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Old October 11 2010, 12:16 AM   #16
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

She feels it is her job to protect them, so her she puts her personal feelings aside.

And who would come after them? That worries me too. I know how the Mar'kuu Group plans the process of changing Cardassian government, but I don't know how the new guys are going to rule.
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Old October 11 2010, 12:56 AM   #17
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
She feels it is her job to protect them, so her she puts her personal feelings aside.
Good...that shows she at least doesn't think they're traitors, or sub-Cardassians--just Cardassians like her, that she happens not to like.
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Old October 11 2010, 01:18 AM   #18
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

No, the law has changed and every Cardassian "is" a Cardassian, regardless of their views and beliefs.

At some it's also going to be explained how their juridical system was reformed and how it works now.
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Old October 11 2010, 01:37 AM   #19
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Oh, I look forward to that! I came up with 3 different Cardassian justice systems (explained the one on the show, its Hebitian ancestor, and the AU Cardassian system), and I really look forward to seeing what you do!
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Old October 11 2010, 02:06 AM   #20
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

It's not very different from the previous one, but at least one important principle has changed. I don't think they would want to change it to something more Federation-like, but at least it's not the Romulan style (you're guilty until proven otherwise).
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Old October 14 2010, 04:16 AM   #21
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

First, I am very very VERY sorry, but this story contains a huge spoiler for Among the Dragons story. It cannot be avoided though

So, here we go:

Chapter 2



USS Karamazov
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
Stardate: 73681.7
6th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar



Th'Arshar wasn't looking forward to his next task. He sat in the ready room, waiting for the Counselor and pretended to be busy with paperwork. He had prepared several speeches, but was sure none of them would be really used, as Lieutenant Jeto's reaction was hard to predict. She was a brilliant and ingenious engineer, but her internal conflict, which unfortunately was an integral part of her personality, effectively hindered her career. People's reactions to her appearance only strengthened her inner self-loathing and made her contact with other officers rough. Th'Arshar had noticed and understood the value of her skills and made sure she had a chance to prove her worth as an engineer and also to spend most of her time among people who knew her and wouldn't ask any uncomfortable questions. A science ship on a long term mission seemed the perfect choice and it indeed was... until now. Now she would have to face not only people, who would ask questions, but people who would ask a new set of questions and assume a new set of theories.

“Enter,” he said when he heard a chime.

The door opened and Counselor Ha'varra entered. He stood in front of his Captain with a deep frown on his face, towering over the sitting man.

“She is not going to take it easily,” he said.

“I take it you read my memo and understand the situation.”

“Captain, I am her therapist. With all due respect, I think I understand the situation better than even you.”

“You are right, of course,” the Andorian rose and sighed. “Do you think she is going to be able to work with them?”

“I do not know. I will observe her reaction and determine if she can do it or not. But if not, you would have to find a replacement.”

“I will. The last thing I want is to start some kind of conflict. This is a very delicate matter.”

“Agreed. Shall we go?”

“I wish I could say 'no'.”

The Efrosian Counselor only smiled and th'Arshar was sure Ha'varra shared his wish.

They left the ready room and headed for the engineering.

Lieutenant Jeto was in her office and the last thing she expected was a visit from her Captain and her Counselor.

“Is there something wrong, sir?” she asked, eyeing them with a mix of surprise and suspicion.

“Did you study the readings Lieutenant Av'Roo had sent you?”

“Indeed I did. And I am almost sure that this vessel is of the Cardassian origin, although it's nothing we have in our database. Could be something new, though. It's not that the Cardassians shared their new technology ideas with us for last twenty years.”

“We have received our orders regarding this vessel,” the Captain said.

“To study it?” she asked, wondering why Ha'varra was here. Since when did they need a Counselor's presence when conveying orders?

“Yes. However we're not going to study it alone.”

“I hope they send us a well equipped science ship to help,” she smiled and picked up a padd from her desk.

“'They' will not send us anyone,” th'Arshar said slowly.

“Then who will...” she started her question, but sudden understanding struck her like a lightning. “No,” she slowly shook her head.

“Lieutenant, as an engineer you'd have to work closely with them. If you are not up to it, I'll find a replacement,” the Andorian explained. “But I think you're the best person for this job. You are a skilled engineer and together with Lieutenant Av'Roo you create an unbeatable team. I need you for this, but only if you can manage. I understand that the situation is difficult--”

“I can do it,” she interrupted him.

