Sigils and Unions (Timeline B)--Cardassian Sunrise (SPOILERS!)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Nerys Ghemor, May 26, 2009.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Star Trek:
    Sigils and Unions​
    “Cardassian Sunrise”​

    2258—Three months after the destruction of Vulcan
    USS Enterprise

    This is a breaking news alert,” declared FNS anchor Ephrexi, the gravity of the moment writ large on her once-cheerful Denobulan features—for these days, those words usually heralded nothing good. “We have just received confirmation of the rumors we’ve been hearing for the past week—sources in Paris tell us that the anticipated mutual defense pact has been signed early this morning, San Francisco time—”

    Spock switched off the viewscreen as an emotion he could not name roiled through his body. It is eminently logical, he reminded himself in spite of his visceral reaction to the news…though these days, as much as he schooled his reactions through Vulcan discipline, he made no effort to pretend they weren’t there—for this, too, was his heritage and though it might seem to run counter to his burning desire to keep the culture and traditions of Vulcan alive, he utterly refused to let go: as for Kohlinar…someone else would have to carry that burden. Not him. Not ever.

    Smelling blood in the water after the destruction of Vulcan and the concurrent losses in the Laurentian system, the Klingons and the Romulans native to their own time had escalated their aggression against the Federation to unprecedented levels short of a full-scale assault. With the personnel, fleet, and industrial losses, not to mention the horrific blow to the Federation’s morale following the attack of the Narada, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep these hostile powers at bay.

    Worse yet…there was still a twenty-five year gap in the Narada’s twenty-third century travels as yet unaccounted for. Had Nero really, as he had suggested, lain low for twenty-five years between his initial emergence and the Genocide of Vulcan, as the attack was now being called? Or had he been in contact with the Romulans of this time? What might they know now of the galaxy thus far still unexplored, or of technologies to come? What might they know about Federation weaknesses of this period, with the benefit of historians’ analyses from 150 years later? And had Nero shared the secret of the weapon that had consumed Vulcan?

    Clearly the Romulans and the Klingons were massing for an attack. That much was obvious, even if it remained unknown whether they were simply emboldened by Nero’s strike or in possession of knowledge beyond this century. Therefore the new defense pact was, for the time being and perhaps even beyond, a mutually beneficial arrangement for both powers, neither of which had any love for the idea of unchecked Klingon and Romulan aggression—especially if, as logic suggested, the two empires allied with each other in hopes of conquering the Federation and dividing the spoils. And the second signatory to the pact…they would doubtless fall next, for they had already had their own encounters with the Klingons and Romulans, which had surely whet the appetites of the two empires for their blood as well as the Federation’s.

    But that didn’t blunt the sting of what had just happened, however much the survival of both powers depended on the alliance: Rojan…Qinaul…the dissidents…and this was to be their new partner in defense and perhaps long-term ally, if the politicians did what he expected. So much for high principles. And the most illogical thought popped into his mind—pure human bitterness: And look where our vaunted principles and precepts got us: 11,347 survivors—and in what direction shall that number trend? Given the Vulcan reproductive cycle and the hard facts of genetics…this might not even be a viable gene pool if every man and woman proved capable of reproducing at every possible mating cycle up to the point where they could still care effectively for the resulting children.

    We should have expanded, Spock thought. We should never have put all of our eggs in one basket, as Kirk would say. Our insularity was ultimately the death of us all—or at least the death of six billion, should our race propagate sufficiently to remain viable.

    As for them…their world had practically forced them to it. So like humanity…the blow, if their homeworld were destroyed, would be devastating—but they would survive.

    And that was what the Federation needed now, loathe as Spock was to admit it.


    2234—One year after the attack on the USS Kelvin
    Shuttlecraft Jarvis, departing from the USS Challenger

    Captain ch’Maashan’s antennae focused intently on the young man seated before him. But to his credit, the fresh-out-of-the-Academy officer did not shrink back under the warrior’s forbidding gaze. “Ensign…I cannot emphasize enough the need for secrecy regarding everything you see and hear from this point forward: as far as any of us are concerned, Ambassador Sarek never left Federation space. And no formal contact between our peoples has ever occurred…and especially not on the level it’s about to occur.”

