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Old January 17 2011, 05:19 AM   #16
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Gil Kapoor waited in front of Gul Zamarran’s door. She chimed once already and was just about to press the wallcomm again, when the door finally opened.

“Kapoor?”

“You said you had problems with secondary power inductor?” She raised her hand with her toolkit in it.

“You must be joking! I can fix it myself!”

“Tavor is still aboard the Damar and I get crazy waiting for him. I’d use some real work. Pleeeaaase!”

Zamarran smiled. “Come in. And do it right!”

“Yes, sir!”

He led her to the faulty power inductor and returned to his desk. She took off a panel from the bulkhead to get to the broken device, while he was busily tapping at a console. A moment later Kapoor heard a familiar sound of an established connection.

“My sweet Sparkle!”

The human knew Zamarran for many years but she had never heard him speaking like this. His rusty voice became softer and gentler, his face brightened and his eyes opened wide.

Trovik,” a female voice replied. “You look tired.”

“I am fine. A bit busy but that’s how it is? How’s home?”

Kapoor never met Zamarran’s wife. She knew her name but had no idea he called her ‘Sparkle.’ If that was his wife and not one of his two daughters, that is.

She didn’t want to eavesdrop to such a private conversation, so she concentrated on her work. She was glad she came here to do that little thing for Zamarran; he could talk to this woman and not worry about some stupid power node. Kapoor knew that for Zamarran his family was everything. She often wondered how come he agreed to work so far from home; he had to miss them very much.

However, in spite of herself, she was listening. Not to the content of their conversation, she wouldn’t be able to tell any details, but to his tone of voice. She observed his body language and his face.

Since the first day she saw him, Zamarran was a piece of wood—stiff and serious. She quickly discovered that under that facade there was a nice and decent man hidden there. His tiny smiles she’s learnt to recognise and a softer note in his voice from time to time—they were giving his true self out. He was different on duty and off duty, especially with Karama, his best friend, and her, his best friend’s wife. Now she could witness how different he was when dealing with his own wife. How warm and loving he became. He called her cute pet names and she addressed him with a pet form of his given name. For Kapoor Zamarran was Zamarran, she’d never imagine him as ‘Trovik,’ but now? Now Trovik came out from his turtle shell and showed his vulnerable, soft belly to the world.

He asked about their children, all eight of them, and about his grandchildren (he already had four of those!) and their friends and neighbours. He asked about his brother and his parents. He asked how they spent some regional holiday and if the kids had fun.

She finished her work and put the plate back in its place, sealing the hole in the bulkhead. She waved to him to draw his attention and inform him that she was leaving, but he raised his hand and gestured for her to come closer. Then he pointed to the sofa. She sat.

Who’s there with you?” the woman from the screen asked.

“My lover.” Kapoor almost exploded from shock and laughter. She knew Zamarran had sense of humour but this kind?

I want to see her.”

The gul waved to Kapoor, so she got up, approached her boss and stood behind him.

You are Karama’s wife!” the woman on the screen said.

There were white wisps among her shiny charcoal hair; it gave her a dignified look. Her face was aristocratic—that’s the first word that came to Kapoor’s mind. Her ridges were quite smooth for a Cardassian, which gave her a gentler look. She was smiling friendly to the human.

“Yes, I am, ma’am.”

How old are you, Gil Karama?

“Errr...I’m forty-nine.”

“Sparkle, it’s not polite to ask human women about their age,” Zamarran whispered consiprationally.

Why?” His wife shrugged. “She’s still very young.

“In their terms she’s older than you.”

Really? Then why do I have grey hair and she doesn’t?

“I’m vain, ma’am. I dye my hair.”

Mrs. Zamarran stared at Kapoor with disbelief, then her mouth stretched in a smile. “I must try that too.”

“Don’t you dare, you look beautiful the way you are,” Zamarran said and it was obvious the compliment meant a lot to his wife.

It was nice to meet you, Gil Karama,” the lady Zamarran said. “I’m sorry if I was rude asking inappropriate questions.

“That’s all right. It was nice to finally meet you too.”

She returned to the sofa and waited for Zamarran to finish his talk, making herself busy with bringing order to her chaotic toolkit.

It was a long moment before she realised that the quarters were silent for a few minutes. She stopped her work and looked at the gul. He still sat in his chair, blindly staring before him. She could tell he felt lonely, she could tell this conversation was just a shadow of being with his wife, she could tell he missed her very much.

“Do you want me to go?” she asked quietly. She had no idea why he wanted her to stay in the first place. It was such a vulnerable moment for him he probably didn’t want any witnesses.

“No,” he shook his head. “How about a cooking evening? We’d make something and then ask Tavor and the kids to join us?”

They had cooking evenings from time to time. It was always his invitation and she enjoyed that each time. Usually they cooked Cardassian food, but sometimes he wanted to try something Indian. Those evenings were irregular and she didn’t even think there was any pattern to it, but now...now she thought that maybe he was seeking her company after talking to his wife. He didn’t want to be alone and she was the closest thing he had to a family on the station.

“Sounds like a good plan,” she said softly. “What will we cook?”

“Something new. Something we haven’t tried before.”

“Great,” she rose. “How about asking kids to help us?”

“A wonderful idea. Go and bring them and I’ll find some recipes.”

She grinned, grabbed her toolkit and headed for the door.



Jarol paced the room, getting more irritated with every minute. How could it be possible? How could Brenok be late? How could any Cardassian be late?

“Where is he?” Demok asked, standing in the door to their little kitchen.

She rolled her eyes and tapped her wristcomm. “Jarol to Brenok.”

Brenok here.”

“Where are you? The food is getting cold!”

I though...I was...I thought I was not welcome any more...after our conversation today,” his voice sounded uncertainly.

“Arenn, get your skinny ass here right now!” she said firmly. “We are hungry and we can’t start eating until you arrive. Use emergency transport if you have to.”

I’ll be right there,” he said and disconnected.

“What conversation?” Demok asked.

“He was ordering me today,” Jarol said. “He gave me an order and I told him what I thought about this order.”

“Oh,” he pursed his lips. “Did you fight?”

“No. I can’t fight him on duty, he’s my....superior.”

She could clearly see her son’s attempt to hide his amusement caused by the way she said the word ‘superior.’

“You never ordered him around?” he asked innocently.

“I never had to, he always listened!”

Demok started to laugh and didn’t stop even when the door opened and Brenok entered.

“Sorry,” the gul said.

“I’m still sending that protest,” she said in a menacing tone of voice. Then her voice lightened. “But that’s not a reason to stop eating, is it?”

“No,” he smiled and she could tell he was relieved.

She went to him and put her hand on his arm. “Arenn, what’s on duty stays on duty, all right?”

“Absolutely,” his smile widened. “What do we eat today?”

“I don’t know, he didn’t let me into my own kitchen,” she answered and they both looked at the young man.

He stood on the threshold to the kitchen for a moment, staring at them with a happy smile and then disappeared behind the bulkhead. “Take your seats at the table,” he shouted from the kitchen. “I’ll bring the food in a moment.”

Jarol and Brenok went to the table. The legate had a feeling her son cooked something he liked but she didn’t.
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Old January 17 2011, 05:20 AM   #17
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Intermission


Jarol took her fork but didn’t take a bite yet when she realised that someone approached her table and stopped by it. She raised her head to look at the person, expecting it to be one of her officers. She was mistaken.

“What can I do for you, Captain Ronus?” she asked putting her fork away and leaning back on the chair.

“Could I join you?” he replied with a question. This was unexpected. “I know that you, Cardassians, don’t like to dine alone and I would also like to talk...I have some questions of political nature and...” She gestured to a chair, so he finished while sitting down, “And you seemed to be the most qualified person to have such a chat with.”

“Political questions?” She took her fork. “A dangerous ground.”

A waiter approached them and looked at Ronus. “I’ll have gomlok stew and brown leaf tea,” the Trill ordered. If the waiter was surprised, he did not show. Jarol, on the other hand, was impressed.

“You know Cardassian food?”

“One of my previous hosts spent some time on Cardassia...many years ago,” he smiled.

“How old are you?” she asked, nodding toward his midsection.

“Two hundred and seventy this year.”

“And when have you been to Cardassia?”

“About one hundred years ago.”

“So, what would you like to know?” She didn’t want to start eating before he would get his food, so she put the fork away again.

“As I understand it, a lot has changed on Cardassia since the war. Some of those things are obvious—like your presence here and not in the Central Command Building—but some are a mystery to me.”

