Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    There will be a lot of turmoil in her mind and feelings when she faces some decisions. That report and her talk with SF about her resignation will be important moments for her.

    I'm not sure she had access to many non-Cardassian designs when she was younger, but now she finds a lot of interesting (for her) things and she has lots of "big" plans and a looooong list of what she's going to build next ;)
  2. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Mar 26, 2010
    Zamarran certainly knows his abilities...he is very sure of himself. Poor Karama, though he truly takes it with good grace.

    Will Karama tell Kapoor eventually how sensitive did you call them..chants are? I am curious as well.

    And for the little starships...I just wondered, if kapoor tells her details on a fedship, so she can build that allowed?
    Or does she only build the outsides correctly and the insides then the cardieway?

  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I don't think Kapoor would reveal any special Fed secrets by means of helping to build a toy model of a starship :)
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 11 – Day 132

    “We have received your report, Lieutenant.” On my monitor, Commander Calderon looked up at me from a file on her padd. “I must say I am quite surprised by the discrepancy between your and Lieutenant Ullmann’s description of the events.”

    “Yes, Commander. I believe I can explain that.”

    “You are not trying to claim that her report is inaccurate.”

    “Oh, no, not at all.” How could she even think about it? “I am sure Lieutenant Ullmann’s report is a faithful representation of her point of view. What I’m trying to say is that my point of view was different, as a bystander’s. Lieutenant Ullmann was unhappy in that assignment since the beginning and she alienated some of the Cardassians. Gil Karama especially and he took it really badly. However I can assure you he would not act on his threats. Unfortunately Lieutenant Ullmann didn’t want to believe that.”

    Calderon stared at me for a very long moment. “You do not apply for a transfer back to the Federation.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

    “I do not,” I confirmed.

    She sighed. “Lieutenant, this exchange program is clearly a failure,” she said. “The Cardassians obviously are not ready to be a part of the Alpha Quadrant and I do not think this is a good idea for you to stay there.”

    I fumed. It was a very unfortunate incident, but it wasn’t entirely Karama’s fault and certainly not all Cardassians’ to judge them as a people that can’t be a part of a greater whole.

    “With all due respect, Commander--”

    I will forward my recommendation to recall you from your current assignment,” she interrupted.

    “I’d rather you don’t.”

    “Excuse me?

    “Commander, this was one incident, a very disastrous, no doubt, however let’s not cancel the whole program because of it.”

    “No, Lieutenant. We cannot be sure of your safety aboard that Cardassian warship. I think it’s in your best interest to return home. You should expect your orders soon.”

    “Yes, Commander,” I replied, but didn’t hide my disappointment. She signed off.

    Ok, so I knew this wouldn’t be permanent. I didn’t expect it to take more than a few months. But things have changed! This occurred to be as great assignment as on a Federation starship it would be – I had my commanding officer, I had my head of my department, I’ve made some friends. It was so...normal. For the most part.

    The naked truth was that I didn’t want a reassignment. I felt fine where I was. Sure, some of Cardassians were not friendly, some were annoying, some were patronising, but for the most part they were fine. I didn’t have any guarantee that my new captain would be less scary than the Dragon Lady and my chief engineer more forgiving than Glinn Zamarran.

    A door chime sounded, so I muttered “Enter.” The door parted and I saw Karama standing in the corridor. He didn’t enter but stood there looking at me. “Why the long face?” he asked eventually.

    “Come in,” I said and he finally entered my quarters. “Fish juice?”

    “No, thank you. Actually I’m headed for Ma’Kan’s quarters. Want to join? She is almost finished with the Hideki, but needs to do some precise work. I think your tiny fingers would be very useful.” He silenced and then added. “That was a joke.”

    “Funny,” I muttered humourlessly.

    “Apparently not so.” He sat on my bunk and leaned toward me. “What’s happened?”

    “They recall me back to the Federation.”

    “Oh.” He sounded genuinely disappointed. “So soon?”

    Should I tell him that it’s because the Ullmann incident? It would make him feel guilty and I didn’t want him to feel guilty.

    “Do you want me to stay with you?” he asked very quietly.

    I looked at him. I didn’t expect that. It was clear he assumed that in my present mood I wouldn’t like to go to Ma’Kan and struggle with her little toy models. I appreciated so much that he didn’t insist. But to stay with me? To with me? So that I don’t have to sit with my sadness alone? To share my grim mood?

