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Old July 31 2011, 03:02 AM   #1
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

As always, my apologies for my alien English, but you know...I'm a Cardassian I'm trying my best, but my best obviously is not good enough.

This story takes place in 2403, so three years after the end of Sacrifice Without Strength is Useless, but no knowledge from my others stories is necessary to understand this one. Anything called from the past would be explained.

I hope you'll like it.

_______________

Winds of the Past


The room—the cave, actually—was dark. She didn’t mind, though, as her eyes preferred it that way. She had wondered why the Ferengi who she was dealing with had chosen such a secluded place with a difficult access, but she assumed that he conducted here all his business transactions, including illegal ones—of which existence she had no doubts—and preferred the place he knew very well. It was his territory.

She walked slowly, followed by three members of ‘her’ team and taking comfort in their presence. This was the part of her job that she disliked most—the final negotiations. She always feared that the ‘opponent’ would ask questions to which she didn’t know answers. She wasn’t the brain here, after all; the three wise people behind her were. All her value was reduced to the armour she wore and what that armour represented: the Cardassian government.

She scanned the room and all people sitting behind the oblong table that stood in the middle of the cave. The Nausicaan, whom she had seen before with the Ferengi she was meeting, scolded at her. A Vulcanoid woman with a smirk on her face, which most likely meant that she was not a Vulcan. The Ferengi and his false, toothy smile. A...

She did her best not to show surprise at seeing this particular Cardassian here. Instead, her eyes moved to the next person behind the table—also a Cardassian, but much older.

“How punctual you are!” The Ferengi rose from his chair and gestured to the team of four to sit on the opposite side of the table.

“We are Cardassians,” she stated flatly. “And I prefer to stand,” she added. She had a better view on his team that way.

“As you wish,” he said, sitting back down himself.

The other members of the team took the seats. Palaeographer Zamarran sat in the middle, with DaiMon Delva and Historian Vasan on both his sides.

“I heard,” Delva addressed the other Ferengi, “that you raised your price.”

“That’s correct. We had some problems with delivering the item and we want to be compensated.”

Delva harrumphed. “I could understand your need of compensation, but raising the price by thirty percent does not sound very honest.” The other man only smiled, so the Ferengi continued. “Show us the bill with the amount you had to spend to...circumvent your problems and we will cover your unexpected costs.”

“You either pay what we are asking, or you don’t get the item.”

She decided to speak. “You have invested a large amount of money into this transaction. Do you really want to lose it all by a sudden raise of the price?”

The Ferengi looked at her. “This is business, not charity, Gul Jarol!”

“And we are willing to pay a lot of leks for bringing this transaction to a fruitful end,” she answered. She wished she could ask Delva if threatening with not having as much money as the man demanded would work, or ruin everything. She decided not to make that decision herself; she knew too little about Ferengi-style business to bluff and she didn’t want the whole thing to blow in her face.

The other Ferengi—he had never given them his name and used only his thumb print for the agreement purposes—smirked. “You should have brought more, then.”

“You shouldn’t change the deal!” Zamarran growled.

“‘A contract is a contract is a contract,’” Delva quoted the Seventeenth Rule of Acquisition—which said: ‘A contract is a contract is a contract...but only between Ferengi’—looking defiantly at his countryman and Jarol was sure that the other Ferengi would attempt to call the latter, not quoted by Delva part of the Rule, which could be used against the Cardassians. Delva knew that, too, as he said, “You entered the deal with me, so if you want to violate it, be my guest.” He paused, leaned back in the chair and then added smugly, “I’m sure FCA would be very interested in hearing about this.”

“Oh, no,” the other Ferengi laughed without humour. “We have entered the agreement with the Cardassian government—that’s why she is here.” He pointed to Jarol. “And the Cardassian government is not Ferengi.”

Delva retrieved a padd from an inner pocket of his jacket. He tapped at it for a moment and after finding the right section of their agreement, he handed it to the other man. “Read again,” he said.

Jarol recalled that Delva had foreseen the possibility of the other businessman attempting to break the contract without consequences, based on the Rule of Acquisition Number Seventeen, which said that a contract was valid only between Ferengi entrepreneurs. That was the reason why the deal was in fact between him and Delva with the clause that Delva must sell the artefact to the Cardassian government, or the whole agreement would be declared void.

