ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :wah: I never wanted for you to drop any material!!
     
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Don't worry about it :) With the "friendly" atmosphere there it's good that no one said what I wanted them to say or punches would meet their targets ;) And it might occur that Jeto his a phaser somewhere (just in case) and... I don't even what to think about it :alienblush:
     
  3. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Okay...only if you're dropping it for a good plot reason. I don't want to affect your writing.
     
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    I had planned it for this dinner, but their discussion went a bit different way. And I decided not to forcefully squeeze it in; your chapter only enforced my impression it's not the time... yet.

    It deals with the incident differently anyway. We will return to Ziyal and Damar too.
     
  5. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Here's only part of the next chapter. I decided to post it, as the other part takes ages to finish (but - hopefully - is going to be posted soon).

    Chapter 5​



    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    24th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar



    Brenok entered his office and looked around. All officers, who had been to the dinner, were present. The Gul went to his chair and sat. “Computer, raise the temperature by three degrees,” he said. He knew they knew why he needed it and saw no reason to hide it, not any more. He looked at Zamarran who stood in front of the row of others. “Proceed,” Brenok said.

    Zamarran nodded and then looked at the gathered Cardassians and the lone human.

    “What had happened on the Federation warship was unacceptable,” he started. “We have lost control and I have to admit I am partly responsible for that.” He paused. “Lieutenant Jeto’s words are unfair and disturbing, but she doesn’t understand how wrong she is. She carries a trauma, probably implanted into her by her mother, and she reacts accordingly. What excuse do you have?” the question was directed to Ma’Kan. And since Zamarran did not continue, it was clear he expected an answer.

    “Glinn, she spoke things... unbelievable things, insulting things and I couldn’t--”

    “Those were only words, Gil!” Zamarran thundered. “Mistaken, twisted, but only words. Your action was inadequate. Thank Glinn Ya’val for his reflexes that stopped your hand or we wouldn’t have this pleasant conversation.”

    Brenok scrutinised Ma’Kan. He already had read Zamarran’s report and knew the details, but decided to leave disciplining the officers to Zamarran who had witnessed whole incident in spite that in fact he was part of it.

    Ma’Kan didn’t answer. She stared at Zamarran, but finally lowered her eyes under his angry gaze. She clenched her teeth and her jaws worked in anger. She cast a glance at Brenok, but reverted her eyes as soon as she realised he was looking at her.

    “As our chief tactician,” Zamarran continued, “you are best qualified to work on this project, however if you cannot, you will be relieved.” Her head popped and she looked at the Glinn.

    “I can.”

    “Can you?”

    “I can, Glinn. I can,” she assured him. “It will not happen again.”

    Zamarran only growled in answer. His eyes went to Karama’s face. The younger Glinn didn’t look away. He clearly didn’t feel guilty of anything. Ya’val stared at the wall in front of him. He was angry. Brenok knew this face expression – Ya’val felt accused of something he didn’t do. He didn’t appreciate to be reprimanded for actions he would repeat if the situation would happen again for he believed he was right. Kapoor stood next to Ya’val, her eyes also fixed on the wall. Brenok couldn’t read her face.

    “This is the first time we have any contact with aliens in almost twenty years,” Zamarran said, pacing in front of the row, his hands clasped behind his back, his eyes travelling from one face to another. “Our task is to work together and find answers to scientific mysteries. We are here not for political debates, historical debates or past crimes debates. We are here to do our jobs. You, we,” he corrected himself, “represent the Cardassian Union. We are faced with someone, who cannot forgive us our sins. We have to suffer her attacks. And we will. And we won’t say anything. For we can be above petty quarrels. We can ignore ugly words,” his eyes went to Ma’Kan’s and then Karama’s face. “If they can’t behave like civilised people, we will and we will show them how to do that. We will be their example. They can watch and learn. If we have to work with Lieutenant Jeto – and she starts again – don’t solve it yourself. Come with it to Gul Brenok, to me or to their Captain. Is that understood?”

    “Yes, Glinn,” their replied in unison.

    Zamarran looked at Brenok. The Gul moved his right shoulder under his armour, trying to relax his muscles and force the pain to lessen, then scratched his chin with his left hand and finally rose. Zamarran moved to join the row of officers and stood by their side, becoming one of them.

