ST: Shaping a Cardassian - "Strength Without Sacrifice is Useless"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
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    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    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. :p

    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.
     
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
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    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    :p
    Interrogations aren't pleasant experience but severe torture is not allowed.
     
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    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.”
     
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space

    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
     
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    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. ;)
     
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    It's going to be clear in the next chapter. Or one after the next.

    :)
     
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    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.
     
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    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
     
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    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.
     
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I thought that since I already have such perfect vocabulary for my Cardassians, why not use it :)
    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).
    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! ;)
    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.
    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 :)
     
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Awww...what he deserves is hugs.

    What he does scares me not only because it hurts him, but because in real life, the older a person is, the more likely they are to do serious damage to themselves through self-harm.

    If only he could know he had a free hug available every time he felt that way...

    Probably because it wasn't a doomsday scenario. My "talent," just like in real life, only seems to work on painful stuff. :-/

    I see...that's different from my universe. The age of majority is lower in my version of the canon universe, than it is in the SigCat universe.

    I thought it was very nice. I imagine there are still things that reach Captain Ram without her intentionally setting out to find those things out, but I imagine she'd handle it a lot better than Lwaxana. (Or even Deanna, who sometimes copied her mother's judging looks, and could be quite intimidating.)
     
  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I hope with time he'll learn there are other ways to deal with guilt and emotional pain.

    I guess it's unavoidable for a Betazoid to sometimes "hear" something and it would be impossible to completely "turn off" his or her natural ability, but they could handle it with more consideration than Lwaxana who "knew what's on your mind and would let you know what's on hers," as Riker once said.
     
  13. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Sooo I managed to finally catch up with this story. Brenok really has matured a lot...if one can call it that. He is a fine commander. His scene with Jarol, when he ordered her, took my breath away.
    The story is very gripping and especially when Laran was in danger it was truly to feel what Brenok went through. Good Jarol didn´t know it. Though when she will know afterwards she probably will not react well to it anyway.

    To what time did Borad worked for Dukat?

    Looking forward to more chapters! :)

    TerokNor
     
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Ohhhh, my lost reader is found! :D

    I'm glad you think Brenok matured. I hope that, in spite of his young age for this position, he is a good commander.

    I think he worked in the Second Order longer than Gul Dukat, probably through the Dominion War and after. He's more a "military clerk" than a soldier with weapons.

    Thanks for still reading ;)
     
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    See? I TOLD you she was out there! :D
     
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 9


    Rayak Nor
    Day 7



    Zamarran waited for a connection to be established. “My lady,” he said when his wife’s face appeared on the screen.

    You look like hell,” she said.

    “Thank you. You always knew how to make me feel better.” There was no bitterness in his voice; he knew she didn’t mean it in an offensive way.

    So, what made you feel bad?” she asked.

    Did she read his mind? “Nothing,” he lied. He shouldn’t lie to her if she read his mind, should he?

    You always were a bad liar.

    “You keep telling me that.”

    And you keep trying to deceive me.” She smiled.

    “How silly of me.”

    Tell me.

    “I have met Inquisitor Dorak,” he started and her eyes opened wider in an expression of awe. “Or, shall I rather say, I have tried to meet him.”

    And what’s happened?

    “And he yelled at me and treated me like trash.”

    Why?

    “I don’t know why.” Zamarran shrugged. “He was here, on the station, my team was repairing his ship and I decided to pay him a visit. He opened the door, threw insults at me and closed the door. The end of story.”

    His wife didn’t say anything at first. He observed her, her thoughtful face, thinking how time didn’t manage to diminish her beauty even a little bit, even tough it left its marks on her face. She tapped the tip of her ridged nose with her long, graceful finger for a while and then she said, “Do you remember when we harboured those two young dissidents?” He nodded. How could he forget! “After our dinner, when you were in your study with them, we had a visitor. A doorbell. I went to open and saw a man, whom I didn’t know, wearing armour. I was certain he came to arrest us all, that the authorities had learnt somehow that those two people were in our apartment and this man was to take you and me, and possibly our children, to our deaths. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, I just stood there and waited for him to tell me that I would have to go with him. But all he did was giving me a padd and telling me that it was for your review. Then he left.

    “You never told me about it.” He remembered that padd; it had been one of projects that awaited his approval and since his department had been a bit delayed, he had asked to deliver that part of the project to him as soon as it had been ready.

    I didn’t think it was important. And I didn’t want you to worry too.

