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Old April 5 2011, 04:34 AM   #151
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"

She thinks she knows how to make them love her again. I don't think taking her own life would make them love her, so it doesn't seem to be her option.

She already started to work on her mysterious plan, it's just not clear without knowing what it is. Hopefully, looking back at some things during this trip, it would be more visible.
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Old April 11 2011, 02:32 AM   #152
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Sorry, this chapter is really dull, but some important things have to be said and have to happen, and all I managed is this dull setting for them



Chapter 4


Tarav, Nokar, Cardassia Prime



“Why are your hands shaking?” she asked, scrutinising him.

“I’m nervous,” he admitted.

“Why? Is something wrong?”

“I’m always nervous when I’m with you?”

“Why? Am I wrong?”

“W...what?” He burst into laughter.

“You know,” she said, assuming more comfortable position in her chair. “This would be a good moment for a mysterious box to materialise in front of me. Here,” she added, pointing to the surface of an oval table in front of them.

“I could do that, but I’d rather not.”

“How could you do that and why not?”

“I could ask Korel to do it, but I always liked to do it myself and...he doesn’t have to know details of my lo...ahem...life.”

She looked at him again. Did he almost say ‘love life’?

They were in an open air juice bar, sitting at a table that was the nearest one to the edge of the cliff over the sea. He had chosen this place and after a short research she had discovered that this was supposed to be the most romantic spot in the whole prefecture.

They observed ships in the far distance and an old, inactive drilling rig that had become home for sea birds these days.

She looked at him. His eyes were narrow slits—the sun was clearly blinding him—and he kept biting his lower lip.

A terrible thought came to her... She had had two husbands and they both had died. What if it had been because of her? What if she had brought their deaths on them? What if she was some kind of doom bringer? What if she would bring death on Toral, too?

What a silly thought!

He must have noticed her worried face, because he asked, concern audible in his voice, “Is something wrong?”

“No,” she shook her head, more to shoo away the thought than to emphasise her denial. “Nothing is wrong. Why are you nervous?”

He smiled sheepishly. “I’m always shy with ladies. And you are no ordinary lady.”

She put her hand gently on his arm. “I’m very ordinary.”

“No, you aren’t,” she shook his head vigorously. “You are unique.”

She squeezed his arm gently. He was such a sweet, patient and nice man. Always calm, always quiet. But there was something in him, some kind of persistence, of a clear understanding of the direction he wanted to go, of his goals.

He put his hand on hers that lay on his arm. His palm was warm. He raised her hand and neared it to his lips. She didn’t resist and let him kiss it. Then she stroked his cheek gently.

“Toral...” she whispered.

“Hatinn,” he said quietly, observing her reaction.

Her finger slid along his cheek ridge to his ear. “Hatinn,” her mouth repeated voicelessly. “You’re like Assurian chocolate.”

He leaned to her, but to her disappointment kissed her only on a cheek. “Two pieces of Assurian chocolate,” she said. He kissed her on the other cheek. “Three pieces?” His eyes shone with a devious plan and...he kissed her on both cheeks. “A whole box of Assurian chocolates,” she said. He bit his lower lip, gazed into her eyes as if looking for the final permission and then his lips touched hers. It was a gentle, shy, almost innocent kiss. She felt like a teenage girl again.

“You are so unbelievably beautiful,” he whispered. His hands weren’t shaking any more but his voice was.

“And you are Assurian chocolate.”

“Sweet and expensive?”

She chuckled. How was it possible that she had never noticed how adorable this man was? She knew him for so many years and had barely noticed him. Now, however, he had all her attention.

“I want to go for a walk,” she announced.

“Where?”

She pointed to the sea shore and a beach below. “There.” Seeing his surprise, she stretched her finger toward curved into the rock stairs that led to the beach.

“Let’s go, then.” He rose, grabbed her hand and they headed for the stairs.

When they arrived to the beach, she took off her sandals and barefoot ran to the sea. She started to walk along the shore. She enjoyed cool water washing over her feet. She looked back at Toral who stood nearby and observed her. She waved to him and he waved back. She made an inviting gesture but he shook his head. She sent him a flying kiss and resumed her walk. A few moments later she felt him wrapping his fingers around her hand. She looked at him. He stopped, but didn’t let her hand go, so made her stop too. He pulled her closer and kissed again—passionately.

“I hope not to get executed, Legate Atira,” he whispered to her ear.

“I can’t execute my Assurian chocolate.”

Neither his hands, nor his voice shook. He gently stroked her hair. His eyes went from the top of her bun to her face and she noticed that his sight stopped for a short moment on her chanth.

“Sufficiently blue?” she asked him teasingly.

“Maybe I’m not very traditional, but I don’t care,” he answered. “I want you, not what you could give me.”

His reply surprised her. Usually, a woman’s fertility was on of most important factors in choosing a partner. Toral didn’t seem to think about that at all; if he spoke the truth but she saw no reason to assume that he lied.

“Hatinn,” she said, holding his hands, “You’re one unorthodox Cardassian.”

“I hope so! That way I can stick out in the crowd of your admirers.”

She laughed and he smiled. They resumed the wet walk, holding hands.

She felt happy. “Hatinn,” she said after a moment of silence. “Can I ask you a personal question?”

“Anything. I don’t have any secrets, not from you.”

She smiled. That explained why he was admitting to his anxiety when being with her: no secrets. “Why haven’t you ever married?”

He sighed. “Well...I promised myself to find someone after the war...that war with the Federation. The war ended but before I got to it...another one started. And after that one ended...” He silenced for a moment and she feared she asked about something painful. “I met that wonderful, beautiful, smart and independent woman...”

“So, why didn’t you marry her?”

“I intend to.”

She let go of his hand. He walked with her here, he kept sending her all those chocolates and all that time he had been thinking ab...Wait a minute...

His face expressed morbid worry. “Did I say something wrong?” he asked quietly. “I’m so sorry, maybe I’m too fast, maybe...I just...I just thought that you know I am serious about it. This is not a ploy, or some silly, immoral game. I...I really wouldn’t even dare to...”

She approached him and put the tips of her fingers on his lips, forcing him to stop talking. “Shhh. I am sorry. I am sorry I never noticed. I am sorry I didn’t even occur to me that you’ve been talking about me a moment ago.”

“What?! You thought I would tell you that I intend to marry someone else five minutes after kissing you! Who do you think I am!”

His indignation, the anger in his eyes, was something she saw for the first time...the second time. She recalled when he had defended her from Gul Tarkan—over twenty years earlier. How could she have been so blind!

“Will you forgive me?” she asked, lowering her eyes in a gesture of submission.

But he only stood there. She felt her heart starting to beat fast; did she ruin everything? Did she insult him so badly she destroyed his long-term feelings within a second? She dared to gaze at him; he had a mischievous and impish grin on his face.

“I’ll think about it,” he said, mocking offence and raising his head high. “But you will have to work hard for my forgiveness.”

“I’ll do everything that has to be done,” she promised.

“Good. For a start, walk along this beach holding my hand. Then, you will choose a restaurant and will have dinner with me. Then you will allow me to see you off to your hotel. Tomorrow we will repeat all today’s activities. No deviation from this plan is allowed.”

Chari, gul!” she acknowledged all his ‘demands’ in an old, traditional submissive way, which now was used only among low ranking gareshes addressing their high ranking superiors.

“Good. Proceed with the walk,” he said in a commanding tone.

She kissed him on his cheek and pulled him along the beach.




“No!” she yelled and left the room, shutting the door loudly behind her.

Brenok and Demok looked at each other. “So much for the therapy,” the gul said.

“We can’t leave it like that.” Demok scratched his head and looked at the door that his mother used for her noisy and furious exit. Not without a grim sense of humour, he thought that she was lucky that the hotel was a very old building and she could slam the door shut that way. He still could hear her furious ‘I’m not crazy!’ ringing in his ears. She knew how to raise her voice, she certainly did.

“We’re not leaving it like that. But you heard what the medic said: for the therapy to bring any positive results, she has to agree to it. We can’t force her to see him.”

“Maybe we should.”

“He also said that her behaviour doesn’t have to mean anything that we should worry about. She’s healing after a terrible experience and emotional imbalance is not unusual in such cases. We should start seriously worry if her condition doesn’t improve for too long.”

“And how can we know that by the time he thinks it’s time, it wouldn’t be too late?” Demok frowned, realising that what he said was so unclear that he wasn’t sure he understood it. “I mean...”

“I know what you mean.” Brenok paused for a moment, taking a padd from a table. “I intend to contact two more medics from that list. I will ask them what they think about it.”

“Maybe Toral could convince her that it’s for her own good.”

Brenok gave Demok a sceptical look. “Toral is still uncertain of his new role and I am not sure he’d risk losing what he had gained just recently.”

“Well, if he puts his own good over hers, then he can go to hell. She doesn’t need him.”

The gul looked at the young Cardassian. He had to agree that it was a very good point and after looking at the matter from this angle, he thought that he had probably misjudged Toral. He couldn’t imagine the gul would care about himself more than about the woman he has been in love with for twenty years. This kind of faithfulness is all but selfish.

“I’ll talk to him. I think they will see each other tonight too.”

“Ask him now.”

Brenok thought for a moment. “All right,” he agreed. “Let’s go.”

“Do you know in which room he stays?”

“I do.”

