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Old September 12 2010, 04:11 PM   #121
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Owww, Ma'Kan would be in heaven if he would ask her to help him this way... Unfortunately for him she's just a tactician and so far he didn't even seem to notice her interest in him.
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Old September 12 2010, 04:15 PM   #122
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I figured she would be--but then again, that would probably be really awkward for Brenok since Ma'Kan might not be able to separate "medical necessity" from "sexual advance."
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Old September 12 2010, 04:19 PM   #123
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

True. She would rather see it as a invitation to a relationship, either physical or - hopefully - something deeper.
Another thing is that may not want her to touch him this way. He still grieves his wife. Jarol's touch would be "neutral", Ma'Kan's definitely not.
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Old September 12 2010, 04:21 PM   #124
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Exactly what I was thinking...Jarol is mature enough to understand that this is strictly for medical purposes.
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Old September 13 2010, 03:20 PM   #125
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I like the way Jarol is a believably flawed main character. This was a very strong scene... I certainly know where her rage is coming from! And though I've fortunately never tortured anyone (not that I've ever been in that position), I can almost imagine doing the same, apart from the part with threatening his family.
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Old September 13 2010, 11:00 PM   #126
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I've been reading my way through your fic over the past few days and am enjoying it immensely. Looking forward to the next installment!
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Old September 13 2010, 11:50 PM   #127
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

DevilEyes, nobody's perfect. Ah, except for Gul Dukat of course, at least he liked to think so

macloudt, thanks for reading. I hope the next chapter is going to be interesting too.
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Old September 14 2010, 11:50 PM   #128
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

macloudt, if you liked it you can have a closer look at Gul Corak and there are more short stories available.
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=127818
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=127491
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=128516
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Old September 15 2010, 08:41 PM   #129
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

^Have read and enjoyed. Thank you!
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Old September 16 2010, 06:08 AM   #130
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I thank you!


Today, on my ride to work by a bus, I realised I created a giant plot hole, a plot abyss. I don't know if no one noticed, or everyone was so polite not to mention it, but it occurred to be easily fixed. With one word!

You just need to replace the first word of the chapter "A good engineer's worth his weight in latinum": instead of "Glinn" it should be "Gil". Taa-daa!

It's terrible when your characters live their own lives, and you forget details and then continue writing something incoherent
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Old September 19 2010, 12:11 PM   #131
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Ferengi?
2378 (2377)


“Peace is good for business, Thirty Fifth Rule of Acquisition”, Jotrel said.

The Ferengi looked at him impressed.

“You memorised Rules of Acquisition?” he asked impressed, showing his crooked teeth in a smile.

“Ah, I read them once,” Jotrel waved his hand dismissively.

Jarol could barely stop her laughter. Heavens be blessed for eidetic Cardassian memory.


Six months earlier



“Slaughter them!” Gul Tarkan was furious.

“Ah, slaughter yourself!” Brenok barked angrily.

“How dare you!” Tarkan turned to face the young officer.

“How dare you!” Brenok didn't seem intimidated in the least. “How dare you ordering to shoot at our own citizens!”

“They have rebelled!”

“Oh...” Brenok stopped himself in time, but Jarol guffawed. She almost heard “oh, shut up!” and Tarkan's face expression clearly indicated that so did he.

“While Glinn Brenok's reaction is out of line,” Jotrel seemed actually amused, not shocked, “he does have a point.”

Tarkan glanced at Jotrel and then back at Brenok.

“We cannot start shooting at our own,” Jotrel continued. “The Obsidian Order times are gone and for one I'm happy about it. Those people did not 'rebel',” he looked at Tarkan. “They are scared and desperate. They need help, not an attack of armed to teeth troops. We're not Jem'Hadar and we can't become Jem'Hadar.”

“We can't allow people to start riots!” Tarkan barked.

“No, we can't. But do you really think executions and massacres would help?”

“They would fear to start another one when they'd see how we punish rioters.”

“That's incredibly short-sighted, Tarkan,” Jarol snorted. “I have no idea how you could have come to such appalling conclusions.”

“No one asked you!”

“Excuse me?” Her eyes opened wider with anger.

“You're the lowest ranking Gul here, so shut up and listen to experienced commanders.”

Glinn Toral didn't participate in the discussion, or the quarrel rather. He stood aside, glancing at Daset from time to time. However when he heard Tarkan attacking and insulting Jarol, his blood boiled. He moved closer and stood behind the female Gul.

