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Old September 24 2010, 01:18 AM   #151
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I think also the fact of existing Bajoran-Cardassian hybrids is a good hint that Cardassians don't lay eggs.

The evolution in my universe "perfected" my reptiles, just like our evolution "perfected" us as mammals. I didn't give it a lot of thought yet, as very little of my story takes place on Cardassia Prime, but in general reptiles on the planet are highly developed (as opposed to those species, which did not evolve and are more like lizards and turtles), so Cardassians - as the sentient lifeforms - aren't the only highly evolved reptiles (or whatever we call them).

Mar'kuu were reptiles too, and also highly evolved - I imagine they were related to Cardassians similar way dolphins or whales are related to humans.
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Old September 24 2010, 02:48 AM   #152
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Hm...I'm not sure I'd consider being more mammalian in some ways to be "perfected." Your Skarrats might argue that point!

It's so interesting what different ideas we have, though! My Cardassians actually get insulted by a comparison to reptiles! (Which is not surprising given that mammalians tend to make that comparison in a derisive manner--claiming they don't have feelings, etc.)

They think of themselves as neither...they would say they have characteristics that belong to both groups, but they think of themselves as something completely separate.

BTW...can you draw a mar'kuu? Please???
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Old September 24 2010, 03:06 AM   #153
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

By "perfected" I mean the natures way of making sure species have higher chances of survival - both as species and as each individual (it's safer to have life birth and take care of a young than lay eggs and abandon them, hoping at least half of young would survive). The Skarrats take care of their eggs

I think if your Cardassians would be compared to therapsids in an insulting matter, it wouldn't be more or less insulting than calling them reptiles.

My Cardassians don't mind being compared to reptiles in a neutral way. You could probably hear someone calling their loved one "my sweet lizard" or something like that

I can try to draw a mar'kuu, but am not sure if I would be able to draw exactly what I have in my head. But I'll try
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Old September 24 2010, 03:40 AM   #154
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
By "perfected" I mean the natures way of making sure species have higher chances of survival - both as species and as each individual (it's safer to have life birth and take care of a young than lay eggs and abandon them, hoping at least half of young would survive). The Skarrats take care of their eggs
That could be an interesting bit in the story right there, to find out what they do!

I think if your Cardassians would be compared to therapsids in an insulting matter, it wouldn't be more or less insulting than calling them reptiles.
They wouldn't like it--but I think that to them, calling them reptiles isn't just mean, it's ignorant and it shows that the person using the word doesn't know anything about them and doesn't care enough to. So the term itself has become offensive to them.

I can try to draw a mar'kuu, but am not sure if I would be able to draw exactly what I have in my head. But I'll try
Cool!
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Old September 27 2010, 11:33 AM   #155
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Ladies and gentlecardassians, let me introduce ---- a mar'kuu

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=127790&page=2
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Old October 3 2010, 11:32 AM   #156
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

The Shift
2379 (2379)



She donned her armour. Her new armour. Her silver armour.

She was terrified. She was a girl from a small village in a middle of a desert; she still didn't speak the Union language well and she sincerely doubted she ever would. How was she supposed to do what was expected of her? How was she supposed to know what was right and the best?

She looked at Laran, who observed her with widely opened eyes. She smiled to him, but his face expression didn't change – he stared at her like hypnotised. His memory training had started a few months ago and she wondered if this picture – of his mother standing in front of a mirror and looking at herself with disbelief in her eyes – would burn in his memory forever.

It would in hers.



Seven months earlier




Alon Ghemor greeted Jarol with a smile. She eyed him suspiciously and then weakly smiled back.

“Please sit,” he invited her to take a chair on the business side of his desk and then sat in his chair.

“This rod contains all information we have gathered during our investigations,” he handed him a data rod, which he took and immediately inserted into a reader. “It contains my assessment of the situation, reports of each Gul, who investigated a system assigned to him, and all additional information we have found, which can be even vaguely related to the subject.”

“And about the plans?”

“I suggest to start from those places, in which we... inflicted more suffering.” He looked at her a little surprised, and then his eyes returned to his screen. “My proposition is included on the data rod. There is one exception, though.”

“The Skarrats,” he said.

“That's right. They do not want us to leave them.”

“The withdrawal must be full and complete.”

“That's the difference. For them we wouldn't withdraw, we would abandon them.”

“Semantics.”

“Maybe, but I see the difference.”

“Why do you care?” he looked at her again, but this time his gaze stayed on her face.

“Gul Kadal asked me to personally make sure that you understand their unique position.”

“Gul Jarol, we withdraw from every world, no exceptions.”

“But they don't want that! They are dependant on our resources shipments and stopping them would have tragic repercussions.”

“We don't have to stop the trade only because they wouldn't be a part of the Union.”

“But we would have no obligation to defend them in case of trouble. Our people would be recalled from their planet.”

“The Federation made it clear, Gul Jarol. We have to withdraw from all occupied worlds, without exceptions.”

“Damn it, Ghemor!” she jumped up and leaned her hands on his desk, towering over him. He glared at her and she sat down. “Sorry,” she muttered, took a breath and finished in a calm voice. “What is more important? What the Feds say or what our own denizens want?”

“The decision is final.”

She didn't say anything else. There was nothing she could say to convince him. It wasn't his mind she would have to change and she had no way of reaching those, who made the decision.

“Are you going to send those files to the Federation?” she asked.

He looked up at her. “Why would I?”

“I don't know why, but there's a lot of things that I don't understand why you do them. I ask, because there is some sensitive information, which I'd rather not hand to the Federation.”

“Like the massacres on the Skarrats?”

“No, like detailed information on our military strength,” she should rather say 'weakness'. “You may consider them your best friends, but giving them this kind of data would be foolish.”

“I don't intend to be foolish,” he replied.

“Is that all?”

“Yes. I will contact you if I have additional questions.”

“Acceptable,” she nodded. Then she stood and looked at him. “Regarding the Skarrats,” he looked at her again. “I will make it public that you refuse their request to stay within the Union, following your Federation... decision-makers,” she intended to say 'masters', but wanted to keep it serious and civil.

“It that a threat?”