The other Ferengi reluctantly took the padd and scanned the displayed text. The Cardassian woman next to him leaned toward him and whispered something into his ear. Jarol couldn’t hear it, but she wondered if Delva could. Obviously, the other Ferengi wondered about the same thing, as he glanced at the DaiMon. But Delva was no fool—he assumed a stone face and showed nothing.

“I will have to examine this once more,” the Ferengi said finally.

“What’s to examine? You had ‘examined’ it already. You have signed it.” Zamarran was clearly losing patience. Jarol put her hand on the young man’s shoulder. Calm down, she thought, eyeing the Nausicaan at the same time.

The Ferengi looked at Jarol. “You better force your people to behave.”

She didn’t waste a second in using this opportunity. “You are absolutely right. Please, give us a few minutes.”

He nodded his agreement, so she called the other three and they moved away from the table. They went toward the entrance and stopped near it.

“Is it safe here?” she asked Delva quietly. “Won’t he hear us?”

“Great. Delva, did you hear what that woman whispered to his ear?”

“She said just one word: ‘stall.’ I have no idea what for, but he seems to trust her enough to follow that advice.”

Zamarran glanced toward the table. “Who is she? There weren’t supposed to be any Cardassians in this?” He looked at Jarol. “Traitors?”

“How dare you!” she shouted loudly with indignation for the benefit of the listeners and then whispered, “Her name is Ma’Kan and she hunts down Obsidian Order agents.”

“So what is she doing here?” Vasan asked.

Jarol continued. “I never heard of her having a partner, so—Don’t look!” she hissed as quietly as she could, seeing the historian turning her head toward the unknown Cardassian with an obvious disgust on her face. “If she’s chasing him, we don’t want to blow her cover.”

“So what do we do?” Zamarran asked. Jarol wondered if he had heard about Ma’Kan from his father.

“We let them stall,” the gul decided. “If she needs more time, we can afford to give it to her. It would also let us find a solution to our dilemma...I hope so, at least.” She looked at them. “Agreed?”

“Agreed,” they whispered back.

“And don’t you dare to do that again!” she said loudly in a chastising tone and motioned back toward the table.

“Forgive me, my Gul,” Zamarran said, lowering his head in a submissive way. Good show, Jarol thought. Maybe we should start a tour with performance. She was unable to count how many times they had played such a game for the benefit of their ‘audience.’

Delva stood behind his chair, not sitting in it. “Fine. We give you three days to consider our offer: sell or stay with a useless Cardassian artefact no one else would buy. After that time we leave, with or without the item.” With that, he turned and headed for the exit with the three Cardassians following him.

Just before leaving, Jarol stopped and turned to have one last look at the people in the room. She tried to burn in her memory the face of the unknown Cardassian with the intention of scanning the database to see who he was and if capturing him was worth losing the Statue of Moptor.
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Old July 31 2011, 05:02 AM   #2
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

I SO want to see who this agent is and see him get what's coming to him. And see Jarol get the statue back. There has to be a way to get both. Perhaps this agent can become a bargaining chip in the deal somehow...

As for Jarol...it just occurred to me how strange it must have been for her to act like that--so sharp-tongued and angry, like her old self. Even though she knows it's an act, that could come at a price.
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Old July 31 2011, 05:09 AM   #3
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

I think she keeps reminding herself that it's for greater good and that the others know that it's not for real, that she doesn't really treat them like that and wouldn't want to treat them like that.
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Old July 31 2011, 05:27 AM   #4
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

I hope that helps...because having to play a role that was in fact her old self--by whom she is thoroughly disgusted--could otherwise be very distressing.
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Old August 8 2011, 01:07 PM   #5
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

After returning to their ship, Jarol had stopped the DaiMon before he left the transporter room. “Delva, if you could...”

He smiled, inclining his head a bit to the left. “What can I do for my adorable legate?”

“I think it would be a good idea if you took one more look at the provisional agreement to make sure that there is nothing in it that the Ferengi could use against us.”

His smile disappeared. “And what if I find something that could be used against us?”

She knew what he was thinking: he feared to be in trouble, as it had been him who had prepared the provisional agreement. But she was not looking for someone to blame. “Then try to prepare some kind of defence. We have to be ready for any trick he might try to pull.”

He nodded; the relief obvious on his face. “I’ll do that.”

“Thank you,” she said quietly and headed for the door.

