Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Acknowledgements and thanks :)

    First of all please have mercy and forgive any English grammar nightmares I have surely produced, but English is not my native language. However don't let your lenience stop you from correcting me :)

    I have followed the series and movies cannon, a little bit of Trek Lit cannon, but ignored most of the latter. The Cardassian military ranks are based on PBeM RPGs.

    Many thanks to Nerys Ghemor, who has let me use her idea of Cardassian Union language, even in my misunderstood, twisted form.

    This is work in progress, so more will follow, less melodramatic and hopefully less dull :crazy:
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Part 1
    As the twig is bent...

    The only choice
    2347 (2346)

    “Cadet,” commandant Girol's voice always intimidated Atira Darok, first year cadet of Military Preparation Academy, a school, which she attended to maximise her chances of getting to the Cardassian Military Academy. His voice was raspy and low; each time he spoke she had an impression the floor was vibrating. “It was brought to my attention that you have some problems with some of school subjects.”

    “Yes, sir,” she had to admit it was the truth.

    “Could you elaborate?” he asked, looking at her from under his scaly brows.

    “I... me...” she started forming a sentence in her mind, but realised she lacked necessary vocabulary. After a moment of fruitless thinking she gave up and closed her open for speaking mouth.

    “As I suspected,” he nodded his head knowingly. “You do not speak the Union language well, do you?”

    She shook her head. “No, sir.”

    “But you understand.”

    “Enough, sir.”

    “That explains why you are the quietest cadet in this school's history,” he smiled a weak smile, then rose. “Look, cadet, your tactical skills are too valuable to lose them because of such a trivial thing as a language. We have additional classes for cadets, whose command of the Union language is not as it should be. I will assign you to one of these classes.”

    “Thank you, sir.”

    “Don't thank me yet. If you are not fluent by beginning of your first grade at the academy, you're out. Is that clear?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Good. Now, go back to your classroom.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    [RIGHT]Six months earlier[/RIGHT]

    Darok didn't believe it. It could not have happened. Not again! She left the house and her sister's whining behind and went toward desert's sands.

    It was a hot, dry day. She felt warm breeze on her face, and sun's rays; she could see the horizon through clear air. This beautiful day was the same as any other day of harsh, desert weather; but this day was marked with death, just as the other day last winter.

    Another child died. Another child suffered, because Cardassia was too dry, too hot and too poor to feed it. It wasn't just any child, it wasn't statistics. It was her sister's youngest. The little girl followed her not much older uncle – Atira's youngest brother.

    And that was not the end. If something wouldn't be done, another family member would starve to death.

    She roamed the desert; her initially shy idea was growing ripe and taking shape and after a few hours she knew what to do not to let anyone else to die. She just needed courage to tell her father about her plan. He would find a way to explain it to others. She quickly headed for the house.

    Old Vares Darok was sitting outside, sipping tea and looking at those few fruit trees, which grew near their house. One of trees died last year, the rest wasn't giving many fruits.

    “Dad,” she approached him. He looked at her, but said nothing. “Dad, I made a decision.”

    One of his eye ridges raised. She sat next to him.

    “I will go to serve in the Guard,” she announced. “I will work hard and send you money, and I will become a Gul and send you lots of food and you won't have to worry again.”

    He smiled; it was a sad, melancholic smile. He reached and stroke her cheek ridges with the back of his hand.

    “You always were brave, my girl,” he said. “It's very considerate of you to want to take care of your family, but I don't think it's a good idea.”

    “Why not?!”

    “It wouldn't be easy for you, you're a girl, and usually boys go to the academy. And you're a poor girl from province, not a noble born child from the capitol. They would mock you.”

    “So I'll prove them a good soldier is a smart soldier, not a rich one.”

    “And at the academy,” he continued, just as she hadn't said anything, “they speak the Union language. The same we listen to in broadcasts. Since you always liked watching broadcasts with me you understand the Union language well, but we never spoke it at home. You can't speak it.”

    “I'll learn,” her voice was full of resolve... and hope.

    He just shook his head.

    “Dad, Let me try. Just try. If I fail, I'll return here, but at least you'd have one mouth less to feed for a few of months.”

    “I'll talk to your mum about it.”

    “All right,” she smiled. “Want some more tea?” she asked, seeing his cup was already empty.

    Atira was in her room, listening to a podcast, repeating words, determined to learn the Union language as soon as possible. She heard knocking.

    “Come in.”

    It was her mother.

    “Your dad told me about your idea,” she said simply.

    Here we go, thought Atira. “Yes,” she replied slowly, awaiting what Lanita would say.

    “Are you sure you want this?”


    “Did you think it over? It's the first time I hear of it.”

    “Mum, I would be able to help you, all of you. My pay would...”

    “Atira, it is not about money,” her mother cut her off. “Our relations with the Federation get tensed and people say a war is going to break out soon. They could send you to fight and to die. Do you understand it?” The girl didn't have an immediate reply. “It is going to be hard, because you're a girl, a scientific career would be more appropriate,” Lanita continued.

    “You don't want me to go,” Atira said bitterly.

    “No, it's not that. I would be very proud of you if you'd make a career as an officer. It would mean prestige for you. And a better life. And a distinguished service to Cardassia.”


    “But you have to really want it. You would never make a good officer if you'd follow only your pay, and being a mediocre officer is below your skills and intelligence. You need to put your heart into it.”

    “So you don't think I can do it...” it wasn't a question, she was stating a fact in a resigned tone, lowering her head.

    “No, you don't listen to me,” her mother said. “I want you to think it over. Give it a few days, sleep it over. And then make a decision, all right?”

    “All right,” the girl nodded.

    “Remember about the glory, but also remember about the sorrow. Remember you may serve Cardassia with your life, but don't forget you might have to give your life for it,” she paused. “Here,” Lanita handed her a holoimage. “This is your great grandfather. I am sure he would be happy if you'd choose to follow in his steps, as neither my father nor I did.”

    There was a tall, lanky male in the picture. He wore an armour, his face was showing pride and dignity. Could she ever look like this?

    Her mother left her room and she heard her steps leading downstairs.

    She stayed sitting on her bed, listening to the podcast and looking at her great grandfather for a long, long time. She had no idea her family had any military history. She found this revelation intriguing.
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    The other half of her heart
    2352 (2348 - 2350)​

    She waited, pacing the corridor in the hospital back and forth. So many hours and doctors still didn't tell them anything.

    She glanced at his mother; the Cardassian woman cried. Darok felt slight irritation, she thought crying was like giving up on him, like acknowledging he was already dead.

    She still could hear whistling in her ear, but was ignoring it. It was not important. He was important. His life was important.

    Finally a doctor left the operation room. Everyone ran to him, but he waved them away, searching for something. “Are you Cadet Darok?” he asked, looking at the young Cardassian female. She nodded. “He wants to see you. And only you!” he added louder, seeing others were ready to demand letting them in too.

    She followed the doctor. He was laying in a bed, his skin light grey. He opened his eyes when he heard them entering.

    “Atira, come here,” he said quietly. She noticed the doctor left. “I... I will not be able...” his voice faded and he didn't finish the sentence.

    She sat on a stool next to his bed.

    “Don't speak, you need to rest,” she said.

    “No, this is too important,” he said with difficulty. “They didn't save my leg. I will not be able to fulfil my dream. My career is no more.”

    “You will do something else,” she interjected.

    “I relieve you of your word,” he said.

    “What?!” she was shocked.

    “You do not need to keep your word,” he repeated. “I will not be an officer, I will be someone insignificant. You don't have to stay with me.”

    “Shut up,” she said softly. “I don't care of you were a Gul or a worker. I care about you, not your job and I want to be with you, not with your job.”

    He looked at her. “Are you sure?”

    “Don't you even dare to ask again,” she made a serious, threatening face, but her heart was breaking, seeing his suffering. “Just tell me this one thing.”

    “What?” he whispered. He was clearly getting weaker.

    “Why didn't you beam out when the fighter showed first signs of malfunction?” she asked.

    “We couldn't let it fall on people. These types of fighters weren't equipped with automatic pilots. We had to stay to change the course away from the audience.”

    She grabbed his hand and squeezed. He was the bravest and best man she had ever met. She was proud of him.

    “How could you think I would want to break our vows,” she whispered.

    He smiled and closed his eyes. His breathing levelled and after a few minutes he was sleeping. She looked at the bed; the sheet was thin and she could clearly see his silhouette under it. He was slender, tall man. His long leg was reaching end of the bed. The other leg was ending just under his knee. She felt almost physical pain. She would take his suffering on herself if she could. She wished she could...

    Four years earlier

    Darok swept all pads to the floor, frustrated. So that was it. The end. Time to start packing. She failed her family, she failed herself.

    “Seems like you need some help,” said a voice above her head. She looked up from the floor, from which she was picking up pads she had just swept off.

    “I don't need help,” she picked up the last pad and rose, “see?”

    “I didn't mean the mess,” he smiled. He was tall, handsome and his voice was smooth like a balm. “I meant the reason of the mess.” His eye ridges were oval and slightly slanted above his eyes, like hers; was he from Nokar too?

    “I don't go after,” she answered.

    “The correct expression is 'I don't follow',” he smiled.

    Yes, his voice was smooth and his Union language had a perfect, Lakat area's accent. He was not from Nokar.

    “I have some free time, so if you'd like to improve your Unionese, we could meet several times a week to talk. You would talk, I would correct.”