She smiled. “I’m afraid I can only tell you about the current status. You would know better how it used to be a hundred years ago. It wasn’t the same as before the war either.”

“I suppose not. We can share the knowledge,” he grinned. “If you want a piece of history from an unreliable and subjective source.”

She let herself a small laughter.

The waiter brought Ronus’s food so they started to eat and didn’t say anything for some time.

“Can I start from a big question?” the Trill asked.

“How big?”

“Why did Cardassia sealed its borders?”

“To lick its wounds in a dark corner not to be disturbed by anyone.”

“You also refused help. Wouldn’t it be better with help?”

“It wasn’t an easy decision, Captain. But we, Cardassians, are proud people. It was too much to be the bad guy in the war and then accept charity from former enemies. We would owe you forever and I am sure we would be reminded many times how grateful we should be.

“Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the help that the Federation offered, especially since the Federation suffered during that war too. In the beginning you asked for nothing, you cared about our people. Many years ago I had met Federation colonists that also helped Cardassians. When I’d asked ‘why’ they’d told me ‘Because we have hearts.’ I’ll never forget that answer. And I am sure many people in the Federation have hearts and would keep helping us without asking for anything back.”

“But not all,” Ronus guessed.

“No, not all. Shortly after the war the Federation started to make demands. Officially they called it ‘help in rebuilding,’ I call it ‘reshaping to their image.’ They attempted to change us without asking for our opinion. They wanted us to do things their way and if not...no food, no medicine.

“We could not agree to this. We needed to change a lot but not this way. Not under an alien pressure. We had to do that our way.”

“So your way was a military coup.”

“No. This wasn’t planned. Not in the beginning, at least. But Ghemor was agreeing to too much and if something wouldn’t be done fast, it would be too late. We had no time to play your democratic games, we had to act.”

“All right. So you removed pro-Federation leader from the power. But why the isolation?”

“We didn’t want to be disturbed. We wanted to clean our house without everyone coming by and giving their advices. And—most importantly—we wanted to avoid to be cut like a cake and eaten.”

“The control zones.”

“Yes. Each ‘good guy’ from the war got a piece of the Cardassian territory under their ‘care.’ We were guests in our own home. We are quite sensitive in this matter after the Dominion and we didn’t like that after the war we still were guests. Would you give a piece of Federation territory to the Klingons to rule there and ‘take care’ of it?” Ronus shook his head. “So why should we? You have been, at least, their allies for decades, we have been nothing more than enemies.

“Closing our borders was a clear and definite way of telling everyone to back off and leave us alone. To leave our territory or be destroyed. We didn’t want your help any more and certainly not in such a manner. We had to get rid of Klingons and Romulans from our territory as fast as possible or we’d never get rid of them. It was as simple as that.”

Ronus listened attentively. She wondered if he really understood what she was trying to explain to him.

“You feared you would be conquered through the back door again,” he said after a moment of silence, his voice thoughtful. “You feared that alien governments would sneak into your Central Command and take over, just like the Dominion did.”

She sighed. “The Dominion was invited, which makes it even worse.”

“What about the Federation colonies. They got stuck on your side.”

“They have full autonomy, their own prefects that they choose in any democratic, Federation style they wish. That prefect—they don’t even have to call them that way, we do—answers to the Cardassian government, but on his colony he can do whatever he wants and the way he wants. I must admit, it was disturbing to have a new prefect every few years, but if the colonists like it that way, it’s their prerogative.”

Ronus smiled. “You don’t think highly of a democratic system, do you?”

“To give power to an anonymous person who promises you something? In our system you have to prove your worth first and then have a chance to advance on the ladder of power. Like on a warship. No one is born a gul, you have to work your ass to get there. No one will promote you for your pretty smile and promises that you might not keep.”

“It’s not that simple, actually.”

“Maybe not, but no one cared to explain that to Cardassians before forcing it on us.”

Ronus didn’t say anything. He scrutinised her for a moment. “A question, Legate. But I would like an honest answer. Not a polite one, an honest.”

“Agreed.”

“Do you like the Federation?”

“No.”

“Do you resent my presence here?”

“Your, as Captain Ronus, or as a Federation member?”

“Is there a difference?”

“Of course there is,” she was surprised by his question. “You are a polite, curious man with spots that seems to enjoy his Cardassian dish. On the other hand, you represent people who always treated us like monsters without conscience. I don’t have anything against you personally. Give me time and a few more dinners together and I could even grow to like you. But I sincerely doubt I would ever like your government and their politics. I have to tolerate it but don’t have to agree with it.”

“Why did you negotiate the treaty? Why did you decide to slowly come out of the isolation?”

“Because we can’t stay isolated forever. There had to come a day when we would re-join the Alpha Quadrant. My personal feelings are irrelevant.”

“Why now?”

“Because now we are strong enough not to be bothered by more demands. We can afford to be independent. We can issue our own demands and not be laughed upon, refused but not laughed. We are not wounded weaklings we had been shortly after the war any more.”

“You had been in contact with the Ferengi all that time.”

“Business. Information exchange.”

“You, of course, realise they were selling some information about you too.”

“That’s why we never shared anything important with them,” she grinned.

“And they never brought you anything important either,” he grinned back.

“Perhaps. But we’d at least know if a new war would start.”

He laughed. “You said you could grow to like me. Do you dislike me now?”

“No. I have not formed by opinion yet. Do you dislike me?”

“I shit my pants each time you’re in range.”

She sniffed, leaning toward him and he guffawed.

“Why?” she asked.

“What do you mean ‘why’? You intimidate people!”

“Nah,” she waved her hand dismissively. “I have to assume a particular attitude of power but intimidating? You’re exaggerating.”

“You mean you didn’t notice how nervous I was the first time we met?”

She thought for a while, retrieving the situation from her memory and replaying it. “Now, that you mention...” she said slowly. “But I assumed it was normal stress in such a situation. I didn’t think it was me, I thought it was the station.”

“Oh yes,” he confirmed eagerly. “The station is intimidating too.”

“Let’s hope the Klingons agree with you.”

They ate in silence for a while. The waiter came and replaced their cold teas with hot, fresh ones.

“Captain,” she said. “I have been...ordered...to grant you a permission to contact the Federation territory whenever you wish.”

“And you don’t like it.”

“My opinion doesn’t matter, I have to follow that order,” she opened her eyes wider, still not believing who issued that order and how. “I would like your word of honour that this wouldn’t be used against the Union.”

“I give you my word of honour,” he said seriously. “I don’t want to abuse you. We just want to stay in touch with our families. You are a mother, you would understand why Commander T’Sarik wants to call home every day.”

“Yes, I can understand that,” Jarol smiled sadly. The last thing she would want was to be responsible was forcing T’Sarik to bring her family to Rayak Nor and...who knows what might happen, these weren’t safe times. She shook her head to clear it from the unpleasant memories.
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"Reagan, it appears, is really only an ardent unionist if the unions in question are in Poland" - Stephen King, Skeleton Crew
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Old January 17 2011, 05:21 AM   #18
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

“May I join?” A voice that she immediately recognised said over her head. She only nodded. “Captain,” the newcomer greeted Ronus.

“Mr. Demok, how are you?”

“Errr...mister?” The young man pondered that word for a moment and then smiled; Jarol knew he liked to be called ‘mister.’ “I’m fine, thank you. How do you like the station?”

“I’m glad it’s on our side,” the Trill smiled.

Demok laughed, glancing at his mother.

“Legate,” Ronus’s attention returned to the woman. “Can I ask one more question. A...naughty one.” She put her fork away and nodded. In a meantime, Demok ordered his food. “You said that giving power to someone, who didn’t prove their worth yet, is wrong. That they have to climb the ladder of career first.”

“That’s right,” she confirmed.

“Then how do you justify a coup? How do you justify your coup? You took power by force, not by proving anything to anyone.”

Demok’s eyes opened wider, as he listened to Ronus and then slowly, without his head moving, his eyes shifted to his mother’s face.

She didn’t reply at first. She was looking at Ronus who, she had to give him that, bravely looked her in the eye.

“It was the only way not to let Cardassia be destroyed,” she said finally. “Our group consisted of people who had proven themselves in command and on battlefield. We weren’t anonymous civilians out of nowhere.” She paused, thinking for a moment. The truth was she didn’t have a good answer to that question, but she would never admit it. Not to an alien. Not to many Cardassians. She still believed it had been the right thing to do and she would participate in it again, if she had to face the same choice once more.