She arrived to her quarters and sat on her bed. The room was small and there weren’t many items in it: a simple bed, a computer monitor, a small pet bed on the floor under the window—currently unoccupied—a built-in wardrobe and a couple of bowls on the floor. She didn’t need much.

She freed herself from the outer part of her armour and sat at the computer. She was just about to log on, when she heard a sound behind her. “Meeeowwwww?”

She swivelled in her chair just in time to see a ball of fur crawling from under the blanket on her bed.

“Show me your eyes,” she said, nearing her face to the almost flat face of the Earth being. He looked at her with his round eyes, which always seemed to express enormous surprise at the wonders of the universe and he meowed again. The eyes were fairly fine, so she decided to postpone wiping them clean with a special liquid she had for this purpose.

She put him on her lap and swivelled back to face the computer monitor. The furry being curled on her thighs, closed his eyes and fell asleep.

Absentmindedly stroking his long fur with one hand, she tapped at the computer control panel with her other one, entering her access code and accessing a database that wasn’t available to just anyone.

“Computer,” she said in a soft voice, so that her pet would think she was saying sweet words to him, “display photographs of unaccounted Obsidian Order agents, aged between sixty and one hundred.” She wasn’t sure how old was the man next to Ma’Kan, so she tried to check as wide range as possible and still plausible. The computer offered more hits than she had wished. “Refine search. Display only men with brown eyes.” Still too many. She wished he had a scar or another distinctive feature that would allow her to narrow her search. “See, Teti, this is going to be a long night.” She scratched him behind the ears.

Teti was a gift from her husband, who had given her the furry being from Earth on their wedding night. He had explained that the being was called a ‘cat’ and that this was a breed known as ‘Persian.’ The cat was brown and white, had long fur and almost completely flat face. Very quickly she discovered that he required a lot of attention and care, not only because he demanded it himself, but also because the ‘maintenance’ of a cat occurred to be a serious duty. If she didn’t brush his fur every day—it would turn into felt; if she didn’t clean his eyes andhis nose with a special liquid she had gotten from a pet medic—he would develop a mild condition, as his barely convex muzzle made him put his nose and eyes into food when eating.

Hatinn had regretted giving her the gift on that special night, as instead of doing what newly-wed couples usually did on their wedding nights, she had spent hours in front of a monitor, reading about cats. Apparently, those were smart animals; hunters with excellent night vision. Very quickly she discovered that hers didn’t belong to the ‘smart’ group. He was a silly, sloppy being, but it only added to his cuteness. His best features were his curiosity and enormous, constant surprise at everything around him. Everything was a toy. Everything was interesting. Everything was new, as clearly he didn’t have Cardassian memory.

Reading the information on the database she had learnt that cats had been domesticated thousands of years ago and that one nation used to worship them. She read more about that nation and their culture and decided to give her new family member the name of one of their kings—Pharaohs, as they were called: Teti.

Now, Teti was purring on her lap, as his species had an ability of emitting a soothing, vibrating sound, not unlike tribbles.

The chime at the door interrupted her search.

“Enter,” she said and the door opened to reveal Zamarran. “Any problems?” she asked him, worried that Delva had found some weakness in the contract, which could be used by the other Ferengi against them.

But the palaeographer smiled. “No, not at all. I just wanted to ask you if you’d like to join us for dinner.”

She shook her head. “No, thank you.” She gave him the same answer she usually did.

“I must insist,” he smiled. “We prepared too much food and it would be a crime to waste it.”

Teti raised his head and looked at the visitor. “Meow?” Jarol was sure her cat understood the Cardassian word for ‘food.’

“We have also prepared something for him,” Zamarran said, nodding toward the animal. “It’s replicated, but I hope he won’t mind.” The young Cardassian looked at her expectantly, awaiting her answer.

Teti jumped off her lap and toddled to the guest, seeing an idle pair of hands that should be busy with petting him. Zamarran laughed, crouched and rubbed the cat’s head.

He looked at Jarol. “Please don’t say no. We feel like not being enough welcoming to you.”

She leaned forward toward him. “Oh, no, it’s not your fault. I just...like silence and seclusion.”

“I imagine that twenty years in the middle of chaos can do that to people,” he said, referring to her time as a legate in the Central Command. “But we are not a big crowd; there’s just three of us. Although Delva can talk for five.” He chuckled. “It takes a great talent to out talk two Cardassians.”