“No. It's a courtesy of informing you of my plans. Prefect Kadal and Subprefect Zarr would officially back up my position.” She had already talked to the Gul and the highest Skarrat official about that. She had promised them to do everything in her power to keep the matters status quo, but seemed like the Castellan didn't care about their wishes and it would be impossible to take care of it any other way. She couldn't stop him from withdrawing from Skarrat, but she could make him pay for his decision. Losing support is the worst punishment for a politician, whose position depends on people's votes. He wanted the Federation democracy, he can have it.

She turned and headed for the door. He did not call after her, so she left. Now she had to convey the bad news to Gul Kadal.

She returned to the Roumar.

“Sir, can we talk in private?” Brenok asked her when she entered the bridge.

She nodded and they went to her office.

“Daset has approved your plans regarding my future,” he said.

“That's good.”

“I was not aware you had any plans regarding my future.”

She looked at him. Was he disappointed?

“I don't think I'm ready for this,” he said after a moment.

“The fact that you think you're not ready is the best proof you are the best choice.”

“But... what if I fail?” he asked quietly.

She moved closer to him, entering his personal space, gazed into his eyes and said quietly, but seriously. “I am sure you won't fail. You represent everything we need in that position. No one else can do it.”

“But I'm only thirty-three!”

“And you sometimes are wiser than Tarkan, Daset, Jotrel and I combined,” she smiled.

“No, I'm not!”

“Arenn, you have a heart and you have never let anyone convince you otherwise. Most of us had been trained to forget that we had hearts and we realised we still had them when the Jem'Hadar slaughtered our families and friends. The risk is that we could forget again. You won't.”

“I don't want a desk job,” his protest was much weaker.

“Arenn,” she laughed. “You will be the one who decides who sits behind a desk. You don't want to sit behind a desk, you won't have to. No one would be in power to order you to.”

“And how did you convince Tarkan to agree to this?”

She smiled deviously. “Actually, the little speech about hearts is Tarkan's.”

“W... what?”

“Unbelievable, isn't it?”

“What will he do?”

“He wants the troops education. He wants to make sure we have more officers like you than like him... or me.”

“There is nothing wrong with you.”

“But I'm not as good as Corak.”

“No one is as good as Corak,” Brenok smiled and she wondered if the Glinn wasn't actually heading there, to be as good or maybe even better than their late Gul.



Within her whole career Jarol didn't talk to as many Guls, as within last few months. She searched her memory for decent people she had met in the course of her military career, traced them and contacted. Too many of them were dead; either executed by the Dominion, or died on the front, or in Jem'Hadar massacres. Luckily, some were still there.

She probed their political loyalties and opinions. She searched for a shadow of a chance they could join, support or at least not interfere with the Mar'kuu Group's plans. Their support and co-operation was most welcomed, as the Group needed as many troops as it was possible. Ironically, the more people they had, the safer it would be.

She knew Jotrel, Daset, Tarkan and others were doing the same thing. Every week they were adding or deleting names from their lists. There were some people they could trust, some that they weren't sure about, and some, who didn't want to have anything to do with them. There were also some Cardassians, with whom they didn't want anything to do with.

The most difficult part of their task was keeping it secret. While it was impossible to completely cover their intentions, they hoped no one would know the real reason behind their actions. Officially they were contacting other Guls to prepare a full report on the Guard status. Unofficially they probed and poked each Gul, asking them questions, first cautiously and then, depending on a particular situation, bolder and more detailed, or dropping the whole matter completely.

The trade with the Ferengi started bringing real fruits and Jotrel suggested to widen the scope of the trade. He was in process of preparing full proposition, which targeted the loss of resources, caused by their withdrawal from annexed worlds.

They knew they couldn't rush things, they couldn't allow themselves to be sloppy, but they all felt things on Cardassia were going the wrong way, and headed there too fast. Initially they planned their preparations to take about two years, but when Alon Ghemor agreed to the Federation demand of limiting the Cardassian military strength to a particular number of ships – which was supposed to ensure safety of the quadrant, as the Cardassians were still considered too aggressive to trust them, at least according to the Federation Council – they knew they couldn't wait any longer. The Feds either wanted to make sure the Cardassian Union would stay weak and be ready for conquer, or they knew there was something happening behind the doors to Guls' offices and wanted to stop it, before it would blow in their faces.

Two years time shrank into six months. They could wait no longer.
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Old October 3 2010, 11:33 AM   #157
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

“Do we have all the Fourth Order's Guls on our side?” Daset asked.

“Yes,” Jotrel confirmed.

“We also have the First Order and the Third Order to support us,” Tarkan added, pointing to Gul Marret and Gul Relta.

“What if the Directorate decides to oppose?” Jarol asked.

“Hopefully they won't. Otherwise...” Daset didn't finish, but she knew. A civil war.

“Let's go through this again,” Daset said. “Jotrel?”

“First Battalion will secure all military outposts in the orbit and on the planet, including the Academy. The main goal is to separate command from troops until we can be sure of their loyalty. They either join us or are expelled from the Guard, effective immediately. No force is to be used, unless it's absolutely necessary.”

“Jarol?”

“Battalion Two Task Force One will secure the government building, relieving the Castellan and his people off duty. They are to be escorted back home to ensure their safety. Task Force Two will secure the capitol, the remaining Task Forces have been assigned a city and its Prefectures each. The civilians are to be escorted homes for their own safety in case the Directorate decides to use troops still loyal to them.”

“Tarkan?”

“Battalion Three will secure the Directorate main building and home arrest all its members. They have to be separated and not in contact with anyone to limit the risk of issuing any orders to their troops.”

“Marret?”

“The First Order will enforce Battalion four-two in securing the city. Everyone was instructed not to use force against civilians. Two Task Forces will stand by in orbit in case the Directorate decides to attack from space.”

“Relta?”

“The Third Order is spread between most populated colonies. They will send several patrols to control the situation, but are mostly to observe and possibly defend the borders, if a word comes out and a foreign power tries to interfere.”

“Remember” Daset looked at all Guls' faces, lingering on each for a moment. “We do not fight against our denizens. The casualties must be kept to the minimum. I realise hoping for no casualties would be unrealistic, but warn your people that civilians will not understand what is happening and some of them could feel defence is necessary. Everyone must be escorted home. I want empty streets. If the Directorate answers with force, we will fight them. But only them.”