“But you didn’t use legal ways of getting that power. Ways that you seem to believe in.”

“There was no time.”

“Sounds like an excuse.”

She stared coldly at him for a long while before answering. “Cardassia was in ruin, that included also its political system. We couldn’t do it the right way, because the right way didn’t exist any longer. We needed to bring back something that had been corrupted and destroyed. We had to reach far into the past and restore it. The Federation didn’t want us to restore, they wanted us to copy them.”

“I don’t understand,” Ronus admitted.

“When the Cardassian Union was formed, there was a new law implemented. That law, those rules, had been changing and getting corrupted with time until they reached a climax about a hundred years ago. We had to clean that law from the trash and restore its pure form with some modifications that wouldn’t allow a new disease to grow on it.”

“So, in other words, at that moment you felt you were allowed to go above the law and now you try to deny that right to others.” Jarol noticed that her son stared intently at the Trill and slowly shook his head; a warning—‘don’t go there.’ Ronus seemed not to notice. “What if someone attempts to overthrow your government the same way?”

“No one would dare,” she smiled sinisterly. Suddenly her attention was drawn to her son’s plate. “You’re not going to eat that!” she shouted.

“Yes, I am.”

“Do you want to look like Legate Fostor?” Every mother used that historical figure to warn her children not to eat too greasy food; her son might be an adult but his love for unhealthy food required constant reminders. Legate Forstor who, the legend claimed, was too fat to get through a door so all doors in the Central Command building had to be widened for him, was a perfect example against relishing junk food.

“Someone has to look like a legate in this family,” Demok smiled.

“You won’t be my Droplet, you will be my Ocean,” she poked his arm.

“Yeah!” He put the first bite into his mouth.

She looked at Ronus, who observed the whole scene with amusement, and asked him. “Do you have children?”

“No,” he shook his head. “Not in this life, I mean.”

“Lucky you.” She jabbed her finger into Demok’s arm again. “How about in previous lives? Were they as annoying as he is?”

“Sometimes even worse,” he smiled. “But I loved them all.”

“Well, I hate him.”

“Of course you do.” He was smiling. She wondered if what he had just seen reminded him of something from his past. She smiled too.

“You’re going to have a salad with that,” she told her son. “Vitamins, you know.”

“Uhmmmm,” he muttered. She knew he hated all greens. Fruits weren’t his favourite either. He liked the same food as his father and Legate Tiron Demok’s line was getting more and more ‘legatish’ with time.

“Isn’t there any law against this kind of food?” she asked.

Demok smiled widely and shook his head.

She heard Ronus giggle. She looked at the Trill and he immediately silenced, but she sent him a friendly smile and he guffawed, covering his mouth with his hand.

“I’m afraid, Legate,” he started, “that there is no way I will ever again shit my pants in your presence.”

“You won’t what?!” Demok swallowed his food and stared at the Trill.

“I intimidate him,” Jarol said.

“Mommy, you intimidate everyone,” the young Cardassian said slowly. “I think even Grandpa is afraid of you.”

“I wish I could intimidate you.”

“Not in this life!”

“Can I borrow your symbiont?” Jarol asked Ronus. “I have to kill him but I’d like to retain his memories for a new son.”

“Sorry, this symbiont likes its current host.”

“I’ll give it back, promise.”

“Uh-uh,” Ronus shook his head.

“He’s right, you don’t intimidate him any more,” Demok smiled mischievously.

“Shut up or you’ll have to eat two sets of salads.”

Demok pursed his lips but his eyes were laughing. So were Ronus’s.

Jarol knew the political conversation has not ended and, in a way, she looked forward to the next instalment.


tbc
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"Reagan, it appears, is really only an ardent unionist if the unions in question are in Poland" - Stephen King, Skeleton Crew
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Old January 18 2011, 06:27 AM   #19
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

OK, I promised you detailed comments. But I had NO idea I'd written this much until I saw it show up in the thread!


Whoops...I'd thought T'Sarik was a Vulcan, and been wondering if she was v'tosh ka'tur. (Which would've been very interesting as an ambassador, and would prove a lot of Vulcans very wrong. ) But Rigellian...what kind of Rigellian? There seem to be several types. How do you picture her looking?

I am so, so glad to hear how cheerful Saratt is most of the time. Undoubtedly he must have very difficult times, sometimes...but it's nice to know that he's able to approach his life in a generally positive way. As to the prosthetics he's refused...I assume that's for his fingers and toes--and also, maybe, artificial vocal cords? After what he's been through...I can't blame him whatsoever for feeling that way. Especially if he can approach his life, challenges and all, in such a positive way without having to have the "top of the line" everything.

I think I'm going to like Albek. He strikes me as a good old country doctor--but undoubtedly very smart, just like McCoy.

And WOW. Brenok has a lot of guts going toe-to-toe with Jarol like that, especially with their personal relationship. But he WON. I'm proud of him too.

I can't blame him, though, for feeling at first like he had destroyed that relationship, and feeling "uninvited" to dinner. I felt bad for him--but I enjoyed that exchange as he found out that he had not damaged his relationship and they could still be friends.

As for Zamarran...I CANNOT BELIEVE he called Kapoor "his lover," even in the COMPLETELY joking way he did! I didn't realize he had that kind of humor, either! And I like Mrs. Zamarran. I can see exactly how she gets him to soften up.

And Laran...I had no idea he was into cooking! Very nice!

As for that Ronus vs. Jarol conversation, so much to say there! Do you think that the age of the Ronus symbiont helped him to get better "standing" to speak to her, as well as the symbiont's previous experience on Cardassia? After all, that symbiont is probably older than any Cardassian would ever get!

I'm amazed that Jarol was still willing, after all this time and bitterness, to acknowledge that there are still people in the Federation who wanted--and would still want--to give because they have hearts and not because they wanted something in return. As for giving territory to the Klingons and Romulans...totally inexcusable on the Federation's part.

I wonder if Jarol might ever start to believe that there could be a younger generation in the Federation who could learn from their elders' mistakes, and not repeat them. Maybe if some of those elders had the guts to speak up and point out that it was wrong...that could make a difference in your Federation.

That said, I was also pleased to see Ronus call out Jarol on the hypocrisy of her way of solving the problem (when I think there was still another way open).

Now Demok...I loved the "Legate Fostor" story, and the "you'll be my Ocean" line! I feel his pain on the salad, though. I can chew on one all day, but I CANNOT make it go down. It makes me gag. And I mean literally feel like throwing up. Is it that bad for Demok? Thank God for Asian food, in my case, and Southern US food, or I wouldn't get any green stuff in my diet! Maybe someone should give Demok a vegetable soup or stew, or cooked vegetables in a nice, flavorful sauce. That tends to do wonders with the flavor.

As for Ronus...OH MAN, I cannot believe he actually said he "shits his pants," right to Jarol!!! AND THEN SHE ACTUALLY CHECKED TO SEE IF IT WAS LITERALLY TRUE!!

Did she seriously not know that she intimidates people? I had always thought she knew and enjoyed it.

One final question: that line from Ronus--"This symbiont likes its current host" did actually come (partly) from the symbiont itself, didn't it? After the very personal kind of fear Ronus went through in Shadow of the Order, it's good to see this blended personality be able to say that without hesitation.

And it seems--surprisingly--that in the end, Jarol may well be coming to like Ronus.
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Old January 18 2011, 02:54 PM   #20
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Wow, the comments became a "chapter"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Whoops...I'd thought T'Sarik was a Vulcan, and been wondering if she was v'tosh ka'tur. (Which would've been very interesting as an ambassador, and would prove a lot of Vulcans very wrong. ) But Rigellian...what kind of Rigellian? There seem to be several types. How do you picture her looking?
It was intended: to make everyone think she was a Vulcan. She's a Vulcanoid Rigellian And looks very much like this:

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I am so, so glad to hear how cheerful Saratt is most of the time. Undoubtedly he must have very difficult times, sometimes...but it's nice to know that he's able to approach his life in a generally positive way. As to the prosthetics he's refused...I assume that's for his fingers and toes--and also, maybe, artificial vocal cords? After what he's been through...I can't blame him whatsoever for feeling that way. Especially if he can approach his life, challenges and all, in such a positive way without having to have the "top of the line" everything.
I was thinking about fingers. He didn't want anything because his hands would never regain full functionality, even with prosthetics, and if he wouldn't have full functionality, he saw no reason to stuck "plastic fingers" to his own.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
[/I]I think I'm going to like Albek. He strikes me as a good old country doctor--but undoubtedly very smart, just like McCoy.
At first I didn't have any specific plans for Albek but then he came aboard and I saw him and I know that he's certainly got a colourful personality I'm glad he made a good first impression.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And WOW. Brenok has a lot of guts going toe-to-toe with Jarol like that, especially with their personal relationship. But he WON. I'm proud of him too.
Brenok is not afraid of her, although sometimes even he misjudges their relationship. He underestimated its strength. This time he was wrong and I'm sure he was happy about being wrong and happily took his "skinny ass" to the dinner
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
As for Zamarran...I CANNOT BELIEVE he called Kapoor "his lover," even in the COMPLETELY joking way he did! I didn't realize he had that kind of humor, either! And I like Mrs. Zamarran. I can see exactly how she gets him to soften up.
That was Zamarran no one saw before...maybe Karama, but no one else--outside his family. And now Kapoor.