    “Yes, sir.” Ensign Christopher Pike reinforced his acknowledgment with a solemn nod as he strapped himself in for departure. ch’Maashan had shared the dossier Intelligence Director Reed had prepared on these people, and if everything in the report held true—it was blatantly apparent as to why.

    Up until three years ago, they’d been little more than a rumor upon the lips of the Vulcans…known, apparently, all the way back to the twenty-second century, but never deigning to make formal contact with the upstart power that, if the expansion of both powers continued along its projected pattern, would eventually find itself right in their backyard. Then a Federation free-spacer had made contact. Then another, and another. Last year the Federation had been on the edge of outlawing all such forays on the grounds that trade with the draconian regime would constitute a tacit endorsement of its harsh policies.

    But unknown to the populace or even Starfleet at large, after the attack on the USS Kelvin by an impossibly advanced adversary that had identified himself as Romulan, certain policies at the highest and most closemouthed levels of Federation government had begun to change. The embargo never went into place, though Starfleet made it eminently clear that any spacer that got himself in trouble on the other side of the border was on his own. And under Starfleet’s officially blind eye, the trade routes were already emerging, even though three years on it was still only the most daring merchant spacers that actually ventured into their space.

    The hope, as the dossier indicated, was that these informal contacts might facilitate future goodwill—or at least tolerance—from the paranoid, dictatorial junta in case the need arose to call upon it someday. The gargantuan Romulan vessel hadn’t been heard from again since the Kelvin’s sacrifice. Some of Starfleet’s elite dared to hope it had been destroyed.

    But others, including Ensign Pike, remained doubtful. In his research for his dissertation, he’d viewed the last download of the Kelvin’s bridge video recorder, received by the evacuating shuttles just seconds before the starship’s destruction, as well as the footage from every shuttle available. There was no doubt Robau and Kirk had saved the lives of his crew. But the fate of the Romulan vessel itself…Pike hadn’t written that into his paper—it was far from certainty, and furthermore, his focus had been on Robau’s and Kirk’s coolheadedness and courage in the face of death, what in their lives and careers had brought them to that point, their decision-making processes, and how Starfleet might seek to cultivate such qualities in the upcoming generations.

    But to him, the alien behemoth’s damage patterns just hadn’t pointed conclusively to the Romulans’ demise.

    Whether that meant it was still out there somewhere, Pike wasn’t sure. He lacked the information, as a mere ensign, to make that call—but as his fellow away team members chatted amongst themselves, he remained silent just like the Vulcan ambassador, taking in all the information he could on the people amongst whom he would soon find himself.

    Thirty minutes or so into the shuttle’s journey, an authoritarian voice crackled over the comms. Pike immediately set down the report he’d been reading, his eyes darting over to the viewscreen, which was on transparent tactical mode: ahead lay the field of stars and in it, three alien vessels of a strange, desert-beige, shaped and segmented not unlike a creature of Earth’s Permian deep. They mean business, Pike thought to himself, a distinct pit settling at the bottom of his stomach. Furtively consulting the relevant chapter in the dossier he determined that was a trio of top-of-the-line Verkoun-class attack cruisers.

    Overlaying the tactical display was the face of the lead ship’s commander. Dark brown eyes glared distrustfully at Captain ch’Maashan from under a set of heavy, scaled ridges in a shape not unlike fishing hooks—or those of a Denobulan. But there the resemblance ended. Reptilian, scaled ridges warred visually with the thick slicked-back black hair and hominid eyes, teeth, and basic facial features. But above all, it was the flared ridges that flowed down from neck to shoulder, prominently displayed by the forbidding grey and black armor, marked with gold script and tailored to his physique, that truly signaled to Ensign Pike that this man was truly alien. Gold rank insignia adorned each of the armored half-sleeves of the cuirass: two small vertically-oriented bars cut through by a horizontal bar…something like a hybrid between a cross and a division sign.

