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Old December 25 2010, 01:18 PM   #91
Gul Re'jal
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

“The result of your ways. Your people were terrorised by your own government. Your people were conquering other worlds and making inhabitants miserable. You brought the Dominion to the Alpha Quadrant which almost destroyed us all, including you. Do you really believe your way is better?”

“I didn’t say it was better. And I didn’t say it was perfect. But we are Cardassians. We don’t give power to anonymous men who came from nowhere. We know our duty to our empire. We made mistakes and I hope we have learnt from them. We don’t claim we are the best and everyone must be like us. Can you say the same?”

“But our model works.”

“Good for you! We have our own model...err...no, right now we don’t have anything. We are in ruins.”

“Because of the previous model.”

“No, because of the people who abused it. Can you say that there were no such people in your history?” I couldn’t. “Why do you insist we should adopt your democratic elections?” he asked.

“We want to help you?”

“And is that a condition for this help? To become like you?”

“No.”

“So why?”

“Because we believe that it’s the best for people. That it would make you happy.”

“And what if we don’t want to be happy your way?”

“I always thought there is just one way to be happy.”

He smiled. “What makes you happy?”

“What?”

“Tell me. What makes you happy? When are you happy?”

I thought for a while. “My family makes me happy...for the most part. Exploring the galaxy and exploring myself. Exploring Cardassia makes me happy.” He smiled slightly. “My work and satisfaction from my work makes me happy. Listening to my favourite music makes me happy. A good meal after hard work day makes me happy.” Spending time with you makes me happy. “What about you?”

“My brother and my mother make me happy. My service to the Union makes me happy. A won war against the Union’s enemies makes me happy.” He paused. “For us, Cardassians, two things are sacred. The family and the State. Our duty is to protect both.”

“And what if your State takes your freedom from you? What if they dictate you everything? What if you have to sacrifice everything for the State?”

“For a Cardassian, a sacrifice is the highest and most important notion. Our lives are led by a sacrifice. There is nothing more important than the Union. We are the Union, so serving the Union, we serve ourselves.”

“Even at the cost of your freedom?”

“Freedom?”

“I read about duties of a Cardassian and I must say that it scared me. Your lives are ruled by hundreds of regulations, by duty, by service. You have no freedom. You are controlled to a point you stop thinking, because you don’t have to.”

He leaned back and sat comfortably. “I could never understand that about you, the Federation, Kapoor. You speak of freedom, but don’t you have some laws, governing what you can and cannot do? Don’t those laws limit you? Then your freedom is an illusion. We don’t live in an illusion. If following regulations secures safety of my family and my empire, then I call it a small price to pay. I don’t need ‘freedom’. I need order. I need to know my place in the society. I need to know my role in the Union, my duty. If the illusion of freedom shall bring my empire to destruction, if it would make it unsecured—I would fail as a Cardassian. We sacrifice a bit of us for the greater good, because this is our duty to other Cardassians and to the future generations.”

“Your empire had been brought to the destruction,” I said.

“By a man who ignored his duty and thought he had freedom to do as he pleased.”

“So how do you explain Bajor or the Maquis massacres?”

He opened his mouth but didn’t say anything at first. “Those things were results of people who served the Union at the cost of others. Believe me, I hate what had been happening on Bajor for personal reasons. And the Maquis...they were killing Cardassians. They were massacring Cardassians. How do you call it? If a Maquis kills a Cardassian, the Cardassian deserved it, but if a Cardassian kills a Maquis, it’s a murder? They were attacking our people. My duty is to protect civilians. That’s why I wear this armour. That’s why I am a soldier. To assure their safety.”

“The Maquis were civilians too.”

“Armed to teeth by the Federation government.”

“That’s not true!”

“Did you know that Gul Jarol had been tortured by the Maquis?” I froze. I didn’t know. “That other candidate I had mentioned, Gul Daset. So was he.”

“How do you know that?”

“I know because they hadn’t return to the ship on time. I know because two men of the small group that had beamed to talk to the Maquis hadn’t returned at all. Those two men had been tortured to death.”

He said it calmly but I saw fire in his eyes. I couldn’t believe it was the truth but he certainly believed it.

He didn’t say anything more, just kept sipping his juice, which surely was cold by now.

“So what’s going to happen to Cardassia? You don’t like to adopt the Federation style democracy. What do you want?”

“Return to roots? Eliminating corruption and evil guls, cleaning the system and making sure this time it doesn’t get twisted.”