Itchy nose was just the beginning!

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
As for that Ronus vs. Jarol conversation, so much to say there! Do you think that the age of the Ronus symbiont helped him to get better "standing" to speak to her, as well as the symbiont's previous experience on Cardassia? After all, that symbiont is probably older than any Cardassian would ever get!
I think so. The symbiont helped him compose himself and control his worry and fear. Ronus knows that sometimes the Cardassians bark but it doesn't mean they bite too. Asu had to reach for that knowledge but once he settled down a bit, he discovered that he "remembers" a lot of things from Laita's life and those things weren't bad. Laita had to be intimidated too and she was a civilian! If she could go through it and Ronus lives to be in Asu, then Asu can do it too
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I wonder if Jarol might ever start to believe that there could be a younger generation in the Federation who could learn from their elders' mistakes, and not repeat them. Maybe if some of those elders had the guts to speak up and point out that it was wrong...that could make a difference in your Federation.
Maybe, if she saw some examples.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
That said, I was also pleased to see Ronus call out Jarol on the hypocrisy of her way of solving the problem (when I think there was still another way open).
And he's not going to take the answer that she had given him as final. This subject is going to return
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Now Demok...I loved the "Legate Fostor" story, and the "you'll be my Ocean" line! I feel his pain on the salad, though. I can chew on one all day, but I CANNOT make it go down. It makes me gag. And I mean literally feel like throwing up. Is it that bad for Demok? Thank God for Asian food, in my case, and Southern US food, or I wouldn't get any green stuff in my diet! Maybe someone should give Demok a vegetable soup or stew, or cooked vegetables in a nice, flavorful sauce. That tends to do wonders with the flavor.
Jarol wants him to eat fresh greens full of vitamins, not overcooked and ruined veggies.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
As for Ronus...OH MAN, I cannot believe he actually said he "shits his pants," right to Jarol!!! AND THEN SHE ACTUALLY CHECKED TO SEE IF IT WAS LITERALLY TRUE!!

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Did she seriously not know that she intimidates people? I had always thought she knew and enjoyed it.
She knows and she enjoys. And she innocently pretends that it's just a misunderstanding. After all, she's such a friendly, nice, easy-going person
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
One final question: that line from Ronus--"This symbiont likes its current host" did actually come (partly) from the symbiont itself, didn't it? After the very personal kind of fear Ronus went through in Shadow of the Order, it's good to see this blended personality be able to say that without hesitation.
He feels comfortable with himself which he takes as proof that the symbiont feels comfortable too.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And it seems--surprisingly--that in the end, Jarol may well be coming to like Ronus.
She will. I think she already started. After all, she didn't kill him for asking about the coup in such an accusing manner
But Laran knew Ronus was threading on a thin ice.

I already have some material for the next chapter, so rest assured: more fun to come!
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Old January 18 2011, 03:07 PM   #21
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
Wow, the comments became a "chapter"
Yeah...oops!

Brenok is not afraid of her, although sometimes even he misjudges their relationship. He underestimated its strength. This time he was wrong and I'm sure he was happy about being wrong and happily took his "skinny ass" to the dinner
Indeed...I know I was relieved!

I think so. The symbiont helped him compose himself and control his worry and fear. Ronus knows that sometimes the Cardassians bark but it doesn't mean they bite too. Asu had to reach for that knowledge but once he settled down a bit, he discovered that he "remembers" a lot of things from Laita's life and those things weren't bad. Laita had to be intimidated too and she was a civilian! If she could go through it and Ronus lives to be in Asu, then Asu can do it too
What I was also thinking is, did the fact that Ronus was almost 300 years old help to give him some additional standing in Jarol's eyes? After all, she's talking to an "old man" even though he has a middle-aged body, and I imagine that Federation or not, a little bit of respect comes with that kind of age.

Jarol wants him to eat fresh greens full of vitamins, not overcooked and ruined veggies.
And I can say for Demok--NOT going to happen! I imagine he'd order cooked ones and have the replicator add vitamins.

She knows and she enjoys. And she innocently pretends that it's just a misunderstanding. After all, she's such a friendly, nice, easy-going person
I figured. But I bet she didn't expect the "shit my pants" response--that he'd actually say that out loud! And what's worse--humor is the most powerful weapon against a personality like that!!! (I do like, however, that his is not the derisive humor Jadzia had sometimes. Will NOT make a comment about "self-defecating" humor... )

I already have some material for the next chapter, so rest assured: more fun to come!
Yay!
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Old January 18 2011, 03:34 PM   #22
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

What I was also thinking is, did the fact that Ronus was almost 300 years old help to give him some additional standing in Jarol's eyes? After all, she's talking to an "old man" even though he has a middle-aged body, and I imagine that Federation or not, a little bit of respect comes with that kind of age.
Could be. She might instinctively respect that age and knowledge and experience, especially since it includes "Cardassian experience."
I figured. But I bet she didn't expect the "shit my pants" response--that he'd actually say that out loud! And what's worse--humor is the most powerful weapon against a personality like that!!! (I do like, however, that his is not the derisive humor Jadzia had sometimes. Will NOT make a comment about "self-defecating" humor... )
People usually don't admit to their fears that openly in front of her. I think she was amused, but not mean-amused, really amused. He made her laugh.

And I can say for Demok--NOT going to happen! I imagine he'd order cooked ones and have the replicator add vitamins.
I am sure his dinners were complete opposite mine when I was a kid. I did ALL I could not to eat meat, especially jelly-like disgusting grease shaking on pieces of meat, bleh. All veggies were always cleaned off my plates. Mr. Laran Demok cleans all meat and leaves all greens. Or hides it and throws away when Jarol doesn't look. I can imagine all those dried/spoiled peas/lettuce/carrots under his bed he was hiding there and forgetting about them and she was finding when cleaning...
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Old January 18 2011, 07:58 PM   #23
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Could be. She might instinctively respect that age and knowledge and experience, especially since it includes "Cardassian experience."
Exactly. He's not talking out of his...you know what.

I am sure his dinners were complete opposite mine when I was a kid. I did ALL I could not to eat meat, especially jelly-like disgusting grease shaking on pieces of meat, bleh. All veggies were always cleaned off my plates. Mr. Laran Demok cleans all meat and leaves all greens. Or hides it and throws away when Jarol doesn't look. I can imagine all those dried/spoiled peas/lettuce/carrots under his bed he was hiding there and forgetting about them and she was finding when cleaning...
When I was little, I loved meat. But I couldn't even eat most vegetables. I remember an episode when my mom told me I COULD NOT leave until I finished my peas. I chewed on the same nasty, disgusting mouthful for HALF AN HOUR and could not make myself swallow. It was SO nasty. (That incident scarred me. I won't eat plain peas...only in a stew. Or the Chinese kind that are still inside the pod when you eat them. I don't mind the pea-pod taste...just the PEA taste.)

There was also a rule that if I "subtracted" a vegetable from what I would eat, I had to add another one back.

I now eat more, but NOT raw, and NOT in a salad. Only cooked. So I TOTALLY understand Demok; he's my kind of guy!
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Old January 20 2011, 03:50 AM   #24
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 5


Archon Colissa stepped over a threshold, expecting to be met by Gul Jarol and Glinn Borad. She had studied the station’s crew roster and had familiarised herself with the personnel. However, to her discontent, the people that came to meet her were not Gul Jarol and her aide. Well, the aide was there but he was accompanied by a tall man in a golden armour. Some kind of an important guard. A guard was a guard, no matter what colour his armour was.

