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

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

  1. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Rayak Nor, the gul’s office

    Jarol heard the door open, so she turned to see who was her visitor.

    “Arenn? I had no idea you were in this sector.” She made a step toward him, but his words stopped her immediately.

    “Gul Jarol, it has been brought to my attention that you are unfit for duty.”

    She stared at him. He was so official and so cold. Was he angry with her, too? Had she wronged him, too?

    “Unfit for duty?” she repeated quietly. “Who reported it?” Clearly, someone noticed and informed him. Well, it was hard not to notice, really. She was unfit for duty and she knew that. There was just nothing else she could do, but to try to go on.

    “It doesn’t matter,” he answered. “I have studied your reports and Glinn Borad’s reports and it would appear that it is him who, in fact, is running the station.”

    She knew that too. For the last few weeks he kept bringing her orders to sign. Good orders. Good decisions. Decisions that she had been unable to make. “You should promote him,” she said.

    “I might. However, I didn’t come here to talk to him. I came to talk to you.”

    “I’m listening.”

    “You are temporarily relieved of duty. You will start psychotherapy and will not return to work until you are officially declared ready.”

    “I’m not crazy,” she muttered.

    “I did not say you were. But you are not able to fulfil your tasks and in my personal opinion, supported by Medic Albek’s medical assessment, you will not be able to do that until your troubled mind is healed.”

    “And if I won’t start the crazy-therapy?” she asked. She intended the question to be defiant, but it sounded more like begging.

    “I will be forced to relieve you of duty permanently. You would be granted special pension, as you injuries were inflicted during your service, however...” But she didn’t listen to him any longer. The only thing that he had just said that mattered was that he would kick her out of the Guard.

    The military service was everything for her; she knew no other life, had no other purpose. It had become a part of her when she had been sixteen, still a child, and she had no other use now. Without this she would be nothing. Completely nothing.

    She already was nothing, wasn’t she? She sat on the floor and looked at him. Any other superior would simply issue an order, but Arenn, her best friend, tried to find another way. He tried to help her stay, even though he knew she was useless. No one needed a gul who feared to make decisions.

    She should have resigned, instead of forcing Arenn to make this though choice. She knew she should have, but she clutched to her work like a sinking man to a log, because she had nothing else left. Laran was an adult and didn’t really need her any more. Arenn had rebuilt his life and didn’t need her either. And Hatinn certainly didn’t need such a burden; she knew he loved her but she also knew he deserved someone better. Someone who would notice his feelings much sooner and someone who would be a partner for him, not a resource drainer.

    “I resign,” she said.

    Brenok had silenced some time ago, aware that she wasn’t listening to him, and only thanks to that he was able to hear her low voice. He sighed and sat next to her on the floor.

    “Hmm, this isn’t going the way I planned,” he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. “Atira, I don’t want you to leave. I want you to start the therapy because you really need it. My little blackmail failed miserably and I probably made things worse.” He squeezed her arm gently. “But you must understand that you have to start your healing or you’ll perish. This is no different from an operation. You would allow an operation, wouldn’t you? This also is an operation, but words are the tools, not laser scalpels. I can’t order you, I can’t force you, all I can do is to beg you to agree. You must agree, Atira. You must.”

    She didn’t say anything. She wanted to bark “nonsense” or “zobarshit,” but she was sure her voice would sound ridiculously weak. She blinked in the attempt of stopping her tears that threatened to fill her eyes.

    “Ati, do you remember what you felt seeing me after my neck ridge was repaired but I still wasn’t called back to duty?” She nodded. “Do you remember my condition?” She nodded again. “Did you want to help me?” Another nod. “Now I feel the same.”

    “I didn’t want you to see a crazy medic.”

    “Because the reason of my deterioration was different. I knew what I needed. Do you know what you need?”

    She looked at him. No, she didn’t. She knew what would be the best for her, but that was unachievable. There was no other option, no other solution left. She shook her head to answer his question.

    “Maybe Medic Fatret would help you find what you need.”

    “Who’s that?”

    “The best crazy medic on Cardassia. I have brought her here. If I take her back to Cardassia, you will also be aboard, in civilian garments. I’d hate to do it to you, Ati, but I would do it.” He paused and she wasn’t sure if his silence was caused by her tears or by another terrible thing he was just about to say. “This is the time that you have to make a decision. Not Borad. You. Decide. Therapy or return to Lakat. Decide now.”

    She bit her lower lip to prevent its shaking. He was cruel. She had never known how cruel he could be. Had he learnt that from her? Was she that cruel? Had she destroyed him? Had she polluted that young, singing dja and showed him how to be a rotten Cardassian? She gently stroked his cheek. “I’m so sorry, Arenn. I’ve been a bad example.”

    He only smiled. “If not you, I would be dead. Twice.” His grin faded and his face turned sober. “Decide,” he said softly but firmly.

    “Do you think I’m crazy?” she asked.

    “No. I think you need someone to help you reassemble all puzzles of your life back together, to recover the clear picture. Someone who knows how to do such things. Decide.”

    “So you don’t think I’m crazy?”

    He shook his head. “No, I don’t.”

    “The crazy medic,” she said at length.

    The relief literally poured out of his face. “Assign quarters for Medic Fatret. Not Borad, you do it. She will keep sending me weekly reports and if I get even one that would contain the information that you missed one session, you will have my official letter of dismissal from the Guard the next day. Is that clear?”

    “Perfectly,” she muttered.

    “I’m glad to hear that. Now get back to work.” He rose and helped her up. “Tell Laran I love him.”

    “You’re not staying?”

    “I can’t. Too busy.”

    Had he come here only to have this conversation? And to bring that medic for crazy people?

    “I’ll tell him.”

    He smiled and left her office.

    She felt some strange comfort—someone was ordering her to do things, someone was making the big decisions, someone was pointing her which way she should go.

    She wasn’t alone. Someone didn’t come to make decisions for her, he came to make sure she would be taught how to make them herself again.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge

    Yassel for the third time scanned the city that the beacon signal had come from, but the result was the same as two previous times: she did not detect any Cardassian life signs.

    Kapoor raised her head from her console. “Anything?” she asked.

    Yassel only shook her head.

    The Marritza should have beamed the gareshes many hours ago, but it had occurred that the short skirmish with the Talarians had damaged their transporters and the repairs had taken some time.

    Yassel refused to accept the assumption that the Rathosians had killed the Cardassians. She refused to accept that they had killed Aladar. But there was nothing. No sign of the Hideki—as it had completely burnt in the atmosphere—no sign of Cardassian life forms and no sign of Cardassian technology. Even if the locals had killed the aliens, they would still have their weapons, wristcomms and the beacon. The beacon signal was gone too.

