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Old April 22 2011, 02:08 PM   #181
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Oh, my! Aladar is definitely having some fun with all those scientists! I love it!

As for Zamarran and Yassel, I never expected him to react like that to her...disability, is it? I mean, for Kapoor it's different because human minds are expected to work differently, but I never expected him to be tolerant of a Cardassian who for whatever reason has memory trouble.

I also love the way Aladar gets along with the entire crew, whether officer or garesh. Seems he's got the ladies interested in him...are they going to have a contest to see who gets him?

I hate seeing Demok so sad. I may have thought Jarol deserved punishment but I never thought she deserved a disrupted family, especially since that was the part of her that was never corrupted.
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Old April 22 2011, 02:30 PM   #182
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

I think Zamarran just wants a job to be done. If Yassel can fulfil her duties even with her "disability," then he wouldn't make her miserable because of something that isn't really her fault.

Aladar certainly has fun with "his bookworms"
are they going to have a contest to see who gets him?
You mean, exposing the "bluest" in their scales

Demok worries about his mother.
I hesitated to publish that part because of that yuck part
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Old April 22 2011, 05:33 PM   #183
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

For a Cardassian, I would assume that Yassel is considered to have a disability? Given that, it's very nice of Zamarran to realize that she can still be a very good member of his crew. It shows a lot about his character.

As for the gross part...it wasn't THAT gross. There are standards by which gross parts in your stories are measured, and that doesn't even come close.
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Old May 7 2011, 03:51 PM   #184
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Here's a "soundtrack" for CUS Marritza http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58ORw31I5uM You may treat is as a teaser of what is to come


Chapter 10



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge



Zamarran entered the bridge and headed for his chair. “Report,” he demanded.

Torpal raised his head to look at the gul. “We have arrived to Rathosia,” he announced. “And, most likely, we have been scanned.”

“By whom?” Zamarran asked, sitting down.

“By a probe of unknown configuration, but my guess would be that it’s from the planet. The trajectory would confirm that guess.”

Zamarran gave the tactician and asking look. “Aren’t they a pre-warp society?”

“They are. It doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t have the technology to scan the space.” Torpal paused for a moment. “I detect a system of satellites in their orbit.” Another pause. “They didn’t venture to space, but they hardly are uncivilised.”

“So it would seem...” Zamarran muttered. “Are you able to determine how much information their probe gathered?”

“Not without scanning it and I am sure it would set some kind of alarm there.”

“How about passive scans?” Zamarran asked, but he already knew the answer.

“Possible, although we still can’t be sure if it wouldn’t leave any trace.”

The gul hesitated. “Were we very close to that probe?”

“No, sir. It is possible that the probe’s range was too short to notice us, but...it would require a lot of luck.”

“Luck,” Zamarran sighed. “Leave it alone for now, Torpal. And keep away from any other probes and their satellites.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you scan the planet?”

“Affirmative, sir.”

“What can you tell me about it?”

“Most of the planet is covered with oceans and jungle. The climate is mild, although a bit too cool for us. Rich in resources and appears to be almost wild without sentient life. However, we have detected many cities of enormous sizes. They are scattered all around the planet and there doesn’t seem to be any connection between them.”

Torpal had displayed the visual scan on the main viewer and Zamarran looked at the dark-green and dark-blue marble in front of his eyes. It looked as non-Cardassian, as any other planet that he had seen in his life, but something was telling him that Cardassia might have looked just like that before the Great Shift, which had ruined its ecosystem and almost killed them all.

The gul looked back at his tactician. “Is it possible that they are aware of the problems that their sun has? Could that probe be sophisticated enough to detect that?”

“I am not sure, sir. It doesn’t seem it could reach that far soon enough, but I cannot tell for how long they have this technology. For all we know, they might be sending such a probe each year to observe the progress of the deterioration of their star.”

Zamarran was tempted to scan their probe and get his answers, but he wondered if it was a good idea. He looked at Yassel. “What do you think?”

“If the probe detected us, then they already know that we are here. Scanning it wouldn’t change anything, unless we’d want to delete that data. But we don’t know if it wasn’t transmitted to them already through some kind of live feed. If the probe didn’t detect us, then we would introduce ourselves by scanning it.”

“So you think we should leave it alone, because our intervention may bring harm but wouldn’t fix the harm that could have been already done?” She didn’t answer. “Yassel, I ask for your opinion, please speak up.” Zamarran hoped he didn’t sound like a father chastising his daughter.

“I think we should leave it alone, sir,” Yassel said quietly. “We can always return and scan it later. With its speed, it wouldn’t go beyond our reach—ever.”

“Thank you for you input, Glinn.” Zamarran turned back to Torpal. “Is there anything else we want to know about his planet?”

“Negative, Gul.”

“Take us to the star, then. And keep away from the side that faces the planet. I don’t want them to see a mysterious shape on their sun and adjust their telescopes to see better what it is.”

“Yes, Gul,” Torpal confirmed his orders, grinning.

“Sir...” Yassel started, but hesitated.

“Yes, Glinn?” Zamarran looked at her, again, hoping that this time he sounded encouraging.

“I don’t think the Talarians were that careful. The Rathosians might be aware of shapes on their sun by now.”

“Perhaps. But I don’t want to add to their confusion.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Sir...” Torpal tapped at his console for a moment before continuing. “The probe has changed its heading.”

Zamarran had a bad feeling about this. “Where to?”

Torpal confirmed the gul’s suspicions. “It’s following us now.”

“So much for a stealth approach.” Zamarran heard Kapoor muttering.

The gul looked at the pilot. “Gil Vornar, take us out of here, best impulse speed. Torpal, monitor if this probe can match our speed.”

“Negative, sir,” the tactician reported after a moment. “It’s falling behind.”

“Sir, I think...I think the Rathosians are well aware that they are not the only ones in the universe and it’s not just our arrival,” Yassel said in a shy voice.

“I agree. The Talarians didn’t make any secret that they were in this system. The question is—do the Rathosians realise that the Talarians are not the only “other ones” in the universe?” Zamarran pondered.

“They do now,” Kapoor said.

