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Old April 11 2011, 06:11 AM   #166
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I think he'd tell her his children aren't angry at her. She is angry at herself.
And that would be very true. She doesn't have any special "visions" from her dead children. She has terrible nightmares that are fed by her fear and troubled soul. The more she fears to close her eyes, the worse things she sees when she closes them, because--in a way--she expects to see something horrible. She expects them to send more messages about her failures.

But she believes those are messages and she tries to do what she thinks she's told.
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Old April 11 2011, 06:31 AM   #167
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

I think a REAL vision of her children would've been a comforting one. Not this. At least, AU Dukat would say that because he thinks that in some ways, his own children waiting for him in the next world are wiser (in the emotional sense) and purer than he is. And one part of being purer in their motivations is that they would not destroy a person. Especially not their own father. He'd say the same about her children, that they would want to help her in her suffering, not hurt her.

(I still think he'd come back to the idea of evil spirits, perhaps trying to drive Jarol into destructiveness instead of healing self-reflection. Her conscience, yes, and also her physical injuries--but also evil spirits trying to interfere with catharsis.)

I hope Jarol will tell Laran about the nightmares. That might help. She needs to deal with what she's done, but she needs to face the real problems without believing that her children want to see her suffer.
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Old April 11 2011, 06:50 AM   #168
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

A real message from them could be helpful. Since this is something that cannot be guaranteed, Laran could be helpful in showing--not by words, but by his actions--that he still loves her and that he wouldn't want her to tear herself apart.

The problem is that she starts to push him away "to protect him" from herself and not to "force" him to acknowledge her. There's very little chance she'd tell him about the nightmares; she would fear he'd confirm everything that she sees there. He is in her nightmares too.
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Old April 11 2011, 07:07 AM   #169
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

It definitely can't be guaranteed...in fact, I don't think well of those who make such guarantees.

But Jarol did start to tell Laran that she was having nightmares, and she also had that slip of the tongue when she said she was afraid he didn't love her. So Laran does have some clues and might try to keep asking questions.
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Old April 11 2011, 07:21 AM   #170
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Not forgetting the biggest "clue": disown me, son. More like a wooden club than a small clue.
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Old April 11 2011, 02:28 PM   #171
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Yeah. But it means that Laran will not rest now until he figures out a way to put this right. At least, that's what I suspect he'd feel.
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Old April 15 2011, 01:24 PM   #172
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 7


Cardassian Attack Fighter Sufar



The Damar Guard. Two rows. One on her left, one on her right and she—between them, walking slowly. When she reached the execution spot she stopped. Everyone turned and their backs faced her. She stood in the spot and closed her eyes. She waited but nothing happened. She opened her eyes and Mayel’s face was just before hers. ‘You have to watch,’ the girl said and sprayed her with something that had bitter taste. Mayel transformed into her father’s face. ‘I tried to teach you, I tried to show you how to be a good Cardassian, but you were too stupid. I should have known better. I shouldn’t have married a primitive without any education. Burn!” His order set her on fire.

She opened her eyes. Laran sat next to her, piloting the ship.

“We’re almost home,” he said, noticing that she was awake.

“How long did I sleep?” she asked.

“About twenty minutes. I didn’t want to wake you up, you sleep so little recently.”

She wished he wouldn’t let her sleep at all.

On the other hand—she had just received instructions what to do. She had to let the fire from inside her consume her from outside too.



Rayak Nor, lower levels, crew quarters




She feared leaving the lift. She feared to enter that corridor and then enter these quarters. She expected the place to blow in her face again. She nervously glanced at Demok who stood next to her. He sent her a faint smile and she wondered if he could see how scared she was.

Zamarran stood with his back to her and when the door opened, he left the lift as the first one.

She had tried to find an excuse not to come here, to go directly to her office in the command centre, but she wore no armour and civilian clothes would be very difficult to explain. So she had no choice, she had to come here first.

She followed Zamarran and realised that it wasn’t the right level or the right section. Where were they?

The gul gestured forward. “This way.”

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“I took a liberty of moving your quarters deeper into the pole into more guarded area,” he answered. “It’s a bit smaller, but I assumed safety was more important.”

They turned left and she saw a section of a corridor separated from the rest of it by three forcefields, each cutting off a different bend of the corridor from a door inside this ‘cell.’ There were six guards standing there—all from the Damar Guard, judging from their golden armours—two for each corridor by each forcefield.

“Weapons and metal detectors,” Zamarran explained, seeing her asking look. “No one can enter your quarters armed or with dangerous items. Every uninvited and suspicious visitor would be searched, unless you’d clear their arrival.”

She was fascinated. She glanced at her son who didn’t seem surprised at all. “You knew about it, didn’t you?” she asked him.

“I did,” he confirmed.

“I wouldn’t dare to design all this without some permission,” Zamarran said. “I didn’t want to bother you, though. You were on vacations and bringing that...event wouldn’t be helpful.”

She slowly and carefully stepped through the forcefield. She didn’t feel anything, no special sensation. She stopped in front of the door. It wasn’t the same place but still...

The sub-archon didn’t have such problems; he went past her and toward the door, which slid open. She was just about to grab his hand and stop him before he entered, but he was faster.

“I like it!” She heard his voice from inside.

Slowly, uncertainly, she followed him. The first thing that drew her attention was a bookshelf. It was different from hers but one glance at the books told her that a lot of titles were the same.

Zamarran must have noticed where she was looking, as he said, “A lot of them are copies, as the originals had burnt, but they look as good.”

She turned to look at him. “Copies?”

“Yes, replicated copies.”

“Who wasted so many rations for this?”

“Most of them were shipped from the Damar, some were replicated here.”

Arenn. Arenn used his replicator rations to rebuild her library. Her son’s triumphant expression indicated that he took part in it. She went to the bookshelf and picked a randomly chosen book. She opened it. On the first page there was a drawing of a circle with two dots, a vertical line between the dots and a bent upward horizontal line below—it looked like a smiling face without ridges—and words written by a clearly untrained hand: ‘Books contain widsom, let’s enjoy it.’ Below it were words written by a well trained hand in a handwriting that she could associate with a particular face: ‘Wisdom, not widsom. Someone needs to read more.” Jarol laughed. She pressed the book to her chest and looked at Zamarran.

“At first they wanted to replicate a new one and do it correctly, but then they decided that it could bring a smile to your face. I’ll tell them it worked.”

“They shouldn’t have wasted their rations. I could go on with electronic copies.”

“We don’t consider is ‘wasted,’ Leg—Gul—Jarol.”

“Neither do it,” she whispered.

“I’m sure you’re tired. I’ll be in the command centre if you need anything. Medic Taret had told me he’d like to see you before you report on duty.”

“I’ll remember.”

He nodded to her and to Demok and then left.

“How many did you replicate?” she asked her son.

“Some.”

“How many?”

“Does it matter?”

“I’ll give you back your rations.”

“Don’t you even dare!”

“Do you know who gave me those...gifts?”

“Yes.”

“Do you know all of them?”

He eyed her suspiciously. “Why?”

“I’d like to invite them for dinner and thank them all. And feed them, too.”

“I’ll arrange everything.”

She put the book back. “Laran, there is something...”

“Yes?”

“Don’t unpack your things.”

“I’m not returning to Lakat,” he growled.

“We will find you other quarters. You can’t stay with me.”

“Mom, didn’t you see the security precautions? Do you really think that we’re in danger.”

“Droplet, it’s not about that.”

“We are protected enough. I am protected enough.”

“You need protection not only from assassins and my enemies.”

He defiantly put his hands on his hips.“And what else?”

“From me.”

“Are you going to hurt me?” he asked with irony.

“I am hurting you, Droplet. We already talked about this an—”

“Didn’t I tell you to never raise this subject again?!” he shouted.

“Droplet, this is something you have to do. There is something I have to do and it cannot cast any shadow on you. I don’t want it to influence your life.”

“No.”

She didn’t feel like commanding at all, but she put her best legate face and said in a sharp, harsh tone, “You will move out and live on your own. You will disown me for your own good.”

