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Old February 21 2011, 02:44 AM   #76
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"

No, it wasn't on purpose. Even she didn't intend to be patronising. This time
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Old February 21 2011, 02:49 AM   #77
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Ahh...I see. The description just made it sound like that expression Dukat would get when he talked about being a "nurturing father" to the Bajoran people (or whatever his words were for it). With the association between Jarol and Dukat, it wasn't hard to make the leap between the two.

And I apologize if your Cardassians would take this as an offensive comment, but the Nokarian eye ridges just made the resemblance stronger!
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Old February 21 2011, 03:25 AM   #78
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

I'm sure Nokarians insist that Dukat was a Lakatian and Lakatians insist that he was a Nokarian

Dorak could have taken her expression just like you did. He has a right to interpret someone else's expressions wrong, he is not a telepath after all. But it wasn't her intention.
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Old February 24 2011, 02:07 PM   #79
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 6


CUW Radalar
Day 4




Glinn Lorrun observed his display with such an intensity that even Gul Toral took notice of it.

“What is it?” he asked, approaching his tactician.

Lorrun shook his head. “I am not sure, sir. I get some strange readings but I can’t make any sense of them.”

The gul looked at his engineer. “Nevir? Can you take a look at it?”

The glinn entered a few commands to display the same data that Lorrun studied and leaned over his console. He frowned and Lorrun knew it wasn’t his incompetence; the readings indeed made no sense.

“Nothing? No theories, not ideas, nothing?” Toral looked from one glinn to another.

Nevir opened his mouth but then shut it and looked at Lorrun. It was Lorrun’s job to interpret these things and the tactician appreciated that the engineer wanted to give him a chance to speak first. Otherwise it would look like Lorrun was incompetent and Nevir had to work for both of them.

Lorrun started. “What we have here is energy readings from different points on the planet. All are located on the bigger continent and all seem to be in places that should have none or faint energy readings.”

“Why?” Toral inquired.

“Because these places are not industrialised in any way. They are forests, deserts and such. No people, no buildings, no infrastructure. Nature only.”

“Is there any possibility that those energy readings are natural in nature?” Toral asked and grinned at his own wording of the question.

“I wouldn’t say so, sir.” Lorrun glanced at Nevir.

“No, sir, I’ve never seen anything like this as a result of a natural phenomenon.” Nevir shook his head, confirming Lorrun’s assessment.

“There is one more thing, gul,” the tactician continued. “This is not based on any specific data but...” He hesitated but Toral gave him an encouraging nod, so he continued, “Based on my own experience and instinct, this looks awfully like weapon energy. Now, I don’t say this is in any way connected with some kind of armoury, but I’ve seen things like this. Each time it had been a power build-up to launch a probe or a missile.”

“So it makes sense after all,” Toral smiled slightly.

“Well, it would if those readings were coming from some kind of infrastructure, but there’s nothing there.” Lorrun shrugged.

“Nevir? Anything to add?” The gul looked to his engineer and Lorrun hoped Nevir wouldn’t just dismiss all he had said with an ingenious theory.

“There could be an explanation why there is no infrastructure, sir.” Nevir shifted in his chair. “It could be concealed. Either underground or by some sort of dampening field.”

“In other words, it wouldn’t be wise to ignore that,” Toral said.

Both glinns nodded.

“We could ask Krause,” Korel suggested, approaching them.

Lorrun thought that it would be a tactical mistake. If the colonists were in any way involved with this, warning them that they had detected their energy readings would have unforeseen consequences. He looked at the gul who seemed to consider that option.

“No,” he decided after a moment, to Lorrun’s relief. “If they plan something, it’s better if they think we have no idea about it. Agreed?” Toral looked at his tactician.

“Yes, sir, absolutely, sir,” Lorrun confirmed with alacrity.

“Shouldn’t we inform Demok of it?” Korel asked.

“We should but how?” Toral looked at him. “I am sure there is no possibility to talk to him without the colonists eavesdropping. I am also sure, as a civilian, he wouldn’t know the ‘flash code.’ We can’t talk to him.”

“Maybe it’s worth to ask? His a soldier’s son, after all. Maybe the legate had taught him the code,” Korel suggested.

“Asking him directly would also notify the colonists that we don’t want them to know what we talk about, that we have secrets. You’ve seen Krause’s attitude. I have no doubts he’d take Demok and Boreep hostage and even kill them to get what he wants. This man has no conscience.” Toral silenced. “But you didn’t say we have to ask him directly, did you?” He smiled and so did Korel. “Yamuc, get me Demok.” Toral looked around. “Who’s most versed in the ‘flash code?’” he asked.

The ‘flash code’ was an old way of voiceless communication. Each word was represented by a number of longer and shorter signals that could be flashes of light, or sounds of a drum, or any other way that would allow to convey long and short signals.

“I am very good at it,” Lorrun said grinning sheepishly.

“Somehow I knew it would be you.” Toral smiled to him. “Come here.” Lorrun realised that the gul directed him to the command chair. “Sit down. Sit, Lorrun, it won’t bite.” Was his nervousness that obvious? He had never sat in a gul’s chair before! “Now, we hail them and you talk to Demok. Pat the code on the armrest.” Toral said.

“Yes, sir. Won’t the sub-archon be surprised seeing me here?”

“He’s a smart lad, he would immediately realise something’s going on.”

“Understood.”

Yamuc turned on the viewscreen and Lorrun saw Demok’s face.

“This is Glinn Lorrun of the Radalar,” the tactician said hoping his voice didn’t shake. “How is the work progressing on the surface?” he asked and then tapped ‘can you understand?’ on the armrest, trying not to do it too fast.

Demok observed him for a moment, glanced at his hand and then back at his face. “We still don’t have anything useful,” he said finally. “Could I talk to Medic Albek?” he asked, surprising Lorrun.

The glinn heard the gul quietly telling someone to get Albek to the bridge, so he said to Demok, “Of course. He’s on his way. We will contact you once he arrives. The Radalar out.”

Yamuc closed the connection and Lorrun let a breath out. He looked at Toral, worried that he didn’t do well, but the gul gazed at him with an amused smile.

“Return to your post, Glinn,” he said and Lorrun, gratefully, went back to his place on the bridge.

A Cardassian entered the bridge and Lorrun couldn’t take his eyes off the newcomer. His hair was...a mess, absolute, endless mess.

“Medic Albek, Sun-Archon Demok wishes to talk to you,” Toral informed the medic. “Yamuc, get him back,” he ordered the communication officer.

And then the strangest thing happened. Demok greeted Albek in some language and they started to talk. A moment later Albek told Yamuc to mute and turned to Toral. “He knows we want to tell him something. Hopefully, they didn’t decode Nokarian yet, so we might communicate this way.”

Nokarian! Lorrun had never heard that language; in fact, he was certain that the language was extinct! No, wait, didn’t Legate Jarol speak it? The last native Nokarian specimen? Wait, didn’t she support and participate in ‘heritage protection’ and ‘save Cardassian cultural diversity’ projects?

“How come didn’t they translate the language?” Lorrun spoke unasked before he realised what he was doing. “I mean...” All eyes turned to him and he silenced.

“Continue.” Toral nodded.

“It shouldn’t be that difficult for a computer to decipher one language, especially if they have access to another language from the same place of origin.”

“We can’t know for sure that they didn’t decipher it yet,” Albek said. “But there is one difficulty for the computer. It would assume we speak the same language and attempt to find patterns on both our speeches. Right?” he shot a glance at Nevir who nodded. “But we don’t. I speak Western Nokarian and he speaks Eastern Nokarian. We can easily understand each other, but some of vocabulary and grammar patterns are different.”

“Enough to confuse the computer for a bit longer,” Nevir muttered.

“Hopefully,” Albek said.

“If not, this may mean death sentence for our people there,” Toral muttered.

“Gul Toral, until we find the cure, they are dead anyway.” Albek’s face expression was serious and sad.

“Proceed.” The gul said but before Demok’s face reappeared on the main screen, something on Lorrun’s display drew his attention to it.

“To the-gods-who-are-not...” he moaned.

“Lorrun?” Toral was so quickly by the tactical console that the glinn thought the gul beamed over.

“Those were definitely energy build-up readings. They are shooting something. Each missile is two meters long, oblong and appears to be empty inside.”

“Who would bother with concealing launching-pads and launching missiles if they are empty?” Tassar at the help muttered.

“Good ques...” Toral started to speak but then his eyes opened and he looked at Albek. “Do you know what I’m thinking?”

Albek frowned and at first Lorrun thought that the medic was angry with the gul but then he understood that he was angry with the idea. The idea that became clear even to the glinn.

“They launch the missiles filled with infected air?” Lorrun whispered.