    “Why would you do this?” she asked suspiciously. He just smiled. She considered his offer for a while and then nodded. “It's a deal.” Whatever his motives were, she had a lot to gain.

    “My name is Joret Jarol.”

    “Atira Darok.”

    They agreed to meet each evening to have conversation on various subjects. To make it easier for her, Jarol was preparing subjects of their discussions parallel to her classes, so that she could practice required vocabulary and grammar structures. He was patiently correcting all her mistakes and mispronunciations, never getting irritated when she was repeating the same error over and over again.

    This time their subject was food; Jarol decided to talk about food over food, so they went to have a dinner together. Darok thought they were going to one of academy canteens, but Jarol had other plans.

    He took her to a small, but very pleasant restaurant. She had never been in such a place before: it was quiet, walls were decorated with flowers, and all tables, except one, were occupied. They were led to the empty one.

    Darok realised that in spite of living near the city for so many months, she haven't actually been to the urban area. All her life she had been living in a village, visiting a nearby town a few times each year, but that was all. She had never been to a big city, and now she was so busy with her academic duties she didn't find time to sightsee Lakat.

    And now here she was, in this wonderful restaurant, among those beautiful people, with this handsome man... Wait, don't let your thoughts go too far, he wanted to help you, he was friendly, but don't fall in love with him, because he surely doesn't fall in love with you. Why would he? He was an educated, big city boy, and you were a peasant, who didn't even speak Unionese well.

    “Jarol, can I ask you a question?” she asked after he ordered their food. He nodded. “I was wondering. You clearly look like a Nokarian, how come you speak natively Unionese?”

    “My parents left Nokar when my brother and I were very young,” he replied. “All my younger siblings were born here, in Lakat.”

    “Why did they leave Nokar?”

    “They wanted better lives for us, their children. After those series of droughts forty years ago all their land became desert and there was no way for them to be able to support whole family. So everyone packed and we moved.”

    “Yes, those draughts ruined my family too, but no one ever spoke of moving out. My father loved our land. I don't think he would like a big city.”

    “I understand,” he nodded. “My maternal grandparents returned to Nokar. They hated it here.”

    “Have you been to other cities too?” she asked.

    “I have been to Lakarian City and also off planet, once.”

    “Really?” her eyes opened wide. “Where?”

    “It was a planet our military was preparing to annex to the Union. There were aliens living there. Strange creatures, no ridges, their necks were like tubes, they lacked scales... Really weird,” he stopped, as their food arrived. “And what shocked me most was how much they were wasting. Food, for example. They weren't always finishing their food, leaving it on plates and then disposing of it. They were throwing it out!” he said in dismay.

    “Throwing out food??!” she was shocked. “You mean... you mean they wasted food?”

    “Yes. Barbaric, isn't it?”

    She nodded.

    “Actually, there were many goods they didn't appreciate having,” he continued. “I can't even imagine how many things were wasted, because of their lack of respect for riches of their world. We can't allow such behaviour. Spoiled children need to be taught, so we need to teach them how to properly allocate resources.”

    “How long have you been there?” she asked.

    “Only a few weeks. It was a training mission.”

    She was impressed. If he was chosen for an off world training mission from the academy, then he had to be really promising material for an officer and he had to have a sponsor. She was getting even more astonished he even talked to her.

    “Atira,” he said. She looked at him, it was the first time he called her by her given name. “Would you like to try home cooking next time?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “My family would like to meet you,” he said.

    “Would they?” this was an evening of surprises.

    “Yes, I told them about you and they'd like to see you, to talk to you. There aren't many Nokarians here and...” he smiled sheepishly, “I like you.”

    He... He... He... liked her.

    Suddenly she realised it wasn't just a language practice dinner.

    Darok left the room, relieved it was over. She strolled down the corridor, when Jarol appeared in her way.

    “How did it go?” he asked.

    “I passed,” she replied dismissively.

    “Could you elaborate?” he smiled.

    “Well,” she stopped. “The professor said I was well prepared technically.”


    “But... I put no heart into it.”

    “Ah,” he smiled knowingly.

    “What's that supposed to mean?” she attacked.

    “I noticed that too. I don't know what was or is your incentive to join the Guard, but it seems to differ from average reasons most of us have.”

    She didn't reply.

    “Atira...” he started, but hesitated.

    “Why did you join?” she asked him.

    “Because I have dreamt of service on a warship since I was a child. I had never had any other plans, other dreams. Just this one.”

  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    He shrugged. “I don't know why. It's just how it is,” he paused. “Why did you choose it?”

    “To run from poverty and starvation,” she replied honestly.

    “Nothing more?”

    “Sometimes... sometimes I try to think that I follow my great grandfather, but everyday duties are far from any glory I imagine he had experienced.”

    Jarol smiled. “Yes, it can be dull sometimes, but don't let it discourage you. Glory will come too.”

    “If you say so...” she muttered, unconvinced.

    “Do you have time tonight? We could talk about it more... over a dinner?”

    “I have sentry duty tonight.”

    “Tomorrow then?”

    “Tomorrow is fine.”

    “Great, see you tomorrow at our place then.”

    She nodded. He smiled. They pressed palms and he left. And just then Darok realised he came here only to ask her about her examination. She looked after him, his slim, tall figure, jet black hair falling on the ridges on the back of his neck and felt a warm wave in her heart. Her mood improved significantly.

    They met the next evening, and another one after that. They talked about their plans for the future. First they were telling each other about their respective plans, but with time, without them realising it, these plans started entwining. Darok's visits to Jarol's house and dining with his family became more frequent, then more regular to become a routine: every ten days they both were going to spend an afternoon at his family house.

    They also talked about their duty to Cardassia. Sometimes Darok felt like she was cut off the rest of the world in her little house on a desert. There were so many things she didn't understand, didn't know, never heard about. She was a provincial girl and she could not understand why he liked spending time with her, how come there was anything to talk about with him. He claimed he found her point of view refreshing, but she was sure he was only polite.

    They argued often, challenging each other's opinions and tastes. Darok was happy, when she managed to win their arguments and have the last word.

    She still had two years left, when it was his time to pass final exams and start his new life as a real officer.

    “Now, that you leave, I will have no one to make sure I pass all my exams,” she said.

    They were sitting outside main academy building. It was sunset, the sky was gaining dark colours and stars were becoming visible.

    “Yes, after my graduation all your friends will leave you and you won't have anyone to talk to,” he nodded, mocking a serious face expression.

    “How about failing the Final Flight?” she asked.

    “I'll consider this idea,” he laughed. “Atira,” his mood became genuinely serious. “I wanted... I don't know where they send me to. I don't know if I am going to stay on Cardassia, or be assigned to a warship. But I know one thing. When I get back home, I want you to be there, waiting for me.”

    “I would.”

    “You don't understand. I don't just mean you being here. I mean you being my home... I...” he grabbed her hand. “I have rehearsed it so many times and forgot all I wanted to say.”

    “What are you trying to say?” she asked.

    “Atira, I want to be with you. For good and for bad. I want to know that when I go back home, I go back to you. To you and our children...”

    “Joret... Joret...” she was looking at him wide eyed.

    “Yes? Yes?” he looked at her with hope in his eyes.

    “Yes! Yes!” she squizzed his hand. “And by the time I graduate you'd better be a Glen at least, or I'm not talking to you!”

    “What? You'd be a Dja only!”

    “That's right. And as a self-respecting Dja I won't listen to anyone of lower rank than a Glen,” she smiled viciously.

    “I see,” he said slowly. “Well then, to make sure you speak to me I am going to make a Gul by then. What do you say on that?”

    “Perfect. Then you get the right to decide where I would be assigned.”

    “As far from me as possible,” he said, nodding his head.

    “Oh, yeah?”


    “I hate you!”

    “I know, that's why you have to be assigned to far edges of Gamma Quadrant.”

    “With you in Beta.”

    “That's right, on the other side of the Klingon Empire.”

    “What if they send you to the war?” she asked, getting serious.

    “Then I'll do all I can to survive to destroy as many Federations as I could.”

    “You know it's not what I mean.”

    “I know. But I don't intend to spend time worrying about things I can't change, things that didn't happen yet and may never happen.”

    “You one of the best in the Academy, you're going to get one of best assignments available for fresh Djas these days.”

    The Final Flight was spectacular each year. Darok experienced them only twice so far, but she'd been told they were like that year after a year. This one, however, was special for her. This time she would really cheer for the participants. One in particular.

    The Final Flight was a great honour; only the best graduates were chosen to participate and only the best could manage to keep the high level of the show. Darok's love, Darok's betrothed, was one of the best and she was proud of him more than if she were chosen herself to participate.

    She knew his family would be somewhere, as all families were invited, but she was in cadets' sector and couldn't spot them from her place.

    It was a beautiful day, almost no clouds and the sun was warming the air pleasantly. Perfect for an air show.

    A gong silenced all voices and commandant Girok stepped into a small platform.

    “Welcome,” he started, his voice amplified by speaker system, “to the Final Flight show. The Final Flight is an old tradition, reaching times before Cardassians started exploring space and created the Union; union of planets, colonies and friends. The Final Flight proves skills of our best pilots, our best officers-to-be, our best men.

    “Today you will see seven old-fashioned fighters, two pilots each. They will present their piloting skills and battling skills. This is their final test and final task. This is the last time they do it for fun. Next time they will make decisions, next time they will pilot a Hideki class fighter or steer a Galor class warship, it will be for real. Not for me, their commandant, not for you, their families, but for Cardassia, their home.”