    “Gil Ma’Kan,” Brenok started quietly. “Your behaviour was exceptionally outrageous. I cannot allow my officers attack other officers. What have you been thinking?” She opened her mouth, but he raised his right hand to silence her and a sharp pain shot through his shoulder. He winced and her eyes reflected his pain. “Don’t answer. I know that you didn’t think at all!” Last two words were spoken in a hard and firm voice. “I haven’t decided what to do with you yet, but you will not get anywhere close to the Federation crew.” She looked like she wanted to protest, but she glanced at his shoulder and didn’t say anything. It irritated him; he wasn’t a handicap who needed such kind of protection from his crew. “If I hear that you got yourself in trouble, any trouble, with the Federation people, the consequences will be permanent. Is that clear?”

    “Yes, Gul,” she replied, straightening her back.

    “As for everyone else,” Brenok looked at them, “I am disappointed in you. I expected you to be responsible and behave accordingly, but you decided to satisfy your needs for a pathetic squabble. I don’t care if it was them who started. You could have ignored that and show your maturity. But you didn’t. You added oil to that fire and it almost blew in our faces. From now on everyone, who works side by side with their crew, will file detailed reports at the end of the day, describing every event, every move, every discovery, every conversation, everything. If I find something not up to our standards, you will be severely punished. If I learn that you omit unpleasant details to avoid that punishment, your penalty will be so severe that you’d wish for the first one. I will not tolerate such childish behaviour,” Brenok raised his voice and it echoed in his office. “You are senior staff on the flagship of the Cardassian Guard, so behave as such! This is not the Academy! This is not a playground. You represent Cardassia and I don’t like the image you have drawn in the Federation heads!” He tightened his fingers into a fist as pain shot from his elbow to his neck ridge. “Dismissed!” he road not sure if he yelled because of anger or to relieve the tension created by the pain.

    Everyone headed for the door, only Zamarran stayed in the room. Brenok returned to his chair and sat – or rather slumped – in it.

    “You should have intervened as soon as it began,” he said quietly.

    Zamarran approached the desk and stood towering over his Gul. “I know,” he said with pain in his voice and Brenok wasn’t sure if it was a regret that he hadn’t averted the situation or his current worry about his Gul’s suffering. “I am ready to accept my punishment.”

    Brenok looked at him. He studied his aide’s face for a long moment. “I will make that decision later. Dismissed,” he said finally. He has learnt from Legate Jarol, who has learnt from Gul Corak – their former commander executed by the Dominion – that anger is not the best advisor to make decisions. He wanted to cool down first.

    Zamarran didn’t move. “Do you need anything?” he asked. Brenok only shook his head. There was nothing Zamarran could do to relieve his pain. Zamarran nodded once, worry very clear on his face, turned on his heel and left.

    Brenok closed his eyes and moaned quietly.

    He should have gone with them, in spite of his pain he should have. Or maybe not? Maybe he would be additionally irritable because of the pain? Or maybe he would get furious listening to all the nasty things the Federation officers said about Damar? Maybe he would make it worse? He couldn’t know, he wasn’t there and reading a report wasn’t the same as witnessing the event. That’s why he left the first speech to Zamarran.

    A chime to the door interrupted his reverie. He looked up to see Ma’Kan standing outside and waiting to be let in. He muttered “Enter” loud enough for the computer to pick it up and let her in.

    “Sir,” she stood by his desk. He expected her to offer explanations regarding her behaviour, so her words took him by surprise. “I would like to apologise for my behaviour during the dinner. You were absolutely right, I should have shown more maturity than that. I lost my control and there is no excuse for that. I won’t happen again.” She paused. “I would like to ask you to reconsider the decision regarding my involvement in the project, sir. I would really like to participate in it and if you agree you will get nothing else but full professionalism from me.”

    “Sit.”

    She took a chair on the opposite side of the desk.

    “Do you really think she deserved to be hit?” She opened her mouth to speak, but Brenok continued, “I want the truth, Gil. I want to understand why you were driven to such an action.”

