... but how could she know if there was any difference in their means of operation. An agent was an agent, no matter how one calls the organisation the agent works for.

Next evening she was the one, who invited him to her table. They talked a lot and she found out they had a lot in common. Neither of them was a high born child of a Gul or a Legate. Both of them had to work hard to achieve something. She had no idea when her suspicions of him being an agent to spy her vaporised and he occurred to be a fellow officer on a lousy assignment. She liked his grim sense of humour. She admired his loyalty to his superiors. She was sure there was nothing about her he could admire.


It was an awful day. Their mission was to take one official to an outpost, but the outpost was no more and Gul Dukat decided to punish Klingon murderers for their crime. The problem was the freighter was not the best choice to fight a bird-of-prey. The Gul instructed them to apply some strange improvements to the armament, but it made no sense to her. She had no idea where he took such strange ideas from, but she suspected their Bajoran passenger. She wasn't sure if there was any reasonable plan to it, or the woman wanted them to sabotage their own ship to eliminate more Cardassians from the face of the galaxy.

Changes in engineering duty schedules, extending duty hours and reducing number of shifts made the workspace quite crowdy. Jarol saw a few new faces, most likely from other shifts. She could not believe there still were officers aboard, who she haven't met yet. This ship was really small and crew not so numerous.

Since her duty hours were long, she had little time for her meal. Dukat made them work long hours, but knew they couldn't go on and be effective without food, so they had a right to a short break in the middle of their shifts. It was time to use that privilege right now.

She entered the mess hall to see Damar picking up his dish from the replicator. She ordered her food and then stood next to him.

“Seems like today we eat at our consoles,” he said.

“No, there's space,” she pointed a table in the corner, occupied by one officer only.

They approached him. It was a young Dja, punching at the padd he kept in his hand and... singing. Or rather half singing, half humming. They stood staring at him, but he seemed to be completely oblivious of their presence.

“Dja,” Damar spoke at last.

The young officer raised his head, looked at them and rose.

“Yes, I leave, you can sit,” he stated.

“Sit down,” Jarol told him, sitting herself. Damar took an empty chair, standing at another table, put it at theirs and also sat.

“What was that you were singing?” Jarol asked.

“What? Singing?”

“You were singing.”

“Was I?”

Jarol smiled and suddenly felt a sting of longing for her younger brother. The Dja appeared so innocent and benign, almost like a child. She glanced at his armour and read he was assigned to the engineering. She searched her memory and finally connected the face with the file. It was Dja Brenok. He was assigned to night shift.

“So,” Damar looked at her, “how are improvements?”

She just smiled. “No matter what we try to do, it's still a freighter and nothing will change that.”

“We have problems with dealing with overflowing of secondary capacity phase regulators,” Brenok suddenly spoke. Then he realised it wasn't his place to offer unsolicited opinion to two ranking officers, so he quickly lowered his head and concentrated on his padd.

“Do you think you could overcome this problem?” Damar asked. Joral knew that Damar was most eager to solve this as it was him, who had to suffer Dukat's... unhappiness, caused by unsatisfactory combat drills' results.

Dja looked up at him not sure if Damar's question was genuine or a challenge. Both officers kept looking at him expectantly, without a shadow of irritation, so he decided to honestly answer the Glinn's question. “Maybe, if we could install new regulators, like Hideki class ones. It would require some modifications, but I believe it is doable. But... we have no such thing in our cargo, so...”

Damar nodded. “So is there any way to do something about it, utilising the resources we do have?”

“Not much, but my simulations,” he indicated his padd, “show that we could improve phaser charging speed by seven percent.”

“Seven,” gasped Jarol. That would be barely noticeable, if at all.

Brenok looked at them apologetically.

Damar and Jarol started eating, while the younger officer went back to his work on the padd. A few moments later Jarol heard him humming again. She glanced at Damar and they smiled to each other. Brenok's humming progressed to quiet singing and then Jarol realised the song was some kind of lullaby.

After her long shift ended she checked the Dja's file, then his work aboard Groumall and asked Dukat to move him to the day shift. She believed there was potential in that young Cardassian. He had many interesting ideas, which they discussed during their shift and after that and his incredible engineering skill helped in installation of a canon, which was by no means meant to operate on a ship.

Dining together became a sort of little habit of theirs and continued on a Klingon bird-of-prey the crew acquired during their next mission.
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Old August 13 2010, 05:19 AM   #27
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

She stood in the corridor and waited to be let inside. After a short moment the door parted and Dukat smiled to her.

“Come in,” he invited her.

She was not sure what she was doing in his quarters. He had summoned for her, but hadn't specified what kind of order would that be.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked. “I have some spring wine left.”

“I don't care for Bajoran beverages,” she said and immediately regretted her words. When will she learn to hold her tongue?

He glared at her and for a second she thought she'd pay for her words, but he only said: “Please sit.”

So she sat. Whole situation was getting more and more weird.

