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Old February 11 2011, 03:22 AM   #136
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
As for Nechayev hoping to turn Kapoor into a spy...that does sound like typical Nechayev, now that you say it.
Especially since she was a spy, an undercover on Bajor, if I recall correctly. In Treklit. So it seemed like she could come up with such an idea.

Of course, Kapoor would never agree to it, but she at least was spared being asked such a question (or ordered?) because the isolation was effective enough that SF couldn't locate her (and she was no longer aboard the Roumar, so they had no idea where to look for her).
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Old February 13 2011, 05:11 AM   #137
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Chapter 20 – Day 531




I arrived to Gul Tarkan’s office almost an hour too early. I approached a glinn at the reception desk and told him I had an appointment with Gul Tarkan. The glinn didn’t take his eyes from me and politely replied that I was much too early. He didn’t have to check it, he just remembered. Did he memorise the gul’s schedule for a day every morning?

He told me to sit and wait.

So I sat and waited.

I hadn’t slept the last night. Tavor had told me that Gul Tarkan was an old, traditional gul, stiff in his ways and rough in his conduct. He hadn’t intended to scare me but that was exactly what he had done. So I hadn’t slept, fearing this meeting and regretting that I had asked Jarol to arrange it. Tavor had told me that most likely even Jarol was afraid of Tarkan.

The glinn busied himself with his duties and I sat there, staring at the wall opposite me and trying not to throw up. My stomach twisted and danced in my guts. I hadn’t been able to have breakfast and I was grateful for it now, as it would return the same way it had gotten there.

Time was passing. Slowly. Sloooooowly. Slooooooooooowly. The glinn glanced at me from time to time and then returned to his work. A secretary in Cardassian armour.

“You may enter,” he suddenly said. He nodded toward a big door to his right, my left.

I glanced at the chronometer and it was twenty minutes too early.

“Thank you,” I said—muttered rather—and approached the door.

It parted quietly and I entered a huge room behind it.

Please meet Godzilla.

He was huge. Twice the size of a Cardassian. Three times. Ten times. Enormous! He stood by a big window, his hands clasped behind his back. “Please, sit down,” he gestured toward a chair in front of a bulky desk.

“Thank you,” I said, hoping that my voice didn’t show how nervous I was.

He sat too. He took a padd that lay on the desk and activated it. “I have been told that you had resigned from Starfleet,” he said looking at me, not at the padd. I only nodded and swallowed. “I’ve been also told that you would like to join the Cardassian Guard.”

I nodded again. And then I thought I couldn’t make an impression of a coward; Cardassia didn’t need cowards. “Yes, sir.” I hoped my voice sounded strong but all I heard was a thin mouse squeak.

“Why?” It wasn’t asked in an aggressive, demanding manner. It was just a question.

A question I was not prepared for. I had an answer but I don’t think he would be interested in my love life.

My hesitation had to be obvious, or lasted too long, as he said, “Let me rephrase the question. Why do you want to serve in the military of your former enemy?”

That was supposed to help me to answer?

He let the padd go and it fell to the desk with a loud ‘clack!’ I stared at it for a moment and then took a deep breath. “I don’t see Cardassia as my former enemy. I see it as my new home.”

“And what if your new home goes to war with your old home? Where would your loyalties be then?” His voice was still levelled. Was it a test? Did he try to check if I betrayed the Federation? Did he fear I would betray Cardassia some day too?

“I don’t know,” I said quietly.

He stared at me. I felt he could see through me. Inside me. Outside me. All over me. His small, grey eyes pierced through my head. I knew Godzilla would eat me in a moment. He wouldn’t even have to chew, he’d just swallow me whole.

“Why did you join Starfleet?” he asked.

Finally a question I knew how to answer. “It seemed like a good career. And an interesting job. I’m an engineer and I don’t see that kind of job only as fixing broken things. This is also a way to learn about devices and tools. One of the reasons why I volunteered to serve about the Roumar was that I could learn more about Cardassian devices and tools. To discover them, in a manner of speaking. In Starfleet I had a chance to work on many interesting projects. It’s like an...adventure.” Did I babble? I did, didn’t I? But at least I was becoming less nervous.

He seemed to listen carefully.

“Do you know that the Cardassian Guard’s mission is not exploration?” he asked me after a moment of silence.

“I do. I have been working on the Roumar for over a year now.”

“‘Discovering’ Cardassian technology,” he said. “What will happen when you know everything and there’s nothing more to discover?”

“There’s always something to discover, sir.” I smiled. I really dared to smile!

His frown softened for a moment. And then he asked, “Why do you want to stay on Cardassia, Kapoor?” That question again. “The truth.”

“I will marry a Cardassian,” I said. He wanted the truth, he got the truth.

He inclined his head to the left and looked at me with a new expression. He was surprised, I could tell that for sure. He shifted forward and leaned toward me, leaning his forearms on the desk. “If you want to stay in the Guard, you would have to go through the same process as any other Cardassian.”

“Do I have to go to the Academy?” I can’t say I didn’t expect something like that.

“Yes and no.” He paused, pursed his lips and after a short moment continued. “You have graduated from one academy and I see no need to waste time and resources to teach you things you already know and train you in a way that you had been already trained—if not at the Federation academy, then aboard the Roumar. You don’t have to attend classes but you must pass all exams. You can study at home, or have a private tutor and approach exams when you are ready. That should speed up the process for you.” He most likely overestimated my memory. “After successful completion you would start as a d’ja and climb the ladder of your new career from the bottom, as everyone else.” He paused again. “I had talked to Gul Brenok and he is willing to keep your aboard the Roumar. You will be an eresh in training. That should help you with your study.” I nodded. This was really good news. “However...” Oh, no! “I have another proposal for you.” My eyebrows raised. “I am attempting to gather a team of engineers to work on innovations and improving Cardassian technology. I believe you would be a great asset to such a team. With your Federation, non-Cardassian experience and knowledge you could bring unique ideas.” What was he saying?! He was offering me a job? “I can understand that you might feel like betraying your...old home,” he leaned back in his chair and shrank a bit. “That’s why I would like you to take time and think about my offer.”