“Where is Gul Jarol?” Colissa asked Borad before he had a chance to say a word.

“The legate is occupied. She’d like to--”

“Legate? Why do you call her ‘legate’? This is not her actual rank, is it?”

Borad stared at the archon for a moment and did not reply. Rude, Colissa thought. Her eyes went to the guard.

“Who are you?” she asked sharply.

“I am Garesh Dalar, Madame Archon. I am responsible for the station’s security, therefore we will co-operate closely.”

She didn’t hide her disdain. To co-operate closely with a low ranking soldier?

“Where is Jarol, I have to talk to her imme--” she did not finish as she heard fast steps approaching. She shot a glance to the left, where the noise was coming from, and saw a young man running toward them. He abruptly stopped when he realised she was looking at him; then he resumed but walked instead of running. “Sub-Archon Demok,” she recognised him. “I assume you are late,” she stated.

“I am sorry, Madame Archon, I--”

“I am not interested in your excuses, boy. Now,” she looked back at Borad. “Take me to Jarol.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the glinn bowed lower than it was required and led the way.




Jarol was in the middle of her conversation with Legate Ekoor when an elder woman stormed into her office. Borad, Dalar and her son were just behind her. She looked up surprised and then her eyes returned to the legate. “I’m sorry, sir, I have been interrupted. Could you please repeat that?” she asked politely.

Ekoor opened his mouth to speak but the elder woman in Jarol’s office was faster.

“I will not be treated this way!” she boomed.

Jarol sent her a tired look; it didn’t escape her attention that Ekoor’s face showed some amusement. “Lady, I am currently talking to Legate Ekoor, so whatever you have to tell me, he has the priority. You have to wait.”
“I will not!”

Ekoor on the screen bit his lower lip, trying not to laugh loudly, while Jarol’s patience was being tested. “You will wait until I finish my conversation with the head of the Cardassian Union. Is that clear?”

“Don’t use that tone of voice with me, Jarol!”

The legate squinted her eyes madly at the newcomer. She couldn’t be sure but something was telling her that she was the archon that was supposed to arrive that day. Demok’s presence in the room would confirm that guess.

Legate Jarol?” Ekoor spoke from the screen. “Just send me that report. I can see your hands are full right now.”

“Yes, sir,” she nodded and he signed off. She looked at the other woman.

“Now, Jarol, I have a few comments regarding the way you’re running this place,” the archon attacked. Jarol barely managed to stop her grin from forming—what could she know about the station if she’d arrived just a moment ago? “You did not come to meet me. That’s one. You sent a non-con. That’s two. You forced me to accept that young man here, because he’s your child. I prefer to choose skilled people to train, not ones with privileges. That’s three. He is even unable to be punctual! Four!” Demok lowered his head and sent an apologetic look to his mother who fumed at the insults toward her son and her soldier. “Now, Jarol, what--”

“It’s Legate Jarol,” the commander interrupted.

Gul Jarol, if I’m not mistaken,” the other women retorted. Jarol growled; she didn’t mind being called ‘gul’ again, but not in this manner! “Now, Gul Jarol, what do you have to say for your excuse?”

“I don’t have to excuse myself,” she said in a levelled and calmed tone that only those who knew her very well would recognise as a well-trained control of her growing anger. “Garesh Dalar, please escort the archon to her new quarters. Use force, if necessary,” she added looking the woman in the eye.

“This way,” Dalar moved aside and gestured with his hand inviting the newcomer to go first. The archon seemed to hesitate for a moment and than reluctantly motioned toward the door.

“You would do it, wouldn’t you?” she threw to Jarol before leaving. “Use force.”

Demok stayed behind long enough not to be heard. “Mo-o-o-o-m,” he moaned, sending the legate a painful look.

Some bitch, Jarol thought, not saying it out loud. She only smiled to her boy and he followed the group to see the archon off to her quarters.

“This is going to be fun,” Jarol muttered to herself sitting down and activating the screen with her report for Ekoor. Those smiles he tried to hide... Did he know? Or was the situation itself ridiculous enough to amuse him?




Dalar was a man of patience. Or indifference. He had to deal with different types of people during his career and he could always control himself. He thought that there was no person, no situation that could drive him crazy.

Until now.

The archon treated him like a piece of trash. And she didn’t hide her disdain. However, that was not all. She treated Legate Jarol the same way and in Dalar’s eyes it was a sin worth execution. All the way to her quarters she was throwing orders at young Demok, calling him ‘boy’, or ‘child’ and showing him absolutely no respect that every Cardassian deserved, especially this young and talented man. She treated Borad like her personal servant and complained about décor of her new home. She demanded to call some specialist to change everything and adapt to her tastes. When she finally dismissed them, they stood in the corridor in front of her quarters, looking at each other uncertainly, grateful it was over...for now.

Borad patted Demok’s shoulder and went back to the command.

“Dalar, shoot me, please,” the young Cardassian said quietly.

“I’d rather shoot her,” the garesh whispered.

They headed for the nearest lift.

“Who makes decisions about archons’ assignments?” Dalar asked.

“The High Archon Council,” Demok answered. “There is no way to influence them.”

“Find a Ferengi and bribe them.”

Demok smiled. “You of course realise that discovery of that act would ruin my career and most likely sent me to prison.”

“The art of bribery is not to be caught.”

“Did you ever bribe anyone?”

“No, I didn’t have to,” Dalar answered.

Demok seemed to understand the reply. Garesh Dalar was a veteran of three wars and one his look was enough to make people do things. He had trained hundreds, if not thousands, of militiamen and led them to battle. For last twenty years the garesh had been Jarol’s personal bodyguard and he knew she trusted him fully. So did her son. He was not afraid of anything or anyone. He might not be an officer but it didn’t mean he was a fool. Now, serving as the chief tactician of the station, his position put him on the same level as many officers but so far no one objected or treated him as something worse. His aide, Garesh Aladar, was treated with the same respect.

Until now. Until this archon arrived to the station and treated Legate Jarol herself as a doormat. Who was that woman or rather—who did she think she was!

“I got to go,” Demok said. “I have lots and lots of work to do,” he added sighing.

Dalar acknowledged by nodding and observed the young man walking away. He knew Demok spent most of his life under his mother’s protection but now he was just about to face the first hard lesson in his life—dealing with someone who was not afraid of his mother and who seemed to be an enemy of his mother’s. Dalar could only hope that the archon wouldn’t take her hatred on Demok.

He slowly walked toward a lift with the intention to return to the tactical. Aladar spent whole morning testing different systems and Dalar wanted to see the final report. Without the station being fully prepared for a sudden attack he felt almost naked.




Demok was terrified. He ran through all orders he had been given by the archon—yes, they were orders, not requests—and he hoped he didn’t forget about anything. Thanks, mom, he thought to himself. Oh, how he hated all those memory training sessions and how he tried to avoid them: pretending to be sick, pretending he forgot and hoping she wouldn’t remind him—that one was not very smart as she only had one more argument how much he needed those sessions but you can’t blame him, he was only eight years old then—even running away from one—not advisable with a mother like that... Now, however, he appreciated all those sessions. The archon hadn’t cared if he had any padd with him, she just had been barking hundreds of tasks she wanted him to do and all he had was his memory to commit them to.

Thanks, mom.

He took a padd and, to be on the safe side, wrote everything down. Just in case. In case he’d forget because of being traumatised by this monster.

How about hiring someone to kill her? No, he didn’t have enough money...How about killing her himself? No, he didn’t have enough skill. Darn, he should have gone to the academy; he not only could kill her, he wouldn’t have to kill her because she wouldn’t be his boss! His mom would be.

Who knows what’s worse?

He smiled to himself. He knew his mother was a tough soldier and commander but he also knew she was fair and never mistreated her subordinates. With all personnel shift in the military, there were people that have been stuck with her and followed her for years.

He wished Archon Colissa would belong to people who never mistreated anyone. She represented law and she should follow it but he never heard of any rule that would forbid to bark at subordinates. Even guls and legates didn’t bark as barkishy as this woman.

Why did it have to be her? Owwww, someone wanted to get rid of her from Cardassia and transferred her here, to the station. Someone there is happy making everyone here miserable. Making him miserable.

The archon clearly specified in which order he should complete given tasks, so he had no problem with starting. First—assess everyone’s history and possible past troubles with law. Starting from his own mother.
He rolled his eyes. Whatever she had done in her life, she never broke the law, never.