“How can you do it?”

“We can’t. Not with the Federation making demands and putting their noses into our internal affairs. Don’t get me wrong, Kapoor, I have nothing against the Federation or you, but I’d prefer if you left us alone and stop interfering. Some people believe that you do it because you want to help. I think you do it because you want to widen your political influence and have a puppet government on Cardassia. This Ghemor is supported by the Federation. For the Cardassians it doesn’t matter who the Federation supports. It’s none of the Feds’ business.

“We had been a puppet for someone and we are tired of it—not mentioning how badly it had ended for us. If Ghemor goes as far as Dukat, he’s going to be declared a traitor too. And rightly so.”

“If you’d be more happy with Gul Daset winning, why didn’t you vote?”

“I wouldn’t be more happy. I would be less unhappy. And I wouldn’t give my vote of support to someone whom I don’t support. Simple.” He paused again. “Actually, I am against this kind of voting. It’s chaotic and unfair. It’s wrong.”

“I think you’re going to discover that it’s not as bad as you think. You’ll see I’m right.”

He gave me an attentive look. “So you think we should adopt you model.”

“Yes.”

He nodded slowly, thinking. “So you think that millions of Cardassians are wrong and you, one, are right?”

“What?”

“You had watched the news broadcast. Did they say how many people participated in the election?”

“Twenty percent.”

“Do the math. That means that eighty percent didn’t take part in it. What were their reasons? Take a guess.”

I looked at him. His face had a pleasant expression, his eyes gazed at me with curiosity and suddenly I didn’t think about politics any more.

“Kotra?” I asked.

“Sure!” He put his mug away and rose to bring the board.



tbc
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Old December 25 2010, 01:34 PM   #92
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Chapter 13 – Day 182


He won. Again.

“I'm too stupid for this,” I said, but without anger or irritation.

“You need to practice, that's all.” He smiled warmly. When he smiled his eyes were becoming narrow slits bent upward, surrounded by wide, oval ridges, giving him a cute look. His eyes were greyish-blue, the greyish shades perfectly matching his grey skin. “Kotra is a game that requires a skill and that skill must be trained.”

“Don't you have some games for engineers?”

“We do but they are not as enjoyable.”

“Oh, you enjoy it, because you will every time we play.”

“Do you want me to let you win?” Would he?

“Don't you even dare! When I beat you I want to know it's my skill, not your pity.”

“I like that you said 'when', not 'if'.”

“You bet I did!”

We laughed and then awkward silence came and grew. We've been silent with each other many times and it’d always been comfortable, like among good friends, who can sit in silence whole day and still have a good time, however this time it was different. I was certain it wasn't only me. His smile slowly faded and his eyes were intently fixed on mine. I wanted to sink in these eyes. He moved closer to me. The tunic he wore rustled quietly, rubbing against a seat's back, on which he was leaning.

“I...” he started, but didn't finish. Instead he raised his hand and directed it toward me with the palm flat. I raised my hand and touched his, like touching through glass. It was the first time I could touch his skin. It was cool, a little rough, but pleasant.

I felt a strong urge to kiss him. Did they do that? Would he understand? I moved my face closer to his and our lips met. It was a shy, unsure kiss. I felt his nose ridge on my cheek—the surface of the scales was hard but somehow it felt pleasant.

We looked at each other, testing our reactions. I think he wasn't sure I would understand everything too. But how to talk about such matters? An academic discussion would destroy this precious moment. This wasn't a scientific research, this was something else...Something more...Something special...

“Karama--” I started but he put two fingers on my lips.

“It's Tavor now,” he said quietly.

Oh? Oh...Oh!

I mouthed his name, not daring to speak it out loud this first time. The way he said it, his tone of voice made it clear it was a big step. I appreciated this moment, its value. This was like a milestone, something changed, something special has happened. Alea iacta est.

I touched his left eye ridge. I traced my finger along it's line up to the inverted drop—the chanth—on his forehead. It was warm inside, warmer than rest of his skin. He closed his eyes for a moment. And I was sure the shape wasn't covered with scales, it was bare skin there. His scales were smooth in touch. I lowered my hand to touch his neck ridge scales but he grabbed my wrist.

“I'm not ready for this yet,” he said.

“Oh?” I was surprised. “Oh.” Disappointed. “Oh!” I realised it must be something special then. I remembered that he had told me about particular sexual meaning of their neck ridges. “I'll wait for the time when you're ready.”