    Everyone cheered. He silenced the crowd raising his hand and then said: “Let the show begin!”
    The cheering was louder than before.

    Girok left the podium, which was immediately removed, and all eyes were directed toward the old-fashioned hangar, from which the fighters were expected to emerge. A few moments later three did, but no sign of remaining four. The three fighters flew over cadets' heads and just then Darok noticed the other four closing from distance. She knew Jarol would be in a fighter with yellow markings. As the four fighters closed she spotted yellow lines on one of them. Her eyes were rarely leaving it since.

    First the fighters simulated a battle. Their manoeuvring skills were impressive. Then they engaged into a show of figures and patterns. Some of them seemed really difficult and dangerous, and each time they were successfully accomplished the audience cheered.

    Darok found the design of the fighters interesting. They looked a lot like Hideki class vessels, but were longer and their fronts were curved more; they looked like stretched Hideki.

    Two of the fighters had just finished a difficult trick, when one of them started having some sort of problems. Its flight wasn't as even as before. A few seconds later the vessel started to fall, followed by a thick trace of dark smoke. Darok stopped breathing when she realised the fighter with problems had yellow markings. She hoped Jarol and his co-pilot would beam out on time. It was standard safety procedure to program pilots' commwrists to beam them out to safety with one touch in case of an old fighter's failure.

    The fighter was falling directly at the audience. People started to move away in panic, but there were too many of them to clear the area on time.

    Suddenly the fighter changed its falling direction slightly, but visibly and away from the audience. Darok was glancing at the transported platform, but no one was materialising there. The fighter was almost reaching the ground. They were touching tops of trees, sliding on them and finally disappearing behind them. She looked at the platform again. No none beamed and she heard a noise of crash, which caused a whistling and ringing in her ears.

    She, along lots of other cadets, started to run toward the crash site.

    Why didn't he beam out? she was wondering, running.

    She was one of the first on the site. A few medics were already there, presumably beamed in to be there and help as quickly as possible. One medic was covering a body, two other were leaning over another.

    “NO!” she cried, running to the body. She raised the sheet to look at his face, but it wasn't Jarol. She felt a mixture of relief and guilt; relief, because it wasn't her love; guilt, because this young man didn't deserve to die and someone would suffer his loss, while she was glad it wasn't going to be her.

    She ran to the other cadet and pushed her way between others, who gathered around him, to see him.

    The medics were tending to his wounds; he was still alive, although it was clear even to her he was in bad shape. His body was battered and his armour caked with blood.

    “Three to beam to the infirmary,” said one of the medics.

    “Take me with you,” she asked.

    Both medics looked at each other and then the ranking one said: “We can't,” and they disappeared in orange light.

    She sat on the ground, hiding her face in her hands.

  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    You're doing very well so far. :)

    The one grammar area I am noticing is that you don't distinguish between the "normal" verb tenses and the progressive tenses ("going," "doing," "saying"). If you would like me to, I can find a good explanation and link it here for you. I'm not sure if I could do a good job explaining it myself, so I'll see if I can find a good one for you, if you're interested. :)

    As to the story itself, I really am liking it!
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I understand the theory, but I didn't know I mix them that often. I'll pay attention to that, but if you find a good explanation then by all means, please link it. Maybe I just think I understand the difference :)

    Thanks :)

    Oh, just found a short article claiming it's better to use simple tenses over progressive tenses in writing :)
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Dialogue is a different animal, it's more "here and now", so different rules apply.

    Thank you for the link! :)
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    You're welcome! :)
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    2368 (2368)

    This first thing was smell. Foul, unpleasant. Atira Jarol felt a strong temptation to turn back
    and return to the Hideki that brought her to this appalling place.

    Is this supposed to be the next step in her career? She had been told her transfer was a result
    of her distinguished service and she had been requested by the station's commander himself,
    but why in heavens would someone wish her so badly to bring her here? She rubbed her nose
    and stepped out of the airlock.

    “Ah, Gil Jarol,” the voice startled her at first, as she did not expect anyone to greet her upon
    her arrival. “It is a real pleasure to meet you. I am Gul Dukat, station's commander. I hope
    your journey was pleasant.”

    So it's you, who brought me here, she thought, but was wise enough not to say it out loud.

    “The journey was fine, thank you,” she replied instead. She tried to smile, but the smell
    twisted her smile into an ugly grimace.

    “Your belongings will be taken to your new quarters, however I am afraid you cannot rest as
    yet. There are some... rules you need to know before you can explore the station,” he

    “That is all right, I am not tired. A Hideki is such a small vessel all I could do was sit all the
    way here. I am rested,” she lied. In fact all she wanted was a bed and a good, long sleep.

    “Splendid!” he seemed genuinely happy. She could not resist his smile and smiled back, this
    time without grimaces.

    “You were saying about rules,” she said in a neutral tone. “Are they different from any other
    Cardassian post?”

    “Indeed they are. This is not an ordinary military installation, Gil. There are some...” he raised
    his hand and inclined his head a little bit, looking for right words, “security precautions you
    need to follow for your own safety.”

    “For my safety from what?”


    She abruptly stopped. “You mean the workers pose a threat?” she asked raising her eye ridges
    in astonishment.

    “Not exactly. Ordinary Bajorans are benign, it is terrorists you should worry about.”

    “I understand,” she said, but she didn't. How did I land here? she wondered. “Gul Dukat, why
    exactly did you request my presence here?”

    “You have successfully solved the situation on Izarha, I hope you can use your diplomatic skills
    here, on Bajor.”
    Six months earlier

    “How dare you stealing our tools!” Ondracek stormed into the tent, yelling and apparently
    headed for the Gul's temporary office. Jarol quickly got up from behind her mobile console and
    stood in his way.

    “You cannot enter!” she said as loudly as she could to be heard over the Terran's voice, but not
    crossing the line of shouting herself.

    “You steal our tools!”

    “We do not do such a thing,” she replied calmly.

    “A troop of Cardassian soldiers entered our warehouse and took almost everything.”

    “It was necessary to acquire more tools, yes, but by no means were they stolen,” she answered.

    “And how do you call it?!”

    “A loan. Your officials have approved lending us tools.”

    Ondracek found no words, obviously surprised.

    “Officials? Lending?” he looked at her suspiciously.

    “Correct. Our settlers...”

    “We told you not to bring any Cardassians here!”

    “We do not need your permission,” her voice changed its tone from friendly to menacing. ”It is going to be a Cardassian world soon, and we can settle here.”

    “We live here! It's a Federation world! We are here and we don't go anywhere!! We live here!”

    “No one is denying that,” she tried to stay calm not to add oil to his heated cries. “However this planet is rich and fertile. Cardassian settlers will help our homeworld, providing food and other resources. We need it more than you, so we have priority to use the mentioned tools.”

    She smiled friendly, albeit insincerely. “I'm sure you understand that.”

    The Terran stared at her for a while, clenching his fists. “This planet belongs to the Federation. You have no right to be here.”

    “According to the treaty, this planet will be Cardassian,” she replied flatly.

    “Treaty is not signed yet! This is not your world.”
    “The treaty talks are in progress, true. But fate of this place has already been decided. We cannot waste time. The decision was made, this practically is a Cardassian Union territory.”

    “It's not over yet,” he hissed, turned and left the tent.

    Jarol returned to her chair and sat with a sigh. Terrans were so troublesome.

    Gul Envek left his office. He liked calling it “office”, but in fact it was just another tent, which

    entrance was connected with the... “lobby”? in which she had to sit.

    “Is he gone?” he asked, looking around.

    “He is,” she answered, not raising her head from her console.

    “I could hear him in my office. Those people are so annoying.”

    “At least we manage to keep them in line.”

    “Yes, yes. You handled him very well,” he nodded.

    She ignored him. Her opinion of Gul Envek was so low she didn't even bother to pretend respect. His lack of reaction to that deepened her despise even more. If not her, the Terrans would have overtaken the Temporary Cardassian Overseer Office long time ago.

    “I will be aboard the ship if you need me,” he said and headed for the exit.

    She didn't even acknowledge him. It wasn't the first, and surely not the last time he left “the office” before his office hours passed and it was time to go. He was a lazy, fat creature, who didn't like to work, but liked to party. He was quick to organise celebrations for any success his crew had worked hard to achieve. They were buried with work, he was awarded with medals.

    Another message arrived, a general communiqué from Cardassia. She opened it and started reading.
    Now this was an interesting thing. They were changing the armours. For whole Guard. She opened the attached file with graphic content. It contained a holoimage of a soldier wearing the new design. Interesting. Seemed more comfortable than the angular, edgy armour
    currently worn by the military. And there was no head piece this time. She smiled – no need to
    wear anything on her head meant she could start doing something with her hair, instead of dull
    braids day after day. Men, especially military men, had to follow the state instructions
    regarding their appearance, but she never read anything applying to women. Of course
    civilians had their freedom, but she was not a civilian. No one minded her make-up, so no one
    should mind her hairdo. She wondered when she would get the new armour.

    She shook her head and returned to work. She needed to finish equipment register tonight and
    she still had a lot of information to set in order. The list of next group colonists, who were yet
    to come, was being updated all the time, some of volunteers resigning, some being added; all
    of this made her work harder, as she had to keep track of all these changes and instantly apply
    them to her planning. Dull and unrewarding assignment.

    She was so deeply concentrated on her work that she didn't hear the noises outside at first.
    Only when the commotion got closer to her tent, she realised there was something happening
    there. She got up and went outside to see what was the cause of all that commotion.