“Like hell I will!” he shouted.

“Laran!”

“No! Absolutely no!!!”

“Laran...” she moaned.

“No!”

“Why not?”

“I was raised in a three-generation family, without a father and without any siblings. And now my own mother kicks me out to live alone? Alone? One person in a house? What kind of home is that?! No! Don’t speak of it again!”

“Laran, there is something—”

“—that you have to do, I heard you the first time. No.”

“I know it’s harsh, but sometimes you have to do harsh things.”

“No.”

Laran...”

“No.”

How could she convince him? What could she do? She couldn’t ask anyone for help because she couldn’t tell anyone what she planned. She had to do it on her own, she had to go through it on her own, she couldn’t take anyone with her. Especially not Laran.

“I’m going to unpack my stuff now,” he announced and disappeared in an adjacent room.

How could she convince him? Maybe Colissa would be able to do something about it?

To her surprise, he reappeared a moment later.

“Mom, there’s something I’d like to ask you about.”

“What is it?”

“What did you talk about with Captain Lau? After I left?”

“This shouldn’t concern you.”

“Mom, please, tell me. Are you going to influence those people on that planet? Are you?”

“No, I won’t. I wouldn’t do it.” He observed her for a moment and it pained her, because she was sure he didn’t believe her. “I promised to help those people, but differently. I promised to fix their sun. But I don’t want you to be involved in it in any way. You are an archon, you have to be pure from any suspicion of breaking any rules.”

He nodded, accepting her explanation. She felt relief. He despised her enough without her adding more fuel to his feelings.

“Mom...why did you tell me that I didn’t love you?”

“Do you?”

The shock on his face was enormous. “Where do you have this idea from?”

“Laran, I had told you some things about me...and I had seen your reaction to them. I understand that I have destroyed all that you—”

He didn’t let her finish. He went to her and hugged her with all his strength. “Stop talking nonsense,” he said quietly. “You’d done something terrible, something that no one think his mom does, something I still try to cope with, but mother! It doesn’t change anything!” He looked at her not unwrapping his arms from around her. “You are my Mom. You always will be. Unless you commit genocide, and right now you’re trying to prevent one, I will always be by your side.”

“But there is something that I have to do. Something that you should keep away from.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want it to be attached to your record. You must be spotless. You are an archon.”

“I am spotless. Your spots are yours.” He paused. “What do you plan to do?”

“I can’t tell you. But you will know soon.”

“Is it something dangerous or stupid?”

“It’s something that should have been done a long time ago. As an archon, you will understand that.”

“It has something to do with the tribunal.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Yes.”

He observed her for a long moment, as if trying to read from her face what she was planning. “Mom, what do you want to do?” He sounded worried.

“Something important.”

“Why now?” he asked.

“Because I need your forgiveness. And you father’s. And Father Joret’s. And Mayel and Corat’s.”

“Mom, they are dead.”

“But they still exist, just not with us.”

He let go of her, not taking his eyes of her. “You will tell me now what you want to do. Now,” he demanded.

“I cannot.”

“Do you plan to hurt yourself?”

She shook her head. “No. What I plan to do is the right thing to do. Not wrong. That’s enough of wrong in my life.”

“Then tell me.”

“No. Not yet.”

“Tell me,” he insisted.

“First I have to talk to someone. Then I’ll tell you, all right?”

“Tonight?”

A deadline. He gave her a deadline. If she promised him, she wouldn’t want to break her promise. It would help her not to postpone what had to be done.

“Tonight. I promise.”

There. Done. No way to turn back and retreat.

He went to his room and she looked around in search of a padd. She had a lot of writing to do.
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Old April 15 2011, 01:24 PM   #173
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"


Rayak Nor, The Station Archon’s Office




Jarol had never seen Colissa as surprised as when she entered the archon’s office.

“That’s an unexpected visit,” Colissa commented dryly and then eyed the padd that Jarol was handing her. “What is it?”

“Take it,” Jarol shook her hand slightly, drawing attention to the padd.

Colissa took the object and raised her eye ridges. “And?”

“And now read it. Or at least take a look at its content.”

The archon activated the padd, leaned back in her chair and started to read. It took her merely seconds to realise what she had in her hands. “Why are you doing this?” she asked, shaking the padd.

“Because it has to be done.”

“You planned it well, didn’t you?” Colissa snorted.

Jarol didn’t understand. “Planned?” Why was Colissa was irritated?

“You know that now it’s useless. Two years ago it would mean something, but now? It’s just a show. Very much like you,” the archon said not hiding her contempt.

“I...I don’t know what you mean...” Jarol stammered uncertainly.

“You used a hole in the system. Why are you doing this, why bother?”

Jarol only shook her head. She didn’t know why Colissa seemed so angry. Shouldn’t she be glad that justice would be served? “Archon Colissa, I don’t know anything about holes in the law. I know very little about law in general—”

“That much is obvious,” Colissa muttered, but Jarol ignored it and continued.

“—it is my son who knows everything about it—”

“Did he give you this advice?” the archon attacked.

“What advice?” Jarol’s voice was weak. This was not what she had expected. She didn’t think Colissa would suddenly start to respect or like her, but she didn’t anticipate an attack and such a show of discontent.

“You know very well that the main item on this list is statute-barred. Twenty years have passed. It’s too late to prosecute anyone about this.” Colissa shook the padd, her voice growing angrier and louder with every word.

Jarol leaned toward her. “Can’t you do something about it? Find something to make an exception, to void this...statute-barred rule?”

Colissa’s expression changed. She observed Jarol for a long moment. “You’re serious about it,” she said eventually.

“I am.”

“You realise at least two of those things get you death penalty.”

“I know. That’s how it should be. I deserve shikrat.”

Colissa shook her head. “I believe in justice, I believe in order and I believe in punishment. But there is no crime horrible enough that I would ever rule shikrat as the punishment, even if it still was an option. Setting someone on fire for a minute and then tearing him or her apart, piece by piece, is sadism, not a punishment.”

“That’s what I deserve,” Jarol whispered so quietly that she wasn’t sure Colissa heard it. It didn’t matter, though, as she didn’t say it to Colissa.

Colissa put the padd on her desk. “Why? Why are you doing it?” she asked again, but this time her tone wasn’t aggressive.

“It’s rather a personal matter.”

The archon pointed to the padd on her desk. “From the moment you handed me your confession there is no such thing like a private matter between you and me.”

“I’m rotten and I have to be destroyed.”

Colissa was silent for such a long time that eventually Jarol raised her head to glance at the archon. The older woman kept looking at her, scrutinising her with her piercing eyes.

“Didn’t you know that earlier?” she asked eventually. No irony, no attack. A question.

The whisper was barely audible. “I did.”

“So what has changed? Why does it eat you now?”

“Because...my children hate me.”

Colissa’s eye ridges raised slightly. “I know for the fact that your son is torn between you and his morality, but...aren’t the other two...” She didn’t finish. She took the padd and activated it again. “For the charges of seizing power you get the capital punishment by hanging. For the charges of defying an order you get the capital punishment by shooting in the head. For the charges of murder you get the capital punishment by hanging. For the charges of acting behind your superiors’ backs you get ten years in a labour camp. For the charges of treason you get the capital punishment by hanging.”

“You can execute me only once.”

“I’m not finished,” Colissa barked irritated. “The charges of seizing power are statute-barred. You had already faced the tribunal regarding the defying orders charges and your action had been declared justifiable. The matter is closed and there is no new evidence to reopen it. The charges of murder are not for only you but also for that person who had actually pulled the trigger. You can take it on yourself and claim you are the only responsible, but without additional evidence and finding all guilty ones, this is useless.” Jarol’s head shot up, as she looked at Colissa. Ma’Kan, Brenok, Jotrel, Toral...they all had been involved or knew about this. She didn’t want to pull anyone with her. “Doing things on your own, without informing your superiors...Well, I respect the military as a certain ideal, but how it works—it leaves a lot to be desired. I wouldn’t blame you for being smarter than your gul. I would dismiss this one immediately. And finally—betraying the Dominion is not a treason. Another dismissed charge.”