“Would I be able to resign from that team if I wanted to?”

“Of course. However, all your input would stay a Cardassian property.”

In other words, if I invent a weapon and they start shooting my people with it, I can leave in protest but they keep the weapon.

“What kind of inventions would those be?” I asked.

“For a start, I think we need a new, better warship. And more efficient replicators. We had received a few industrial replicators from the Federation a few years ago and they are better than ours.” He thought for a while. “I could even give you an option to choose your projects. Non-military only, if you wish.”

“Even a frying pan can be a weapon if your intent is to kill,” I said before I stopped myself.

Godzilla...smiled. No, he chuckled. And shrank a bit more. “Will you consider my offer?” He became serious again.

“Yes, sir, I will.”

“Very well, then. Glinn Hertop will have a full curriculum for you. Report back to the Roumar. Notify Gul Brenok when you are ready to take the first examination and we will continue from there.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

He looked a bit surprised at me. That’s right, Cardassians didn’t have that sweet habit of thanking their superiors. “You’re welcome,” he answered in an unsure voice.

Godzilla shrank. He was a tall and slightly overweight Cardassian, but by no means a gigantic one. I smiled to him and left his office.

The glinn outside rose when he saw me emerging from Tarkan’s office. He approached me and handed me a padd. “This is for you,” he said. Ah, so this was Glinn Hertop.

“Thank you,” I smiled to him and he grinned too, although his smile wasn’t any more sure than Gul Tarkan’s voice a moment ago. I found it amusing.

I left the building and outside was met by a hot, dry wind.

That part of Lakat wasn’t as badly destroyed as other districts, not mentioning Lakarian City, so I decided to take a walk. Tavor had given me a padd with a city plan, so I retrieved it from my bag and activated it.

I passed by government buildings, with majestic Central Command Headquarters in front of it, and headed for the oldest district, hoping to see some historical buildings and how Cardassian architecture has been changing through the centuries.

It was a hot day, with hot wind, dry air and a lot of city noise. And crowds. I smiled to myself—it reminded me of Calcutta, only the humidity level was different.

I stopped by their kind of pedestrian crossing—seven thin lines stretching from one curb to the other—and waited with other people for the signal. They didn’t have red and green lights one above the other, they had Cardassian letters one next to the other. A girl, four, maybe five years old, raised her head and looked at me. I smiled to her and she hid behind her mother, who gave me a surprised look. Was the child afraid of a stranger or an alien? Or both?

The Cardassian character on the street light changed and I crossed the street together with everybody.

The nearer to the old district I was, the emptier the city seemed. There was no rubble—it had been cleared already—but the holes left by destroyed buildings screamed about the great tragedy that fell on the Cardassians. I remembered hearing some of my colleagues saying shortly after the war that the Cardassians brought it on themselves, but what did that little girl do to have her home devastated? What was her mother guilty of? Yes, the Cardassians were not the gentlest and friendliest race in the quadrant, but if someone should be punished, then punish the guilty ones, not just anyone with ridges on his or her face.

Something caught my attention. There seemed to be some kind of public gathering on a plaza; I headed there, curious. As it occurred, there was some sort of open-air exhibition of photos, drawings, painting and holoimages of Lakat. In front of many items there were circles drawn on the ground but I had no idea what was the purpose of it. I walked between the works and thought that the city used to be really beautiful. Dominated by brown and ochre colours, with everywhere present ovals and triangles—did those shapes have a special meaning for the Cardassians? I’d have to ask Tavor. Some people stopped, seeing me. Some started to point out to me and whisper something to their companions. Some faces expressed surprise, some hostility, some curiosity. There was one man that stared at me intently and didn’t avert his eyes when I looked at him. He didn’t like me being there and he didn’t hide it.

One drawing especially drew my attention. It was a panorama, with spires and roofs, and buildings. I stopped in front of it and studied it. Some man stopped next to me and waved for me to move to my left. Was he shooing me away? Why? He pointed to the circle on the ground and then I understood that he wanted me to stand inside it. I looked around and noticed that other visitors did just that. Why? Did the state command from which place you should admire art too? However, I listened and stood in the circle. The man smiled and went away. I looked at the drawing again and then it hit me.

From the spot I stood I could see the drawing and what was behind it... It was exactly the same view, the same landscape. Standing in the circle you could see what had been—in the picture—and what was—in the brutal reality. Tears filled my eyes and I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to muffle my gasp. I blinked and blinked but tears didn’t want to clear. I dried them with my hand and looked around, wondering if anyone noticed. The hostile man did but he wasn’t hostile any longer; his face was graced by a sad smile. Had he seen me as an enemy and now realised I didn’t condone what had been done to his planet any more than he did?


tbc
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Old February 13 2011, 05:30 AM   #138
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Tarkan came across as very blunt in his questioning--but ultimately well-intentioned.

And I'm amazed he didn't take the "frying pan" remark as an insult! I wonder if he took an anger management class after the "Slaughter them!" incident in the original Shaping a Cardassian story?