“Go back to your children, because you're no good to command a ship!” Tarkan hissed.

“This is counterproductive,” Jotrel interjected, but Tarkan was in full aggressive mode and didn't pay any attention to him.

“You should command an orphanage, not--”

“That's enough!” Toral boomed. “Sir,” he snorted with contempt.

Tarkan was speechless, Jotrel surprised and Jarol sent a warm smile toward her unexpected hero. That last thing was enough for Toral to never ever regret his action.

“What happened to the famous Cardassian military discipline?!” Tarkan shouted when his voice was back. “No surprise we lost the war with people like them!” he pointed to Brenok and Toral.

“Calm down, everyone!” Daset's voice wasn't loud, but sharp like a razor.

Everyone silenced and looked at him.

“We have to solve the situation. Not by force,” he looked at Tarkan. “We must be effective,” he added. “Be their parents, teach them the good behaviour, not only punish them for bad behaviour. Those people are desperate, hungry and sick. We must give them hope, food and medicine.”

“Beautiful words, worth of a politician,” Tarkan said. “But how do we apply them in practice?”

Daset rose.

“That's your job. I am a politician, you are my advisers. So advise. And may your advices help me in my political career, not destroy it before it even starts,” the last words were clearly directed to Tarkan, although Daset wasn't looking at anyone in particular, when he spoke them.

Gul Tarkan was first to leave the room. Jarol grinned, patted Toral's arm and looked at Jotrel.

“I hope he's not in trouble?” she asked him.

Jotrel shook his head and then waved to his aide and they both left the room. She looked at Brenok.

“Sir,” she noticed Daset stood with his back to the room, looking out the window.

He didn't react, so she and Brenok left his office without any more word.

“That was very stupid what you did there,” she said.

“I know. But I couldn't help it,” he admitted.

“Don't do that again. I won't be able to protect your from some people.”

“Who will protect us from Gul Tarkan?”

“I don't know, Arenn, but maybe he should join Ahal before he does any real harm.”

“You joking, right? Tell me you're joking.”

“I am,” she smiled slightly, but he wasn't so sure about her declaration.

They saw Jotrel waiting for them in the corridor.

“You two,” he looked at both Glinns, “go and check the proceedings, which follow insubordination and defying a ranking officer. We, Guls, have something to discuss.”

Both Glinns left and Jarol grinned.

“Something tells me your aide is not in trouble too, in spite of his terrible behaviour,” she said.

“He's a good officer, always following rules. However it occurs it takes a beautiful woman to throw his career away,” Jotrel didn't smile, but his face expression showed amusement. “But I won't hold it against him.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Ahal's assassination investigation.”

“What about it?” she knew there was one for a show and Daset promised her it was led by one of his people, so she was safe, but what would Jotrel know about it?

“Let's go somewhere else.”

They went outside and walked in the newly rebuilt garden near the government building. The grass was rich and spotted by flowers, but there were no trees yet. It would be many years before thin, delicate baby-trees would become the real thing. However, in spite of that, the garden was beautiful and a welcome sight in still half-destroyed Lakat. Smell of flowers in hot, humid air was almost overwhelming.

“Brenok did sloppy work,” Jotrel said.

“Brenok?” she didn't understand.

“That riffle you used. It was a good idea to choose something from the criminalistic armoury, and you chose a good weapon, but the DNA work wasn't done as well as it should have been.”

“What do you mean?” she worried about Ma'Kan's safety.

She had made a decision to use one of riffles, which were designated for destruction. That kind of riffles, formerly used by Obsidian Order snipers, was attached to its user. A riffle was programmed to its owner's DNA and no one else could use it. It was for the owners' safety, in case their weapon would be taken from them.

It was believed that DNA setting could be done once only, so a riffle could never change its owner. However there was a design flaw, which allowed to re-renter new DNA. Jarol adapted one such riffle to Ma'Kan's DNA and then removed the DNA and signs of tempering from the programming.

“I mean that there were traces of DNA left,” Jotrel whispered. “You can't simply remove the DNA programming; to completely erase current DNA you'd have to enter a new one. And depending on a riffle and its particular safeties, it could not always work. I thought Brenok would know such things.”

“Why do you think it was Brenok?”

“He's an engineer, that's an engineer's work, isn't it?”

“He had nothing to do with it,” she said. “He didn't even know.”

“Then who did it?”

“Me.”