“Not necessarily,” Yassel disagreed. “We don’t know how detailed their findings are. They could think that we are the Talarians.”

“Does it matter?” Kapoor asked. “I mean, what difference does it make for them? They know there is sentient life out there, flying in their huge spaceships—”

“And damaging their sun,” Seltan interjected. “They might think that we are just another Talarian ship that will break their star, or they might see that someone else came. I think it makes a huge difference.”

“They are curious,” Yassel said. “Their probe moved closer to see us better, not away to run from us, as it would run from danger. Either they see us as something else than the Talarians, or they don’t realised that the Talarians are responsible for their star’s problems.”

“We cannot be even sure if they are aware of their sun’s problems,” Torpal reminded them.

Zamarran listened to them, patting the tip of his nose. He looked at the tactician. “Torpal, was there anything on the probe that would remind weapons?”

The glinn shook his head. “Not that I could recognise.”

“They are curious, just curious,” Kapoor said.

“Sir,” Torpal reported. “We are being hailed.”

Zamarran’s eyes opened wide. “Please, don’t tell me that by the Rathosians,” he said. “I have enough of their technological surprises for now.”

The tactician grinned. “No, sir. It’s the Talarians. It appears that they have their ship in the vicinity.”

“On screen.”

A Talarian man appeared on the screen. “Cardassian warship, state your business here,” he demanded.

“This is Gul Zamarran from the Marritza. We are here regarding the Rathosians and their current situation.” The gul thought that the ‘repair the sun’ operation might get much more complicated if the Talarians were still mining the star.

We have no interest in the planet, you can exploit it for the resources all you want.”

Zamarran’s blood boiled. He knew that the Cardassians worked hard for such a reputation and that it wasn’t completely undeserved, but the thought that he had come here to exploit anything or anyone—it was disgusting him. “We didn’t come here to exploit them,” he said, standing up and approaching the screen. “We came to stop you from destroying their sun and killing them all.”

The Talarian laughed with contempt. “Of course you did.” He became serious again. “Make no mistake, Cardassian, if you try to interfere in our affairs, it will mean war.”

Zamarran was not impressed. He bluffed, “The Klingons didn’t dare to go to war with us. Are you stronger than them?” He hoped that by now the news of the Klingon unsuccessful attack on Rayak Nor would have spread all over the quadrant.

We are ready to protect our interests,” the Talarian assured him. Or maybe it was a threat?

“Even if it means war with the Cardassian Union?” Zamarran asked.

Absolutely!” the man shouted.

The gul felt a presence behind him. Someone approached him close—much too close—and stopped just behind his right shoulder.

“He’s bluffing, sir,” Yassel whispered to his ear. How could she know? he wondered. To his surprise, she added, “I don’t even think that he is in a position to make any threats.”

“Withdraw now,” Zamarran said loudly to the Talarian, hoping that this conversation wouldn’t escalate to a skirmish. Yassel returned to her post.

The alien signed off without a word.

“He’s moving away,” Torpal reported. Then he raised his head from his display and looked at the gul. “Something tells me that he will be back soon...and with friends.”

Zamarran nodded his agreement. “Most likely.” He turned to look at Yassel, whose post was behind him. “How did you know he was bluffing?” he asked her.

“I am not sure, sir. But his voice clearly indicated that he lied. And he was scared. I guessed it meant that he was making empty threats.”

“And you based all these observations only on his voice?” the gul asked with surprise.

She lowered her head. “I am so sorry, Gul Zamarran. I know this is hard to believe but...I really always knew when someone was lying, or honest, or dishonest, or anything else. I don’t know how.”

He approached her console. “Yassel, I don’t say I don’t believe you.” Did she take his surprise for lack of trust? “I just never expected any Cardassian to have such telepathic abilities.”

She looked at him. “No, sir, I didn’t read his mind. Just his voice.”

“A walking lie detector,” Kapoor said, startling already stressed Yassel. “Handy.”

“I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t want to sound patronising. I thought I was helping. It won’t happen ag—”

Zamarran raised his hand to stop the flow of nervous words. “Calm down, Yassel. If your assessment of his...voice was accurate, then we have the upper hand. Please, keep me apprised of the real intentions of my interlocutors in case that their intentions aren’t what they appear to be.”

“Yes, sir,” she said quietly, lowering her head.

Zamarran returned to his seat, wondering what he had done wrong that she looked like he had just chastised her, while his intention was to encourage her. Couldn’t she read his voice?

“Vornar, take us as close to the sun as possible. Then, Kapoor will commence a full active scan. I want to know everything about the chemical condition of the star. Yassel, assemble a team of the best chemists and other specialists that we have aboard. I want them to immediately start to study the results of the scans.”

The officers confirmed their orders and made themselves busy.
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Last edited by Gul Re'jal; May 7 2011 at 04:03 PM.
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Old May 7 2011, 03:52 PM   #185
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"


Rayak Nor, the command centre




Jarol exited her office and approached Borad. “What is it?” she asked.

“A ship has entered this sector. They refuse to answer our hails.”

“Who are they?”

“I don’t know but it seems like some kind of mercenaries.”

“Are they headed here?”

“It would appear so.”

What should she do? What should she do? With panic, she realised that her head emptied and she had absolutely no idea what should be her next move.

Borad continued. “Their ship is of an unknown configuration but it appears to have characteristics of some known classes, so it is possible that it they used parts of different ships to construct it. I detect Klingon weaponry, Federation deflector dish, Cardassian shields and other elements.” He silenced and looked at her. “My guess would be they are either mercenaries, or pirates. Or both.”

“What would they want with us?” she asked.

“Hard to tell.” Borad’s eyes returned to the display. “Their ship is formidable but not a match for the station, so I doubt they would attack us.”

“They could want something that is in this sector,” Kara Sofet suggested.

“Perhaps,” Borad agreed. He looked at Jarol.

She stared at his display, seeing the readings and wondering what to make of it all. Should she send a ship to them and force them to leave? Should she keep hailing and hope that they would answer? Should she do anything at all? If Sofet’s guess was correct, the mysterious guests might attack someone—should she protect them? Not interfere?