    Shuttlecraft Jarvis,” the grey-skinned commander ordered, making a concerted effort to mask his difficulty pronouncing the foreign name but still not preventing the ‘j’ from emerging as a rather serpentine hiss, “this is Gul Tamrak of the Cardassian warship Adometar. You will come to a complete stop immediately, lower your shields, disable all jamming fields and sensors masks, and prepare to be scanned prior to clearance into Cardassian space. Following clearance, you will maintain course and speed with the escort group at all times; you will receive further instructions upon arrival at Cardassia Prime.

    At least they’re not demanding we ride the rest of the way in confinement in their shuttlebay, Pike observed, though he wisely remained quiet while ch’Maashan spoke.

    “Gul Tamrak,” the Andorian smoothly replied, “Ambassador Sarek and I wish to thank you on behalf of the United Federation of Planets for your hospitality and concern for our safety.” Riiiiight, Pike silently commented—then sternly warned himself to reserve judgment. Such was not befitting of a Starfleet officer, especially when based on a visceral reaction to another species’ external features. He tapped a few commands on the pilot’s console. “You should find everything in order, and we await your navigational data whenever you’re ready.”

    Acknowledged,” came Tamrak’s terse reply. “Prepare to receive course and speed following the completion of security and contraband scans.” The Cardassian cut the channel without a further word—and just like that, all conversation aboard the shuttle ceased.

    Five Starfleet officers, one ambassador, and the draconian might of the Cardassian Union. Yes, the free-spacers had all returned alive as far as anyone knew, but just what had they gotten themselves into?
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  2. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    They wore desert uniforms—off-white, loose-fitting shirts and pants with the Starfleet patch sewn to the breast, that would have blended in perfectly on the streets of Kabul. The trim of each man and woman’s sleeve bore their rank and department colors. The system primary—Verkoun, after which the class of ships that had escorted them here had been named—had climbed high in the sky, but its light still had a distinctly reddish hue in comparison to Sol, and the tinge it brought to the sky reminded him a bit of the Martian colonies even in midday. But this place was far, far hotter than Mars at midday. Despite their mode of dress, Christopher Pike could have sworn the oppressive heat of the capital city had hit him even before the transport cycle had a chance to complete itself; only Ambassador Sarek, in his heavy Vulcan robes, appeared wholly unaffected. Had the Cardassians arranged things this way on purpose?

    To actually set foot on this planet, after what he had read about it during the shuttle trip, was a strange and sobering experience. Just as Earth had numerous times in its past, Cardassia Prime was suffering the agonies of a major extinction event, and had been for the past four hundred years—an event that bore striking similarities to the Great Dying, the climactic crisis marking the boundary between the Permian and Triassic eras. It was the Great Dying that had killed the creatures on Earth most similar to the Cardassians—and indeed, a sizeable portion of the planet’s other dominant species: the therapsids, creatures not entirely reptilian, but not entirely mammalian, either. The Cardassian vole, he’d noticed in his reading, bore a rather striking resemblance to the Terran cynodont—although Pike had immediately commented to his fellow red-cuffed ensign that the cynodont had the better end of the bargain by far.

    Pike ceased his musings almost immediately: security guards, clad in similarly forbidding outfits to the wing of the military represented by Gul Tamrak, although with decidedly less armor, surrounded them. Still, Pike couldn’t help observing how these men blended in with the architecture—a rather brooding blend between Art Deco and Gothic features, though with a utilitarian austerity to the entire thing.

    The other thing that struck Pike were the giant viewscreens mounted almost everywhere in sight, not unlike the famed Times Square television before the nuclear attack…though these had an elliptical shape to them. All of them were tuned to the same channel; a man clad in an identical uniform to Gul Tamrak was speaking. Ensign Pike couldn’t understand a word of it, for the translator could only handle so many input-output channels simultaneously, and that one had been discarded in favor of the speech of those nearby. The tone, however—at least, if Cardassian speech was similar enough to that of humans to make the judgment—was decidedly authoritative in nature. Was this some sort of public service announcement? Or was this what the people of this world were subjected to all the time? Somehow Pike suspected the latter.