    She thought for a moment. “I don’t know, sir. I really don’t know the answer to that. It was that moment, in the heat of all those words. Sir, I graduated from the Academy after the war. Yet she accused me of atrocities done to her people.” Brenok noted she treated Jeto as a Bajoran and that she had called the occupation – which she was calling an ‘annexation’ - ‘atrocities’. “I didn’t rape her mother. Neither did anyone in the room. Why did she accuse Ya’val of lying when he had said he never drank Bajoran wine? She...” she hesitated, “she called Legate Damar a murderer,” she finished whispering. His face remained unchanged. “She called me – us – spoonheads,” Ma’Kan’s eyes opened wider at the memory of the event. “I know my reaction was bad but you are right – I wasn’t thinking. I was reacting. I never fought in any war. I never attacked another world. I never met a Bajoran until I met her. Why am I guilty in her eyes?”

    “Are all Vorta guilty in yours?” Brenok asked quietly. The tactician silenced, obviously surprised by his question. “She seems very young,” he continued. “I don’t think she remembers the occupation of Bajor, but think how it was for her to grow up. She looks Cardassian, she looks so Cardassian that at first I didn’t realise she was a hybrid. I don’t know how much of her hatred is directed at us, our crew, and how much at her own face.”

    “Does it give her any right to insult us all?”

    “No, it doesn’t. I’m not trying to excuse her, Ma’Kan. I’m trying to show you that she is not fully responsible for her behaviour.”

    “You say that we are. We, Cardassians. That soldier who assaulted her mother was responsible. Not you and not me.”

    “But she doesn’t understand the difference,” he replied. “Sometimes it’s not easy to recognise that difference.” He thought about his own experience with the Klingons and the bat’leth that made him practically a handicap, a slave of his own pain. “Do you understand that?”

    “I think so. I’m trying...”

    “Try harder, Ma’Kan. I need you on this project. You have vast knowledge in weaponry and I believe that whatever this vessel out there is, it is some kind of military project. You are the best person to determine many factors related to this ship. I want you to be part of it, but I can’t allow any more incidents.”

    “It won’t happen again, sir.”

    “Even when she calls you a...” it was so hard to say this word, “spoonhead.”

    “Even then, sir.”

    “Even when she says that Legate Damar committed mass murder.”

    “He didn’t, sir.”

    “No, he didn’t. But she might believe he did.”

    “He killed a traitor. Although she seems to think he killed her for being half-Bajoran, not for betraying her own father.”

    Brenok sighed. Jarol has clearly corrupted this woman’s understanding of some matters. Brenok cared for Damar, his relation with the late Legate wasn’t as close as Jarol’s but he also had the right to call him ‘Corat’, however he knew that Damar had a dark side, a very dark side. Jarol might not realise that they shared that side and maybe that was the reason Brenok always stood out of that trio. Part of him wished that Ma’Kan’s fist met its target for Damar was like an older brother to him, but part of him revolted at the thought that Damar chose to shoot someone who posed no threat to Cardassia. Even the fact that Tora’s death removed Gul Dukat from Cardassia’s political scene wasn’t reason good enough to accept it as a necessary evil.

    “Ma’Kan,” he started quietly, trying to ignore needles in his shoulder and elbow, “Legate Damar was a great man, but he was not ideal. Some of his actions were questionable, some of his opinions were questionable and there are some things he had done that no one talks about. Those things are going to be forgotten. I am sure Tret Akleen, Sar Marat or Gul Zager made a lot of mistakes about which we don’t know and will not know. They are buried in our history. And so will this be buried when all people, who knew or remember Damar, die. But make no mistake – this is Cardassian point of view. The Federation will remember him as Gul Dukat’s right hand. They will remember him as someone who fought against them in the Dominion War. The Klingons will remember him as someone who fought them in a stolen Klingon Bird-of-prey.” The same on which Brenok had been attacked, lost his ear, lost his health and almost lost his life. “For them he is not a hero. He is just another Cardassian and not a good one at that.”

    “Sir,” she interrupted him. “I can accept critical words about him from a fellow Cardassian, but I cannot from a non-Cardassian. I do not criticise their heroes, whatever I think about them, because it’s not my place.”

    “I understand that it’s difficult to sit quietly when someone talks badly about your home, but in this case we have to restrain ourselves.”

    “Why?”

    “Because they obviously can’t.”

    “Do we need them? I mean – for this project. Do we need them?”

    “No, we don’t. But Legate Jarol agreed to let them join us and those are our orders.”

    That was sufficient for Ma’Kan; if Jarol wanted to make it happen, she would make it happen. Brenok wondered if Jarol was even aware how much reverence Ma’Kan had for her.