It seemed like he really meant it and she didn’t want to come off as rude, so she nodded. “All right. I’ll be there in a moment.”

“Wonderful.” Zamarran rose and was just about to leave, but Teti stood on his hind feet and leaned his fore paws on Zamarran’s leg. The palaeographer picked the cat up and took the pet with him. It wasn’t the first time that Teti got a free ride to the mess hall.

Jarol saved her search and logged out of the database and her terminal. Then she put on her armour, left the quarters and headed for the mess hall. She entered the room to see Delva and Vasan in the middle of a heated discussion. As usually, Delva couldn’t understand the historian’s claim that some things were priceless and there was no way to assess their real value in latinum. Delva argued that even life had its value in latinum, to which statement Vasan just snorted.

Jarol joined them at the round table that they were sitting at and listened. She didn’t dine with the others often, but she was sure that such a discussion took place each or almost each time they ate together.

Zamarran brought food—a few different dishes to share—and sat, too. “Oh, stop that already!” he shouted.

But Vasan wasn’t ready to give up, yet. “And how do you decide how much a life is worth?” she attacked the Ferengi.

“Oh, easily.” He shrugged. “Take my sweet legate for example.” He pointed to Jarol. “She is a soldier, so belongs to a highly respected group of people on Cardassia. She is a high-ranking soldier, which raises her value. Not only that—she speaks for the governm—”

“I only sign documents,” Jarol interrupted, but he ignored her.

“—ent and that makes her even more expensive. Add to that her experience: a tactician who survived two wars—hence a good one. A legate in your government—that’s something that cannot—”

“Expired,” she interrupted again. “That’s something expired.” She didn’t like him bringing her past—she hated her past. It wasn’t even her past! Three years earlier Jarol had barely survived an assassination attempt on her life. She hadn’t died but had suffered an extensive brain injury, which resulted in serious mental complications, the most notable one: a radical change of personality. The woman Delva was talking about was practically dead and Jarol didn’t like being reminded of her. She had gotten a second chance to do something meaningful with her life and glorifying the dark side of her was not welcomed.

But Delva only gave her a patronising smile. “My lovely legate, you know very little about business.”

“Doesn’t the way how I became a legate influence my price?” she asked and immediately cast an ashamed look at the other Cardassians. It was true that she had been a legate but it was also the fact that she had become one by the way of a coup.

Delva seemed to ponder her question for a moment. “It depends who is the buyer. If a Klingon or a Romulan—it would raise the price. If a person from the Federation—it would lower it significantly.”

She had nothing more to say, so she remained quiet. Vasan, however, didn’t intend to leave it like that. “Delva, you can’t just reduce people to a brick of latinum!”

He looked at her with indignation. “I don’t reduce people to anything. I only asses their value.”

“That’s the same thing!”

“No, it’s not.”

“It is.”

“Is not.”

Zamarran, completely ignoring the two arguing people, reached for a bowl with a ganot casserole and handed it to Jarol, who put some on her plate. She glanced at Teti; the cat wasn’t paying attention to anything except his bowl of kibbles.

“My father sends his regards,” the palaeographer said.

Jarol smiled in thanks. She had known his father, Gul Zamarran, for thirty years. They had served together on the Roumar before, during and shortly after the Dominion War. The palaeographer was one of Zamarran’s eight children and nothing like his father. Gul Zamarran was a serious, composed man with principles and while the principle feature was common for both of them, young Zamarran was a short-tempered, talkative man, who didn’t always know when to stop babbling.

Jarol looked at Delva, whom she had personally recruited to their little team—but not before discussing it with Vasan, who was de facto the team leader, and Zamarran.

The gul had grown to trust the Ferengi. He treated business ethics very seriously and was not a reflection of the general, negative reputation his people had.

Delva had helped her retrieve a lost statue a year earlier.

Two years ago her son had bought her a ‘knick-knack,’ which occurred to be a copy of a piece of a monument that had been sold by the Central Command in 2340s. After recuperating from her physical and mental health problems, Jarol had decided to follow the weak lead she had and employed Delva, who had owned the selling-copies business, to help her. It had taken a lot of leks to cover the Ferengi’s demand of losing a prosperous business, but he had helped her reach the man who had sold him the ‘knick-knacks’ and that way she had managed to find the original statue, on which the knick-knacks were based.