They were at Toral’s door a few minutes later. The gul seemed a bit surprised seeing them. “Is there a problem?” he asked, letting them inside.

“Yes, we have a terrible problem and maybe you could help us,” Brenok said.

Toral gestured toward the dining table by the window, so they all sat.

The long-haired gul cleared his throat and said, “We want you to try to convince Atira to agree to a therapy.”

Toral frowned. “What kind of therapy?”

Demok leaned forward. “We want her to start seeing a psychotherapist.”

Toral’s frown deepened. “Why?”

“You see her in a good mood, but she’s not always like that,” Brenok explained.

“Of course she isn’t,” Toral shrugged. “She almost had been assassinated. You think it doesn’t leave any scars? Why do you think Daset resigned before his term?”

Demok glanced at Brenok; he knew that Legate Daset, the previous head of the Central Command, had resigned after third attempt on his life. Things, however, weren’t so easy in this case.

“It’s not only that!” Demok snapped, surprising Toral.

“Just try, all right?” Brenok asked calmly. “Just try to talk to her.”

“I assume your attempts to convince her were unsuccessful,” the gul’s eye ridge went higher. Both younger men nodded. “Do you really think I would have more luck?”

“We’re ready to try everything.”

“I can try, but if you didn’t make her agree, I don’t think I’d have any more influence on her decision.”

“She might get furious,” Demok warned.

“So I’ll run away like a scared vole.”

“She might brake up with you,” Demok added.

“I certainly hope she wouldn’t.”

“But if she does...?” Demok kept asking. Brenok shot him a glance—did he think that the sub-archon was testing Toral?

The older gul didn’t seem to enjoy the questioning. “I will talk to her tonight,” he said, ignoring Demok’s demands.

“That’s all we ask,” Brenok said and rose. Since Demok didn’t move, he poked the sub-archon in the shoulder. “Let’s go.”

The young Cardassian reluctantly followed his uncle. But when he reached the door, he stopped. “I would like to talk to Toral in private, if you don’t mind.” Brenok nodded and left.

Toral eyed Demok. “What do you want to know?” he asked.

“Are you serious about my mom?”

“You are her son but that really isn’t your business.”

“Toral, I want to know if you will marry her.”

“It’s not only my decision.”

“If she agrees, will you?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to have children.”

If Toral ate or drank, he would certainly choke this very moment. “Excuuuuse meeee? What kind of question is that!”

“I’m sorry...I just...”

The gul rose and approached the young man. “Just what!”

“I always wanted to have siblings...like everyone.” Toral’s face softened. “So...” Demok didn’t finish.

“I don’t know. I didn’t think about it before.”

“You didn’t?” Demok was surprised. For a Cardassian, a possibility of having children and a big family was one of most important factors in choosing a life partner.

“All I want is for your mother to be happy. I don’t want anything from her. I want to do things and be there for her.”

The sub-archon smiled weakly. “Talk to her tonight, all right?”

“I will.”

“Thanks. And don’t get discouraged if she gets angry.”

“I won’t. I didn’t get that far to resign so easily now.”

Demok returned to the suite that he and his mother stayed in and where Brenok waited for him now.

“What did you want from him?” the gul asked.

“Personal matter.”

Brenok gave him a suspicious look but didn’t pry.
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Old April 11 2011, 02:32 AM   #153
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"

“Not you too!” Jarol moaned, rolling her pretty eyes. He liked that her make up was limited only to dark grey lines, which added depth to her shapely eyes. No wild colours, no wild, heavy stuff on her eyelids or lips. Natural beauty.

They were in his hotel suite making plans for their evening, but before they got to that he wanted to start from the difficult conversation and be over with it.

“Maybe it would help you to throw out all that hurts you,” Toral suggested. “Try one time. If you hate it—fine, you don’t have to go there again.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m not a specialist but they say that talking helps.”

“That’s what friends are for. I don’t need to pay anyone to listen to what hurts me!” She paused. “Do I?” she asked quietly after a moment.

Did he just tell her that she had no friends? Gul Moron! “You don’t,” he assured her. “You can always talk to me.” You certainly would make a better listener than advice giver. And next time think before babbling, he chastised himself.

“I would scare you away.”

He smiled. “I don’t think so.”

“You don’t know my darkest secrets.”

“Perhaps, but I sincerely doubt there’s anything you could tell me that would change my feelings for you.”

“Wanna bet?” she teased him.

He turned his head left and right. “Which ear do you choose? This one, or this one?” She smiled. “Will you try?” he asked.

“No.”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Just one time.”

“No.”

“But—”

“No.”

“May—”

“No.”

“Ati—”

“No.”

“I ju—”

“No.”

He sighed, got up and went to the kitchenette. He took something out from a cupboard, approached her and grabbed her nose, blocking her nostrils. She opened her mouth either to protest, or to breathe and he put a piece of chocolate inside.

“Now you will not talk but listen,” he said, lowering himself by her chair and looking up at her. “I will not talk about it ever again if you promise you will talk to me about everything that bothers you. Any time. Any place. Deal?” She nodded, chewing her chocolate. “Good.” He returned to his seat.

She put her hand on his head. “Hatinn, I’ve done terrible things in my life.”

“We all have our sins, no one is perfect.”

“I think...I think that you should know about them, but...”

He waited for her to continue, but since she didn’t he decided to encourage her. “But?” he prompted softly.

She didn’t reply for a long moment. “But I fear you’d leave,” she said eventually.

“Atira, I love you since five hundred fourteen.” He remembered every detail of that day less than one year after the Dominion War. “That’s over twenty years. It took you on the verge of death to push me to do something about it. There is nothing that could destroy what I feel.”

She laughed bitterly. “You would be surprised.”

“Did you kill someone?”

“Yes.”

“In cold blood?”

“Yes.”

“With your own hands?”

She laughed an unpleasant, bitter laughter. “Oh, I was too comfortable for that. I used someone else’s hands.”

“Did the dead one deserve it?”

“Absolutely. Both of them.”

“Do you regret?”

“No.”

He silenced. “Why not?” he asked at length.

“One was a traitor and spied my crew for the Dominion. The other one was an evil man with too much power.”

He was puzzled. “So if you don’t regret, why does it bother you?”

“It bothers me because I don’t regret.”

He pulled his chair to hers and sat, leaning close to her. “Atira, disposing of a traitor in wartime is not a cold-blood murder but a necessity. Sometimes a very unpleasant necessity, but such things have to be done. As for the other guy...” He smiled slightly. “You forget that Jotrel was leading the investigation. Who do you think he trusted enough to share his findings and think of a way of concealing all evidence?”

She looked at him. “Do you also think that Ahal was an unpleasant necessity?”

“Ahal was a bastard. I know for a fact that he worked close with the Dominion and never moved his little finger to help the rebellion. Never betrayed anyone, but I am sure he would if it served his purpose. He doesn’t deserve anyone’s tears.”

“But their blood is on my hands.”

“How much blood was on theirs?”

“What are your secrets?” she asked suddenly.

“Do you really want to make it a kind of shri’tal?”

She shook her head vigorously. “No.” She looked him in the eyes. “But I don’t want you to think that I hide things from you. You should know who I am.”

“Do you want me to share all my secrets, too?” he asked. Not that he had many and not that he minded, but being forced to such a cleansing was an uncomfortable thought.

“No,” she said softly, touching his cheek. “Only if you want to. If you don’t, you can keep all your secrets until shri’tal.”

He wasn’t sure if he should say something. Tell her that it’s too early? That today he is not ready for it, yet? Or that he didn’t want to? In spite of her words, she might expect him to share something, anything. What shall I do? What shall I do? he thought in panic.

“What is our plan for today?” she asked him.

“I didn’t make any specific plans,” he answered, relieved that she changed the subject. “I wanted to ask what you wanted to do.”

“I don’t know... but...” An amused smile appeared on her face. “Did you know that we made news yesterday?”

“News?” He didn’t understand.

“The broadcast reported that former Legate Jarol and Gul Toral had a date.”

He straightened. “Ompfffff! Don’t they have better things to report?!” The last thing he wanted was to be spied by nosy so-called reporters.

She shrugged. “Why do you care? Does it bother you? Would you prefer to keep it secret?”

“No. But it’s none of their business.”

“People are curious. It’s not that anyone said anything bad about us. They just notice things. I suppose kissing on a public beach wasn’t exactly smart, if you wanted to make it a closely guarded secret,” she smiled.

“I don’t want to keep it secret. I just don’t think we need to be spied. Times of checking who’s seeing whom had ended over twenty years ago.” A thought that his privacy had been invaded upset him.

‘Maybe we should stay here tonight,” she suggested.

She didn’t mind their prying and he didn’t want to lock her in a room. Part of her recuperation plan was to spend as much time outdoor as possible. Soon she would return to a station without natural sunlight and fresh air. He was not going to deprive her of all that now just because he didn’t want his interest in her become public knowledge. Besides, it was already too late for that. “No. It’s a pretty day; it would be a shame to spend it indoors. Let’s give them more food for rumours.”

“That’s the spirit!” She rose from the chair. “How about a boat trip? We could rent a boat and go to see dor’kolat.”

“See?” He knew this sea was famous for presence of at least three different kinds of dor’kolat, but he didn’t know there was a possibility to see one in its natural environment, unless in a nature park.