    “Where are they?” Kapoor growled, angered.

    Yassel knew that Kapoor also didn’t want to accept Aladar’s death—she was his friend, after all. For her, Aladar meant more than he would ever for Yassel.

    Zamarran hovered over Yassel’s shoulder. “Try to scan for Cardassian materials. If they destroyed the devices, there should be something left. If we’re lucky, there’s something typical for us and not available on this planet.”

    “Yes, sir,” she confirmed his order—a suggestion, rather—trying her best not to show how stressed she was with him standing so close. Would he “casually” place his hand on her shoulder? Would his finger “casually” wander to the inner edge of her collar? Would it touch a scale?

    She closed her eyes and waited but a short moment later she felt him moving away. She opened her eyes and saw that he resumed his pacing in the middle of the bridge.

    She scanned the planet for the forth time.

  2. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I'm glad Aladar shut up the misbehaving team. Not only was that disrespectful towards the Rathosians, but just imagine if an Oralian had been on that team and heard that remark. Obviously I'm sure the Oralians are used to hearing all sorts of sarcastic and even cruel remarks--but no one should have to be used to that sort of treatment. And I don't think Aladar would ever want someone to be used to that.

    Especially not after AU Dukat. True, he wasn't around AU Dukat much, and didn't ask too many questions--but I think saving someone's life and helping them get back to their own universe would have to be a very memorable experience in one's life. ;)

    As for the Federation--oh, this could get interesting really fast if the Rathosians find out the Federation never came to help them, but only came to watch them die! Yet the Cardassians came to help them.

    I wonder if the Federation observers, should there be any, will decide to spread bad rumors about the Cardassians to try and turn the Rathosians against them. (Because of course THAT kind of interference would be A-OK, but saving them wouldn't be! :klingon: )

    Somehow I could see the Rathosian world--in the future--becoming a Union world rather than a Federation one. I wonder how that treaty with the Federation would do then, given that it could easily look like a repeat of Bajor to someone cynical...even though I think your Cardassians would rather trade than steal.

    As for Jarol being relieved of duty...I think that needed to come. She didn't need her work--her work was killing her. I still don't think she should be in the military anymore, period. She became corrupted because of taking power; like Kai Winn, she needs to walk away from that if she is ever going to heal. Not just being a legate--but holding power over others' lives, as she still does as a gul. But I think that maybe if a psychotherapist can help her come to that realization in a more healthy way, give her some clues towards finding a new purpose where she can do something that serves people rather than commanding them, that would be a good thing.

    As for Brenok...thankfully, he seems to have moderated the influence he took from Jarol. And now that he's shown he can give orders both previously and now, without being in her shadow, I think he's come out from under her influence. That is an important sign of maturity in him as a character. Before, such as during the coup, I feel that sometimes he failed to question and think about things as deeply as he should have, because of who was involved. I don't think he became cruel, as Jarol fears now--but I do think that he failed until this breakdown to question the hard person she became. Now I am not as concerned about that. I think what will be best, though, will be a situation where he can enjoy her presence as family but in a more equal way.
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I think that meeting AU Dukat, even if he didn't know that much about him, was a great experience for Aladar and changed his perception of certain things.
    Ironic, isn't it?

    The Federation's reaction to Cardassian presence in the system--and fighting, no less--is going to be in the next chapter so...stay tuned ;)

    Her healing will be shown. Initially, I intended the sessions to be "behind the door," but when I was re-reading my Shaping a Cardassian story, I started to write the sessions, so you will have a chance to see what she goes through and if the "crazy" medic helps her.
    So you don't think that he was able to think independently and that he actually agreed with what he participated in, but it was only her bad influence instead? His wrong decisions were her fault too? Everything was her fault?
    He had his brain and he used it. I don't think blaming her for his decisions is fair.
  4. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I think his role in researching what had happened to AU Dukat had to have shown him how smart he was. I'm sure he knew already, but this was proof he could show to his commanding officers. He was recognized for what he could do. :)

    I think that during that period in his life, he was to at least some degree blinded by hero worship. While I think that he probably believed he was evaluating things 100% objectively, I really do not think he had objectivity when it came to things that Jarol brought up, until their positions became reversed. Once he outranked her, I think their relative positions caused him to have to consider that when he made a decision--after all, you cannot be credible as a leader if you favor certain subordinates or anything like that. I think that brought him some objectivity when it came to work decisions. That was an important point of maturity for the character and one that I considered a milestone.

    That said, when it comes to objectivity, I certainly don't mind Brenok trying to find a way to save Jarol. I think that what he's doing is something that not only a friend--but a good commanding officer should do. Even when a person is a co-worker and nothing more, I don't think you just throw people away.

    But even the way he scrutinized her reports shows that he doesn't have rose-colored glasses on, as a leader. He's able to see what's going on and face that truth. He doesn't try to deny it.

    Thankfully, that objectivity gained is (I hope) going to save Jarol's ass.
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Oh...and I forgot to mention...I had a feeling of what had gone wrong with her previous gul, but now I'm sure what Yassel's last gul did. :(
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    It's hard not to be sure any more :(
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    And now I'm angry that the perp is out there in your universe, unpunished. Someone needs to bring him down. Or bring this. Snip, snip... :evil:
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Rathosia, Forrituloix City

    Aladar couldn’t sleep. After an interesting evening with Rathosian governor, filled with good food and conversation, he and his two men were taken to the guest suit in the palace for night rest.

    The Rathosians had done their best to accommodate their tall guests and had quickly made comfortable and long beds for all three Cardassians. Not used to such comforts—but rather to what kind of discomfort a warship offered militia troops on lower decks—two militiamen had quickly fallen asleep, but Aladar’s head was full of information, questions and impressions.

    He had had a chance to see a two-dimensional image of a soktoo, which indeed resembled Cardassians by its general built, size and ridged face. He had had a chance to see more two-dimensional images of Forrituloix City and also of other cities. He had learnt that the Rathosians were gathered in their huge cities, as the planet was populated by many big predator species that hunted the small, sentient inhabitants of Rathosia. Each city was surrounded by a tall, thick wall, which had no gates. A hundred years ago the Rathosians had travelled from one city to another in underground tunnels that connected the cities, but later they had developed their transporting system and started to simply beam to another city.

    Each city had its distinct, particular culture and language, not unlike continents on Cardassia, or countries on Earth—if he understood correctly what Kapoor had told him about her home.