    Then the guard nearest to Pike spoke. “Sosotiy Cardăsa-ra Terăm-ra oça’adep de’ek,” he declared, his eyes cold and his tone just as steely as the one from the viewscreen. Captain ch’Maashan held the team’s Universal Translator in a possessive grip. Though he stared stonily ahead, something about the Andorian warrior’s demeanor sent a clear message—try and take this from me and I will test my theory on what orifice of yours it’ll fit into. The translator rendered the Cardassian’s words into Federation Standard: I welcome you all to Cardassia Prime.

    But almost imperceptibly, the Vulcan ambassador’s eyes had narrowed. Was there something rude about the guard’s statement that the translator hadn’t caught? Still, that didn’t stop Sarek from delivering a level, even respectful response in the other’s native language: “Pakariy malinzayn ça’ada.” You do a great service, the translator said at first—then amended itself with a looser translation: We thank you.

    At this, the guard raised an eye ridge, ever so slightly. The hook of cartilage shading each eye was only half as mobile as a human or Vulcan eyebrow, so Pike supposed this gesture might have seemed a bit more animated in Cardassian eyes than it appeared to him. Was he impressed, perhaps, that the Vulcan had taken the time to study his language? Or was that contempt, that a lesser being would speak in his tongue?

    Oughitz’uçiym oça’ad,” the guard commanded—You will follow me. He gestured towards the great portal of the largest building: this, according to the mission plan, was the main headquarters of Cardassia’s Central Command. Opening relations at their military headquarters, Pike thought to himself. If that doesn’t send a signal about what these people are like, I don’t know what else does.

    Once through the doors, Sarek, ch’Maashan, Pike, and the rest of the team were subjected to a series of scans so prolonged and intrusive that Pike half expected an all-cavity strip search to follow. No one ordered them to remove their clothes, thankfully—but the ensign rather suspected that the Cardassians’ scanners had already done the job, in a manner of speaking.

    Only after this process was completed were they led into a conference room not much larger than the officers’ briefing room aboard the Challenger. At first Pike wondered if this, like the outdoor transport coordinates, the strip-scan, and whatever it was in the guard’s phrasing Sarek had found so rude, was also a none-too-kind statement as to what these Cardassians thought about the visiting aliens. Then again, he observed, we’re not exactly here officially; I don’t suppose a red-carpet welcome would exactly be appropriate under the circumstances.

    The first three Cardassians to enter the room, judging from the Union sigil emblazoned on the sleeves of each man’s cuirass, were thă’ăkliv, a rank that for whatever reason had been translated into Federation Standard as ‘legate.’ One lower-ranking officer accompanied each thăkliv, his or her rank indicated by two gold diamond shapes—the larger on top, a smaller one below—with a hollow in the middle of the upper diamond. This, Pike remembered, signified the rank of glinn…a position so difficult to translate into Federation Standard that like gul, it remained untranslated. But the way they related to the senior officers made it quite clear they served as aides.

    Veçok de’ekou Măcor, Yasur, me Uparok,” the oldest-seeming of the legates said, gesturing first to his own chest, then pointing at the other two. Even before the translation caught up, Pike understood Macor to be introducing himself and his fellow legates. Legate Macor did not, however, bother to introduce their aides.

    Another Cardassian burst into the room—this one, at least judging from his clothing, appeared to be a civilian. His breath came quickly, as though he and his aide had been running to reach the meeting on time; he narrowed his eyes at Legate Macor as if accusing him of something. Macor countered with a menacing look of his own. If this was the representative of the Cardassian Union’s civilian Detapa Council that they had been told in the official dossier to expect, then this dynamic surely didn’t bode well.

    Is it me, Pike wondered, or did Macor intentionally give this guy the wrong time or place for the meeting? For his own part, the young ensign would have translated the civilian’s look as something like, Nice try, jackass. He glanced over at ch’Maashan, though he didn’t go so far as to raise an eyebrow. The Andorian met his eyes—it seemed the captain was on the same page.