“Oh, I see. Well then, you did a sloppy work. The remains of DNA were sufficient enough to track it to you tactical officer.”

“What now? Is there anything I can do for her?”

“Don't worry. I have erased all traces and all programming,” he said. “I just warn you not to be so negligent next time you try something like this. For engineering work ask Brenok... or me.”

That's right! Jotrel was the chief engineer of Terok Nor.

“Now I have a debt,” she simply said.

“You do. And I collect my debts,” he grinned.

“I'm sure you do.”

She worried. How come so many people knew it was her, who killed Ahal? She was not as safe as she'd believed she was.

“There's also one more thing I'd like to talk to you about,” Jotrel sat on a bench near a tree-to-be. In thirty or forty years the tree would cast a romantic shadow over the bench.

“What is it?” she sat next to him.

“I'm sure you're not happy with all the help we receive. I mean – with the fact we need charity from former enemies.”

“I'm not.”

“I had an idea recently. I talked to Toral about it and now would like to talk to you. I would need your support, because I'm quite sure Gul Daset would not think it's a good idea.”

“I see,” she had no idea what to expect.

“What do you think about Ferengi?” and even if she had had an idea, she wouldn't expect this.

“They are short, ugly, treat their women like cattle, but they are good businessmen.”

“I'm interested in the last part. What if we start a cooperation with the Ferengi. Something that would let us become independent and not relying on Feds' help.”

“Do you have something specific in mind?”

“Actually it's not very specific, merely a general idea, but here's what I think we could try to do,” he started. “Ferengi are businessmen, as you said. They know the market, they know what sells and for what price. What if we could offer something for sale and buy everything we need?”

“From whom?”

“I don't know.”

“What would we pay with? Leks are worthless these days.”

“I don't know.”

“Sounds like a great plan to me. No surprise you're an engineer, not a tactician.”

“And no businessmen, but that's what the Ferengi are for.”

“You mean... you want them to be a kind of intermediary between us and whoever we might have to deal with?”

“Yes.”

“They are not trustworthy!”

“They value profit. If we arrange it right, we could trust them to some degree. I have a few more ideas and Toral too, so I could send them to you for your review. Maybe you could add something too. And Brenok. He's a clever guy. I'm going to contact Gul Marret too.”

“And you think Daset would agree to such a thing?” she was doubtful.

“Daset is a traditionalist, in his mind Cardassia is strong, self-sufficient and such. But if we both tell him the same thing, maybe he would be able to... not to refuse it at once and give it a chance.”

“Daset is an ass, but he's not stupid.”

“So, what do you think?”

“I think I want to see what you and Toral had prepared so far,” she smiled.

“Splendid,” he smiled back.



“I am not sure I can...” she didn't want to refuse, but couldn't even imagine herself touching him. Not in this manner.

“Pleeaaaseee,” he extended his right hand; it was shaking uncontrollably.

It took just a glance at his shivering limb, then she decidedly knelt next to him, reached to the table to activate the instructions clip, wetted her palms in the substance Brenok had prepared for this activity according to Kirkland's instructions, and put her hand on his shoulder. She feared she would hurt him, she feared she would inflict even more pain, so she observed his face intently, but there was no change. He suffered and possibly couldn't suffer more.

She followed the instructions to the best of her ability, and discovered it wasn't so difficult to press right places as she imagined it would be. He grunted a few times and each time she asked him if he wanted her to stop, but he kept shaking his head. The tension on his face disappeared gradually to be finally replaced by relief.

She sat on the floor next to him, lowering her hands. His neck ridge and shoulder were oily, and so were her hands. He sat on the floor, pulled his legs up and held his arms around the calves.

“Do you feel better?” she asked.

He smiled slightly and nodded.

“Why do you return there if each time after those... gatherings your shoulder hurts so much?” Jarol couldn't understand. Every time he returned from an Oralian meeting, he suffered. This time it was so bad that he actually called her for help, for this help.

“Because they give me something that is more important than lack of pain in my shoulder. They remove the pain from my heart.”

“What do they give you? What do they do that no one else can? What I can't?”

“I lost all my family. You don't know how it is to have no one left!” Was she no one for him? “You have no idea how it is to lose a child!”

“Maybe you've forgotten that Bajorans murdered my husband and two children,” she whispered, “but I haven't.”

She got up and headed for the door, trying to stop her tears. No one have said more cruel words to her in her entire life.