    “Sir, please, let me stay in the team,” Ma’Kan pleaded quietly. “I give you my word I will behave. I will be deaf to any nasty attacks. I will ignore them. I know what I know and it doesn’t matter what they say.”

    “At any sign of misbehaviour I’ll smack you back to the rank of Dja,” he said.

    “Thank you, sir,” she allowed herself a small smile.

    “Dismissed.”

    She rose from her chair and hesitated. It was obvious she wanted to add something, but quickly changed her mind and left the office.

    Brenok closed his eyes, grabbed his elbow and squeezed. It didn’t bring any relief, but for a second took his brain’s attention from the pain to the sensation of pressure. For only a second.
     
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Here I think that Zamarran shows his relative maturity, in that he is able to go back and analyze his actions--or inaction--before Brenok has to TELL him that he screwed up.

    Kapoor was similar in that it was inaction, not action on her part, that did cause things to get worse (though I will say once things got bad, she was part of the solution and not the problem). It's good that she wasn't singled out, though, because I'd bet Brenok realized that her feelings about being the one human in the Guard aren't something she'd want to share publicly. This has probably given her a sense of loneliness and homesickness that, even if she healed from it before, has come right back. But I wonder, if it got painful for her...obviously she could talk to her husband, but if she needed a more experienced officer's perspective, I wonder if she could talk to Gul Brenok? (I know they're not equals, but I would expect that there's a mentoring relationship there.)

    One more thing about Kapoor. I have to think her reports won't look like the others'. I hope she won't be tempted to use that as a loophole for any deliberate forgetting. (Though I wonder if she's had any training to better use a human's natural gifts, even though her brain functions differently than a Cardassian's?)

    The one thing I didn't like was Zamarran's suggestion that Cardassians are civilized and aliens are not. I hope he meant that in the sense of "that particular crew out there is undisciplined and has bad leadership" (which does seem to be the case at this point), not that all Federation people are those things. That's an example of the kind of thing I think would be bothering Kapoor right about now. She has her own choices and behavior to be uncomfortable with...that wouldn't have made it any better.

    Just question...when did Brenok meet Jeto and see her features? During his private conversation with Ma'Kan, it sounds as though he did. Was he sent a picture?

    As for Brenok himself...it seems like his pain has gotten worse over the years. I wish I could help him, but I'm sure a human woman's touch would be the most awkward thing possible for him! :cardie: (I also wish I could lend him a certain Cardassian neurologist from the Sherouk...)
     
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, he meant that particular crew in the light of this particular event. Not general.
    He saw her the first time he had beamed to the Karamazov with Zamarran and Ya'val. Th'Arshar took the Cardassians to his ready room, where they met rest of the "team", including Jeto (Chapter 3). That's why he suffers now - because he spent that time on the Fed ship in "cold".
    Normally he doesn't have to suffer that badly, but recently he spent a lot of time on the Fed colony, which was cold for his standards and now on the Fed ship when they first visited. That's why he didn't go to the dinner - he knew it would get even worse and it was bad already.
     
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    OK, good.

    I still wonder if that remark might make Kapoor feel bad, though. If she did, would she ask Brenok what was meant? Respectfully, of course.

    Oops! I totally forgot about that!

    Awwww. :( Maybe a gentle hug would make it a little better? Not a tight or embarrassing one, but still...
     
  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    I am not sure she feels like it was about "her", like it included her in the "Federation" types that cannot behave. She is here, among Cardassians and they don't treat her like an outsider, a Fed, who lost her way and got here by accident. For Zamarran she is a Cardassian, she knows he didn't mean her. And what she thinks about it... that's one of reasons why I'm stuck with his chapter :(

    You may have noticed that his crew is quite protective of him when he suffers. It irritates him, so he's rather be treated normally, instead of being "cheered up" or "cared about". There's only one person, who could help him, and she's not there, so he doesn't want anyone to make fuss of it.
     
  10. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Embarrassed, and like they think she came from a bad place (even though she herself is one of them)? :(

    Also...there is a such thing as "reverse culture shock."