“Sir?” Borad gave her an asking look.

She stared at him, lost and panicked. She had no idea what kind of order she should give. She had no idea how she should proceed. She hoped he would suggest anything, but he kept looking expectantly at her. She felt the situation was getting out of her control. The minutes stretched and it seemed like the time stopped. Now everyone in the command centre was looking at her—no doubt wondering why she didn’t say something. Anything. But what could she say? What was the right thing to do?

What to do? What to do?

“Sir, they answer our hail,” Dja Bo’tur reported.

Jarol had thought that it would be a relief if something happened but now she had to talk to those people and she had no idea what to say to them. “On screen,” she said quietly.

An alien appeared on the viewer. After searching her memory for a moment she realised it was a Dartian. “A Ferengi ship is docked at your station,” he stated.

“It is,” she confirmed, not sure what he was trying to achieve by informing her of things that she already knew of.

We want him.”

“Why?”

He is a criminal and we were sent to bring him.”

Delva was a criminal? Did he cheat the wrong person? Should she give him, or should she protect him? She didn’t know. “What are the charges?” she asked quietly. Did it matter?

This is not of your concern. Release his ship and do not interfere.”

She looked at Borad, helplessness obvious in her eyes. The glinn move closer to her to be caught by the camera and addressed the alien. “As long as the Ferengi are docked at our station, they are under our protection.”

The alien boomed, “You interfere in—

“Spare me your threats,” Borad interrupted him. “We don’t know who you are and we certainly have no extradition agreements with you. Delva is our guest and he can stay here for as long as he needs.”

You’ll regret this!

“Who are you to threaten the Cardassian Union!” Borad’s voice became harsher, although he didn’t raise it. “A pirate claiming that he’s in the service of justice. For all I know you have your dealings with Delva and that is not concern of ours. Leave the sector or we will force you to leave.”

You can’t—

“Watch me,” Borad barked and with one sharp move cut the connection. He looked at Jarol. “Do you want to talk to Delva? He should shed some light on this.”

“Err...” She hesitated. “Perhaps...perhaps it would be better if you talked to him,” she suggested quietly.

If Borad was surprised or shocked by her words, he didn’t show it. “Yes, sir.” He looked at the communication officer on duty. “Bo’tur, get Delva over here. We will have a chat.”

Jarol slowly withdrew back to her office. She felt terrible. She wasn’t able to even have a simple conversation. To think. To react.

She had problems with breathing—she tried to take the air in, but her airways seemed to tighten more with each attempt of taking a breath. She leaned on her desk, clutching to the edge and trying to catch some air in violent gasps. She closed her eyes and opened them a moment later to realise that she couldn’t see anything—everything turned black. Loud humming and whistling filled her ears. She didn’t hear the door opening, as she was already on her way to the hard surface of the deck.

“Borad to Albek!” The glinn shouted, pressing his wristcomm. “We have an emergency!”



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the gul’s office




Before entering Zamarran’s office, Yassel took a deep breath. She had prepared what he had asked for, but she feared it wouldn’t be satisfactory. What she already knew about her new gul was that he liked perfection and he liked when things were done properly, but she knew her abilities were far from ‘properly,’ or ‘perfection.’ She expected trouble.

She entered and sat on the offered chair. Then she handed him the padd that she had brought with her. “This is my proposal of the science department, sir,” she said. He took the padd and activated it. “I would suggest Gil Rotan as the head. She had been working in the Guard in a development department for years, so she is not new to the military drill and expectations. Her speciality is mechanics, but she has general knowledge of many branches of science. I thought that someone with general idea about everything would be preferable, as such a person would be able to determine what kind of specialists are needed and assign them accordingly.” She paused, trying to read Zamarran’s face. He seemed to listen to her but his face didn’t show if he approved or disapproved of her idea. “I have also outlined my suggestion of the department structure,” she continued, “but I would leave the final decision to Rotan herself, should you accept her candidature.”

Zamarran raised his eyes to look at Yassel. “This looks good,” he said. “Did you talk to Rotan yet?” Yassel shook her head. “All right, I’ll talk to her and present her with your suggestion. Unless you want to do it yourself?”

“No, it’s fine.” He was the one from making decisions here, so if Rotan had other ideas, he’d have to approve them. Why to use intermediaries, then, if talking directly to the gul would save the time? Yassel never felt that kind of strange ambition ‘I designed it, I have to present it,’ so it didn’t matter to her now, either.

“How is our data collection going?” Zamarran asked.

“There is a team in Lab Five that studies the findings as they come. So far they know that phorogotium, which is usually present in this kind of star in huge quantities, is on levels that are merely half of a typical composition. They cannot tell if the Talarians mine this element, or if their mining caused it’s reduction.”

“Is this element what causes the sun’s lack of stability?”

“They don’t know that either, yet. It’s possible. Or it could be one of symptoms.”

“I see,” Zamarran said slowly. At first she thought that he was unsatisfied with her report, but she realised that he was just thinking. “Do we have any estimates on when we would have all data collected and could start the final analysis?”

She didn’t think about asking! “I’m so sorry, sir, I don’t know.” Would it anger him?

Zamarran put the padd on his desk. “If the lack of phorogotium is the reason, can we supply it?”

“No, sir. We cannot create it artificially.”

He grunted. Clearly, this wasn’t an answer he liked and Yassel could only hope that he wouldn’t blame her for something that wasn’t her fault. “All right, return to your duties,” he said and she rose. “And Yassel?” She stopped and looked at him. “Good job.” She nodded her thanks and left the office.

After the door closed behind her, she audibly let the air out of her lungs. She went to her console and checked the progress of the scans.

“He’s not so bad,” she heard Kapoor saying. She looked at the human engineer. “Isn’t he?”

“I don’t know.” Yassel gave her an avoiding answer, not really sure what else she could say.

“I remember I was scared of him like hell in the beginning, but he turned out okay.”

“I see.” Yassel still didn’t know where this conversation was headed.

“My point is,” Kapoor continued, as if she read the glinn’s mind, “that Zamarran makes an impression of a harsh man, but in fact he is fair and reasonable.”