“You can’t prosecute people who followed my orders,” Jarol said, her thoughts still attached to the Ahal assassination.

“Look, Jarol. We are a society of people, who are able to give their lives for others. This is deeply rooted in our hearts. That’s why we need to have proof before we decide if someone is guilty or not. Let me give you an example: your son murders a man and you don’t want him to go to prison. You admit to the crime. Your sacrifice to save him. But justice isn’t a blind monster that doesn’t care whose blood it drinks. You can admit to being the Founder, but without hard evidence I can’t do anything about it.

“As far as I can tell, only assassinating Legate Ahal could be taken under consideration, but I have no proof except your admission. This is not enough. And I am sure whoever else is involved, they have covered the tracks so well that no proof exists. And I am sure I cannot count on their testimony and admission. As much as I’d like you to pay for everything, I cannot do much about it.”

No, no, no! something screamed inside the former legate. That’s not how it was supposed to be! “But I have to die, don’t you understand?” Jarol moaned.

Colissa’s eyes shone with anger. “The Tribunal isn’t a way for a clean suicide!” she shouted.

Jarol hid her face in her hands. “Do something...”

“Rest assured that I will reopen the investigation. I think, however, that it will lead nowhere, just as it led nowhere twenty years ago. I sincerely hope I am wrong. Did you talk to your son about it?” the archon asked suddenly.

Jarol only shook her head. She was scared. Her solution, her way for forgiveness was closing and she had no idea what to do. “I don’t want him to be involved. This list is long and he shouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

“I disagree. Clearly, you have reached the point where your sense of order finally reacts to the violation you have submitted it to. This is not something you can go through alone. You need support.”

“Not him.”

“He is the best candidate. He is clean, he is pure. He is an archon. Who else could lead you better through the difficult way of redeeming yourself and your value as a Cardassian if not someone who never lost that value. He could lead you. He could keep his faith in your redemption.”

“I don’t want to involve him. I don’t want my mistakes cast a shadow on his life.”

Colissa smiled with scorn. “Your mistakes are your own. They are not his fault. We sometimes forget about it, but children cannot be held responsible for their parents’ actions. He reminded me of that. His purity reminded me that I shouldn’t see him as an extension of you.” Jarol narrowed her eyes. “See,” Colissa shrugged. “All of us make mistakes.”

“We should pay for them.”

“As much as my need for order screams for hanging you, I can’t do it. If it depended on me, I would execute Daset for engineering the Shift and deciding to isolate us, Jotrel for his suspicious Ferengi business, Brenok for usurping an undeserved right to command the Guard without any experience and introducing changes that made the Guard a joke and finally you for keeping the borders closed for so long. It’s too late. You, people, shaped Cardassia to your vision and you got lucky, because it brought some stability. This stability was the only reason no one managed or wanted to do anything about your actions to make you pay the price for violating the order of the Cardassian society.”

“Find a way to get what you want.”

“It’s not a personal vendetta, Jarol,” Colissa snapped. “I won’t break the law to fulfil your wish of death.”

“I didn’t suggest for you to break the law. But I am sure that there is something that would allow to...dismiss...some rules under some circumstances. Isn’t someone with such a long list exempted from something? From this statute-barred thing?”

“As far as I am concerned, there are only two items on this list. One is statute-barred and the other one needs evidence, which I don’t have, except for your word. Whatever fire consumes you from inside, it will keep consuming you for the rest of your life.”

Jarol stood up and leaned her hands on Colissa’s desk, hovering over the archon. “You don’t understand...It’s not about me. It’s about them.”

“Who?”

“My children. My family. I can burn until the last day of my life, but when that day comes...they won’t want to see me. They’ll spit at me.”

Colissa stared at her for a long moment. “Jarol, your children are dead. They don’t make any judgements. If they were alive, I imagine they would be like Sub-archon Demok: conflicted. Torn between a mother and a Cardassian. I think, as a mother you are acceptable. Not good, but at least you don’t hurt your son. Frankly, I have no idea how come he can be such a nice young man and a promising archon after being raised by you and that Brenok. Must have taken it after his grandparents.

“As for what kind of Cardassian you are...This is your punishment. You have to live with it. What’s more, you have to live with it unpunished. You have to live with the realisation that you have violated the order many times and that order wouldn’t be restored, because bringing back the order would require a retribution and that retribution won’t follow.”

“But—”

“I ruled,” Colissa barked. “Now get out of my office, you pitiful creature.”



Rayak Nor, the Station Gul’s private quarters




They were having their dinner in silence. Jarol could see that Demok kept glancing at her from time to time and she was sure he waited for her to fulfil her promise. The things, however, became complicated and the ‘right thing to do’ changed into ‘nothing to do.’

“Mom, are you all right?” he asked eventually.

“Yes,” she said.

He clearly didn’t accept her answer. He pushed his plate away. “Who did you talk to? Medic Taret?”

She raised her head to look at him. “Mmm?”

“You went to talk to someone and returned very upset. Bad news from Taret?”

“No. I didn’t see Taret yet. I plan to go for a check-up tomorrow morning, before starting my shift.”

“So who upset you so badly?”

She put her spoon away. “I talked to Colissa.” There was no way around it, she had to tell him.

“What about?” he asked in a low voice, mirroring her motion.

“I went to her with my confession.”

He was motionless for a long moment. “Oh, Mom...” he whispered. His voice was shaking. He covered his mouth with his hand. “Oh, Mom...” he mumbled again. He opened his eyes wide and stared at her. She wasn’t sure it was shock, worry and relief on his face.

“I had to do it, Droplet. I had to. You of all people should understand it.”

He hit the table with his fist and everything that stood on it rang with a faint sound. “I don’t care what I should understand! You can’t leave me alone. I don’t want to be an orphan!” Panic in his eyes grew and she realised he was shaking like a jelly.

Her heart was bleeding. Had she even thought how he would feel? Why was there such a difference between his judgement in her visions and in the reality? He was an archon, he was a person whose life mission was to punish the guilty ones, to discipline the ones that violated the order of the world.

Then she understood. He didn’t see her for what she was, he only saw his mom. Whatever and whoever she was, this was the fact that would never change: she was his mother. “You won’t be.”

He shook his head still rejecting the information she had shared and it took him a moment to comprehend what she had just said. “What?” he frowned.

“Colissa told me that only two charges could be considered. One is statute-barred and the other one needs additional evidence.”

He mouthed something. She could see that he concentrated for a moment, his lips voicelessly moving, as if he was speaking—quoting text. “Bloodless,” he said after a moment.

“Excuse me?”

“The charge of a forceful seize of power becomes statute-barred if it was not violent and no blood was shed. The Detapa Council established that law after their coup. It was never changed since.” She could see that he was still shaken, but a bit calmer. “Colissa will have to open the investigation about Ahal’s death, but if she doesn’t find anything, she won’t be able to rule. Unless more witnesses are found and I doubt it. The times of convictions based on one testimony, even a confession, are gone. To many people died because of a personal vendetta and lies to allow this to continue.” Jarol was under impression that looking at everything from an archon’s point of view was helping her son to compose himself, to keep his emotions under control. She wished it wasn’t so painful for him. She wanted to mend things but she only caused more suffering.

“I’m sorry, Droplet. Now you understand why I insisted for you to...” He looked at her in such a way that she didn’t finish the sentence.

“No, I still don’t understand.” He frowned. “Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you ask me before going to Colissa?”

“It should have been done by an impartial party. You are not impartial. You are my baby.”

“And don’t you ever forget that!” He shook his finger at her. “And don’t you dare to ask me to forget that!”

“How do you feel about a criminal being unpunished?” she asked him.

“It infuriates me, b—”

“Good.”

“—ut I’m a Cardassian being, I have feelings and I value my family. An unpunished crime infuriates me. But thinking that you and Uncle Brenok could be...be...you know...” She knew he couldn’t make himself say ‘executed.’ “This stops being so simple. Nothing is simple,” he added, whispering.

“How do you feel about me not being punished?”

“Relieved.”