The exhibit--and the way people reacted to Kapoor's presence--was really beautiful.
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Old February 13 2011, 05:35 AM   #139
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Chapter 21 – Day 568



I was terrified. I was just about to face a full Cardassian family, a Cardassian sacred family, and I had no idea what to expect—apart from the dreadful, horrible Mr. Karama that is! I knew what to expect from him! Tavor had told me to brace for impact.

Their living room, which I’m sure was called differently, was quite big and, of course, quite dark too. Oval windows gave little light and the interior’s colours were mostly browns, dark browns. The wall to the right was all covered with bookshelves. On the wall on the right hung a huge painting, showing a panorama of some city. The city was unmistakeably Cardassian but I wouldn’t be able to tell which one it was.

There were four people in the room. One thin woman with greying hair. I guessed it was Tavor’s mother. She observed me intently but I could not tell if she was a friend or foe. Next to her stood a much younger Cardassian. His face was very much like Tavor’s, so I guessed it was his older brother. The man wore armour. By the bookshelves stood another woman. Her eyes were gently looking at me and I had a very strong impression she fought her urge to smile. The fourth person was a big, armoured Cardassian man who stood in the middle of the room and was eyeing me with squinted eyes. He was everything but friendly. And I knew who he was.

“Why did you bring that here?” he asked.

‘That’? Did he refer to me as ‘that’?

She is a person, father, not a thing.” Tavor’s voice was levelled.

“It is not a Cardassian.”

“No, she is not. She still is a person nevertheless.”

The old Karama moved closer to Tavor.

“How dare you use that tone of voice with me!” he boomed.

“I didn’t use any tone of voice,” Tavor replied with his head raised high. “Yet!” he added defiantly.

Oh my, this was not going well, was it?

“You want some pleasure, use it!” the father said. “But don’t marry it.”

Tavor’s mother closed her eyes for a moment. I couldn’t tell she was sighing or restraining herself.

“She is not ‘it’!” Tavor didn’t raise his voice but the tone was sharp. I noticed his hands clenched into fists.

“It is a non-Cardassian,” the old man repeated. I could decipher on his armour that he was a very high ranking Gul. “I will not allow it.”

“I’m not asking for your permission, I am informing you.”

“This family will not have half-breed children.”

Tavor fumed. “Oh, and how am I supposed to know that I don’t have any half-Bajoran brothers or sisters, ah?” he shouted in his father’s face.

And after that everything happened very fast. The mother gasped. The brother whispered with indignation “Tavor” and the young woman covered her mouth with her hand. The father...the father was in front of Tavor in a split second and with a swiping move slapped him hard.

I flinched at the sound. However, Tavor didn’t. He kept staring his terrifying father straight in the eyes with a defiant face expression. He was furious. I have never seen him angry, irritated—yes, but not angry, and now he was like a typhoon: his nostrils were opening wider as he breathed audibly, his upper lip was twitching and his eyes were as narrow as of a laughing Chinese. His hands were still clenched into fists and a little raised, like he was preparing to fend off another attack.

I have never imagined this was possible. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. My teddy bear changed into a grizzly and the shift took merely a few seconds.

I felt someone grab my hand. It was the young woman.

“Come, you don’t have to witness it,” she whispered and started to pull me out of the room. I resisted, I didn’t want to leave Tavor like this and retreat, but his mother moved toward the door and also, with a gesture, told me to leave. The brother stayed in the room, while we went to another one, which without a doubt was the kitchen.

“Would you like some cookies?” the mother asked.

I didn’t know what to say. Why did they behave like nothing happened? Was the scene in the living room nothing unusual? Was it normal for a father to slap his son like that?

“Don’t worry,” the young woman said, seeing my worried face. “They will work it out. They always do. By the way, I am Inaya, Tasar’s wife.”

Given names. She used their given names. Did that mean I was accepted at least by them? Or it would just be strange to say ‘I am Karama, Karama’s wife?’

“Amrita, Amrita Kapoor,” I said quietly.

“We know,” she smiled. “Please, sit down.”

“Are they...” I looked toward the door.

“Don’t worry about them,” Inaya said, also sitting down. The mother came with cookies and put the plate in the middle of the table.

“Did you ever try zobar milk?” she asked.

“Yes, I did and I liked it.”

She nodded and a moment later returned with three mugs of warm zobar milk.

I didn’t know what to say and the women also didn’t speak. I kept listening intently, hoping to catch some sound from the living room, but there was nothing. Either the walls were thick or soundproof, or they weren’t shouting and beating each other.

I tasted a cookie. It was a bit gummy but very tasty. Not too sweet, a little salty, with tiny pieces of something that resembled peach.

“Very tasty,” I said looking at the mother. Tavor had told me her name, but I, of course, forgot.

The woman nodded but didn’t say anything.

“Come!” a raspy, strong voice said behind me. I turned to see who he talked to and with a dread realised that the old Karama had addressed me.

Swallowing loudly I followed him to yet another room, of which door closed behind me. He stood before me, big, wide, scary, looked down to meet my eyes and said in that deep voice of his, “I don’t want you in my family, but as I see it, my son is an adult and has a right to choose his own wife.”

He motioned to a desk, which stood by a window and stopped there, looking at something on the wall, his right side facing me.

“I am disgusted at the thought of having half-Terran children,” he continued. I couldn’t say he wasn’t honest. “I am disgusted at the thought that you would be part of my family. But the law changed and you are a Cardassian citizen with the same right as me, so I can’t just kill you and solve the problem that way.”

Buddha be blessed for Cardassian reforms!