“That would be my guess,” Albek confirmed. “They want to get the virus to the atmosphere.”

“But why?” Nevir asked no one in particular.

“To kill us all,” Toral whispered.

Lorrun looked up at the gul, who was still standing by the tactical console, and saw that Toral was shaken and rattled. But the moment didn’t last longer than a few seconds. The gul composed himself and moved to his chair.

“Lorrun, order our troops to launch all Hideki fighters and destroy all those missiles with the virus. How many are there?”

The glinn looked at his display. “Seventeen but I detect another build-up of energy. I think they are not finished.”

“Fine. After all missiles are destroyed, annihilate those launch spots. I want no more of these messengers of death in the atmosphere.”

“They aren’t targeted at the atmosphere, sir,” Lorrun said. “Their trajectory suggests that they are to leave the planet and...go to outer space.”

“To lure an innocent Cardassian ship to beam it aboard and open,” Albek muttered.

“No more games,” Toral growled. “No more lies. Yamuc—”

“On screen,” the gil reported and Demok’s—and Krause’s—faces appeared on the viewer.

Gul Toral, do you detect those probes?” Demok asked.

“We do.” The gul’s eyes glued to Krause’s face. “And we know what they are.”

What?” the governor asked. “Our scans show they are empty. Initially it was a planetary defence system, but when the colony landed on Cardassian side of the border, the Cardassians decided to dismantle it. All that is left are empty missiles.

Maybe they were wrong? Maybe they weren’t full of deadly virus? Maybe someone accidentally triggered something? Lorrun was scared. Not very proud of it, being a tactical officer, but he was scared. He knew how to fight a big Gorn, not a tiny virus.

“We’re suspecting they aren’t entirely empty,” Toral informed Krause.

What? Oh, my God! You don’t think someone is shooting the virus at you?

“Actually, we believe that someone is attempting to release the virus at everyone.”

Gul Toral, you must destroy those missiles.” Krause’s voice was pleading. “You cannot allow for this plague to spread.

“I don’t need you to tell me what to do, Krause.” Toral’s tone of voice was hostile but Lorrun knew his gul—Toral only pretended to be unmoved by the hideous idea of whoever was responsible for it.

Toral,” Demok said. “I have started an investigation to find who is guilty of this.” What for? Lorrun wondered. They would all be dead anyway. “We have also organised the evacuation of children, so whenever you are ready to do that—

“Sir.” Lorrun hated to interrupt but he knew it couldn’t wait. “The fighters report all missiles destroyed and three launching spots bombarded but...seven more activated. I detect new energy build-ups, also on the smaller continent.”

“It would appear that they activate them remotely,” Toral thought aloud. Lorrun agreed. He didn’t detect any transporter beams and he doubted anyone was stationed there all that time. “Demok, we will start evacuation as soon as this crisis is over.”

Toral, Gul Brenok said that Ordinance Fifty-Three applies in this case,” the sub-archon said. Lorrun’s heart stopped. He looked at Toral but the gul’s face expression didn’t change. “If there is no other choice—

“Understood,” the gul interrupted.

I’ll continue my investigation. If you could send me all data that you have on those missiles. Maybe there’s something new about them and comparing it with the local data would shed some light and answer a few questions.

Lorrun was already on it and the first batch of data had been sent by the time Toral told him to do it.

“Someone there is insane,” Toral muttered, more to himself than anyone else. “Albek, get back to work and find a cure. Lorrun, keep an eye on the whole planet. We must destroy all launching points, because the alternative is to destroy all life on the planet and I don’t want to murder thousands of civilians. I can’t murder thousands of civilians...” he repeated, whispering. “So you better give me another option!” he shouted and looked around the faces of bridge officers.

Lorrun’s hands started to shake. He clenched them in fists and then relaxed but it didn’t help. He couldn’t refuse an order, could he? Especially not an order issued by Gul Brenok. The glinn saw Toral getting up from his chair and going toward him. The gul stood behind his console.

Quietly, so quietly that Lorrun thought no one else would hear it, Toral said, “If it comes to the worst, I won’t make you do it. I’ll do it myself.”

Lorrun thought he should be relieved hearing this, but he wasn’t. Would it really matter who pressed the button?

“I appreciate that, sir, but it would be my duty,” he replied not believing he was actually saying that.

“No, it’s not, Lorrun.” The glinn worried that his gul doubted his abilities, that his gul thought that he, Lorrun, was weak. “This is no one’s duty. No one should have an obligation of murdering an inhabited planet. But if we have no choice and we have to prevent deaths of millions of people by bringing death to thousands, I will take that responsibility on my shoulders and into my nightmares. Understood?”

“Yes, gul. It will be on your shoulders but no order would prevent it from appearing in my nightmares.”

Toral patted Lorrun’s shoulder. “Carry on, glinn.”

“Thank you, Gul Toral.”

“You’re welcome, Glinn Lorrun.”

Toral returned to his chair and Korel approached him. He said, “Sir, regarding the situation. I have an idea...”
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Old February 24 2011, 02:07 PM   #80
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"


Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
Day 4




Demok looked at Krause intently.

“Do you trust him?” the human asked. “Do you trust that Toral will not do something cruel? That he will save children, as he has promised.”

I want him to date my own mother, of course I trust him, the sub-archon wanted to say, but, naturally, he didn’t. “Gul Toral is not a fool,” he said instead. “And not a heartless monster.”

“He could fool me.”

“I think that’s exactly what he wants to achieve, to fool everyone.” Demok thought of that evening when a very nervous Toral had come to his and his mother’s quarters for dinner—the gul was soft inside but he didn’t want anyone to know about it. Then Demok shook off the thought; it was not the time for this. “Now, I have a question about that planetary defence system.”

“It’s an outdated Federation technology. The whole system is operated from a command centre under this very building.”

“Can we go there now?”

“Of course.” Krause rose and Demok followed him.

They arrived to a huge door in the basement. Krause put his hand to a reader next to the door and then entered a numeric code on a padd. A red light above the door changed its colour to green and the door slowly opened.

“No one has been here since it was locked,” Krause said. “It’s been almost three decades.”

Demok expected the air to be stale and have unpleasant odour but it smelled quite fresh. “Should the consoles be operating?” he asked Krause.

“No. Nothing here should be working. Half of systems had been gutted by Cardassians who had looked for valuable spare parts.”

“Seems like everything was fixed.”

Indeed, consoles flickered with readings. Demok approached the nearest one and looked at the display. He understood nothing. He regretted he had chosen to learn Klingonese and Ferengi, instead of Federation Standard. “What do those things mean? Can you turn it off?” he asked the governor.

“They mean that the system is operating and working this very moment.” Krause’s voice was quiet. He looked at the Cardassian. “Demok, someone has been here and done all that.” He accessed one of consoles. “I can’t shut it down, it asks for identification code and doesn’t accept mine.”

Whoever planned this, they prepared themselves. Demok has a bad feeling about all this. “Can you get any scanner? Maybe some traces of DNA would tell us something?”

“Good thinking. I’ll have someone bring it.”

“No. Go and get it yourself. I don’t want anyone here, I don’t know who is involved and I want to limit access to this room for everyone until I can rule someone out.”

“Does it include me?”

The sub-archon looked the older human in the eyes. “Yes,” he answered simply. “One question. If the door is locked...either someone knew the code and was authorised to enter as his palm scan would be valid, or beamed in. Isn’t this place protected from transporter beams?

“It’s too deep in the ground under trinit. No beam can penetrate trinit; that’s why they had chosen this place to build this room in the first place.”

“I see. So that leaves us with option one.”

“I’m afraid so.” Krause seemed worried. Did he suspect someone? Did he fear that one of his colleagues was involved in this?

“I’ll wait here for you,” the Cardassian said.

He didn’t move until he was sure Krause was gone and then started to inspect the room.



Rayak Nor
Day 4




For some reason she didn’t understand, Legate Jarol was glad to see Gul Toral’s face on her viewscreen. She smiled to him but his face remained serious and grim.

Legate Jarol, you have orbital weapons platforms stored on the station, don’t you?” he asked without any preamble.

“That’s right?” she confirmed, mirroring his serious demeanour.

How many?

She cast a glance at T’Sarik, who worked at the Federation sensor post, uncomfortable with revealing that tactical detail in the presence of the Federation officer.

“Many,” she replied eventually. “Why do you ask?”

He thought for a while, probably wondering why she didn’t give him a straight answer. Then, he said, “I will need to deploy them around Mazita. There must be enough for my plan to be effective.”

“For how long do you need them?”

“As long as it’s necessary.”

“Did you discuss it with Gul Brenok?”

“First I wanted to know if you had the platforms. I am going to talk to him as soon as we’re done.”