    Rhăbalbre Telor edek,” the civilian announced simply: I am Councillor Telor.

    The Councillor’s aide, who went unintroduced just the same as the legates’ aides, was a pale-hued young man who seemed a bit more absorbed with whatever he had started typing into the table console than the momentous occasion unfolding around him; his fingers danced across the panel with the graceful precision and rapidity of a concert pianist—though these weren’t exactly the slender fingers of a musician. There was strength in them as well, that suggested someone capable of a more practical sort of work, though some would surely call it just as much of an art. All of this registered subconsciously to Pike; all he knew was that he suddenly had an image of this man building model planes for a hobby—that is, if Cardassians did any such thing.

    The aide glanced up from his work…possibly some sort of last-minute reference check to compensate for the Councillor’s near-lateness. Like the others had before, he coolly assessed the Starfleet team. Pike wasn’t sure if it was the natural wideness of this particular man’s eye ridges, or the lightness of his blue eyes not unlike some in Pike’s own family, but something about the young Cardassian’s expression seemed ever so slightly different from Councillor Telor’s, and especially compared to the legates—at least to Pike the difference was like night and day. His eyes betrayed an earnest curiosity about the mammalian visitors not unlike a Starfleet officer his age might have displayed.

    Ensign Pike couldn’t resist smiling at the young aide. The Cardassian, however, gave not even the slightest hint of a smile. Pike’s face fell. But at that, something flickered in those lake-blue eyes—hard to read, especially with the reduced mobility of those eye ridges, but…it almost looked like regret.

    And then Pike understood, with a flash of his own remorse: the aide could not evince even the slightest approval or even openness towards the aliens lest he risk being branded by the Orwellian regime as a traitor…it had been unfair of Pike to expect the response he would from someone not trapped in the yoke of totalitarianism. Still, the young man maintained eye contact for a fraction of a second more…and that said enough. There are at least a few, Pike thought to himself, that seem to have some receptiveness towards us as more than just allies of convenience.

    There would be no accord today. It was far too premature for such a thing, and hopefully there would never come a day of such grievous need as that. But at least if the time came, this reassured Pike a bit: no matter what the uniformity their society had enforced on the populace, this was far from a hive culture. No—there was a soul underneath…one that in some cases, apparently lay much closer to the surface than others.

    Something kicked Ensign Pike under the table: ch’Maashan. The Andorian spoke not a single word. Instead, he edged his antennae backwards, a gesture he apparently hoped the Cardassians’ spies—for there certainly were spies, perhaps even among the delegation—would fail to interpret as significant. After all, Andorian antennae were almost always on the move, and most often in an instinctive manner. But Pike had already worked long enough with ch’Maashan long enough to know what this deliberate gesture translated to: Watch your back—it’s time.

    And thus began the Federation’s first formal contact with the Cardassian Union, twenty-four years before most of its citizens would ever know.

    32 Hedorăk, Union Year 388
    [Federation Year 2258]
    Cardăsa Terăm—City of Lakat


    The pale-hued, forty-four year-old Cardassian, still considered young by his people’s standards, set down his tools and glanced up from the elaborate maze of plastic tubing he’d been working on. It was a vompăt habitat, of a magnitude he’d promised the twins would elicit the jealousy of pets throughout the Union. As soon as his twin sons had asked their parents’ permission to buy a pair of vo’ompat, Varec had immediately laid down two stipulations: one, they would evenly split the primary care responsibility for both pets, and two—under no circumstances would he allow them to carry the poor creatures in the tiny plastic globes so many other kids used for the small, unusually furry creatures. It was a cruel practice, Varec and Nelay had both insisted, and strictly forbidden for any child of theirs.

    Varec could have worked all night on the habitat—but with a glance at his wrist chrono, he realized it was nearly time for bed. That’s odd, he thought to himself: the children should already have been asleep by now, so normally his wife wouldn’t shout across the house like that.

    Ve’, Nelay?” he called back. “Is everything all right?”

    “Turn on the news!” Nelay yelled. “You have to see this!”