Yassel didn’t know what to say. Confirming might appear like she needed such information and that she had thought that Zamarran was mean. The truth was that she had already noticed that the gul was decent and treated people with respect—even her—but there was something in him that paralysed her every time she had to talk to him. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever be able to rid of that unpleasant fear around him and she had no idea how she would be able to serve under him if she never freed herself of that feeling. He was not Gul Zeter—at least, he didn’t show that he was, yet.

She glanced at Kapoor, wondering if it would be crossing a line to ask how long it had taken for the gil to relax in the presence of the gul, but she decided that it wouldn’t be very clever to ask such a question. It was bad enough as it was, she didn’t need to make it even worse.

Zamarran entered the bridge and all her muscles tensed.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the training deck




Aladar leaned over Kara Talis. “If you don’t touch the tips of your feet with the tips of your hands...I will eat all your books.” Talis started to laugh and Aladar used the opportunity to gently press her back deeper low. In the result, her fingers brushed her toes. He stretched and looked at her. “Your books are safe...” He smiled mischievously. “For now.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Glinn Yassel entered the big gym and stood in a shadow. It was the third time that she came to inspect his progress and he started to wonder if he shouldn’t start to write reports for her. She seemed really interested in the training program.

He turned away and continued as if she weren’t there. Or rather—he tried. He was not stressed by her inspection, as he had nothing to hide, but it was hard to ignore her. Not because she was a glinn, not because she was the gul’s aide, but because she had that delicate, charming beauty around her. He was never close enough to see what colour were her eyes, but he would give his week rations to know. She always appeared sad and he wondered what could have caused this aura of melancholy. Did someone break her pretty heart? Or was it just that kind of fragile beauty? Oh, he had such a strong need to become the protector of the glinn, as she looked like someone seeking protection and shielding from the cruelty of this world.

His attention was shifting between her and his trainees and it caused a few humorous situations. He didn’t mind anyone laughing as long as they laughed with him. Even the sad beauty by the entrance grinned when he made another mistake counting. Thirty-seven wasn’t typically followed by forty-eight, was it? The trainees were happy to skip a few exercises and he was happy that they were happy. He’d get his lost numbers sooner or later.

He glanced toward the glinn but—to his great disappointment—she was already gone. He so wished that she were within his grasp, but she was a high-born and a high-ranking officer and he was just a garesh. There was nothing that he could offer her. Except for making her smile.

He could eat books, but not talk about them.



tbc
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Old May 8 2011, 02:57 AM   #186
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

You described passing out from nerves/a panic attack to a T. I didn't actually go all the way unconscious, but I've been to the edge of it a few times and that is a very, very accurate description. I rarely see something that convincing. But that seemed exactly like how it really happens.

I think maybe Jarol is forcing herself to do something because she feels she should, that she really should not. As I mentioned privately, I am afraid that maybe Colissa's one comment too far (the attack on her motherhood) made it to where she could not rebuild her life at all. I do not think she should be in the military anymore. At first I thought that strictly because I thought she shouldn't have any sort of power and influence. Now, I think it may be critical for her health.

Awwwwwww, Aladar and Yassel. Cute, cute, cute all around. I think he would be exactly the gentleman for her. Assuming her family wouldn't force her to marry someone else, the way they forced her into the military.

Maybe getting lost as he counted was the perfect thing for her to see, too. As I suggested in the art thread about Gul Berat, inattention for whatever reason can cause some of the same effects as a non-eidetic memory. After all, if the DVR keeps channel-surfing, how can it make a perfect recording?

Yassel's abilities are very interesting. That is a critical skill. You know...you actually have the potential to do something right, that TNG failed at: writing a character with that sort of insight. Already you've given her more depth and interest than Troi, so I think you're well on your way.
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Old May 8 2011, 03:47 AM   #187
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
You described passing out from nerves/a panic attack to a T. I didn't actually go all the way unconscious, but I've been to the edge of it a few times and that is a very, very accurate description. I rarely see something that convincing. But that seemed exactly like how it really happens.
I've been close myself a few times. I'm glad it worked in her case and was obvious what was going wrong without saying "oh, look, she has a panic attack."
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Awwwwwww, Aladar and Yassel. Cute, cute, cute all around. I think he would be exactly the gentleman for her. Assuming her family wouldn't force her to marry someone else, the way they forced her into the military.
A few days ago I spent the whole day writing only Aladar and Yassel scenes. And what a day was! Rest assured, there's going to be more I hope you'll like it too.

Now you know why I told you he was unmarried
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Yassel's abilities are very interesting. That is a critical skill. You know...you actually have the potential to do something right, that TNG failed at: writing a character with that sort of insight. Already you've given her more depth and interest than Troi, so I think you're well on your way.
I didn't some searching and there's a brain "condition" called "perfect/absolute pitch." While the ability is related to something else, I decided to "modify" it for her brain and give this part of her brain that doesn't remember things something else to do. She hears and recognises sound perfectly and can detect even tiny things that normally people don't hear. It isn't that obvious for her consciously, but it's obvious for her brain. So in the result she can tell things that no one else can. As you can imagine, Zamarran would love to utilise this ability and her non-perfect memory would lose any importance at all. "Pfff, anyone can remember everything, but not everyone can detect a liar by listening to him"
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Old May 8 2011, 03:59 AM   #188
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

The fact that I've been there too made it all too obvious what was happening. Especially the part where you described the sound--and the feel of opening your eyes and seeing nothing. In my case I didn't get all the way to the point of a blackout, but I had my eyes open and all that I saw was grey.

Making matters worse, in my case I was trying to pretend that I was not having a panic attack, and trying to make sure I was still "looking" at the horrible person I was dealing with! NOT easy!

And YAY! More Aladar and Yassel!!!

And that's a remarkable ability Yassel has! Maybe the reason she couldn't develop an eidetic memory was that even as a little girl, that part of her brain was already given over to this other ability of hers.