He got work. That part of his job he liked—putting everything in order. There were clear rules how to prepare such reports and his clearance, as a sub-archon, allowed him to peep into files normally unavailable for a Cardassian civilian.

His mother’s file was long. Her career was colourful, with its ups and downs. And then he found two strange things. Two files. One was sealed. Not just sealed as any other file. It was a seal of a paranoid-type of seals. All he could tell was that the file existed and most likely was created in 2378 but that was all. Oh, and it was sealed three years later. By Gul Dukat. Curious. Reeaaallly curious. What was there? Why was it sealed? Why was it sealed by him? And the date. That file was created a day after Jarol family died. One day. The next day. She probably didn’t stop crying yet when someone—when he—created the file and wrote something in it. What?

The other file was empty. It had been created in 2371 by some glinn whose name didn’t ring a bell. The file was empty. It used to be sealed too but had been unsealed a few years back. It was just empty. Demok checked the list of last users, wondering if it would be sealed but it wasn’t. The file had been opened five years ago by Legate Ekoor. That was the last position on the users list. Just before that one there was a report of deletion of whole content performed by Legate Damar.

“Oh, mom,” the Cardassian whispered.

It seemed that his mother had a lot of secrets. Would she tell him if he asked? Would she be angry if he asked?

He closed the empty file and continued his search through her lifetime only to find a file that had been flagged as critical information. To his surprise he had no problems with accessing it—a sub-archon’s privileges were quite high, it would seem—and started to read, not believing his own eyes.

“Oh, mom,” he whispered again.

He had heard about Legate Ahal and his assassination but he never knew his mother had been the prime suspect! She had served under him, he knew that. She hated him because it was an evil man, he knew that too. But did she kill him? Would she?

Wait, you’re talking about your mother. Of course she would. If she could justify it, she would.

But did she? Did she do it?

The file said she had a motive but nothing that could be proved. Ahal had been giving a speech and she was among the audience when he was shot. Even if she was involved, she didn’t do it herself. That’s good or bad?

How was he supposed to deliver that report to the archon?

“Demok to Jarol,” he pressed his wristcomm.

What is it?” her voice asked.

“Mom, I need to talk to you. It’s urgent.”

How urgent?

“Urgent urgent.”

Come to my office, then.”

He was there in no time, with the padd that contained all the information he had gathered.

“What’s going on?” she asked him, pulling him to a sofa in a corner of her office.

“That archon, she told me to prepare full report on everyone on the station.”

“A standard procedure.”

“Yes, I know. But...”

“But?” she encouraged him to continue.

“Mom, your file. I...”

“Just ask.”

“Why is one file sealed?”

Her eyes darkened and he thought it was anger.

“After Father Joret, Mayel and Corat died, my gul entered a two year reprimand into my file. A few years later he sealed that file not to let anyone access it again and remind of that reprimand. He believed he was wrong punishing me for that event.” It was not anger, it was pain. “That’s why it’s sealed. That tragedy shouldn’t negatively influence my career.”

“Why didn’t he just delete it?”

“You cannot delete some files. It’s a hardware precaution.”

“Why didn’t he delete the content, then? Which brings me to my next question. Damar had deleted the content of another file. Why? What was there?”

“It was a full report of my insubordination, related to Gul Ahal.”

“Insub...” Demok’s eyes opened wide. His mother was insubordinate??

“Ahal gave an order which I refused to follow. Publicly. And I told him what I thought about that wrong order.”

“About killing Cardassian civilians,” he recalled her telling him about it.

“That’s right.”

“Why was it deleted?”

“Because insubordination is insubordination, even if you’re right. I think Damar wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stain my history.”

“All right,” he nodded.

“There’s more,” she guessed, as he didn’t move and seemed to hesitate.

“Yes.”

“Well?”

“Mom, you were the prime suspect in the Ahal assassination investigation. They say they couldn’t prove it but you had a motive.” She didn’t seem surprised. “Did you kill him?”

His direct and sudden question startled her. He knew she wouldn’t lie to him, she never did.

“Are you asking as a sub-archon, or as a son?”

“As a son, mom. I can’t include in my report anything that is not proven and our conversation is not proof.”

“I did not kill him. But it has been done on my order.”

Demok didn’t say anything. He stared at her, not sure what to think about it. Was Ahal that evil? Was his mother evil? Did Uncle Arenn know about it?

“Why no one found any proof?”

“Because all proof has been destroyed.”

“You weren’t alone in this.”

“It was my decision but I had friends who covered for me.”

“Uncle Arenn?”

“He didn’t know anything about it.”

“Who?”

She didn’t say anything and it was clear to him she would not answer that question.

“Do you regret?”

“No.”

The answer, so immediate and certain, startled him.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“How? When? What for?”

She kept looking at him, worry in her eyes. Did she fear he would include it in his report? “I won’t write it,” he assured her. “This is between you and me.”

The worry, however, did not disappear.

She didn’t care about the report, she cared what he thought of her now!

“Mom, why were you in trouble if Ahal’s orders were so wrong? Why wasn’t he in trouble for attempting to murder thousands of Cardassian civilians?”

“Because there is no way to bring guls to justice. They are considered infallible and their troops have to trust them and follow their orders. There was no law to deal with him.”

“There should be such law,” he said.

“The military is independent if it comes to its internal matters.”

“Maybe there should be a special department to deal with soldiers and guls that break law.”

“The Central Command does it.”

“Not very effectively, as I can see.”

She gave him an attentive look but didn’t say anything. They gazed at each other for a long while.

“I need to finish this report and get to other officers,” he said eventually. “I’ll be very busy these days.”

“Good, some real work will do you good,” she said cheerfully but he knew her well enough to recognise the tone of her voice was forced.

“Love you, mom.” He kissed her in the cheek and left her office.
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Old January 20 2011, 03:50 AM   #25
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

She observed him leaving. She didn’t know if he would have to include anything that she had just told him in his report but at that very moment she didn’t care. She could go to prison in disgrace, she could take all the blame, she could accept the responsibility, she could get through a public tribunal that her political enemies would, not doubt, enjoy. There was one thing, though, that she could not take.

Losing respect of her son.




Young Sub-Archon Demok walked a corridor and his thoughts were occupied by one thing: why the military doesn’t have any internal ways of controlling idiots in command? It was Uncle Arenn’s job to keep everything under control but he couldn’t be everywhere looking at everyone’s hands. He was just one against hundreds—thousands? How many guls where there, anyway?—of ships commanders. He couldn’t investigate everyone. True, Demok knew that Brenok could order an investigation but it would be one gul against another. And what if there were some personal hostilities between those two? Or bribery? Or any other reason? Wouldn’t a special department, special legal troop solve that problem? Its existence alone would make guls think twice before issuing some tough orders. Someone should think about it, someone should try to create such a system.






Archon Colissa entered her office on one of lower levels of the pole to see that Demok was already there. She did not expect that. She did not expect much of him, anyway. If he needed his mother to find him a good place for his apprenticeship, then he was a poor student and a poor student couldn’t make a good archon. And his mother clearly wasn’t much better. The woman struck the archon as a conformist. She had used her influence to appoint her son to Colissa only to keep him under control—the boy seemed terrified of his mother. She had used her influence to get the command of this station. She was dangerous and had to be controlled. Colissa would have to keep an eye on her. A close eye!

“Madam Archon, the reports on whole senior staff are ready,” Demok reported dutifully, standing up.

“Already?” A bit of admiration crept into her voice, in spite of her effort to hide it.

“Yes, ma’am,” he confirmed crisply.

A military woman’s son, obviously.

“Proceed with the others,” she said.

“I am,” he sat and resumed his work.

Let’s see what we have there, she went to her desk and at once activated the report related to Gul Jarol. Some sealed, secret files, extensive military record, possible involvement in the assassination of that moron Ahal. Her son didn’t seem to hide anything, the work appeared to be done properly. Everything with attached copies of proofs.

She had to admit the report was prepared perfectly. She glanced at the sub-archon and observed him for a moment; he appeared fully concentrated on his work.





Jarol tried to concentrate on her work but couldn’t. Her thoughts were still occupied by the conversation she had had with her son a few hours ago. She kept reading Garesh Dalar’s report over and over, her eyes skimming through the texts and her brain not registering the meaning of words.

Suddenly, something happened that her brain registered immediately. She left the opened file on her monitor, knowing it would lock access after a minute of no activity, and went to the command. When the door opened, the noise of red alert klaxon and the flashing red light attacked her senses.