“There’s this tourist office that offers a ‘hunt a dor’kolat’ trip. You rent a boat with a guide and then the guide takes you to a bay where you have a chance to see these animals. It would be only you and me, fresh air and maybe some interesting sea creatures to take a few holoimages of.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” he grinned.

“Just let me change into someone more appropriate for a sea voyage,” she said and headed for the door. “Meet you downstairs in ten minutes?”

“I’ll be there.”

She left and Toral used the opportunity that she was between rooms to contact Brenok.

“No luck,” he said after the long-haired gul answered his comm. “She refused.”

Thought so. Thanks for trying.

“No problem.”

He signed off and sighed. Then, he packed a few things into a bag and went to the lobby to wait for his dream woman.

He knew she wasn’t perfect. He knew she had done some things in her life, things that she wasn’t proud of—but they both lived in times when it was so difficult to keep things simple and clean. He knew she was troubled. He knew that after the assassination attempt, the brain damage and the surgeries she had gone through she might not be the same person she used to be. He knew that knowing her better, that knowing the real her and not the image of her he had created in his mind could change his perception of her. He was aware of all these things, but he also knew something else: he loved her and he the feeling was growing stronger with every day. He fell in love with some ideal, astonishingly beautiful nymph that lived on a pedestal and looked down on everyone. The better he knew her and the more time he spent with her, the more he knew that she wasn’t what he had thought. Each next day she seemed to be prettier than the previous one, but he knew she was no ideal and no perfect. However, he also knew now that she had a lot of warmth to offer, her choice of cute smiles seemed limitless and the touch of her gentle hands was sweet. She was not what he had thought she was—she was better than that and each new day strengthened his feelings for her.

For his heart it was too late to change anything. As for his mind—it wouldn’t want to change anything.



Lakat, Eheen, Cardassia Prime




Jarol stood in the opened door to her child’s old room and observed her son packing his things.

They had come to Lakat several days earlier. Both Jarol and Demok wanted to spend some time with his grandparents, Tiron Demok’s mother and father and Jarol’s father, who now lived with them in Demoks’ family house. Jarol had thought that she was quite lucky in life: she had a loving Dad, she had loving in-laws, she had a loving brother—as she considered Arenn her brother—and finally a loving...someone in Hatinn Toral’s person. They all had been taking care of her for whole this month, which was just coming to an end. The next day she was supposed to board her little ship and return to the station. Was she ready for that?

She knew the conversation that she was just about to have with her son would be all but simple.

“Laran,” she said. He stopped packing and looked at her. “There is something we have to talk about.”

He put his clothes away and sat next to the bag on the bed. “Yes, Mom?”

She entered the room and sat next to him. There was so around way about this, so she went straight to the point. “You will stay in Lakat.”

“What?!”

“You will stay here, in Lakat. You’re not going with me to Rayak Nor. I’ll help you find another apprenticeship.”

He stood up and looked at her, putting his hands on his hips. “What? Why?”

“The station is too dangerous. I don’t want you there.” She wouldn’t make the same mistake, not again. Her children and space stations were not a good combination.

He shook his head. “No, Mom. I’m returning home with you.”

This is your home.” She waved around her. “Besides, aren’t you happy that you wouldn’t have to work for Colissa?”

“She’s not so bad. Besides...” He scratched his cheek. “Mom, I am going home. With you. This—” Now he waved his hand around the room “—was my home for many, many years. But I have moved to Rayak Nor with you and I’m not returning here.”

“Laran, that station is too dangerous.”

“Mother, I am an adult man and you can’t tell me what to do any longer.” He sounded determined.

She rose and touched his cheek. “You think you are such a grown-up. I am your mother, yes. That’s why I have to take care of you and protect you.”

He smiled gently. “I am a grown-up. You have been taking care of me for whole my life. It’s time to reverse the roles. Who will take care of you if I’m in Lakat?”

“Laran...”

“Mom, I’m going with you. I’m going home. If you kick me out from your ship, I’ll follow you in another one. You can’t stop me.”

“Laran...”

“That’s my final word.”

“After whom are you so stubborn?” she asked sighing.

“Hmmm,” he put his finger to his chin and looked up to the ceiling. “Let me think...My not-at-all-stubborn Mommy, perhaps?”

“I worry that something could happen to you.”

He looked at her with a...patronising smile. “Mom, something could happen to me anywhere. Stop worrying, we’re going home!”

“Home,” she repeated bitterly. Was that station really their home?

“Not that I didn’t enjoy our trip, but it’ll be nice to fall asleep in my own bed again.”

“Your bed was destroyed in the explosion.” This explosion that had been supposed to kill her.

“A new bed, then! Even better!” She pulled him to her and hugged him. “I will take care of you, Mom. I promise.”

“I’m not that old, yet,” she muttered, but she smiled to herself. When did her little boy become her protector? Her father had been right when he had told her that she didn’t have a chance of convincing Laran to stay with his grandparents.


tbc
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Old April 11 2011, 03:16 AM   #154
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Oh, dear...I think Toral may have sabotaged his own cause here. If he was supposed to be getting Jarol to go to therapy, then I don't think what he told her about her unease at herself for not regretting killing those men was the right way to go about that at all. Now she won't see that she has a reason to get help; she'll just assume that what everyone else is telling her is wrong.
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Old April 11 2011, 04:01 AM   #155
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"

Chapter 5


Hideki attack fighter Sufar, Cardassian space near Torman star system



Jarol was glad that the long flight back to Rayak Nor was almost over. In a way, she was also glad to be back on the station, although she feared what she would see in the place of her quarters. She knew Zamarran had everything repaired and renewed, but the thought of entering those quarters...it sent shivers down her spine.

She glanced at her son, who skilfully operated the pilot’s console, and her attention was drawn by something small on the sensors console. She rose from the chair in the back and moved forward to sit next to Demok.

“What is it?” he asked, noticing the reading.

“I’m not sure yet.” She attempted to scan the object, when a beep sounded.

“We’re being hailed,” Laran said.

“Open the channel.”

A man appeared on the small screen that was mounted above pilot’s console. A human in a Federation uniform. “This is Captain Lau. Cardassian vessel, do you require assistance?

Why would we require assistance? she wondered. “No, we don’t. Why do you assume we do?”

You are far from any Cardassian outpost, I wondered if you had any problems with navigation or engines.

“We are fine, Captain,” she said. “We took a detour to take a look at a nebula not far from here.”

I see. Please be careful. We have detected Gorgor activity in this region. They are not hostile toward the Federation, but I am not sure of their current relations with Cardassia.”

“I appreciate the warning.” She glanced at Laran.

The Gorgor were strong enough to terrorise the Klingons. The Federation had managed to establish a diplomatic contact with this mysterious race and their relations became quite amicable. The Federation also started to mediate a non-aggression pact between the Gorgor and the Cardassians, but the aliens didn’t like the Union’s less than perfect past. Jarol thought that she wouldn’t want her son to be killed by aliens that held him responsible for crimes she had committed in her lifetime. She wouldn’t like him to be anywhere near them—not until they could be trusted enough not to attack any Cardassian target ‘in defence,’ as they claimed. Maybe she should ask the good captain for assistance anyway? He could take Laran to the station; her son would be safer aboard a bigger ship, a Federation ship. “Actually, Captain...”

Yes?” A courteous smile was plastered to his face. She wasn’t sure if his proposal hadn’t been only a gesture of politeness and not a genuine offer, but she decided to take that risk and go on. The worst thing that could happen would be his refusal.

“Actually...about that assistance. If the Gorgor are somewhere here...I don’t want to risk meeting them. We are from Rayak Nor and the station is our destination.” Maybe it was too much to ask. The Federation starship wasn’t a transportation shuttle after all.

Would you like us to escort you?

“I would like my son to safely arrive there. Aboard your ship.”

Laran rapidly turned to her. “Mom!”

We could take you both aboard and your ship is small enough to fit in our hangar bay.” She glanced at her display. It was a Nova class starship.

“I wouldn’t like to cause any trouble...”

It’s not trouble at all.” He smiled.

“I appreciate that.”

Approach these co-ordinates.” He sent data through the comm. “We will use our tractor beam to lead you to the hangar bay.

“Thank you.”

He signed off.

“Mom!” Her son was clearly angry.

“Don’t ‘mom’ me. I’ll do everything to protect you.”

He only growled. He punched the co-ordinates that Lau had given them and looked ahead, clearly giving her a signal that he wouldn’t talk to her. She knew it would pass, it always did.

Maybe she was overprotective, but she was sure it was the right thing to do. She knew Laran hated her and despised her for everything...for Bajor, for Gul Dukat, for the Dominion, for all wars she had fought in...but she would not fail as a mother, not again. She was a bad, damaged and rotten Cardassian, but she didn’t want that to cause his death at the tentacles of the Gorgor.



USS Leonidas, Cardassian space near Torman star system




Both Cardassians left their small ship to be greeted by Captain Lau and a two-person team of security. Not that he believed he needed any protection from them, but the protocol was the protocol. He hadn’t realised that Ensign Ratos, a Bajoran, had a duty until she reported in the bay with ch’Fess. He didn’t want to draw unwanted attention to complicated Bajoran-Cardassian relations and history, so he didn’t say a word, but he thought it was a very unfortunate circumstance.

The female Cardassian left the vessel first. She stood in front of the captain, half a head taller, and said, “I’m Jarol.” She turned to the younger man—Lau remembered she had called him her son—and introduced him too. “This is Sub-Archon Demok.” Different names, interesting. Didn’t Cardassians have their surnames after their parents?