She had bought the statue from its ‘owner’ and returned it to Cardassia, to the hands of the Nokarian Society of Cultural Heritage, as the statue originated from her native continent of Nokar.

After being assigned as an official government representative for the team, she had proposed to hire Delva as someone who would understand business practices better than her and both scientists. Their only objection had been the money and how they would pay the Ferengi. Jarol had a solution to that prepared—all her remuneration went to Delva’s pocket. She didn’t really need it—her savings and her husband’s salary were more than enough for both of them plus the cat—and it kept Delva happy.

Vasan and Delva’s argument remained unsolved, as they both agreed to ‘seize fire’ and went on to eat.

For a long moment the only sound in the small mess was the ship’s humming and Teti’s smacking.

“So, have you found anything useful?” Vasan asked Jarol after a moment.

The gul shook her head. “Not yet. I wish I could talk to Ma’Kan to learn what she’s up to, but arranging such a conversation is too risky. I don’t want to blow her cover.”

“Maybe she’s not on the mission.” Vasan shrugged. “Maybe she switched sides.”

Jarol shook her head. “Impossible.”

“Money changes people,” Delva added.

“Perhaps,” Jarol agreed, “but Ma’Kan witnessed something and lost someone due to...certain circumstances and I don’t believe that the impact those two matters had on her could be cancelled by greed. Some things cannot be bought,” she said, giving Delva a meaningful look. She glanced at Zamarran. “Have your father ever mentioned her?”

The young man nodded. “Once. After he returned from Gil Sabal’s mourning ceremony.” Sabal had been Ma’Kan’s friend, who had been murdered by a madman. “He told me that she was in a terrible shape and that he was worried about her.”

“She left the military shortly after,” Jarol said. “And has been hunting down Obsidian Order agents since. Sabal was her best friend...and possibly more than that,” she added for the benefit of those who didn’t know her at all.

“Was Sabal killed by one of them? Agents, I mean?” Vasan asked.

“No.” Jarol shook her head, wondering how to answer the question without revealing top secret information. “But when that happened, she was involved in a mission related to the Order. They both were.” To the gul’s relief, Vasan didn’t asked more questions and accepted the answer with a simple nod.

“So what do we do now?” Delva asked.

“I wish I knew,” Zamarran sighed. “Any ideas?” He looked at Vasan and Jarol.

The gul slowly shook her head, but Vasan seemed to be lost in thoughts.


tbc
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Old August 8 2011, 07:56 PM   #6
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

That's interesting that Delva has proven himself to that degree, and that's something that's got me curious. I figured there had to be some Ferengi who followed more proper business practices, because someone that always screws over their customers all the time simply isn't going to make money. I wonder how high above the typical market rate that Jarol's paying him as his salary, though, considering she is making a gul's salary.

Teti's adorable. I think he's Jarol's little ambassador.
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Old August 9 2011, 12:55 AM   #7
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Delva still run his other business enterprises, so his "gul salary" isn't the only income he has. I think he also enjoys prestige of officially working for the Cardassians and this is a good argument when starting a new deal with some Cardassians.
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Old August 9 2011, 01:40 AM   #8
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Actually, I thought a gul's salary would be way above the market rate for what such services would normally be worth. I'm more worried Jarol is getting ripped off in this financial arrangement.
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Old August 9 2011, 06:12 AM   #9
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

She doesn't care for money. She had had a legate's pay for twenty years and she had never been a big spender, so most of that money accumulated--hence her savings now. Toral gets his pay and it's more than enough for both of them (plus the cat ). If not Delva, it's very possible that she would refuse to take any money for her work, or she'd use it to finance the mission--to pay for artefacts or something like that. She doesn't need more money and she doesn't want more money.

So even if Delva gets more than he deserves--she hopes that it'll keep him in the team, instead of leaving in search for more profitable opportunity.
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Old August 9 2011, 06:48 AM   #10
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Oh boy...I know what Delva would say in response to this. "You see, my sweet legate, you have put a value on my life and I'm flattered. That's the way the world works."