“BUT!” Oh, yes, here we go. “But I expect you to adapt to some rules, as I am adapting now. My grandchildren will be raised as Cardassians, even if their ridges are not going to be prominent. They will speak and think in Cardassian and you will never have a right to take them with you, should you decide to leave my son.” He turned to me. “And I am sure you will decide to do it sooner or later. You, Terrans, are immoral, depraved people.” Look who was saying that? A man, who according to his own son, used Bajoran women as sex toys?! “And you divorce,” he spat the word, “and remarry many times.” He squinted at me. “With how many men did you sleep before?”

Ah? What business was it of his? I didn’t intend to reply.

“Speak!”

“No,” I said quietly, expecting my voice to shake, but it didn’t.

“Speak!” he boomed.

“No. This is my private matter. Or a matter between me and Tavor. You have no right to ask me such questions.”

“So there were men,” he said quieter. “Appalling!”

So are you, I thought.

He eyed me for a long time and I fought the strong urge to avert my eyes, but I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction. He was terrifying me, yes, but I didn’t want him to know how much. Choke on your hatred, you old bastard. I had been a Starfleet officer and now was a Cardassian Guard eresh and no Cardassian racist will tell me how to live my life and who to love, even my love’s father.

He approached me and towered over me, his eyes still piercing through me.

“Are you not afraid of me?”

“I am, deadly,” I replied honestly, still not lowering my eyes.

He leaned over me. The seconds felt like years. Millennia.

Then he reached for the door comm, pressed it and the door opened.

“Go,” he said and I didn’t need any more encouragement.

I left the room, wondering if he would follow me, but he didn’t. Tavor waited for me in the corridor in front of the living room. As soon as I noticed him standing there, my legs moved faster to reach him and my eyes filled with tears of fear. He extended his arms and I fell between them to be hugged the strongest hug in my life. I felt his cheek on top of my head and his hand stroking my hair. I couldn’t stop sobbing and was so ashamed that his family witnessed this.

I calmed down a little and looked up at Tavor. He smiled.

“Can we go home now?” I asked as quietly as possible, because I didn’t want others to hear my question. To my relief, he nodded.

“Let me just bid farewell,” he said.

I could wait that long.

We were almost leaving the house when Tavor’s mother approached us and handed me a small packet.

“I hope you really liked them and weren’t only polite praising me, because Tavor doesn’t like them and you will have to eat them all alone,” she said and...smiled. I knew after whom Tavor inherited his smile and gentleness.

“Thank you,” I said in Cardassian, hoping I didn’t butcher the language too badly. The crew of the Roumar was surely used to my funny Cardassian but people here were not.

We left.

“I’m sorry for all this,” Tavor said while we walked back to a public transport booth. “I really thought he would behave. He didn’t seem that aggressive and negative when I was explaining to them who you were.”

“That’s all right. Don’t worry about it.” I noticed some passers by were glancing at us curiously.

“It’s not all right. I don’t know what he wanted to talk to you about but I’m sure he did his best to scare you to death.” And he succeeded.

“I am sorry he hit you because of me,” I said.

“It’s not the first time and I’m sure not the last either. He’s quick with his hands.”

“Your mom is very nice.”

“I know,” he smiled. “She was afraid to talk to you before he accepted you, but now she knows it’s all right.”

This was ‘accepted?’ What would ‘rejected’ look like?

“Did he ever hit her?” I asked and immediately thought that I probably shouldn’t have asked that question.

“No, never!” He looked at me surprised. “Tasar and I needed discipline but he would never hit our mom!”

So, he wasn’t a total bastard, ‘only’ 95% of a bastard.

“Will I ever have to see him again?”

“No. One of his conditions is that we won’t live with them.”

Perfect for me but I was sure it was a huge blow for Tavor. He had always assumed he would live with the rest of his family, just like everyone else.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You did nothing wrong.”

But it felt wrong, all of it felt wrong.

“Where will we live?”

“I don’t know yet but I’ll think of something. For now we can stay aboard the Roumar.” He squeezed my hand and I smiled.

I tried not to look at surprised faces of passers by, so I raised my head to look at buildings.

“Tavor, what are those screens for?” There were oval screens on many buildings, quite the same as the one in Deep Space Nine ops.

“Ah, the ‘talking heads screens!’”

“What?” I laughed; what kind of name it was!

“Until the end of the war, before Ghemor took the Castellan’s office, they were always on and there was either a trial to watch, or some important event, or news and if there wasn’t anything to broadcast, a guy talked.”

“Talked about what?”

“Everything. Our duty, our sacrifice, what it is to be a good Cardassian, obedience, service, greatness of our government and such stuff. After some time you learn to ignore it, so no one really paid attention to it. Sometime someone would stop and listen, but if you hear babbling all the time, you tune it out or you’d get crazy.

“They turned them off after Ghemor had won the elections, as ‘evil propaganda instrument’, so they are now useless.”

Indoctrination. Obedience.

The Cardassians were obedient to anyone who’d rule over them. All right, I had to give them that—it mattered who ruled them, they finally had rebelled against the Dominion, but they still couldn’t break out from this obedience conditioning on the most basic level. Tavor’s father bit him and Tavor believed he deserved that, because it was his father and he was right to raise his sons the way he did. I could only hope Tavor wouldn’t think this was the right way to raise children, for if we would be able to have any, I’d cut his hands off if he used force even once. I couldn’t imagine Tavor doing something like that, but I wouldn’t imagine him becoming a grizzly either and I had witnessed that not long time ago.

There was no time like the present. “Tavor, I want to ask you a very important question.” He gave me an asking look, so I continued, “Will you discipline our children the way you and your brother had been disciplined?”

He shook his head vigorously. “Never,” he said. “How could you even think something like that!” He knitted his eye ridges, giving me a hurt look.

“Just making sure,” I said.