“Report!” she barked hoping her voice was heard in the noise.

“We’ve got a Hideki class patrol ship on our sensors,” Borad reported from the pit looking up at her. “It is flagged as ‘quarantined’.”

So, the red alert was triggered automatically by the system.

“Shut down this noise,” she shouted. “Hail them.”

Borad manipulated the console and the klaxon went silent but the red lights were still on. “We can’t, they’re still out of range.”

She looked at him trying not to show her surprise. Some sensors they had if they detected the ship but were too far to talk to them.

“Subspace communication?”

“Offline.”

“Ours or theirs?” she asked and noticed that Zamarran gave her a hurt look.

“Theirs,” was Borad’s reply.

“When will they be in the communication range?” she demanded.

“In sixteen minutes.”

“Keep scanning. I want to know why they are flagged as under quarantine. And where they came from.”
It seemed that quiet days aboard Rayak Nor just came to an end.


tbc
in the next episode
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Old January 20 2011, 04:38 AM   #26
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

OK, I'm going to be completely mean...but I wanted ringside seats to that fight! Finally, Jarol's met a bitch of equal or even greater magnitude, in Colissa!!!

I've even got a tagline for the trailer of this wonderful movie: "Payback's a bitch. Literally."

I enjoyed the exchange between Demok and Dalar...hilarious!

As for killing Ahal...I'm kind of glad Demok found out because that will warn him of the kind of person he doesn't want to be--or anyone else to be. It even seems like preventing such situations is now his mission in life.

As for Jarol...sorry to sound even meaner here, but a little remorse isn't a bad thing.



And...mystery ship? Oh, no...no more mystery ships! My poor little heart!
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Old January 20 2011, 04:48 AM   #27
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

No worries, the ship is a mystery only for the cliffhanger purpose

And Colissa... Well, Jarol met her mirror self (don't tell her I said that, I want to live!) and there's no way she could get rid of the archon. And Demok? His conversation with his mother was tough for them both, but it was necessary. It was an inception. I don't know if you remember what my plans for his future are but this was the moment when the idea was born. He's not yet fully aware of it, but it will grow and some day he would know what to do.
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Old January 21 2011, 03:43 PM   #28
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Episode 2
Chapter 1


CUW Radalar
Day 1



Gul Toral, in a bad mood, stood in the middle of his bridge with his hands clasped behind him. He impatiently waited for his tactical officer to deliver information but the tactician, Glinn Lorrun, was silent. Toral did his best to be patient and not stare at the officer with a reprimand written all over his face, but it was proving more difficult with every minute that passed.

“Lorrun,” he said finally.

The glinn shot him a nervous glance and then his eyes returned to his screen. “I’m sorry, sir, but—”

“I am not interested in your being sorry. I want my answers!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Sir,” Gil Yamuc spoke from the communication station. “We are being hailed by Rayak Nor.”

“On screen.”

Legate Jarol’s lovely face appeared on the viewer.

“Gul Toral, I am sure you have detected the Hideki patrol ship that is headed here,” she said and he confirmed by nodding. “They are under some kind of quarantine but we can’t hail them. I want you to intercept them. Talk to them. Remember not to beam anyone aboard. We can’t be sure if the quarantine is the real thing but we can’t take any chances.”

“Yes, Legate,” he said crisply. And he didn’t care she didn’t outrank him and could not issue him any orders—in fact, he outranked her as, in spite of them both being guls grade four, his position placed him higher in the command structure. And anyway, what she wanted him to do was the right thing to do.

She signed off and he looked at the helm officer.

“Glinn Tassar, enter course to intercept.”

“Yes, Gul.”

“Korel,” Toral looked at his aide. “I’m sure he already knows but inform Gul Brenok of our movement.”

The glinn nodded his acknowledgement.

Toral went to his chair and sat. “Out ETA?” he asked Tassar.

“Seven minutes.”

“Tactical, keep scanning them,” the gul threw toward Lorrun who sat on his chair with lowered head and seemed to be half smaller than usually.

“Yes, Gul,” came a loud and clear reply.

Toral waited. Seven minutes of waiting. Seven very long minutes of waiting.

“Sir, we’re in range,” Yamuc said.

“Hail them,” the gul leaned forward in his chair, leaning the left elbow on his thigh and grasping the armrest with the right hand.

The main viewer flickered and a human’s face appeared on it; the first word that came to Toral’s mind was ‘ragged’. This man’s face was ragged.

“I am Gul Toral of Cardassian Union Warship Radalar,” he introduced himself. “Who are you and what are you doing aboard a Cardassian property?”

My name is Pierre Tibaut and I am from the colony Mazita,” the man replied in broken Cardassian.

Toral searched his memory. Mazita—one of former Federation colonies, now within the borders of the Union. So, he at least knew the man wasn’t a thief.

“Are you unwell?” the gul asked, knowing very well how ridiculously his question had to sound. It was obvious even to a non-medic that the man was everything but well.

Our colony...it was struck by some kind of virus. We cannot find any solution. We need help. Our children need help.”

“I see,” Toral stood up and made a step toward the screen. “Let’s start from the beginning. When did it happen and how serious the disease is?” He turned to Korel. “Get Medic Jabat here, now.” Korel nodded and pressed his wristcomm. Toral looked back at the human.

We don’t know where the virus came from but we suspect it was artificially created. First cases were noted three months ago but weren’t fatal. However, the virus mutated. Death rate is one hundred percent.”

“I take it you are sick too.”

I am. I know you might not trust me because I’m not a Cardassian, but I’m afraid my companion, a Cardassian, has died three hours ago.”

It didn’t even occur to Toral to think of the man in a Cardassian/non-Cardassian aspect. “You said something about children,” he said.

Yes. The virus seems to be unable to replicate in young organisms. We are not yet sure why but we are sure that the virus will mutate to finally be able to attack also our children. We need your help. It’s too late for us but save them!

“Gul Toral, if I may?” Medic Jabat’s voice spoke next to Toral. He must have arrived in the meantime. The gul nodded his consent, so the medic looked at the screen. “Are the children carriers?”

No.”

“Most unusual. How can you be sure?”

We found no proof of virus presence in their organisms.”

“How good is your equipment?” Tibaut didn’t respond to that. “So, if it’s not top-of-the-art, you cannot be completely sure they are free of the virus.”

You can make sure before taking them off the planet.”

“We can’t leave them like this,” Jabat looked at Toral.

“I don’t intend to,” the gul agreed.

There is one thing...” The man on the screen glanced at them with something that looked like an apology. “The prefect made it clear that this mission must be led by a civilian representative, not military.”

“Oh, perfect. They ask for help and issue demands,” Toral growled quietly. Then he spoke louder for the human to hear him, “I will discuss it with my superiors and then inform you of our decision. Stand by.” He was just about to sign off when he added. “And don’t get nearer to the station.”

Don’t make it too long. I might join my companion.”

“Noted.”

The man disappeared from the screen. “Is there anything we can do for him now?” Toral asked the medic.

Jabat shook his head. “Not really, not until I know more about it.”

“Do we have any useful scans?” the gul looked at Lorrun.

“Yes, Gul. Once I recalibrated our sensors to add our medical database to results, I gathered some useful data.”

“Medic,” Toral said but unnecessarily, as Jabat was already headed for the tactician’s console to study the information. The gul looked at Yamuc. “Get me Brenok, now.”

“Yes, Gul.”

Toral returned to his seat. “Korel, keep an eye on the Hideki. Jam transporters. He seems to care only about children but desperate men do desperate things. Also, get me all you can find on that colony, especially most recent reports and data. Did they get any visitors? Any natural disasters? Who’s their prefect and for how long? And his species. Something tells me he’s not a Cardassian.”

Korel acknowledged all orders with either a nod or a purr, or both. ‘Purring’ was not exactly a confirmation that regulations would approve of but Toral knew that once he started barking a list of orders, it was easier for Korel to confirm them that way then interrupt his gul and cause Toral disrupt his string of thought. That would be much worse than purring on duty.

Tassar knew that too, because he waited for Toral to finish before announcing the obvious: “Sir, Gul Brenok on the screen.”


CUW Damar
Day 1


Gul Brenok listened to Gul Toral issuing orders with amusement. Toral had been Legate Jotrel’s aide—when Jotrel had still been a gul—for years and while Brenok didn’t know Jotrel that well, he could clearly see that Toral adopted a lot from Jotrel’s style of command. He wondered if his own style reminded Jarol’s.