Brenok raised his hand to cover his mouth. How could he have said something like this, how could he have forgotten?

“Atira, I'm sorry,” he called after her, but she disappeared behind closing door. He followed her, calling her name, but she didn't turn and kept walking in an even pace. He knew he's just put a knife into her heart and twisted it. He was so focused on Laran that he forgot the boy wasn't her only child. He wished he could eat his own words, or turn back time and erase them. He felt like trash. He was so consumed by his own pain he forgot he wasn't the only one suffering.
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Old September 19 2010, 12:13 PM   #132
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

“You wanted to see me,” Jarol entered Daset's office and stood in front of his desk.

“Yes,” he rose and went round the desk to stand close and face her. “I have a task for you, a very delicate task.”

She looked at him, raising her head a bit, as he was a tall man, and waited for him to continue. She had never noticed before that his eyes had deep green colour.

“Please, take a seat,” he indicated a table in the corner of his office. So, it seemed like she wouldn't like her new task, or he wouldn't bother with such niceties as politeness. It was going to be a blow.

“What do you need me to do?” she asked, sitting down.

“Alon Ghemor asked for my assistance in planning our withdrawal from the annexed worlds. He is not a fool we took him for and he understands it cannot be done without a good plan, and as soon as I passed your ideas to him, he asked me for deeper involvement. And since those were your ideas, you will assist him.”

“You have to be joking,” she snapped.

“Am I laughing?” his eye ridge raised. He was irritated by her comment.

“No, you're not. But you know very well what I think about this government.”

“Pretty much the same I do. But we have to have some influence. I delegate you to represent our position and to help. This is not open for discussion, you will do it,” his tone of voice allowed no resistance. It clearly was an order.

“Understood,” she hissed.

She was still angry, when she returned home. She entered her room to find Brenok sitting on her sofa. She wasn't surprised he had managed to get in – she didn't feel a need to restrict access to her room in Demoks' house – however she was angry he was here at all.

“Do you need another massage?” she growled.

“No.”

“So what the hell do you want?”

He didn't reply. She knew why he was here, but she didn't care. A small smile appeared on his lips.

“What is so amusing?” she stood in front of him, towering over his sitting figure.

“I wouldn't expect you to care about my pain now.”

“That's because you are an ass, but I still am a good friend,” her voice was still full of anger.

He rose.

“What can I do?”

“Nothing. I just have to get over it. Now get out!”

He looked into her eyes. She was mad, but he knew he wasn't the reason.

“Get. Out.”

The words growled out from depth of her throat, so he headed for the door knowing it wasn't a good moment to talk to her. He stopped and looked back at her, but her expression was discouraging, so he left without saying anything.



Alon Ghemor was shorter than she expected. And he seemed even smaller in his big office. Daset's office was much smaller, but he decorated it with a taste: he kept there some replicas of bladed weapons and a couple of paintings, and everything had been flatteringly arranged. Here, there was no personality in this office. It was only a huge chamber with tables and chairs and a Cardassian inside.

“Gul Jarol, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” Ghemor greeted her with a smile.

Is it? She wanted to ask, but bit her tongue in time. She just nodded her greeting.

“Please, have a seat,” he indicated a chair at a table, which stood by a window. She sat and looked out the window. The view would be beautiful some day; the window went out to the same garden she had talked to Jotrel in recently. In the distance she could see buildings under construction. She realised there were less and less ruins in Lakat every day. It made her smile.

“Would you like some tea?” Ghemor asked.

She looked at him, a little startled; she almost forgot where she was.

“Brown leaf tea...” she said.

He spoke to someone over the comm and then joined her at the table.

“I understand Gul Daset has informed you why I asked for your consultation,” he started.

“It's about the withdrawal from all annexed worlds,” she said coldly.

“That's right. Gul Daset does not think it was a good decision, but we would have to do it eventually. I understand you agree with my position.”

“I agree that withdrawal is inevitable, but not the way you want to do it. That would be catastrophic.”

“Well,” he smiled. “Actually I don't have any particular idea how to do it.”

“I see. So your Federation superiors told you to stop torturing those poor worlds and you said yes, even if it could be disastrous for Cardassia.”

Ghemor's smile faded for a moment.

“Gul Jarol, whatever I do, I do it for Cardassia.”

“Whose idea was it? This withdrawal, I mean?”
He didn't reply at once.