    Well...I'm not sure if it would make him feel better or worse to let him know that it's because he's not the only person on the Roumar who has a human who's attracted to him, and will accept any "excuse"... ;)
     
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    I think I would share this one with her :cardie:

    He would go :eek::alienblush::cardie::vulcan:.....................:biggrin:
     
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Glad to know it would end with :D .
     
  13. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73687.8
    8th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar





    Lieutenant Jeto stood in front of th’Arshar’s desk and stared blankly above his head. He observed her, his antennae rolled forward and unmoving.

    “You had promised me you could deal with them,” he said finally.

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Was their presence enough? They didn’t do anything threatening, they didn’t treat you any differently. They didn’t ask you any annoying questions. They didn’t ask you any questions at all! So tell me... Why?”

    “I don’t know, sir.”

    “That’s not good enough!” his voice raised as he rose from his chair.

    “I know, sir. I am sorry, sir.” Finally, she looked at him. Her eyes expressed sadness. Did she really understand how wrong her behaviour was?

    He went around his desk and stood next to her, she followed him with her eyes.

    “Lieutenant, your work on this project will be limited to shipboard activities. You will have no direct contact with the Cardassian crew. I still need your expertise, but you will work only with our crew and the data they would deliver. Is that understood?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “I will also make an appropriate note in your profile. Additionally you will increase number of counselling sessions. These issues cannot remain unaddressed.” She blinked at him with anger, but didn’t say anything. He knew she probably had enough of counselors and sessions of all types, but he believed she had to learn to deal with her problem or it would burn her from inside and destroy her in result. He didn’t want that. “Dismissed.”

    She left his ready room and he sighed heavily. He was lenient, too lenient, he knew, but he couldn’t bring himself to yell at the girl, who wasn’t completely guilty of her behaviour.

    But there was someone, who added oil to the fire and who did control himself fully. “Th’Arshar to Ha’varra, please report to my ready room.”

    Ha’varra must have expected to be called in and waited on the bridge, as he appeared very quickly.

    “Sir?”

    “Sit down, Counselor,” the Andorian returned to his chair and slowly sat. “I had a talk with Lieutenant Jeto and I think she needs more help regarding this incident.” Ha’varra only nodded. “Her behaviour proves she can’t work with the Cardassians. I also think that the incident itself left some mark and she needs to deal with that too.”

    “I agree.”

    “I’m glad you do. Now, what do you have to say to me?” The Counselor stared at his Captain blankly. “Your behaviour left a lot to be desired, Counselor. You asked questions which were clearly making the situation worse and in spite of heated atmosphere you kept asking more.”

    “Those were valid questions, sir.”

    “No. Not in this place and not at this time. I am not a fan of the Cardassians, but I would not confront them about their nasty past, or nasty present, or nasty anything. Especially since these people didn’t seem nasty to me at all. I don’t agree with what they’ve said. But we haven’t met tonight for political debates. We have met to know each other better in the light of our scientific co-operation. They didn’t have to agree to our participation in this project, but they did. Let’s not ruin it. They still didn’t ask us to leave, so I hope this unfortunate dinner haven’t ruined this chance, but I am sure they don’t have enough patience to let it go again.”

    “Yes, sir,” Ha’varra muttered.

    “Good. Now. You will take care of Jeto’s mental state. You won’t have any direct contact with the Cardassians either, especially since it’s not necessary. Keep an eye on all crew members, who might have hard time to deal with their presence and working with them. I will not tolerate any more incidents.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    Th’Arshar felt like an idiot, because he also was the cause of the incident himself and now he was rebuking someone else and there was no one to rebuke him.

    “Dismissed.”

    He waited for Ha’varra to leave and then called Av’Roo.

    “Lieutenant,” he pointed to a chair and she sat. “How would you describe today’s dinner?” It was hard for him to read her face, but since she didn’t reply at once he assumed she hesitated. “Be frank, Lieutenant.”

    “It was a disaster, sir,” she said.

    “How do you feel about the Cardassians?”

    “The Cardassians in general or these Cardassians?”

    “These and in general.”

    “These seem reasonable, unless pushed and accused. I think their reaction was defensive, they felt accused of things by us.”

    “You don’t want to tell me they are innocent, do you?” he grinned.

    “And what are they guilty of, sir?” she asked, looking at him with her dark purple eyes.

    He opened his mouth and then closed it without a word.