“I have them. Enough.” Whatever he planned to do—and she hoped that it wasn’t the most obvious solution—she would give him what he wanted.

“Thank you.” He signed off.

What did he plan to do?

And where was Laran?!



Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
Day 4




Krause returned to the operations room sooner than Demok expected.

“Found anything?” the human asked, seeing the Cardassian crawling on the floor under one of consoles.

“I wish I had an engineer here.” Demok got back on his feet. “I see things but I don’t really understand what I see and, in result, I am unable to tell if this is right, wrong or manipulated in any way.”

“Do you need a padd for notes?”

The sub-archon looked at Krause surprised. “What for?”

“Well...for notes.”

“Why?”

“Will you remember everything?”

“Of course!”

“Ah, the famous Cardassian memory, right? Even if you don’t know what you’re looking at?”

“It doesn’t matter. I commit the image to my memory and it stays there. I don’t understand a beauty of a sunset but I still can memorise it.”

“What an interesting comparison.”

Demok pulled his hand for a tricorder that Krause kept in his hand. “You think Cardassians have no appreciation of beauty?”

“I didn’t think you care for beauty.”

“Our art is unparalleled in the quadrant and—”

“I am sure it is,” Krause interrupted irritated. “I just never saw your art. All I witnessed was the ugliness of your cruelty.”

Demok silenced. He looked at the human with a blank expression, trying not to show his feelings. He was not going to engage in a conversation about Cardassian sins, just as he was not going to reply in the same manner. It was not the time for this and he saw no sense in such a discussion. This man’s attitude was clear from the beginning and even if he managed to work with the sub-archon quite effectively recently, it didn’t mean all his hostility was gone. It was covered with a political skill, undoubtedly for the good of the colony, but it was still there.

“Can I have that tricorder?” he asked instead, as he still stood with extended hand and Krause didn’t seem to notice.

“Yes, of course.” The human handed him the device.

Demok activated it and inspected, wondering if he would be able to use it, not knowing Federation language. Some symbols were known to him, but most of those round characters were gibberish to him. “Ok, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” He returned the tricorder to Krause. “You use it. Scan for DNA. If we’re lucky, we’d find something and have our first suspect.”

“And if we don’t find anything?” the governor asked, waving the device near consoles.

“Then we will start interrogating every single person with medical and engineering skill sufficient to create such a virus.”

The tricorder kept beeping and Demok wondered if it meant something or it was just proof that the device worked correctly.

“I have two distinct DNA patterns,” Krause said, approaching the Cardassian. “Excluding ours, of course. One is human, one is a human-Betazoid hybrid.” The governor frowned.

“What is it?” Demok asked.

“There is only one half-Betazoid in the colony that I know of. And he’s a former Starfleet engineer.” Krause looked at the sub-archon worried.

“Do you have DNA database on this planet?”

“We do. The Cardassians had forced us to adopt that system of identification when they had arrived.”

“I was hoping you would say that,” Demok smiled, ignoring another shadow of hostility in Krause’s voice. The governor might hate the Cardassian way of doing things, but he was just about to see that those things were necessary and could be very useful. “I want names.”



CUW Radalar
Day 4




“I would like to interrogate him personally,” Toral offered. This was a very good news—Demok had found one suspect and everything seemed to prove that the man was deeply involved in the case.

You must be joking!” Krause snorted on the viewscreen. “There is no way I’d give him into your hands!

“The information we need must be extracted,” Toral insisted. He looked at Demok who stood next to the prefect.

Extracted!” Krause threw his hands up in indignation.

“Prefect Krause, you don’t have much of a choice,” the gul said frowning. Talking to this man proved to be very difficult; he didn’t listen to any arguments!

No.” The word was spoken softly but firmly. Toral looked at Sub-Archon Demok and his first instinct was to oppose but he knew he couldn’t. Demok’s wishes were his orders.

“No?” he only asked with disbelief.

That man would tell you anything you’d want to hear only to make you stop hurting him. He would make up any story, he would sign any testimony you’d give him just to stop the torture. He’s in jail without proof of his guilt and that’s bad enough. I won’t let him any more harm.

“He’s got information,” Toral said. “Information that is very important, that could save lives.”

You can’t know that.” Demok looked at the gul. “For all you know he may know nothing about the virus and be responsible only for engineering matters.

“Or he might be the brain behind all this and know everything.”

The young Cardassian looked at the prefect. “What are your procedures in such case? How do you plan to proceed to gather information?

Our investigators are already on it. We will share the results with you.

“And how can we know you’re going to share all information or the truth?” Toral attacked.

This is an internal colony matter.

“No, it isn’t. The colony is a part of the Union.”

Krause sighed. “I knew talking to you, Cardassian, would prove difficult. It’s just impossible to co-operate with you.

Demok squinted at the human. “I’d appreciate if you’d refrain from openly showing your hostility toward us,” he said in a low voice. Toral thought that Demok sounded just like his mother.

I’d appreciate you wouldn’t torture my people!

Didn’t I just say that this wouldn’t happen?

He wants to do it!” Krause pointed at Toral.

And I say he won’t do it. The matter is closed.

The human observed the sub-archon for a moment. Then, he said to Toral, “I will send you the information as soon as we have something.

Toral wanted to comment that but managed to remain silent. He had already expressed his opinion about Krause’s investigators and intentions and saw no reason to remind it anyone. Krause wouldn’t care less while Demok wouldn’t have forgotten. He looked at Demok. “How are you feeling?” he asked softly, too softly, considering the presence of his whole bridge staff here and Krause there.

I’m fine. But I think Boreep is already sick.

Toral closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. He hated losing people.



Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
Day 4



Demok could hear his boots thumping heavily on the floor as he ran. People were moving out of his way, even though he wasn’t shouting at them to move aside. He wondered if the thumping, which for many of them sounded like a Cardassian troop, wasn’t the cause of their clearing his path.

He entered the room of the hospital and looked around. There were three beds in there, all three occupied, and many provisional beds on the floor. He threaded carefully, not wanting to step on someone, and looked around, trying to locate Medic Boreep.

Finally he spotted him and quickly approached. He sat on the floor and took Boreep’s hand in his. “How is he?” he asked a Tellarite nurse who attended to the medic.

“He had collapsed half an hour ago,” she answered. “He regained consciousness about five minutes ago.”

Demok leaned over Boreep, who lay on one of makeshift beds in a corner. “Boreep? Can you hear me?”

The medic opened his eyes, startling Demok: they had a yellowish, sick hue. “How...you...feel?” he rasped, trying to raise his other hand and touch Demok’s face.

“I’m fine, don’t worry about me. I am sure Albek is working on the cure and you’re going to be fine too.”

“Your...mother would tell you...not promise things...can’t keep.”

He was so weak. “Don’t speak, save your strength.” Demok felt tears filling his eyes; he had never seen such suffering so up close, he had never seen anyone so sick, he had never seen anyone...dying.

“Dem...”

“Shhhhh...”

“Check...”

“Shhh... don’t speak. You don’t have to say anything.”

“Check your...telomeres...” Boreep closed his eyes and his hand feel down on his chest.

Demok looked in panic at the nurse.

“He sleeps,” she explained. “He’s very weak. He doesn’t have much time.”

Demok rose to his feet and quickly felt the room. He ran through the corridor, not sure where he was running, until he found a maintenance closet. He pushed the door and entered the tiny room. He slid to the floor, pulled his kneed to his chest and started to cry. He covered his mouth with his hand, muffling his sobs a little, but his chest kept gasping, trying to catch more air through his tightened windpipe.



tbc
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Old February 25 2011, 04:41 AM   #81
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Oh, poor Demok...I think I would've done the same thing as him, and cried. That's horrible to see someone suffer that way. I hope Boreep doesn't die.

As for who did this--I have to say, I actually suspected from the start that you would have it be Federation terrorists. I know you too well.

Krause, though, seems not to be guilty of anything but a nasty attitude.

I am glad Demok stood up to Toral and didn't allow torture. Isn't that against Cardassian law now?

I was glad, at least, to see the decency Toral showed towards Lorrun.
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Old February 25 2011, 04:56 AM   #82
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post

As for who did this--I have to say, I actually suspected from the start that you would have it be Federation terrorists. I know you too well.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I am glad Demok stood up to Toral and didn't allow torture. Isn't that against Cardassian law now?
Interrogations aren't pleasant experience but severe torture is not allowed.
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Old February 28 2011, 03:55 AM   #83
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 7

Rayak Nor
Day 5


Jarol looked at Borad from the top of the stairs to her office. “Come again? A Federation starship?”

“Confirmed. A Federation starship, Excelsior Class.” Borad studied his display, reporting the readings and not raising his head to look at the legate. “If their course doesn’t change, they head straight for us.”