Everyone nodded.

“What about other Orders?” Daset asked.

“The Second Order is stationed near the Breen border,” Tarkan answered. “The rest is in chaos. They are still being regrouped and Ghemor obviously doesn't think it's a priority to bring order to our military.”

“Of course he doesn't. The Federation doesn't want a strong Cardassian army,” Marret muttered.

“So they either would join us or wouldn't,” Daset didn't like this uncertainty.

“What do we do with those, who don't support us, but not fight us?” Jarol asked.

“Anyone, who is not on our side, is to be dismissed from the active service. They would be assigned different roles and their troops would be reassigned to the Restoration Program,” Tarkan explained.

Daset put his hands on his desk and leaned on them. He took a deep breath and then quietly said: “For Cardassia.”



Jarol returned to her warship. Brenok and Ma'Kan waited for her in the transporter room.

“Are our orders confirmed?” Brenok asked.

“They are. Are your teams ready?”

“Yes, sir,” the Glinn nodded. “Government officials' houses are secured and ready to accept their tenants. Transporter dampeners in place.”

Jarol looked at Ma'Kan.

“I have coordinated with other warships to simultaneously beam small troops to each floor of the main government building to minimise any resistance. The guards on duty will be disarmed and sent back home, even if they declare their loyalty to us. We cannot afford to trust anyone at this point.”

“Good thinking,” Jarol approved. “How much time?”

Brenok checked his chronometer.

“Fifteen minutes. The virus Jotrel and I had created should kick in in ten minutes and it should eat the defence systems of the government buildings within three minutes.”

“Should,” she repeated.

“There was no way to test the program, so we can't be one hundred percent certain.”

“What is going to happen if the virus doesn't work?”

“Our transporter patterns would be scattered around whole Lakat.”

What a wonderful vision, she thought bitterly.

“Go to your posts and wait there.”

Brenok left the transporter room and Ma'Kan stood by the door. She waved to someone outside, and a group of militiamen jogged inside and went to the transporter pad. Jarol joined them and so did Ma'Kan.

The Gul was nervous. She had an impression everyone could hear her heart beating. She glanced at the faces of the men around her. They seemed calm like a rock. She wondered if they were realising what was ahead of them. She knew they understood their orders, but did they know how important it was? And what would failure mean? But they wouldn't fail her, would they?

Garesh Dalar, who commanded militia troops aboard the Roumar, nodded to her and somehow she felt reassured.

“It's time,” the transporter Garesh said crisply.

“Energize,” she ordered and the group disappeared in an orange light.

They materialised in front of the door to the Castellan's office. The guards there were so surprised by their unexpected appearance that before they had a chance to do anything, they were disarmed and beamed away.

Guards down the corridor however had enough time to react. A few shots went Jarol's team way, but all missed.

“Drop your weapons!” someone there shouted.

She pushed her way among her people, going forward to face the guards on duty. One of her men tried to shield her with his body, but she shook her head. He moved to a side, but still part of him was in front of her – he didn't intend to allow her to put herself in danger.

“Garesh, we are not your enemies,” she shouted toward the other guards. “Please let us disarm you and you will be sent home.”

They uncertainly looked at each other, wondering what the others would decide to do. They hesitated and she took at as a good sign.

“We appreciate your conduct and following your orders, however we have our orders,” she continued. “If you disarm yourselves now, nothing will happen to you and, hopefully, you would be able to return to duty soon. Decide now.”

One of guards put his weapon on the floor and went toward them. The Garesh, who protected Jarol, tensed, but once he realised there was no trick on the other man's part, he relaxed. Others hesitated. Precious seconds were passing and Jarol feared guards inside the Castellan's office would soon realise something was happening behind the door.

“We give up,” the Garesh, who spoke earlier, said, putting his weapon away.

“No! Traitor!” another pointed his weapon at the guard as shot him in the back.

“Noooo!” Jarol started toward the fallen man, her guard following her closely and shooting the attacker.

She crouched by the shot man, but he was dead. She felt sorry and disappointed. It's not how she wanted this to happen.

She shook her bleakness away and rose. She had no time to mourn now.

“Take care of his body,” she told her guard and looked at the rest. “Go, go, go!” she ordered energetically, waving toward the office door.

In the meantime either someone notified the guards in the Castellan's office that something was happening outside, or they heard the noises, as the door opened and two men ran outside, phasers in their hands. However they weren't prepared to what they would encounter and they were quickly disarmed in result. Six more of Jarol's team took care of the guards inside. One was fighting them unrelentingly, but was overwhelmed, two offered only weak resistance and the last one gave up immediately. Another group ran inside to secure the area and make sure there were no more guards hiding in adjacent rooms. Finally Jarol herself entered the office with the remainder of her small army. Her men took positions, securing the whole room.

There were two men inside: Alon Ghemor and one more Cardassian, whom she didn't know. Two militiamen went directly to Ghemor's desk and pointed their riffles at his head. Two more did the same in regard of the other man. Ghemor was standing when she entered, but he slowly sat, while she approached him. The other man didn't move, but he attentively observed the situation. Jarol stood between her soldiers and admired the Castellan's calm demeanour.
“Am I going to be executed?” he asked.

“No,” she shook her head. “You have two options. One: you continue your service as the Castellan, but you take orders from us. Shouldn't make much difference to you after all. Orders from us, or orders from the Federation, you're still the same puppet.”

“And option two?”

“You resign your position and you can go home?”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that. We're in no business to kill our own. Enough Cardassians have died in recent years. Which option do you choose?”

He rose.

“Can I have your word that nothing will happen to my family?”

“You have my word,” she said without hesitation. “I can provide you with an escort, it could include even your own people, if it would make you feel more secure.”

He shook his head. She couldn't help but admire the dignity he accepted all this with.

“What will you do with the Directorate?” he asked.

“Don't worry about them. They are being taken care of too.”