(What's interesting is...I just realized than in a bizarre Ferengi way, Delva might have shown some tact in one part. He said what price a Romulan or a Klingon would place on her, or the Federation--but he never said what price a Cardassian would place on her. So even as insensitive as the comment might seem, that's a very interesting omission.)
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Old August 9 2011, 01:33 PM   #11
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Oh boy...I know what Delva would say in response to this. "You see, my sweet legate, you have put a value on my life and I'm flattered. That's the way the world works."
She'd roll her eyes in mock annoyance and then smile.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
(What's interesting is...I just realized than in a bizarre Ferengi way, Delva might have shown some tact in one part. He said what price a Romulan or a Klingon would place on her, or the Federation--but he never said what price a Cardassian would place on her. So even as insensitive as the comment might seem, that's a very interesting omission.)
Maybe he assumed that no Cardassian would like to buy her
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Old October 4 2011, 01:38 PM   #12
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Zamarran hated waiting. It took them seven weeks to arrive to this point and now this—another obstacle. It wasn’t even about those three additional days they had to wait—what’s three days added to seven long weeks—but about the threat that they might have to resign from finalising this transaction for the sake of the ‘hunt an agent’ investigation.

Oh, of course he understood the importance of catching them all to the last bastard that was still in hiding, but did it had to be at the price of another Cardassian artefact? Zamarran was a native of Lakat, that’s where he had been born and raised and where he planned to have his own family, but Lakarian City was important for him. Before the Dominion War it was the centre of Cardassian culture and while he didn’t remember those times, his father had taught him that culture is an integral part of a nation’s identity and it should be protected. Lakarian City had been completely destroyed and not only people had died there, but also a part of Cardassian soul. It had been almost thirty years since the end of the war and the city had been rebuilt, but it still carried its wounds. And Zamarran was so close to heal a part of that wound and return the Lakarians one of their monuments—a statue that used to grace the biggest bridge in the city—but some stupid agent had to enter the picture! The palaeographer growled.

Yes, he understood that justice and unfairness that the Obsidian Order had imposed on people meant more than a piece of a carved stone, but he didn’t have to like it.

He glanced at the family holopicture that stood on a window near his bed. Uncle Nerik would most likely smack his head for thoughts like this: how could any inanimate object be as important as bringing criminals, who had changed Cardassians’ lives into hell, to face the Tribunal? Uncle Nerik used to be a dissident and the Obisidan Order had been his greatest nightmare. Zamarran understood that, too. He really did.

Still, the fact that the Statue of Moptor might not return home was driving him crazy.

He couldn’t stand it any longer. He left his quarters, stopped in front of the opposite door and pressed the wallcomm. He knew the chime sounded inside, even though he couldn’t hear it. A moment later the door parted. “I hope I’m not interrupting,” he said, trying to form a smile on his face and—he was certain—failing.

Jarol gave him an attentive look, as if she looked inside him to see what was bothering him. “Is something wrong?” she asked.

He shook his head. “No. I...I just need to talk.”

She moved aside, letting him in. He entered and the first thing his eyes visited was her computer terminal to make sure he indeed hadn’t interrupted anything. The screen was blank but active.

“Please, take a seat.” She offered him the only chair in the room, which stood at the computer console. She went to the bed, sat on it and took a brush in her hand. Then she started to brush Teti’s fur.

Zamarran sat, relieved that she indeed was busy with something that didn’t require secrecy. “It’s about the Obsidian Order and what you said during the dinner.” She gave him an asking look, so he explained, “About the possibility that we’d have to resign from our mission for the good of Ma’Kan’s.”

“And it bothers you.” It was a statement, not a question.

“It infuriates me,” he growled. She smiled gently. “Did you know,” he asked, “that my uncle was a dissident?”

“I didn’t know,” she said, shaking her head. “But I suspected.”

“You did?”

“I didn’t suspect it was your uncle...but I thought I noticed something different about your father.”

“And you never reported it to anyone.”

“No.” Her answer was short and simple, like it meant nothing, but from his father, and his uncle and history lessons he knew that if the Obisidian Order had ever found his uncle and his father—they would have also found her and execute her for not reporting it. Her answer was all but simple. “Can I ask you a question?” she asked. “You are free to refuse, of course.”

“Go ahead.”

“If you have dissidents in your family...why did your father join the military and served the family’s enemy?”

Zamarran smiled. “Well...our family always tried to serve the Union. It’s the tradition.” He emphasised the last word. “But when the Union started to resemble a monster, it became difficult to be a good Cardassian in a bad Cardassia. I asked my father the same question and he told me that he wanted to prove to his brother—my uncle—that one can serve the Union and still be a good, decent man.”

Something appeared on her face; something that the young man was unable to decipher. A sad smile graced her still beautiful face. “He is a good and decent man.”