“Are you sure?” it was the first time Ha'varra spoke.

“I am,” her voice appeared to be full of resolve.

“All right, that's good enough for me,” th'Arshar said and turned on his heel to leave her office.

She nodded her farewell to the Counselor, her earring rustling quietly, and observed both men leaving the engineering.

She put the padd she had taken from her desk back to where she took it from, closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She had told them she could manage, but she wasn't so sure. She had never had to face a Cardassian in her life and she never wanted to. Not even one. But she wouldn't be herself if she let her troubled soul to interfere with her duty, which she treated very seriously.

“Oh, Prophets, please help me go through this,” she whispered, putting her finger on top of her ear and sliding it down along the earring's chain. The barely audible sound, which was created by her move, comforted her a little, but she knew it would be a long time before the anguish she was experiencing now would pass.

If ever.


Cardassian Union Warship Damar
In orbit of Darko VI
22nd day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar



“Do you have a coup there that you are so unreachable?” Gul Brenok asked Legate Jarol, irritation in his voice quite clear. Would he be anyone else, Jarol's reaction to his tone of voice would be very different from the actual answer she gave him.

“This is NOT funny,” she barked from the monitor.

“Nor is being bombarded by messages from Prefect can't-pronounce-his-name every two or three hours. You'd promised me that I'd have your reply yesterday and this is not yesterday. This is yesterday's tomorrow.”

“We've been busy here.”

He only growled.

“I have talked to one of other colony's Prefect and he agreed to lend some of his forces, but only volunteers, so there could be one man, or one thousand and one round pretty zero.”

“Splendid,” that was not an answer Brenok wanted to hear.

“And I have new orders for you.”

“I haven't finish this matter yet.”

“Gul Latak can take care of it. The other matter is urgent.”

“What is it?”

“The Federation has detected some kind of vessel and they claim it's Cardassian. They say it's not in their database and according to the description and data they had given me – neither is in ours. You are to go there to investigate.”

“Chasing some old wreckage is more important that this?” he was surprised.

“This is not just another wreckage. What's more, the Federation asked to be present in the investigation and we have agreed.”

“You... agreed?” he wasn't just surprised, this was more than surprise. This was unbelievable.

“You heard me right. I don't think there is a better choice for this mission than our flagship with its,” she smiled sweetly, “wonderful crew.”

“Uhm.”

“Or any other Gul who would deal with it better than you.”

“Uhm.”

“I'm sending you all the details we've received from the Federation right now,” she manipulated her console and a moment later a light blinked on his, acknowledging successful download. She looked at him and her face softened. “Be careful, Arenn, they claim it could be something dangerous.”

“I'll be careful,” he smiled.

She disconnected and he accessed the file she'd sent him to check what it was all about.




Brenok entered the wardroom and went to his place at the head of the long tactical table.

The wardroom was a big chamber with seats for all his senior staff and several spare chairs for any specialists he would need to ask for their advices in regard to forthcoming missions. Behind his seat there was a big screen, currently turned off; there were also tactical screens on the longer walls and in the other end of the oval room was a small holoprojector, which could present necessary data three-dimensionally.

This time, however, everything was turned off, including the tactical display in the centre of the table.

The Gul didn't have to ask if all arrived punctually and were present; he wouldn't even dare to ask his fellow Cardassians such a rude question. He looked around their faces and slowly sat.

“We have received new orders from the Central Command,” he started. “They are quite unusual, I admit, but we have to do our best to follow them strictly.” He paused for a moment. “The Federation, namely USS Karamazov, have detected a mysterious vessel of Cardassian origin, drifting in Cardassian space.”

Gil Ma'Kan, the warship's tactical officer, raised her hand. Brenok nodded his permission, so she asked. “What was the Federation doing scanning our space?”

The Gul smiled slightly. “Their scans were only passive and the ship didn't enter our space. The object in question is near the border. Their scans reached a little bit too far, but no real harm was done.” She didn't like the answer, but accepted it nevertheless. Brenok continued. “The Karamazov tried to scan the vessel, but they could not gather any really useful information.” He pressed a button on a console, which was built into the tactical table's edge on his side, and the holoprojector activated and just above the table appeared a projection of a strange, but clearly Cardassian spaceship. “This is what their visual logs recorded. The vessel is surrounded by a substance of unknown origin or specification. No life signs were detected.” He paused again to take a good look at his officers' faces and assess their reactions.