Daset had decided to send Tarkan to deal with old, stubborn pigheads. Jarol supported that idea – Tarkan himself was very close to an old, stubborn pighead, so he would know how to deal with them. She fully trusted he would not switch sides for he was not a stupid pighead.

“Forgive me saying this,” said the other Cardassian, “but it doesn't seem to me like you know what you are actually doing.”

“I didn't ask you for your opinion,” she barked.
“No, you did not,” he smiled widely. “But can I ask you one question?”

“What?”

“Didn't last few years teach you a lesson?”

“Of course they did. They taught me that it's much better to be occupying force than under occupation.”

His smile became wider and... more slimy. Who was that man?

“Take them away,” she ordered and both men were taken outside.

After securing the Castellan's office and sending him home she informed Daset of the situation. He acknowledged receiving her report, but didn't share any information regarding the progress of the other groups. She had to wait and waiting was something she despised.

She went to the window and looked out. She could see an empty park there and one patrol. She went to a window in the other end of the room, which looked out to a street. There were armoured men there, two or three patrols, but none of them kept their weapons in their hands. They just gestured a lot, probably arguing with civilians they were talking to. She hoped it would work, she hoped no one would be hurt this night and tomorrow would mark a start of new age for Cardassia. They just needed to send people home for their own safety.

Ma'Kan entered the room and went to Jarol.

“The government buildings are secured,” she reported. “We had some problems with a few officials, but they were pacified and sent back home.”

“Unharmed, I trust.”

Ma'Kan pulled her face. “Well, some guards offered resistance. As per orders, we targeted their legs, so no fatal casualties on their side. As for us... fourteen dead, seventeen wounded, five of them seriously.

“Did you take care of the wounded?” Jarol sighed.

“Affirmative. I have notified medics of the situation and they are going to provide professional help.”

Jarol nodded. “Good job.”

“What now?”

“Now we wait.”
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Old October 3 2010, 11:34 AM   #158
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

It was over. The longest night of her life was over.

The streets were almost empty; there were only armed patrols there, but they were supposed to be recalled soon.

Jarol stood by a window and observed the forced calmness in the city. She believed it was for the good, but unknown future was terrifying her.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow Cardassia would be different. Tomorrow the change would be implemented and explained to everyone. They had no secrets.

The sky in the East brightened. Stars became dimmer to finally yield to a bluish-purplish colour of the sky. There were almost no clouds.

A Garesh on the street below talked to someone over his wrist comm and then waved to his people. Jarol could clearly see streaks of blood on his face. A moment later the militiamen gathered in one spot and were beamed away. She knew it wasn't only them. Each patrol was taken from streets everywhere, just as had been planned.

The tomorrow has come.



“No!” Tarkan was shouting, when Jarol entered Daset's office, which only a day before belonged to the Castellan.

“Gul Tarkan, you--” Daset tried to say something, but the elder Gul kept shaking his head.

“No way! You can't convince me.”

“But sir,” it was the only time Jarol heard Daset address Tarkan as 'sir'.

“No!”

Daset took a deep breath.

“Why?” he asked quietly after a moment. “We need you. We need your support.”

“And you have it.”

“Then why do you refuse?”

“Because it's time for the young ones, Daset. For people like him,” he pointed at Toral, “and him,” his hand waved toward Brenok, who stood next to Jarol. “I am too old for this. My mindset is marked by the old way. The old way, which failed. I could feel too comfortable in such a cosy position and unwittingly attempt to redirect whole case into wrong direction. He thinks the way you need,” Tarkan went to Brenok, grabbed his arm and pulled him closer to Daset. “He will do the right thing. He knows how to change things to make them better. I don't.”

“Gul Tarkan, we don't want to lose elder, experienced Guls, and they won't agree to listen to his orders,” Daset's voice was literally begging.

“That's why I will back him up. I will represent the Mar'kuu Group before the older cadre, I will express my support of your actions. I will stand by you and show my grey hair, if you need to deal with other grey heads, which won't want to listen to children, but I can't take any real, decision-making responsibilities. This would be too dangerous. The government must be new and fresh. I would spoil it.” He took a breath. “Do you understand it?” he asked Daset.

Brenok was staring at Tarkan with his mouth slightly opened. The elder Gul gave him a serious look and finally let go of Brenok's arm.

“Gul Tarkan, we need your experience,” Daset didn't want to give up.

“Then ask for my advice... And feel free not to use it too,” Tarkan said. “I will serve you, but don't give me any real power.”

Jarol was impressed. She had been so wrong about Tarkan. He was a tough man, sometimes difficult, but he was a real patriot. He considered himself a servant of Cardassia, not its ruler.

“I ask for one thing only,” Tarkan said. Daset looked at him with hope in his eyes. “I want to be responsible for the education of young officers and troops.” Hope in Daset's eyes faded. “I have plans for reforms and a few ideas how to improve our military's quality and professionalism.”

“Whatever you wish,” Daset's voice was resigned. He gave up. “So, if Gul Tarkan doesn't want to become head of our government, who will?” Everyone stared at him. “Me?” he looked around. “I hoped for something else,” he smiled.

“You don't always get what you want,” Tarkan said, a smile playing on his lips.

“So I've noticed. Can I order you to replace me as the head of the government if I become one?”

“No, I would order you back.”

“Splendid.”

Brenok was still gazing at Tarkan.

“Does everyone else know their duties?” Daset asked after a moment. All people, who were present in the room, nodded or murmured their confirmation.“Any questions?”

Gul Marret raised his hand.

“I have a question. Do we bring the Obsidian Order back?”

Jarol, Jotrel and Relta shouted in unison “NO!” and even tones of their voices were the same.

Tarkan laughed. “I think that answers your question,” he said.

“All right,” Daset sighed. “I have prepared a speech for Gul Tarkan, but since he refuses...”

“You wrote the speech, you present it to Cardassians... Legate,” Tarkan finished his sentence in most unexpected way. Daset's eyes opened and he whispered something to himself.

Jarol knew how he felt. The weight of responsibility was pulling her shoulders to the floor.

Tarkan went to the chair behind the desk and made an inviting motion, looking expectantly at Daset. “Legate Daset, if you please.”