    He didn’t have to ask why she told him that story now; he knew. She suggested that maybe Dorak misinterpreted Zamarran’s presence at his door and reacted in the only way he knew: attack. Maybe if the engineer wore a civilian tunic, it would have been different, but he didn’t think about it.

    “I’m not good with people, am I?”

    No, you’re not. You’re reserved, stiff and scary. But I still can see through this façade.

    Zamarran recalled the day when they had been introduced to each other by their parents. She had looked intimidated by him and that day he had promised himself that he would do all in his power to make her love him before marrying her. He had courted her for months and had fallen in love with her himself.

    He had not been happy that his parents had decided to be traditional and choose a wife for him, but with time he became grateful—otherwise he would have never met her and he couldn’t imagine not spending his life with her and not growing old by her side.

    “In other words, I shouldn’t have done that,” he muttered.

    You should have done that in civilian clothes.

    “From what I heard, he wasn’t much friendlier to civilians.”

    They work on a military installation, he expects them to think like the military.

    “Not all military is evil...used to be evil,” he corrected himself.

    However, he might not know that.” Did that woman have to be always right?

    “How are things at home?” he asked, changing subject.

    She brightened and started to tell him about their three year old grandson.




    Demok left the shuttle and stood on the Rayak Nor’s deck. The hangar inner door opened and a few Cardassians entered. One immediately charged toward the away team.

    “Brace for impact,” the sub-archon muttered to himself, seeing his mother running to him. He did not move but stretched his arms toward her. He expected her to bump into him and the second she was just about to reach him he thought that the hit of her armour diamond front against his chanth would hurt like hell. He underestimated her: she knew that too, so she abruptly stopped just in front of him and then gently wrapped her arms around him and pressed him to the left side of her armour, where her heart was. “Hi, Mom,” he said quietly.

    “Hi, Droplet,” she whispered into his hear. “If Uncle tries to send you away from me again, kill him.”

    Another wave of guilt washed through him. She must have felt the shift in his posture, as she pulled him away a bit and looked into his eyes. “Uncle Arenn told me what happened.”

    Demok only pressed his lips thin. He noticed that the remaining members of his...team...thinner team... headed for the door and he and his mother were left alone in the big hangar.

    “I didn’t have to take him with me,” he said quietly.

    “Droplet, you couldn’t have known. Once a wise man told me that you shouldn’t blame yourself for crimes committed by others. It would be like letting them commit that crime on you over and over again.”

    “Easy to say.”

    “Yes, easy to say and not so easy to apply to your bleeding heart. I know and he knew that too.”

    “I want to lead the mourning ceremony,” he said. “I want one here, on the station.” He knew for certain that there would be one on Cardassia, where Boreep’s family lived and where an empty urn—as his body couldn’t have been retrieved from the planet, therefore no ashes to fill the last journey vessel—would be placed in a military medics’ mausoleum, but he wanted—he needed—one to take part in, too. He needed to express his appreciation of Boreep’s life and the value of his existence. If not Boreep and his care, Demok would have stayed on that planet, watch everyone die and finally die himself, killed by the virus once he’d reach his adulthood, or after a long life of loneliness...

    “I’ll talk to Uncle Arenn. He planned to lead the ceremony himself but I think he’ll agree for you to have that privilege.”

    She pulled him toward the hangar door, not letting his hand out of hers. He was grateful for that—he needed her touch and her support.




    Captain Ronus waited for the door to open. It happened a short moment after he had chimed. T’Sarik looked at him and then let him in.

    “I’m afraid I don’t bring good news, Commander,” he said without preamble.

    “I still don’t regret it,” she replied.

    “T’Sarik, I understand why you did it. But you made a few mistakes. First of all, you didn’t notify me of your findings. You went behind my back. It’s not personal, T’Sarik, not my ego speaking. However, I am in fairly good relations with Jarol and I could have talked to her. Or try to talk to Brenok. He is a reasonable man. Your action, unfortunately, put to risk our very fragile friendship with the Cardassians. For all we know, Jarol could have expelled all of us from this station and you know how important is our presence here.” Since the conclusion she had drawn was incorrect, it wouldn’t have been necessary to stop the Cardassians from committing a genocide, but merely learning what their true plans had been. A different curse of action, namely Ronus’s attempt to gather information first, could have helped to avoid complicating the relations and planting a seed of distrust.

    “I do. I didn’t want you to be involved. I knew the Cardassians would be furious that we mingle into their affairs and I wanted to take that fury on myself.” She went to a table and picked up a padd. “I have already prepared my resignation. I take full responsibility on myself.”