He took a glass with spring wine – blue? Why was it blue? She had no idea it was blue – and sat next to her. He took a stray strand of her hair, which fell out of her bun and put it behind her ear. She froze. She wanted to say something, ask him why he wanted her to come to his quarters, but was unable to do anything.

He sighed.

“I didn't realise how harshly I have treated you after...” his voice trailed off for a moment, “after your family had been killed.”

“I deserved that,” she said.

“No. Your loss was punishment enough. You made a mistake and you paid highest price for that mistake. I shouldn't have punished you additionally.”

“It was well within regulations,” she said.

“Maybe. But now I understand how you felt, how it is to lose family.”

She looked at him for the first time since she sat down. Was he trying to apologise?

“I will do everything to make it up to you,” he said.

“It doesn't matter any more,” she replied, her pain finding way out from heavy shielding she managed to hide it behind.

“It will always matter,” he said softly, putting his hand on her armour's shoulder, his long finger touching her neck ridge scales.

“If this is all, I have to attend to my duties,” she said stiffly.

“Of course,” he rose and so did she.

She nodded and left his quarters.

“What did he want?” Damar asked quietly upon her arrival to the bridge.

“Actually, I am not sure,”she said and took her post.

She eyed the Bajoran woman, who manned engineering console. She could hear her speaking to Brenok over the comm, so she assumed they were installing that cannon.

Maybe it was her? Jarol knew this woman was a terrorist, she heard Dukat mentioning it once. What if the shapeshifter had caught wrong people. Such things were known to happen, not often, but still. What if they hadn't execute the real murderers. What if this Bajoran had given the order to plant the bomb in that Hideki? Jarol shook her head. You can't think like that, it will drive you crazy, she thought. The guilty had been found, prosecuted and executed. She'd witnessed their execution,but it hadn't brought her any relief. Her pain never diminished, she felt no justice had been served; nothing would bring them back, nothing. But she wouldn't be able to accept, if her children murderers were now some kind of heroes on Bajor.

The Bajoran must have felt her eyes on her, as she glanced at the Gil. Jarol looked her in the eyes. Both women kept staring at each other for a moment and then both returned to their duties.

You can't hate all Bajorans, Jarol told herself, not all of them are guilty of your family's death, just like not all Cardassians were part of Bajor annexation. Her family surely wasn't and she was better than Bajorans, she didn't hate everyone blindly, she was a Cardassian, she was superior intellectually to see the difference. She didn't have to like the Bajoran woman, but she didn't have to hate her just because she was a Bajoran. Owning a wrinkled nose was reason not good enough.



The first meal aboard the Klingon vessel was a celebration: Gul Dukat decided to mark the victory and most of crew met in the filthy mess hall to dine.

Jarol was a little shocked upon entering the room. It was dark even for Cardassian standards, and it stank. Reddish light made everything look crimson and the smell reminded her of a slaughterhouse.

“Some gagh?” Damar's voice asked behind her.

“You're joking, right?” she turned to face him.

“Yes, I am,” he smiled, handing her a plate. “Here's delicious range of field rations, prepared especially for you.”

“Uhm, yummy,” she muttered, taking the plate. She looked around. The Bajoran they were transporting back to Terok Nor, whatever it was called now, was absent, but the half-Bajoran daughter of her commander was there, sitting next to her father. She pulled her face at the sight of the girl and turned away. The whining weakling annoyed her.

“I must warn you we are returning to Ter... Deep Space Nine,” Damar told her.

“I knew that. We need to take back the Bajoran,” she muttered.

“Yes, but we might have to stay for a day or two,” he said. “At least to take more rations and dump gagh, unless you want to try it.” She cursed in her native language. “What was that?” he asked, coming closer.

“What?”

“What did you say?”

“Nothing. Ah,” she realised he meant her vocabulary, “nothing. It is... it's just... nothing.”

“Which dialect was it?”

“Dialect?” she suddenly fumed. “It was not a dialect, but a language. Another language!”

“All right, all right!” he raised one of his hands in defence. “So what language was it?”

“Nokarian,” she pointed her sharp, slightly slanted eye ridges.

“Of course,” he nodded. “That explains why you sometimes speak... funny...”

“Funny?!”

“Forgive the expression, but... yeah, funny,” he sheepishly smiled.

“Well, but then I speak perfect Nokarian,” she mocked a proud face and then they both giggled.

“So how is life in Nokar?”

“Terribly cold in winter, awfully hot in summer, no food, little water, high infant death rate.”

“Sounds terrible.”

“You think why I chose this career?”

“To run away?” his eyes opened wider.

“No, to make a living and feed my family. Most of my pay goes back home. They can't grow food any more, but at least they can buy some.”

“I share my pay too,” he nodded with understanding.

“Come, everyone!” they heard Dukat's voice. “Let's sit!”

Everyone headed for the table, and after a short commotion caused by finding a suitable seat according to rank and age, they all sat.