    She saw a group of people. Terrans. And they didn't look very friendly. And she was all alone

    “What is this?” she asked, but no one paid any attention to her. Finally Ondracek came out of
    the crowd and silenced them. Then he addressed Jarol: “We want you to take your Cardassians
    and leave.”

    “Or what?” she challenged him.

    New murmur started and threatened to become another havoc.

    “Or we will force them out!” shouted back Ondracek.


    He had no answer for a moment and then he replied: “We will make them go away.”

    “And how will they leave? As soon as our business here is finished, we leave. Cardassian
    colonists are on another continent, without long range vessels. Do you expect them to fly away
    through vacuum?”

    It was her idea to place Cardassians far from Terrans. She had explained to Envek that it would
    be best to keep them apart, at least for the time being, and he readily agreed. He had decided
    that she was best qualified to continue that job and left her in charge. That's why she had to
    sit here and deal with Terrans.

    Her words clearly surprised Ondracek. “You mean... they won't come to take our homes?”

    “Of course not. First of all this climat is too cold for them,” and for me, she thought. “Second –
    there is enough land for everyone, it's a big planet.”

    “So why do they need our tools?”

    “Because they don't have their own, that's why.”

    “Why didn't they bring their own?”

    “I don't know that,” she said, admitting to herself that it was a valid question. The transport
    ship had been dispatched to deliver the colonists, and after transporting them to the surface it
    left immediately. She didn't know who planned that operation, but her opinion of his logistic
    planning was less than flattering.

    “I tell you what, Ondracek,” she said after a moment of silence, “I'll take you to the Cardassian
    colonists and you can tell them yourself to give you back your tools and leave your planet. How
    about that?”

    “That's some kind of a trick,” he eyed her suspiciously.

    “No tricks,” she raised her hands, open palms toward him. “I'll take you to them, you'll talk
    and I'll bring you back here.”

    “She'll kill you!” someone in the crowd shouted.

    “You can take two friends with you,” she said.

    “I'll think about it,” he replied after a moment of hesitation. “I'll give you my answer
    “She'll kill you!” the same voice from the crowd.
    “Nothing would happen to you, I give you my word,” she said.
    “Your word...” the voice was full of disdain.
    “Shut up, Honza!” Ondracek barked toward the unseen man. “We will consider your offer and let you know tomorrow.”
    “Agreed,” she replied and returned to her tent, listening attentively to the sounds from outside
    to make sure they would disperse, not attack her.

    A comm woke Jarol up. “Yes, what is it?” she asked in a raspy voice, not yet fully awake.
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    “Sorry to disturb you, Glen, before your shift starts, but there is a comm for you from Izarha.
    It's the Terrans.”
    “Give me five minutes and then put them through.”
    She got up and tied her hair to give it at least appearance of tidiness, then put some nondescript cloak over her body – for some reason she felt uncomfortable not wearing an armour in front of aliens – as there wasn't enough time to put on the armour.

    “Jarol, I accept your offer. We will talk to those Cardassians today. I will take two friends with
    me and we're going there armed.”

    She considered the last statement for a moment. “I will shoot you were you stand if you attack
    the colonists without provocation,” she warned.
    “Fair enough. When do we go?”
    “I have some matters to attend to before I can beam down. Let's say... one hour.”
    “Fine, we'll be waiting by your tents.”

    She disconnected.
    She wasn't sure it was such a good idea to let them carry weapons, but she knew refusing
    would make any cooperation impossible, ironically. She didn't trust them, they didn't trust her
    and most likely it was the only thing they could agree on.

    They waited for her outside her tent, as they had said. There were two men and one woman.
    Jarol have learned to recognise Ondracek, but all other ridgeless faces were all alike to her.
    She was glad she could tell who was a man and who was a woman.

    “Can we go?” Ondracek asked, not even bothering to introduce his companions. Not that Jarol
    minded; she didn't care for their names.

    She tapped her wristcomm. “Garesh, beam us to colonists settlement, four people.”
    They dissolved in orange light to reappear in new surroundings. It was clearly warmer there
    and the humidity was higher. They were on a hill with the settlement in front of them downhill.

    She moved downhill. The woman whispered something to Ondracek and he nodded.
    “A problem?” Jarol asked.
    “No, not at all,” he replied. “On the contrary,” he added and -surprisingly – smiled.
    She led them downhill and then asked to stop. “I will warn the settlers they have...” she didn't

    finish, as a man approached them.

    “I am Dazar,” he said. “I represent our group,” he added. Jarol guessed he spotted them
    walking toward the settlement and went to greet them.
    “Glen Jarol,” she said. “These are Federation colonists, who live here and they would like to talk to you.”

    “What about?” he eyed the Terrans suspiciously.
    “That you will have to ask them.”
    The Cardassian hesitated for a moment and said: “First I'd like to ask you something,” he addressed Jarol.
    “What is it?”
    “When will we get more resources? This,” he motioned his hand, pointing to the settlement, “is

    all we have. Yes, you have sent us some tools, but we have little materials to use the tools for.
    How are we supposed to start new life here,” he was getting more agitated with each word, “if
    we have nothing.”

    “Dazar,” she started, but he cut her off.
    “No, no. Before you say anything, please take a look.”
    She nodded and followed him, waving to Federation citizens to join them.
    She expected Dazar to describe everything, but he didn't speak. She just walk behind him, observing.
    The first thing she noticed was housing. No, 'housing' was too big word. Settlers seemed to live
    in shelters, built from stones, wood and mud. There were fires or remains of fires outside

    each... cottage? Shelter? Hole in the ground? A woman was cradling an infant in her arms,
    another was cooking a meal over a fire.
    “Where is your equipment?” Jarol asked Dazar.
    “What equipment?” he looked at her. Bitterness in his voice was obvious.
    Jarol noticed the Terran woman was whispering something to Ondracek's ear again, but before

    she had time to ask, she noticed something else.
    A Cardassian woman, middle aged, was walking toward them fast. She was clearly agitated.

    She stopped in front of the Glen and attacked her: “How do you suppose we can live like that?!
    How are we...”
    “Matzar, she can't understand you,” Dazar interrupted her and then spoke to Jarol. “We are

    under pressure, a little bit nervous, so...”
    The officer raised her hand to silence him. The woman he called Matzar spoke one of Nokar's
    dialects. Jarol was from another part of the continent, so her dialect was a little bit different,

    but she still understood her and hoped Matzar would also understand what the Glen wanted to
    “I don't know much about your situation,” she said, surprising all Cardassians within ear shot,

    as she spoke in Nokarian language. “I was given instructions to deliver what you need from the

    Federation colonists.”
    “And you never bothered to come here and ask what we needed,” the woman said, but her
    tone was calmer than before.

    “I am here now,” Jarol looked around.

    They stood between shelters, and all eyes were at them. Sad eyes looking at her from
    desperate faces.
    And just then it started to sink in. These people had nothing. They had no materials to build

    their new homes. No replicators to make their food quickly and tidily.
    “Didn't you bring anything with you?” she asked quietly in Nokarian.
    “The truth is, Glen, we'd been told to take most necessary belongings, documents and nothing

    more. Then we had been taken to a ship and brought here and beamed down with a few boxes
    of basic equipment. We have to hunt our food, dig our homes and soon will have to skin wild
    beasts to have clothes, when these are worn out.”

    “Jarol, can we talk?” Ondracek spoke.
    Dazar moved away, and Jarol went closer to the Terrans.

    “We won't take out our tools back... for now,” he said.

    “Why the change?”

    “These people are desperate. They have nothing, they were forced here, they lost everything
    and they are scared...”

    “Aren't you exaggerating?” she asked him quietly.

    “No, he isn't,” the woman spoke. “I am a Betazoid. Petr asked me to come here to see if your
    intentions were sincere. And what I see in their minds is horrible. We will help them, because
    we don't believe anyone deserves such treatment, especially from their own government.”

    Then Jarol understood. These settlers were not volunteers. They were forced to relocate. Nokar
    used to be a farmland, but forty-fifty years ago a series of droughts year after year changed
    the fertile – for Cardassian standards – land to a desert. These people were farmers without
    farms, so they were taken to a place where the soil was fertile and where they could produce
    food for their people. But no one asked them if they wanted to go. Her long conversations with
    her husband thought her that the good of many outweigh the good of a few or one, and she
    agreed with that in general, but... but she knew what her own familiy's reaction to such
    resettlement would be like. Their land was sand and dunes, and a few dying fruit trees, but
    they lived there for generations. Her father wouldn't want to leave. These men here were like
    her father. These people here were like her family.

    And she could not help them.

    “We will also give them materials to build better shelters,” Ondracek said.

    “They can repay when they can spare some materials,” the Betazoid added.

    “Why would you do it?” Jarol asked.

    “Because we have hearts,” the Terran replied.

    “Fenkyoo,” Jarol phonetically attempted to use the Terran word, not sure it resembled the
    correct pronunciation well enough to be understood by Federants.

    Ondracek patted her shoulder and smiled. “Take us home,” he said.

    “Give me a minute,” she asked and looked around to find Dazar. He was talking to another
    settler nearby; she went toward them. “The Terrans will help you by providing resources and
    equipment. You will pay back when you can,” she knew this condition was only a show; the
    Cardassians had to feel like doing business, not accepting charity; they were proud people,
    even if desperate and in difficult situation. “I will make a full report, describing situation here
    in detail.”

    “I don't think your report would change anything, but we will accept their help. And assure
    them we will give everything back.”