    “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

    “I want to if you need it.”

    That was the sweetest thing any man had ever said to me.

    “Do you mind if we listen to some music?” I asked.

    He shook his head, so I turned on something I grew up with. It was too cheerful for my mood, but I hoped it would help me improve it a little. Karama seemed surprised by my choice or by the music itself, I couldn’t tell and didn’t want to ask.

    I sat next to him and leaned against the bulkhead behind me. “How long do you serve on the Roumar?” I asked him.

    “Let me think...” He silenced for a moment. “Eight years, since graduation from the Academy.”

    “Is it typical? To be posted on one warship and never transferred?”

    “Usually there is no need for a transfer. If you’re doing your job properly then your Gul wants to keep you. A lot of people stay on one ship for years, until it hinders their career and then they have to transfer.”

    “Like to move somewhere else to become someone’s first officer?”

    “In a way. A Gul’s aide is usually chosen from the crew as this person would not only be trusted but also familiar with the warship and its crew. But such things as a transfer from outside happen and they aren’t a rarity.”

    “What would happen to your tattoo if you resign?” I knew he had a tattoo on his chest just below his right collar bone ridge and I knew Aladar had one too.

    “Nothing. Everyone who joins the military gets a tattoo. Even if you retire you still have a history of the service in the Guard which is a great honour. We wear them with pride even if they are not usually visible.”

    “But your tattoo is different than Aladar’s.”

    “I am an officer, Aladar is a non-com. I have the Union symbol, he has the Fourth Order’s symbol.”


    “Non-coms, once assigned to an Order, stay in it forever. Transfers are possible from one post to another but always within the same Order. Officers can be transferred between Orders, although it doesn’t happen often.”

    “Interesting. We are transferred all around Starfleet. Do Ma’Kan and Gul Jarol have tattoos too?”

    “They have to. Being women doesn’t change the fact that they are soldiers and officers.”

    “I see.”

    “How long have you been posted in your longest assignment?” he asked after a short moment of silence.

    “Seven months.”

    “That short?” His eye ridges raised slightly in surprise. “Why? Did you do something?”

    “No. They needed an engineer elsewhere and my ship could spare me.”


    I knew how it sounded to him. I wasn’t good enough to keep me, so I was the first one to be kicked out. The Cardassians valued efficiency and in his eyes I had to be inefficient if my commanders bothered with allocating me and resources somewhere else. Transferring me cost them less than keeping me. It hurt a bit—to know he thought that way. It wasn’t his malice, I knew that, it was his mentality—but it still stung. I wasn’t particularly talented, I was good at my job and I did it well, but I certainly didn’t belong to that group of miracle workers who could make a warp coil from a piece of wire and a bubble gum. I was only a regular professional, no fireworks.

    Perfect, my mood just got worse.

    “I don’t want to be transferred,” I said quietly and realised that my voice shook like I was just about to cry. Karama gave me an attentive look. Did he hear the tears in my voice or was he just surprised by my statement? I couldn’t read his face. Not tonight.

    “You can’t refuse it, can you?” he asked.

    I only shook my head, afraid to speak.

    We went silent and just sat there, listening to the music. He pulled a blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders.

    “Computer, raise the temperature by three degrees,” I said.

    “You don’t have to do this,” he replied. “I’ll be fine under the blanket.”

    “That’s all right. Where I come from, a city called Calcutta, this is a normal temperature in the Summer. It reminds me of home...kind of.”

    He smiled. “I didn’t know our homes had something in common.”

    “I think if you dig deep enough you can find a lot of similarities. After over four months I know we are much more alike than any of us would like to admit.”

    “It’s not four months yet.”

    “Not your four months. I still think like an Earthling.”

    “How many days do you have in your month?”

    “Thirty or thirty-one or twenty-eight. Or twenty-nine,” I added after a second.

    He stared at me surprised. “Why so complicated?”

    “Because Earth doesn’t want to circle Sun in a more regular manner,” I replied smiling slightly. “It took us centuries to establish a calendar that would work.”

    “Interesting.” He turned to face me with all his body. “So how do you know how many days would be in a following month?” It seemed that he thought it was more complicated than it really was.