    There were seventeen gigantic cities on the planet and all seventeen governors had beamed to Forrituloix to meet the aliens that had come to save them. Aladar was terrified of the great responsibility, but at the same time he found it amusing that right at this moment he was as important as Legate Ekoor. He had done his best to represent his people in the best light and to answer all questions the Rathosians had asked, just like they had answered his. They had even asked for membership in the Union! Hearing that, Veltek had almost choked with food that he had been chewing.

    Now, Aladar was replaying the whole evening in his head. Torrploisaxis, the governor of Forrituloix City, had finally decided to send his unusual guests to bed, but he had promised to continue the talks the next day. The other governors hadn’t been happy that the most important event in their planet’s history had been being cut short, but they had reluctantly accepted that the Cardassians might be big, but they certainly need rest, too.

    Listening to Veltek’s soft snoring, Aladar felt panic raising in his heart. The previous evening was filled with cultural questions, innocent questions about fauna and flora, and history and all those things that were safe to talk about. But what if the next day brings something more serious? Aladar was just a garesh, not even grade five! He was a simple soldier; someone to push around and to order things to do, someone considered too stupid to think for himself.

    He knew he wasn’t very clever. He hadn’t graduated from any good schools and his grades had been average. He had to work in his father’s shop and even a short moment free of stacking boxes to do his homework was luxury. He hadn’t had time to study, so after his father’s death and selling the shop the only way to make a living was to enlist and become someone else’s tool.

    He didn’t mind. He knew that a soldier’s work was hard and he tried his best to do it well. He listened to his superiors, he knew how to keep a secret and he was trusted. He was a nameless militiaman but in his heart he felt proud of his job and what he had achieved. He had served on the flagship for twenty years. He had never failed his commanding gareshes, or his guls.

    He didn’t need much—only to know that his sick mother and sister had a roof over their heads and something to eat. Their well-being was important, he could go on sleeping on the lower decks with other militiamen, who worked as hard as he did for the good of their families.

    And now someone made him a representative of the Cardassian Union and he felt overwhelmed. He was not up to it!

    A familiar sound interrupted his reverie. For a moment he was not sure what that sound meant, but after a second his abruptly sat. It wasn’t a Cardassian transporter, it wasn’t Rathosian either—he already knew its sound. It was Federation.

    Seven yellow-clad officers entered the sleeping room and trained their weapons on the Cardassians: two riffles per Cardassian head. The seventh man looked at Aladar.

    “Are you their leader?” he asked. Aladar only nodded. The man approached him, grabbed his arm and barked, “All right, Gul. You will go with us!”

    Aladar’s eyes opened in surprise. He wanted to ask, ‘What did you call me?’ but all he managed to do was to start laughing. His laughter changed into a wild guffaw and the other two Cardassians, who had been woken up by the Federation security, gave him confused glances.

    But Aladar couldn’t stop laughing.

    He made sure, though, to knock over a sculpture and break a vase on his way out, pretending to struggle. He only hoped that the Federation people would be in too much hurry to clean it up.

    Rayak Nor, the gul’s office

    Delva entered the office and smiled widely to Borad, who sat in the gul’s chair.

    “Thank you for seeing me,” the Ferengi said.

    “What can I do for you, DaiMon Delva?” Borad looked at him seriously. “Is it about that ship again?”

    “Err, no, but I’d like to thank you for the protection. And ask for more.”

    The glinn rolled his eyes. “You should stop making enemies of people.”

    “It’s not that, my dear Glinn. The thing is...I have a cargo that needs to be transported to this station and I’d hate to lose it. It contains some items that had been ordered by residing here officers and I’d rather not make enemies of them by losing their merchandise.”

    “What makes this cargo so special?” It wasn’t the first time that Delva brought his merchandise to the station and he had never asked for an escort before.

    “Some of the items are especially valuable.”

    Borad couldn’t stop his smile. “And who exactly can afford them?”

    “”I’m sure I could agree to a reasonable price with my customers, don’t worry about that.” Delva showed his uneven teeth in a smile. “I don’t ask for a Galor. Just a patrol ship to show that this cargo is not as vulnerable as it would seem.”

    “Didn’t you think that this could also send a sign saying ‘we carry something valuable’?”

    “You’re right. Give me a Galor, then.”

    Borad smiled; he liked Delva’s insolent sense of humour. “Forget about it. But I’ll give you a Hideki. You can transfer the treasure to the patrol ship and we would deliver it here, safely. The rest of your cargo can proceed as usually.”

    The Ferengi considered the Cardassian’s offer for a moment. “Sounds like a deal. And what do you want in return?”

    Borad’s face was graced by a sleek smile. “I’m sure we can agree to a price.”

    Rayak Nor, Medic Fatret’s office

    “Have you done what I asked?” Medic Fatret asked.

    “Yes.” Jarol wasn’t looking at the therapist but at her hands on her lap.

    She sat on the sofa, one leg curled up under her. She hated the sessions since the first one and hated them even more with each next one. Fatret shifted in her armchair. Jarol had expected the medic to have a padd and make notes, or read information, but the crazy-medic never did that. She pretended it was just a casual conversation. Jarol knew it was all but that.

    “So, who is the person you’d like to be like?” the medic asked.

    “Gul Brenok.”

    Fatret seemed to be mildly surprised. “Why him?”

    “Because he is as pure as stream water. Life didn’t spare him but it never managed to break him. He is brave and relentless. He is wise and unstoppable. He knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to achieve it. He is everything that I am not. He is everything that I wanted to be and failed. He is the best person I know. The best Cardassian. The best soldier. The best father and the best brother.”

    “All right. And who is the person you think you resemble most?”

    “Gul Ahal.”


    “He was an arse and so am I.”

    Fatret didn’t say anything for a moment. “Could you please elaborate?”

    “There’s nothing to elaborate.”

    “I know that you had ordered to kill him. Did you ever regret it?”

    “No.” After a moment, Jarol added, “That’s not good, isn’t it?”

    “Did you have any doubts before you made that decision of killing him?”

    Jarol thought for a while, recalling those times. “I am not sure. I knew that it was a crime and that this was the wrong thing to do, but I believed that it was lesser evil. I knew I was paving my own road to hell, but I hoped that this sacrifice was necessary...not to let him do any more evil things.”

    “Do you still think that this is the case?”

    “I don’t know.”

    “Did you tell your son about it?”

    “I did.”

    “How did he take it?”

    “He hates and despises me.”

    Fatret smiled. “I wouldn’t go that far.”

    “He does. And he is right.”

    “Is he? Or, perhaps, you hate and despise yourself?”

    “Of course I do.” Jarol said it like it was the most logical and obvious thing in the universe.