    “My point exactly, sir. Everyone at the table assumed they are guilty of something, because they are Cardassians. Surely each of them had to commit something terrible, no?” She paused for a moment. “I have checked their names against our database. I haven’t found much, but there are a few interesting things. Glinn Zamarran used to work at the Cardassian Inventory Bureau for years until he was moved to an active duty aboard warship Roumar when the Klingons attacked Cardassia. I didn’t find anything on Ma’Kan, or Ya’val, but I found some information about Gul Karama. He served on Bajor and was a real bastard. This Karama has lower rank and is too young, so I suppose he is either family or this is just surname coincidence, if it’s possible on Cardassia. That way or another I wouldn’t hold him guilty of atrocities committed by someone else, even a member of his family, when he himself was a boy at that time. I also checked that Kapoor. She used to be a Starfleet Lieutenant and was sent to Cardassia as an exchange officer along with another Lieutenant, Maeva Ullmann. Ullmann had returned shortly after, with a report full of Cardassian crimes, but Kapoor stayed there and in spite of her parents’ attempts we couldn’t get her back, especially after the Cardassians isolated themselves from the rest of the Alpha Quadrant. Her parents claimed she was held prisoner by some Cardassian monster, but to me it seems like she made a conscious choice. She serves with them, lives with them, she even married one of them.”

    “She seemed to even think like them,” th’Arshar muttered.

    “My point is, sir, they are normal people from a foreign geopolitical structure. It’s not our place to judge them and accuse them of anything. I talked to Karama and Kapoor during the dinner. They seemed nice, polite and friendly. They asked me a lot of questions about my people. They answered my questions about theirs. They have told me they have two wonderful children and that she tries to learn to cook Cardassian food for years and the results are still very poor.” Av’Roo’s flexible beak changed its shape as she grinned. “This was one really nice conversation until Jeto called them ‘spoonheads’ and their attitude changed completely. And I don’t blame them.”

    Th’Arshar observed the Skorr as she spoke. He had noticed she didn’t have any particular problems with the Cardassians, he had to admire her data collecting approach and checking on their guests and he thought she has just given him a speech which he should have given Jeto and Ha’varra.

    “Lieutenant,” he started. “I want you to be the head of the science team. You will be responsible for most of direct contact with the Cardassians as well as most of our work. For your information, Lieutenant Jeto is limited to the Karamazov crew only, so she won’t be able to accompany you in case of additional data collection events.”

    “I understand.”

    “I would also like you to keep an eye on your team members. If there is any risk that someone might have problems with the Cardassians, remove them from the team.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Questions?” She shook her head. “Dismissed.”
     
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    24th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar




    Glinn Karama freed his body from the armour and sat on a sofa with a heavy sigh. He was frustrated. He had just been scolded for a mild reaction to a heavy slur. All he did was to point out that Jeto had a spoon on her forehead too; he didn’t call her a ‘broken nose’ or a ‘superstitious scum’, or anything else, and his range of insults for Bajorans was quite wide, thanks to his father, so he had a handsome choice of phrases. He chose to use none. He just noted that she insulted also herself. But Zamarran wasn’t impressed.

    He felt a soft hand below his chin. His wife stood behind him, leaned over and kissed the top of his head. Then she went around the sofa and sat next to him, tugging one of her legs under her. She too took off her armour.

    “Lek for your thoughts,” she said.

    Karama just shook his head. He didn’t really want to talk about it.

    “Some fish juice?” she asked. He shook his head again. She observed him for a while and then said quietly, “I’m sorry for all this.”

    “What?” he looked shocked. “Why do you apologise? What do you apologise for?”

    “I don’t know. But I feel like... I feel ashamed by their behaviour.”

    Dayita,” he addressed her using her native language – Bengali - word for ‘beloved, wife’, as he usually did when they were alone, grabbed her hand and squeezed. “You shouldn’t feel bad about their behaviour. You didn’t ask them to behave like this.”

    “But--”

    “No, no ‘buts’.”

    She didn’t argue. She leaned back on the sofa and leaned her head on the side of his arm. “Do you think we can work with them?” she asked quietly.

    Karama felt a ping in his heart. He loved his wife madly, he appreciated the sacrifice and the choice she had made to stay with him in the Union, but he never wanted her to forget who she was and where she came from. He never expected her to give up who she was and transform into a Cardassian. He wondered if after twenty years of living in a foreign empire he would talk about the Cardassians ‘they’.