    We talked about our calendars, about the histories of our calendars and about histories of our planets. How could someone claim this mission was a failure? There was no information about the Cardassian calendar in the Federation database, there was limited information about their history—except for some obscure facts about the Hebitian Empire, which Karama called the ‘Hebitian Republic’—and there was no useful information about their culture. I could bring all that information with me if Starfleet would give me enough time to collect it. The Cardassians were much more than just a Galor class warship blueprints. Their armours were cold but the hearts underneath were warm. Their scales were thick but they were emotionally vulnerable, just like us. They grew tough and hostile but the more I knew them the more I understood they were taught it, it wasn’t in their nature. I had an impression that it was much more natural for them to smile at the thought of their family than frown at the thought of their enemies.

    Maybe I was blind, maybe I was totally wrong and my perspective was distorted because I was among them, in the middle of their nest, inside the dragon’s cave, but sometimes I had hard time to associate these people here with what I knew about Bajor.

    I had studied Gul Jarol’s profile. I didn’t have access to all of it but there was enough of information to draw a picture of who she was. She had fought in the Border Wars. She had been posted in a former Federation colony. The Roumar—with another Gul in command at that time—had been assigned to pacify the Maquis and she had taken part in massacres of civilians. She had led two of them! Of course in the Cardassian database those things were presented as heroic and noble service to the Union but I could read between the lines. She was some kind of terrible monster, without a conscience, without a heart, without anything inside that cold, hard armour.

    But she also had fought the Dominion. She had helped a Romulan vessel and had worked with a Federation captain to find who had been attacking his convoys. She had nearly lost her life when she had refused to follow her Gul’s order to poison Klingon invaders and Cardassian civilians—such collateral damage was unacceptable for her and she was ready to die trying to protect them.

    She scared the hell out of me each time she was in my sight but I knew I could go to her if I had a problem with anyone. She had dealt with the Ullmann and Karama incident; she was even angry at me for not reporting it. Karama had told me that she didn’t ruin his career by putting a note in his file, neither permanent nor temporary; she only gave him a ten minute speech and postponed his promotion.

    So was she a monster? She was no angel—that was certain—but was she the devil’s sister? Her crew respected her, they would follow her to the hell if that was her destination. It was not the fear, it was not terror that she used to rule the warship. It was fairness. It was her dedication to her crew. She respected them and they answered in the same manner.

    How was that different from a Starfleet starship?

    How many of our Captains were true angels? Especially after the last war? True, they didn’t massacre anyone, they didn’t brutally pacify the Maquis, but...

    There were Cardassians and Cardassians. Some were like Karama’s father and Gul Dukat, some were like Gul Jarol and Glinn Brenok and some were like Karama and Garesh Aladar. You can’t just put everyone into one bag, mix and say: these are the Cardassians; the Klingons say they have no honour, the Federation says they have no conscience, the Dominion says they are traitors and only the Romulans know what they would say but I wouldn’t expect it to be any more fair that the three other opinions. I say—if anyone would be willing to listen—they are people. Tall and short. Fat and slim. Mean and nice. Dark grey and light grey. With thick ridges and with delicate ridges. They love, they hate, they laugh and they die, just like all of us.

    I didn’t want to return to the Federation, not yet. I had to find more Karamas, and more Aladars and more Ma’Kans and I was sure there were many more of them. My assignment was not only to gather data for the Federation, but job was to know the Cardassians and to bring that information to the Federation; and my assignment was far from accomplished; I had to make sure Starfleet knew that.

    I sat. “Please don’t think I’m ungrateful but I have to do something and I have to do it now, before my courage vaporises.”

    “You want me to go?” he asked neutrally as if making sure he understood me correctly.

    I nodded. “Please, don’t be angry.” I leaned to him and closed my face to his. “I want to write a report for Starfleet and I hope they will let me stay for a while longer.”

    “That’s ok,” he smiled. I really hoped he didn’t feel like I slapped away his helping hand. “Good luck with your report.” He rose and headed for the door. “See you tomorrow. I believe you have a bridge duty?”

    “That’s correct,” I confirmed. He grinned; it was a nice, sincere smile; the one that I liked so much.

    He left and I sat at my desk to prepare my great speech for my superiors in fabric uniforms.