    The therapist’s face darkened. “Jarol, we had talked about it.” The gul only growled. “So if you don’t want to hear my little speech again, you have to start making progress.”

    “I can’t turn my feelings off!” Jarol shouted. “What am I, a Vulcan?”

    “I don’t want you to turn your feelings off. I want you to analyse your feelings, the present ones and the past ones.”

    “You are the one to analyse.”

    “No, I’m to help you find them and analyse them.”

    “So help me!”

    “When for the first time you thought about killing Ahal, was your decision firm?”


    “Before his death became the fact, did you think about not doing it?”

    “Many times.”


    “For many reasons.”

    “List them, please.”

    “I didn’t want to have someone murdered like that. I didn’t want to solve the problem this way. I felt guilty that I used someone else and made her do it. I feared to be caught and executed. I feared what my family would think of me. I—”

    Fatret raised her hand, interrupting Jarol’s monologue. “You had lots of doubts,” she stated.

    Jarol thre her hands up. “Of course I did!” She leaned forward toward Fatret. “But it didn’t stop me. I still did it!”

    “Yes, you did.”

    “I’m a piece of murderous trash!”


    “I should be dead.”


    “I’m not any better than he was.”

    “Do you think that Legate Ahal would also regret his wrong decisions and his mistakes?”

    “I doubt that.”

    “But you do regret.”

    Jarol stared at the therapist. “ mean...I’m not as bad as he was?”

    “You tell me.”

    “It doesn’t matter what I think.”

    “So what matters?”

    “My family. I care what they think.”


    “It’s too late for me. I’ll never respect myself again. And I know they will never respect me again. I have to accept that because I deserve nothing else.” She paused and then finished in a shaking voice. “But I can’t go on knowing that they hate me.”

    “They don’t hate you.”

    “And how do you know?”

    Fatret smiled. “I know them. I need them to help you and I know how they care. You insult them saying these words. You call them liars and pretenders. You pay with distrust for their care.”

    Jarol started to cry.

    Fatret took a padd from a desk, which was behind her armchair, and handed it to the gul. The Cardassian forced her sobs to quiet down and took the padd. “What is it?” she asked.

    “Activate it.”

    She did so to see Gul Dukat’s face on the display.

    “Aaargghhh!” She threw the padd at the bulkhead with a roar. The device crashed and fell apart to small pieces.

    “Why did you do it?” Fatret asked her calmly.

    Jarol started to her feet. “This...this bastard had convinced me that I was responsible for my children’s deaths!” She pointed to the ruined padd on the floor with her finger. “He made me believe that it was my fault, as if I killed them personally! What’s more, he sold us all to the Dominion and in the result I lost my husband, my friend and the man whom I consider a brother lost all his family.” She was so furious that her whole body was shaking. “Isn’t that enough?!”

    “That’s more than enough.”

    Jarol slumped to the sofa; all her energy gone.

    Fatret observed her for a long moment. Finally, she said, “I think it’s enough for today. However, you still have to find someone whom you think you resemble most. Clearly, Legate Ahal was not the right choice. Be fair next time—fair to yourself.”
  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Rathosia, Forrituloix City

    Governor Torrploisaxis entered the guest suit. He was furious. Chief Inspector Gorrtosoilix nervously glanced at him. “I thought I told you to post guards outside their door to make sure that they were safe.”

    Gorrtosoilix bowed. “Yes, my Governor, you did, my Governor.”

    “Where are the guards?” Gorrtosoilix looked around.

    “They are not to blame. The attack was clearly from inside.”

    Torrploisaxis glanced at two crime investigators, who hovered their readers in the middle of the main room. A thought came to his mind. He looked at Gorrtosoilix, his anger gone and replaced by worry. “Were they beamed out?” he asked with dread.

    “It would appear so, Governor.”

    “By whom?!” This was a scary thought. The visit of the extra-Rathosians was a special and prestigious event and the importance of Forrituloix City raised. Torrploisaxis knew, however, that not all governors were happy either with the Cardassians’ visit, or with the city’s success, or with both. On the other hand, some of the leaders considered the event as the most important in their history and who knows what they might try to claim some of that success. Torrploisaxis feared for his guests safety, but he also feared that their appearance might cause a civil war between the cities over the visitors.

    One of crime investigators approached both men. “Governor, Chief Inspector,” she greeted them. “The remnants of the transporter are not indicating that it’s our technology.”

    “Meaning what?” the governor asked.

    “We have detected that kind of transporter in several places on our world within last ten years.”

    “The Sun People,” both men said simultaneously.

    “That would be my guess, yes,” the scientist confirmed, nodding. “Since we have a clear confirmation that it’s not only us who possess this kind of technology, this would be a logical assumption.”

    “They did say that their people would take them back,” Gorrtosoilix reminded them.

    Torrploisaxis eyes him. “Do you really think they would leave without a goodbye? I don’t.”

    “Not only that,” the investigator interjected. “We have proof of struggle. One of sculptures was kicked—there are prints of a shoe on the pieces—and it is broken. Also, on that table over there stood a vase with flowers. Now both are on the floor, the vase broken and the flowers crushed, presumably by the same boots.”

    Gorrtosoilix frowned. “So they were kidnapped and they resisted.”

    “Find them,” Torrploisaxis growled, his ears perking. “Find them. We need them.”

    “I will, Governor, I will.”

    Torrploisaxis left the room, leaving the investigating team to their job and wondering, how he would explain that to the other leaders.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge

    Zamarran observed the symbol of the Federation on the screen, which represented a Starfleet starship that had just entered the system.

    “We’re being hailed,” Seltan reported.

    “On screen.” Zamarran shifted in his chair. Diplomacy, here I come.

    A woman appeared on the viewer. Her black irises turned on a warning in Zamarran’s head—a Betazoid. He raised his mental defences not to be violated by the telepath. “This is Captain Ram of USS Petrona. State your business in this star system,” she demanded.

    The gul felt tired of being verbally attacked by everyone. “Our business here is not of your concern,” he answered coldly.

    Withdraw immediately,” she demanded.

    “This is not Federation space, you cannot order me or make any demands,” Zamarran said calmly.

    If you think that we will stand by and watch you subjugate Rathosia, you are very wrong,” she threatened.

    Zamarran’s eyes narrowed in disgust. “If you think that we will stand by and watch you not help Rathosia, you are very wrong,” he replied.

    She looked at him for a long moment. Then, she spoke again, but her voice wasn’t demanding any more. “Please, Gul, can you tell me what is your mission?