I think Zamarran, if he's careful, can make her feel more valued than the previous gul (who I am starting to fear abused her badly) ever did.
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Old May 8 2011, 04:21 AM   #189
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And that's a remarkable ability Yassel has! Maybe the reason she couldn't develop an eidetic memory was that even as a little girl, that part of her brain was already given over to this other ability of hers.
It is a genetic condition, so her brain was always wired differently. I'm not sure if she didn't develop the memory due to her brain being busy with the sounds, or that inability is a result of the condition too, but I agree that Zamarran could help her learn to value that special ability and not feel worse because of that.

She is unique, but in "standardised" Caradssian society unique wasn't welcome (I don't even want to know what the Obsidian Order would try to do with her and how to use her).
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Old May 8 2011, 05:03 AM   #190
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Oh, God...that would've been horrible, what the Order might've done. SO many horrible possibilities.

As for it being a genetic condition--hopefully she doesn't have any physical symptoms from that condition that would make her feel sick?
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Old May 8 2011, 05:50 AM   #191
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

No, she just has a bit different brain. If there are any other changes, she is not really aware of them.
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Old May 8 2011, 07:11 AM   #192
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Good...I'm glad it's just diversity, then.
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Old May 15 2011, 11:55 AM   #193
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Soundtrack for the first scene in Jarol's quarters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy4o-...eature=related


Chapter 11



Rayak Nor, the gul’s private quarters



“Mom?”

He stood there, again. It became his ritual: each evening he relentlessly would stop by her door and ask her to open. And each evening she wouldn’t. Tonight wouldn’t be any different.

She curled up in the corner and covered her mouth. She knew he would listen. He always did.

“Did you eat anything?” he asked.

Her stomach tightened and threatened with another attempt of removing its content in spite of not having any content for a long time.

For a moment she couldn’t hear anything but was sure he didn’t leave yet. He would, eventually, but not yet.

“Mom, unlock the door.”

He sounded angry. She didn’t want to upset him but she knew if she opened, he’d start asking questions. It was much easier to spend her days among people who were her subordinates and wouldn’t dare to ask if she had her breakfast, or slept through the whole night.

But after another day in the office—and another panic attack that became a regular part of her days, although the attacks weren’t as bad as the first one any more—an empty quietness of the night came. Each night was more difficult to face than the previous one. Each was more scary. Each attacked her with greater strength: with questions, doubts and visions. She feared to go to sleep, she feared what she would see there, in the messages from the people whom she had failed so miserably. They all were unhappy, furious and disappointed in her and there was nothing she could do to have their love back. She wasn’t even sure if she ever deserved their love. The fate had taken her children because she was a bad mother—to save them from her. They now lived somewhere on the other side of the river with their father. Tiron would take Laran too, but Laran was not a girl and Tiron didn’t want him. Laran had to suffer and live with such a mother.

“Unlock the door, or I’ll ask Borad to unlock it,” her son threatened from the other side.

She leaned her head against the bulkhead. She could feel its cold surface.

“Unlock the door!” The irate yell was accompanied by a dull sound—he hit the door with his fist.

She covered her ears and closed her eyes. She couldn’t take it any longer.

A moment later she felt a warm hand on her shoulder. She rapidly raised her head to see the door ajar and her son sitting by her side. Lost in her anguish, she didn’t hear him finally getting inside. He didn’t say anything, he just hugged her and kept sitting with her on the floor, in the corner of the cold room.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge



“The Talarians are back, sir,” Torpal reported, drawing Zamarran’s attention to the main viewer. “Three ships. One is headed for the planet.”

“I don’t like this,” the gul muttered. “Keep an eye on all of them.”

“Shall I hail them?” Seltan asked.

Zamarran shook his head “No. I have nothing to say to them. And this is no one’s territory, we cannot tell them to leave.”

“Isn’t it the Rothasian’s territory?” Kapoor asked.

“It planet is theirs, not the whole star system.”

The human didn’t seem convinced. “We could bluff,” she muttered.

Zamarran shot her a glance but didn’t say anything. Yassel wondered if all humans lacked the discipline or only this one. Kapoor didn’t seem to be afraid of violating the hierarchy and muttering her disagreements in her superiors’ presence was something that Yassel would absolutely never dared to do.

But somehow, for some reason, Gul Zamarran didn’t react as Yassel would expect him to. True, he had already surprised her several times and she had to remind herself that he wasn’t as scary as he appeared to be, but still—she wasn’t sure if he would tolerate such behaviour from anyone else. Did he favour Kapoor? Because she was human and, perhaps, didn’t fully comprehend the Cardassian way? Or because he favoured her the same way that she, Yassel, had been ‘favoured?’ But Kapoor seemed to be very relaxed in Zamarran’s presence, so the glinn didn’t think that it was the option two. At least one more thing spoke for option one, though: the gil’s familiarity with Garesh Aladar. Still, to Yassel it seemed more like a personal characteristic than something that was shared by all humans. Weren’t the humans as differentiated as the Cardassians?

There were so many things that she wanted to ask Kapoor, but she never found courage to. Like, why she didn’t use her husband’s surname? Was it a human custom not to do that? Or why she had chosen to stay among the Cardassians? Was it for her husband or had she met him after her decision to stay? Why she had chosen to serve in the Cardassian military? Did she miss her home? Did she like Cardassian food? Did she want to return to Starfleet some day?

Torpal reported that the Talarian ship that was headed for the planet disappeared from their sensors, as it was out of range and Zamarran ordered to send a Hideki attack fighter to keep an eye on them. He chose Aladar to lead this mission.

Yassel scanned the other two Talarian warships. Their armament was impressive for ships this size, but still not a match for a Keldon class warship. However, she wasn’t sure about Keldon class science ship. Their own weaponry might not be sufficient to defend themselves in case of a Talarian attack.

Torpal’s voice filled the bridge again. “Sir, they seem to prepare to resume their mining. Both ships assume positions in orbit of the star.”

Zamarran stood behind the communication console. “Seltan, now is the time to hail them.”

The gil operated her console and after a moment said, “Frequencies open, sir.”

“Talarian ships, seize your activity immediately!”

Yassel thought that is someone told her to do something in such a voice—she would drop everything at once. Zamarran knew how to sound demanding and commanding and his rusty voice made the impression even stronger.