To his immediate right sat Glinn Zamarran. He was clearly fascinated by the object floating above the table. He inclined his head and studied details, squinting his eyes and tapping the end of his nose with his finger.

To Zamarran's right sat Glinn Karama. His was craning his head to have a better look at each part of the rotating shape in front of him. His face showed pure curiosity. Brenok smiled inwardly; for Karama co-operation with the Federation wouldn't be anything special for he had his very own Cardassian-Federation war at home every day. The communication officer glanced at Brenok. “This script there,” he pointed to the lower hull of the projection, “is it accurate?”

“I think so. As far as their sensors could tell.”

“Hmmm...” Karama bit his lower lip. His skills in decrypting codes were astonishing and each new mystery was a challenge for him. The markings on the hull drew his attention.

Next to Karama sat Gil Kapoor. Normally the seat would be occupied by the chief engineer, but in this special case Glinn Ya'val sat on the opposite site. Kapoor was not only a skilled engineer and Ya'val's aide, she was also a human, which, Brenok was hoping, would smooth their contact and co-operation with the Federation crew. She moved closer to her husband. “Can you read it?” she asked him in fluent Cardassian with only a slight touch of a foreign pronunciation.

He shook his head. “This does look like the Cardassian script, but I don't know these letters.”

Ya'val's face was hard to read. His eyes didn't leave the object since it appeared above the table, but it was difficult to tell what he was thinking.

Gil Sabal's face reflected Glinn Karama's. He studied the vessel with curiosity, no doubt wondering if he would be able to pilot it. Gil Sabal would attempt to pilot a cabbage if he found one big enough for the purpose.

Only Medic Taret didn't seem impressed by the cryptic vessel. “Did the Federation ship assess the danger?”

“They didn't dare to approach it not only because it was in our territory,” Brenok replied and Ma'Kan's superior smile didn't escape his attention. “Questions?” the Gul asked after a moment.

“Plenty,” Zamarran said, his eyes returning to his Gul's face, “but I suppose we have to study it first to get our answers.”

“I expect you to behave properly in presence of the Federation officers,” Brenok said, raising from his chair.

“I'll try my best, sir,” Kapoor spoke and everyone, except Zamarran, giggled. The Gul's aide didn't laugh, but his eyes showed amusement. Kapoor broke social hierarchy more than often, but she always did it in such an adorable way no one minded any more, even the strongest traditionalist aboard – Glinn Zamarran.

The Glinn stayed behind and Brenok knew it was a signal he wanted to talk to his commanding officer.

“Something bothering you?”

“Gul, do we have anything on this vessel?”

“I'm afraid we don't. Even the Central Command didn't find any trace of information.”

“It is Cardassian technology.”

“Yet we know nothing about it.”

They both were thinking the same thing, but none of them voiced their suspicions.


tbc
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Old October 14 2010, 04:36 AM   #22
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

YAY! A promotion for Karama!

And a lot of things that made me laugh out loud--literally. "This is yesterday's tomorrow!" That's the kind of line I loved in Space Balls!

So let me see...according to Cardassian social rules, Gil Kapoor gets to sit in a "higher" position than she ordinarily would because they don't want to separate her from her husband?

And I think the big question about "behavior" is this: can the Federation officers behave around Gil Kapoor? Lieutenant Jeto is a particular concern. Obviously he's had a horrible run-in with the Cardassians...and dealing with them AND with someone he might see as a traitor is going to be hard on him for sure.

On the other hand...I wonder. Brenok's scars might actually give her a way to see that these people aren't all monsters.
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Old October 14 2010, 04:43 AM   #23
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Kapoor sits next to Karama, because Brenok invited her to the briefing. Usually she's not there at all and Ya'val sits in that chair. And she was invited, because their new mission involves the Federation.