    “My name is Zamarran,” he said. “And why would I share my mission details with you?” He was glad that she didn’t manage to peep into his head to learn this way.

    I had been informed that an armed Cardassian warship fought over this territory and I was sent to investigate. Things didn’t look good, but...” She hesitated for a moment. “But once I had already been misinformed as to Cardassian intentions. This could be another case of assuming things without sufficient data.

    Zamarran sighed. “We are here to stop the Talarians from mining the sun and to repair the sun.”

    She seemed to think about his answer. “I have been informed by the scientists that reside on the planet that you have sent an armed troop down there.

    Zamarran didn’t even try to conceal his amusement. “If the Federation considers three soldiers a troop, then I have no comment to that.”

    Captain Ram blinked her black eyes. “Three soldiers?

    “Three of my soldiers had to perform an emergency beam-out after their craft was damaged by the Talarians.”


    “Three. The number between two and four.”

    Ram seemed to be confused and Zamarran didn’t blame her. Obviously, whatever she had been told was a blown out of proportion report of the events in the Rathosian system.

    Gul Zamarran,” she said courtly after a moment, the demanding tone now gone without a trace. “If you don’t mind...I’d like to discuss things with you. In person. I can beam to your warship, or you could beam to my starship. Your choice.

    “The Marritza is a science ship, not a warship. And by all means, feel invited for a visit and a discussion.”

    Ah, so this is the famous Cardassian science ship!

    Zamarran smiled slightly. “I was not aware that we were famous.”

    The Cardassians turning to the ways of exploration,” she grinned. “Do you really think the Federation wouldn’t notice?” She paused for a moment and became serious again. “I shall be there in...ten minutes?

    “That would be acceptable. I’ll see you in my transporter chamber in ten minutes.”

    With that, she signed off. Zamarran looked at Yassel. “You’re with me,” he said and she nodded.

    He headed for the exit and she followed him.

    Rathosia, Yapplorettix City, Federation Observation Point #567887

    All three Cardassians were seated in an empty room that didn’t look any different from a Cardassian interrogation room, if Aladar had ever seen one. Yellow-clad officers kept their eyes on the Cardassians, but no one said anything.

    Finally, the only door opened and two people entered. A big, really big Orion man in yellow, followed by a much shorter woman in red—both had the rank of commander.

    “Names!” the Orion boomed.

    Aladar raised his head to look in the face of the looming over him man.

    “Garesh Aladar,” he said calmly.

    The man seemed to be taken aback my his response. He looked back to the small woman and then back at Aladar. “What? You’re just a guard?” he asked surprised in much thinner voice.

    Aladar scolded at him. “What do you mean ‘just a guard’?” he barked. True, sometimes his duties included sentry and guarding, but he was very proud of that part of his job. It meant that he was protecting someone and making sure no harm was done to them. “Being a guard is an important thing—someone has to protect people.”

    The Orion leaned over the garesh. “Or make sure that prisoners don’t run away,” he added with a sneer.

    Aladar smiled sourly. “You just insulted all these good officers in this room.”

    Veltek giggled but quickly managed to silence himself.

    “What are you doing here, Cardassian!” the Orion asked, straightening.

    “Emergency beam-out.”

    “I asked about your ship!” The Orion seemed to lose control over his emotions, as he yelled the question.

    “We like to explore,” Aladar said, narrowing his eyes.

    The man raised his huge, green hand ready to strike Aladar, but the woman behind him said quietly, “Golek...” The gigantic hand was lowered but Aladar didn’t feel any safer.

    The female commander stepped closer. “Garesh Aladar—if that is your real name and I sincerely doubt it—your presence here is disturbing the natural development of the inhabitants.” Pa’Ler snorted loudly. Aladar knew how his soldier felt—the Federation didn’t do anything to help those people and here she was, pretending that they cared. “However, what worries me most is not your presence here and the pollution to their culture, but your intentions.” Aladar gave her an asking look, not sure what she meant. “Here you are, the almighty Cardassians, preparing to conquer and subjugate another victim. If you think that the Federation would stand by and let you violate these people, then you are wrong.”

    The garesh’s eyes opened wide. He didn’t believe what he had just heard.

    “I’ve never heard worse zobarshit than this!” Veltek shouted heatedly. “You don’t give a damn about them. You just sit here and spy on them, but don’t move your scale-less finger to help them!”

    Aladar put his hand on Veltek’s shoulder, so the young garesh calmed down a bit. Aladar wasn’t angry with him for this explosion, though, as he shared exactly the same opinion.

    “We are not allowed to interfere,” the female commander said flatly.

    “But you are allowed to let them die!” Veltek barked.

    Aladar squeezed the young Cardassian’s shoulder and Veltek immediately silenced. The ranking garesh said, “Notify our ship and they’ll take us out of here.” He didn’t like leaving the Rathosians without a word of farewell, but he knew it was a luxury that the Federation would not grant him. “And then you can spy on them endlessly.”

    The Orion snickered. “Endlessly, you say.”

    Aladar defiantly looked him in the eyes. “That’s right. Because we will not stand by and watch them die. We will help them and save them.”

    “To exploit them later,” the female commander added.

    “Your claim has no proof. Mine does,” Aladar retorted. He was getting tired of this. “Return us to our ship. Now!” he demanded.

    “That remains to be seen,” the commander barked, turned on her heel and left the room with the Orion in tow.

    Veltek looked at Aladar. “Are we their prisoners?” he asked half-surprised, half-angered.

    The ranking garesh nodded. “It seems so.”

  10. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I am very glad to see Gul Jarol finally break Gul Dukat's spell on her. That anger she showed towards him really proved that she is learning to see clearly. I wonder if she will learn to see the other areas where he influenced her? Before the assassination, I think she really got very close to being like him (except that her family life was not tainted). He, just like her, decided that he knew what was best for every Cardassian and he could just point a finger and make it happen the way HE wanted it to happen. Or maybe that's what she's seeing in herself now...

    I imagine that now, the contrast between the two Dukats she's met couldn't be more obvious. I'm sure that even if she pictured AU Dukat in armor--even imagining him getting a haircut!--the difference would be blatantly obvious. (That's if she could even get as far as to picture him in armor in the first place!)

    I LOVED how absolutely sanctimonious and sick the Federation looked here. And boy did they deserve it, too. For being spies and being able to watch people die without lifting a finger.

    (Oh, and Zamarran's "number between two and four" line was AWESOME. :evil: )

    That said, it's certainly easy to understand where the misunderstanding of the Cardassians' intentions came from. The Cardassians have a track record of abuse. And then had a coup, and isolation. To Federation eyes, it would look like the Cardassians were never humbled by their defeat and never faced up to their evil past. We know they changed, but not only does the Federation not know, but the Cardassians felt, during the isolation, that the Federation was unworthy of knowing.