“We need the Federation's support,” he said finally. She just snorted, but he ignored her and continued. “The Breen don't want to give us back the territory, which the shapeshifter had given them for joining the... the war. The Breen don't want to negotiate and we are unable to take that territory by force. We need an intermediary, someone, who would help us to talk to them.”

“I'd rather go to war with the Breen and take back what's ours,” she said.

“I'm sure you would. But the question is not about going to war and fighting,” he said. “You and your crew are brave people, I don't doubt that. And you would fight, I don't doubt that too. But could you win this war?” he asked.

She bit her lower lip. He was right, even if she didn't want to admit it. It's been two years since the end of the Dominion War and her ship – a flagship of a battalion! – still looked like a patchwork, due to lack of resources. There was no way they could win a war with anyone, with the exception of Ferengi maybe, and she wasn't so sure about that either.

“So you see my point,” he said after a moment, as she didn't reply. “We're in no position to bargain. The Federation's position is clear – we free occupied worlds, they help us with the Breen. We would have to free them anyway, sooner or later, and I'd rather not see our people under Breen rule.”

He was right, again. It bugged her he kept using the word 'occupied' tough. She wasn't fond of the 'annexed' term either, but somehow it didn't sound right in a Cardassian mouth.

“Help me,” he asked. “You seem most reasonable from all officers I heard of. You had served on Terok Nor and had seen it all atrocities with your own eyes. You want it to stop as much as I do.”

She kept staring at him. How did he know so much about her?

“Can I count on you?” he asked after another long moment of silence.

“Yes. But! Before I start working on some schedule of our withdrawals, I want to investigate the situation of all annexed Prefectures. Not all of them are like Bajor.”

“Agreed. It has to be done properly,” he nodded.

“Is that all?”

“No. There is one more thing. The Federation wants us to join their exchange program.”

“Exchange of what?”

“Officers. To learn more about each other, to know each other better.”

She squinted her eyes. She felt no need of knowing the Feds better. “What do you mean?” she asked slowly.

“Two Federation officers were chosen to join our fleet. I want them to be on your ship.”

“My ship!!”

Two Feds roaming around the Roumar; it was unbelievable. But then... she could keep an eye on them personally, in case they were spies.

“Fine. But only two.”

“Only two. You can expect them within a month. I don't have details yet.”

“Is it all now?”

“Yes, now it's all,” he smiled patiently. She knew her rudeness had to be irritating, but she had no intention of showing him any respect, or changing her behaviour. He had to know she didn't concur with his politics and she was not on his side, even if she agreed to cooperate.



Brenok returned from his Oralian gathering right for the supper. Most of Demoks' neighbours had moved out and the house was a family home again. Old Demok didn't approve of Brenok's attendance of those meetings, but he never said anything. Jarol suspected he didn't feel he had any right to do that. Her own father didn't seem to mind. He always asked Brenok how it was and if they did something new. It was rather a polite way of starting a conversation than a genuine interest, but it was clear he saw nothing wrong in those Oralian gatherings.

She was in the general room downstairs, sitting on the floor and playing with Laran, when Brenok entered.

“Do you need a massage?” she asked, not raising her head up, trying not to let Laran eat all his toys. She was still angry with Brenok.

“No, I won't need it any more. I mean – not after the gatherings.”

“Really?” she looked up at him this time.

“They've noticed I was suffering, so they decided to change the place. We meet in a new temple now. It's not finished yet, but is good enough for our purpose. The guide said my well-being was more important than their tradition of holding the gatherings in the historical basement.”

“How generous,” she snorted.

He left her remark uncommented. He didn't want another argument. He sat in an armchair and took a padd from a table next to it, which contained a book he had started reading an evening earlier.

“Mommy,” Laran raised his head to look at his mother. “Where is daddy?”

Her eyes opened wide. “Daddy?” she repeated, her voice hoarse and shaking.

“Grandpa Vares is your daddy. Grandpa Talokan is daddy's daddy? Where is my daddy?”

Her eyes filled with tears. She was looking at her son's face, so much like his father's, and couldn't force herself to speak. What could she tell him? How could she explain it to him?

She felt someone's arms around her. She didn't notice when Brenok came and sat next to her to hold her; she looked at him.

“Your daddy sacrificed himself so that you could be safe, Laran,” Brenok told the boy in a soft voice.

“When will I see him?”

“The same day I will see my daughter,” Brenok replied, hugging Jarol, who started crying.

“Why does mommy cry?”

“Because she wants to see your daddy too.”