To clarify: Jeto is a woman And as for "run-in with the Cardassians"

The Shadow of the Order wrote:
She had never had to face a Cardassian in her life and she never wanted to. Not even one.
Didn't explain much, did it?
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Old October 14 2010, 05:02 AM   #24
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
Kapoor sits next to Karama, because Brenok invited her to the briefing. Usually she's not there at all and Ya'val sits in that chair. And she was invited, because their new mission involves the Federation.
Oh, OK...I didn't realize she was still too low-ranking to be present. Though I imagine being a human and a former Starfleet makes it hard to get a promotion. For that reason I'm pleased to see she's had at least one already.

To clarify: Jeto is a woman And as for "run-in with the Cardassians"
I saw, but I forgot to fix my typo.

The Shadow of the Order wrote:
She had never had to face a Cardassian in her life and she never wanted to. Not even one.
Didn't explain much, did it?
Oh...whoops!
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Old October 14 2010, 05:08 AM   #25
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Nerys Dukat wrote: View Post
Gul Spook wrote: View Post
Kapoor sits next to Karama, because Brenok invited her to the briefing. Usually she's not there at all and Ya'val sits in that chair. And she was invited, because their new mission involves the Federation.
Oh, OK...I didn't realize she was still too low-ranking to be present. Though I imagine being a human and a former Starfleet makes it hard to get a promotion. For that reason I'm pleased to see she's had at least one already.
Actually she got more than one promotion, but what happened to her exactly will be in the other story.

Nerys Dukat wrote: View Post
Didn't explain much, did it?
Oh...whoops!
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Old October 14 2010, 05:13 AM   #26
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
Nerys Dukat wrote: View Post
Gul Spook wrote: View Post
Kapoor sits next to Karama, because Brenok invited her to the briefing. Usually she's not there at all and Ya'val sits in that chair. And she was invited, because their new mission involves the Federation.
Oh, OK...I didn't realize she was still too low-ranking to be present. Though I imagine being a human and a former Starfleet makes it hard to get a promotion. For that reason I'm pleased to see she's had at least one already.
Actually she got more than one promotion, but what happened to her exactly will be in the other story.
Oh, OK...I think I need to learn your rank system, because I didn't realize that there was more than one promotion in there!
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Old October 14 2010, 05:20 AM   #27
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

It's not a matter of the rank system, but rather her career in the Guard. Gul Tarkan made some decisions and she could take it or leave it. She didn't complain though, as her rank wasn't a priority at that moment.
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Old October 14 2010, 05:27 AM   #28
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
It's not a matter of the rank system, but rather her career in the Guard. Gul Tarkan made some decisions and she could take it or leave it. She didn't complain though, as her rank wasn't a priority at that moment.
Ohhhhhh. I think I see what happened now. I won't spoil it for anyone else.
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Old October 14 2010, 05:35 AM   #29
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

I think I need to speed up "Dragons" a little to explain a few things here
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Old October 16 2010, 03:47 PM   #30
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Chapter 3


USS Karamazov
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
Stardate: 73687.8
8th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar




Brenok felt the transporter effect disappearing, leaving only a slight tingling in his right neck ridge. The sensation was nothing new for him and he didn't give it much thought usually, but this was far from 'usually'. There, in front of him, stood a group of aliens, with whom he and his crew were supposed to co-operate. He had no idea how far that co-operation would have to go and how close they would have to work together, but he was worried. He had nothing against aliens, but with time he grew distrustful of them. The Klingons, the Jem'Hadar and others brought a lot of pain to his life and in spite of knowing these people here didn't have hostile intentions, he wasn't sure he was able to fully trust them. He grew beyond the naïve boy he used to be when he had experienced his first contact with non-Cardassians.

“Welcome to USS Karamazov,” a lanky Andorian stepped forward and bowed slightly, his antennae bent backward. Brenok wished he knew what it meant. “I am Captain th'Arshar. This is my first officer, Commander Ronus,” he pointed to a Trill man just behind him. “And Lieutenant Av'Roo, our scientist.”

The last person caught Brenok's attention. It was a... bird. A big, tall, yellow bird, wearing an obviously specially designed for him? her? Starfleet uniform. The bird was much taller than the other men, its wings reached even above its head, but it had hands, now hanging loosely along its body.

“I am Gul Brenok,” the Cardassian's attention shifted back to the Starfleet Captain. “These are my aides, Glinn Zamarran and Glinn Karama, and also my chief engineer, Glinn Ya'val.”

“Please, follow me,” the Captain said after they finished mutual polite nodding. “We will talk in our briefing room.”