“You are a bad archon.” After a moment she added, “But you are a good son.”

“No more talking about disowning, not loving and all that nonsense?”

She looked at him. Did he really loved her in spite of everything? How was she supposed to live with this burden? Colissa had been right—her punishment would be lack of redemption. She would never be cleaned. Laran was young and emotional and his heart was a forgiving one. She would never be forgiven by the others. She would never be welcomed on the other side of the river.

This was worse than death. Much worse.



tbc
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Old April 15 2011, 07:32 PM   #174
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

I agreed with Colissa almost totally in the way she handled the situation. (We'll get to the one disagreement later.) What Jarol did was absolutely wrong. But by subverting the law to get revenge, she'd be doing exactly the same thing Jarol did--becoming a law unto herself. And the same thing with ordering a sentence as cruel as shikrat. All that does is satisfy the vengeful desires of the living. If a person is dangerous enough that they have to be executed, then the execution should be to end that danger--not to get revenge, and should be done cleanly, and the purpose of witnesses (though I think very few witnesses should be present for such a thing and NO minors, EVER) should be simply to verify that it's done. NOT to enjoy revenge, because the necessity of such a thing means there is a failure that must be mourned. Not celebrated.

I would have felt that forcing Jarol out of the military, at this point, would be sufficient--and rather than a labor camp, make her spend the rest of her life, until her health requires that she stop working, in community service. And I would even have been OK with her serving that Nokarian heritage organization because a nonprofit is at the mercy of people's donations. In other words, she could only do what the people wanted; if she dissatisfied them, they'd cut off the money because no one makes them donate or else. (Though honestly, I think she would do it right.) And doing something like that, she would have to give something to the people that they wanted, not what SHE wanted and was going to force them to like, as though they were children complaining about the meal put in front of them. I think that would make it an appropriate punishment for her crime: she would spend the rest of her life answering to what others wanted. And not in a cruel way, but the kind that she could learn from rather than it just being sadism.

I am glad she got to hear from someone outside her little circle that no, the people did NOT love everything she did, and she was arrogant to assume that she could just enforce her will on them as though she was the be-all end-all of Cardassia. That is exactly the same attitude Dukat had, that led him to the Dominion.

But Colissa is right: the law must not be abused, and that form of order is more important because without it, the rest doesn't exist. Executing her on those charges wouldn't be right.

The one place where I think Colissa indulged herself in getting revenge was the comment that Jarol was a bad mother and Brenok was a bad father. That's always been the one place where Jarol was still pure, to use Colissa's term. I also don't think that Brenok is tainted in the same way as Jarol...she has been an undue influence on him at times (I think that without her influence, assuming he hadn't been attacked by that Klingon, he might have made different decisions), but he is the kind of person who has a conscience and takes personal responsibility for things. He never hid from himself or pushed his problems onto other people.

(I wish, though, that he would find a healthier way to express his problems, though. I keep telling you, Gul Berat would be happy to lend Brenok his "endless pool" if physical activity would help Brenok with the stress. After all, exercise, done in a healthy way, is self-improvement, not self-destruction. Says the lazy person who cannot seem to remember to get on her exercise bike. )

But Jarol actually is wrong about one thing. Her conscience will always torment her. But her children--her real children--I think would get to see her again, because now she understands what she did wrong, and she's actually sorry. I think that from the real Mayel and Corat she has forgiveness.
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Old April 16 2011, 07:09 PM   #175
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I would have felt that forcing Jarol out of the military, at this point, would be sufficient--and rather than a labor camp, make her spend the rest of her life, until her health requires that she stop working, in community service. And I would even have been OK with her serving that Nokarian heritage organization because a nonprofit is at the mercy of people's donations.
She's been a soldier all her life. I am not sure she would know how to find herself in a civilian life. She's not well educated beyond military service, she doesn't have any special skills except for how to shoot a rifle. She doesn't know anything else. Maybe something about politics after dealing with it for 20 years, but since she had left, she isn't interested in it any longer and certainly not now.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I think that would make it an appropriate punishment for her crime: she would spend the rest of her life answering to what others wanted.
I'm not sure she would consider it punishment. She never had problems with taking orders from her superiors (except for one). She didn't climb to top ranks just to limit the number of people who would be able to order her.

In her understand she had been doing what the people wanted. If she did that now--for real, as you assume--she wouldn't feel punished or uncomfortable about it. IF she were able to work at all. She might fear she'd do something very wrong again and miserably fail.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I also don't think that Brenok is tainted in the same way as Jarol...she has been an undue influence on him at times (I think that without her influence, assuming he hadn't been attacked by that Klingon, he might have made different decisions), but he is the kind of person who has a conscience and takes personal responsibility for things. He never hid from himself or pushed his problems onto other people.
For Colissa they are both the same. She doesn't see in Brenok anything that would make him better than Jarol. And right now she sees him as even more dangerous, because Jarol is just in command of some station and he is where he has been for last 20 years, holding a lot of power in his hands.

In addition she doesn't agree with his decisions and reforms. One of those "reforms" is going to be obvious soon.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
But Jarol actually is wrong about one thing. Her conscience will always torment her. But her children--her real children--I think would get to see her again, because now she understands what she did wrong, and she's actually sorry. I think that from the real Mayel and Corat she has forgiveness.
Right now she is sure they hate her and reject her. I'm not even sure she believes Laran when he tells her that he loves her.
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Old April 18 2011, 04:35 AM   #176
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 8


Cardassian Union Warship Damar, the gul’s office, Cardassia Prime sector




I want to do it myself, Arenn. Please. I want this mission.

Brenok couldn’t understand why she insisted to take the mission that clearly wasn’t within her specialisation. “But Atira, you’re a tactician, not a scientist.”

I don’t want to be a tactician any longer, I want to be good from now on.

He stared at her flabbergasted. “At...Atira...” he stammered out. “What are you talking about?”

I need it, Arenn. Please.

His face expressed regret. “I’m sorry, Ati, but the answer is no. Zamarran has the knowledge, the speciality and the skill. He is perfect for this task. And you are in command of the station and that’s where your place is.”

He expected her to get irritated—she wasn’t a person that liked to hear ‘no’—but she lowered her head and said quietly, “I understand.

She looked like a chastised child and he felt like a bastard for refusing her request, but duty matters didn’t respect someone’s feelings and wishes. He had to make decisions based on facts, not sentiments.

“Are you all right?” he asked her, worried.

She shook her head. “No, I’m not. There was something I needed to do, but it occurred not to be as simple as I had thought it would be. I try my best, but circumstances and people complicate it.

He didn’t have to ask if he belonged to that group of people—he was sure he did. “Is there any way I could help you with your task?” he asked. “Anything?”

No. This is something I must do alone.

“And what is it exactly?”

I’d told you that I cannot reveal that.

Was it all about that dream she had when she had been in the coma? Did she still think about it? Brenok felt a sting of panic: what was happening to her? What was her plan? What did she think she had to do? “Atira, promise me you won’t do anything stupid. Promise me.”

I won’t do anything stupid,” she said, looking at him seriously. “I’ll only do what should be done. I just hope it won’t hurt anyone.

“Atira, you’re scaring me. Please, tell me what is going on.”

You’ll learn soon,” she said and signed off.

Brenok had talked to Demok earlier and he knew of her strange requests to disown her. He knew that she loved her son madly and would do everything for him, so he could not think of a reason why she would want Demok to do that. Didn’t she think about implications? Children that rejected parents carried a stigma, just like parents who rejected their children. In the past people had been forced to do such things against their will, or taught to do that for the ‘good of Cardassia’ and it had been an awful and immoral thing to do. Now, without the Obsidian Order destroying families, this was really something unthinkable. Laran loved his mother and would never abandon her. Especially not in such a vulnerable moment like this, when she clearly was not herself. Whatever she did, whoever she was, as her son his duty was to support her in her difficult moments to help her get through this. Even children of criminals were encouraged to support their parents; not to condone their criminal actions but to help them with their guilt and admitting to their crime and then with accepting their punishment. Emotional support. For those, whose sentence wasn’t execution, such support was very important to bring them back to society after they’d pay the price for their crime. They would have families to return to, someone waiting for them and helping them to again become productive members of the society, instead of returning to the path of crime.