    Or maybe she just meant ‘they’ as ‘the other crew’.

    “I don’t know,” he replied. “I really don’t know.”

    She took his hand and played with his fingers. “At first...” she started, sighed and went on,” at first I was so happy. I would see some Federation crew, maybe get some news from my old home. I know the Information Bureau gathers information and informs us, but...”

    “But it’s not the same as talking to people.”

    “Right. So I wanted to meet them, talk to them, gossip a little. Bring old jokes. But they were so... cold.” She sat and looked in his face. “I wonder if the Federation is always that cold to others. Or only to the Cardassians. I never had that impression when I had been one of them. But it felt so strange to be on the other side, on the receiving side.” She silenced for a moment. “I am not sure I like what I’ve seen today,” she admitted, tears filling her eyes. “I was raised in a place where prejudice and injustice are supposed to be eliminated from people’s hearts. And maybe they are, but only for other members of the Federation. It doesn’t apply to anyone else. That Jeto... the way she was looking at me, the way she was looking at you!” She moved closer to him and nestled her head on his shoulder. He hugged her, leaning his chin on the top of her head.

    “I feared it would be difficult for you,” he said softly. “I feared they would treat you badly, because you’d chosen to live with us. I don’t care what they think of me. It doesn’t matter if I did anything or not, they have their opinions anyway. But you don’t deserve to be accused of anything. And you shouldn’t face a choice between them or us.”

    “I’ve made that choice.”

    “Yes. But I don’t want you to feel like you have to prove your loyalty to me, us or them. And sometimes you would have to make the same choice over and over again. At that dinner... they expected you to be on their side. You tried so hard to stay on ours or at least be neutral.”

    “And I failed.”

    “I don’t think there was a right thing you could have said. Someone still would be unhappy.”

    “The Federation Captain can be unhappy all he wants.”

    He knew what she meant. She would go against her own opinion not to anger Zamarran or Brenok. She had to serve on this ship and expressing unwelcome point of view would have to have some consequences.

    “What do you think about Legate Damar?” he asked.

    “I don’t know what to think,” she said. “I know how the Cardassians see him. How important he is for you. I still hear people saying ‘what Damar would think? What Damar would do?’ when they face a tough choice. But I also remember how it was during the war. He led your people to battle to kill my people. He was ruthless and cruel. If not the Breen he could not have gone to the other side. The Federation doesn’t remember him as a hero. He did the right thing in the end, but before that end he was a ‘bad guy’ for us and for many people still is. You had a proof during that darn dinner tonight.”

    “I asked what you think, not what the Federation thinks.”

    She silenced. “I don’t know what I think,” she said finally. He growled. “Honestly, I don’t. I know that if he wouldn’t make you switch sides the allied forces would be sooner or later doomed. But does that make everything else right? No, I don’t think so.”

    Karama didn’t say anything. He didn’t push, he just accepted her limited answer, even if he wasn’t satisfied with it. He wondered if she never thought about it so she didn’t have an opinion, or just didn’t want to tell him. He knew that she knew that she could tell him honestly. They had had enough of rocky conversations to learn how to deal with their differences, so they could talk openly now.

    “I’ll have that fish juice,” he said. “Could you please bring me some?” She got up and went to the replicator. “Are you in the team tomorrow?” he asked.

    “Yes. I got the information earlier today,” he returned with two mugs and handed him one with fish juice. He smelled cocoa from hers – he never developed taste for it, but he enjoyed the odour. “Glinn Ya’val, Gil Ma’Kan, Glen Dole and I beam to the vessel. It’s going to be the first time for me to wear a Cardassian EVA suit.”

    “Maybe you should ask the Feddies to lend you one of theirs?” he smiled.

    “I survived wearing the armour for fifteen years, I can survive an EVA suit for a few hours.”

    “Be careful,” he said softly – not meaning EVA suit.

    “I will be,” she moved her mug closer to his nose to let him sniff and then sipped on it.

    He observed her, noticing a few silver hairs among her black locks and thought that she looked so fragile.



    tbc
     
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Good...at least th'Arshar is starting to recognize that like Zamarran, his lack of intervention contributed to the problem. That said, I don't think he's very comfortable with the idea of working with the Cardassians.