“Let's have some bloodwine,” Dukat raised his mug. Only then Jarol noticed that in front of each officer a mug was standing. She picked hers. She had never had bloodwine before. “Don't drink too much,” Dukat warned. “We need to arrive to the space station in one piece.”

Everyone laughed politely.



Red alert woke her up. First few seconds she wasn't sure where she was and what was happening, but then her mind work from its sleep too.

She was in the middle of putting her armour on when her comm biped and Dukat's voice spoke: “Jarol, report to the engineering, we've been boarded.”

She acknowledged, grabbed her riffle and phaser and ran toward to lift. She almost stumbled over a body on the floor, losing grip on her riffle and dropping it, when she ran out of the lift upon arriving to the engineering. She looked around to see Cardassians struggling with Klingons, the latter ones being majority. She moved toward a Cardassian, who was attacked by two Klingons and took one of aggressors on herself. She'd learnt to dodge bat'leth perfectly, so her avoiding moves were irritating the Klingon.

“You fight without honour!” he yelled and swung his blade toward her face. She stepped back, avoiding her head being cut to two and finally had a chance to fire her phaser. The Klingon fell on the floor dead, but another one charged her, shouting insults. She prepared to squeeze the trigger, but he was faster and reached her sooner than expected. She knew she had no chances against a Klingon man in hand to hand combat, so she needed to use one of her tricks. She crouched and then rammed him, aiming at his chest with her shoulder, her armour taking most of the blow. She managed to steal his knife from behind his belt.

In the corner of her eye she noticed Brenok falling on the deck with a huge Klingon standing over him. Brenok kicked to move back, but his position was vulnerable. The Klingon raised his bat'leth and took aim. The deadly weapon fell and even from her position she knew it was aimed at Brenok's head.

The time slowed for her. She completely forgot about her Klingon, she just saw the bat'leth raised again for another blow, caked with blood; no doubt Brenok's head was split to two – she dared not look at the young officer she grew so fond of. His tragic end would be too much for her.

“No, not Brenok,” she whispered, feeling her rage growing, and charged the Klingon. She jumped on his back and before he had time to react, she sank the stolen knife in his neck. They fell, the bat'leth still in Klingon's hand, although it was clear he was dead.

A thud behind her reminded her she'd neglected “her” Klingon, so she quickly rolled to face him, but she saw his headless body on the deck and Damar with his phaser standing over it.

“Thanks, Corat,” she said not sure he could hear her in the total havoc around them, but he understood her, nodded and turned to face another enemy.

But it was over. The engineering was full of Cardassians – dead, or wounded, but many still alive – and dead Klingons.

Just then Jarol realised that among moaning and shouting, and crying she could hear a familiar voice. She hadn't registered it before, but it was Brenok's voice.

She crawled to him to see he was alive, putting his left hand to his ear. She grabbed his palm to move it away to see the injury. The Klingon missed and his bat'leth didn't split Cardassian's head, but reached his ear, cut the lobe off and sank in the neck ridge. Right side of Brenok's head was a huge wound and rests of his ear were hanging on what remained of his cheek ridges. His neck ridge wound seemed more serious, as his right hand and arm were thrashing – she feared his nerves were damaged. He was bleeding profusely and she worried his life was still in danger.

Two medics ran to him and took care of his ear. She stood aside not to be in their way.

“I hope he's going to be fine,” she heard Damar's voice next to her.

“So do I, so do I...” she replied.


tbc
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Old August 14 2010, 01:19 AM   #28
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

You've really got pre-Dominion War Damar's personality down, exactly as I imagined he was!

I knew there was no way Dukat's apology would come without strings, but DANG, my skin started to CRAWL when he started touching Jarol uninvited!!!! UGH!

I have to say, Jarol still has some real Cardassian hypocrisy. It's a shame because until now she hasn't had that, but it seems the experience of losing her family has put that into her. "I'm superior to Bajorans--I don't hate them all." Uh...riiiiiiiiiiight. I hope that maybe she'll think about those words later and realize why they're so wrong.

And poor Brennok!!!!!! I really hope he'll be able to find a way to heal in spirit soon.

(And damn those Klingons. "Honorable" my ass--they're just space Vikings who THINK they're all that.)
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Old August 14 2010, 11:31 AM   #29
TerokNor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I agree with NG. You captored the early Damar perfectly! Loved to read how you wrote him and now that I know you can write him so well..... I DEMAND MORE DAMAR!!!! :P
Very very good chapter!

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Old August 14 2010, 12:59 PM   #30
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Well, Nerys, Jarol still IS a Cardassian so no surprise she think like a Cardassian.

And thanks for your opinion about Damar, to both of you. I wasn't sure I caught him right. Dukat is much easier, as we saw more of him and he has such a distinctive personality. Young Damar in the RTG episode was just "yes, sir/no, sir" guy, so much harder to imagine what he was like off duty.
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