Jarol looked to Ronus and T’Sarik who were both working at the Federation console. “Do you know anything of this?” she asked.

The Trill shook his head. “Negative, Legate. I have not been notified of any visit and I don’t expect any.” He glanced at Borad. “Are you able to tell which ship it is?”

“One moment.” The glinn operated his console. “USS Petrona,” he said after a few seconds.

“Do you know this ship and its captain?” Jarol asked Ronus.

“No,” he shook his head again. T’Sarik didn’t say anything.

“Hail them,” Jarol barked to Borad.

“They tell us to stand by,” came his answer after a few seconds. Then he looked at her but didn’t say anything more.

She felt irritation and impatience. What could a Federation starship want of her station? Such a big one, at that. She couldn’t tell them to go away as this was no one’s territory and their response clearly showed that their destination was the station. Were they damaged? Why would they look for help here? Or did they come to pick up Dorak and his children? She hated being kept in dark.

“They are hailing us now,” Borad reported and the screen below the ceiling activated.

Jarol saw a woman that appeared human but for her unnaturally black eyes. A Betazoid then.

“Legate Jarol in command of Rayak Nor station. What can I do for you, Captain?”

Captain Ram of USS Petrona. I have received a disturbing news and would like to discuss it with you.

“What kind of news?” Jarol suspected a few possibilities but she didn’t expect to hear what the captain told her.

Starfleet Command has been informed of your attempt to commit a genocide on one of your colonies, a former Federation colony. Know this, Legate Jarol, we will not allow it.” Jarol was speechless. “We will enter your territory and defend the colony, if necessary, even if it means violating out non-aggression treaty.

The legate looked at Ronus who appeared as shocked as she was. She wondered if the captain of the starship realised that violating the treaty was as good as declaring war.

“Captain Ram,” Jarol used the opportunity that the Betazoid took a breath and the list of her threats paused for a moment. “I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.”

Don’t you?

Jarol shook her head. “We have a situation on one of colonies, yes, but it’s not under our attack. A plague struck that colony and we assist in finding a cure.”

By deploying and arming orbital weapon platforms?

Jarol furiously spun around and stared at T’Sarik. Ronus, startled, looked at her and then at his officer. The Rigelian’s face was made of stone, there was no emotion on it, almost a Vulcan look.

“Commander, do you know anything about this?” he asked T’Sarik.

Jarol slowly approached the Rigelian and looked expectantly at her; she wanted to hear the answer as well.

“I have notified Starfleet of your actions, yes,” T’Sarik said looking the legate in the eye. “I felt it was my duty to do so.”

Jarol bared her teeth slightly and then returned to where she had been standing a moment ago, at the top of the stairs to her office. She looked at the screen. “Captain Ram, I am not the right person to talk about it. You should contact Gul Brenok.” She hated shifting the responsibility of dealing with this person to Brenok but the truth was that he was the best person to talk to and he would know everything about Toral’s actions. She knew nothing. “Borad.” She called her officer but her eyes stayed on the Betazoid’s face. “Locate the Damar and establish connection between the warship and the good captain here.”

“Yes, Legate,” the glinn dutifully confirmed. “The Damar answers our hail.”

“It was nice talking to you, Captain Ram,” Jarol said and the Federation officer disappeared from her screen.

Ronus walked fast to her. “Is Toral trying to kill everyone on that planet?” he asked horrified.

“I know nothing, Captain,” Jarol replied, but she asked herself the same question. She couldn’t imagine Toral doing something like that but she knew that if the situation demanded it, he would follow orders and do what was necessary. She looked over Ronus’s shoulder at T’Sarik. “About that informing the Federation...” The Trill turned and looked at the Rigelian. Jarol squinted her eyes. “My office, both of you. Now.” She turned and went to her office.

From the corner of her eye she saw that Ronus gestured to motionless T’Sarik to follow Jarol into her room.

Jarol stood behind her desk and looked at both Federation officers. “I want to know how you managed to pass that information to the Federation,” she demanded.

T’Sarik didn’t say anything. Jarol stared at her, barely controlling her anger. She wished she had power to punish the woman for her action.

“I have allowed you an unobstructed contact with the Federation. You can report to your superiors in scheduled times and there was no such contact within the last day. I assume you had used your private connection to report this.” The legate leaned her hands on her desk, bending forward. “I had been ordered to exempt you from recording interstellar communication and I did just that. Captain Ronus has promised me that you wouldn’t abuse that privilege. You made him lose face.” She straightened. “Your privileges are revoked. All your conversations with your husband will be recorded. If I suspect you of another attempt of espionage, I will apply for opening those recordings and if I find anything suspicious, you will be arrested. You will—”

“Legate Jarol,” Ronus interrupted quietly. “If I may...” She nodded, so he continued, “What if I would control her conversations with her husband? I would be personally present during them to make sure she talks about private matters and not about Cardassian secrets.”

“Wouldn’t it be a violation of her privacy?”

“It would be. But what you propose also is.”

“Those recordings wouldn’t be listened to without a good reason. If there would be no such reason, they would remain locked and a secret. No one would know what she talked about to her husband.”

“But they would stay in your archives.”

“How do I know I can trust you?” Jarol eyed him.

He didn’t answer. She knew that he knew he had some of her trust. However, after this incident she wasn’t sure if that trust didn’t diminish. She still didn’t know what to think about it all.

“You are dismissed, Commander,” Ronus said to T’Sarik. He and Jarol watched the woman leaving the legate’s office and then the captain looked at the Cardassian. “I will deal with it.”

“I certainly hope so!”

“Now, about that planet. Why Toral needed those platforms?”

“What is it business of yours?” she asked but the thoughts of possible reasons left her feeling uncomfortable.

“Jarol...” He paused and shook his head. “I don’t believe you would allow this.”

“Ronus, this is not up to me.” She shrugged and sat in her chair. “I don’t even know what is going on. I’m not in command. Whatever Toral needs those platforms for, he has Brenok’s permission to use them.”

“And that’s suppose to calm me down?” The Trill frowned and sat too.

“I don’t know. But I know Brenok for years and he is not a person who would condone a genocide.”

“He is nice and smart but...this feels wrong.”

I know, she thought, I know. “I could ask him about details as a friend but, to be honest, I don’t want to use my friendship for duty matters or to get information that is not for me. This would be wrong too.”

“I can understand that.” He silenced and she thought that he probably thought he was on a station among monsters. She had worked so hard to change the face of Cardassia, she had tried so hard to make things different. During the negotiations with the Federation she had done her best to show them that the Cardassians—the new Cardassians—were not brainless, bloodthirsty bastards any more, that they had morale and heart. And now a friendly Federation captain was just about to witness one of the worst things that one group of people could do to another.

Maybe she could use her influence, maybe she should use her friendship and ask Brenok what was going on and, perhaps, make him change his mind. Toral would have to follow Brenok’s orders.

And where was Laran in all this? Worry about her son returned with double strength.

“I’ll return to my duties,” Ronus said raising.

She only nodded, acknowledging that she heard him, but didn’t say anything.



CUW Radalar
Day 5




Gul Toral entered his office and immediately went to his desk. He activated the oval screen that stood on it. “Gul Brenok,” he greeted his superior officially, as he knew it was an official matter.

I just had an interesting conversation with a Federation captain who threatened me with war if we kill all inhabitants of Mazita colony,” Brenok said.

Toral was surprised. “Federation? War? Kill?”

You heard me right. I have to keep an eye on them now and not allow them enter the Cardassian territory and start a conflict, but this is not what worries me most.”

“How did they know about Mazita?” Toral asked.

That’s precisely what I want to know.” Brenok frowned.

“You think...they know from me?” Toral shouted.

Who did you talk to about your plans?

“No one. Besides, they know shit, not plans.”

You don’t have to tell me that. But I still want to know where’s the leak.”

“Before I had contacted you yesterday, I had made sure that there were platforms on Rayak Nor. I told her nothing. I wouldn’t, not without consulting with you first. I just wanted to make sure there was a reason to have that conversation with you.” Toral was getting nervous. Did he make a mistake? Was it someone on his ship? Was there somewhere a Federation spy?

What exactly did you ask her?

“If she had the platforms. She confirmed but refused to tell me how many. Nothing more.”

Brenok thought for a moment, staring at something below the camera. Then he looked at Toral. “Where’s Demok?

“On the planet.” Toral’s voice was very quiet.

The long-haired gul seemed to be frozen. “Could you repeat that? I think I heard you say he was on the planet.

“That’s what I said.”

Silence. Accompanied by a stone stare. “On the infected planet?

Toral bit his lower lip and didn’t answer. He didn’t need Brenok to tell him how bad it was, he didn’t need Brenok to be angry with him, he was angry enough.