Brenok nodded his agreement and stepped off the transported pad, followed by his officers. The way to the ready room was shorter than he expected. He knew the Federation ship was small, he could probably destroy it with a few torpedoes only, but was it that small? He looked at the Captain and had an impression the Andorian was nervous. Was he so afraid of the Cardassians? Or was it something else? The blue antennae were directed forward now, unmoving. The big yellow bird, Av'Roo, stood behind its (Brenok wished he knew if it was a male or female bird) Captain, staring forward at the wall of the lift. Karama didn't hide his curiosity about this officer, he clearly studied every detail of its physique. The Trill had a polite smile plastered to his face. Did he have a worm inside? Was he smarter than all the present in the lift combined?

They arrived to the briefing room to be greeted by another set of Starfleeters. There was one person, who immediately caught all Cardassians' attention, but none made any particular comment about it. She, however, ignored all of them; she didn't even look in their direction. Brenok and Zamarran exchanged a little surprised gazes, but it was not the time to dwell on it.

“Please, meet the rest of my staff,” th'Arshar started to introduce the officers. “This is Lt. Fong, our security chief,” he pointed to a black haired, stocky human man. The man nodded once by the way of greeting. “And Commander Farr, our operations officer.” Farr was a Caitian, but Brenok couldn't tell if it was male or female... and he was getting tired of now knowing if he was going to work with males or females. “And finally Lieutenant Jeto, our chief engineer. She is going to work closely with you, together with Lieutenant Av'Roo.” Only now Brenok realised that Jeto had barely noticeable horizontal ridges on her nose, not unlike Bajorans. She finally turned her head toward the Cardassians, revealing a Bajoran earring, dangling off her ear. Her face expression was cold, if not hostile, but she managed to stiffly nod to the guests.

“Lieutenant,” Brenok smiled to her. It didn't escape him that her eyes hanged on his scars for a moment before returning to the point on the wall she had been staring at when they entered the room.

“Please, be seated,” the Andorian invited everyone to sit down.

The Federation had assigned seats beforehand, so there was no doubt who should sit where. Brenok and Zamarran were to the left from the Captain, with the First Officer and the CEO opposite them. Karama sat next to Av'Roo, who dwarfed him significantly, and Ya'val was next to Lieutenant Fong.

“Excuse me,” Brenok heard Karama's whisper, “but are you an Aurelian?”

“No,” the bird replied. “I am a Skorr.”

“Oh, sorry,” the Cardassian was puzzled.

“No need to apologise,” Av'Roo answered without any offence in its voice.

“Can we start?” th'Arshar looked at them smiling.

Karama shot a worried look at Brenok, but the Gul didn't see to mind the little cultural exchange his officer engaged himself into. Glinn Zamarran though – Karama was sure he was going to have a talk with the Gul's aide after returning to the ship.

“Here's our proposition,” the Andorian started. “While waiting for your arrival, we had tried to scan the mysterious vessel any possible way and that gave us nothing. It's almost sure we would have to board that ship to gather any useful information. We have three well-equipped laboratories, so I think it would be the best to conduct all study aboard the Karamazov. Your officers are welcome, of course. We want it to be a full co-operation, including sharing all information and resources. We don't want it to become a race of scientists, competing with each other. Pooling our knowledge would give us the best results possible. What do you think?” he looked at Brenok.

“I think we should wait with any decision until we actually know what we're dealing with. Our warship's science equipment might be a better choice to study Cardassian technology. Whatever it is out there, it's far more plausible our technology is more compatible with it than yours. We plan to board that ship tomorrow morning--”

“I have already selected Lieutenant Fong and his team to do that,” the Federation Captain interjected.

“No,” Brenok said firmly.

“Excuse me?” the antennae shifted backward and then returned back to their previous position.

“This is an unknown Cardassian vessel. We cannot be sure if lack of any life signs means that it had been abandoned or everyone aboard is dead. If the former, then the crew undoubtedly followed a standard protocol, which requires to booby trap the ship. The moment anyone from your crew would set their foot aboard, they would be dead.”

“I see your point.”

“We will investigate the ship and your team is going to be able to board it after we disable all traps.”

“How can you be sure you are going to find all traps?” Fond asked.

“We can't,” Brenok responded flatly.

“How are we supposed to get there, then? To trust your abilities?”