“Can't we go together to see him and Tasara?”

“We will, but it will be very long time before we can do it.”

“I can wait,” the boy said cheerfully and his attention shifted back to his toys.

Brenok held Jarol in his arms, her tears soaking the sweater on his chest. He was stroking her hair and humming her favourite lullaby, the same he had hummed for her when Demok was killed. He realised he couldn't remember seeing her crying any other time than shortly after the destruction of Damar's ship. She was always there for him, for his tears, but she didn't shed hers. Maybe her time for mourning came today.

Old Darok entered the room and was shocked and then worried, seeing the scene. Brenok waved him away, so he reluctantly left, leaving three of them alone. He knew if anyone could help her, it would be her friend, of whom he thought as his adopted son.



The Mar'kuu Group's meetings weren't regular initially, as each battalion commander had his – or her – duties beside the political ones, but they tried to use each opportunity to hold a meeting once everyone was on or near Cardassia Prime. As new Guls supported or even joined them, they needed to arrange more formal form of their meetings and their small political group started resembling something much more. The name – The Mar'kuu Group – was Jarol's idea. The sea animal was extinct and could not be brought back, but they hoped that in spite of the Dominion's attempt to make all Cardassians extinct, they had a chance to rebuild their empire.

“What do you mean: the Ferengi?” Daset's reaction to Jotrel's idea was much harsher than Jarol's had been.

“Why not? We've done business with them before.”

“Yes, but... do you want to rely our whole economy on the... Ferengi?”

“Errr, no. I just want to start somewhere. If you have better ideas, please, share them with us.”

Daset only glared at Jotrel. “Did you read it?” he asked Tarkan.

“Yes,” the Gul nodded his greying head.

“What do you think?”

“It's stupid. But I agree we have to start somewhere. Ghemor's government doesn't have a clue how to bring our economy back on its feet, so stupid idea could be what we need... if we don't spread the word too much. People would ridicule us.”

“I never said it had to be official,” Jotrel got defensive. “It's even better if we kept it a secret.”

“How do we choose a Ferengi? Does anyone have any contacts?” Daset asked, looking around the faces.

“Actually yes, there is one individual I'd dealt with,” Jotrel nodded.

“Is he trustworthy?”

“Is any Ferengi?” Jotrel smiled.

“Is he trustworthy enough for our purpose?” there was a smile crawling on Daset's lips too.

“I think so.”

“All right. Contact your Ferengi. This is your project, so you take care of it. I just want detailed reports on your progress or lack of it.”

“Actually I'd like to hold an official meeting, on which all of you would be present.”

“Why?” Tarkan clearly didn't like the idea.

“For two reasons. He would see we are serious about it. And we could intimidate him a bit if he thought he could cheat us. You, Gul Tarkan, could intimidate him particularly successfully.”

“With pleasure,” Jarol thought it was the first time she saw Tarkan smiling.

“All right,” Daset agreed. “Coordinate the time of the meeting with my aide and try to find a spot when we all are available. My aide should be able to provide this information at all times.”

Jotrel nodded.

“Gul Tarkan, you also have some proposition to present today,” Daset looked at the commander of the Third Battalion.

“Indeed. Our last conversation,” he glanced at Brenok and Toral, “left me with one conclusion: we need to change the way that ordinary people see the military these days. We need them to believe we are here to protect and serve them, not threaten them.”

Jarol was impressed. Tarkan was openly, although not directly, admitting that he had been wrong ordering forceful solution of the difficult situation on Cardassia.

“We have to bring order back into the military, replace the chaos that exists there now. And I believe the militia troops are the first target. I have a sketch of small reforms regarding regulations, conduct and training,” he raised a padd. “I will transfer a copy to each of you for your review. I'm open for any amends.

“I would also like to separate militia training from officers' training. As of now, both forces attend the Military Academy. I would prefer to open a school, or rather schools, possibly one per each big city, which would thoroughly train professional militiamen, who would later serve as ground security service and aboard ships in the form they serve now. I'd also like a separate division for training guards of all sorts. Apart from regular training, I would like them to have a goal.

“I was thinking about it for some time, and decided to share this with you and ask your opinions. I want to create a special troop of the best of the best. Their role would be representative. They would be guards of most important people in the Cardassian Union, they would be our guests' guards, they could perform shows of martial arts and such. Only the best militiamen could apply and be accepted, so joining this troop would be a privilege and the greatest honour. I would like to see it as a goal for each man to reach, which would make them do their best to become perfect soldiers, as any trouble would close the door to this special unit permanently.