Are you out of your mind!” Brenok attacked. “What were you thinking sending him there?!

“I tried to stop him! But you have told me to listen to his orders and you have told him the same thing!” Toral knew his voice was too loud and too aggressive to use to his superior, but he could not control it. “My hands were tied. By your orders!”

Don’t remind me,” Brenok growled. After a short pause, he added, “She’ll tear me apart.

Toral’s blood boiled. “What did you say?!” he yelled, not really caring that he was just crossing the line of subordination and also of his friendship with Brenok. “That young, wonderful man is going to die and you worry what his mother would do to you?!”

How dare you!” Brenok roared and jumped to his feet. Toral had no doubt that the situation would be much more dangerous for him, if they were in the same room and not talked by the comm line.

Brenok sat down and rubbed his eye ridges with his palms.

“Brenok, I tried to stop him, I really did. But had no option. I wish I disobeyed your orders, I don’t care what you’d do to me. But I can’t turn back time, I can’t undo it.”

That would be all,” the younger Cardassian said and was just about to sign off, but Toral leaned forward, as if he wanted to have a closer contact with the other gul.

“Brenok, don’t you dare to lower the temperature in your quarters. Don’t. You. Dare.” The long-haired Cardassian gave him a blank stare. “Don’t. You. Dare,” Toral repeated, slowly pronouncing each word.

Not breaking the eye contact, Brenok disconnected.

“I wish I could punish myself,” Toral muttered to himself. “Stupidity should be severely punished.”
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Old February 28 2011, 03:56 AM   #84
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"


Rayak Nor
Day 5




Jarol tried to concentrate on work but her mind kept wandering to Laran, to Toral, to Mazita, to Dorak, and she couldn’t believe she had thought that this assignment would be a boring, long way to her retirement. She would give everything for a little bit of ‘boring’ right now.

The door to her office opened and she raised her head to see who her visitor was. Captain Ronus. Just behind his shoulder Jarol saw a face, a face of a young Cardassian woman. The woman’s frame was totally hidden behind Ronus’s body, but it was obvious her curiosity won and she was leaning to a side to peep from behind the Trill into the office.

“Legate Jarol, there is someone who would like to talk to you,” he said.

“Come in,” the legate said, raising from behind her desk. She went to the front of it.

Curiosity on the woman’s face was replaced by a warm smile.

“Legate Jarol, please meet Ms. Dorak,” Ronus introduced her but Jarol had already suspected who this young lady was. Inquisitor Dorak’s daughter had asked if she could have a tour of the station and Jarol had agreed. The inquisitor had demanded that the guide would be one of Starfleet officers and the legate had nothing against that condition; the young woman wouldn’t be allowed into any part of the station that was inaccessible for Starfleeters anyway, so one of them as a guide was as good a choice as any.

“Ms. Dorak,” she nodded toward the young woman.

“Legate,” she mirrored the older woman’s greeting. “I just wanted to thank you for the help. It was very kind of you.”

“It was my responsibility to help,” Jarol replied. She hadn’t expected to hear any thanks.

“Perhaps, but my father didn’t make it easy. You had to convince him to accept that help.” She smiled.

“I am sure your and your brother’s lives were the most important aspects and care for your safety convinced him.” She was certain there was nothing she could have done or said to make Dorak change his mind; his decision was based on something else and half of that ‘something else’ was in her office at this very moment.

“Please, don't be angry with my dad. He is just very scared of people like you, who think they are above the law and don't realise how dangerous it is.”

The words were said with disarming innocence and at first Jarol didn’t fully understand what Dorak had said. Then it sank in and rendered her completely speechless. She glanced at Ronus. The Trill stood there, his face was blank and wore no expression, but his eyes spoke volumes. Jarol’s memory brought all their dinners and their discussions, all his questions. Those had been questions, he had listened to her answers and hadn’t even discussed her arguments that much, but just now she realised that all those questions hadn’t been merely questions. Those questions had said, yes, said, exactly the same thing that Dorak had said a moment ago. He had accused her and watched her reason her innocence. No, not innocence, justification of her actions.

“I am glad that your ship could be repaired,” she said to Dorak. The young Cardassian seemed to be completely unaware that she had just accused the legate of being dangerous individual who thought she didn’t answer to law. The casual way she said it, the natural way she acted... As if she spoke of a family or everyday chores. In addition, she said that so naturally, without any fear of some terrible consequences—didn’t her father teach her that in the past, and in his mind in the present too, such words could cost her her life? She was raised in the Federation and probably thought more like the Federation than a Cardassian—were such things allowed there? Jarol wondered if the words ‘like you, who think they are above the law and don't realise how dangerous it is’ were hers or her father’s. Did it matter? “There is one thing I’d like you to be aware of.” Changing the subject seemed to be the best option; it seemed to be the only option. She wouldn’t know what to answer to that and Dorak didn’t even seem to expect any answer.

“Yes?”

“My engineers have detected that the anomaly, which had damaged your vessel, reappeared several more times in that region of space. It would be advisable to avoid that area in your future travels.”

“I’ll tell my dad.”

Jarol liked it when children talked about their parents ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’ It had that warm, loving ring to it. ‘Mother’ and ‘father’ sounded like they wanted to distance themselves from their parents.

She liked that young lady. She liked her natural demeanour, her warm smile, her shining eyes full of trust.

Ronus said, “I’m sure Legate Jarol is very busy so let’s not take more of her time.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sorry.”

“No need to apologise.” Jarol smiled. “It was nice to meet you,” she added and really meant it.

“I was nice to meet you too,” Dorak answered and she and Ronus left. The Trill shot a short glance at Jarol before the door closed behind him. Jarol knew their next ‘political dinner’ was going to be really interesting.

The legate returned to her seat but didn’t resume her work. She swivelled her chair to face the oval window and looked at the stars.

Is that how they saw her? Uncontrolled force that could destroy everything? Like a sand storm, hanging near Lakat, circling it endlessly and threatening to hit the city—you never knew when and if it would make sharp turn and cover everything with sand and dust, making everyone’s lives miserable for a few days. However, she wasn’t a brainless force of nature. She didn’t want to destroy, she wanted to build. She just wanted to...to...to...do the right thing...what she thought what was the right thing. Wasn’t it just exactly what the girl had told her?—she didn’t realise how dangerous her actions could be, she just wanted to do things her way. She wasn’t always right, she knew that. And her mistakes could cost a lot. The Mar’kuu Group got lucky with how things had worked out after the Shift but what if there weren’t so lucky?

But...but...but...it was fine now, right? They weren’t in power any longer and the new people had been approved by voters, so it was all right now, right? Right?

Right???

She recalled Laran’s face when she had told him the truth about Ahal. He had been shocked. There was no doubt—killing Ahal was a crime, one that was punished by execution. To think of it—her whole life was nothing but a crime. She had defied her superior and refused executing an order. She had arranged an assassination of a legate. She had participated in taking down a government. From a pure perspective of the law she had also conspired against another government and had turned against allied forced in the middle of a battle and the law wouldn’t care that the government had been the Dominion and the allied forced had been the Dominion and the Breen. Law didn’t have sentiments, only rules to follow.

She never had to answer for any of these actions. Inquisitor Dorak was afraid of her because in his eyes she was a criminal at large. In his eyes Cardassia didn’t change because it allowed that criminal to stay free and never even attempted to hold her responsible for anything.

What kind of example was she for her son? What kind of legacy was it?

The door to her office opened again and Borad entered. “Is it a bad moment?” he asked.

Were her disturbing thoughts that obvious on her face. “Not at all,” she said, trying to assume a business expression. “What is it?”

“We have some disturbing readings from long range scanners.” He entered the office and handed her a padd. She was relieved to occupy her thoughts with something else than her past.



Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
Day 5




Engineer Wobar eyed the Cardassian that walked in front of him. He wondered when it would start, when it would really start. The Cardassian wore civilian clothes but that meant nothing. He could have been as skilled in torture as any Cardassian soldier.

Governor Krause and two policemen stood by the door, shadow concealing their faces. Why would Krause allow this Cardassian to interrogate him in the first place?

“I will ask you one more time for revealing names of your co-conspirators,” the Cardassian said. What was his name? Domek? Domok? Sub-something Domok. Sounded almost like ‘subcommander.’ “This would have a significant influence on the final sentence you will face,” the Cardassian continued.

“Even if I knew any names, I would not betray my people.”

“You participated in creation of a virus that kills your people,” the Cardassian replied.

Wobar pursed his lips. Did this scale-y bastard think that he didn’t know that? “It wasn’t supposed to be like that.”

“I am sure it wasn’t. What did you want to achieve by this, anyway?”