“Yes, Legate Tarkan, and please stay on the vision. I need your grey head there,” Daset sat in the chair and waved toward Jarol. “Legate Jarol, a female representative and a war hero, not mentioning late Legate Damar's personal friend would look nicely too.”

She closed her eyes. The weight doubled.

“I think two Damar's friends would be even better, not mentioning youth and... Originality,” Tarkan looked at Brenok and patted the nape of his own neck, no doubt meaning Brenok's long hair. “Gul, if you'd be so kind to join us.”

“This is getting too weird,” Brenok said.

“We're paralysed by fear, Brenok,” Tarkan replied. “We are afraid to fail. We need to let the steam out. So we behave like children, who play to be Legates. How do you deal with stress?”

“I sing.”

“Like I said: originality. Come here, young man. Humour me.” Tarkan's voice sounded fatherly, not commandingly.

Brenok motioned to stand behind the chair.

“How do we look?” Jarol asked. “Is there any chance we will put the Cardassians at ease?”

“No,” Jotrel shook his head. “Wait. Gu... Legate Tarkan, please stand on the left side. My left side, your right. Jarol, on your left. That's good. Brenok, you stand behind Jarol's right shoulder. A bit to the right, yes, that's good.”

Marret stood next to Jotrel and looked at the four people.

“Looks good to me,” he approved.

“Can we start before I ran away shouting like a little girl?” Daset said.

“A room full of Legates and I hear jokes like on the first year at the Academy,” Toral commented.

“This is our first year, Gul,” Tarkan boomed, emphasising both 'is', and 'Gul'; the latter making Toral smile. The elder man's voice sounded intimidating, but everyone in the room knew it wasn't for real.

Jarol felt like nothing was real. It was just a strange dream and she would wake up as a tactical officer aboard the Roumar under Gul Corak's command, right?

“Let's start the recording,” Jotrel said seriously.

All four Cardassians behind the desk looked into a camera and Daset started:

“Fellow Cardassians and non-Cardassian citizens of the Cardassian Union.

“Many of you know that last night has brought changes, however you do not know what kind of changes. Do not fear, please. We apologise if we scared you, we apologise, if you experienced any discomfort.

“We are the Mar'kuu Group. We were displeased with the Alon Ghemor's government decisions and actions and we decided it was too dangerous to let him and his supporters to stay in power. We had to take action and remove him from decision-making position, in which he posed a real threat to Cardassia's integrity and safety.

“The Detapa Council is now dissolved and the Central Command takes over. This means no real changes for you, the citizens. We will do our best to secure your safety, provide your resources and serve you to the best of our abilities.

“To ensure that our rebuilding process goes undisturbed, we have decided to close our borders to foreign powers. Everyone, who wishes to stay in the Union and become its denizens, can do so by applying for a special permission of the right to land. Those, who want to leave, will have six months time to bring their affairs to closure and leave our territory. After those six months any alien ship that will attempt to cross our borders without a special permission to enter Cardassian territory will be warned twice and then fired upon. We will not let anyone interfere with our internal matters any more,” Daset's voice got stronger. “We will follow wishes of Cardassian and non-Cardassian denizens of our Empire, and will not allow anyone to pose demands or conditions.

“The transition period is not going to be easy for us, but we will do everything in our power to make sure you, the people, live in peace and without fears and worries.

“We pledge our lives to serve you. We will rebuild strong Cardassia; Cardassia that doesn't bow to anyone, Cardassia, which would make Legate Damar proud.” Jarol nodded slightly, but visibly. “Cardassia, which would be your safe home.

“It's time to say 'we are the Cardassians and we are proud of it!'.”

The silence hanged in the air. A few seconds passed and then everyone present in the room let out a breath. Finally Daset rose.

“All right, everyone. Enough of fun. Relta, make sure the recording is played as soon as possible. Everyone, it's time to get to work. The fun part has come to an end, the hard part starts.”

They gathered around a big table in the adjacent room and accessed their databases to present their plans.
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Old October 3 2010, 11:34 AM   #159
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

“Gul, could I talk to you?” Kapoor entered the office, but abruptly stopped, seeing that Jarol was obviously discussing something with Brenok. “Maybe I should come later?”

“Come in, Kapoor. What is it?” Jarol wasn't good at reading Terrans' expressions – it was a miracle she has learnt telling them apart! - but had an impression the Lieutenant was nervous.

“It is about this... declaration of closing borders.”

“There should be sufficient time for you to pack all your things and return home,” Jarol said.

“Oh, it would be, if I planned it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Legate Daset said that all, who wanted to leave, have six months to finish their matters and go away. He also said that those, who wished to stay – can.”

“That's correct.”

“Well... I don't want to leave,” the Terran said quietly and lowered her eyes.

Jarol didn't see that one coming.

“Are you sure? Do you realise what it means? You wouldn't be able to leave Cardassia after those six months, maybe for very long time, as the isolation may take years.”

“I understand that.”

Brenok, who sat with his back to the entrance, turned and looked at Kapoor. Jarol rose and went around her desk to stand in front of the woman.

“Are you sure of this?” she asked again. Kapoor was so short she barely reached Jarol's shoulder.

“Yes, Gul. I gave it a lot of thought and discussed it with... someone, and... I want to stay. I would also like to stay in the Guard, if it's possible. On this ship.”

Jarol looked at Brenok. His face expressed nothing, he awaited her decision and had no intention of influencing it in any way. One of Jarol's new task was taking care of non-Cardassians within the Union, so it was in the scope of her new position to make that decision. Jarol looked back at Kapoor, wondering if she wasn't some kind of dedicated spy, but the woman's service was nothing but exemplary and she has never done anything to raise any suspicions.

“Your military career will have to be decided by Legate Tarkan. I will notify him about your request. You have time to change your mind and leave before we close the borders, but if you wish to stay, then I see no problem with that,” the Cardassian woman said finally.

Kapoor raised her head and looked at Jarol; her big eyes full of happiness. She seemed relieved and the Cardassian woman had an impression that there was something behind her decision, that it was very important for her to stay. She really wanted to stay.

“Thank you, Gul,” the Terran said.

“However,” Jarol said and a worried shadow appeared on Kapoor's face, “you will have to stop wearing this,” she indicated her Federation uniform. “If you want to stay among us, you will have to become one of us.”