“I would like this troop to be named “the Damar Guard”,” he smiled to Jarol. “And have them wear armours with golden edges.”

Jarol was surprised. She glanced at the two guards, standing on each side of the door, and tried to imagine them wearing golden armours. She had to admit she liked the idea.

“An interesting idea,” Daset said after a moment.

“I like it,” Jotrel nodded toward Tarkan.

“So do I,” concurred Gul Marret, one of their new supporters.

“Martial arts?” Toral asked.

“That's something of a hobby of mine,” Tarkan said with... was that a sheepish smile? “It's good for discipline of the mind and the body. I myself am quite skilled with the art of hark'nor fighting. There are schools of martial arts, but I'd like this to become an official discipline each and every militiaman and officer would be familiar with.”

Hark'nor?” Brenok looked at Tarkan impressed. “Do you really know how to fight with it?”

Tarkan only nodded.

Jarol had seen hark'nor in a museum once, but she had never had an occasion to see it used in any manner. It was a heavy and long bladed weapon, not much unlike a Klingon bat'leth or a Jem'Hadar kar'takin.

“Sounds good to me,” she approved.

“Do you mind the name?” Tarkan asked her.

Why did he ask her permission? Was it because she was friends with Damar? Then why didn't he also seek Brenok's approval? She was puzzled.

“I think it's appropriate,” she agreed. In fact, she loved the name for the troop.
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Old September 19 2010, 12:13 PM   #133
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

“Are you our chief investigator now?” Jarol asked Jotrel.

“Well, someone has to keep an eye on less than perfect people,” he smiled at her from the screen.

“So what do you have?”

Jarol had talked to Daset about Nadar brothers and he'd promised to take care of it. At first he though she wanted him to drag every member of the family and interrogate them, but all she wanted was to know why both brothers shared such strange opinions and if there was a danger that the youngest Nadar would pop out and cause trouble some day.

She was glad Jotrel was in charge of the investigation; she trusted he wouldn't do it “the old way”.

“Well, sisters are no threat. They are good mothers and wives. The youngest brother is the weakest point. In my opinion both Nadars were created by their father, who is... well, enough to say the Directorate protects him. However I'm quite certain that in time the youngest brother is going to be exactly as his older brothers.”

“Not good.”

“There isn't much we could do about it,” Jotrel said.

“We need to keep an eye for the old Nadar. If he makes his sons traitors, then he is the source of all problems. I wish we could arrest him. But we're not allowed any more.”

“Unfortunately. How are we supposed to raise a new generation of good Cardassians, if everyone is allowed to express their opinions freely, even those that are edging on treason?”

“We need to change the law,” she said, only half jokingly.

“We?”

She left his question unanswered.

“How is your Ferengi?”

“Busy, but we should be able to arrange our first meeting within next few weeks.”

“I look forward to it,” she said and they both laughed.

Jotrel disconnected and she looked at her son, who was playing on the floor in her study. She recalled his question about daddy and her eyes filled with tears again. How was that possible? It's been over two years since Demok's death, why did it hurt like it was a week ago? Why didn't it hurt like this a week ago?

She noticed Brenok passing by her study's open door. That's right, it was time for another gathering.

Without thinking, she got up from behind her desk. She picked Laran up and took him to his grandmother. She ignored the older woman's question where she was going and followed Brenok out. She knew he always walked to the... the temple – she snorted – so it wouldn't be a problem to follow him. She wanted to know, she had to know what he was doing there. Did they poison his mind with their superstitions? Did he convert? Was she going to lose her best friend and her aide?

The temple wasn't finished yet, but it looked impressive already. The construction was mostly wooden, which struck her as odd, but she never pretended to understand those people, so she took it as another sign of their weirdness.

Brenok was welcomed by some people, including a group of children. There was a girl there, who stuck to him from the moment he entered the wall-less building, so Jarol guessed it was the Flower Girl. He never revealed her name.

He sat among the crowd on a long bench, and soon everyone else was seated too. A woman stood in front of the gathered people, she put some mask on her face and it started. Jarol hid behind one of columns and observed everything. She could barely hear what the woman was saying for she was too far. She found the body movements of the mistress of celebration really funny. It was like a show, a one woman show.

She was just about to leave, bored, when the woman seemed to conclude the ritual. She said something, someone answered and then the woman spoke again. Jarol had an impression she caught the word “Glinn”, but wasn't sure.