“To get rid of your kind.”

“Why? What did Cardassian colonists do to you? They lived on another continent and didn’t even mingle with ‘your kind’ that much.” The Cardassian stood in front of Wobar, facing him and inclined his head to his right.

“But they still could vote. Without their votes we could do something to free ourselves from the Cardassian occupation.”

“Occupation?” Was that Cardassian stupid or what? Why was he so surprised? “You have a human governor, chosen in some kind of elections according to your laws. No Cardassian soldier set foot on this planet for years. Maybe longer than I live. What occupation?”

“We still have to pay you levy. Every year.”

“Everyone does.”

“So you steal our resources as you see fit.”

The Cardassian sighed. “No, this is your contribution to the Cardassian Union. Let me ask you this: do you have rationing here?”

“No.” What was the meaning of this ridiculous question?

“On Cardassia, we do. There are generations of people that never knew unlimited access to food.”

“You deserve that.”

A sigh again. Was it a pity in the Cardassian’s eyes? “I will not discuss history and politics with you. Names.” Wobar pursed his lips again. “Names, or I’ll stop being nice.” The softness of the Cardassian’s voice roughed a little and Wobar could hear something new in there. Resolve. He also noticed that Krause shifted uneasily in his place. So, the mask of a good Cardie drops and the real face starts to come out.

“Out,” the Cardassian said to Krause.

“I won’t leave you alone with him.” Wobar was relieved to hear that.

“Who said I want to stay with him?” the bastard exclaimed. “Out!” he yelled. “Out!” He pushed the governor outside and then looked with a murderous stare at the policemen. They left. Then he looked at his prisoner. “I give you some time to think it over, Wobar. I will be back here tomorrow. Until then, enjoy your seclusion. No water, no food. It’s your time to think.” With that, he left and closed the door behind him, leaving Wobar tied to a chair in a middle of almost empty room.




“Are you crazy?” Krause attacked. “Scheisse, I should have known it, I should have—”

“Shut up!” Demok barked. He didn’t care that Krause was much older. The better he knew that man the less respect he felt for his age. “You two,” he said looking at policemen, “You will stay here to make sure no one enters the room.” They took positions but kept glancing at the governor.

“Demok. You can’t leave the man there for whole night.”

“I don’t intend to. I will return in five hours and bring him water, but he isn’t suppose to know that.”

“And you think he would start talking.” Krause smiled with disdain.

Demok smiled too. Smugly. “I don’t have to torture him to get what I want.”

“New Cardassian methods. You are still barbarians.”

“You have arrested him with little proof. According to Cardassian law, it wouldn’t be sufficient to lock him up. You are more barbaric than me, you put innocent people to jail.”

“He’s not innocent.”

Now you know that. You couldn’t have been sure before. Besides, he isn’t the only case. As far as I know, it is a standard procedure to arrest suspects, according to your law that is a copy of the Federation law. From a suspect to a guilty is a long way. A suspect is not a criminal but still behind bars. I call that an action of barbarians.”

“They are let out if they aren’t guilty,” Krause said.

“And how do you give them back their time spent in jail? How do you clear their name from being arrested?” Demok asked, not really expecting an answer.

“This is necessary. People understand that.”

“Those that were arrested without a reason too? I doubt that.”

“You misunderstand our—”

“I am not here to debate whose system is superior,” Demok interrupted. “I want to find those who created that virus. And I want to know if they have a cure.”

“Considering how much the virus mutated, it would probably work only for the original form.”

Demok nodded. “The form that targeted only Cardassians. Hence, even if they have any cure, they wouldn’t share it.” Krause seemed as worried as Demok was. “I’ll be in my room,” the sub-archon said and headed for the exit. He needed time to think and he needed to talk to Toral.

He knew how interrogations worked, he knew what was necessary, he knew that the ‘necessary’ was sometimes the only option, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to do the necessary. These colonists didn’t know the tricks, so threatening a man by telling him he would be left for whole day without water and food could work. No one on Cardassia would buy it—they would know those were empty threats.

But what if the man would occur strong and not so easily threatened? Would Demok be able to use force? He knew he wouldn’t. It wasn’t even his job to interrogate people! His job was to study their guilt, study proof and declare the most fair verdict. He knew a black eye didn’t appear on an accused’s face out of nowhere, it didn’t come to existence as a result of a gentle conversation, but would he be able to properly extract information? He knew that Toral would and, contrary to what Krause thought, it wouldn’t be torture. It would be rough but not torture. A lot of yelling and probably a bloody nose from pressing Wobar’s face to a padd with images of his victims, but not torture. Maybe a dreadful visit to a hospital, but not physical torture. The point was to send a message that this was not a joke, not to beat a suspect to death. Or to make him sign any lie just to stop the pain. Lies were useless from the law’s point of view—they carried not valuable information. To show him how wrong his actions were by presenting him with proofs and forcing to look if he refused, appalled by his own crime. In addition, to get as far as to be interrogated one had to have some crimes proven. No one was interrogated without a reason.

Of course, mistakes happened. But such a person would receive redress and an official apology from the Supreme Tribunal.

The man in that room had admitted to his crime already. Now they needed information to help his victims. Would it help Demok become ‘rough?’ He doubted. He just didn’t have it in him. He just didn’t.

Did it make him a poor lawyer? Probably.

He hoped Wobar would start talking. He hoped that the awful reputation the Cardassians had in the eyes of colonists would be enough to make the man speak. He hoped that threatening Wobar with torture would suffice, because Wobar would believe it. He hated himself for even considering a lie as an option.

He headed for the room in the governmental building that Krause had invited him to stay during his time on the planet. Demok knew that it could be the last housing of his life, even though he still didn’t feel sick.

He decided to visit Boreep first, so he turned left toward the hospital.



tbc
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Old February 28 2011, 04:59 AM   #85
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

I could be dreadfully wrong--and I hope not--but I think I MIGHT know what Gul Brenok is trying to do here. The stakes are dreadfully, dreadfully high though.

As for T'Sarik, I understand exactly why she did what she did. In her place I probably would have done the same, if I had no other information to go by, OR I did not suspect there was an alternate game plan.

I hope Brenok won't punish himself for what happened to Demok. I really, really don't mean any disrespect for this comparison, but his tendency to do that is almost like when people cut themselves to try to make themselves feel better.

One thing that surprises me with Demok: why can't he understand that these Federation worlds want to leave the Union, since they were forced by both governments to be a part of it in the first place?

As you know already, I think that it's VERY good to see Jarol reflecting on her actions that way.

One other thing from Jarol, that just stood out to me on a re-reading of this section...that little bit about how she likes it when kids call their parents "mom" and "dad." Family is always a good subject for Jarol.
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Old February 28 2011, 05:09 AM   #86
Gul Re'jal
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I could be dreadfully wrong--and I hope not--but I think I MIGHT know what Gul Brenok is trying to do here. The stakes are dreadfully, dreadfully high though.
It's going to be clear in the next chapter. Or one after the next.

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
One other thing from Jarol, that just stood out to me on a re-reading of this section...that little bit about how she likes it when kids call their parents "mom" and "dad." Family is always a good subject for Jarol.
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Old March 2 2011, 05:11 AM   #87
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Chapter 8


CUW Radalar
Day 6



Gul Toral was relieved to hear that Demok was hailing the ship. His joy evaporated as soon as he saw the sub-archon. The young Cardassian’s face had a sick hue of grey and his eyes were red.

“What happened?” he asked. This wasn’t right, not according to the information he had. Were his good news rendered obsolete by another virus mutation?

Toral never married and didn’t have any children, so he could not imagine a full scope of pain a parent would feel after losing a child, but he liked Demok, he admired the young man and he hoped the sub-archon had a bright future before him. All this seemed to be gone. Vaporised. Another senseless death, another wasted talent, another lost chance of having a better, smarter, improved Cardassian. Demok was like a breeze of fresh air for the society. He seemed fragile, delicate, sometimes even weak, but the last few days showed Toral that Demok was all but that. He was strong and had a hidden commanding authority that was obvious even at his young age. He could have never thought that a twenty-four year old child could order him around and he would feel the urge to obey!

Demok rubbed his nose. “Boreep is dead.” His voice was quiet. It seemed like it cost him a lot to say it, to be able to speak at all.

Toral had nothing to say. There were no words that would be suitable. One doesn’t comment someone’s death.

The silence on the bridge was overwhelming. Even the consoles seemed to beep quieter.

“How are you feeling?” Toral asked Demok.

Scared. If you could see how...how he..

“Are you sick? Are you infected?” Toral didn’t want the sub-archon to revisit those images. He could imagine how terrible it was to witness that; he had seen the infected man in the last stage of the disease himself and the image was eternally printed in his memory.