    “That is very decent of you but you are a little too late. I came with orders from Starfleet Command. You are being recalled. You are not in real trouble, you will be merely reassigned, but the Cardassians must think that we react harshly to your spying on them.”

    “A show, then.”

    “I’m afraid so.”

    “To be honest, I am glad. I never wanted this assignment and never felt comfortable here.” He smiled slightly. It was all too obvious. “I hope you won’t be in trouble with her, with Jarol,” T’Sarik added.

    “I’ll manage. She’s got big teeth and growls loudly but she doesn’t bite.”

    “I’m not so sure of that.”

    “Cardassians like posturing, she is no exception. It’s not malice, they just are like that.”

    “Not all of them.”

    “No, not all.” He was glad that she didn’t put them all into one box marked ‘assholes.’ “All engineers I met here were nice, without exceptions.”

    He wasn’t sure if she joked or was serious. “I’ll leave you to your packing, then. USS Petrona will take you to Starbase 29.”

    He left her quarters, wondering if Starfleet Command would decide to replace her or leave only him and Av’Roo on the station.
     
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Lieutenant Commander Av’Roo, a Skorr female, assisted Medic Albek in his laboratory. She had volunteered to help with the cure for the virus that had attacked Mazita. Virology wasn’t her speciality, but she assumed that anyone with scientific knowledge could be helpful.

    She was studying data on the virus when Sub-Archon Demok entered the laboratory. She noticed he wore an unusual outfit. It was clearly civilian but the charcoal-silver tunic resembled Cardassian military uniform. It had similar cut and shapes, however it reached to the middle of the Cardassian’s thighs. His black trousers were tightly fitted on his legs and he wore silver boots, from which fluttered thin black ribbons.

    Demok stopped in front of Taret and bowed. “Medic Taret, your esteemed presence would honour the mourning ceremony held for Medic Boreep, his life and sacrifice adding to the greatness of the Cardassian Union.”

    Taret rose from his chair and faced Demok. “The honour would be mine.”

    The sub-archon made a gesture that looked like drawing an oval in the air and bowed again. Taret returned to bow. Demok went to Albek. “Medic Albek, your esteemed presence would honour the mourning ceremony held for Medic Boreep, his life and sacrifice adding to the greatness of the Cardassian Union.”

    Just then Av’Roo realised it was some kind of ritual. Undoubtedly, so were the clothes Demok was wearing.

    Albek replied in the same manner as Taret did. Demok headed for the door, but stopped and glanced at the Skorr. He hesitated for a moment and she wished he decided to invite her too. She had met Boreep only once and didn’t know him well, but she considered his death a tragic event. Demok glanced at her hands, in which she held a vile and a scanner, at her face and then headed for her.

    “Commander Av’Roo, the Skorr, your esteemed presence would honour the mourning ceremony held for Medic Boreep, his life and sacrifice adding to the greatness of the Cardassian Union.”

    She stood up, just like the other two medics had done earlier, and said, “The honour would be mine.” She bowed and just then she realised that she should have waited for Demok to make the oval sign and bow first, but he didn’t seem to mind. He made the gesture, bowed, she bowed again and he left.

    “You have just accepted an invitation to a mourning ceremony,” Albek told her.

    “I thought so. It is unusual to invite aliens?” she asked.

    “Very unusual,” Taret said.

    “Why did he do that?”

    Taret stopped working and looked at her. “Because you work to help us find a cure, something that Boreep wanted to do and he sacrificed his life for. You work to add meaning to his life.”

    “That outfit he wears?”

    “It’s a traditional ceremony apparel. There are different kinds but most of them are similar one to another. Colours are different.”

    “It looks very much like your uniforms,” she said.

    “Actually, it’s the other way around,” Albek joined the conversation. “It’s our armours that follow the style of the traditional attire. They weren’t always like today. A few hundred years ago they looked a bit differently; there used to be three layers of protective sheets here.” He pointed to his hips and black, shiny covers on them. “And it sported a short kilt made of strips of leather.”

    Av’Roo’s head bobbed with interest. “Is there any database I could see a drawing or an image.”

    “Sure. Any historical database should offer you a wide range of pictures to study. You should check data from five hundred years ago.”

    “That I will do,” she said and returned to work. A moment later she looked at Albek again. “After work, could I ask you more about this custom? I wouldn’t like to do anything offensive.”

    “Of course.” Although he nodded his head, she knew it was difficult for him. No death was easy to accept.

    “If you’d rather not talk about it—”

    “That’s all right, Commander,” he said. “I will answer your questions. I will also tell you more about Boreep, if you don’t mind.”