“How could you even think about something like that,” he hissed and walked faster, moving ahead of me. I had to almost run to keep up with him.

“You sound like you think that you deserved the beatings, so I want to make sure you don’t think this is the way to raise children,” I told him.

He stopped and turned to me; his lips were pursed and eyes squinted. He glared at me for a moment and then resumed his walk. He didn’t speak to me the whole way to the transporter booth and then went to his quarters aboard the Roumar without a word of farewell. He was mad.


tbc
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Old February 13 2011, 05:38 AM   #140
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Tarkan came across as very blunt in his questioning--but ultimately well-intentioned.
He wanted answers to his questions, honest ones, to understand her better. His purpose wasn't to threaten her or anything. After all, he wants something from her
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And I'm amazed he didn't take the "frying pan" remark as an insult! I wonder if he took an anger management class after the "Slaughter them!" incident in the original Shaping a Cardassian story?
I think he had a lot to think about after that incident
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
The exhibit--and the way people reacted to Kapoor's presence--was really beautiful.
Thanks. I thought that the Cardassians would try to save what they could from their 'artistic souls' and express it somehow. Even in a half-rebuilt city.
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Old February 13 2011, 05:52 AM   #141
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Oh, man...I knew Gul Karama was going to be hateful, but to actually see it firsthand was terrible.

And indeed--Gul Karama is the last person who should be calling other people out on their sexual habits, considering that rape was one of his.

Now...as hard as Kapoor's question was on her husband-to-be, I think it had to be asked. Even on Earth, the cycle of abuse can be a tough thing to break, if that's what you consider normal.

As to raising the children as Cardassians...I hope that while Cardassian will be their first language and they'll go to Cardassian schools, they will be given some way to appreciate their mother's heritage too.
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Old February 13 2011, 05:58 AM   #142
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

About raising children...Gul Karama overestimates his "power" over his son. He won't let Tavor and Amrita live in his house, but he thinks he can demand--or control--how they raise their children. Why does he care in the first place, if he practically disowns his son? Ah, yes, his need to control everyone and everything...

Tavor is a smart man, he will deal with it
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Old February 13 2011, 07:16 AM   #143
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It's good to know that Gul Karama's power doesn't go that far. I really hope to see sometime how the children were raised. It would be great, for instance, if Cardassian is their first language but they are also bilingual or even trilingual.
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Old February 13 2011, 07:37 AM   #144
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

This would be in Rayak Nor story some day (I think sooner than in Kapoor story). The kids would be a bit older, but it would be very obvious what they are like and how they are being raised.
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Old February 20 2011, 07:05 PM   #145
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Oh yes, fathers can be so difficult can´t they? Both of them, but of course Mr. Karama is more than just difficult. This was a hard situation perfectly written.
And will Tavor still get the possibiloty for a second try with her parents? Would be nice to read what questions they have and how hed answer them.

Also I just wondered something...if Damar has survived, would he have supported Ghemor or also the ones Jarol supports? Would there friendship have broken?

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Old February 20 2011, 07:08 PM   #146
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Damar might've offered the alternative that Gul Re'jal's Cardassia needed: a middle way. A leader who can work with others but is strong enough to hold his own and not be a puppet. (He's already been down that path once, and he won't want to do that again.) But really, do you think Re'jal would have a "good guy" character backing her version of Ghemor?

At least that's my unofficial opinion.
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Old February 21 2011, 01:55 AM   #147
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
But really, do you think Re'jal would have a "good guy" character backing her version of Ghemor?
Exactly.
Damar would probably win the first elections and Ghemor wouldn't have any real power to do the damage.

I don't think he would support the coup. I think he would support the Mar'kuu Group (if it existed at all, Damar's presence would most likely change the whole political scene of Cardassia) but a coup wouldn't be needed.

If he didn't support the Mar'kuu Group, it wouldn't destroy his friendship with Jarol. She's better than that. And I am not sure she would got involved in politics at all if he were alive.
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Old August 22 2011, 04:38 AM   #148
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If someone is new to this story and would like to catch up, please go to my archive http://www.shapingacardassian.net/viewstory.php?sid=17 I have edited the story and hopefully improved the grammar and some worldbuilding details, but I’m unable to edit posts on the forum, so the improved version is available only on the archive.



Chapter 21—Day 609



Another office. Another government office. Oh, I didn’t think I had visited as many Federation officials, as Cardassian. Actually, I don’t think I had personally visited any Federation official.

At least, this time I wasn’t scared to death. Everything else seemed almost the same as in Gul Tarkan’s office: a secretary in armour behind the desk, the big door to the office, even the seat was identically uncomfortable.

“You may enter,” said the glinn-secretary.

The office was much smaller than I had expected. There was a painting of a village in a desert on the wall to the left and another of a sand storm in a town on the opposite wall. There was a window opposite the door and it was big enough to give sufficient light even for my human eyes. In one of corners there was a low coffee table with three chairs. I moved forward, walking on a soft, thick carpet toward a medium-size desk, which was completely covered by padds. There was one spot free of padds, though—a small sculpture stood there, the same that she had kept in her office aboard the ship. A dolphin of some sort. A Cardassian dolphin, of course, with ridges at al.

“Eresh Kapoor.” Legate Jarol stood from behind her desk and approached me. “What can I do for you?”

I was wearing Cardassian armour with the eresh’s markings. She was wearing legate’s armour—silver and with the Union’s emblem on her chest. I noticed she didn’t wear the undershirt that legates usually wore under their armours, which covered their shoulder ridges. I wondered why.

“Actually,” I started to speak quietly, “In spite of wearing my armour, I came with a very private, personal matter.”