I’m only tired.

“Demok, we have started the evacuation. If the virus hasn’t mutated and doesn’t attack children yet, you will return on the first shuttle that leave. Do you understand me?”

I can’t return, you know that.

“We have tested your telomeres. Boreep saved your life when he had suggested to check your DNA. For the virus, you are still a child. You are not infected. I want you back here. Understood?”

I can’t return. We have an investi—

“Listen to me!” Toral rose from his chair and approached the viewscreen. “I don’t care about their investigation. Let them solve it. You will board the first transportation that is available. If you are not there, I will go to the planet personally and put you into one by force.”

You would become infected.

“I don’t give a damn! If I have to die to save your life, I will!” And he meant every word of it.

But the investigation?

“They want it to be their internal matter, let them.”

Won’t we help them?

“We’re not giving up on them, but we have to work remotely anyway. I don’t see any reason for you to stay there.”

Demok observed him through the comm line for a long moment. “And if you’re wrong, if I am infected?

“Rest assured, we will make sure before letting you our of a quarantine field.”

Toral waited. His heart raced but he knew that whatever Demok’s decision would be, he would be back safely aboard the Radalar. Even if Toral would have to break his nose and knock him out, he would make Demok board a shuttle.

What should I tell Krause?

“Tell him to go to hell. He’s been pain in the neck ridges long enough. But tell him that we’re still working on the cure. Albek had sent data to Cardassia and they work on it there too.”

All right.” Demok nodded to Toral’s great relief.

“I’ll see you aboard,” the gul said and felt a heavy stone falling off his chest.

Demok disconnected.



USS Petrona
Day 6




Captain Ram was irritated but she knew there was very little she could do about the situation. Gul Brenok had told her to stand by and had promised he would explain everything, but she wasn’t sure if waiting was an acceptable option. For all she knew he just wanted to buy himself some time.

She rubbed her nose. Her orders were clear: stop the genocide at all cost. Even if it meant war? The Cardassians had ended their isolation but it didn’t mean they became fond of uninvited guests. Gul Brenok had made it very clear that her ship was not to enter Cardassian territory or consequences would be severe. She appreciated that he didn’t say ‘or I would take it as an act of war;’ it made her hope that he wasn’t any more happy to start a conflict than she was.

There was something different about that particular gul and she didn’t mean his unique hair or half-silver armour. His whole demeanour was calmer, less yelling at his interlocutor. He let her finish her sentences and didn’t flood her with over-posturing, or a patronising tone of voice, or endless speeches.

She wished he would let her read his undoubtedly fascinating, disciplined mind, then she would know for sure if he lied telling her that no genocide was under way, but she wouldn’t dare to ask for it. After spending so many years among non-telepaths she has learnt that they valued privacy of their thoughts and that refusal to be read didn’t automatically mean that a person had anything to hide. They just felt uncomfortable with someone rummaging in their heads. She wished he came with such a suggestion but wouldn’t propose it herself—that would be rude.

She looked at her first officer. “Commander, where is the Damar now?” she asked him.

He checked the readings on his display. “Still in the same sector.” He looked at her. “I think they keep an eye on us.”

“Can we keep our eye on that colony?” Ram turned to look at the science station.

“Negative. It’s too deep in their territory,” came the reply.

“So, we wait,” Ram muttered. “But not for too long. If he plans to do something in the meantime, we still need to be able to stop him.”

The bridge was silent. Too silent.



CUW Radalar
Day 6



Korel made sure the transport of orbital weapon platforms was safely unloaded and then reported that fact to Gul Toral.

“Good,” Toral said. “Take Nevir and reprogram them. In the meantime install two power sources on satellites.”

“Two, sir?” Korel made sure he heard correctly.

“Two. In case one fails,” Toral confirmed.

Nevir left his post—it was immediately taken by another engineer—and approached the gul and his aide. “What kind of programming should we implement?” he asked.

“Standard programming is to attack all non-Cardassian targets. I want it to be modified to attack all unknown targets. Prepare a list of known targets, including two warning beacons—the third one would be placed on the edge of this system, therefore beyond the platforms’ reach—all satellites that orbit the planet and their own power sources. Everything else should be destroyed without warning. Especially empty missiles of Federation design. However, program a code that could disarm them. We might return here with the cure and we wouldn’t want to be shut down by our own quarantine blockade.

“Make sure that the platforms completely cover the planet, leaving no gaps in the net of their sensors. Nothing can get out of there and nothing should get in. In addition, make sure their orbit is high enough not to be seen from the planet.”

“Why?” Nevir asked.

“They are dying there. Do you really think they’d want to see a massive weapon over their heads instead of pretty clouds as one of the last images before their deaths? Just do it!”

“Yes, sir.” Nevir lowered his head, chastised. Korel thought that Toral was probably the only gul in the fleet that would care about such things. It only reminded him for a thousandth time why he liked to serve on this warship under this man.

Toral continued, “Program the warning buoys. Include the information that the planet is infected by a deadly virus, that the virus attacks all species and the mortality rate is one hundred percent. Repeat that last bit of info three times,” he emphasised. He looked at his communication officer. “Yamuc, do you speak Federation Standard?” he asked. It was a standard requirement for a communication officer to speak at least two foreign languages.

“I do, sir.”

“Good.” Toral nodded satisfied. He looked back at Korel. “Record that message also in their language.”

Korel was amused by Yamuc’s shocked and worried look; obviously, the gil didn’t feel comfortable that his voice would be recorded for public broadcast and speaking a foreign language at that.

Toral seemed to think for a while. “Did I forget about something?” he asked.

“I don’t think so, sir.” Korel shook his head. He never knew if Toral asked that question to be covered in case he did forget something, or really expected an answer. The fact was, he never omitted anything in his orders, so the question was pointless anyway.

“Good. Now get to work, please.”

Korel and Nevir left the bridge and headed for cargo bay three where the platforms were stored.
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Old March 2 2011, 05:12 AM   #88
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Aladar knew he could be in trouble for this, but he considered this one mistake much smaller than the previous one. They could hang him for that, but until Demok was back on the station, he would keep an eye on him and not let him risk his life again.

He overrode the door lock and quietly entered. Albek had told him that he had given Demok some strong sleeping pills, because the sub-archon—the boy—was emotionally falling apart. Demok had told Albek that he had stayed with Boreep till the end, that he had watched the man dying for terribly long night hours and that he had hoped that any minute someone would bring the good news about the cure. However, that had not happened and Boreep was gone.

Aladar sat on a chair and listened to a calm and regular breathing coming for a bed by the opposite wall. He didn’t want to disturb Demok, he didn’t want to wake up him—if it was possible at all after all that chemical stuff which Albek had pumped into the young Cardassian—but he couldn’t just stay in his own quarters and wait. He could wait here. He would be quiet. And if Demok needed anything, he would be here to provide it. He had failed in his duty once but he didn’t intend to fail again.



CUW Damar
Day 6




Gul Brenok sat in his chair and waited for Gil Tari to establish connection with the Federation starship that was stationed near the border.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, Captain,” he said as soon as Ram’s face filled his screen.

No problem,” she replied but he was certain she was only polite. “Now, what can you tell me about your colony?

“Mazita is under quarantine. The planet is infected by a deadly virus.” He decided not to share the information that the virus had been created by the colony’s inhabitants, it was not important any longer. “We cannot allow the virus to be spread.”

Why the platforms, then?

He would not tell her that the colonists tried to release the virus to the outer space either. “To make sure no one gets infected and then leaves to spread the disease beyond the planet.”

So, to protect others you would destroy them without warning?” she asked with incredulity.

“No, Captain. We would destroy whoever would ignore the warning buoys and approach Mazita. If that ship would get infected and be allowed to leave, they could spread the virus. This may sound cruel but given the choice, I’d rather see one ship destroyed to protect millions of people.”

She observed him for a moment. “Why do you assume that anyone would ignore the warning?” she asked.

“I don’t.”

You’re not telling me everything, do you

“No, I don’t.”

She smiled. “Thought so.

I hope you appreciate that I don’t feed you with lies, he thought. “Captain Ram,” he said out loud, leaning forward a bit. “You do not need to know all the details. However, I assure you we do not plan to murder those colonists. On the contrary, which brings me to other matters I’d like to discuss.”

I’m listening.

“I will send you all data we have on that virus. Please, take it to your scientists and medics. Maybe they would be able to help with a cure before whole colony dies. They have more experience with humans, Bolians, Vulcans and others than we do. I have also included a list of children that we have retrieved from the colony. Their DNA is on file. If you could check if they have any living relatives in the Federation. They lost adult members of their families, their parents. Maybe there are relatives that could take care of them.”

And if not?