    “I will,” she nodded.

    The group of four gathered together and then beamed out back to the Federation colonists'

    This is a great success!” Envek seemed happy with her report. “You solved the situation,
    Terrans are not protesting, all is fine.”

    “What about settlers' needs?” she asked.

    “Oh,” he was puzzled for a moment. “I'm sure they will get help from Cardassia soon,” he said

    And she was sure neither he, not anyone else would do anything for these people down there
    on Izarha.

    “I was summoned to report,” she said, standing in front of Envek's desk.
    “Yes. Well, this is sad moment for me and happy for you.”

    You're dying? she thought. “Meaning?” she asked.

    “Your exceptional service and diplomatic skills didn't go unnoticed. Your solution to our difficult
    situation here proved your skills and these very skills are needed elsewhere.”

    A transfer then. Envek was right: that indeed made her happy.

    “You are being promoted to the rank of Gil and granted three weeks of shore leave on
    Cardassia Prime. After that you are going to report to a mining station orbiting one of our
    subjugated worlds, Bajor. Their Prefect personally requested your transfer to go under his
    command. I have no power to stop that.”

    Fool, thought Jarol. Who would admit he is weak and powerless? True, he was a Gul on a
    forgotten planet in the future Demilitarised Zone, but he should at least try to cover that fact.
    Admitting it so openly was only lowering his already insignificant status within the military. She
    despised him and was genuinely glad she was leaving. Not even promised three weeks with
    her family were making her happier than the thought she would not return under his command
    after that. Whoever would be her new Gul, he couldn't be worse.

  12. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Mar 26, 2010
    I enjoyed reading your story very much. Jarol seems very "alive" so to say, with what what you let the reader know about her life. My fave spots were the conversation between the two lovers about the the Bajorans (?) wasting food and the visit of the Terrans/ Betazoid to the cardassian settlers and their solution. I could imagine very well how it looks there and what the settlers may feel and also what the Terrans/Betazoid feel, when seeing the condition their new "neigbours" have to live in.
    Looking forward to read more! :)

  13. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Actually I wasn't thinking about any particular planet, although the whole concept is based on Bajoran occupation, as we know little to nothing about other subjugated worlds. It could be Bajorans, but it could be someone else. The point was to show how shocking such behaviour is for Cardassians, who lack food.
  14. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Definitely enjoying the story...and man, I feel bad for all of the settlers--that's a horrible situation: the Federation ones about to be sold out by their governments, and the Cardassians who already have been by theirs. I have to wonder if on this planet--unless things change when the Cardassians truly take over--maybe Federation and Cardassian settlers will truly be at peace.

    As for Jarol, I really wonder how this incident will affect her, for her to see what her own government has done...
  15. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    A mother and a wife
    2368 (2368) ​

    “I can't accept this!” Dukat threw the pad on his desk.

    Jarol was standing on the other side of the desk, her face unreadable, her back straight, her eyes shining. She didn't say anything. She had brought her proposition for new approach to Bajoran problem. It was clear Gul Dukat wasn't happy with her ideas.

    “I understand how you feel...”

    “No, you don't,” she interrupted him; her voice was calm, but there was a menacing tone hidden deeply under an artificial indifference.

    He ignored her insolence and left it uncommented. “But it doesn't justify such a change,” he finished, as she didn't speak at all.
    Her stance didn't change, she kept staring directly in front of her, not moving, seemed like not breathing.

    “Dismissed,” he said quietly.

    Her eyes shifted to his face. They stared at each other in silence and then she took the pad from his desk and left his office.

    [RIGHT]Four weeks earlier [/RIGHT]

    Jarol's sadness was enormous. How could that be? She understood the needs of the service, but wasn't the service demanding a little too much from her? Intellectually she understood the reasoning behind the refusal, but her heart ached. She missed her family and there was nothing she could do about it, nothing she wanted to do about it.

    She activated her screen again and read the message one more time. Cardassia Prime was too far and the journey would take too much time, added to her absence on the station, which was
    unacceptable. This was not a good time, as the terrorism on Bajor was spreading and more Cardassian lives were in danger. She had a job to do and it was not done yet. An argument following another argument. She couldn't dismiss any of them, but she didn't expect her request for shore leave would be refused right away. Didn't she deserve some time off? Was she really that important to the station? Couldn't they survive a few days without her?

    A chime to her door interrupted her reverie. “Come in,” she said, raising her eyes to see who was her visitor. Not many other officers had any business here, so not many were coming.

    It was Glinn Demok, she could see him through glass door before he entered. He was smiling. Actually, he was always smiling. She has never met anyone, who was always in good mood, who could always find something to be happy about, who could almost always improve moods of those around him.

    “Gil, I have a good news for you,” he said, handing her a pad.

    “I don't think anything would be good news for me today,” she muttered, taking the pad, but not activating it.

    “Oh, I think this would be. Maybe because it's something regarding the bad news.”

    “So now everyone knows about my shore leave request?”

    “Well, not everyone. But the right person does, so the right person made a right decision. You must understand he refused your request for numerous reasons, but he still understands you need to be with your family.”

    “His understanding doesn't help.”

    “Oh, but it does! Just read the content of the pad. There are your current orders there and it includes a special permission, regarding your refused request. Just scroll to the last item on the list.”

    She activated the pad, then entered the last item and started reading. She didn't have to go to the end to know what an important message it carried. She looked up at Demok.

    “Anything else?” she asked him smiling, while his own smile got wider.

    “No, I just wanted to see your face brightening up,” he replied, nodded and then left the office.

    “What is it?” asked Kotrel.

    “We need to work on our last project, seems like some of our proposals are difficult or impossible to implement,” she answered.
    “I mean the last item.”

    “This is not of your concern,” she replied. “This is not related to our duties,” she added. She had no intention of sharing her private matters with the Garesh.

    Dja Evral approacher Jarol's desk and leaned toward her. “So? What is it? Is it really good news?”

    She glanced at him and smiled. “I am still not allowed to leave Terok Nor to visit my family, but Gul Dukat allowed my family to come here and visit me. The only condition is to take appropriate security precautions to ensure their safety. Any bodyguard I need would be
    provided, but I would have to pay for this. I would have to restrict them to safe parts of the station and keep away from Bajoran sector. Which I would anyway,” her face brightened. “Can you imagine? I'm going to see my children! And my husband! They can come here for whole week, that's even longer than I asked for my own shore leave!”

    “I'm happy for you,” Evral smiled. “I know how much you miss them. When was the last time you've seen them?”

    “A few months ago, but for young children it's eternity,” she said. “I'm not even sure my son remembers me.”

    “Way too long. You deserved it.”

    “All right, let's get back to work,” she waved him away. “Our schedule for today is quite busy.”

    She felt new energy coming to her. She loved her job again.

    She wasn't fond of those meetings. She preferred to pass her reports to be read, instead of presenting them in person. It was safer in case of problems, and was leaving written trace in case of success. But Gul Dukat liked to drag his officers to discuss things and that included those lower ranking ones, like herself.

    So she was sitting among other, equally bored, people, listening to long, dragging reports which had nothing to do with her tasks.

    “Gil Jarol,” it directed her attention toward the Prefect, “I have noticed that our attempts to improve living conditions of our Bajoran workers did no bring expected results.”

    “Well, that is correct. My plans to improve their productivity failed.”

    “Why don't they work?” demanded Dukat. “You'd made it work in case of Federation colonists on that planet.”

    “There is a significant difference between planet Izarha and this one,” she started explaining.

    Dukat was just another Gul, who thought that one solution could be applied to everything.

    “Colonists cooperated. Reluctantly, but it was possible to talk to them. These people, Bajorans, don't even listen. How can I tell them to work with us, if they dismiss literally everything we say?”

    “Some of them cooperate,” he noted.

    “True, but Bajorans can be divided to four groups: those, who work for us, because they chose to; those, who work, because they are scared; those, who work, because they have no choice; and those, who don't.
    “All four groups are useless. Group one consists of opportunists, who are driven either by greed or by conformism, or by both. They can switch sides as soon as someone else offers them more. Group two is driven by fear and fear is no loyalty at all. Once they feel secure for
    whatever reason, they're gone. In addition fear is not a good incentive for a productive worker. Which leads us to group three, which is similar to group two, just more defiant. Obviously fear
    was not enough to convince them to work, so force had to. That force means presence of Cardassian overseers, who could be used elsewhere. I don't think I have to elaborate uselessness of group four.”

    “What are our options to change the situation?” asked Dukat.

    Jarol didn't like what she had to tell him. “I am not sure we have any. The resource gathering process started many years ago and many mistakes had been made. Some of them are unrepairable.”

    “How about better organised camps?” asked Glinn Demok.

    “Like Gallitep?” Jarol replied with a questions, shaking her head. “Is a hungry, beaten worker productive? It's exactly that kind of treatment that led to birth of that resistance movement of theirs.”

    Demok fell silent. She knew his attitude toward Bajorans.

    “We have raised their food rations, did that help to improve the situation?” asked Dukat.

    Jarol didn't know how to answer that. She was aware of the situation in her department, but
    she wasn't sure Dukat really wanted to know. He must have noticed her hesitation, since he added: “The truth, Gil, all of it.”

    “The truth is, Gul Dukat, that Bajorans hardly ever see any of those additional rations,” she admitted.

    “Why?” his voice darkened.

    “The food is being expedited, but it gets... lost on the way,” she should have said 'stolen', but didn't dare accusing fellow Cardassians, even those corrupted ones, in front of all these officers
    in the room.