“Oh?” She seemed surprised. Her whole mannerism changed immediately. Her facial expression became less official and more curious.

“Glinn Karama and I are in the middle of our wedding preparations. It’s not going to be a very traditional Cardassian wedding...his parents are going to be absent.”

She nodded her understanding. “I know of Gul Karama,” she said simply.

“Yes.” I pulled my face, thinking of that monster. But I didn’t want to spoil this moment. “So, we want to have a modest ceremony. Still, I want to make it as traditional as possible for Tav...Glinn Karama and...” I hesitated. I’d made my decision and I was sure it was the right one, but now facing her—I felt like it was too bold to ask.

“Yes?” She encouraged me.

“According to the Cardassian tradition, I need two per’tayes. I have only one. I would...” I silenced not able to finish, but she clearly understood.

Her posture changed, as she leaned to me. “Kapoor, you should ask your friends for it, someone close to you.”

“Legate, I have only one friend here—one female friend at least—and you are the closest thing to a friend there is. You would make me a great honour if you’d agree to be my first per’taye.”

“Kapoor, the honour would be mine.” She put her hand on her chest. “However, shouldn’t Ma’Kan be you first per’taye? She is closer to you.”

“But you are a legate and you are older.”

She smiled, grabbed my elbow and pulled me to the coffee table. I sat in one chair, she sat in another and then she said, “Kapoor, a per’taye is not about social function, position or age. It is about the place the woman has in your heart. Ma’Kan is your friend...er, this is Ma’Kan we’re talking about, right?” I nodded. “So she should be your first per’taye.”

“Will you be my second per’taye?” I asked. Ma’Kan had told me the same thing, but I had been afraid of offending Legate Jarol.

“With pleasure,” she smiled warmly.

That was so strange. I had known her as a gul for such a long time and while I couldn’t complain, she had been nothing like a Federation captain, who would called you by your given name from time to time. Now she was a legate, a member of the government and I had expected her to be even more distant and stiff... But she was nice and friendly, more like an older sister than a former commander. Why was that? Because she wasn’t my direct superior any longer? Because I came with a non-uniform matter?

“Our wedding will be on thirty-fifth of Yiyut,” I said.

“I’ll make sure to have that day booked for you.”

“Thank you, Legate.” I rose. “I’m sure...I can see you are busy.” I pointed to the desk and the padds. She stood up, too. “I’ll leave you to your work now. I have to study anyway.” Stop babbling, silly!

“Good luck, Kapoor.”

“Thank you, Legate.”

I left her office.

A member of the Central Command would be my bridesmaid. Wow, I ruled!

Ma’Kan waited outside of the building, bathing her face in the sun’s orange rays. “Well, what did she say?” she asked me when I approached her.

“She said the same thing you did.”

“I didn’t doubt that. But did she agree?”

I smiled. “Indeed.”

“So, that is settled. What’s left on your preparations list?”

What? Did she expect me to pull the list out of my head and—Of course she did! I squinted my eyes, trying to recall what else was left to do. “I still have to prepare our menu. This is not going to be a big party, but we must feed our guests.” I gave her an asking look. “Or not?” I had just realised that in the society of constant saving and rationing they might not expect a few to feed many.

“Have you decided to have the party in your new place or at a restaurant?”

“Why? Does it matter?”

“Yes. The guests must know beforehand. You shall greet them with some food, but they wouldn’t come empty-handed. They’d bring rations for you to use later, or their own food to share with everyone, or share costs of the bill if the party takes place at a restaurant. They would also notify you earlier if they bring food or rations, so you’d know how much food you should prepare. Nothing ruins a party more effectively than little food to eat and lots of ration allocations on padds.” She chuckled.

“This is so new to me,” I admitted. “I can barely get used to thinking about money and paying for things. Rations? This is just too damn weird.”

“I’d feel like a thief in the Federation,” Ma’Kan said. “To take things and don’t pay? You go to prison for that here.” She laughed. A moment later she became serious again. “As to the menu, don’t plan anything yet. After you invite all your guests and they confirm their ‘return gifts,’ then and only then you can start planning what to feed them with.”

“Noted.” I paused. “Now what? You told me you had a surprise for me.”

“Have you ever been to a fresh market?” she asked.

My eyes opened wide. “No.”

“Want to go?”

“And you will tell me all about food over there?”

“Naturally. This is going to an educational field trip.”

“Now?”

“Anything you must do?”

“Nope. Let’s go.”

We took a tram—a modern, fast mini-train—and arrived to one of districts, in which I hadn’t been before. Ma’Kan explained that the biggest fresh market in Lakat was here.

Sometimes there were moments when I felt on Cardassia just like at home. The heat, the humidity, the crowds—it all was so similar to home that no Federation starship could imitate this strange feeling.

The fresh market was no different and gave me a strange feeling of home. It was surrounded by a wire net fence with a gate—I assumed there were many of those in different parts of the market—to enter. By the gate hung a huge plan of the market. Ma’Kan stopped there and let me study it for a moment. The plan clearly showed which part of the market was dedicated to fruits, which to vegetables, meat, fish, and kitchen equipment—yes, on the market one could buy not only food but also all necessary items to prepare it.

“Let’s start from fruits,” I suggested looking at Ma’Kan. “Are we allowed to sample?”

“If we’re lucky,” she answered. “Vendors usually sacrifice a fruit or a few to sample, but once those are eaten, no more is offered.”

“I see.” It made sense—one wouldn’t waste their precious goods on customers who just eat and don’t buy.