“We will relocate them to other colonies populated by Federation species.” At least they would be among their own, he added in the privacy of his own thoughts. “But I’d prefer option one—they had enough of trauma recently and a loving family, even if unknown to them, would be a better solution than complete strangers on completely unknown world.”

I will take care of it.

“I appreciate that.” He smiled to her and she smiled back to him.

A moment later she said, “I have received the files, Gul Brenok.

“Please, check them if they are not corrupted.”

Negative,” she said after a few seconds. “They are not damaged.

“Good. Any more questions?” He almost said ‘accusations,’ but stopped himself in time. He could see she still had her reservations.

No, Gul Brenok. I appreciate your co-operation. We will keep in touch regarding the families.

“Perfect.”

She sent him one more smile and signed off.

Karama approached Brenok’s chair. “She’s distrustful, she suspects that you lied to her.”

“I don’t blame her, I would be as reserved as she is. She was told we planned to eradicate all life on a whole planet.” Brenok swivelled his chair to look at his aide. “Which reminds me that we have to investigate the matter of a possible spy either aboard the Radalar or Rayak Nor.

“We would need full lists of who was physically present during Toral’s conversation with Jarol on the Radalar bridge and in Rayak Nor command centre and try to check if anyone eavesdropped on their communication.”

“I’ll talk to Jarol first. If any of the Federation officers was present in the command centre during her conversation with Toral, we’d have the first suspect.”

“And if it’s one of them?” Karama asked.

Brenok hoped it weren’t Ronus and Av’Roo. “Then I will politely ask the Federation to recall that officer. I will not be spied by them,” he added in a harsh voice.

“So much about trust,” the glinn muttered.

Brenok shot him a glance. He didn’t like how the situation developed but his patience had its limits. He was willing to co-operate, he was willing to prove that the station’s cause of existence was not aggression toward the Federation or anyone else, however he would not allow to abuse his hospitality. If it would occur to be the truth and it was one of the Federation officers on the station, they would see that they shouldn’t mistake his gentleness with weakness.

Gil Tari turned in his chair to look at Brenok. “Sir, you are being hailed by the Radalar on a private channel,” he reported.

“Is it Sun-Archon Demok?” Brenok asked. The relief he had felt when Toral had told him that the young man would be fine still resonated in his heart. However, right now it was mixed with something else.

“Affirmative,” Tari confirmed.

“My office.” Brenok rose and headed to his private room.

He activated his screen and saw a tired face with bloodshot eyes. “Uncle.”

“Don’t ‘uncle’ me, Laran,” Brenok growled. “What have you been thinking?! How could you go there? Didn’t I say clearly that you were to stay away from that planet? Can you imagine the risk? You could have died! You’re irresponsible and I’d made an inexcusable mistake choosing you for this mission. You clearly are not mature enough for such things!”

Uncle.

“No.” Brenok waved his finger at Demok. “You will listen to what I have to tell you.”

You don’t tell, it’s a rant” The sub-archon’s voice was quiet and resigned. He clearly didn’t intend to argue.

Brenok silenced. Demok didn’t try to explain himself, didn’t try to present his reasoning—it was not like him. He reasoned his little naughty actions since he was six. But now he just sat there quietly and stared before him absentmindedly.

The gul sat. “I was worried about you,” he said calmly. He still was angry but he knew scolding would take him nowhere.

Uncle Arenn, Medic Boreep died on that planet.

“I know. Gul Toral had told me.”

He died because I ordered him to go with me.

What’s with this family?Brenok thought. Is it in Jorals’ blood to blame themselves for things that don’t depend on them? “Laran, it’s not your fault,” he said. “You didn’t kill him.”

If not my order, he would be alive.

“If a Vulcan smiled, he would be a Romulan. Laran, Laran, look at me.” Demok raised his eyes to look at his uncle. “It is not your fault, so you understand? Sometimes, when you’re in command, you have to make some decisions and some people may die in result, but it’s not your fault. It’s how it is.” He didn’t feel any better about Boreep’s death than Demok—it were his orders that had sent the man to the planet-hell.

How do you deal with this?

I cause my shoulder to hurt, he thought. He knew it was wrong, he knew, and each time he promised himself that he wouldn’t do it again...and each next time he did exactly the same thing. “I talk to your mom.”

How does she deal with this?

“She cries.”

Garesh Aladar talks to me.” Brenok knew Aladar had been a good choice to accompany the sub-archon. “He tells me the same thing that you just did.

“Two witnesses that didn’t have any contact. Isn’t that proof enough?”

You wouldn’t make a good archon.”

“But you will.” Brenok was very happy to be able to use future tense. “I’ll see you on the station, all right?”

All right.”

“And I’ll hug you. And then I’ll kill you for scaring me like this.”

Shouldn’t it be just another command decision with an unfortunate result?” Demok grinned slightly. “If I died, I mean.”
“No.”

Why?

“Because for my heart you’re my son. Sem’illiaiji aji, Laran sem.” Brenok said in Cardassian, expressing his love through words that were addressed solely to one’s child. Demok’s eyes shone with different type of tears. “This would make it all but ‘just another.’”

They gazed at each other for a long moment, their eyes saying all that family members should tell each other and then Brenok signed off.

“No doubt,” he muttered to himself, “I will have to listen to your mommy’s rant.”



tbc
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Old March 2 2011, 05:34 AM   #89
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Awwwwwwwwwww, Brenok saying, "I love you, my son." How SWEET! My heart just about melted when I read that line!

I wish I could make Brenok stop hurting himself. I'd sing to him, play music (however badly...maybe enough so that he'd have to laugh), whatever it took. I'd send him all my records of the loudest, most "violent" music I own (and you know just how loud that really is), for when he really needs to vent. I know that helps me sometimes. Other times, I cry, and it helps to do that. And I have no patience with those who say men shouldn't. I would rather a man cry, than damage his health in any way; the body generates tears for a reason.

As for Brenok's plan...what a way to keep people guessing! I didn't think he planned genocide, but I had thought he had a different backup plan in mind from the one he actually came up with.

That was so sad, to see that Boreep died. That's going to haunt Demok for sure. For someone who--according to this virus, is a "child," that's a very heavy and adult burden to bear. (What is the age of majority in Cardassian society? Demok can't really be a child legally, if he's a sub-archon...?)

Captain Ram, and her politeness towards non-telepaths, is very refreshing after Lwaxana Troi's total rudeness. She and my Professor Shalwa would probably get along well--though Shalwa does tend to accidentally eavesdrop (I think she's a pretty powerful telepath), but has a sense of what will and won't bother people to tell them. She doesn't like feeling their discomfort or upset.
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Old March 2 2011, 06:03 AM   #90
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Re: ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Awwwwwwwwwww, Brenok saying, "I love you, my son." How SWEET! My heart just about melted when I read that line!
I thought that since I already have such perfect vocabulary for my Cardassians, why not use it
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I wish I could make Brenok stop hurting himself. I'd sing to him, play music (however badly...maybe enough so that he'd have to laugh), whatever it took. I'd send him all my records of the loudest, most "violent" music I own (and you know just how loud that really is), for when he really needs to vent. I know that helps me sometimes. Other times, I cry, and it helps to do that. And I have no patience with those who say men shouldn't. I would rather a man cry, than damage his health in any way; the body generates tears for a reason.
I'm sure he cries too but sometimes it's not enough for him. Sometimes he feels like he needs to punish himself for something he did (even if he had no influence on a tragic outcome).
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
As for Brenok's plan...what a way to keep people guessing! I didn't think he planned genocide, but I had thought he had a different backup plan in mind from the one he actually came up with.
Actually, this was Korel's plan--the quarantine blockade. I am not sure who came up with an idea of finding the children's families, could have been Brenok.

At least you didn't read through me and didn't know what was to come, for once!
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
That was so sad, to see that Boreep died. That's going to haunt Demok for sure. For someone who--according to this virus, is a "child," that's a very heavy and adult burden to bear. (What is the age of majority in Cardassian society? Demok can't really be a child legally, if he's a sub-archon...?)
I think 20 years old.

I know we have 18 years old Tekeny Ghemor serving in the Guard, but I assume that from 18 a young person can already make some decisions, but they have to be approved by their parents. From 20+ they are considered adults.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Captain Ram, and her politeness towards non-telepaths, is very refreshing after Lwaxana Troi's total rudeness. She and my Professor Shalwa would probably get along well--though Shalwa does tend to accidentally eavesdrop (I think she's a pretty powerful telepath), but has a sense of what will and won't bother people to tell them. She doesn't like feeling their discomfort or upset.
That's exactly what I wanted to achieve--not another Betazoid that would read everyone just because it's natural for her. She respects others' privacy. I'm glad she makes a good impression
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