“Welcome aboard the Leonidas, Ms. Jarol,” he said. “We have prepared quarters for you, but perhaps you’d like a tour of the ship, or eat something first?”

“I appreciate your hospitality,” she smiled. She was reserved, but polite. “We don’t want to cause any difficulties.”

“You aren’t,” he assured her. He was relieved that she didn’t show any specific reaction to his security officers, the female one especially. He gestured toward the exit. “Please follow me.”

In spite of her words that they didn’t need anything, Lau led them to his private dining room in the mess hall with an intention of feeding them. It was time for his dinner anyway.

He observed both Cardassians. The woman made an impression of quiet and very reserved, almost distrustful. Or uncertain. She seemed to consider every word she was just about to say, as if not sure she wouldn’t say something wrong or improper. She moved with a grace of a tigress. He noticed that she observed everything carefully, undoubtedly committing every detail to her photographic memory.

The man was different. He seemed genuinely curious. At first he seemed to resent the presence of security, but he quickly stopped glancing at them—dividing his attention equally to the Bajoran and the Andorian—and turned his attention to the surroundings. His mother had said he was a ‘sub-archon,’ and while Lau was no specialist in Cardassian culture, for some reason he associated it with the law. He assumed he must have heard the word before in that context, although he couldn’t recall any details.

“I’m afraid I can’t offer you a lot of Cardassian dishes,” he said with an apologetic smile when they finally arrived to his dining room. “There aren’t many in our replicator database and they probably wouldn’t taste as good as the real thing.”

“That’s all right.” She sat on the offered chair. “We cause enough trouble anyway.”

“No trouble at all,” he smiled and he meant it. Patrol duty was boring and any deviation from it was welcomed. And a good deed for the Cardassians would look good in his report, too. Another tiny point to present in current Federation-Cardassian treaty talks. And if the treaty would come to fruition, he wouldn’t have to patrol Cardassian border. So, in the end, it seemed that this ‘good deed’ was nothing more than self-service.

“Are they going to stand there?” the young Cardassian, Demok, asked, pointing to the two security officers who stood at the door.

“Our standard protocol requires their presence. Please, don’t think I fear you jump on me and kill me without a reason,” Lau said, raising his hand. “It’s just rules. I don’t make them.”

“Well, yes, but that’s not what I meant,” Demok said. “Aren’t they going to join us?”

Jarol looked at her son a bit surprised, but Lau was sure his face showed more astonishment.

“Do your guards join you?” he asked after a moment.

“No, but I thought...” Demok didn’t finish.

“Please, continue,” the captain encouraged him.

“I thought that in the Federation, with all that equality et al...that you dine together.” Lau had an impression that the Cardassian would blush if it were possible. Or did he? His cheeks turned a bit darker.

He smiled. “On a starship, some formality is required. Also in Starfleet.”

“Oh. Sorry for the stupid question.”

“Not at all! This is our chance to learn more about each other.”

Jarol gave Lau a scrutinising look. Why did she feel so insecure? Did she suspect him of hidden motives? Other than a good report of helping a pair of Cardassians?

She noticed him looking at her, so she smiled. “What kind of food are you going to serve?” she asked.

“A choice of several dishes from different planets. I like variety.” He didn’t finish speaking when another human entered the room with a huge tray in her hands. “Ah.” Lau rose to help her. “Ms. Jarol, Sub-archon Demok, please meet my first officer, Commander tr’Ravhil.” It didn’t escape the captain’s attention that Jarol’s eyes immediately went to his second-in-command’s ears and their barely noticeable pointed tips. Demok didn’t seem to react in any special way to the Romulan surname. Maybe he didn’t know.

The commander put the tray in the middle of the table. “I hope you will enjoy our meal,” she said. She took two mugs and placed them in front of both Cardassians. “I took the liberty of replicating some fish juice for you. I hope it won’t be too awful, but we don’t have any Cardassians aboard, so no need for Cardassian foodstuffs.”

Jarol smiled. “That’s all right. You’re doing a lot already.”

“What’s this?” Demok pointed to some dish.

“Cheesecake,” tr’Ravhil answered. “That’s for dessert.”

“Oh. And this?”

Lau glanced at Jarol, not sure what do say.

The Cardassian woman replied, “This is hasperat.”

“That Bajoran spicy thing?” the sub-archon made sure.

“Yes,” she confirmed. Lau wondered if she knew it for the most obvious reason—that she had been there, on Bajor, during the occupation.

But the young man didn’t seem to notice—or care—that his first, or rather second, choice might bring some difficult subjects. To took a piece and placed on his plate. Then he realised that the table was silent. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked looking around and a bit worried.

“No,” Lau smiled, shaking his head. “I hope you’ll like it. And make sure you have some cold water to help you with it. It’s the real thing, not replicated.”

“Let’s eat fire.” Demok put the first bite into his mouth and...his eyes watered a moment later. His mother, without even looking at him, handed him a glass of water that tr’Ravhil had passed to her. “Oh, gapgar!”

“Laran,” Jarol growled in a very motherly tone, not unlike Lau’s own mother. “Mind your tongue.”

He sent her a sheepish smile and muttered, “Sorry.” He then turned to one of guards, the young Bajoran ensign. “Do you eat this every day?”

She shook her head, attempting to mask her amusement with a serious face. “No, not every day.”

“Why do you eat this at all?”

She grinned. “It’s delicious!”

“Aha,” he muttered sceptically. After that he turned back to the table. He took a clean plate and put some hasperat on it. Then, he rose and approached the Bajoran. “Here, have some. I certainly won’t try again. Ever.”

She chuckled and glanced at her captain. Lau nodded, so she took the offered plate.

“Seems like our guests don’t want it to be so formal. Come on, join us!” The captain invited two security officers.

Jarol observed her son. Lau wondered if she minded his contact with Ensign Ratos. She looked at the human. “I’m sorry, Captain. If I knew he would ruin your chain of command, I would have left him locked on my ship.”

“No worries,” he grinned. “I’m not a one that loves following the protocol anyway.” He winked.

They chatted. Lau asked Demok about his title and then more about Cardassian judiciary system. Then Demok started a heated discussion with Ensign Ratos about Bajoran and Cardassian culinary customs and why people ate spicy things.

Lau observed them for a moment; then he leaned to Jarol and quietly said, “It’s not every day that you see a Cardassian and a Bajoran chatting without any concealed animosity.”

She glanced at the two young people. “Let’s hope they are the rule and not an exception.”

He looked at her like on a newly discovered, fascinating spacial anomaly. “It’s interesting to hear such words from a Cardassian.”

“I don’t want my son to hate everyone, or to be hated by everyone.”

Lau smiled. “I guess we all want what’s the best for our children,” he said.

“Do you have any?”

“Three. One at the Academy, two still at school. Do you have only one? I thought Cardassians liked their families big.”

“I had two more. But they are gone.”

She bravely tried to hide her pain, but he could clearly see it. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.” And to think he had assumed that conversing about a family would be a safe subject.

“You couldn’t have known.” She made a poor attempt to smile. Her son noticed something was wrong and glanced at the captain with raised eye ridges. “Let’s change the subject,” she said.

“Of course. How about a toast?” He raised his glass of juice. “To all our children.”

Demok held his cup of fish juice high. “To me!” he shouted and everyone started to laugh.

Jarol decided to stay aboard her ship in the hangar bay, but her son accepted the offer of quarters. He didn’t mind that guards would have to be posted outside his door any longer.

Lau was in his ready room, when the bell chimed.

“Enter.”

Oh, he knew that expression. Tr’Ravhil was bothered by something. She sat in the guest chair and scrutinised him for a moment. “You’re up to something,” she said eventually.

“Why do you say so?”

“You offered our assistance in taking them to that station too easily.”

“I’m just a nice guy.”

“Ah Hei.” She said his name in that chastising way, as if saying ‘I know you plan something naughty.’

“All right, all right.” He raised his hands, palms outward, in a defence gesture. “I want to ask her for something.”

“So, you want to take advantage of her position.”

“Position? What position?”

The commander rolled her eyes. “Who’s in command of Rayak Nor?”

“Gul Jarol.”

“And who is our guest?”

“Ms. Jarol.”

“Didn’t you notice any similarities in the names?”

“It’s the same name; I’m not that stupid. What’s your point? I assume it’s his wife. Wives have their husband’s ears, so maybe if I whispered something to hers, she could whisper something to his.”

“‘His’? Who are you talking about?”

“Her husband.”

Lack of comprehension was obvious on tr’Ravhil’s face. It disappeared after a moment. “Did you check Gul Jarol’s profile?”

“No. Should I? He’s a commander of the nearest Cardassian outpost. That’s all I need to know.”

“Computer, display Gul Jarol’s profile on the captain’s personal terminal. Include a photo.”

The computer acknowledged and a moment later Lau’s display lightened. “Oh, shit!” he exclaimed.

“Now you know.”

“Lau to engineering.” His first officer gave him an asking look, but he ignored her.

Selka Jonsdottir here.”

“How long will it take to reach the Cardassian station Rayak Nor?”

“About five more hours, sir.”

“Selka, make it two days. Find some diagnostic that wouldn’t let us enter warp, or something like that. Two days.”