    I wonder if Ram has any authority over the people at the "duck blind." I hope so, that she can give them an order. Otherwise, these "scientists" seem like they could really get out of control.

    Though I did like how Aladar pointed out that they'd managed to insult their own guards at the same time they tried to insult him!

    Overall, the insight into Aladar's past was wonderful. I was sad to see that he still undervalues himself so badly, though. Not very clever?! He just didn't have time to study, that's all. I bet AU Dukat, if they could've talked while he was on the Roumar, would've given him a very serious (but not at all mean) talking-to, about that mindset. Remember...AU Dukat only has a few months, maybe even just one month of college education, and that's it. While I know Macet did finish his education, and probably "Mrs. Macet," too, a lot of the people AU Dukat works with ended up with their opportunities cut short, too, like he did. (I'm not even 100% sure AU Damar finished high school.) Most of what he knows is either from high school, or self-taught. He wouldn't want to hear someone else in a similar situation--whose plans were derailed by hardship in life--being so down on himself. :(

    I want to give Aladar a hug. I don't care that he doesn't have a piece of paper saying that he graduated from college. He shouldn't think all he can do is "eat" books.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    A lot has changed in her opinion of him, hasn't it?

    But IMO she wasn't like him and the difference isn't only in their family life. He wanted power for himself, for his own glory. Her motives were different. She never dreamt to be so powerful and was overwhelmed and scared when it finally happened. They are absolutely not the same.
    I don't think she could imagine him in armour ;)
    Their "superior morality" guarantees them the right to be always right, right? Right?
    No? what do you mean 'no'? :wtf:
    I think he got tired of repeating "3" all the time :lol:
    That's why Captain Ram first made demands and then thought that maybe it's not exactly as it seems. She already witnessed one misunderstanding of assuming that the Cardassians wanted to exterminate a whole planet, while in fact they wanted to quarantine it. She wasn't about to make the same mistake. Now she wants to talk.
    He may be just a garesh, but he's proud of his job.
    When someone, even one someone, treats you like a moron for a sufficiently long time, you start to believe it. I know from my own experience. And while Aladar is a clever guy, he too many times heard something about him (as a garesh, not particularly personal) to start thinking that it's correct.
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I don't think she's a total sociopath the way Dukat was. On that I agree. With her, I think there was a lot more self-deception going on, and at least something in her telling her it wasn't right (as you know, I believe Gul Dukat pretty much destroyed his conscience, and you actually see a symbolic representation of that moment in The Desolate Vigil), though she chose not to listen and chose to blind herself to alternatives. The coup is the most flagrant example because the number of other options is really quite high. Whether all of her was into it, I think she mirrored Dukat's behavior. Even the way her subordinates acted...I think there is a very, very fine line between loyalty and hero worship. That line was crossed with nowhere near the frequency it was with Gul Dukat, but I do believe there were two or three occasions where it was crossed, at her encouragement.

    I wondered if that would change, now that she's experienced this breakdown. Now that she knows she's not invulnerable, I wondered if it would become a little easier for her to imagine that he is able to fight the way he said he was even though he carries in him the effects of the traumas in his life.

    But I had thought that once AU Dukat came, that changed for him. Once his commanding officers learned how smart he was, and gave him the chance to show his smarts. And I'd also thought that Tarkan's reforms were going to make things better too, that he shouldn't have heard comments like that anymore, and that he would instead receive lots of recognition. :(
  13. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Well, right now she is so shattered that she's all but a warrior. If anything, it would be proof to her that someone not cocky cannot fight, because it ends with panic attacks.

    I don't think she would apply it to him, because she doesn't think of that side of him (a fighter), but she would tell you that she is unable to do anything and certainly not to fight. She is vulnerable = she is useless as a fighter; too scared, too weak, too undecided.

    It was long time ago. Besides, the appreciation of him that comes from Jarol, Brenok, Tarub and Dalar doesn't change the general image that gareshes have.

    On one hand a garesh is a soldier, so should be respected, but on the other hand he is a non-officer, so not smart enough to become one. Why to be only a lowly garesh, if you could become a gul some day? As a garesh, he is a "lower grade" of a soldier. As a garesh, he is from mundane work and taking orders, not issuing them.

    Aladar considers his duties important but he knows that few people understand how important these duties are. Still, he doesn't think he could become a gul and he doesn't think he could make an officer. He believes everyone has their place and he has his--adequate to his abilities.
    If there were only guls, there would be no one left to command.
  14. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    One thing that does make him a little different--though I'm not sure if she really noticed this--is that in addition to the PTSD, he has had an actual mental illness since adolescence, and on his world, in his culture, he has not only received medication but been trained in how to deal with some of his symptoms in other ways, too.

    It's interesting to note that Taret wasn't the one who stopped AU Dukat's panic attack. Dukat knew how, and did it himself. I know Jarol lacked that training, but now, having experienced such attacks, I think it could be hard for her to imagine being in the middle of one and just closing her eyes, breathing slow, saying something to herself, and stopping it.

    I have a feeling that at least Taret noticed that and understood what it meant. But I imagine Jarol didn't notice at all. I wish, though that instead of only seeing weakness, she could've seen that it's possible to develop coping mechanisms and learn to function. If one can manage even with a bona fide medical condition aggravating matters, then there's a way forward for her too.

    Don't other gareshes answer to him? And aren't gareshes the majority of the Guard? Without them, the Guard stops.

    Where the Guard makes a mistake is not scrutinizing the garesh ranks to look for people who should be given an education and then greater opportunities. I don't know about the military where you're from, but that can happen in the US military, that they do look for officer candidates among the enlisted. You have to be really good, but if you are, you can go to Officer Candidate School.

    Of course, not everyone should be a gul. That's why my Glinn Yejain has not pursued a promotion past glinn, and likely will not do so. He feels like he is doing what is right for him where he is.

    But, Aladar...some guls might be misplaced. Who's to say they all deserve to be where they are just because they were someone's favorite son or daughter? ;)
  15. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I don't think it was a matter of noticing, but of understanding what she saw. She saw him on a verge of some attack and then composing himself. I'm not sure she would draw a line between that and her own recent experiences with panic. She doesn't think of him like that (the guy who averted his own attack) and certainly not in these difficult moments.

    They are a nameless, faceless mass in armour. (I know it's not what you meant but it's the other side of the same coin.)

    I know some mechanisms in my country, but not enough to say how it is in every case. So I don't know if this approach applies too, or not.