He smiled and touched my cheek and stroke it with his grey finger.

“You look so fragile without ridges,” he said. “So delicate.”

“Does it bother you I don't have neck ridges?”

He smiled and shook his head. “Not in the least. You're beautiful the way you are.”

“I like your one row very much,” I said, hoping he wouldn't take it in the wrong way.

“No, you don't, but it's nice of you to say so.”

“I don't care how many rows you have, I still like them,” I insisted. Was this conversation indecent? He smirked at me and I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “I must go. I have a busy day tomorrow.”

“Don't we all?” he smiled.

We bed farewell and I returned to my room.

I didn't sleep much that night. I was too excited by what had happened and impatiently looking toward the future.


tbc
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Old December 25 2010, 11:06 PM   #93
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Finally! I thought I´d never see that scene posted, but there it is.
Ah...the tender blossom of a beginning love... we know how the future for them will be, but I am happy to read about the beginning. Waiting impatiently for more.

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Old December 26 2010, 02:47 AM   #94
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

I know we've talked about this in private before...but I truly think that BOTH sides of this debate are wrong.

The Federation made a severe error, from what I see, in not giving the Cardassians a choice as to what kind of government they wanted to have. I have never seen any evidence, in your stories, of the Federation empowering the Cardassians to hold a constitutional convention--only telling them exactly how they were going to run things. Nowhere have I seen any evidence that they and the Cardassians sat down together and talked about the different possibilities together, ranging from Hebitia to Cardassia to many other worlds and cultures, to think about what they wanted for themselves. If they had, then this critical difference would have come out and I think that something could well have been designed right from the very start that would feel right to the Cardassians. The arrogance of the Federation there set up a very bad situation; they assumed their model ALWAYS works in exactly the same way all the time.

I do think that the Cardassians are wrong, too. I think that while some may be biological instinct, that there is also indoctrination and conditioning that they are not fully acknowledging, and there is a refusal to think outside of the box, not to mention damaged egos. They need to consider the fact that trying something new is not necessarily a bad thing. They also need to remember that abuse of power is a very, very serious threat and educate themselves against the bad that can come from following and not accepting the individual's ability to know when something is unconscionable. Assuming that just because something is from the outside, be it an idea, or a person who is not in power, it's bad, is also a critical fault.

The only trouble is that both sides would have needed to approach things differently in order for it not to all go to hell later. Both came at this very stubborn and very set in their ways...and it's no wonder things later fell apart.

Now...on to the personal stuff.

I loved Kapoor's reaction to getting her orders reversed! I'd be curious to know what she did that convinced her superiors to back off! Will we ever get to see it in detail?

And the moment where they shared their first touch and first kiss...how beautiful.

I also liked the fact that they are going to take their relationship a bit slower, not rush into it. It's so rare these days to read stories or see movies where the characters are not ALL OVER AND INTO EACH OTHER on the first date, where it's actually about a longer-term relationship. And that's wonderful.
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Old December 26 2010, 03:06 AM   #95
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

I am glad that you both like the "first kiss" scene. I wanted it to be a tender and gentle one, nothing forced. A "shy" scene.

As for politics...Both Kapoor and Karama don't see a "bigger picture". They both are a part of their realities and they think the way they were raised and taught. While both can look at some things in their own way, I wanted to show how they see things through their eyes and their limited understanding. They don't know everything and they aren't completely right. Or wrong. They formed their opinions based on facts they know and how they interpret them--and I'm the last person to say that Kapoor or Karama are totally right or wrong It's how they see things.

Kamara doesn't know that the torture Jarol and Daset had to suffer wasn't intentional. Kapoor doesn't seem to believe it happened at all (although she believes that he believes it). None of them knows the full truth and their opinions are based on what they know and what they think. Just like in real life
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Old December 26 2010, 04:34 AM   #96
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Wow...Kapoor really can't believe that humans are capable of those things? Eek. That's some serious naivete. I mean, I'm disgusted and angry when I find out that people I have some sort of connection with have done something bad, but I don't think I would deny the facts.