So whatever Atira had decided to do, even if it would mean facing the tribunal, she would need Laran. Rejecting him, or rather forcing him to reject her, was just simply wrong.

Brenok wished he could be there and talk to her personally. She wouldn’t be able to cut off a commline if he stood in front of her. But he couldn’t be there. Daset’s funeral kept him on Cardassia and he loathed the thought that the death of a man he hated was more important than the life of a woman he cared about.

He was glad, though, that she thought of also other things. She had brought the problem with a star of an inhabited planetary system to his attention, seeking his permission to lead the mission. He had to refuse her request but he had agreed that this couldn’t be left like that. She had warned him that the Federation might try to interfere, claiming that this would be a violation of their Prime Directive, but he didn’t care what the Federation would say—not in this case. The irony was that it had been a Federation captain that had asked her to help these...Rathosians. Obviously, the man’s opinion of the Prime Directive was very similar to Brenok’s.

The gul made a mental note to inform Legate Gortan of the situation, though, in case the Federation would try to use official diplomatic channels to stop the Cardassian mission from achieving its goal of fixing the sun.

In addition, this would be the perfect opportunity to test the new project, on which he had worked with Gul Serfon. Serfon had come with this idea several months earlier and Brenok had thought that it had been something worth consideration. Now he was sure it was a good idea and he was glad he had agreed to give it a chance.

A new, shiny Keldon class ship had left a dry dock two weeks earlier and was in the process of being staffed. The ship was supposed to start from a simple survey mission, but Brenok thought that the Rathosian situation was a good opportunity to put it to a real, practical use and help someone at the same time.

All the ship needed was a name and a gul. He knew who he wanted to take the command but he still wasn’t sure about the name. There was one proposal that had come from a certain Bajoran—how she had learnt about this ship, he had no idea, but he suspected her to know about it from Cardassian news reports, regardless how unlikely it seemed that she would watch any—and he was seriously considering that idea.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge




Glinn Yassel shot another glance at the row of officers, promising herself that it would be the last one. And then shot another one. She was nervous beyond belief and she was sure it was obvious. She wished there was an option of refusing orders—she would have refused this assignment. Or wouldn’t she? She remembered that when she had been informed of her transfer, she had been happy. A promotion in both the rank and position could make anyone happy. But then a realisation had come: all those privileges meant the ‘promotion’ of responsibilities and she wasn’t sure she was ready for that.

The door to the bridge opened and Yassel did all she could not to glance at the row of officers to check if everything was in order. Instead, she concentrated on the three people that walked toward her.

In the front there was a tall, middle-aged man, a gul. She knew from now on he was her direct superior and she was supposed to be his aide. The man wore a stern look on his face. This is going to be all but fun, she thought. He scared her; he didn’t say a word yet and he already terrified her.

Behind him walked another man. Younger. Handsome. He was looking around with curiosity and then glanced at the row of officers with interest. His armour had markings of a garesh. Great, now she was standing at attention for a garesh?

The last person was very interesting. It was a very, very short human woman. She wore Cardassian armour and had a rank of gil. Yassel searched her memory and dug out the information about one human serving in the Guard. She was the flagship’s second-in-command’s wife.

The gul reached her, so she extended her hand with the padd that contained the official orders.

“Sir, hereby I transfer the command of Cardassian Union Ship Marritza to you!” she said loudly.

He silently took the padd and activated it. He frowned. Oh, no! Yassel thought in panic. Did she do something wrong?

“Are you sure this is correct, Glinn?” he asked her. He had a rusty, growling voice that perfectly matched his solemn face.

“Yes, sir,” she answered but her voice was all but certain. “These are the orders I had been requested to pass.”

“This must be some kind of mistake,” he said.

Yassel felt her legs giving way under her.

“What’s wrong, sir?” the human woman asked in Cardassian to Yassel’s relief. She wouldn’t have a nerve to ask herself.

“It says here that this command is permanent,” he explained, turning to the tiny gil.

“I suppose congratulations are in order, sir,” the human smiled. Was it a joke? Did she joke with the gul? With this gul?!

He didn’t seem happy and for some funny reason Yassel felt that they had something in common—none of them wanted this assignment. She felt she was not ready for it—certainly not with this scary man—and what were his reasons...she could only guess.

The gul looked at all officers. He took time to look into faces of each and every of them. His scrutiny ended on Yassel who almost swallowed her own tongue. “I look forward to working with all of you,” he said courtly. “Thank you for the welcome. Now you can return to your posts.”

Everyone spread and only Yassel stayed where she was. “Any orders, sir?” she asked him.

“Yes, Glinn. I assume you have been informed of the nature of our mission?” She nodded. “Make sure we have everything we need. We will be far from home, alone and I’d rather not run out of necessary items. We will leave Rayak Nor tomorrow morning, oh-seven hundred hours.”

“Yes, sir!” Yassel was grateful for something to do.

“Where will you be, sir?” the human officer, whose name Yassel still couldn’t recall, asked.

“I will clarify this thing,” he said, raising the padd in his hand. “You make yourself at home in the engineering. Aladar,” he addressed the handsome garesh, “Check the equipment. I don’t want to leave the station with faulty hardware.”

Then, he went to his office.

Garesh Aladar headed for the lift, followed closely by—Karama! Her name was Karama!



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, lower decks




Garesh Aladar decided to start from checking what exactly was under his command. Reading dry reports was not the same thing as seeing for yourself and he always preferred the latter.

Most of his life he had served on the Damar after Gul Brenok had moved his crew there from the Roumar, so the Marritza was the first Keldon class cruiser Aladar had set foot on. Very similar to Galor class Roumar, but the additional modules made the difference. The garesh knew that normally those modules carried torpedoes and served a military purpose. Here, however, they were science labs. He only hoped that the training deck was still a training deck and no one turned it into a giant simulation or testing laboratory.

The troops on the ship were limited and served security matters. Aladar understood that this vessel’s mission was to scan, study and discover but he was not convinced that limiting troops numbers was wise. In fact, he was certain that there should be more troops here than on any other warship. This ship was full of scientists with basic military training and in case of an attack they wouldn’t be able to effectively defend themselves. So if the officers weren’t able to do that well, someone else had to. Who? Militia troops, of course! Why? Because Aladar had no doubts that calling a ship ‘science ship’ and filling it with harmless bookworms wouldn’t stop anyone from firing at it.

He knew Gul Zamarran wanted him here for his specific skill of finding things no one knew existed until the garesh found them, but Aladar decided to widen the scope of his duty.

He had to teach these scientists how to survive in here, among stars and usually unfriendly aliens.

But for now he had to check a lot of things and he had very little time to do that.



Rayak Nor, the gul’s private quarters




Demok returned home completely exhausted. He felt his eyes burning from staring at the computer monitor for hours and all he wanted was to close them and give himself to peaceful sleep.

The lights were off, which surprised him. Shouldn’t his mother be home by now? Or her work kept her in her office and she was busy catching up too? She shouldn’t overwork herself, she needed to return to her duties on a slow pace.

He noticed her armour hanging in its place. So she was home after all. He approached the closed door to her bedroom. “Mom? You there?” he asked. He received no reply and the door appeared to be locked—normally it would open at his approach, as she never locked it. Maybe she was sleeping and didn’t want to be disturbed; he didn’t want to wake her up, so quietly went to his room.

He replicated himself some light supper but half way through it he decided that he wasn’t hungry, he was sleepy. He recycled the remaining food and headed for bed.



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the gul’s office




Zamarran waited for the connection longer than usually, but he imagined Gul Brenok was a busy man. Finally his comm was answered, but instead of the gul’s face he was looking at his friend’s.

“Tavor, I need to talk to Brenok. Is he available?” he asked.

Glinn Karama shook his head. “No. He’s on the planet. Anything I could help with?

“Well...it’s about this assignment...”