Finally, Toral’s attention shifted to his superior.

Gul Brenok, we have a possibly dangerous situation here,” he started and then relayed all information he had on the subject.

Brenok listened without interrupting, then asked, “What do we know about the prefect?” From experience he knew how important such data was—a prefect and his or her approach was critical in making decisions and finding solutions.

Toral turned to his aide who went forward. “Their prefect had been chosen seven months ago. He is a human, his name is Gerard Krause and he is a supporter of a movement that wants the colony to return to the Federation.”

“I didn’t know there was such a movement,” Brenok commented.

Apparently it all arose when the treaty negotiations with the Federation started,” Korel said.

That would mean the movement existed for three years already. “Do they have any supporters?” Brenok asked.

Korel seemed uncomfortable. “I did not check that information,” he said a bit quieter than his earlier report. Toral shot a look at his aide but didn’t say anything. Brenok thought that with Toral’s narrow eyes it always looked like he squinted at people but couldn’t tell if this time Toral was really unsatisfied with his aide’s performance or it was only an impression caused by his features.

Brenok shook his head. “Never mind, it is not that important now. That explains, however, why they demanded a civilian presence. They distrust us, the Guard.”

It would appear so,” Toral agreed. “The problem is we do not have any civilians in this sector and would have to call for someone from Cardassia or another colony.

“That is not entirely true,” Brenok said slowly, thinking. “We have a few civilians on Rayak Nor. But before we send anyone to that planet, we need to know more about this disease. Much more. I don’t intend to send any representative to a certain death and it sounds like the case.”

Agreed,” Toral nodded.

“Tell that human in the Hideki to stand by. I’ll send a civilian representative and two more medics soon.” Brenok was just about to cut the connection when he hesitated. “And Toral...” The other gul looked at him. “You will take orders from that civilian. If there’s something very wrong, let me know and I’ll deal with it, but the civilian is in charge. For real. Not for a show.”

Understood, Gul.

Toral’s face on the screen was replaced by a view of stars. Now was the tough part. “You have the bridge,” Brenok told Glinn Karama and headed for the transporter chamber. He beamed to the station and immediately went to the archon’s office.
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Old January 21 2011, 03:44 PM   #29
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"


Rayak Nor
Day 1


“Gul Brenok,” Colissa greeted him coldly when he entered the office. “What brings you here?”

Brenok noticed that the office was fully staffed; that included Colissa, Demok and three other legal clerks whose names he did not know.

“We have a situation on one of colonies and their prefect has requested a civilian to lead the rescue mission.”

“If you think I will roam around the sector aboard some stinky warship, then you are very wrong, young man. Gul.” She corrected herself quickly. “Travelling here was enough.”

Brenok ignored her blunder. “Actually I was thinking about someone else,” his eyes went to the young sub-archon.

“Him? He’s merely a child!”

Brenok ignored her again. Demok was twenty-four; Brenok at this age was already an engineer aboard the Groumall with all responsibilities of an adult. The gul believed Demok was ready for a real job and intended to give him a chance to prove it. He also thought that a Cardassian of post-war generation would make a less negative impression on the hostile prefect from the colony in trouble.

“Sub-Archon Demok,” Brenok looked at the Cardassian, his face expression all business-like. “I would like you to take the leadership for this assignment.” He could not order him, Demok was not a soldier, all he could do was to ask politely and accept refusal.

“Madam Archon?” Demok looked at his boss. So did Brenok.

She seemed to consider it for a moment—a moment too long for Brenok’s taste—and then nodded once, sharply. “All right. I can grant you a leave but only for one week. Your mission completed or not, you are back here in ten days.”

“Yes, Madam Archon,” Demok said, raising from his chair. “Thank you, Madam Archon.”

“Don’t break any laws,” she said menacingly and then turned away. It was clear that for her the matter was closed.

Brenok and Demok left the office.

“I give you twenty minutes to pack some necessities and then beam to the Damar. I’ll give you a Hideki and two medics.”

“Medics?”

“I’ll fill you in when you’re aboard the Damar.”

“I’ll be there in fifteen.”

“Just don’t forget your toothbrush.”

“Uncle!”

Brenok smiled. “It’s Gul Brenok for now, Sub-Archon.”

“Does mom know?”

“I’ll tell her after you leave.”

“Oh, boy.”

Demok jogged away and Brenok headed for the station’s infirmary.

Both medics, Taret and Albek, were conversing when the gul entered their kingdom. Taret welcomed Brenok with a smile, Albek with raised eye ridges.

“What can we do for you, sir?” Taret asked.

“Actually, I came for Medic Albek.”

“What can I do for you, sir?” the dishevelled Cardassian asked.

“There is an emergency on one of our colonies and we need medical staff. Please choose two nurses. Medic Boreep will accompany you, too.”

“I see. What kind of emergency?”

“A virus caused a plague.”

Taret’s eyes opened wider. “Can I help?”

“I’d rather have someone stay here, on the station.”

“Is it in danger too?”

“Not if I can help it, but we can’t leave such populated an outpost without a medic.”

Taret nodded his agreement. He looked at Albek. “We’ll be in touch.”

“Of course,” the younger man replied, then looked at Brenok. “When do we leave?”

“In fifteen minutes.”

“I will need to gather some equipment.”

“Make it fast and make it fit into a Hideki shuttle.”

“Understood, Gul.”

Brenok left the infirmary and pressed his wristcomm. “Brenok to Karama.”

Karama here, sir.

“Prepare shuttle Eheen for departure.”

Errr, sir, I have already prepared the Elar.”
Brenok smiled to himself. He liked when his aide was thinking ahead. “The Elar it is, then. Sub-Archon Demok, Medic Albek and his two nurses are assigned to this mission. Assign them three additional gareshes. No, make that two. I’ll get the third one.”

Acknowledged,” Karama confirmed and signed off.

Brenok entered a lift and said, “The tactical.”

The lift took him directly to the tactical centre. The chamber was smaller than the command but apart from that almost identical. It wasn’t heavily manned but at that time it was not necessary.

The gul looked around to locate the man he came for and noticed him in the pit, over an advanced tactical table that made even the one aboard the Damar look like a poor cousin.

“Garesh Aladar,” Brenok called, descending toward the man. “Where is Garesh Dalar?”

“Here,” Dalar’s voice came from somewhere above. Brenok turned to look up at the man in the golden armour.

“Dalar, I need to steal Aladar. I hope you can spare him.”

“Do I have a choice?” Dalar asked. He did not smile—he never did—but Brenok knew it was a show of Dalar’s sense of humour, not a defiance.

“No,” the gul asnwered.

Aladar approached Brenok. “What is the assignment, sir?” he asked directly.

“I’ll explain later. You have ten minutes to take necessary things. For now you need to know this involves a colony, a virus and a plague.”

“I’ll be ready in five.”

Brenok didn’t expect anything else.

Aladar, very much like Demok earlier, jogged away and disappeared in a descending lift. Brenok went to the transporter pad.

“Beam me back to the Damar,” he told an officer on duty.

“Yes, sir,” came the reply and a moment later the gul was back aboard his warship.


CUW Damar
Day 1



Brenok pressed his wristcomm again. “Karama, meet me in the shuttle bay by the Elar.”

On my way, sir.

When Brenok arrived to the shuttle bay, Demok was already waiting there by the chosen Hideki class shuttle.


tbc
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Old January 22 2011, 04:56 AM   #30
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Whoa! Brenok sent Laran into harm's way without even telling Jarol he was going to do it! Brenok may not have risked their friendship before--but now it really could be at risk because now he's put Jarol's only child in mortal danger.

Hmm...I have two different theories about the origins of this virus. I have the feeling that the one you would choose and the one I would choose to be the real explanations will turn out not to be the same, though. Nonetheless, I still look forward to reading the story.

As for Toral, I would not say he has malicious prejudice. That said, I can't say I wholly believe the idea that he wasn't making "species" judgments, given certain things that he said and did. Either that or he just doesn't know how not to come off like he is (and I suspect Federation citizens are quite sensitive to such things and would notice--which would not help with the obvious trust issues). I don't want to go into it here, but I can explain what about Toral's comments would've been a very bad thing for a cop in the US to say during a traffic stop!

How come Toral has 3 glinns? I count Lorrun, Tassar, and Korel...

Oh, and when you say Korel "purrs," exactly what kind of sound are you referring to? Does he sound like a cat?
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