(As for the Maquis, the torture may not have been intentional, but it was certainly what I would call negligent homicide.)
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Old December 26 2010, 04:43 AM   #97
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

I don't think she believes humans aren't capable of evil things. But in this case he just presented her with something and she has a hard time of taking it face value. She thinks he could be exaggerating or colouring. If Jarol told her: "They locked us in a cold room and left for hours," she would believe. But she knows Karama could be telling her official propaganda or a lie. She had seen many "official lies" in her short time on Cardassia. She has uncovered one herself!
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Old December 26 2010, 05:21 AM   #98
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

I wonder if there's something else that's affecting my point of view...I'll PM you with it because I don't want to say it here.
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Old December 26 2010, 06:10 AM   #99
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Got it
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Old February 6 2011, 03:22 AM   #100
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Chapter 14 – Day 202



The duty roster brought me back to the bridge. One thing I can say for sure, mundane engineering work is as mundane on a Cardassian warship, as on a Federation starship. Only the text runs in all directions, instead of a clear, linear way. The Roumar engineers say their way is more efficient, as it clearly shows the priority of information, but I find it chaotic. How do they know which line they have already read if the sentences go up, down, left and right? In Federation Standard you at least can clearly mark the point which you reached. Bookmark it. You can’t do that on a Cardassian display. Tavor had showed my a Cardassian fiction novel—it’s even worse there! And poetry? It looks more like a painting!

Tavor. He has changed. The last three weeks were so different. He became...sweet, caring, even overprotective. Not that he wasn’t before, but now...now it was brought to an adorable extreme. When he speaks to me, his voice is soft; even when he argues and he picks arguments three times more often than before! I asked Ma’Kan if it wasn’t his way to back out from what he got himself into and at first she couldn’t understand what I meant, but then she told me that a Cardassian couple argues. Arguing shows their mutual interest in each other, their desire. She seemed a little shocked that Tavor and I...but she didn’t comment it. And since no one else said anything, or even looked at me funny way, it was obvious she didn’t tell anyone about our conversation. One thing you can say about the Cardassians—at least some of them—they know how to be discreet.

So here I was, back on the bridge. I was posted at one of consoles in the back of the bridge but I still could see Tavor at his post. His back, mostly, and sometimes his profile when he turned his head to talk to someone or to check something on the secondary console to the right.

His hair, swiping his neck when he turned his head. His broad shoulders and the uniform—the armour, as they called it—only strengthening the impression of a strong build. His neck ridges...I still was not allowed to touch them, so even more I wanted to do it. (I have noticed that he also didn’t touch my neck.) The more I thought about them (was it becoming an obsession?), the more attractive they became. That sloping toward his shoulders, that soft line, without hard bends, like in humans or most of other species, that pattern of scales on the nape of his neck. I could stare at that triangle below his hairline for hours. And I did! Glinn Zamarran must have been very unsatisfied with my poor performance and constant loss of concentration. I wouldn’t dare to tell him, ‘I’m in love, sir, so get used to it,’ especially since Gul Jarol was on the bridge. Woman or not, she was a Cardassian, too, and I was sure she wouldn’t understand it either.

It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. Only Tavor. The slopes on his shoulders, his hands dancing on the console, his voice—that mattered. When I was sure no one would speak to me, I was turning off my translator and listened to him speaking Cardassian. It was the most beautiful language in the galaxy, the words coming out from his mouth, with those inflections, sounds, growls and whistles. The Dragon Lady spoke so differently, so did Glinn Brenok. I had to admit that Brenok’s speech was more melodic but it didn’t change the fact that Tavor’s manner of speaking was the dearest to me.

A day of admiring Tavor passed quickly. Somehow, I had no idea how, I managed to finish all my work before the shift ended and I could log out of the system with clear conscience. I waited for my replacement to take over the station, observing Tavor finishing his work. The night shift communication officer, Tari, came to the bridge and Tavor dutifully reported the end of his shift to Jarol. I followed his example and then headed for the door.

Tavor waited in the corridor. “I feel like playing a game of kotra tonight,” he said.

“My or your place?” I asked as we walked to the lift.

“Yours. We use your food rations this time.” He flashed his teeth at me.

“What? Did you ran out of yours after that party two nights ago?”

“How do you know about that?” He gave me a suspicious look.

“I think Aladar mentioned something...”

“Aladar wasn’t there.”

“No, Aladar was a host of another party on lower decks. He claimed his was better, there was more kanar and more happy guests.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Tavor muttered.

I raised my hands in a defensive move. “Only repeating what he said. You could invite me once, I could check for myself.”

He smiled. “Amrita, you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the others. You’d be drunk before we’d even start feeling the taste of kanar.”