Karama studied Zamarran’s surroundings. “I hear it’s a special ship. The first Cardassian science ship,” he said in a pompous voice and then more seriously, “You’re making history, my friend.

“Well, I don’t know about that. Tavor, my orders say that I take command of this ship permanently.”

What of it?

“What do you mean ‘what of it’? I’m not a material for a commander!”

Karama smiled. “I disagree. What’s more, Gul Brenok disagrees too.

“Did you ask him to do it?”

No, of course not. But I am very happy for you.” The glinn grinned widely.

“Tavor, I’m an engineer, not a gul!”

Right now you are both. Good luck! Is your ship lovely?

“Adequate. Full of science labs. And most of crew are women.”

I promise not to tell your wife.

“Tavor!”

Just kidding! Relax.” An impish grin disappeared from Karama’s face. “Troval, I am absolutely certain that you will do great. As you said, you are an engineer, not a warrior. What a better ship for you? Who would be a better gul for this ship? Some warlord?” He paused. “Think of it as of a huge, separate engineering room and you’ll do fine.

Zamarran couldn’t stop his smile. “Some engineering room.”

And take care of my wife. I hear she’s there too.

“We still don’t have the chief engineer, so Jarol let me borrow her for this mission.”

Sounds like an adven—Sorry, have to go. Duties and all that nonsense.

“Taavooor.” This wasn’t a proper behaviour on duty. Zamarran didn’t know why, but he could clearly see that his friend was in a really good mood. He smiled. “Talk to you soon.”

Will tell your wife you love her if you tell mine the same thing.

The gul laughed. “Deal. I’ll tell her too that I love her.”

Karama realised what Zamarran had said when his hand was just about to touch the disconnection button. Not enough time to stop the motion, but enough for Zamarran to see the glinn’s face expression before the screen went blank. He was sure that Karama did exactly the same thing after singing off as he did—laughed loudly.

He returned to the bridge to see the bridge staff busy with their tasks. Glinn Yassel glanced at him nervously and her eyes returned to her console. He observed her for a moment and then asked to join him in his office.

“It would seem that this is a permanent assignment for me,” he said. He gestured to a chair, inviting her to sit. “Since this is a new ship without any history of command, there is no past command pattern that I could refer to. We will have to work out our own style during this mission.” He sat too. It felt so strange to be on this side of a desk—his desk. “As I understand, this is also your first assignment as a gul’s aide.” She nodded, confirming. “I hope we can quickly learn to co-operate efficiently.” He paused. “Now. I am not in favour of harsh discipline and brutality, but I insist on following the protocol and rules. As I understand, our crew consists mostly of scientists with little to none military background.”

She nodded again, although this time he didn’t seek her confirmation. In her thick South Eheenan accent, she said, “They all graduated from the Military Academy as officers or non-coms, but most of them don’t have much experience. Almost half of them never served on a warship.”

“Glinn Yassel, I know habits are hard to break, but this is not a warship. This is a science ship.”

“Of course.”

Both of us will have to get used to that.” She shifted in her chair. “Any questions?” he asked.

“No, sir.”

“Any problems?”

“No, sir.”

“I want to hear about both as soon as there are any.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Dismissed.”

She left his office and through the glass door he could see that she almost ran to her post.

The first science ship in Cardassian history. And its first mission—to save millions of lives, not to slaughter them. Zamarran was grateful to be a part of it and he hoped he wouldn’t fail. He carried a great responsibility on his shoulders and he knew he had to be very careful what to do with that responsibility. Very careful.



tbc
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Old April 18 2011, 04:54 AM   #177
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

A Cardassian Guard science ship...I never thought I'd live to see the day! Sounds like you have a different relationship in mind between the military and scientists than I have in mind. (Or maybe it's not so different if this is an exception.)

That closed door in Jarol's quarters is worrying me, though. Something bad must be happening in there.
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Old April 18 2011, 05:17 AM   #178
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
A Cardassian Guard science ship...I never thought I'd live to see the day! Sounds like you have a different relationship in mind between the military and scientists than I have in mind. (Or maybe it's not so different if this is an exception.)
I'm not sure what is that relationship in your mind, so I'm not sure how different they are.

In my universe a warship is a warship and its task isn't to study and explore. If there is something to study and explore, a special expedition is organised, but no warship is automatically assigned to it. It can be employed to transport scientists to wherever they need to go to do their study, taking necessary equipment aboard, but generally that is not their task and they are not prepared for a detailed scientific work. There even isn't such thing as a science officer on a warship. Any scientific and studying work falls into engineer's duties. If a specialist is needed, they need to send for one from Cardassia.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
That closed door in Jarol's quarters is worrying me, though. Something bad must be happening in there.
Well, something is happening there.
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Old April 22 2011, 05:56 AM   #179
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 9


Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the training deck



Glinn Torpal, the Marritza’s chief tactician, entered the training deck. Garesh Aladar had asked him for permission to organise additional military exercises for higher ranking gareshes and officers and Torpal had granted him such a permission. He couldn’t help but agree that some members of the crew needed more training. A science ship or not a science ship, this was a military vessel and had to live up to these standards not for Torpal’s personal satisfaction, but for the sake of survival in space.

“Move on, move on!” Aladar yelled, leading a group of soldiers. Torpal at once noticed that the pace of the run was not especially demanding; still, some of the soldiers were clearly exhausted and ran with their mouths open to release some heat. Obviously, Aladar was aware that their physical condition was not the best in the Order and adapted the intensity of the training to their abilities. “Come on, my bookworms!” he shouted. In his hand he held a small clicking device, dofrapot, which helped him in setting an even pace of their jog. “You read books about heroes, now’s your chance to prepare to become ones!” He increased the pace. “Faster, bookworms, faster! Or other bookworms will eat your fop and read your books! Or better eat all your favourite books!”

Torpal did his best not to laugh. He found Aladar’s encouragement amusing but didn’t want to make an impression that he laughed at the trainees. He stood in a corner, trying not to draw unnecessary attention and observed the training.

It was quite unusual for a garesh to train officers of almost all departments. Usually it was a tactician’s job, just as Torpal, to train the troops and keep his own department in shape. No officer would easily accept the necessity of accepting orders from a garesh and certainly not calling them names—even if those were rather loving nicknames than insults. Here, however, in front of his eyes, all military unwritten social rules were violated and no one complained. Aladar had to be aware that he dared to do something that no one—to Torpal’s knowledge—had tried before and the garesh found an approach that rose no protests from the officers, his superiors. It could mean two things: either these scientists didn’t understand the military rules well and didn’t know that he, in fact, was violating them, or he did it with such a skill that they didn’t mind. Or both.

The jog came to an end but if any of the trainees hoped for rest, his or her wish was quickly crushed under Aladar’s boot. Torpal knew that this was merely a warm-up and the real thing didn’t even start. Aladar demonstrated a series of stretches and the training deck filled with gasps, moans and heavy breathing.

“More!” Aladar leaned over one very unhappily looking kara. “You can make your arms longer, can’t you? What if your greatest discovery is within your grasp, but you can’t stretch your arm enough to actually claim it?” The kara started to laugh and Torpal thought that Aladar’s ‘my bookworms’ technique might not be as effective, since there are moments when it’s counterproductive. The garesh smiled slightly—either at his own joke, or to the pretty, laughing young woman—and left her alone. The glinn noticed, though, that Aladar glanced back at her and saw the same thing that didn’t escape his, Torpal’s, attention: she tried again and put much more effort into her exercise than before.

Aladar approached the glinn. “Sir? Orders, sir?”

Torpal shook his head. “No, Garesh Aladar. Just visiting to see how you’re doing.”

“Making sure the officers follow my instructions?”

That was one of the reasons, to be honest. Torpal grinned. “That too. But I can see that I worried unnecessarily. They adore you.”

“They’ll hate me when we finish. And they’ll keep hating me tomorrow, when their muscles refuse to work without pain.”

“Carry on,” Torpal said and headed for the door. He didn’t want Aladar to think that he tried to control the garesh. This man knew very well what he was doing and no control was necessary. He wished he could keep him aboard.