Err, yes sir.” His engineer’s voice sounded very uncertain but he was glad she didn’t ask for details.

Tr’Ravhil, on the other hand, had questions marks painted on her face. “What the heck are you doing?”

“I need her. We need her. Don’t you see? This is my chance to do something about that damn planet and I’m not going to waste that chance!”

“Ah Hei, you ask for trouble,” he said in a low tone.

“Maybe. But this woman could be my solution. She has power, she has manpower, she has a station. She’s not a shy housewife, for whom I had taken her. She’s what I need!”

“You realise that she can take her small ship and leave when she learns how long it would take us to reach her station.”

“I have to try it, Narkis, I have to.”

She smiled. “I know. You’re not a giving-up type.”

“But you know,” he said slowly, tapping the tip of his nose, “she doesn’t behave like a Cardassian gul.”

“Maybe she travels incognito. Maybe she didn’t want you to know who she is.”

“I never met any Cardassian before, but what I heard of their guls is that they all are impossibly arrogant and self-centred. She didn’t even use her rank when introducing herself!”

“True, she’s different. Her son certainly is a friendly fellow.”

“Do you think she used to serve on Bajor?”

“You have her profile in front of your nose, you tell me.”

Lau leaned closer to the screen. “Oh, my God,” he moaned. He glanced at tr’Ravhil, who raised her eyebrow—as round as his, in spite of her Romulan heritage. “Her two children and her husband had been killed by the Bajoran resistance.”

“And yet she raised her third son without any bias toward them.” The commander clearly didn’t even try to conceal the admiration in her voice. “I’m not sure I would be that generous.”

“I need her help.”

“Do you think you could convince her to your plan within two days?”

“I hope so. I really hope so.”

“Do you have a plan, yet?”

“No, not yet. But I’ll work on it.”

Tr’Ravhil—shaking her head with disapproval—left his ready room, leaving him alone. He started to study his guest’s profile. And that was one interesting read!
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Old April 11 2011, 04:01 AM   #156
Gul Re'jal
Commodore
 
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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"

Jarol couldn’t sleep. At first she had fallen asleep as soon as her head found itself in the horizontal position, but then she had had dreams. Nightmares, rather.

Corat chased her with angry look in his tiny face. Mayel stood there, her thin arms crossed on her chest, shaking her head with disapproval. And then adult Laran came and scooped them both. ‘Bad Cardassian,’ he barked to Jarol and turned away with the intention to leave. ‘Droplet,’ she called him but he ignored her. She called him again. He stopped and turned to her. His siblings disappeared. He wore an archon’s robe. ‘I hate you,’ he said. ‘I always hated you and I always will.’ ‘But I try so hard,’ she told him. He laughed with contempt. ‘You can’t erase the past. What has been done, cannot be undone.’ He stretched his hand, pointing to a door without walls around it. ‘I sentence you to childless, loveless and long life of pain and shame. Now go and never bother us again.’ She lowered her head and walked toward the door, but the closer she was, the farther away the door moved. She started to run. Finally, she reached the door and opened it. Baby Laran sat there on the ground...with a small toy, a doll. A doll in silver armour and with her face. That day...he wore clothes and looked just like that day when she had donned her legate armour for the first time. He threw away the doll, got up and walked away. When he was quite far, he stopped, turned to her and in his adult voice shouted, ‘No love for you!’

Then she woke up. And couldn’t sleep any longer. She feared to close her eyes. She curled up and wept. She wished there was someone she could ask for help, for directions what to do, because whatever she was doing now was not enough, not sufficient. Useless.




Demok woke up quite rested. And thirsty. He looked at the replicator, but wasn’t sure if it wasn’t turned off. Maybe their protocol required to shut down a device that could produce weapons if the guest was a non-Federation species.

“Computer, status of the replicator in my quarters,” he demanded.

The replicator works within normal parameters with restrictions.”

He rose and went to the device of a funny, rectangular shape. “Replicator, water.” Should he enter some access code? Or would the payment be added to some kind of bill that he would be presented with later? He didn’t care, he was thirsty! He grabbed the glass and quickly emptied it.

Wait a second...shouldn’t they have arrived to the station by now? What time was it?

“Demok to Jarol.”

Yes, Droplet.” She answered almost immediately. Her voice sounded rough and tired. Didn’t she sleep at all?

“Mom, you’re ok?”

I’m fine. How did you sleep?

“Great.” He didn’t have to ask to know that she couldn’t say the same. “Why are we not at the station, yet? Shouldn’t we have arrived a few hours ago?” They were supposed to wake him up. He felt his irritation with himself rising: he shouldn’t have gone to sleep in the first place!

The captain had informed me that they have some technical difficulties. But we’re on our way.”

“I see. I’ll bring you some breakfast.” As soon as I know how to get one, he thought. He wasn’t sure the replicator would allow him to replicate much more than water. There had to be some restrictions, the computer had said it itself.

Or...not... The Federation was rich, he recalled, they didn’t need to ration their food or their resources. Maybe he could order anything and would get anything.

I’m not hungry, Droplet. But you eat something.

“Mom, you’re all right?” There was something in her voice; he couldn’t put his finger on it but he was sure that something was terribly off. He didn’t wait for her answer. “I’ll be there with some breakfast. No discussion. You will eat. A salad. Lots of awful green and purple plants. Deal?”

Do I have a choice, sir?

“Absolutely not. And if you resist, I’ll report it to Gul Brenok and Gul Toral and then you’ll be in real trouble.”

I love you.

He knew he won. “I love you, too.”

No, you don’t,” she said, but before he found voice to protest, she disconnected.

“I don’t?” he asked himself aloud. Her voice didn’t have even a shadow of a joke; she sounded so serious when she said it, as if she really meant it. Serious and resigned. But how could she believe in such a ridiculous thing?! “Computer, display the list of salads that are edible for a Cardassian.” The list was quite long. “Computer, limit the list to most popular options.” He chose two and replicated them. For a moment he pondered if not to share a salad with her. Him eating greens would certainly cheer her up, but after a moment of internal fight he decided he was a bad son—he wouldn’t be able to make himself eat all those leaves and roots. He decided to choose something from the database. He scrutinised the list of most popular meat dishes. “And one...hambombeh.” What kind of name is that? he thought.

Restate request.

He neared his nose to the display. “Ham-boh-ger.”

Restate request.

“Grrrr, you’re worse than my Mom! Ham-bur-ger!”

Choose an option.

“No greens!” he shouted with a triumph.

He placed all food on a tray, which he had found near the replicator, and left the quarters. As he expected, two officers stood outside his door.

“Could you please lead me to the hangar bay?” he asked.

“This way,” one said. Demok followed him with the other officer walking just behind the Cardassian.

‘No, you don’t’ kept ringing in his mind. It hurt, slicing through his heart, not because it was unfair to him, but because she seemed to believe in that. It appeared that she believed her own child, her only child, didn’t love her. Now more than ever he was glad that he hadn’t agreed to stay in Lakat.

Jarol didn’t even comment his choice for breakfast. She only glanced at his hands, dripping with some red and white substances—he remembered one was called catch-up and the other one gah-rr-lick sauce—and continued to eat the salads he had chosen for her.

“Are they good?” he asked.

“Yes. Did you find them in their database?”

“Yes. One is from Earth, the other one—this one—is from Vulcan.”

“I think I must get some interstellar cookbook.”

He glanced at her. He knew it was her attempt to joke, but her voice was so grim and sad that it sounded more like a complaint. “Mom, did you sleep last night? At all?”

“I did.”

“You don’t look like someone who slept.”

“I slept. I didn’t say I slept well.”

It wasn’t the first time, was it? She never complained about it but he was sure it wasn’t the first time that she had spent her night awake. “Maybe you should take a nap, since we’re goi—”

“No!” she snapped, startling him. She must have realised that her reaction was too violent, as she added quieter, “Sorry.”

“Why don’t you want to sleep?”

“I have...nightmares.”

He was under impression that her first choice of word was different, but she managed to rephrase her initial thought to ‘nightmares.’

“Do you want to tell me about them?” he asked. Maybe talking would help her.

She opened her mouth but before she said anything he knew she would refuse. She didn’t have a chance to say it out loud, as the comm beeped.

Lau to Jarol. Please come to my ready room immediately.

“I’m on my way,” she answered.

Both of you. Thank you.”

They left the Sufar and exited the hangar bay, accompanied by four security officers; two were Demok’s, two—his mother’s.

The sub-archon wondered what the captain might want of them. His voice sounded urgent. The Gorgor? The Klingons?

The ready room was small; smaller even than his mother’s office on Rayak Nor. The captain and his aide were inside, waiting for the Cardassians.

“What is the problem?” Jarol asked not even trying to hide the worry in her voice.

“Please sit down,” Lau pointed to the sofa. “Something has happened on Cardassia.” Demok noticed that his mother shifted in place. “Our news broadcast relayed the information. I’m sure it’s not as detailed as your broadcast would be, but it will tell you what you need to know.”

He nodded to tr’Ravhil and she pressed some button on a big display on the wall.

Demok had never watched a non-Cardassian news report before. It wasn’t that much different from a Cardassian report, if not the diverse faces on the screen. He noticed that Cardassians on the screen were left untranslated and characters—Federation Standard letters—appeared on the bottom of the screen. Subtitles. He couldn’t read them, but he didn’t have to; he understood perfectly what was being said. And he wished the woman said something else.