    “That would be nice,” she agreed.



    Rayak Nor
    Day 8



    Av’Roo entered a small, dark room and stood by the door, as she had been instructed by Medic Albek. He stood next to her. It took her eyes a while to adjust to the low light level, but when she could see she started to study her surroundings.

    The room was lit only by candles that also emitted a musky, pleasant scent. There were a few people in the room already; they sat on chairs that were arranged in three rows—the rows created three sides of a triangle. Albek had told her that an oval and a triangle were very important shapes for the Cardassian people: an oval represented life, it’s endless sacrifice that changed it over and over again, an oval’s sharper bends showing sharp turns and changes in life when a sacrifice is being made; a triangle represented three most important values in a Cardassian’s life—the family, the sacrifice and the Union.

    Gul Brenok approached them and bowed slightly. “You honour us with your presence,” he said quietly.

    “The honour is ours,” Albek replied.

    Brenok led them to two chairs and they sat. Av’Roo wondered if her presence would be unwelcome but no one seemed to pay any attention to her.

    Albek had told her that, normally, Cardassians were cremated and a small urn with their ashes was placed in a mausoleum. Such a mausoleum, a different for each type of service to the Union—in Boreep’s case it was one for military medical staff—was usually underground in a form of catacombs and on top of it there was a monument, where families could go and pay their respects. Urns were small and not all of ashes was placed there, the rest was usually scattered over a desert or a sea—whichever was closer geographically or to a family’s history, but vessels were always a handwork and often made by family members. Each was different and its decoration was an expression of love for the deceased one. Only important people and big figures were being buried and had their own, separate graves to which their families and others could make pilgrimages.

    Av’Roo knew that the urn would be empty. She also knew that the one that was on Cardassia was also empty. They couldn’t risk retrieving Boreep’s body infected by the virus. She wondered if the actual ashes were important for the Cardassians, or the ceremony was sufficient. She had asked Albek why they had another ceremony on the station, if there was one on Cardassia, and he had told her that the people on the station wanted to pay their respect to Boreep. They needed it.

    All chairs slowly filled and the triangle was closed. Then Demok entered. He seemed to wear the same outfit as when he had been inviting everyone for the ceremony, however on top of it he additionally wore a long, grey cloak with a hood that was now covering his head and hiding his face in a shadow. He went to the front, which was in one of apexes of the triangle and just then Av’Roo saw he cradled something in his hands. It was so small that it was almost completely hidden in his palms.

    He raised his hands and held a kind of small vase on the level of his chest, exactly where the inverted droplet on a Cardassian’s torso was, and the Skorr could take a better look at the object. It was dark red, with patterns apparently hollowed out with a thin chisel and then coloured yellow; or maybe it was coloured red first and then the natural colour of the wood reappeared in the patterns made by the chisel. It was beautiful. Av’Roo was sure it wasn’t replicated, someone had made it according to the tradition.

    Demok started to speak. “Ilor Boreep, you have been taken from us too early.” Av’Roo knew that there was no traditional speech, that whoever led the mourning ceremony, he or she spoke from the heart. Albek had said that no Cardassian was a generic automaton and no pre-written, generic speech should describe their lives. Everyone deserved to be appreciated for what they were. Av’Roo liked that individual approach. Demok continued. “You could have given us so much more, we could have given you so much more. Your readiness to help, to bring relief, to take care of the weakest and to heal are the best attest to your great heart. You thought of others even when your life was in danger, even when you knew you couldn’t help yourself.” His voice shook and he stopped for a moment to compose himself. “We will remember you. I will never forget you. And I will never stop holding your hand.”

    Av’Roo knew from Albek that Demok had been present when Boreep had been dying. She also knew that Boreep made sure the sub-archon’s DNA had been sent to test his immunity to the virus. It was obvious even to her that the young Cardassian was still shaken by the events of the last few days. She hoped he would find peace soon and that this ceremony would help him in that search.

    Demok seemed to be finished. A moment of silence and Gul Brenok went to him, took the urn from his hands and then assumed the same posture. He started to speak—pronouncing the medic’s given name ‘Iloh.’ He said how he valued Boreep’s advices and dedication and then he sang a song. Av’Roo’s universal translator attempted to translate the lyrics to Federation Standard, but she decided to turn it off and not only because the result was gibberish. She wanted to listen to Brenok’s wonderful voice without technology in the way.

    After Brenok, another officer spoke. Av’Roo didn’t know him but from his words she guessed he was Boreep’s close friend.