“Yes, Gul. I will, Gul.”

“Kapoor,” Brenok spoke unexpectedly.

The woman looked at him.

“You should address her 'Legate' now,” he pointed to Jarol.

The Terran put her hand over her mouth. “Oh my... I'm sorry, Legate. Of course! I'm sorry. I didn't mean any offence, it's just the habit--”

Jarol raised her hand.

“Relax, Lieutenant.”

“So, I can stay?”

She didn't seem to mind the obstacles. She just wanted to be able to stay. Jarol was sure her reason, whatever it was, was very important to her.

“Affirmative,” she confirmed. “Dismissed.”

“Thank you, sir,” she said again, showing all her white teeth in a smile.

Jarol watched Kapoor leaving her office and going straight to Karama. The woman leaned over him and kissed the inverted drop on his forehead. The Legate thought it was cute and then it stuck her; what has she just seen? She lowered the padd she kept in her hand and stared at the two officers flabbergasted. Karama raised his head and said something, smiling widely. Kapoor went to her station, but his eyes lingered on her for a while longer before returning to his console.

Jarol looked at Brenok, who, like her, observed whole scene through partially glass door of her office. There was a barely noticeable smile on the Glinn's... Gul's face. Did he know? Wasn't he surprised?

Did she mind? She was shocked, but it was a shock of astonishment, not disgust. It would never occur to her that any real intimacy could grow between a Cardassian and a non-Cardassian, but somehow, to her own surprise, she didn't find it appalling. She just wasn't sure if it wasn't unfair for Karama, as she didn't know if Terran hearts had enough space to love with the same depth as Cardassian hearts.

“Did you know?” she asked Brenok.

“I had no idea,” he shook his head.

She cast the last glance on the bridge and went back to her desk.

“Where were we?” she asked, activating the padd.



Jarol stood in front of them. Just like four years ago, she had asked her crew – all of her crew, as the ship's functions were taken care of by a skeleton replacement crew, borrowed from Jotrel's Atash – to gather in the cargo hall. Four years ago she had asked them to volunteer to help in the rebuilding process. And they did – all of them. This time, however, she wasn't going to ask them for anything; she wanted to share something with them. And she wanted to bid her farewell.

She looked at Brenok, who stood next to her. He wore a serious expression on his face, but when he noticed she was looking at him, he winked. She smiled weakly and her eyes returned to the black mass of armours.

She knew she would miss them. She'd been their Gul for seven years, but she still considered them Gul Corak's crew. In fact, less than half of the current crew had served under Corak, but she always hoped the spirit of their late Gul was directing her decisions and moves. She wished he wouldn't be disappointed in her if he lived to that day.

She glanced at Zamarran. She knew Brenok's plans for him and she agreed with her friend's assessment – the engineer would make an excellent Gul's aide. Zamarran's age would balance Brenok's youth. His wisdom would balance Brenok's... what? She glanced at the long-haired officer next to her and couldn't stop a grin. Heavens, he was perfect! His only disadvantage was his age, but he would get older!

She looked at Karama, who stood next to Zamarran. Her last decision as the Roumar's commander was to promote him to Glinn. He didn't know yet, she waited with the news until the last moment.

Ma'Kan seemed sad. Her eyes were on Jarol's face and the Legate felt like scrutinised. That young woman had a future, great future. Jarol hoped she had her little share in creating that future.

Kapoor. She had her hair done in a Cardassian way – three braids. She wore a Cardassian armour and a pleasant face expression. Jarol thought that this was one of bravest people she ever knew; she doubted she'd have enough courage to volunteer to serve on a former enemy's warship. The Legate glanced at Karama. Then again at Kapoor. The Terran's cheeks flushed red – was she ashamed of her relationship with the communication officer? Or was it rather the fact that the commander knew about it.

Jarol sent Kapoor a smile. Don't worry, girl. What do the Vulcans say? Live long and prosper.

Garesh Dalar. She remembered training his troops with him. He was smiling now. Jarol didn't think she had ever seen him smiling. He was the tough guy type. He had to be, considering his job. But right now his look was benign and friendly.

They waited. She stood in front of them, looking at them, and she had to tell them.

Brenok must have felt her hesitation, as he moved closer. He didn't do anything more, but he knew she would notice and understand. He offered her his support and it meant more to her than anything else in the whole galaxy.

“I had asked you to gather here, because there is something I would like to share with you,” she started. “I have known some of you for many years.” She looked at Dalar. “I have trusted some of you with biggest secrets,” her eyes went to Zamarran. “I have sent you to dangerous missions and you never complained,” Ma'Kan. “I had to teach you tough lessons, but you were good students,” Karama smiled when she looked at him. “I could learn some things from you,” Kapoor's face expressed astonishment, when Jarol's eyes met hers. “But the time doesn't stand in place, it moves forward, sometimes too slow, sometimes too fast, but constantly, and things change. They must change for us to grow.” She took a deep breath. “The Cardassian Union changes and we must not stay behind.

“Last week brought huge changes to Cardassia. We have overthrown a puppet Federation government.” A few voices expressed their support quietly, but audibly. “Now we need to rebuilt and start everything anew. And we will do it our way, the Cardassian way.” More voices. “We will do our best not to make the same mistakes our predecessors had made. We will do our best not to let down the people, who just want to live their lives in peace and comfort.” I sound like a politician already, she thought. “Big changes brought small changes. Especially for the Roumar.

“Effective today, the command is transferred to Gul Brenok,” she said in a louder, more commanding officer style voice. The cargo hall was filled with murmur. She raised her hand and the sound immediately subsided. “Glinn Zamarran is promoted to Glinn Grade Two and takes the position of Gul's aide.” No one was surprised, except for Zamarran himself. “Gil Karama's promotion to Glinn was accepted yesterday,” Karama's eyes were wide with mixture of happiness and disbelief. “Glinn Ya'val will take the chief engineer's position.” Garesh Dalar patted Ya'val's shoulder.

She silenced for a moment, letting the revelations sink in. She looked at Brenok; he was observing the crowd intently, but glanced at her feeling her gaze. Her eyes returned to her... his crew.