    Tarkan tried to do something about smart gareshes and appreciate them and their work. I think it works, but some old notions are still there. Tarkan's goal isn't to take smart gareshes away and make them officers, leaving only "average" people on the lower decks. He wants smart gareshes too, because they are needed where they are.

    Aladar believes in an old stereotype and applies it to himself.

    Do you remember that Garesh Dalar promised himself that if they survive the attack on Rayak Nor, he would apply for accepting Aladar to the Damar Guard? The process is long, takes weeks and sometimes months, and in addition Aladar has no idea about it, but imagine his face if he'd learn. He would be surprised, because all he does is just his work. He doesn't consider his exemplary work and cleverness anything above average, he thinks he's just like many other gareshes.
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    There are enlisted people in our armed services (and I think in Trek, O'Brien is an example of this type) who become NCO's--kind of like a grade five garesh, in your story--and definitely garner serious respect for this. I've always thought one of the best examples in fanfic, that I've seen, is TheLoneRedshirt's Solly Brin. Definitely a character who commands respect, for sure!

    In our military, a new officer, who is smart, will consider what they are told by senior enlisted men and women. Ultimately that officer has to command, and to make their decisions, but disregarding the experience and advice of someone who's seen and done it all, without considering it first, isn't smart.

    Capable people are needed in all positions--I agree on that with Tarkan. I would just rather he feel that he's in a position because it's a good fit for the right reasons (being able to make a difference because someone else can't do what he does as well...and it's critical, because people literally live or die according to his decisions, regardless of whether or not he's an officer). Not because he thinks he isn't worth recognition. :(
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the transporter chamber

    Zamarran glanced at Yassel and asked her quietly, making sure the transporter operator wouldn’t hear. “Glinn Yassel, how is your mental discipline?”

    She looked at him. “You fear that the captain will read me?”

    “She might try to.”

    She shook her head. “I don’t know, sir. I trained but I never had any chance to test myself.”

    “Don’t let it stop you from careful listening and telling me about her true intentions,” he said smiling.

    Yassel grinned. The worry on her face transformed into a proud expression. “I’ll do my best, sir.”

    “Incoming transport,” the transporter garesh announced and a moment later the Betazoid woman and an Andorian man materialised on the pad.

    “I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty of bringing my first officer?” she asked, stepping down and approaching both Cardassians.

    “Not at all. As you can see, I am accompanied by my aide. This is Glinn Yassel.”

    “Commander ch’Tef,” the captain introduced her aide.

    “Please, follow me to the wardroom,” Zamarran gestured toward the door and the four left the transporter chamber, followed by two guards.

    When they arrived to the wardroom, it occurred to be occupied and in chaos. Zamarran stood in the doorway, his eyes wide open in shock. After a long moment he glanced at Yassel. “What is this?” he asked.

    “I wish I knew,” she answered and entered the room. “What’s going on here? Why no one obtained any permission before starting any operations in this room?”

    The people inside looked uncertainly at each other.

    Zamarran smiled sheepishly. “I’m so sorry, Captain Ram. Most of my crew consists of scientists with limited military training and experience, so they are not yet fully versed in protocols.”

    “That is all right, Gul Zamarran,” Ram smiled. “Is there any other place where we could talk?”

    “My office is an option,” the gul replied. Or we could use one of the labs in revenge, he thought humorously. In spite of a negative image that his undisciplined crew had just created, he found the whole situation amusing.

    “Then let’s proceed over there.”

    As they walked, Zamarran wondered if he would feel Ram’s attempts to read his mind. He knew that normally a victim wouldn’t be aware of it, but perhaps the situation would be different if a Betazoid tried to force through a mental block. He also wondered if the proximity to their targets strengthened Betazoids’ abilities. Maybe she couldn’t have read him from her ship, but she could now. He found this uncertainty very stressful.

    They arrived to the office and he invited both Federation officers to sit in chairs. Yassel stood behind his chair before he even sat down.

    He placed his folded arms on the desk and slightly leaned forward. “All right, Captain. Now we can talk and clarify all misunderstandings.”

    She smiled. “Yes. Well...First I’d like to ask if you indeed fought with the Talarians.”

    “That is correct. They still mine the sun and we demanded from them to leave. They refused. I am sure they will return with reinforcements, as they don’t seem to intend to stop their activity.”

    “Did you call yours?”

    “Indeed I did. I can fight against one or two Talarian warships, but not against a whole fleet.”

    “Why do you care about the Rathosians’ well-being?”

    Zamarran knew about Captain Lau and his request, but he didn’t want to put the good captain in trouble. “It was brought to our attention that the system is in danger.”

    “But why do you want to save them? What is your reason?”

    The gul leaned back and looked at her. He didn’t say anything for a moment and then slowly started to speak. “I am not sure we really have any good reason. If you expect some pragmatic explanation, then I’ll have to disappoint you. I have none. My superiors have none. We don’t want anything from the Rathosians, we just want to help. For no reason.” Or for redeeming ourselves, he added to himself.

    “What will you do if the Talarians don’t leave?”

    “That’s a very good question.”

    She smiled. The Andorian looked at her, then at the gul. “May I ask a question?” They both nodded. “What about those Cardassians on the planet?”

    Zamarran sighed. “We’ve lost contact with them. We cannot find them, as the scans don’t detect any Cardassian life signs and no Cardassian technology, apart from the wreck of the Hideki fighter. As much as I’d like to beam them up and remove from the planet’s surface, I cannot.”

    Ch’Tef looked at Ram. “We didn’t detect any Cardassian signals, either.”

    She seemed to consider something for a moment. “Gul Zamarran,” she said at length, “I am not at liberty to share some information, but I will try to do something about your problem.” Her first officer sent her a surprised look. She smiled apologetically. “As you can see, I am not allowed to share this detail even with my own commander.”

    Zamarran smiled weakly. “I understand.”

    “It might take a day or two, though.”

    Zamarran’s eye ridge raised higher. It returned to it’s normal place after a short moment. “We will keep scanning the planet in the meantime, in case they reappear.”

    “You do that.” She shifted. “Can I have your promise that you won’t send any more troops? I mean...any troops to retrieve them?”

    “You still think that I want to conquer?” She clearly was unable to read him, or she would know that he didn’t lie.

    “No. It’s about the Prime Directive.”

    “It doesn’t apply to me.”

    “But it’s my duty to follow it.”

    “I won’t send any troops, unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary.”

    She sighed. “I suppose I won’t get anything better than that, so I hope you won’t find it necessary.”