  5. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    (Interesting music...I particularly like hearing what different cultures consider the best way to sing--SO many different ways to use the voice, from what we hear in the West!)

    I don't like how Kapoor's superior says that the Cardassians are "not ready to be part of the Alpha Quadrant" based on an incident that Gul Jarol disciplined Karama for. Even IF Karama hadn't been a nice guy, the fact that Jarol was so harsh on Karama should've made the point. But, I can see where they would expect sexual harassment to be a regular phenomenon given that the Cardassian track record has NOT been good. So I can see why, from their perspective, they need much harder evidence that the Cardassians no longer find such things acceptable.

    Did Kapoor explain in her report that Karama was sorry? And WHY he regretted his actions? I know that would be some very personal information to disclose--but if it were done with permission...who knows, maybe it would make the point that this is a PERSON and not a monster.

    Oh, and just you know at what point in the story you envision "The Lightless Ends of the World" taking place? Obviously Kapoor AND Karama wouldn't know anything about it...just curious for my own interest. :)
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I took me quite a while to find that Hindi song. I wanted something with that thin, "funny" voice - it's quite common for women to sing like that in Bollywood movies - but seems like I had a bad luck on You Tube and was finding only "normal" voice songs.

    Wait until I get to the chapter where they listen to Karama's favourite music :) I already know how I imagine Cardassian music and which Earth music is the closest thing to it :D
    To be honest I am not so sure Ullmann included in her report that Karama had been disciplined for that. I don't think she would lie, but she might have omitted a few "details"; not even out of malice, but of being hurt and scared. She wanted to make sure everyone knew how bad that assignment was for her.
    I think she wrote as much as she could without going into too personal matters. I'm sure she tried to present the event from a neutral perspective and that would also include his side of the story and his reaction after the incident. While she wouldn't try to make his actions appear less hideous, she would try to present him truthfully - a man with a conscience and regrets, although not perfect.
    I think it was a little bit later. Maybe a few weeks; enough for them to trust her to consider her for the project, but not enough to decide to include her in the end.
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I'll be very interested to see what you choose, and if it's anything like what I've imagined for my own universe! :)

    I'm not surprised Ullmann left that out. However, I would've thought Kapoor would put it in.

    Going THAT personal (the stuff about becoming his father) is something that if I'd been Kapoor, I would only have put in with permission, if it seemed like that was the only way to get Starfleet to understand that he truly knew his behavior was unacceptable (and not just because he got caught). But not without permission...otherwise I would only say that Karama later expressed deep regret (without being asked to do so).
  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I think she did just that. She could ask him for his permission, but - as reckless with others' feelings as she sometimes gets - I don't think she would want him to revisit that difficult moment.
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 12 – Day 160

    In excitement, instead of chiming, I used my fist to ‘knock’ at Karama’s door. It opened a moment later with him standing in the doorway and staring at me with his narrow eyes.

    “What hap--”

    “They agreed!” I shouted and moved inside, completely forgetting about sticking out threshold. I stumbled and would fall if he didn’t catch me.

    “Please, come in,” he said, laughing. “They agreed to what?” he asked. The door closed and I went to the sofa but didn’t sit. I couldn’t, I was too excited.

    “My superiors. They withdrew the transfer orders. They extended my stay for another six months.”

    “That’s great!” he cheered up and then, suddenly, composed himself, as if ashamed of his happiness. “Would you like some fish juice?” he asked. Why did I have an impression he tried to cover up his perplexity. But why would he be perplexed?

    “Sure,” I said. We both knew that ‘fish juice’ really meant orange juice. After many ‘Would you like juice?’ we had agreed to stop bothering ourselves with such details.

    “Did they give you any special orders?” he asked, going to the replicator.

    “No. They said my previous orders stand. They asked if I thought if I needed some help, but I told them that I can manage on my own.”

    He came to me and handed me a mug. “Why don’t you sit?”

    “What?” I realised I was still standing by the sofa. “Yeah, sure.”

    I sipped the juice. “There’s something I wanted to asked you about.”

    “Go ahead.”

    “I hope it’s not a problem that it’s a political question.”

    “No, not at all.”

    “I watched a news broadcast today and you had some kind of elections two days ago?”

    “That’s right.”

    “There were some parties, two or three, if I remember correctly.”