The news reported Legate Daset’s death. The cause was a heart failure; the legate’s wife said that he had had problems with his heart for years, but had been hiding it. Finally, the heart had failed.

Demok glanced at his mother. She watched the news sitting still, her eyes glued to the screen. The young Cardassian knew that she had worked closely with Daset for years in their time in the Central Command and also before that, when they both had served aboard the Roumar. They weren’t close, they weren’t even friends, but knowing someone for such a long time personally didn’t make his or her death a small event, friends or not.

The report was short—Demok imagined that news broadcasts on Cardassia didn’t report anything else—but it was obviously given a lot of importance.

“I’m sorry,” Lau said, after the screen went blank. “I understand that you knew him.”

Jarol only nodded. She seemed to be lost in thoughts for a moment. Then she rose. “Thank you for informing me, Captain.”

“Not a problem. I would like to ask you something, though.”

She was already on her way to the door, but stopped and turned to him. “Yes?”

“As soon as this information became official, the Cardassian Central Command suspended the treaty talks with the Federation. Does his death change our relations?”

She shook her head and smiled weakly. “No, Captain. Daset had nothing to do with the current politics or where it’s headed. I cannot tell for certain, as I am not there, but I believe it’s because of the mourning time. Cardassia has just lost one of its leaders, one that had been its leader for twenty years. It doesn’t matter that he had stepped down from his role and withdrawn himself from the political world. He used to be a big figure and will always remain one.”

“I see. That is, of course, understandable.” She resumed her motion toward the door. “Ms. Jarol, maybe you would accept my offer of quarters. I’m sure your ship is great, but quarters would be more comfortable. Especially since this trip will take longer than expected.”

“No, thank you.”

“Of course, it’s your prerogative to leave our protection and reach your destination sooner.”

She glanced at her son and then at the human. “I prefer safety to speed.”

The captain nodded and both Cardassians left his ready room.

Demok walked next to his mother. “Mom, what’s going on on Cardassia now?”

“I don’t know, Droplet. I imagine they started preparations to his funeral. Maybe the Time of Mourning would be declared, but I was never fond of this.”

“Why? Wouldn’t be proper to pay him respects?”

“It would but you can’t force people to mourn someone’s death. It has to come from their hearts, not from a decree.”

“Will you mourn him?” he asked.

“I will add him to the long list of my deaths to mourn,” she answered.

He didn’t understand what she meant but one look at her face told him not to ask farther. He knew something was bothering her tremendously, he wasn’t sure, though, if it would be a good idea to keep dragging it out of her. He hoped that she would share when she’d be ready for that. If not with him, then with someone else.

Would he mourn Daset? He didn’t know the man that well, he had met him only several times, so his personal experience with the late legate wasn’t that much different from an average Cardassian’s. But he knew Daset brought a change, a huge change, to the Union. He also knew Daset was the head of the Shift and its designer; and later made himself the head of the government. He knew Daset came with many ideas for the new law that was currently in force, including limiting the head of the Central Command’s role in decision-making process.

That’s for the official stand. As for the less official: Demok knew that Uncle Arenn hated Daset with all his heart for something that had happened between them before Demok was born. Daset had respected Brenok, but the gul was never able to forgive the legate whatever the legate had done to him.

All logic aside, Demok felt that something had happened; something that could change Cardassia. It wasn’t the first time the Union lost its leader—even a former leader—but this time it was a leader that had been respected by a lot of people for his post-war work. And hated by others for the same work. Would Demok mourn Daset?

No.



tbc
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Old April 11 2011, 04:19 AM   #157
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

"HAM-BUR-GER!"

Sorry...I had to.

And have you been spying when I go out to eat? Laran's order is MY order!

(Oh, and I realized I've actually DONE the "Meat! Meat! Meat!" chant at the table before, with my dad, that you did in the writing prompt over at Ad Astra!)

Is the Time of Mourning usually a custom where all government work stops? In other words, would this be standard operating procedure regardless of whether a treaty was being negotiated?

As for "that damn planet," I suspect this captain has a problem with what happened at Mazita. If he detains her, though, or even attempts to delay...oh dear. Seems like Jarol almost never gets to meet the GOOD Federation types (except Ronus and Av'Roo). That won't be good for her mindset.
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Old April 11 2011, 04:48 AM   #158
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
"HAM-BUR-GER!"

Sorry...I had to.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Is the Time of Mourning usually a custom where all government work stops? In other words, would this be standard operating procedure regardless of whether a treaty was being negotiated?
Yes, it would be "slowing down" everything. I suppose Gortan tried to explain that to the Federation representatives, but in such cases it's so easy for misunderstanding. And of course Captain Lau is not informed of any details, he's just an ordinary captain, no Picard-level commander.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
As for "that damn planet," I suspect this captain has a problem with what happened at Mazita. If he detains her, though, or even attempts to delay...oh dear. Seems like Jarol almost never gets to meet the GOOD Federation types (except Ronus and Av'Roo). That won't be good for her mindset.
You'll see soon. The next chapter will follow in a few moments.
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Old April 11 2011, 04:56 AM   #159
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

So were you thinking of that scene when Laran placed his order?
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Old April 11 2011, 05:11 AM   #160
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

No, I wasn't. I'm not sure I've seen that film
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Old April 11 2011, 05:11 AM   #161
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 6


Attack fighter Sufar aboard USS Leonidas, unclaimed territory near the Cardassian border




Tiron Demok looked at her with a frown. He had his hands on his hips and kept stomping his foot in impatience. “Why?” he barked. “Why did you make this poor choice?” She shook her head. “Which choice?” she asked. “I’ve made a lot of poor choices.” “Isn’t it obvious?!” he yelled; his shout rang in her ears like a bell. She shook her head again, not understanding. “You’re so stupid!” he growled. “I mean: why did you choose a boy? Don’t you know boys die in wars?” She protested, “But he is a good boy! I’ll take care of him.” “Like you took care of the younger two?” She covered her mouth with her hand. He was right, he was so right! “You should have chosen to have a girl!” he boomed for the last time and dissolved in the air.

She opened her eyes and stared at the dark ceiling of the tiny sleeping room aboard the Sufar. Another vision, another message. She had problems with interpreting this one. Did she do something wrong, raising Laran? Or Tiron feared losing another son in war and that’s why he preferred to have a daughter? Would he reject Laran? She wouldn’t believe that, Tiron would love his child. He would be a good father.

She sat. She knew what it meant and she knew what to do about it. She had to set Laran free.

She did not dare close her eyes again.

She spent the rest of the night reading. She skipped breakfast; she wasn’t hungry. She didn’t even feel especially tired, considering that she hadn’t slept a full-night sleep for a few days. Her visions intensified and they started to overwhelm her. If she was to start mending her mistakes, she needed time and they weren’t giving her any. They expected her to have everything done within a day and gave new instructions each night. It was too fast.

Or, perhaps, she just looked for excuses for her inability of doing the things right? Instead of trying harder, she wanted to find an easy way out?

She loathed herself.

Lau to Jarol,” sounded the comm.

“Jarol here.”

I hope I didn’t wake you up, but I have an angry Cardassian gul here and maybe it would be better if you talked to him.”

“I will.”

Please come to the bridge.”

Followed by her Starfleet escort, she arrived to the bridge within minutes.

“Good morning and thank you,” Lau greeted her with a smile. She thought that this man seemed to always be in a good mood. He turned to one of his officers and gave a sign she didn’t understand. “Let’s not keep him waiting any longer.”

“On screen,” the officer reported.

The face of the viewer improved Jarol’s mood. A genuine smile appeared on her face.

Lau said, “As I promised, Gul Zamarran, we have a good reason to be so close to your borders.” He gestured to Jarol to address the Cardassian on the screen.

Zamarran’s face first brightened at the sight of her, then his frown deepened. “Legate Jarol,” he nodded to her. “Do you need any assistance? I was just asking Captain Lau Wah Hei for his reasons to enter the safe zone.” The safe zone was a part of space that both powers had agreed to never claim as their own not to cause any tensions regarding territorial misunderstandings.

She made a mental list of things to address. “Gul Zamarran,” she said courtly; it was a real pleasure to address him by his rank, which he worked so hard to achieve and deserved like no one else. “I am a gul now, so please address me according to my rank. And no, I don’t need any assistance. Captain Lau has offered it and that is his reason of entering the safe zone. He will deliver us to the station.”

Do you want me to send a ship for you?

She glanced at Lau and he smiled. “I don’t think that will be necessary,” she said, looking back to the screen.

Understood. Zamarran out.

She looked at the human commander. “Captain, Gul Zamarran wasn’t angry. He just...looks that way.”

“He could have fooled me,” Lau grinned.

“Believe me, he is a decent man. Only doesn’t smile often enough.”

“I never thought that he wasn’t decent. But I thought it would make it much simpler if you talked to him.”

“And it did.” She paused. “A cultural enquiry, if you don’t mind?”

“I don’t.”

“I noticed he addressed you using your full name and...your surname seems to be first, followed by other names. Is there a particular reason why you adopter a Bajoran style?”

Lau smiled. “It’s an Earth style. In my culture the family name comes first, as the most important, and after that are given names.”

“Really?” She found it interesting.