    I repeat for those of you just tuning in that in the wake of the destruction of the core Federation planet of Vulcan, a mutual defense pact was signed early this morning by representatives of Central Command and the Detapa Council,” Glinn Kopal, the usual newscaster, was announcing. “The Federation representatives have bound themselves to their word: should the Klingons or Romulans attempt—however futilely—to mount an offensive against the Union, we are to be defended as vigorously as their own core worlds. And should they fail to live up to their oaths, rest assured that we shall exact retribution in punitive measure. Cardassia shall not fall as Vulcan has fallen!

    It should be emphasized that all dealings with the Federation must be cleared through official channels. No citizen shall seek passage beyond Union borders without the express permission of the proper authorities, and anyone coming into contact with Federation citizens shall submit a full contact report to the following address…

    Varec obligingly watched until the glinn had finished his message, rather absently memorizing the address, but assigning it little import…his internship as Councillor Telor’s aide was long overwith, and he now had a successful career as one of the civilian Administrators of Lakat. Once Kopal finished his message, Varec switched the viewscreen back off for the night and switched off the lights; the starlight coming in through the windows was enough for him to see where he was headed.

    Nelay was waiting in her nightclothes for him at the head of the stairs, her long hair flowing loose for the night, almost down to her waist. She pressed her lips together. “Do you think they’re a threat, Varec?”

    Varec, of course, dared not reveal his participation in the first formal contact between the Federation and the Union; that was classified information and the penalty for revealing such information was death. And as everyone knew, the eyes and ears of the Obsidian Order could be anywhere; the threshold of the home was far from sacrosanct, as far as they were concerned. He had a feeling, based on that day’s interactions. But he could not, must not couch it in those terms. “I don’t believe so,” he truthfully answered, then continued. “Central Command’s clearly thinking ahead…I trust they would never allow it.”

    Nelay nodded her agreement with the orthodoxy her husband had just cited. “Wise words, Administrator,” she affirmed with a smile, and kissed him delicately on the jaw ridge. Varec returned the kiss, following it with a long embrace, letting her draw reassurance from the feeling of his body and bioelectric field against hers.

    Thus relaxed, Varec finally began to notice how tired he was. “I’d best be off to bed,” he decided. “I’ve got a council meeting first thing in the morning.”

    “You do that,” Nelay gently chided. “I’ll check on the kids first—I’ll be along shortly.”

    He crawled into bed, his muscles weary—and his mind churning relentlessly over the evening’s news. He turned out the lights, lay down, and pulled a pillow over his head as many Cardassians did to maintain warmth as they slept…but for just a moment, he pulled the covers up as well. To any outside observer, whether to Cardassian eyes or those of an Obsidian Order camera, he would appear as nothing but a silhouetted shape of a man formed out of cloth.

    Like any Cardassian, his eidetic memory allowed him to almost relive the events of the past as if they were yesterday. In his mind’s eye, he glanced up from the research Councillor Telor had begun, but never had the time to finish thanks to Legate Macor’s attempt to cut Telor out of the meeting entirely—or at least embarrass him.

    A young, dark-haired human met his gaze with intense, almost raptor-like eyes. Pike, the Vulcan ambassador would call him. But as piercing and analytical as those eyes were, they seemed to twinkle a bit—alien he might be, but what he read there was genuine goodwill…far from the rapaciousness the usual animated caricatures of foreigners might depict.

    Pike aimed an amiable grin in his direction.

    Now, as he lay there in the dark, face hidden by the bedcovers, he felt that same flash of regret he remembered from the day of the conference. With his tongue, he touched the empty spot where his first molar had been extracted at the age of ten and given to the Bureau of Identification…the sign every Cardassian carried of the state’s place in the hierarchy over the individual. He felt a similar hollow deep in his memory of the moment.

    But tonight, twenty-four years late though it might be…Varec Berat smiled.
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  3. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Author’s note: Hopefully I will have solved a few mysteries with this story—a throwaway line about a race the Federation should never have had contact with in the 23rd century and Christopher Pike’s willingness to listen to a stowaway Kirk despite the wildness of his theory, to name a few. Forward from this point, though…this is where we really get to see the first effects of Vulcan’s destruction: a Spock who feels pushed by the loss of his mother to find peace with the human side of his heritage, and a Federation willing to entertain alliances it would never have contemplated before.