There was no reply, though, and Torpal shook his head, answering Zamarran’s questioning look. The gul narrowed his eyes.

“Talarian ships, if you will resume your harmful activity, we will defend the local system’s stability. Seize your activity now.” Still no reaction. “Torpal, arm weapons.”

The glinn followed the order without a blink, but Yassel’s heart wasn’t as indifferent. She could feel it beating fast in her chest. Were they really going to attack? She had never destroyed a ship in her life and she was terrified at the thought that this could be her first time. She was not looking forward to this moment.

Cardassian warship, you have no claim here,” a voice from speakers said. Yassel could hear that the man on the other side was nervous, although he did his best to sound as demanding as Zamarran.

“Neither do you,” the gul replied firmly.

We’ve already told you—take the planet if you want. We just want this star.”

Zamarran seemed to consider the proposal for a moment and then said, “The planet will be useless for us, if you destroy the star. We cannot invest into our operation knowing that it would all go in vain. Withdraw now! You have taken what you wanted.”

Torpal gave Zamarran a bit surprised look, obviously not expecting this kind of tactic, but Yassel knew: Zamarran not only bluffed, he was appalled by his own lies. What appeared to be anger targeted at the Talarians, was his frustration caused by such a primitive and low way of negotiation. The aide understood that the gul was ready to use lies and tricks to save the inhabitants of the planet. His self-respect was a small price in comparison with millions of lives. However, her respect for him grew with every minute.

There’s still lots of precious resources here. You should understand that better than anyone.”

“You won’t have any resources if you destroy the source of extraction. You should know that. Find another star of an uninhabited system.”

There was no reply and after a moment Seltan reported, “He close the connection.”

“And he arms his weapons,” Torpal added.

The gul looked at the tactician. “Torpal, you are experienced in tactical planning, aren’t you?” The glinn seemed almost hurt by the question, but he only nodded his confirmation. “Good, because I am not,” Zamarran said and returned to his seat. “You will make tactical decisions. I trust you are ready for that.”

“Yes, sir!” Torpal confirmed in a strong voice. He sounded proud on the trust the gul put in him.

Zamarran looked at the human engineer. “Kapoor, get down to the engineering. You’ll be very busy there soon.”

The short woman left the bridge, Kara Talis taking over her post.

A moment later Torpal shouted, “Incoming!”

“Brace for impact,” Zamarran warned and Yassel was sure he was angry. Not scared, like her, but angry.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, lower deck



Aladar was on his way to the hangar bay, when the ship shook. He knew that motion—they were under attack. He wondered how in heavens would he leave the hangar with shields up, but decided to worry about it upon his arrival to the fighter.

He kept running, passing by other officers, who also ran. Another shake of the ship almost knocked him over, but he managed to stay on his feet.

Garesh Pa’Ler almost bumped on him, running fast toward the hangar.

“Did you see Veltek?” Aladar asked the other man.

Pa’Ler only shook his head. Aladar hoped that the third one, whom he had chosen for his small team, was also on his way to the fighter. If the ship had to lower the shields to let them out, it better happened in the beginning of the fight with the enemy, when the Marritza was still strong and could take some beating with no shields protecting its hull.

“Aladar!” The scream almost torn the bulkheads.

Both gareshes stopped, seeing a dja running to them. Aladar recognised her as one of scientists. She ran to him, grabbed his armour and screamed,” Aladar, what do I do? What do I do?”

The garesh looked at the other militiaman. “Proceed to the fighter and start the pre-flight check. I’ll join you shortly.” The man nodded and left, while Aladar looked at the dja. “Calm down,” he said, grabbing her arm. “Take a breath.” She was all shaking and her face was covered with tears. He cursed himself for not preparing his bookworms better for situations like this. “Go to your quarters and stay there until everything is over.”

She shook her head. “But...but the order was to...battle stations.”

He didn’t want to bluntly tell her that she was in no condition to man any station. “Everything is under control. Go to your quarters and stay there.” He tried to sound calm but it wasn’t easy in a shaking corridor.

For a moment he thought that she would nestle to his chest and not let him go, but she managed to compose herself enough to let go off his armour.

“My bookworms are brave, I know that,” he said. “Just let the higher ranking and more experienced ones take care of the fighting. And you wait in your quarters, so that if anyone needs you, they would know where to look for you.” She nodded. “Go!”

She ran toward section ‘blue,’ while he resumed his jog to the hangar bay.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge



Zamarran spun around toward Seltan. “They do what?!” he barked.

Seltan clearly saw that Yassel recoiled. This girl seemed to be afraid of her own shadow.

“Garesh Aladar reports that the third ship started to fire at the planet,” Seltan repeated.

“Are they targeting the cities?” the gul growled.

“Negative. They fire at forests.”

Rotan looked up. “My Gul, even if they fire at uninhabited parts of the planet, it can still terribly impact the lives of its inhabitants.”

Zamarran looked at the scientist, but didn’t say anything. He was thinking. In the meantime, Seltan received another message from Aladar. “Sir, Garesh Aladar engaged the Talarian ship.” Brave but stupid, she thought. He wouldn’t stop much stronger ship from destroying the planet’s ecosystem, but he could get easily killed.

“Tell him to disengage!” Zamarran ordered.

Seltan sent the message but received no confirmation of receipt. She waited for a long moment and then sent it again. Again, she received not confirmation. “Sir, I am not sure they still are there,” she said, turning back to face Zamarran and caught Yassel’s painful expression.

Zamarran growled again. “Enough playing. Torpal, open fire. Target their weapons systems.” The glinn confirmed his order.

Seltan kept trying to hail Aladar’s Hideki, but the more she tried, the more she thought they were gone. She could only hope that their communication systems were down, not the whole ship destroyed.

One Talarian ship withdrew quickly, but the other one stayed and fought. As it occurred, it was not a match for a Keldon clas war...science ship.

“Sir,” Torpal reported. “We have damaged their warp core. Destruction immi...they have ejected their warp core.”

Seltan felt relief. So, the battle was won and she was still here, alive. Hopefully, now the Talarians would leave them alone, although she didn’t think they would leave the sun alone.