    “Such a situation cannot happen again,” he said.

    “Yes, sir,” she replied, knowing very well there was nothing she could do, unless she'd personally looked over each and every soldier's shoulder. Dukat's use of singular form of the noun didn't go unnoticed too. For nth time she wondered if he really cared or it all was just for a show.

    “What is our productivity?” Dukat directed the question to Demok.

    The Glinn started describing the situation, which, Jarol knew, meant she was off the hook. For a moment at least.

    The meeting had come to an end and Jarol was ready to leave, when Dukat stopped her. His smile, present on his face during the meeting, disappeared.

    “I want a full report on your progress or lack of your progress. Tomorrow. Dismissed.”

    There was nothing she could say. She nodded her acknowledgement and left the room. How could she tell him he gave her impossible task? Bajorans would never wilfully cooperate with
    Cardassians, not after forty years of occupation. There were too many matters that negatively impacted any possibility of a dialogue.

    He believed she could fix it. He thought that she was some kind of magician, who made it work on Izarha, so she could make it work here. But Izarha was a planet inhabited by humans, not
    Bajorans, which fell under Cardassian rule only recently and not much harm had been done. Humans didn't have an infinite list of Cardassian mistakes to point out. She could make them listen. She listened to them. They pitied poor Cardassian settlers. Bajorans didn't say anything except for insults.

    Dukat didn't understand her success on Izarha wasn't a result of her skills, but of lucky circumstances. And she had to tell him she couldn't copy that success here, but he didn't listen. She dreaded presenting the report the next day.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Jarol welcomed the time to go off duty happily. After a sleepless night, caused by the prospect
    of another difficult conversation with Gul Dukat, she was exhausted. She was glad her relief
    was ready to take the station in ops; she nodded to him by way of greeting and stood up.

    “Have a nice evening,” he said when she directed her steps toward the lift.

    “Wait!” she heard Demok's voice. She stopped and waited, expecting him to give her some additional orders, but he caught up with her. He stepped into the lift, turned and looked at her expectantly, obviously waiting her to join him. And so she did.

    “Join me at Quark's,” he said, when they were out of ops. “You deserve a drink today. Actually you deserve a lot of drinks.”

    “Why?” she glanced at him.

    “After your ordeal with the Prefect you must be either pissed off or resigned,” he said.

    “I just had a report to present, that's all,” she said, trying not to think about it.

    “A report that he had a hard time accepting.”

    “How could you know?”

    “Oh, everyone, who was in ops at that time, knows.” She gave him and asking look. “That door to his office doesn't keep sounds in as well as he thinks,” he explained.

    “You mean... every officer in ops heard that?” her eyes opened wide.
    “That's right. That's why I was delegated to buy you a drink. You have our support,” he patted her on the shoulder.

    “Oh,” was all she could say.

    “So?” he looked at her. “Are you up to it?”

    “Do you pay for all my drinks or just the first one?”

    “All of them,” he smiled.

    “Then let's go. Just promise me you won't let me do anything shameful.”

    “You have my word,” he raised his hand.

    They arrived to the Ferengi's bar and Demok led her to one of already occupied tables. She looked at gathered faces; she had never drank with station's brass before.

    She didn't sit down yet, when her glass of kanar was put in front of her.
    “For making your day a little better,” said Demok.

    They all raised their glasses and she smiled weakly.

    “Do you do this every time he yells at someone?” she asked.

    “No, only when he yells at someone, who didn't deserve it.”

    “For some mysterious reason he is especially mean when it's not your fault. When you are guilty of a mistake, he's more forgiving.”

    “And the show today suggests that what you had to tell him was his fault.”
    She nodded. That one was true for sure.

    “He gives me impossible tasks, doesn't listen to my warnings it wouldn't work, and then says with that attitude I don't make it work,” she complained.

    “Don't worry, just drink your kanar.”

    She raised her glass. “How's your wife?” she asked Glinn Jotrel, knowing he got married not long time ago.

    His face brightened. “Actually she is expecting,” he said.

    They all cheered.

    “It's your first I presume?” she asked; he nodded.
    “Do you have any children?” he asked her, after taking a sip of his kanar.
    “Two, and girl and a boy.”

    They chatted about their families, passions, sorrows, even hard times at school. Stories from home felt refreshing to Jarol and she wondered if the senior staff were doing it often. She did see them at Quark's from time to time, but never noticed them laughing as it was now.

    The more they drank, the bolder their subjects were. Del started complaining about his wife,
    who he believed had an affair. Demok admitted he hated the station, but his request for
    transfer was refused. The mood was getting grimmer and grimmer, until Jotrel proposed
    change of subject, which all happily accepted.

    “Did you know,” he started, “that Dukat has a new one?”

    “A new one? Which is it this year?” Demok slowly shook his head; the kanar was clearly getting to him, as his eyes lost their typical sharpness.

    “I lost count...”

    “He's got a new what?” Jarol was not in the loop.

    “Mistress,” they all said almost in unison.

    “A w... what?” she opened her eyes wider. She felt power of kanar too.

    “A mistress.”

    “Who is it?” she couldn't imagine, which of women could that be, could do it to her family and as far as she knew all female Cardassians were either married or soon to be married.

    “I don't know her name,” Jotrel shrugged. “Who would bother to memorise those strange names... surnames first?”

    “You... you...” she stammered, but it was not just kanar, it was astonishment. “You mean it's a... Bajoran?!”

    “You didn't know?” Demok leaned toward her, his armour squeaking. She shook her head.

    “I knew they were bringing those poor women and abuse them, but...” she stopped. All those officers here outranked her and it was very possible some of them used comfort women. She shouldn't say too much, regardless what she thought of these things. Or rather especially because of what she thought.

    “He changes them often,” Demok explained. “I don't know what he sees in these plain, ridgeless faces of theirs,” he shrugged.

    “That's disgusting,” she said, before she managed to stop herself.

    They all nodded, but she was sure that whatever they agreed with, it wasn't what she meant.
    She could not imagine herself being dragged out of her home and forced to be a comfort
    woman. It was the most barbaric, low and appalling thing and she kept refusing that good men
    would use women, Bajorans or no Bajorans, as tools in that manner. Gul Dukat lost many
    points of respect on her scale.

    “I must go,” she stood up.
    “Already?” Dusat seemed disappointed. “Don't, we enjoy a female company.”
    “I had a bad day and sleepless night. I need rest to face a... happy day tomorrow,” she finished, pulling her face.

    “I'll see you off,” Demok rose and almost immediately fell.

    “You're in no condition to see yourself off,” she laughed. “You better get beamed to your quarters.”

    They all laughed loudly. She could hear their laughter behind the bar's door.

    She walked slowly. It was late and the promenade wasn't as crowdy as during the day. It was also quieter. Even the Bajoran sector was calmer.

    She was only a few steps from the lift, when she heard sobbing. She looked around, but didn't
    see anyone. There was some commotion on the Bajoran side, but it was too loud there for the
    sobbing to reach her ears here.

    There it was again. Jarol stopped, trying to determine where it came from. She kept listening
    until she heard it again. She made a few steps toward the spot she thought it came from and
    stopped again, waiting for another sound.

    Sob again and then explosion into a full blown crying. Child's crying. The sound was coming
    from behind stacked packets. She went there to see a small figure curled in a tight corner. The
    child raised his head and she saw eyes wide open with terror and a wrinkled nose.

    “Are you lost?” she asked him. Louder crying was his answer. He pulled his arms toward her, so
    she picked him up. He couldn't be older than three. “Where is your mommy?” she asked, but
    he nestled his face into her armour and kept sobbing.

    She went toward the fence, dividing the promenade to Cardassian and Bajoran sections.

    “Hey!” she called, trying to be lauder than ongoing commotion, but not too loud to additionally startle the boy.

    “Kamar!” a Bajoran woman shouted.

    Suddenly Jarol understood the reason of the chaos on the other side of the fence – they were looking for the boy. She nodded to the soldier on duty to open the gate and went to the other side to hand the child to his mother. “He must have walked to the Cardassian side and after the gate was closed he couldn't return,” she guessed.

    The Bajoran woman eyed her distrustfully, turning away to shield the boy, like she expected the Cardassian officer to tear him back out of her arms. Jarol turned and left the Bajoran sector, headed for the lift.

    “Wait!” she heard behind her. She stopped and turned. Thank you, the Bajoran woman expressed her gratitude soundlessly, just moving her lips without actually speaking. Jarol nodded, smiled slightly and headed for the lift.

    “How's work?” Jarol asked her husband after their first supper on Terok Nor.

    He and the children arrived earlier that day. Corat tried to tell her about all wonderful things
    he'd seen on the way to the station, Mayel brought one of her artworks with her to show to her
    mother. They were so excited they didn't feel any fatigue and it was very late when their
    parents managed to put them to their beds to sleep.

    Now the officer was sitting with her love and finishing their late supper.

    “Dull,” he answered honestly.

    “Oh, come on, it can't be so bad...” she smiled.

    “It's dull, that's a fact. But I didn't say it was bad. It gives me stability and I have plenty of
    time for our children,” he tried to fake a cheerful tone, but in spite of a smile on his face there
    was no joy in his eyes.

    “You should live my life and I should have a cosy position in Ministry of War,” she said grimly.