We entered the market: narrow streets between stalls filled with noisy people. Vendors called and praised their goods and I quickly realised that I drew a lot of attention. They waved to me to approach them, tempted me sniffing their fruits with delighted facial expressions, or offering me something to try.

I stopped by a big stall. “What is this?” I asked Ma’Kan. The vendor was busy spraying his goods with water, undoubtedly making sure nothing would go bad or too dry in the hot sun.

“This is fop,” she answered. The fruit was greenish-yellow and oblong. “There are two types of these; one is like this one, the other was is more of red colour.” While she was speaking, the vendor turned to reach for something on the other side of his stall and handed me another fruit, very much like this one, just reddish-yellow. “Yeah, this is it.” Ma’Kan smiled at him. “Want to try?” she asked me.

I looked at the vendor. Up until this moment the dja and I used the universal translator, but I decided to be brave. I turned it off and asked, “Yat? Zdar?” One? How much?

Har.” He showed three fingers. “Hufnap lek.”

“Ten leks for three,” I repeated after turning on my translator. “If I hate it, will you take the other two? Consider it a payment for this trip.” A thought occurred to me. “Do you like them?”

“Everyone likes them. And it’s a deal, but I’m quite sure you’ll like them, too.”

I paid the vendor ten leks. To my surprise, he offered me a damp cloth. I gave my friend an asking look. “It’s to clean them, in case you wanted to eat one now.”

I meticulously wiped my fruits clean and returned to cloth to the vendor. Then, I took a bite. The juice dripped of the fruit to my chin and then down to my armour and boots. The vendor chuckled, but it wasn’t a mean laugh. He handed me another cloth, this time a dry one, to wipe the juice off my armour.

Fodaiji,” I thanked him, hoping that I’d chosen the right ‘thank you,’ since there were two in Cardassian language, each for a different kind of situations.

The fop was delicious. I managed not to make mess of my appearance before finishing it, but I was sure that applied only to my clothing. I could feel sticky, sweet smears of dried juice on my face.

We moved on to another stall and another kind of fruits drew my attention. It was dark purple, very thin and very long. It reminded my of an eggplant in a way. I pointed to it and looked at Ma’Kan.

Goplu,” she said. “You peel off the violet skin and eat pink meat inside.”

I bought two and I liked it. In spite of looking like an eggplant, it tasted like a combination of a banana and a jackfruit.

We left the fruit section and proceeded to vegetables section. I stopped and asked a lot of questions about a root stall, as apart from prices there was something else on the price tags stuck in the goods: a drawing of a Cardassian silhouette with parts of the body marked. For each root a different part was coloured. Ma’Kan explained that root-vegetables were very healthy and the vendor made sure that her customers knew which one was the best for which organ. She also told me which ones had an awful, bitter taste.

Again, my attention was drawn by something exotic. It looked like a giant wheat—a long grass with heavy grains on top. “What’s this called?” I asked my friend.

Sisstu. This is sisstu. You can eat it raw in salads, or cook it, or bake it, or mash it, or whatever. It’s good. I’m sure you had it in something. Usually it looks like little balls in your meal.”

“Those little orange and brown thingies?” I asked and she confirmed by nodding. “Ah, yes. I had no idea they grow like this.”

“You can also buy them without the grass, just grains. Or canned.”

“And this?”

The colour was hilarious; it was glowing red. You’d forgotten your torch and had to enter a dark cave? Take a vegetable! It’d light your way and fill your tummy.

“This is ganot.”

Ganot—a glowing, red cabbage. Just next to it was mini-ganot—glowing, red Brussel sprouts.

We returned home with a few bags of fruits and vegetables. I invited Ma’Kan for dinner to pay her for her time and lessons on Cardassian fresh market.

Tavor was staying in his brother’s place. Tasar and his family were currently out-of-town, so their newly rented apartment was almost empty. Tasar and Inaya had moved out of Gul Karama’s house, because they had decided to live on their own without terrorising presence of the father, who had just retired and was at home all the time. They had invited Tavor to stay at their place whenever the Roumar was orbiting Cardassia, so my fiancé was happy to free himself from the ship’s quarters and breathe the real air. I had to stay aboard the warship—no naughty stuff before the wedding was allowed!

But having meals together was not naughty, so Tavor and I had a chance to spend a lot of time together and almost feel like living together...just without the bed thing.

When the door to the apartment opened, my friend and I were literally attacked by loud music. We went to the kitchen, not even trying to speak in that noise and then searched for my husband-to-be.

Ma’Kan found him first. She stood in the doorway and leaned on the door frame, observing him with her jaw on the floor. I joined her to see Tavor wiping clean—or perhaps polishing—a shelf in a cabinet, rocking on his feet and shaking his bum to the rhythm of music. We stood there, observing him. He finished the shelf and moved on to the next one and just then noticed us; two unmoving people in the door had clearly startled him. He turned the music off. “What did she say?” he asked me.

“She agreed.”

“I hope we won’t make news,” he muttered and then resumed his activity. It was the first time that I thought Tavor didn’t like the idea of Jarol being my per’taye. I decided to talk to him about it later. I didn’t want any part of our wedding to be unpleasant for any of us and I regretted that he hadn’t said anything earlier, before I had asked the legate.

“What are you doing?” Ma’Kan asked him.

“My brother let me live here for a while, so I see no reason not to repay for it by cleaning his house,” Tavor said. “They still have a lot of work before their move is over and I could do at least some cleaning.”

Ma’Kan looked at me. “Wow,” she just said.

I chuckled. “He’s not for sale.” I looked at Tavor. “Ma’Kan is staying with us for dinner; I hope it’s all right with you.”

“Sure,” he said with his head between shelves. He adjusted the volume level and then turned the music back on, but a bit more quiet.