    “Three. The Directorate, The Mar’kuu Group and the Reunion Project. The last one won and now Alon Ghemor is our castellan.”

    “Your what?”

    “The head of the Cardassian Union.”

    “So, you had elections... Did you vote for him, for this Ghemor?”

    “No. I didn’t vote at all.”

    “Why not?” I was surprised. I thought voting was my citizen's duty. And the Cardassians were all about duty.

    “How could I?” he was surprised by my surprise. “What do I know about politics? How could I choose who rules the empire? It's not my place to do such a thing! I don't know enough about a situation, politics, or a man to say if he is the right person or not,” he shook his head. “You don't just choose your boss. Do you choose your captain? Do you choose your father? Why would you choose the head of your empire? This is unnatural, this is against the hierarchy. You have to prove you are the right person by your work, you have to deserve to reach that point. Not be given by masses that don't really understand what they are doing. I could vote if I knew who were these people. Ghemor came from nowhere. I don’t know anything about him and I wouldn’t give him my life, because he promises me something. Promises are well disguised lies.”

    Did I understand what he was trying to tell me? There was some sense to it, but... Yes, the Cardassians had that strong need of following their leadership, no matter who it was. All right, they have proven that it did matter who it was, but still they couldn't break out from this obedience conditioning. Hmm...maybe it was related. Maybe they were able to follow their leadership because they ‘knew’ their leaders were the right people. In theory. In practise...well...I didn’t know much about Cardassian politics but I was sure those guys before the war had not been the right people at the helm.

    “So you would never vote?”

    “I would vote if there was an option to choose. This Ghemor is no one. The Directorate’s candidate, Legate Parn, is an old blockhead and represents everything that had been wrong with the Union for the last twenty-odd years. Gul Daset, the Mar’kuu Group leader, is a total ass and believe me, I know, he used to be the Roumar’s second in command. What kind of choice is that? Three incompetent people. Am I to choose the lest evil?”

    “Sometimes, yes, that’s what you have to do.”

    “Then I’d choose Daset. But if he’d rule the Union how he ruled the Roumar I’d ask for asylum in the Klingon Empire.”

    “Who would you like to see there? As did you call it?”


    “As the castellan?”

    “Gul Jarol.”

    I didn’t expect that. “You’d want her to be the head of the Cardassian Union?”

    “Sure. I trust her. I trust she would make the right decisions. She is tough but she’s not a stone-head.”

    “A what?”

    “We call all those old, inflexible and compromised guls and legate of the previous governments stone-heads.”

    “So your only reason not to vote was that you didn’t know the candidates.”

    “No. I didn’t vote because I can’t hand so much power to people, who didn’t prove they can be in power. You should work your way up, not be given it. Would you like to serve on a ship, which captain had been chosen in elections held at the Starfleet Academy? Instead of becoming an ensign, then a lieutenant, then a lieutenant commander and a commander and finally, if they prove themselves, a captain? Or never becoming a captain, if they seem not to be capable? You just vote for a cadet and,” he snapped his fingers, “here you have the captain of a starship. Would you want to serve under him?”

    I didn’t reply.

    “So you see... Our empire is much more than one starship and we can’t hand it to a cadet from some academy.”

    “But you need a government. You couldn’t function with that provisional government you had until now.”

    “True. Due to arrogance of Gul Dukat, who just illegally claimed power and brought the Dominion in, we have lost our lawful way of establishing power.”

    “But before that...You can’t say that the government was good.”

    He stared at me for a moment. “For you, as a Federation, it certainly looked bad. We fought wars with you. Your government didn’t appear very nice to us too.”

    “How about your government appearing to you, Cardassians.”

    “They fed us. They gave us strength--”

    “And how did you use that strength?” I interrupted him.

    He gave me an attentive look and I thought it wasn’t the best thing to say. But I didn’t intend to back down. What was he going to tell me? That Bajoran occupation was good? Necessary?

    After a long while of looking into my eyes he lowered his and looked into his cup of fish juice, silent.

    “What if such an unknown, elected person proved himself? What if this Alon Ghemor occurs to be a great leader?”

    He raised his head. “That would be lucky. But we can’t entrust our lives to someone, hoping he’d occur to be the right person. It’s too great a risk.”