“Thanks.” Zamarran smiled, wondering if his words had hurt her. There was something in her behaviour that made him worry he had said something inappropriate. Instead of digging, he decided to return to the main subject. “Do you think that getting this guy is more importa...” He didn’t finish. “That’s not what I mean. I know it’s more important to catch him than to get the statue. But...the price is so high.” He sighed.

She stopped brushing the cat and looked at him. “It is. But I don’t think it’s too high.”

“I do.”

She resumed grooming her cat. “Do you like your uncle?” she asked.

Zamarran blinked, not sure what this had anything to do with it. “Excuse me?”

She stopped again and looked at him. “Do you like him?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Would you like not to know him?”

“What?”

“Keeping in mind what he’s given you and how much he means to you, imagine that he was arrested and killed when you were a little boy or before you were born. Imagine how much you’d lose. How much you would not be given.”

Zamarran started to understand the point she was making. “The loss of my uncle would be greater than some stupid statue.”

“That too, but not only. There is a lot of people who never knew their family members because the Obsidian Order had taken them away. There is a lot of people who are no more, because the Obsidian Order took their lives away. There is a lot of people with scars on their souls, because the Obsidian Order ‘took care’ of them.” She pierced her eyes into Zamarran’s. “Would you dare to tell them that their losses and suffering mean less than a statue?” Zamarran shook his head. He opened his mouth to protest but she added, smiling gently. “I know it’s not what you’re thinking and I understand your feelings. I’d love to give the Lakarians Moptor back. To give us all Moptor back. But if I have to choose between another monster hanging on a rope or a statue—I choose the monster on the rope.”

“Do you think there’s any chance we could have both?”

“I hope so,” she said quietly. “Otherwise, it would be another evil thing that the Obsidian Order did to Cardassia.”

“So what do we do now?”

“Now we are waiting. And I’ll try to find out who this man is.”

“How is the search going?”

“I’m half-way through possible options. I need a few more hours.”

“Any way I could help?” He raised his hand. “Without breaking some oaths of secrecy, or anything like that.”

“Thanks, but I’ll manage.”

“If you need anything, let me know.” And with that he left her room and returned to his.

He entered his quarters and it struck him that his was bigger than hers. He wondered why she had chosen such small quarters, especially since she travelled with her pet. Not that their ship had any big quarters to offer.

The Sartan was a Janissen class vessel. Bigger than a Hideki, but smaller than a Galor. Most of their ship was reconstructed and consisted of the tiny bridge that looked more like a cockpit, not much bigger engineering ‘closet’—as Delva called it—plus a few small rooms that served as the mess hall, crew quarters and one ‘family’ room. The rest of space was assigned to three cargo halls. One, which took almost half of the ship, and two half-smaller. Zamarran hoped to return to Cardassia with the biggest one filled with their artefact, but his hope was currently melting like ice in the sun.



tbc
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Old October 4 2011, 04:26 PM   #13
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Awww, this situation sucks for everyone, though of course I hope it'll end up sucking worst for the agent soon.

It's interesting that now it's considered "OK" to admit that Nerik was a dissident. That's fortunate for Cardassia.

I think Jarol did a good job in getting her point across to "little Zamarran." She was able to do it in a way that didn't sound like barking an order to get his head straight, and I think that's important. In general I think she's really learned a lot of tact and that's a good thing. (Though of course a purring cat at one's side is also helpful towards preventing outbursts...not that I think she's that prone to them at this stage in her life, but still. )

I would love for there to be a way for both missions to succeed, though...
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Old October 4 2011, 04:49 PM   #14
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

It's been ok to admit to being a dissident for twenty years by that point; it's just that many people, after years of living in fear, still aren't very open about that. I think that neither Gul Zamarran not his brother would talk about that. But young Zamarran doesn't remember the times of fear that well, so for him there's no problem. He knows how terrible the Obsidian Order was, but he never experienced that horror.

I think Jarol knew how to talk to him, because I expect she had such a conversation with her son. Sh used different examples, but I'm sure she wanted Laran to know how bad it used to be and how important it was that such things wouldn't be repeated.
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Old October 4 2011, 08:34 PM   #15
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Winds of the Past"

Depending on when exactly Jarol had that conversation, I can definitely imagine what example she might've used. (Assuming it wouldn't be considered illegal to use said example.)
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