Rayak Nor, the gul’s office




Jarol jumped at the sound of the comm. She absentmindedly looked at the padd that she kept in her hand. She knew she had been staring at it without seeing it for quite some time. It was another of these moments when her thoughts drifted away to dark places of chaos and havoc.

“What is it?” she answered the comm.

Gul, DaiMon Delva is here and he wants to see you,” Borad informed her.

“Let him in.”

The Ferengi entered her office a moment later, all in smiles. His toothy grin faded quite quickly, though. “Oh, my precious Legate, I didn’t interrupt anything, did I?” he asked.

“No, you didn’t.” The fact was that he did and she was grateful for that. “Don’t call me legate.”

“Why not? You’ve been one for such a long time.”

“But I’m not any longer.”

He was silent for a moment and then, without invitation, sat in the guest chair. “Can you make an exception and let me call you a legate? You’re the only one I know and that makes me special. It sounds much more impressive if I tell other Ferengi that I talked to Legate Jarol than to Gul Jarol.”

She started at him blankly. Was it a joke, or was he serious? It didn’t matter. “What is it that you want?” she asked.

“I was thinking about establishing more permanent presence of my business on the station. A shop with luxury goods, perhaps? I have noticed that demand for certain items grows and maybe a shop here, on the station, would make it easier for both you and me. What do you say?”

She didn’t know what to say. She wanted her people to be happy and if they needed some things that weren’t readily available on the station, such a shop could improve morale. But did she want this station to become a big market in space? Wouldn’t Delva draw attention of other merchants and businessmen? It was a military installation after all, not a city. It was populated by soldiers, not families. And what about the shop’s employees safety? Someone could blow it to pieces and kill them. And Delva might be planning something illegal there and use the shop as a cover for his dirty business. Many officers and gareshes could not be able to afford the goods that he would be selling and it could cause their frustration.

Questions chased each other in her mind and she couldn’t even decide which were more important and which could be ignored. And even if she were able to chose which questions’ answers should prevail in her decision, she had no answers at all. Only questions.

“Well?” he asked her.

She looked at him. How long were her thoughts walking in circles over such a trivial matter as a shop? How long did she make him wait for her lack of decision? “Present details of this enterprise to Glinn Borad. I will make a decision when I know them.” She did a lot of that recently—move the moment of making a decision forward in time, push it away and hope that it disappears.

It never did.

“I’ll do that,” he grinned. “I won’t take any more of your time,” he said, raising. He headed for the door but just before it parted he stopped and looked at her. “Is there anything I could offer my sweet Legate that would bring a smile back to her face?” he asked.

“No, Delva. What I need cannot be bought.”

“You would be surprised what you can get if you’re willing to pay the price.” His grin widened.

She ignored him, not knowing what to say. How much for a new life? How much for a second chance? How much for peace of mind? How much for not being born at all?

He left and she was again alone.

Not alone. Her thoughts stayed with her.



Cardassian Union Ship Marritza, the bridge




It wasn’t the first time that Zamarran was sitting in a gul’s chair, but it was the first time that it was his chair and he felt very, very uneasy about it.

What would he do if suddenly someone attacks the Marritza? His very first instinct would be to move away and let the gul to take over the command and fight, but this time he was the gul. It was his job to command and fight.

He bit his lower lip. Gul Brenok made a terrible mistake, assigning him to this vessel and Zamarran had a bad feeling the long-haired gul would learn about it the hard way: by reading a casualty report. Zamarran looked around: his ship was mostly staffed by young and very young crew. Only the chief medic was closing to middle age and the chief tactician was already there. The gul glanced at the Lakarian man, who operated his console, scanning the surroundings in an attempt to find danger and hostile aliens before they find the Marritza. Then his eyes moved to the other side of the bridge, to his aide. She was more of a statistical representative of his crew: half his age and with quite limited experience.

He noticed she wore an additional pocket attached to the holster belt. There was something inside it but from his chair Zamarran couldn’t see what. Not that it mattered that much, she wasn’t in violation of any specific rule.

He rose from his chair and headed for his office. “Torpal, you have the bridge. Yassel, my office, please,” he said loud enough for them to hear him.

She nervously glanced up and followed him.

He went to his desk and sat, while she stopped by the door. He was under impression that she tried to keep safe distance.

“Glinn Yassel, I have a few additional instructions for you,” he said. “I have reports here, and data, and statistics and a lot of other things, but I consider them fairly useless.” A shadow of panic appeared on her face for a moment. “Don’t get me wrong, Glinn, you did a good job collecting them as I am sure you had been ordered, but this is not exactly the information I need. Those are dry facts, prepared by someone—I don’t even know whom. What I need is the real condition of the ship and the crew.

“I would like you to interview all senior staff. Prepare full reports about them, not only a dry service record. Have a conversation with them, not an interrogation. I want to know about their strengths and weaknesses; that way we would be able to assign them to adequate duties and not something that isn’t within the scope of their expertise.” He noticed she reached into her mysterious pocket and took a padd out of there. He continued, “Gil Kapoor will prepare such a report about engineering condition; I would like you, however, to take care of all scientific matters, in cooperation with her, if you’d like.

“I would also like to hear your opinion about creating a new department aboard the ship. A study department of some sort. With a scientist as its head.” She kept tapping at her padd, so he paused for a moment. “Is there a problem, Glinn?” he asked. Was she even listening to him?

She looked at him and hid the padd behind her like a child who tried to hide results of her naughty behaviour. “No, sir.” Her voice was shaking.

“Then what are you doing with this padd?”

“I...” Nothing followed the initial word.

Zamarran sighed. “Sit down, Yassel.” She stiffly went to a chair and sat. “Take a breath and tell me what you were doing.”

She leaned the hands with the padd in them on her thighs and lowered her head. “I was making notes, sir,” she said quietly.

Zamarran was confused. “Notes? What kind of notes?”

“I was writing down your orders. This list, including all details, was getting long and I...”

“And you...” he started to prompt her, but then it dawned on him. “...wouldn’t remember it all,” he finished himself.

She looked at him, her eyes shining with gathering tears. “I’m so sorry, sir. I know this is pathetic and I am sure you could have a better aide than someone with weak memory.” She spoke fast in a nervous voice. “I will resign my commission. I was thinking about it anyway. I’m sure Glinn Torpal would make a great aide and—”

Zamarran raised his hand. “Yassel, stop babbling, please.” I have one babbling officer here and one is more than enough, he thought, thinking of Kapoor. The glinn silenced. “Look, I don’t mind you making notes. Actually, I find it quite responsible of you that you make sure all orders are written somewhere that way or another. You can write them on the bulkhead of your quarters, if it helps you. As long as you follow my instructions, it doesn’t matter if you memorise them or write them on your padd.” She smiled weakly. “Now, about that resigning your commission. Are you sure you want to do it?”

“I am not a material for an aide, sir.”

Her honesty disarmed him. And he felt like they had something in common—he felt a very similar way. “Let’s try this one mission, Yassel. And then we will see how it will go on, all right?” he said softly.

“What if I fail you?”

He smiled slightly. “With that attitude, it is possible. You are here, assigned to me as my aide, aren’t you? You had to deserve it somehow. I think you are underestimating yourself.”

She shook her head. “No, sir. The truth is, I am here because of my name, of my family. I am not a soldier, but it was expected of me to become one. But people are not soap, you cannot shape them!” There was a lot of negative emotions in her words and the tone she spoke them and Zamarran was sure it was more than ‘expected.’ She had been forced to join the Guard. “Sorry, sir, didn’t mean to shout.”

“I’m glad to see there is some fire inside you.” He changed his tone to a serious one. “Yassel, you are on a science ship in command of dozens of scientists. It’s as far from being a soldier and still being in the military as I can imagine. I am an engineer and all I know if designing and fixing things. Let’s leave Torpal soldier things and get to what we know and how to do it well. I read your file: you’re good in organising things, you have good ideas if only allowed to show any initiative. Let me assure you, I want to hear about anything and everything you can think of. Don’t be afraid to come and tell me. I might like it or not, but you wouldn’t know until you tell me.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, can we go on with my instructions?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Is the padd ready?”