“They are falling toward the star,” Torpal added.

Zamarran leaned forward. “Do they have any propulsion?” he asked.

“It doesn’t seem so, or it’s not strong enough to compensate for the pull of the star.”

“Tractor beam,” Zamarran ordered.

Torpal looked at him enormously surprised. “Sir?”

“Did I speak unclearly? Tractor beam. Pull them out.”

“But sir...They attacked us, we acted in self-defence.”

“That’s right. However, right now they don’t seem like in any position to threaten us. This is not self-defence any more, this is watching them die. And I’d rather jump into that star myself than sit and look. This is my first mission as a ship’s gul and I’ll be damned if I murder hundreds of people as my command’s initiation. Tractor beam, or I’ll relieve you of duty and find someone who knows how to use it!”

Torpal tapped on his panel. “Tractor beam active,” he reported a second later. Zamarran watched the whole procedure on the main screen. “They are safely out,” the tactician said.

Zamarran looked at his communication officer. “Seltan, hail them and ask if they need assistance.”

“Their ship is slowly moving away,” Torpal said before Seltan had time to report her findings.

“Let them go.” Zamarran leaned back in his chair. “Vornar, take us to the planet. I want to know what’s going on there.” The gul looked at Seltan, but she only shook her head—she still didn’t have any contact with the team.
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Old May 15 2011, 11:56 AM   #194
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Rayak Nor, the gul’s office



Toral knew he missed Jarol, but he hadn’t been aware how much until he found himself in the command centre of her station, merely seconds from facing her again.

The door to her office opened and he saw her leaning over a padd at her desk. She looked up at him. He knew she smiled, he was aware she said something, but his brain registered a completely different thing.

He stared at her for a long moment, not being able to say anything. Finally, he realised that her happy face turned worried.

“What is wrong?” she asked him.

He went closer to her desk and she rose to be on the same level. “What did you do to my Legate Atira?” he asked slowly.

Her face expressed astonishment. “W...what?”

“Where is my Atira?” he repeated.

“Hatinn...I...what are you talking about?”

She looked like death. She looked like a shadow of herself. Her eyes were red and surrounded by puffy eyelids. Dark grey shadows—bags—under her eyes strengthened the impression of tiredness. “When was the last time you slept?” he asked. Her neck ridge scales appeared separated, dry. Armour hid her body well but he knew—she was half of her old self. “When was the last time you ate?” he added. His anger grew: why no one noticed it? Why did they allow for this to happen? It was obvious something was very wrong.

Or was it something she hadn’t told him about? A medical condition?

She sat without answering his questions. “I’m fine.” So, she tried to dismiss it. Ignore it.

“You call this ‘fine’?” he shouted angrily.

“Don’t yell at me,” she said quietly.

He harrumphed. “I’m sorry,” he said after a moment, which he needed to compose himself. “I’m sorry, but you don’t look fine. Are you not all right? Are you feeling unwell?”

“I’m burning.”

“Burning?” Did she have a fever?

“Inside. I’m burning inside.”

He silenced. He knew she was troubled, she had been since the attempt on her life, but he had no idea it went this far. His irritation returned: why no one noticed? Was everyone on this station blind?

“When was the last time you slept well all night?” he asked her.

“I don’t remember sleeping all night,” she replied.

“Can’t Albek or Taret give you something?”

“Taret said that sleeping without dreams is called unconsciousness and there are no pills for this. At least, none that he would give me.”

For a moment he stared at her confused, wondering what she talked about. And then it dawned on him: she didn’t want to sleep because she had nightmares.

He approached her and forced her to stand up. Then he pulled her toward a soft bench in the corner of her office, where no one could see them through the half-glass door. He made her sit down and sat next to her, holding her hands.

“Tell me about these dreams.”

“It doesn’t concern you,” she muttered.

“Everything about you concerns me,” he protested.

“Hatinn...” She started with her head lowered but then she raised it to look at him. “We have to stop. I would be a shameful burden for you.”

“Nonsense.”

“Hatinn, this would be—”

“I will not listen to it,” he interrupted her and immediately felt sorry that it sounded so harshly. “Tell me about the dreams,” he demanded again, softer.

“They are not dreams, they are messages,” she answered and seemed to regret her explanation as soon as it left her mouth.

“Messages? From whom?”

“My children. They send me visions.”

“They...what?” The gul frowned, not sure what to think about it. What was she talking about?

“Since that day I almost died...I think they try to show me how wrong I was all my life and give me a chance to fix it before my time really comes. But I failed miserably and they are very angry with me.”

He listened to her talking about lost chance to redeem herself and how rotten she was and he slowly started to understand something. This had nothing to do with her children, with messages or mysterious visions. He put his fingers gently on her mouth, stopping her filled with pain monologue and said, “Atira, your dreams, your nightmares are not messages from your children, dead husbands or bodiless spirits. They come from you. You create those filled with hate, pain and suffering visions to punish yourself.

“I would never, ever believe that any child would do to his or her mother what you describe. Look at your son, the living son. He loves you. This should be the proof of what the other two would feel. They would love you too.” Tears shone in her eyes. “I don’t believe in visions or messages from the dead. I believe in the power of the mind. Your minds tries to tell you something. Your children don’t hate you. You hate yourself. Your sense of order hates lack of order.”

“You’re wrong.”

“No, I’m not. I can’t imagine any child hating their parent to such a degree, but I know people can hate themselves if they cannot find a way to forgive themselves or to amend their mistakes. We are the worst archons for ourselves, because we know everything about ourselves.”

“What can I do?”

“Bury it. Visit the grave often and don’t forget, but don’t let it eat you. Try to fix the wrong with the good.”

“I cannot face the tribunal. Some stupid rules that cannot be overcome. And Jotrel and you have destroyed any evidence of my guilt so effectively that the reopened investigation gave Colissa nothing.”

Toral looked at Jarol soberly. “You could point your finger at us,” he said.

“I wouldn’t. This is my time of redemption, not yours. You were stupid enough for covering my actions, but I wouldn’t drag you with me.”