    Then Demok returned to the ‘front’ for the triangle and took a candle that stood there on a tall chandelier. He blew at the flame but not strong enough to extinguish it. He stood in front of a Cardassian that sat nearest him and the Cardassian blew too, also not putting the small flame away. Demok walked in the inner side of the triangle and the ritual repeated over and over again. Av’Roo feared she should blow too strongly.

    Albek had told her that it represented different events on one’s life that threatened with taking it but were never strong enough to succeed. Accidental blowing the flame off would mean bad luck, and a lot of it, especially for the unfortunate blower.

    When Demok reached her, she turned her head, trying to blow the air out of the side of her beak and aiming at the sub-archon’s hands. With luck, the air movement would move the flame but not extinguish it.

    The flame fluttered and Demok smiled to her. He seemed to appreciate her consideration.

    When he returned to the front, he violently shook the candle and the flame disappeared. It meant that Boreep’s life ended before his time. If he died of old age, Demok would slowly extinguish the flame by squeezing the knot between his fingers.

    She could see that his chest was shaking with silent sobs.

    The ceremony concluded with the urn being placed in a small model of a monument; Av’Roo was sure it represented the mausoleum where the other urn, the one that was on Cardassia, would be placed. She didn’t want to use the word ‘real’ as this urn also was very real to her and certainly to other participants of the ceremony. She hoped she would have a chance to ask who made it.



    Three weeks later


    Jarol left her office and headed home. She could feel the stress of recent days in her tensed shoulders. She had had not idea how terrible those days had been for her emotionally, but now, after it was all over, she could feel the difference.

    Her back hurt and her head throbbed.

    She entered her quarters and immediately knew that something was wrong. She couldn’t put her finger on it but was sure someone was in the quarters.

    A whistling noise, faint at first but slowly growing, drew her attention. Too late she realised what it was.

    The last thing in her mind’s eye were Laran’s and Arenn’s faces. Then, nothingness took over and her body hit the scorched by the explosion bulkhead.


    End of episode 2
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Wow. Amazing!

    I was glad to see that Zamarran's wife was able to explain to him what happened with Dorak, where all of that anger came from. While I still think Dorak was a lot ruder than he needed to be (he could've simply said, "Leave me alone," and let that be the end of it), I hope that now Zamarran will remember that before he judges someone again. Not that he ever seemed to be in the habit of judging people--but we all make mistakes, even the best of us, and it's best that we learn from them.

    I almost cried when I saw Jarol sharing AU Dukat's message with Laran. First to see how she remembered him...and then to see Laran benefit from the time he spent in your universe, too. Perhaps this is one of the ways AU Dukat's prayers were answered. No doubt he would wish none of this had happened--but he would be pleased to know that perhaps he could make a difference for the child (now a grown man) whose name he made sure he wouldn't be made to forget.

    The mourning ceremony is so different from the ones I always pictured in the Sigils universe...very touching. Mine stripped away so, so much, from their ceremonies, for fear of the ceremony looking anything like what the Oralians used to do, that almost all that's left is either a military or state ritual. :(

    As for Jarol...looks like she's in a lot of trouble there!

    (BTW...I notice you have the Cardassian heart located in a different place than I do. But then, that also has to do with the function of the krilătbre-yezul, as it's called in Sigils, which I suspect is quite different from the chanth in yours.)
     
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    So did I writing it. I thought that his words would help her to help Laran and herself. It's "easy" to feel guilty and difficult to understand that you are not, but it's not easy to watch someone you love doing the same.

    Mine didn't go that far. They stripped it of any religious rites or words but didn't go as far as remove all of symbolism (or superstitions--the bad luck part; even if many don't believe in it, they still wouldn't want to blow the flame off).

    Do your Cardassians have their hearts in the middle, under the krilătbre-yezul? I don't remember if it was in any of your stories.

    Chanth is such a vulnerable place that having the heart in the one of two spots without scales would be too risky--it's too easy to punch through (scales offer a bit more resistance) and stab the heart. So it's hidden under thicker muscle+scale covered skin and aorta runs under ridges, which aren't as protruding as those on their faces, but still there is visible bulge under those big, thick scales on their torsos.
     
  20. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Very touching. If any Bajoran or other species could have seen such a ceremony they surly would not have though of Cardassians only as Monsters. Glad Av´Roo was choosen to take part in it.

    TerokNor

    P.S. OF COURSE I am out here and reading! Tsss, just have to catch up. Told you that. :P
     

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