“Our names are a fascinating thing, Ms. Jarol. I’ll give you another example: my chief engineer is from a nation that doesn’t have surnames at all.” She gave him a look full of disbelief. He continued, “They use their given names and describe themselves using their father’s name. My engineer’s name is Selka Jonsdottir, which in fact means ‘Selka, daughter of Jon’. If you wouldn’t know that, you would be under impression that everyone addresses her by her given name, instead of her surname. But she doesn’t have a surname, so the given name is what you should use.”

Jarol didn’t hide her fascination. “Like the Klingons. That’s interesting.” She looked around. “But I take you away from your duties. I’ll return to my ship now.”

“That’s all right, Ms. Jarol. We can continue this conversation over meal later.”

Didn’t her presence on his bridge bother him? Or was he hiding it so well? Maybe she shouldn’t be so suspicious, maybe—probably—she was imagining things, but she had that feeling that his friendliness wasn’t completely genuine, that there was something hiding behind it, that it was his attempt to mask his true intentions.

She walked back to her Hideki, completely ignoring her Starfleet shadows, thinking about Laran, Captain Lau and Rayak Nor. She knew why she didn’t mind to spend so much time aboard the Leonidas: it wasn’t only a matter of safety from the Gorgor, the main cause was that her return to the station was postponed. She was so glad to had seen Zamarran, but it only reminded her that her old life waited there for her to be resumed and she wasn’t so sure she wanted that. Zamarran, as far as she knew, was doing fine commanding the station. After all, he had been in command when it had been under attack and Rayak Nor was still there, which was the best proof that whatever decisions he had made, they had been the correct ones. And now, when Rayak Nor lost its military importance and became just another Cardassian station—at least until the Klingons decide that they didn’t want peace with the Union any longer—it didn’t require a tactician in command.

She didn’t know what to do with her life. She knew what were her tasks and what she had to do to achieve them, but all those things were unrelated to her work and everyday functioning. She was lost; she had no idea where she belonged.

Maybe nowhere...




Captain Lau wasn’t sure if it was the time to put his plan to action, or not yet. He didn’t want to rush, he didn’t want to lose this great opportunity, but he also knew that Jarol wasn’t stupid—she had to suspect he wanted something from her. She had to know.

He had decided to play her game and kept calling her ‘Ms. Jarol’ without using her rank. If she wanted it that way, it was her prerogative. Maybe the Cardassian cut a clear line between duty business and private matters. She didn’t wear her armour, equals: she shouldn’t be addressed as ‘gul.’

Tr’Ravhil kept reminding him to be careful. She claimed that Jarol was not to be trusted. Maybe her ‘incognito’ way of travelling was caused by some danger, or other less-than-innocent reasons. Jarol was a powerful woman and crossing her way wouldn’t be smart.

Lau wasn’t sure. He had read—studied in detail, in fact—her profile and all information that was available in the Federation database; it was a huge file with a lot of red-marked warnings. However, the woman he had aboard seemed not to be the same person. Gul Jarol used to be in their Central Command, one of toughest legates to deal with when they came out of their isolation four years ago. He had watched a footage with her speech, the only one that was available in the database, and he saw there the woman whom the profile described. He didn’t see that same woman on his ship. Ms. Jarol was quiet, avoiding company and keeping mostly to herself. No long speeches, no posturing, no demands, no aggression.

Or maybe it was Gul Jarol’s twin sister?

Or an imposter? Did he harbour an imposter of a Cardassian gul aboard his ship?

He shook his head, dismissing the thought.

Her son, the future judge, seemed to be an opposite of his mother. Open, cheerful, curious and also overprotective of his parent. There was little about him in the database; he was just another Cardassian kid, like millions of others.

Lau arrived to the hangar bay. Two officers were on sentry duty near the Cardassian ship. They greeted their captain. He wondered how to announce his arrival. Knock? Well, it was worth to try.

The trap opened before his knuckles reached the hull—he assumed Jarol had seen him through some visual feed—and she looked at him surprised. “Captain Lau?”

“I would like to talk to you, if you have a moment,” he said and just then noticed Demok’s head leaning from behind her. “Or do I interrupt something?”

“No, you don’t.” She moved aside to let him in. “Perhaps we should go to your office; it would seem to be a more comfortable and appropriate setting.”

“Actually, being out of computer’s ears range is something I...seek.”

She seemed intrigued.

“Shall I leave?” Demok asked and started to raise.

Lau stretched his hand. “No, please stay. A lawyer’s presence is advisable.”

Jarol closed the trap, locking them inside the Hideki. “Will we talk about breaking the law?”

“Err...yes and no.”

“You either break the law or not; it can’t be both,” Demok said in a tone that clearly indicated that he believed in his profession. The captain noticed that his mother looked at him with a frown that also expressed pain or worry.

Lau mustered a placating smile. “I agree.” He sat on the chair that Jarol offered him. “But we will talk about two different systems.”

“You want to break either Cardassian, or Federation law,” the sub-archon guessed.

“I don’t want to break the Federation law and I don’t want you to break the Cardassian law.” He paused. “I want you to break the Federation law, which doesn’t apply to you anyway.”

Both Cardassians looked at each other.

“Go on,” Jarol said.

“First a question to Mr. Lawyer here.” Lau gazed at Demok. “Do you have anything in the form of the Federation’s Prime Directive?”

The reply was short and firm. “No.”

“Good. So you wouldn’t break your law.”

“Why do you want us to violate the Prime Directive?” Jarol asked.

“Because I’m a coward.” He couldn’t believe he had said that. “I want to do something, but I fear facing court martial.”

“Why breaking the Prime Directive is necessary?”

“Because if we...if you don’t do this, millions of lives would be lost.”

The Cardassians looked at each other again. Lack of their negative reactions gave birth to a hope: maybe they would agree...maybe she would agree to this.

“Captain...” Jarol hesitated. “Before we go into details, I’d like to discuss it with my son. Would that be all right?”

“Of course!” he assured her. He was actually glad that she didn’t take the whole matter lightly. “I’ll leave you now, but please, let me know of your decision, whatever it might be.”

“We will,” she said.
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Old April 11 2011, 05:11 AM   #162
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

“What do you think?” she asked her son after the captain left.

“I am not sure.” He grinned. “I think you could have asked for a few more details. Right now I can’t say much.”

“Would helping him in breaking his law means any troubles with law for us?” She didn’t want her son to be involved in anything that could ruin his career. And she didn’t want to add anything more to her tally—that was long enough and her whole lifetime wouldn’t be enough to clean it.

“It really depends on what he wants from us, Mom. It seems that he wants to help someone—a lot of someones—but it would mean violating the Federation’s Prime Directive. He doesn’t want to be in trouble, but he also doesn’t want to leave things as they are. He asks us to help him to help those people and he hopes that helping them wouldn’t be violating our laws.”

“Would it be?”

“Not that I’m aware of, but I also don’t know all details and don’t know what that help would involve.”

“I want you to stay out of it, Droplet,” she said in a firm voice.

He didn’t say anything. She guessed he understood why she insisted for him not to take part in something that could be considered illegal in any way. She was glad he didn’t fight with her on that.

“There is one thing I wonder about,” she said after a moment. “How our help would influence Federation-Cardassian treaty talks.”

“Well, Mom, you were a politician, you should know that better than me.”

She had to admit he was right, but she didn’t trust her own judgement any more. She made so many wrong decisions in her life that she couldn’t afford making even one more. Not for her sake, but for her son’s life and career and for her older children forgiveness. They would never stop hating her if, instead of fixing things, she would keep breaking everything.

“Laran, there is one more thing we need to talk about,” she said. She felt tears filling her eyes. She had made her decision but she had no idea it would be so difficult to actually do it.

“Yes, Mom.”

‘Mom.’ She loved that word. She loved hearing it from his mouth, in his voice.

It had to stop.

“Laran, you are an archon. As an archon, your life must be spotless, your past must be spotless. You must be clear like a...droplet of water.” He observed her patiently. She took a breath. “I have broken the law many times. This makes the droplet polluted. You...” She paused and took another sharp breath. “You must disown me.”

He jumped to his feet, outraged. “Don’t you ever, ever speak of it again!” he shouted. “Ever!”

“This is the only way...” she moaned.

“I have no father, you want me to forget my mother?! What kind of son would that make me! No! You are my mom. Nothing can change that and I certainly wouldn’t try!” He spat droplets of saliva, shouting at her. He was furious. She hoped he would understand that this was the right thing to do; he just needed to calm down and think it over.

He would understand that this was the only way. He would.

He silenced. He stood there, breathing heavily, looking at her. Quietly, he started to speak. “‘Cardassian Penal Code, Chapter Seventeen, Section Eight, Subsection Two, Clause One: No citizen shall be held responsible for actions, criminal or otherwise, committed by his or her family members, including his or her parents and grandparents, or other immediate relatives.’ You made that law.” He pointed a finger at her, using plural pronoun, therefore clearly meaning Daset’s government or her generation, but not her personally. “You made sure this became a rule.” He silenced and waited for her reaction, but since none came, after a long moment of staring at each other he leaned to her and kissed her on the cheek. “Love you but too angry to talk to you now,” he said and left the ship.

She was disappointed. He had to understand that this was the best for him. He had to...




Captain Lau put a bowl full of colourful ingredients in front of Jarol and another one in front of Demok.

The Cardassian woman stared at the content of the bowl. “This is a decoration or for eating?” she asked.