Ma’Kan and I went to the kitchen. “That’s interesting,” I said. “We didn’t hear a sound coming from the apartment, while it was so loud in here.”

The tactician looked at me. At first there was surprise on her face, but then her expression changed to something else that I couldn’t decipher. “All houses on Cardassia are now built this way—soundproof.”

“Clever. That way no one disturbs their neighbours when listening to loud music.” The look she gave me...I knew there was something behind it. “What?” I asked.

“You don’t want to know,” Tavor said, entering the kitchen.

“What?” I insisted.

Ma’Kan sighed. “Walls are soundproof, so no one would hear when the Obsidian Order came for you, beat you to unconsciousness and then took you away.”

I hoped it was her poor attempt of a joke, but her facial expression was deadly serious. I looked at Tavor and he didn’t look any better. This was for real. “So that’s how people disappeared without a trace,” I said. “No one even knew when.”

None of them said anything. It was a few years after the Obsidian Order had been gone and it still triggered fear in them. I couldn’t even imagine how terrible the Order had to be...and I didn’t think I wanted to imagine.

Tavor inspected the bags, sniffed inside one and whispered with a delight, “Freshhhhhhh fishhhhhhhh...”

Grateful for his attempt to defuse the unpleasant atmosphere, I started to tell him about our trip to the fresh market.


tbc


This is how I roughly imagine Cardassian popular music:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbXXFlbtvTE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-2moJpFt_o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GjPs...eature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVRsnDo0qcY
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Old August 22 2011, 05:19 AM   #149
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Jarol as a bridesmaid...I definitely wouldn't have seen that one coming, especially given her disapproval of the wedding and her belief that a human woman isn't enough for a Cardassian. Is this an attempt to win her approval?

Tavor's reaction makes me wonder...is he aware of such disapproval? Or is he instead afraid his father will hunt them down if they do make the news?

Creepy detail about the soundproof houses. Do you think they'll keep building them that way, though, in more peaceful times? Apparently there are some peacetime applications that would've made life in MY apartment a lot easier in college!!!

Good work overall. I don't see at all what you were worried about.

It seems to me your Cardassians would like the custom of the wedding registry, if they were to give gifts the same way humans do. I've heard that it's mainly an American thing, but the efficiency of it would probably appeal to them. That way, you know for sure that what you're buying will not go to waste or be a duplicate.

Now...what's a jackfruit? Never heard of one before.

The vendors are being surprisingly nice. I wonder if it's because of her armor that they figure they need to be nice. Or is it because they don't care where their money comes from as long as that someone pays in legal tender?

Oh, and what kind of thank you is fodaiji, as compared to elekiji? (And then the third is the rare one, right, the "I thank you for your sacrifice" form of thanks?)

And a glowing vegetable? Do they have to remove the glowing part so it's not toxic?

(MY Cardassians might start looking at that one as a body-paint source...totally horrifying your group. )
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Old August 22 2011, 05:47 AM   #150
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Jarol as a bridesmaid...I definitely wouldn't have seen that one coming, especially given her disapproval of the wedding and her belief that a human woman isn't enough for a Cardassian. Is this an attempt to win her approval?
I don't think Kapoor was ever aware of Jarol's thoughts. Jarol never expressed them and certainly not in her presence. And by that time Jarol saw that humans can be crazy in love too.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Tavor's reaction makes me wonder...is he aware of such disapproval? Or is he instead afraid his father will hunt them down if they do make the news?
I think he doesn't want his wedding to be a public show. A legate, plus one of sons of a 'prominent' Cardassian guls, plus a human: that's too much for him.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Creepy detail about the soundproof houses. Do you think they'll keep building them that way, though, in more peaceful times? Apparently there are some peacetime applications that would've made life in MY apartment a lot easier in college!!!
I think they still build houses that way, because the feature is really useful and offers everyone a lot of privacy and not being bothered by anyone, or to bother anyone.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
It seems to me your Cardassians would like the custom of the wedding registry, if they were to give gifts the same way humans do. I've heard that it's mainly an American thing, but the efficiency of it would probably appeal to them. That way, you know for sure that what you're buying will not go to waste or be a duplicate.
I think they have some system of gifts--lists presented with invitations, or something like that; I haven't decided yet.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Now...what's a jackfruit? Never heard of one before.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackfruit
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iVrKmkWyzc.../JackFruit.jpg
http://outofthegarden.files.wordpres...pg?w=346&h=464

My first impression of it was "a funny smelling banana," but I grew to like them. In Asia they are sold fresh, but you can also get them as a dried snack. Maybe you could get dried jackfruit in US in some stores.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
The vendors are being surprisingly nice. I wonder if it's because of her armor that they figure they need to be nice. Or is it because they don't care where their money comes from as long as that someone pays in legal tender?
Both. She has money and she wears armour. Lack of ridges was secondary.

I'm sure Kapoor also ignored unpleasant looks thrown her way. Why to spoil such a nice day with assholes?
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Oh, and what kind of thank you is fodaiji, as compared to elekiji? (And then the third is the rare one, right, the "I thank you for your sacrifice" form of thanks?)
Foda is a 'thank you' for service, something that doesn't stay, eg. opening a door for you, handing you a box of tissues to take one, letting you first through the door, etc.

The third one is just for one kind of situation--a big sacrifice. I don't think I made a word for it yet.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And a glowing vegetable? Do they have to remove the glowing part so it's not toxic?

(MY Cardassians might start looking at that one as a body-paint source...totally horrifying your group. )
There are flowers which start glowing after sunset, because the colour somehow reflects the light, so I thought: why not another plant?
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