    “It would be only temporary. With such elections come also ways to remove—legally remove—people who bring harm.”

    He inclined his head to his left, giving me a curious look. “How do you know? Even I don’t know the new law to such a detail yet.”

    “Oh, I just assumed. This is how it works in a real democracy.”

    Damn, I hope he wouldn’t take the word ‘real’ as offensive.

    He squinted and his eyes became thin slits. If I didn’t know him that well, I’d think he was angry, but I knew it meant he was thinking. “A real yours?”

    “Yes, like ours. That’s how the Federation works.”

    “And why exactly should we be like you?”

    There was no attack, no anger in his question. No question either. He was making a point.

    I opened my mouth but didn’t know what I could say. “I just think,” I said after a moment, “That we function based on some model and you could use it, instead of battering down an open door.”

    “Yes, but why should we function based on the same model?”

    “Because it’s the best,” I shrugged.

    He looked amused. “The best?”


    “Kapoor, the Federation didn’t exist yet, while the Cardassian Union thrived. What gives you the right to claim your way is better than ours?”
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    “The result of your ways. Your people were terrorised by your own government. Your people were conquering other worlds and making inhabitants miserable. You brought the Dominion to the Alpha Quadrant which almost destroyed us all, including you. Do you really believe your way is better?”

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

    “But our model works.”

    “Good for you! We have our own, right now we don’t have anything. We are in ruins.”

    “Because of the previous model.”

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

    “We want to help you?”

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


    “So why?”

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

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

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

    He smiled. “What makes you happy?”


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

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

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

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

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

    “Even at the cost of your freedom?”


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

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

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

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

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

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

    “The Maquis were civilians too.”

    “Armed to teeth by the Federation government.”

    “That’s not true!”

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

    “How do you know that?”

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

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

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

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

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

    “How can you do it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

    “Twenty percent.”

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

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

    “Kotra?” I asked.

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

  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 13 – Day 182

    He won. Again.

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

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

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

    “We do but they are not as enjoyable.”

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

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

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

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

    “You bet I did!”

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

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

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

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

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

    “It's Tavor now,” he said quietly.

    Oh? Oh...Oh!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Don't we all?” he smiled.

    We bed farewell and I returned to my room.

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

  13. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Mar 26, 2010
    Finally! I thought I´d never see that scene posted, but there it is. :D
    Ah...the tender blossom of a beginning love... we know how the future for them will be, but I am happy to read about the beginning. Waiting impatiently for more. :)

  14. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I know we've talked about this in private before...but I truly think that BOTH sides of this debate are wrong.

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

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

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

    Now...on to the personal stuff.

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

    And the moment where they shared their first touch and first beautiful. :)

    I also liked the fact that they are going to take their relationship a bit slower, not rush into it. It's so rare these days to read stories or see movies where the characters are not ALL OVER AND INTO EACH OTHER on the first date, where it's actually about a longer-term relationship. And that's wonderful. :)
  15. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I am glad that you both like the "first kiss" scene. I wanted it to be a tender and gentle one, nothing forced. A "shy" scene.

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

    Kamara doesn't know that the torture Jarol and Daset had to suffer wasn't intentional. Kapoor doesn't seem to believe it happened at all (although she believes that he believes it). None of them knows the full truth and their opinions are based on what they know and what they think. Just like in real life ;)
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Wow...Kapoor really can't believe that humans are capable of those things? Eek. That's some serious naivete. I mean, I'm disgusted and angry when I find out that people I have some sort of connection with have done something bad, but I don't think I would deny the facts.

    (As for the Maquis, the torture may not have been intentional, but it was certainly what I would call negligent homicide.)
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I don't think she believes humans aren't capable of evil things. But in this case he just presented her with something and she has a hard time of taking it face value. She thinks he could be exaggerating or colouring. If Jarol told her: "They locked us in a cold room and left for hours," she would believe. But she knows Karama could be telling her official propaganda or a lie. She had seen many "official lies" in her short time on Cardassia. She has uncovered one herself!
  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I wonder if there's something else that's affecting my point of view...I'll PM you with it because I don't want to say it here.
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 14 – Day 202

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “I think Aladar mentioned something...”

    “Aladar wasn’t there.”

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

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

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

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

    I growled at him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Who, me?”

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

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

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

    I was madly in love.