    “No, no,” he shook his head with passion. “I am proud of you,” he said. “And so are our children. Corat wants to be a soldier, like his mom. I tell them all about you, about your wonderful Final Flight manoeuvre, about your promotions...” he smiled, genuinely this time.
    “Each evening they ask for new stories about their mommy and when I have no new stories to tell them, they choose a story already told to be re-told. I think... no, I am sure my mother is sick with those stories after listening to them so many times, but children never get tired of
    them. They keep asking for more.”

    “Do they?” she smiled.

    “In their eyes, you are a hero.”

    “In my eyes, you are the hero.”

    “How about new armours?” he asked, eyeing her uniform thrown on a sofa behind her. “Are
    they better than the last design?”

    “Depends. They are surely more comfortable, don't limit your movements, like the old ones
    sometimes did, but... they are damn heavier. I got used to it already, but I remember...” she couldn't stop and laughed quietly, “my shock, when I put it on the first time.”

    “I suppose wearing civilian clothes makes me luckier,” he took a sip of fish juice.

    They ate slowly, telling each other how they were doing, and arguing amicably from time to time. Corat and Mayel slept in her bedroom and Atira checked on them several times during the evening. Not that she worried there was any danger in the bedroom; she just couldn't
    resist the need to go and stare at them, at their innocent faces covered with delicate ridges. Her daughter's patterns were resembling Joret's, but Corat's face was more like her own, he
    also inherited her blue eyes, while Joret and Mayel were looking at the world with two black shining diamonds.

    Their days were passing quickly. Dukat allowed her to leave duty two hours earlier each day of
    their seven-day stay if she would stay two hours longer for next seven days. She took the offer
    and had more time to be with them than initially expected.

    She stared at the empty space. Intellectually she knew there were debris, really fine due to quite effective explosives, but she did not want to accept it. She could not think there were tiny pieces of her family, drifting in emptiness, spreading farther and farther. Soon there would be nothing left. Nothing.

    Corat's smile, his innocent, round eyes; he used his cute little face to manipulate her. He knew he could achieve everything with just a twitch of a face muscle. It was enough to look at her and she ran to him to ask what he wanted. He used to come to her and ask if she could tell him a story. She ran out of stories, but he didn't mind hearing any of them multiple times. He just wanted stories. Later, when her service took her away from home, he turned to his sister
    for stories. Mayel was better than her, Mayel was making stories, so no story was the same. He didn't have to listen to the same story ever again.

    What would she do now? Who would she ask for advice? Who could she complain to about hardships of her career? Who would take her into his arms and not see her as weak?

    Her head was full of thoughts, then full of realisation and in the end completely empty. As empty as the space on the other side of the bulkhead, where a Hideki should be, headed for Cardassia. Only remains of her family left.

    There were sounds around her, but she was barely aware of them. She knew there were people behind her, maybe even speaking to her, but none of them was of consequence. None were important. This was just her job, just business; her life was destroyed on that vessel.


    She was aware someone was behind her, but it took her a while to realise one of those
    surrounding her sounds was directed to her.

    “Atira”, the voice repeated. There was no one on this station close to her to have a right to call her by her given name. The only person, who could do that, was here temporarily, and he just
    left to never reach their home.


    She turned and looked into her commanding officer's face. It was expressing sadness and sympathy.

    “Atira, I...” his voice trailed off, “I am so sorry...”

    “Did you see it?” she asked whispering, feeling tears gathering in her eyes for the first time since these eyes saw that... that... saw this...

    “No,” he shook his head. “I was in my office.”

    “How come you got here so fast?” she asked, her voice breaking down.

    “You have been standing here for over an hour,” he explained. “No one could take you away from here, but I don't think it's a good idea to stay here either.”

    “You didn't see it...” she whispered.

    He approacher her, grabbed her elbow and gently pulled. “I'll take you to your quarters.”
    Her empty quarters. So empty. Still filled her their odours, unclean dishes left after the last meal, maybe some forgotten... toy...

    She let him pull her to her cabin. She was vaguely aware of crying in Dukat's arms, she wasn't sure if there weren't also Demok's arms to cry into. Someone was bringing her food or trying
    to convince her to eat. She didn't want to eat, she wanted to die.
    She was in service. If Bajorans hated Cardassians, they should have hated her; she was here.

    She wore an armour and carried a disruptor. It was all her fault, she wanted to see them so desperately she brought them here, in spite of danger. And they paid the price for her selfishness.

    But no, these wrinkle-nose monsters didn't care who they were killing, as long as it were Cardassians. They must be proud of themselves, their target was surely worth it. What an impact, Cardassia is ruined: two young children and one clerk. A deadly blow for sure!

    Her quarters' door opened and Glinn Demok entered. She looked up at him; she saw he carried a tray with food.
    “Oh, I'm so sorry,” he looked at her a little startled, “I know I should have chimed first, but for last ten hours you hadn't reacted to that, so we stopped doing it,” he explained himself.

    She kept staring at him. He knitted his eye ridges and put the tray on the table next to her.
    “Thank you,” she said weakly. Her voice was rough and coarse.

    “You're welcome,” he answered. “How do you feel?”


    He sat opposite her. “If you need anything let me know.”

    “You can't give me what I need,” she said, thinking about her family.

    “We will find responsible people, you can be sure of that,” he said, raising.

    “Uhm,” she muttered under her breath.

    “Try to eat, you need to eat,” he said softly and left.

  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    How horrible! Of all the people on that station for that to happen to, she's the last one who deserves it!

    You really captured Dukat's personality, BTW--"forgiving" when someone's guilty (to make himself look magnanimous, I think), but harsh about circumstances that can't be controlled. And for him to fake sympathy for Jarol and get her to become vulnerable in front of him...sounds like him. He must want something, and it can't be good.
  18. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    She's going to have more "fun" with Dukat :shifty:
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Those in command are not always right
    2372 (2372)

    “You have an incoming transmission,” said the computer.

    Jarol growled. “You have an incoming transmission,” repeated the computer.

    Must be good news, since such always come in the middle of the night. She reluctantly got up and approached the comm panel.

    “I'm sorry to wake you on such an ungodly hour, but I have a proposition for you,” Legate... no, wait... Gul Dukat's face was looking at her from the screen.

    “You may not know, but I am not an officer in demand right now,” she said. And neither are you, she added in her thoughts. Actually, when to think of it, they were a good match.

    “And you may not find any good post any time soon, I know,” he voiced her fears. “So I have a proposal you shouldn't refuse.”

    “A proposal, or an order?” she asked.

    He smiled. “A proposal. It isn't a dream post or a dream ship, but it is a step leading you back to your previous glory.”

    My or your glory? crossed her mind, but then she thought it didn't really matter, if the glory were shared.

    “What is that proposal exactly?” she asked.

    “Join my crew. We are currently quite short handed and could use skilful officers. I'm in command of a... freighter,” he almost spat out the last word.

    She thought of it for a moment. She was waiting for her new assignment, and while serving on a freighter was no honour, her next assignment might occur to be a lot worse; actually there was a serious threat that it might be charges and facing the Tribunal, not another assignment. The new civilian government supported her decision to protect civilians on Adarak Prime, so Central Command – what was left of it – could not execute her for defying her Gul's orders, but her case was still unresolved. Her only satisfaction was that the rest of the crew didn't let him do as he planned and he was relieved of duty in the end.

    “I accept,” she simply said.

    “I send you coordinates and time schedule. Be ready, you will report aboard as soon as your new orders are approved.”

    “Yes, sir,” she answered and he disconnected. “Splendid,” she muttered to herself.

    [RIGHT]Three months earlier[/RIGHT]

    “Another bird-of-prey decloaking starboard!” Jarol tried to be loud enough for Gul Ahal to hear her, but wasn't sure it was possible in the noise of exploding bulkheads and consoles. She saw he said something, but didn't hear word; he probably cursed under his breath. Then he turned to her.

    “Shields' status!”

    She glanced at her console and gave him her report; he ordered to face the newly decloaked ship with the strongest shield. Not that it would make much difference, as all shields were almost equally weak.

    “We need to retreat,” she suggested, “sir”, she added after he turned to look at her. His eyes were throwing thunders at her, so she lowered hers and looked back at her console.

    The ship had been attacked by two Klingon birds-of prey. Cardassian Union Warship Saset had been on her way to Foskal system, where they were supposed to meet with a small fleet of transport vessels and escort them to one of colonies near newly formed DMZ. Jarol had welcomed a break from battles. She'd thought it would be a nice change to protect someone from danger and be their hero. However the fate planned it differently. They hadn't managed to get as far as Foskal when Klingons attacked. They managed to take down one of the aggressors, but not before their torpedo launchers were crippled. With only disruptor their effectiveness diminished and their tactical advantage over the small Klingon vessel was gone, evening the odds. It became a fight of equal bumps and shakes, testing sturdiness of both ships. Constant attacks were unnerving: the noise, the shaking, the smoke filling the bridge – it was all frustrating Jarol, who tried to regain the advantage the Galor had had. With the other Klingon ship appearing their chances were slim to none.

    “Incoming volley of torpedoes from both Klingon ships!” she shouted, watching on her console in horror small red dots, which were quickly closing to their ship. “Brace for impact!” she grabbed her console and prepared for the hit.

    The torpedoes' strike was worse than she expected. In spite of her preparation she was almost knocked out of her chair. Something exploded behind her.

    “Hull breaches all over the ship!” she heard chief engineer's voice. “Warp drive is off...” she couldn't hear rest of his report, as another explosion covered his voice. She felt, not heard, a thud behind her.

    “Report!” the Gul shouted over the noise. He was getting up from the floor and getting back to his seat.