    As for Jeto...I have a hard time agreeing--as tough as her situation is--that she is "not fully responsible" for her behavior. I wonder if maybe what she needs is to appreciate her responsibility for HER actions, instead of a Cardassian soldier's responsibility for HIS actions. I'm glad th'Arshar decided to remove her from the project--and I hope he won't reinstate her. Sometimes facing permanent consequences makes the point that you are responsible for your own actions.

    As for Av'Roo, I definitely think she's the most mature member of that crew. I wonder, do you think being a member of a species that probably gets a lot of stares for being "different" has taught her how to deal with and appreciate diversity?

    Oh...and the fact that Av'Roo said the words to th'Arshar that he should've said to the other two...it still doesn't bode well as far as the example th'Arshar will set for his crew.

    Given Karama's family background...I'd like to know what choices he made to avoid being bigoted. (Also about Karama...I am surprised he STILL could not accept responsibility for his remarks, after the incident with Ullmann, which I thought would've eventually taught him better.)

    For Kapoor...is there a warrant out for her arrest? What is it that prevented that from happening? If she stayed without permission, I am surprised she's not being hauled to the brig as a traitor.

    I definitely agree with the point about the Federation crew's prejudice. On the other hand, the Cardassians also did it to themselves with that coup--which would just prove to the Federation, from their perspective, that they have not learned how to do anything other than by force. The Cardassians need to recognize that and understand that they are starting from zero.
     
  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
    Yes, I think being an outsider gives her a little different perspective. She is a member of the Federation, but she isn't "just another humanoid". She's also too young to have any particular negative personal experiences with the Cardassians, so she doesn't hold any grudges against them.
    And I also think she wants to stay as an outsider - in this particular case. She realises she's the most neutral person here and she wants to remain neutral, thus trusted by both sides and make this project happen.

    I think that he is still too angry to realise that he isn't totally innocent. This all happens shortly after the dinner, the same evening only later, so they all are still under influence of emotions and anger.

    As for his choices - he has a father and a mother. What his father is - it should be obvious now. His mother - not to spoil too much of Kapoor story, let's say Karama chose to be like his mother, not his father (whom he truly hates).
    There isn't a warrant. She stayed there without permission from her parents, but didn't just desert from Starfleet. She resigned her commission. After she was allowed to stay in the Union, she used those 6 months to close as many matters as she could in the Federation.

    Her parents and family didn't accept or didn't believe she chose to stay there, so they did all they could to get her back.
    I'm not sure they care ;) They believe it's their internal matter and what the Federation thinks about it? Not important. One of reasons why they closed their borders - not to listen to others' opinion on how they do their business.

    This caused distrust, of course, but I'm not sure the Cardassians realise that. They see that co-operation as one time, temporary "alliance" and they know they can kick the Feds out of it any time. That must cause some arrogance on their part.
     
  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I hope that realization eventually comes...because I think that if he's grown since the other story, it would be fitting if it did.

    Gul Karama must have been a terror at home, for his son to come to that opinion instead of copying his nasty attitudes. :(

    I'm actually kind of surprised Starfleet let her just resign, especially with the coup and the border closing--AND her connection to the gul responsible for the coup. Not to mention the report Ullmann brought back and the behavior she would've described from Karama--the very man that Kapoor ended up marrying. That's why I thought they would not accept her resignation and would figure she was either a traitor or a victim.

    I would say it's arrogance, for sure. But I question...if their attitude is THAT bad, why are they even bothering with this? Why don't they stay isolated forever? Those are definitely questions I find myself asking. What is it about this mission that would make them try something like this, instead of giving the middle finger again?
     
  18. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    We've got the winner!

    You will meet Gul Karama personally, with Kapoor. I'm sure you can't wait..........
    Those are very good questions. All in good time and in the correct story ;) IF I finally get there :sigh:

    You should ask Daset and/or Jarol about this. Send Brenok, she'd tell him the truth :)
     
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I hope Kapoor will be safe. I know Gil Karama would do everything he could to protect his fiancée, but still. :(

    And then order him not to share it with the likes of me, I'm sure. :p ;)
     
  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Location:
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    She survived it. Traumatised, but she did. 'Nuff said he never had her face him again.
    I'll smuggle you to his office and hide you in a dark dark dark corner and you can eavesdrop to their conversation ;)
     

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