“This is bibimbap,” Lau said. “Fried rice with vegetables. Here.” He handed her a small bowl with red paste. “This is called gochujang. It’s spicy, so it’s up to you how much you want to add. You may opt not to add at all. Then you mix everything and eat with a spoon.”

She followed his instructions and tried to dish. “Tasty,” she said.

Her son suspiciously touched green kale with his spoon. He then added a little of red spicy bean paste and mixed everything. His face mirrored his mother’s.

“I’m glad you like it,” Lau smiled.

They ate in silence for a moment.

“Captain Lau,” Jarol said, putting away her spoon. “I would like to hear more about your Prime Directive dilemma.”

Lau felt relief. He waited for her reaction and he was glad it were more questions and not closing the subject. “I don’t want to get into too many details, yet, but I can tell you about the general situation.

“The Leonidas was on a scientific mission and one of our tasks was to monitor a society. A pre-warp society. We’ve been studying them for some time now and they are very close to reach that specific requirement for the first contact.

“Their planetary system, however, is in danger. There is a problem with their star. Due to heavy mining activity of the Talarians, the sun became unstable. It’s only a matter of time when it becomes a supernova. The Federation is not allowed to help those people, because they are pre-warp and didn’t ask for help. Our hands are tied.

“There is a chance, though. Their society is divided between two options: in favour of starting to explore the space and against it. Currently the planet it ruled by the latter option, but I was thinking...of a...kind of interference. To help them to choose the other option and after that the Federation could initiate the first contact and start working on solving the problem.”

He silenced an observed her. He knew that his idea was terribly risky and not morally clean, but if his self-respect was the price for saving a whole planet of sentient beings, then he called it a bargain. He knew she had been an active participant of the coup that took place on Cardassia after the Dominion War, so he hoped she wouldn’t have moral doubts, as he did. He needed her. He needed someone, who would tell the Rathosians that there was an unlimited cosmos of miracles that waited for them and he was not allowed to do that himself. His insistence to save them was the reason why his ship had been sent here to a boring patrol mission. Starfleet command wanted him as far from the Rathosians as possible.

“Let me make it clear,” she said slowly. “You want me to become someone’s Dominion?” The shock and contempt in her voice were more than clear.

“No, Ms. Jarol. I don’t want you to take them over. I don’t want you to involve yourself in their politics personally. I just want you to contact their leaders—those in favour of space travel—and encourage them to try harder to get power and then put their ideas of exploration to life.”

She leaned back in her chair and scrutinised him. “You want me to tell them to take power. To remove the other ones.”

The way she put it sounded so harsh, but he had to admit that as much as he didn’t like the sound of it, it was correct.

“Yes.”

“Out of the question,” she said sharply.

He didn’t expect such a reaction. He considered that she might refuse for whatever reason, but this? “Ms. Jarol, you know how to do such things. You had done it in the past. I don’t want you to—” He wanted to tell her that he didn’t want any forceful solution and violent actions. He only wanted her to tell them that it was important to try to win their saymic elections, but she didn’t let him.

“I won’t do it! This is wrong!” She abruptly rose and left the captain’s dining room.

Lau looked at Demok, who stared after his mother with an infinite astonishment.

“I didn’t realise this was a sensitive matter to talk about,” the captain said in an apologetic tone.

The Cardassian looked at him. “It never had been.”

A moment later she was back. “Laran, take your food and finish eating in your quarters.”

“What?” He would be even more surprised if it was possible.

“Do what I say,” she said in a demanding tone, not looking at him but at Lau. Her order seemed to mean a lot, since the young man took his bowl, put the spoon inside and left the room without any more word.

Jarol sat. “I’ll help you, but I have one condition that is not negotiable.”

“I’m listening.”

“You will keep my son away from this.”

“Deal.”

“There is also one more thing. I will not participate in any political mess, or cause one. But I have no intention of leaving those people to be destroyed by their own sun that had been exploited by someone else. I will help you, but we have to find another way to do it.”

Lau smiled with relief. “I’m open to ideas.”

“First, I have a question, though. Why can’t you attempt to fix their sun without them knowing? I assume with their limited knowledge they don’t know that the star is unstable. Why can’t you fix it and let them go on living in ignorance of other species?”

“That would also be a violation of the Prime Directive.”

“Why?”

“Because it would influence their natural development.”

“But the problems of their star are not a natural development. They are the result of unnatural mining process.”

“I had presented that argument and the Federation lawyers’ decision stands—it would still mean violating the Prime Directive.”

Her eye ridge arched and a mischievous smiled graced her face. “We don’t answer to your lawyers.”

“Do you mean you would try to repair their sun?”

“Isn’t it easier than playing in local politics?”

“But that would mean you, the Cardassians, would have to do all the work. I didn’t meant to put the burden on your shoulders.”

“That ‘angry’ gul, Zamarran, is a very skilled engineer and designer. I am sure he would love to have a difficult problem to solve and do a good deed at the same time.”

Something changed in her. Suddenly she seemed more relaxed. He asked, “Ms. Jarol, why would you care so much? You know nothing of those people.”

“Five hundred years ago my planet had faced a terrible natural catastrophe. We got lucky, we survived. Natural disaster or not, I would be grateful if someone back then had helped us and prevented it. We wouldn’t be so hungry today. Contrary to what you might think, we, Cardassians, aren’t bloodthirsty monsters. At least...not all of us.”

“I never assumed you were,” he smiled and hoped she believed him for it was the truth.

“Now,” she said, before he could continue. “If you have any data regarding that star, would it be a violation of any directives if you shared it with us? We can gather the data ourselves, but it would take time.”

“It probably would be a violation of something, too, but that’s enough of me being a coward. I’ll share with you what we know.”

“Fine. But remember—my son is not to be involved.”

“I remember. He won’t even know the content of this conversation, unless you tell him yourself.”

“Good. Let’s keep it that way.”

Lau felt relief. He not only didn’t piss off a Cardassian gul, but also had her readiness to help. And in spite of a rough beginning, it was easier than he had thought.





It was such a strange feeling—to watch your own death. To see your own body twisting in convulsions and your face in pain, unable to scream. She was falling apart. First, her heart was removed. It was thrown to the floor and then a small foot in a soldier boot stepped on it, smashing it completely. Corat raised his tiny face to look at her—the other her, the hovering nearby and observing her—and she saw that his face was covered by tiny droplets of the blood that splashed from the bursting heart.

The clatter of a padd falling to the floor woke her up. She hadn’t been even aware that she fell asleep. She picked up the padd; she hadn’t gone very far with her reading and had read merely two pages before drifting away to another vision.

She wished she had a brain damage. She wished she suffered from inability to remember anything and could forget everything a second after experiencing it.

But she remembered every detail and she had to live with it. Until her heart would be torn out and stepped on.

Why were they so angry with her? She was trying so hard. Did her inability to do with things right additionally infuriated them?


tbc
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Old April 11 2011, 05:27 AM   #163
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Man...for a moment, I really thought Jarol was about to lie to her son that she thought it was wrong, and then participate in another coup--this time to do it to aliens (and who knows, maybe Cardassia did that to Bajor). That would've been a crime deserving of execution.

Thankfully she didn't go that route. That showed there's something good in her.

I hope it makes her think, that Lau thought she might be a dangerous tool that could be used to do things that are truly unethical...and I don't mean "against the Prime Directive," because I think the Prime Directive can be really stupid in situations like that. (On that, I think the Federation is wrong.) And these lawyers are doubly stupid. Repairing these people's sun without their knowing should've been the OBVIOUS option. "Natural development" my ass.

But the fact that Lau came to her and said, "Hey, I want you to destabilize an alien government because I know you had no scruples about doing it on your world"...yeah, that's going to really strike a nerve for sure.
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Old April 11 2011, 05:44 AM   #164
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"

Initially, he wanted to ask her for this kind of help because she was a non-Federation citizen. Then, when he discovered who she was, he thought it would be even easier to do that. I suppose he thought it would be easier to make her mess up with Rathosians politics than ask her to perform whole "rescue the sun" operation, as the latter required much more work.

But she knows she can't have her children's love back, if she keeps repeating the same mistakes and wrong things she'd done. As you can see, in each of her "visions" they are still angry with her. Very angry.
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Old April 11 2011, 05:55 AM   #165
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

I so wish AU Dukat could come and make these visions go away. They've gotten progressively worse.

I at least know what he would suspect that her children think: that sometimes they're sad for her, but that's because they love her, not because they hate her. He can't relate fully because I don't think he's had the same sort of problems with his conscience that she has (he's more of a traditional "white knight")--but I know there were times when he really gave himself some guilt trips about the way he conducted himself in the mission that got him captured. (The AU Bajorans attacked and killed his wife and children not long after he was captured.) But he's different in the way he looks at those in the next life. He tends to think that even his little children are still children in their hearts...but wiser than he is, and of course much closer to Oralius than he is.

I think he'd tell her his children aren't angry at her. She is angry at herself.

Of course, in his belief, he might feel that an evil spirit is "assisting" her subconscious by choosing the most hurtful thing possible to try to tear her down and destroy her. And he'd say that Oralius may sometimes rebuke but does not try to destroy a person that way. Jarol would probably laugh at him, because it would sound primitive to her, not knowing his world (where they believe in psychotherapy, medicine, and prayer as all being valid parts of treatment for various conditions...they understand the body and believe in treating it scientifically but also believe in evil spirits).
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