Brenok got up from his seat and went to join the woman where she stood near the altar. He turned to face the people and said something. Then the woman stepped down and sat in the first row, while another man joined Brenok. The man carried a mararak, a stringed instrument she had seen only once in her life. Brenok looked at the man, they nodded to each other and they started: Brenok sang, the man played.

She didn't expect that. She wished she heard better, because she was really curious about this mini-concerto. Was that Brenok's therapy? Singing? Singing in this manner? With the audience and some instruments?

She looked around, trying to find a way to get closer and not be noticed, but it seemed impossible. She would either have to risk being spotted, or give up. She reluctantly gave up. She didn't want Brenok to know she spied on him. Actually she felt a little guilty because of spying on him.

She turned and quietly left the temple-to-be and headed for home. Why didn't he tell her? Why was it a secret? She knew he liked singing. He sometimes sang even not realising he was doing that.

She didn't understand anything...



They just finished talking about the Shift, when Toral entered the conference room, accompanied by two Ferengi.

“Quag and Zarik,” he said by way of introduction.

The one named Quag smiled and bowed slightly.

“I hope our cooperation will bring us all lots of profits,” he said.

“Maybe,” Tarkan moved closer to the Ferengi, achieving the effect he counted for – Quag recoiled.

“Yes, yes...” he muttered and then noticed Jotrel. “Ah, Gul Jotrel,” he regained some of his confidence seeing a familiar face. “I was thinking about the commission you want to grant us. And it doesn't appear satisfactory.”

“You have to be joking me,” Jotrel snapped. “Considering the scale that this business is going to reach, you are going to be rich.”

“We, we are going to be rich,” the other Ferengi said.

“As an additional incentive we have agreed,” Toral said, “that with every ten new clients your commission would be raised by quarter percent.”

“Aaaah,” Quag seemed satisfied, for a moment. His little eyes found Jarol. “A feeeemaaale,” he creaked, raising his hand.

“If you touch your ear with that hand, you will lose both,” Jarol threatened.

The Ferengi's hand and lewd smile froze in place.

“Can we start?” Daset indicated a table, which had been prepared especially for these negotiations. He seemed amused by the whole situation.


tbc
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Old September 19 2010, 03:15 PM   #134
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Wow...I really thought Brenok's friendship might be finished after that--especially after Jarol refused his apology. If it hadn't been for Brenok helping Laran, I don't know what would've happened.

I'm glad she waited before she went to the temple, though...otherwise I think she might have decided that those are the kind of people the law should be changed to suppress again. I'm glad she was able to see Brenok sing, though I can definitely see that she doesn't understand if she thinks it's ONLY about singing. I wonder if she'll realize why Brenok hides the names of the Oralians.

Oh, and what I would do for a look at Brenok's padd...who knows what kinds of interesting things could be on it?

I liked how you portrayed Alon Ghemor--even though she disagreed with him, he definitely showed that he wasn't an idiot, AND he really laid out his position in ways that were difficult to ignore. I also loved his politeness...in fact, his gesture with the tea sounded a LOT like something I described his cousin Tekeny doing for his staff in one of my stories!

I just hope this Ferengi plan isn't going to backfire--either unintentionally or because certain people are intentionally choosing a less effective or even dangerous plan in order to embarrass Ghemor. And while Jarol and Daset did a good job of finding out what Tarkan likes and giving him a place where he might feel valued, I doubt that would be enough for him. And I wonder how many others might be willing to take extreme measures...
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Old September 19 2010, 03:39 PM   #135
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

I have completely rewritten Alon Ghemor's dialogue. Only the beginning with the tea wasn't deleted, but everything else was. I'm glad he seems a reasonable man; he wasn't supposed to be an idiot, even if my main character sees him as such.

I think Jarol and Brenok went through too many things together and their friendship is strong enough to survive even those silly words he's said. Yes, he hurt her, but she lost Jarol, she lost Demok, she lost Damar, she wouldn't want to lose Brenok over words. She refused to listen to his apologies, but she knew he was sorry. She knew it wasn't deliberate intention, but talking before thinking. He does that a lot recently, doesn't he? Talks before thinking.

Tarkan... well, Tarkan. At least he's trying to adapt to new Cardassia, where Glinns yell at Guls

Thanks for comments, they made me feel this chapter wasn't as boring as I'd thought it was.
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