“I've always believed you were one of the best crews in the fleet. I hope, I believe you can be even better. I am sure you can become the best crew in the fleet. And you better don't disappoint me, because starting from today you serve on the flagship of the Cardassian Guard. There is only one such warship in the fleet and you better be good example for others or I'll return and teach you a lesson.” Someone giggled and she smiled. “Permission to laugh.” The cargo hall was filled with laughter; sometimes nervous, sometimes forced, sometimes surprised, but mostly heartily and sincere. How was she supposed to go on without them?

Zamarran rose. “Permission to speak.”

She nodded.

“I think I know why you leave us, and I think most of us guesses too, but we want to hear it.”

She bit her lower lip. She wasn't comfortable with that thought herself yet and had no idea how to inform her crew in a neutral tone.

Brenok made two steps forward, coming a bit in front of her and said. “Upon Legate Daset's orders, Legate Jarol is being transferred to Cardassia Prime to assume her new responsibilities in our new government.”

Total silence lasted for a second or two, then someone made the tiniest sound and an explosion of cheers filled the cargo hall.

She expected some of them would be happy for her, but everyone? The cargo hall looked like a party, not a warship crew gathering. The militia troops chanted their support – they expressed even their contentedness in a disciplined manner. She looked at Brenok and then turned away from everyone, not being able to stop tears from filling her eye ridges. Her friend observed the crew with a grin on his face. He didn't seem surprised by their reaction at all.

“Sir?” Zamarran's voice said behind her. “No.” he muttered. “Legate?” She turned to him, ashamed of her tears. “Yes, 'Legate' sounds fine,” he kept muttering like to himself, but she knew him well enough to know his sense of humour. “Legate, I wanted to say, in the name of the whole crew, that we are very proud of you,” her eyes filled with tears again, but he didn't seem to notice. He knew she didn't want him to notice. “It was a privilege to serve under your command. It is a privilege to know you,” he added in a less official tone of voice and then fell silent. They were looking into each other's eyes and that was telling her more than any words would.

They were not Gul Corak's crew. They were her crew.

Her vision distorted as her eyes filled with tears again.

Zamarran approached her stopping just on the edge of her personal space.

“I think...” he started quietly, “I think Legate Damar would be proud of you.”

He stood there, shielding her from view of others. These words meant more to her than any other praise, especially since that morning she had received a message from Damar's sister, who had written the same thing.

Zamarran waited for her to compose herself, and then he moved a bit to a side so that she could see the cargo hall and said. “Seems like there is someone, who would like to talk to you.”

She followed his gaze and saw Kapoor standing on the edge of the make up stage, rocking on her feet forward and backward. Zamarran waved to the human and she approached them, then he left.

“Legate,” the short woman started. “I know I probably break like zillion protocols and social rules talking to you directly, but I would like to wish you luck.” Jarol smiled. “It was a great honour to serve on your ship under your command. And thank you for promotion for Gil Karama. He would never admit it, bit it means a lot to him. He wants you to be proud of him.”

“I always was. You can tell him that,” Jarol said softly.

“I will,” Kapoor nodded vigorously. She was so much like a child sometimes. “I never knew and never spoke to anyone from any government,” she said, her eyes opening wider.

The Cardassian woman didn't say anything for a moment, as the words sank in – she was a part of a government. The notion was never as clear to her and this very moment.

“And my congratulations, Legate,” Kapoor said and, after receiving a dismiss nod from Jarol, left.

Brenok dismissed everyone from the cargo hall and they returned to their duties. He stayed with her.

“What if I fail? What if I'm going to be like the old Central Command?”

He shook his head. “No way. You are nothing like them. And if you try to do something stupid, I'll stop you.”

“I hope you will,” she answered seriously.

They left the cargo hall and slowly walked to the transporter room, from which she would beam to Cardassia Prime to assume her new duty.
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Old October 3 2010, 11:36 AM   #160
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Epilogue



Commander Niamh Raskin's Personal Log
Stardate 73756.3
Old Earth Calendar: 3rd of October 2396


I think everyone dreaded the Cardassians' arrival as no one knew what to expect. First we weren't sure how to notify and invite them to our conference, so we settled for sending a general message to Cardassia Prime. “To whom it may concern”. However we weren't sure they had received it, so finally we had to ask the Ferengi – of all people, the Ferengi! - to pass the message to the Cardassians, as only the Ferengi were still in contact with them, since the new Central Command had closed its borders and isolated the Union from the Alpha Quardant over fifteen years ago.

We knew very little of their military coup. They had acted on their threat of attacking all vessels, which would cross their borders uninvited, and after a few skirmished no one wanted to bother them again. No one knew what was happening there.

However the Borg threat became too serious and the Federation Council decided that all governments of the Alpha Quadrant should be included in our conference. Also the Cardassians.

We had managed to get the message through, thanks to the Ferengi, and the Cardassians, in person of one Legate Daset, confirmed their arrival. One ship. Two representatives of their government and the highest ranking military Gul.

And so they have arrived. Upon approaching our borders they had politely asked for permission to enter the Federation territory and then a massive warship travelled through Federation space to Sol. And she was massive, all right. Twice the size of their Galor class, armed to teeth, it resembled a giant, brown orca with a tail resembling a kind of trident.

I was assigned to the Cardassians. A prospect I didn't look forward to, especially after seeing their heavily armed warship.

They hailed us.

A Cardassian with long hair and a friendly smile, wearing a Cardassian uniform with black and silver sides, who introduced himself as Gul Brenok, politely asked for permission to join the conference. Since they hadn't provided any information prior to their arrival, I had to ask who would be present on the conference. And he kindly informed me that he would accompany two Legates, namely Legate Jarol, who occurred to be a woman in a silver uniform standing to his left, and Legate Jotrel, a man in silver too, with a stern look on his face, to Brenok's right. They would also take six guards. I acknowledged and he disconnected.

Whatever the Cardassians were doing behind their closed door, they seemed to prosper.

Good for them!

But was it good for us?




The End
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Old October 3 2010, 12:35 PM   #161
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Ohh...and open end sort of. *G* Will you answer that Federation Question at one time?