She grinned shyly and lowered her eyes. “Yes, sir.”

“What was the last item?”

“A study department, sir.”

“Right. Think about it. I want to hear your opinion and ideas tomorrow afternoon. Then...” he continued and she kept entering everything into her device.

She appeared calmer. Was it because her little secret was out and it wasn’t a problem for him, or the result of this conversation, he didn’t know, but he hoped she would be less nervous from now on.

She returned to the bridge and he accessed her file again. With the new information he had just received from her, her profile delivered completely different impression from the previous time he had read it.

Yassel was from an old, aristocratic family with a long history of military service, just like Zamarran’s own. But it seemed that Yassel herself wasn’t eager to follow the tradition. Unfortunately for her, she was the oldest from all siblings and the only one that became a member of the Cardassian Guard. With all children choosing other careers, someone had to be the one to follow the traditional choice and as the oldest one, she had to face that family duty.

Zamarran respected tradition, Zamarran respected the will of the family, but he believed that sometimes some things went too far and he believed that this was the case. His own marriage had been arranged by his parents and while he got lucky to be chosen for a wonderful woman, whom he truly loved, he would never arrange marriages for his own children. This tradition wasn’t very important and shouldn’t make people unhappy. Traditions were to be enjoyed and cherished, not to torment anyone.

Even in case of the military tradition in a family, one-generation gap in service wouldn’t hurt anyone and one woman would be less miserable in her life. Was her service more important for her father than her happiness? Zamarran would never ever put tradition and customs before people. Traditions were for people, not people for traditions.

Yassel’s file contained a history of an adequate officer. Not exceptional and miracle officer, but someone hard-working. He appreciated that. Miracles were rare, but hard work always bore fruits and he preferred a decent, hard-working officer to hope for miracles.

He closed her file and returned to the bridge.
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Old April 22 2011, 05:56 AM   #180
Gul Re'jal
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Location: Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space station
Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"


Rayak Nor, the gul’s private quarters




Demok turned water off and left the shower booth.

The bathroom was shiny clean and he felt guilty, leaving soapy footprints on the floor. He made a mental note to wipe the floor clean later. He rubbed his head with a towel, making mess of his hair, and looked into the mirror. He grabbed a brush and tried to untangle the black chaos. He swept his hair toward his years, covering them. He wondered how he would look with Uncle Arenn’s haircut. He grinned for a moment—his long hair would drive Colissa mad. Most likely he would have to listen to her speech about an adequate look for an archon. Colissa loved to talk, especially if she believed that her monologues were teaching someone something veeeery useful.

He brushed his teeth and dressed up for the night. He leaned over shower’s drain to remove all shed skin and scales, but his hand stopped midway to the drain.

His mother hated when he was leaving it in the drain, it was making her furious and then she was the one with speeches about private cleanliness and all that stuff.

He barely saw her recently. She didn’t take lunch breaks and kept working in her office all days—even Ronus had asked how she was doing and if she wouldn’t like to chat with him about food or flowers, if she didn’t feel like having another conversation about politics. After returning home Demok was seeing her room locked and he never saw or heard her eating anything. He had checked rations several times and he knew she had replicated something, but he ate more when he was three than what she ate now.

Sometimes he could hear her crying in her room. He tried to talk to her but each time her weeping became muffled. He imagined she pushed her face into a pillow to silence her sobs. His heart was breaking and he had no idea how to help her.

Maybe leaving mess in the bathroom would cause some lively reaction? He wished she woke him up and complained that he could not learn such a simple thing as cleaning the bathroom after himself. He wished to see her angry, to throw thunders with her eyes and frown over him.

He withdrew his hand, leaving all scales in the drain and pulling his face at the disgusting thought of finding it here in the morning. Yuck! No surprise she had tried to so hard to teach him not to do it.

He didn’t clean the floor either. A messy bathroom for a furious morning.

On the way to his room he stopped by hers and listened. He didn’t put his ear to the door—although it was very tempting—as it would be too much of her privacy violation, but he listened.

There was no sound. That meant she cried silently tonight. He had no doubt that she did cry. She did every night, it was certain like the blackness of the night; only intensity of her tears varied.

When he woke up and crawled out of his bed the next morning, he caught her before she left to start her shift. She was just about to leave, but she moved away from the door and approached him.

Bei’asara, Mom,” he said.

She kissed his cheek and then left without a word.

He wondered if she ate anything in the morning. He decided to check when ordering his own breakfast. But first, he needed the bathroom.

The shiny, clean bathroom. It took him a moment to realise that his plan failed miserably. She cleaned after him and didn’t say a word. She wasn’t even angry. She just had made another attempt of ‘I’m fine, Droplet’ before going to work. At least, she hadn’t tried to pretend she still remembered how to smile; her recent attempts were almost scary.

How long would it take? How long could it take?

She could ignore her son, because he was her ‘baby,’ but she couldn’t ignore adults. And there was one—perhaps two—that he could ask to shake her and make her wake from her lethargy.

He wondered...would it be the same if his father lived? Would she be like this now? Would he be able to offer her support that her son couldn’t?



Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the engineering




“Science ship my arse,” Kapoor muttered to herself. “This is a girls’ ship. Cardassian girl power!” She noticed Aladar, who walked toward her. “Finished torturing poor scientists?”

“My bookworms are doing all right, thank you for asking,” he grinned. “By the way, when was the last time you had any training?”

“I’m an engineer, not a soldier.”

“They are scientists and soldiers.”

“Tell Zamarran that and then take him to the training deck.”

“I might.”

One of engineers glanced at them and Kapoor knew why: an officer and a garesh joking amicably? This was something new for this crew.

“Are you threatening me? You’re not Tarub, I’m not scared of you!”

He moved closer to her and looked down with a frown. “You should be, you reach below my shoulder. There is a rule: if you don’t reach a garesh’s shoulder, you shall be very, very, very and I mean very scared of him.”

“Don’t be an ol’rot, be useful,” she said, pushing him away. “Find me glitches.”

“I found one. You’re too short to be an adult. Someone needs to fix this.”

She laughed. “Aladar, I’m serious. Find me glitches. There is no ship that leaves a shipyard without glitches and I want to know about them now, when I have time to fix them and not when I’m under attack and have a choice between sealing a hull breach or ejecting the warp core.”

“We barely left the station and you already foresee our demise.”

“Yeah. Get to work, Garesh.”

“Yes, sir! A panel, sir!”

“Work here, at this station. I have other things to do.” She left and went toward Yassel, who was making some notes on her padd.

“Glinn Yassel, I have the report almost ready, but there are a few things I’d like to additionally check,” Kapoor said.

“Noted,” Yassel nodded her acknowledgement. Then she glanced at Aladar. Kapoor thought that she would ask something, but her eyes returned to her padd.

“Any orders, Glinn?”

“No. You seem to have everything under control.”

“You’ll have the report as soon as it’s ready.”

Yassel nodded again. Kapoor was just about to leave, when the glinn said, “There is one thing, though. We need to assess the crew and choose the chief engineer, who will take over the engineering after this mission. I’d like your help in...interviewing the candidates. I have a few names in mind, but if you would see someone performing exceptionally during this mission, I’d like you to inform me.”

“Naturally.”

“For now, keep observing them. I am sure you know what makes a good engineer, so pay attention to those characteristics.”

“I will.”

Yassel headed for the door but Kapoor couldn’t help but notice that Yassel’s eyes wandered to Aladar more than once before the glinn finally reached the exit. Was she disturbed by the non-com’s presence in the engineering, Kapoor wondered. Or was her, Kapoor’s, relation with the garesh a problem? She knew the distance between officers and troops ‘officers,’ as she liked to call them, was sometimes an abyss in the Cardassian Guard, but she didn’t care about it herself. Aladar was her friend and she was not going to pretend she didn’t like or respect him just because it disturbed some Cardassians.

Aladar, however, seemed to be completely oblivious of the glinn’s interest. He kept tapping at the flat panel of his console, sniffing from time to time and muttering something to himself.



tbc
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