“Correct me if I'm wrong, but a moment ago you were willing to board the ship with complete disregard of any possible danger,” Zamarran spoke. “And now you say you'd blame us if something would happen to you?”

“That's because we had no idea about booby traps.”

“And that's exactly why we should board the ship,” Zamarran's eyes shifted from Fong to th'Arshar, “and be in charge of the investigation. We simply know more even if we don't know anything.”

“I knew it would be like this!” Fong was indignant, but th'Arshar raised his hand and the security officer silenced.

“Let's take it one step at a time, all right?” Ronus looked at his Captain and then Brenok. “You board the ship tomorrow. Since we have no idea what you're going to find there, there is no point in arguing where and how we study that. We should determine it when we know what we're facing.”

Brenok nodded his agreement.

“Fine,” th'Arshar said, he looked at Brenok. “I'd appreciate if you record everything and share it with us later.”

“The Cardassians don't do sloppy work, Captain,” Brenok said with a smirk, his arm barely noticeably moved.

“So I've heard,” the Andorian's face remained serious.

“If there are no more matters to discuss,” Zamarran said, “we would be returning to our ship.”

“There is just one more thing,” Ronus said. “We'd like to invite your senior staff for a dinner tonight. I understand you must prepare for tomorrow's mission, but I hope you can find some time.” He smiled and his smile appeared genuine. “It would let us know each other better and that, I am sure, would be good for our upcoming co-operation.”

Brenok hesitated. Would he stand another hour or two in a cold room this day. “Thank you for the invitation. I can't assure all senior staff would be present, but we accept.”

“Twenty-hundred hours,” Ronus said, raising.

The Cardassians rose from their chairs too and followed Fong our of the room, headed for the transporter room.

“So, what do you think, sir?” Zamarran asked, when they were back on their own warship.

“That Trill seems a reasonable man, I am not sure about the Captain. He... tries hard, but there is some prejudice in his behaviour.”

Zamarran nodded. He looked at Karama. The communication officer stiffened, but the Glinn said nothing. Brenok's eyes followed his aide's.

“The bird was interesting?” he asked.

“Very.”

“You could have asked it if it's a boy or a girl, because I don't know.”

“I will next time, sir,” Karama tried not to smile, but failed.

“During the dinner. I won't go,” he added, his eyes returning to Zamarran's face.

“Understood, sir,” the Glinn nodded.

“Take Kapoor.”

“Yes, Gul.”



“What do you think about them?” th'Arshar asked his Number One.

They were sitting in the Captain's ready room over two cups of tea.

“Hard to tell. Their Gul is not what I expected. He's quite young for such a position.”

“Young?”

“You must remember that he is not just this ship's commander. This man is commanding whole Cardassian military. In a way he's the highest ranking Admiral. That's why his uniform is not black, like others'. He is something between a soldier and a Legate.”

“You mean he is a member of the Central Command?”

“I am not sure he is a member, Cardassian political structure changed since their last coup, but he has a voice there.”

“How come do you know so much about him?”

“Remember that Borg conference a couple of months ago? He had the ear of one of Legates present there.”

“So if we piss him off, he can declare a war on the Federation without asking anyone for permission.”

“He doesn't strike me as a type that easily declares wars.”

“He surely is a veteran. His face proves it.”

“That's precisely what I mean. A Cardassian with scales peeled off his face knows how bad wars get.”

“Do you think that dinner is a good idea?

“I had worked with the Klingons,” Ronus half-smiled.

“They are not the Klingons.”

“No, they smell way better.”

Th'Arshar guffawed, but his serious mood quickly returned. “His first officer... what's his name?”

“Zamarran.”

“He was another thing.”

That is a Cardassian we are used to see.”

“Was it only my impression, or he indeed is older than his commander?”

“He is.”

“I'm glad they didn't make an issue of Jeto.”

“I'm glad she didn't make any issue of them. Maybe she can work with them. Maybe their presence, knowing them, would heal her suffering soul?”

“I wouldn't go that far.”

Ronus smiled. “I find it a successful first contact, Captain.”

“Yes,” th'Arshar replied contemplatively. “Yes, I suppose so. Let's hope it's not going to blow into our faces. I don't want my scales peeled off my face.”

“Neither do I, Captain. Neither do I.”


tbc
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