*applouds to the story* I enjoyed reading it very much and I think that military coup was the cardassian way, but with Jarol and Brenok being part of the high ranking ones/ government something good has to come out of it.

What happend to Garak? As he talked with Ghemor I suppose he was on his side? Did he went home as well? Home on Cardassia? Or home to the Federation?

Also looking very much forward to read more details about Karama and Kapoor in the other story.

TerokNor

P.S. And I find the date (3.october) very nice, that they sort of come outside there borders again and open up again somewhat. *G*
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Old October 3 2010, 12:47 PM   #162
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Ohh...and open end sort of. *G* Will you answer that Federation Question at one time?
Well, life goes on, so I couldn't bring it to a particular closure

What happend to Garak? As he talked with Ghemor I suppose he was on his side? Did he went home as well? Home on Cardassia? Or home to the Federation?
I don't know what happened to Garak, you have to ask him if he chose to stay on Cardassian or leave again. They wouldn't interfere with his choice.

*applouds to the story* I enjoyed reading it very much and I think that military coup was the cardassian way, but with Jarol and Brenok being part of the high ranking ones/ government something good has to come out of it.
Thank you
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Old October 3 2010, 04:01 PM   #163
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Wow. Very powerful stuff.

I ended up with very mixed feelings at the end. For the characters personally--most of them--I was very happy. Brenok, Karama, and Kapoor all got the promotions and the appreciation they deserved.

As for Jarol and Ghemor...I still have a hard time accepting that two wrongs make a right in this situation. When your Ghemor accepted the Federation restrictions on the size of their military, that was finally the last straw for me and even I got mad at him. But even in real life, when we have had presidents engage in the absolute most foolhardy policies you can imagine (and I will absolutely not discuss who or what policies in this thread), I have a major, major problem with using force to remove that person. I mean, thank goodness they didn't kill Ghemor--but do you really think he could possibly be safe anywhere in Cardassian space after that? Maybe Jarol personally would not want him dead, but I really doubt that everyone who might be assigned to protect him would do their best job. But still...I guess I have a hard time seeing, after what Jarol did, how anything but tyranny could happen once those who took that vow not to oppress their people are dead. No Obsidian Order will help, but even a military regime can be bad enough. And I have a hard time finding that situation more right than what Ghemor was doing.

So in the end, I am still not quite sure what kind of person Jarol is, nor am I sure how I feel about her rank. I never had any doubt that she earned the rank of Gul. But I am not sure she earned the rank of Legate. On one hand I think she means well, but on the other hand, I am still not quite sure that the things she does are really good and I keep thinking there had to be a better solution.

You did a VERY good job writing this story--it's good that it made me think and that I can even disagree with it.
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Old October 3 2010, 04:55 PM   #164
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Well, I surely didn't mean any specific - or even not specific - situation in our own history. I thought purely about Cardassians and the way to keep them being Cardassians. Klingons have a right to remain Klingons, Romulans have a right to remain Romulans (although Spock in his Vulcan arrogance of course believes they should learn to follow Surak's teachings and become Vulcans "again"), so why Cardassians should become Federation?

I'm not so sure she had earned the rank of Gul. Dukat made her a Gul (pulling some strings), because he needed someone to manipulate and someone totally loyal to him. I don't think his appreciation to her skill was the only reason. She was very young when she was promoted and had very limited command experience.
She didn't ask to be Legate, she never wanted that much responsibility, and I think she didn't realise that planning the Shift would bring such a change for her. She wanted good, she just didn't think she would have to make that good. It was Daset's job, and Tarkans, and she would be happy to stay on her ship and go on being a good Gul, leading Corak's crew.

Well, if the story leaves you scratching your head and wondering, and disagreeing too - then I've achieved my goal
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Old October 3 2010, 07:04 PM   #165
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
Well, I surely didn't mean any specific - or even not specific - situation in our own history. I thought purely about Cardassians and the way to keep them being Cardassians. Klingons have a right to remain Klingons, Romulans have a right to remain Romulans (although Spock in his Vulcan arrogance of course believes they should learn to follow Surak's teachings and become Vulcans "again"), so why Cardassians should become Federation?
I think the question with Spock would be, who invited him? If a group of underground Romulans invited him because that was what they wanted, then I have no problem with that. People can desire to change their cultures of their own will. Even though I don't like Vulcan culture all that much, if it was their idea rather than his I wouldn't mind, and may the best idea (his or theirs) win. If it's him forcing his ways upon people, then I don't approve. Honestly, I'm not sure which way it was in that episode...it's been too many years.

I guess it all comes down to the question of "what makes a Cardassian." I think you and I may answer that question a bit differently...I tend to write with the premise that when Akleen's revolution happened they lost something that was a legitimate part of them--that there is more to them than outsiders, or even many of their own people realize. Mine definitely aren't the Federation and never will be, whatever universe you put them in, but I also don't accept the military/Obsidian Order regime as the true soul of their people either.

I'm not so sure she had earned the rank of Gul. Dukat made her a Gul (pulling some strings), because he needed someone to manipulate and someone totally loyal to him. I don't think his appreciation to her skill was the only reason. She was very young when she was promoted and had very limited command experience.
The difference in my mind is that she did not intend to ascend to power over Corak's dead body. No action that she took, directly or indirectly, brought that situation to pass. She didn't kill Corak or even want him dead. And I also don't believe she liked Dukat being sexually attracted to her or encouraged that in any way. And while she was young, she did have the necessary skills for the position.

She didn't ask to be Legate, she never wanted that much responsibility, and I think she didn't realise that planning the Shift would bring such a change for her. She wanted good, she just didn't think she would have to make that good. It was Daset's job, and Tarkans, and she would be happy to stay on her ship and go on being a good Gul, leading Corak's crew.
Still, what makes me say that she did not deserve this promotion is that she is BEING the Nadar or Dukat in this situation. Whatever power she got from this, she got it by a means that I think was not right--not because someone else put her in that position, but because of her own actions.

Maybe, IF she can be a leader with a conscience, IF she can actually use that power for good, she can come to deserve that rank more. But right now, I still think this is the promotion she didn't deserve, not the one to gul.
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