He hesitated. If it really meant so much to her, he could admit to his participation in the cover-up. Two admissions should carry some weight even without evidence. But that would mean she would have to face an executioner. Never mind his years in a labour camp.

“Do you want me to come out?” he asked.

She shook her head. “Never.”

“I would do it,” he assured her putting his hand to where his heart was. “I would do it, if this is what you need.”

“No, don’t do it. You would only add to the tally of the people that I have wronged.”

“So you are left with one option,” he said after a thoughtful moment. “You cannot turn back time to undo your mistakes. But you still can do good things. You cannot erase the past, but you can shape your future.”

“I’m afraid to make any decisions. I fear they would be all wrong.”

“You have to trust yourself.”

“I don’t. I’m not trustworthy.”

Toral silenced, stroking her hair. Finally, he said, “Atira, you are a strong woman. Use that strength to build, not to destroy.” Especially, not to destroy yourself, he thought. “Don’t just give up. You fell from the riding hound and you fear to get back on it, but you have to. Change the hound if you don’t like this one. But you must get back on it, or you will live your life in fear, hating yourself and bringing the worst to your dreams. Create the good in the attempt to equal the bad. That’s what I try to do.”

It slipped out. He didn’t plan to say it, he didn’t want to share it with anyone, ever, even with her. She looked at him; her eyes pierced into his. “Do you have nightmares?” she asked him.

“No. Not any more.”

“Did you do a lot of bad things in your life?”

“Even one bad thing is too many.”

“So true.” She silenced and looked before her. He observed her, wondering what was going on in her mind. Did she understand what he had told her? Would it help her?

“I’m scared,” she whispered.

“Of what?”

“Of life.”

“I’ll be there, by your side, all the time, until the end. Don’t be scared.”

“Promise me you’d stop me from doing something stupid.”

“I promise. And I will start right now. The first task of ‘not stupid’ is to finish your work and then eat something nutritious. After that you will return to your quarters. There, you will go to sleep...” She shook her head in protest. “And I will be with you all that time. I will stay with you and make sure that nothing haunts you. No demons, only you and me. I will watch you sleeping and will hold your hand. I will be there with you.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

“I don’t give a damn. You’re my forest nymph.” He paused. “And after you wake up rested, I will share my sins with you. And then I will ask if you want me, but will not expect your answer, yet. Only the consideration.”

She didn’t say anything.

He knew it was too early, he knew he should wait longer, he knew that she was far from her normal self and that she was vulnerable, so he wouldn’t expect her to keep her word. He would help her to compose herself and when she would be able to stand on her own he would ask her again. He didn’t want to abuse her, or to use her vulnerability to make her commit to a marriage she might not want. Her mind had to be clear for such a decision and he would wait until she would be ready.

Now, however, she needed support and if that support meant giving himself all to her, then that’s what he would do. He loved her regardless of everything and he wanted her to know that. He didn’t want her, however, to think that she loved him if in fact she only needed a strong arm to lean on. He didn’t want her to marry him because she felt she owed him something for his support. He wanted her to marry him because she couldn’t imagine living without him...just as he couldn’t imagine not having her in his life.

“Finish your work,” he said, raising. “I’ll be back within fifteen minutes. Inform Glinn Borad that you will be unavailable until tomorrow morning and that you should not be disturbed. If he needs anything, he can contact me.”

“Yes, sir,” she said quietly.

He smiled. “Good.” He headed for the door. “You are dismissed, Gul Toral,” he said to himself. “Thank you, Gul Toral,” he replied to himself and glanced if there was a shadow of a grin on her face. There was; a faint one, but he managed to amuse her. “I’ll be back soon,” he said and left the office.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge



A gasp behind the communication officer made her raise her head and look at the main viewer. She almost gave a gasp of her own.

The Talarian ship was firing at the planet and at a small ball of fire. Seltan was sure that the ball of fire was the Hideki—it was falling and burning in the planet’s atmosphere.

“Transporter!” Zamarran barked.

“We’re out of range,” Talis said quietly from behind the engineering console.

Something growled dangerously in Zamarran’s throat. “Torpal, attack the Talarian ship. Fire at will.”

“Why are they firing at the planet?” Yassel asked.

“They probably think that if they destroy valuable resources, we would lose our interest in Rathosia and leave.” Zamarran paused. “My bluff backfired,” he added angrily.

The Hideki burnt completely before reaching the planet’s surface.

Zamarran stood behind Seltan’s chair. “Seltan, transmit a message to the Talarians. Tell them that their either withdraw, or they will be destroyed.”

“Will they belief the bluff after we saved their ship?” Seltan asked.

“That’s not a bluff,” she heard Yassel saying.

“Yes, sir,” the communication officer confirmed. And she agreed—no mercy for murderers of her comrades. Her father had thought her that all Cardassians were her comrades and that she should take care of all of them.

Not mentioning all those Rathosians on the planet who were in danger.

She prepared and transmitted the message. She received a signal and was just about to say that the Talarians confirmed receiving it, when she realised that it was something else. “Sir, we have a location beacon activated on the planet. It included number three.” That meant ‘three survivors.’ It was a standard procedure to include the number of survivors in a simple message to help with rescue operation. “The co-ordinates are...in one of cities.”

“Seems like the Cardassian Union just paid the Rathosians a visit,” Rotan muttered.

“The Talarians?” Zamarran looked at Torpal.

“They seem to be withdrawing, but I am sure it’s just a ‘recess.’ They’ll be back. Soon. With reinforcements.”

Seltan could not disagree with Torpal’s assessment of the situation.

Zamarran returned to his chair. “Ask for reinforcements,” he said, looking at Torpal. “And beam our people back to the ship.”



tbc
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Old May 16 2011, 04:10 AM   #195
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Oh, boy...the Federation could really misinterpret this mission now that three Cardassians are on the planet's surface, should something happen and they can't beam up.

I hope that Toral can help Jarol to face her demons in a healthy way. Even from my own perspective on such visions--there is NO way her own children would ever hate her that much, or would ever inflict that on her. Toral is totally right on that, and I hope hearing that from someone now will help her to start atoning in a constructive way.

Aladar's comforting that young dja was wonderful. He's a natural leader.
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