    Observant readers may also have noticed the reference to the eye color of certain members of the Pike family—this is kind of an Easter egg related to the eye-color change between TOS and Abramsverse Pike. It helps that those same pale eyes also run in the Berat family. ;-) Another note about Pike: this presumes the destruction of the
    Kelvin occurred in his senior year at the Academy. He wrote his dissertation in a year, then graduated. The Challenger is therefore Ensign Pike's first posting, and this may well be his first major away mission. As to why ch'Maashan would choose him--listen to the word used to describe what Pike wrote at the Academy. This guy crammed a doctorate into four years at the Academy! He's probably every bit as much of a genius as Kirk is--though much more controlled as a person.

    The desert uniforms are...kinda based on what we saw in "Image in the Sand" during
    Deep Space Nine. But, I liked the idea of acknowledging a non-Western culture in their design, hence the choice to go with what's basically a salwar kameez, an outfit worn in areas ranging from Afghanistan to Pakistan to India. As to making Pike a redshirt...well, we don't know WHAT his specialty really was, but I admit I couldn't pass up a bit of dark humor about the very redshirtish fate he escapes in this timeline.

    For Cardassian-watchers...I didn't want to get into just how similar or different the Cardassian uniform might be to what's seen in the 24th century, but the rank insignia worn on the sleeves of the cuirass are in fact the same ones seen in "The Wounded" on a different sort of uniform. The
    Verkoun-class can be seen as a sort of early ancestor of the Gălor. You will also notice that neither Federation nor Cardassian translators work with the efficiency of 24th-century translators...therefore they actually hear each other speak in their native languages, with the mechanical voice of the translator relaying what's said.'ll also notice that the Detapa Council still exists at this time. But the interaction between Macor and Telor should serve as a warning sign of things to come...

    To readers of Sigils and Unions, Varec Berat is indeed the grandfather of the man who would become Gul Tayben Berat. I’ll be interested to know if any of you recognized the relation before the “big reveal” at the end, and if so, how early!
  4. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 27, 2009
    Thor Damar, God of thunder and monologue..
    You know I really shouldn't have read this...

    but I can't stay away from Cardassia of course. I love what I've read so far and I would be interested to see how this defense pact turns out, Cardassia's alliances have not always ended well:shifty:
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Thank you very much for reading--I truly hope I didn't spoil too much for you!!

    But I'm glad you liked it. :) I have no idea, though, how the alliance ends for either power. I haven't thought it that far ahead yet...
  6. Thor Damar

    Thor Damar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 27, 2009
    Thor Damar, God of thunder and monologue..
    ^How about we come out on top this time...;)
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    That would be interesting indeed, as that could go in so many ways.

    You know the other interesting one to contemplate? My OTHER Cardassian universe--what if this happened there? That alliance could have a whole other character again!
  8. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    You're gonna make your head hurt with multiverses. This was great-I liked how you conveyed the totalitarianism. The hints of things to come were easy to pick up-while appreciated your post script wasn't necessary-Your story conveyed a lot of info! 2 Thumbs up!
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

    I know the postscript wasn't strictly necessary...but I really enjoyed packing all that "trivia" into the story.

    There are 4 possible universes I'll be making it my main job to work with--though someday I really want to do a kind of AU-palooza story. Which I thought would be LOTS of fun to do from a POV other than the Federation. ;)

    With my work, there are two main points of divergence to be concerned with right now: first, the 500-year old point of divergence on Cardassia Prime (that's the Sigils/SigCat division), and the 125-year-old point of divergence in Star Trek XI (Timeline A and Timeline B).

    There will later be a third point of divergence...but I absolutely CANNOT spoil that one at this time.
  10. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 20, 2009
    America after the rain
    I really enjoyed this.
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Thank you. :)

    Somehow I just could not imagine the Federation approaching things quite the same way ever again, after that sort of loss.