I growled at him.

Two hours later I was staring at the kotra board—a gift I had received from Ma’Kan—not believing me own eyes. I glanced at Tavor; he was sipping wine, which I had managed to purchase from a Ferengi merchant on Cardassia when the Roumar had visited the Prime the last time, and seemed completely oblivious of the situation on the board. Maybe wine from Earth was more intoxicating for a Cardassian than the heaviest sort of kanar?

I moved a piece on the board, leaned back, took my glass of wine and looked at him. I tried my best not to let a triumphant smile crawl on my face but knew I didn’t succeed.

Tavor put away his glass, leaned forward to have a better look at the board, raised his hand to make another move and...froze. He scrutinised the board for a moment, glanced at me, at the board, at me...with his hand still in the air.

“I won!” I shouted. “I won! I won! I won!”

He frowned, squinting one eye at me. “Did you cheat?”

“Me?” I asked in an innocent voice. “How could I cheat! I don’t play well enough to chea—” I silenced, observing his tiny grin for a while. “Wait a minute...” Suspicion grew in my heart. “Wait a minute...You let me win, didnch’ya?!”

“Who, me?”

I jumped at him, knocking over a few pieces on the board, sat on his lap and started to weakly pound his broad chest with my fists, taking extra care not to strike anywhere near the delicate chanth. Even with as little force as I put into my fake blows, it would hurt him if I hit the droplet on his chest.

He laughed. He spread his hands in an ‘I give up’ gesture and kept giggling.

I stopped. My first instinct was to throw my arms around his neck but I knew better than that by now, so I wrapped them around his waist.

I was madly in love.


tbc
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Old February 6 2011, 04:32 AM   #101
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Awwww, how cute.

Something tells me that with the friendship between Karama and Zamarran, Glinn Zamarran isn't entirely unaware of what's happening. I do notice that he hasn't dressed down Kapoor, after all, whatever Kapoor thinks he's feeling...

I wonder if Aladar has noticed, too? Did he deliberately give Kapoor ammunition, or was it just convenient?

And Karama letting Kapoor win at kotra...that whole thing was soooooo cute!

My favorite part, though, had to be Kapoor turning off her translator to listen to the Cardassians talk in their native language (or common language, to be more accurate). I'm guessing the translators, in your universe, don't have a "learning mode" the way the Sigils ones do, and either translate everything or nothing?

But..."growls and whistles"? Just what kinds of sounds does this language have in it, anyway?
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Old February 6 2011, 04:40 AM   #102
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

I think Zamarran noticed that her attention was directed to the front of the bridge He's a perceptive fellow Given K&K friendship, plus her distraction from work and attention targeted at the occupant of the comm console, he "did the math"

As for the sounds of Cardassian... Well, it is not just foreign language, it is a foreign species language based on non-mammalian biology. I guess their language can have anything in it
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Old February 6 2011, 04:51 AM   #103
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
As for the sounds of Cardassian... Well, it is not just foreign language, it is a foreign species language based on non-mammalian biology. I guess their language can have anything in it
Mine has a few unusual sounds, too--though they're mainly of the sibilant, hissing variety. (Not sure I've ever heard the "rh" sound anywhere!) And of course mine have sign language, too--though in the canon universe they don't advertise that fact to foreigners.

But I was just checking to see if you meant that description literally--as in, those were phonemes, not just interjections that occur between sentences, like the various sounds that any person makes, that aren't words. If they're actually phonemes...I wonder how much trouble that'll give Kapoor in learning to pronounce it!
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Old February 6 2011, 04:59 AM   #104
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Some of those sounds were phonemes. Considering how "alien" some of Earth languages sound to foreigners, non-Earth language could have even more strange sounds.

I suppose it's possible for her to learn to mimic those sounds, even if in some cases she must come up with different ways of producing them. There wouldn't be that many of them, but seeing how much trouble a "simple" R causes for speakers of languages that don't have R at all (eg. Cantonese), a language from another planet must have some "fun" too
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Old February 6 2011, 05:06 AM   #105
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

If some of those sounds were actually phonemes, THAT really puts an additional spin on a certain other story...you know which one I mean... Are they physiologically impossible to humans or just difficult because most humans aren't used to them and wouldn't know how to make themselves sound that way?

Someday, you'll have to write up a description of the language, or at least record yourself saying a few things (if you're able to pronounce it the way you hear them).
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