    Someone ran toward the engineering console behind Jarol. She looked back to see Kosut thrashing on the floor in a pool of blood. She tapped her comm: “We need a medic!” she shouted. She crouched by Kosut, noticing the pool of blood was quickly expanding. He was missing an arm and open wound was bleeding profusely. She looked around to find something to stop the bleeding, but there was nothing.

    “Tactical report!” Gul Ahal demanded. “Jarol, back to your post!!”

    She waved to another officer to take care of Kosut. “Try to stop his bleeding,” she told him, then rose and looked at her console. “Birds-of-prey coming for another attack!” she shouted over the noise. “Their weapons are fully charged.”

    “Do we still have shields?” he asked.


    He stood and made a step toward the screen. “Tactical, fire at the weaker ship as long as you can,” she nodded acknowledgement, even though he was turned to her with his back and couldn't see it. “Helm,” he continued, “collision course with the stronger ship. Ram them!!”

    No one opposed. Jarol heard a few officers shouting “For Cardassia!” She prepared for death, hoping they would destroy the Klingon ship and take all filthy monsters with them.

    She thought of her dead family and glanced one last time at her console, before closing her eyes and preparing to join her children. Then she opened the eyes to re-examine the tactical reading, as she thought she'd seen something.

    “Sir, two Galor class warships coming out of warp!” she shouted.

    “Evasive, evasive!” roared Ahal and helm immediately executed.

    “We're receiving orders to withdraw,” communications reported.

    “Do it, we're in no shape to fight, we'd just stand in the way,” answered Ahal.

    Jarol looked back at Kosut. He wasn't thrashing on the floor any more, so she assumed his status improved. She sat on the floor and asked the soldier, who attended to the engineer: “How is he?”

    He just shook his head in reply.

    She lowered her head. She knew Kosut wasn't the only casualty, she didn't dare to think how many others died this day. Instead of escorting a convoy they were being dragged on a tractor beam to the nearest dry dock. Some heroes, she thought bitterly.

    She helped to carry bodies to the cargo bay. They kept regular, lower deck soldiers separated from officers – Ahal's order. He believed officers would mind laying next to regular crew. Jarol believed it was idiotic, but no one asked her.

    One of last bodies brought was Kosut. She waited until everyone left the cargo and sat on the floor next to his body. Kosut was a good officer, a great talent and it was his skill that kept the ship in working order, even after all fighting they had to endure. He also was the only one who spoke to her, really spoke, not just issued orders, insulted or mocked.

    Since her disgrace and two-year reprimand, entered into her files by Gul Dukat four years ago, her service was a long, sad duty under the worst officer she had even seen in her life. His servant was smarter than him; he at least could think ahead, an ability completely alien to Gul Ahal. He had absolutely no regard for his own crew. She started as delta shift tactical officer and now was alpha. No, he didn't promote her, if it depended on him he would shoot her where she stood once she had been assigned to his ship. His bad, bad, bad commanding style filled this very cargo with many bodies many times before, including all other tactical officers, who served with her. She was the last one.

    She looked at Kosut's body. He was a good man. He worked hard to climb up the ladder of career, he was experienced and always ready to share his ideas and offer advices. He was the only one on this ship, who cared to ask what she had done to deserve her reprimand, which virtually stopped her career in place. The reprimand was supposed to be in effect for two years only, but Ahal was not a forgiving man – he never trusted her and never gave her a chance to prove herself.

    Kosut tried to convince her that her reprimand was unfair, but in this case she didn't agree with him: she hadn't secure her family's safety and they'd lost their lives because of her negligence. Gul Dukat had every right to enter the reprimand and she felt he was lenient; if she were in his place she would demote such an officer and leave permanent reprimand in his file. She failed her family. She wasn't welcome in Joret's parents' house any more and her own sister didn't speak to her. As it should be. Her egoism brought death to them, and she deserved the worst.

    However Kosut had told her she was punishing herself enough and didn't need anything more. She believed no adequate punishment was possible.

    Was that what life would give her? Would everyone, who she cared for, die? Would she spend her life as a mediocre officer, on a mediocre ship, under a poor Gul?
  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    “We have new orders,” Ahal announced.

    Whole senior staff was in the briefing room, including Jarol. Ahal sneered at her when she entered, but neither he not she had any choice; until he got crew reinforcements, they had to work together.

    “How are repairs?” the Gul demanded.

    “Progressing,” replied Gil Rabok, Kosut's aide and now chief engineer. “We still are in bad shape. We're good enough to fend off an attack and run away, but no good for offensive action. I advise avoiding any Klingon squadrons for the time being.”

    “We are no cowards, we will not run,” Ahal barked.

    Of course not, we will all be blown up to Bajoran heavens instead, thought Jarol bitterly.

    “Can we fight one bird-of-prey?” Ahal asked Rabok.


    “I don't like this answer. Tomorrow night we have to be ready to destroy such a ship.”

    “I'm not sure it's pos...”

    “I don't want to hear excuses!”

    Rabok silenced, biting his lower lip.

    “Jarol, you are to prepare poison.”

    “A what? Sir...”

    “Poison. We are going to eliminate Klingons poisoning them. Or any other way of releasing some kind of weapon, toxic substance, a virus, I don't know, it's your job to design it.”

    “Sir, I am not a science off...”

    “You're a woman, you will design the substance to work.”


    “Shut up! Don't discuss it with me, get it done!”

    Wonderful, she was to do something she had no idea about.

    “What is the target, conditions?”

    “We are going to eliminate Klingons, who have taken one of our border colonies. Most of their fleet left the area, leaving only one small ship behind, plus the boarding party on the planet.”

    “Which colony is it?” a Glinn, whose name she didn't know, asked. Another replacement of another dead officer.

    “Adarak Prime,” answered Ahal.

    Jarol's heart rate raised. “Sir, this is an inhabited world,” she said.


    “You want to release a toxic substance to eliminate Klingons, but it is close to impossible to develop something that would be harmful for the enemy and harmless for our own.”

    “Oh,” he thought for a moment. “I didn't even think it was possible to develop such a substance. Can you do it harmless for Cardassians?”

    She wasn't even sure she could make it at all. “Such a task would require lots of time.”

    “We don't have time. Work with our science department. You are in charge.”

    Wonderful. He thinks badly of her as an officer, but is sure she's a great scientists to pull a rabbit out of her hat, while in fact she was everything but a scientist.

    “But sir, we can't kill our own citizens,” she protested.

    “We have to eliminate Klingons.”

    “Not this way, not at such cost.”

    “I have to agree with Gil Jarol,” Ahal's aide supported her. “We are to protect our people from Klingon threat, not to kill them in the process.”

    “Did I ask for your opinion?” Ahal shot him a hostile glance.

    “No, sir, but I will express it anyway.”

    “I wouldn't advise defying me, Glinn.”

    “Sir, I will try to bring the ship back to fighting condition to defeat the Klingon the traditional way,” offered Rabok.

    “You just said there's not enough time.”

    “Lives of Cardassians down on the planet will be additional incentive to speed up our work.”

    “Do you mean you could do it faster, but were too lazy?” Ahal twisted everything, as always.

    “No, sir, I...”

    “You will speed up the repairs and we will destroy the bird-of-prey faster, then we will release the poison to the atmosphere.”

    “Sir,” someone else spoke, but Ahal rose.

    “Not another word from anyone. These are our orders.”

    “Our orders are to kill all Cardassians on Adarak Prime?” Jarol muttered.

    “You're out of line,” Ahal made a step toward her.

    “I will notify Central Command of your actions here,” she looked him in the eyes.

    “If your report is going to be full or grammar errors, as your tactical reports are, I doubt they would understand,” he barked back.

    Someone laughed at the table.

    “My language problems are not an issue here,” she retorted.

    “You will develop the poison,” he said, his tone menacing.

    “I am not a scientist, I'm a tactician.”

    “You are a woman.”

    “This,” she pointed to the blue colour in her inverted drop on her forehead, “doesn't make me a scientist.”

    “Fine, then prepare a plan of bombardment. We will kill everything on this planet one way of the other.”

    “Sir, we can't bomb thousands of our citizens just to kill a few hundred Klingons,” Robok protested.

    “What is this?” Ahal looked around. “Detapa counsil at work? I don't ask for your opinions. I issue you orders and you are to execute them. Is that clear?”

    “I can't murder our own people,” Jarol rose. “This would be disgrace.”

    “You know everything about disgrace,” Ahal smiled madly. “I should know better than put you in charge of this task. Robok, you will design a plan for bombardment.”


    “Not another word! These are your orders!”

    “Sir, I...”

    “We can't shoot at our own!” Jarol's mouth and lungs cooperated in creating a shout, before her brain stopped them.

    “You defy me?” Ahal approached her; he stood so close their noses almost touched.

    “No, sir, but I am sure there must be another way to accomplish our mission.”

    “No one wants you to be sure of anything. No one asks you to think,” he hissed. His breath smelled badly.

    “No one expects a Cardassian ship to kill all inhabitants of a Cardassian world,” she growled.

    “How dare you! You will never get a chance to be assigned to a warship,” Ahal yelled furiously. “Never!”

    “At least I don't have to worry to be under your lousy command again!” she yelled back before she stopped herself. A lot of officers looked at her astonished.

    “Dismissed,” somehow he managed to lower his voice to a hiss.

    She left the briefing room, striding proudly toward the door. She was too angry to realise her career was over and most likely she was going to be executed.