    Zamarran only stared at her. After a moment he said, “Let’s do our best not to let the conflict with Talarians become a conflict between us.”

    “With that I wholeheartedly agree.” She nodded and smiled. She rose and ch’Tef followed her example. “It was a pleasure to visit your science ship.”

    Zamarran stood too. “I’ll see you off to the transporter chamber.”

    He motioned to Yassel to stay in his office and left the room along with the guests and guards.

    USS Petrona

    Captain Ram felt relieved to be back on her ship in one piece. The big Cardassian was polite and seemed opened, but she felt a bit intimidated by this non-nonsense man.

    “Did you try to read him?” ch’Tef asked her while they walked toward a turbolift.

    “No. I doubt I would achieve anything and you know very well that I don’t like peeping into people’s heads without their consent.”

    “I thought that the stakes were too high and you would make an exception.”

    “No. I don’t break my own rules because it’s convenient.”

    He nodded. “All right.”

    “What is your impression of him? Did he lie?”

    “I don’t think so. He seems like a man with a purpose and is determined to achieve his goal. If he really wants to help and prevent the destruction of this system...”

    He didn’t finish but he didn’t have to. Even without reading his thoughts she knew what he meant and she fully agreed with him. And totally disagreed with the Prime Directive. How could anyone in the Federation turn their backs on defenceless people in the name of some stiff rule? She was glad that at least the Cardassians had enough decency not to stand by and watch and at the same time she felt ashamed that it were the Cardassians who came to help in spite of the Federation’s best efforts to stop them. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

    One of the things that convinced her that Zamarran wasn’t a warlord with hunger for blood was the little incident in the conference room. His shock at seeing his undisciplined crew—an undisciplined Cardassian crew!—and his leniency in dealing with it showed her that it was indeed a science ship and he indeed was a man with a soft side, even if he looked like an Earth dragon.

    Upon arriving at the bridge, she left command in ch’Tef’s hands and headed for her ready room. She knew that there were observation outposts on the planet, but she had no way to contact them regarding the missing Cardassians. She had to go around to the admiralty and have them contact the scientists. She only hoped that bureaucracy wouldn’t take longer than two days, or Zamarran might take her for a liar and all the fragile trust they had built would fall in ruin.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the gul’s office

    When Zamarran returned to his office, Yassel waited for him in one of chairs. She turned hearing an opening door and rose to her feet when he entered. He headed for his chair and sat.

    “Impressions?” he asked.

    “The captain was cautious, but I don’t think she lied. There was something in her voice...some lack of certainty. I don’t know how to describe it, but the pitch of her voice was changing in unexpected moments.”

    Zamarran sighed. Then, he decided to change the subject. “How is scientific work progressing?”

    “I’ll have a full report in two hours. Rotan mentioned some progress, but I’m not sure how significant it is.”

    “I see.”

    “About that incident in the wardroom—”

    Zamarran raised his hand. “Don’t worry about it. But remind the departments heads to instruct their officers once again on the chain of command.”

    “Yes, sir.”


    She left the office and he finally could allow himself to let a small chuckle. The scientists’ face expressions in the wardroom upon entering the top brass had been priceless.
  18. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Rathosia, Yapplorettix City, Federation Observation Point #567887

    Ensign Tibaut walked carefully, hoping that she wouldn’t trip and drop the tray with food. If she had ever had any doubts, she had none now—a waiter’s job was a difficult one. Three bowls of some Cardassian food were like monsters that threatened with spilling all over the bulkheads. The Cardassians had been transferred to a prison cell and locked behind a forcefield and she was assigned to deliver them food two times a day.

    She had never seen a real Cardassian before. Of course, she had studied their anatomy and she knew a lot about them, but had never met any. They weren’t the friendliest race in the quadrant and they had a reputation—not a good one.

    She realised she was scared. She would have to enter the cell and leave the tray inside. What if one of them wanted to attack her? The people in the base gossiped that they were cocky and arrogant and that they claimed they had greater rights to the planet.

    The doors opened before her and she entered the brig. Lieutenant Pemutruch was there and she smiled to him. She felt a little safer knowing that he would be the one to protect her. Not without a humour she thought that he should try twice as hard as with anyone else, or their date tonight might not happen.

    Pemutruch took out his phaser and approached the forcefield. Tibaut followed him and stood ready to enter. She looked at the cell’s occupant and completely forgot about all her fears, her anthropologist’s instincts kicking in. This was much better than any holodeck simulation. They weren’t just a computer-generated, motionless statutes. They were the real thing, breathing and reacting to her.

    Pemutruch lowered the forcefield and trained his phaser on the prisoners, while the ensign entered. She slowly walked to one of hard benches and put the tray on it. One of the Cardassians, she wouldn’t give him more than twenty-five years of age, moved aside and she was grateful. Not that she still feared them, she worried that her boyfriend might interpret any other move as threatening and shoot.

    “Here,” she said. “Your lunch.”

    Fenkhh yoo,” said the one that was sitting on another bench. He seemed the oldest from the group, so she assumed he was their commander.

    “You’re welcome,” she automatically replied and just then realised that he spoke in Federation Standard to her. “Where did you learn that?” she asked before stopping herself.

    “From my friend,” he answered, this time with the help of the universal translator.

    “He speaks Federation Standard?”

    “She is human.”

    “Really?!” Tibaut asked in a high voice. She didn’t expect that.

    He smiled. “Really,” he confirmed.

    “I hope you’ll like it. It’s replicated and the only Cardassian dish in our replicator.”

    “It smells wonderful,” the youngest one said.

    She nodded to them and stepped out of the cell. Pemutruch raised the forcefield and returned to his post behind the console. She went to him.

    “They’re not what I expected,” she said quietly.

    He nodded. “I know. They sit there, talking about things, but nothing aggressive. They seem to be worried about their ship and the Rathosians. It’s not what I would expect from an invasion force.”

    Maybe they aren’t an invasion force, Tibaut thought, but didn’t dare to say it aloud.

    She looked at the Cardassians. Each took a bowl and a spoon and ate in silence. They seemed calm. She observed them, especially their leader. His hair was strangely short—she had never seen a simulation or even a two-dimensional photo of a Cardassian with such short hair, so she had no idea that they wore that kind of haircut. She couldn’t help but stare at their fascinating neck ridges. She wondered if their uniforms were heavy and uncomfortable. She wondered if they were hot in these heavy boots. She wanted to ask them so many questions, but she knew she couldn’t. They were the prisoners and all she was allowed to do was to bring them food.

    There was one thing that struck her most—a clearly visible hierarchy. She didn’t read Cardassian, so wasn’t able to read the ranks on their uniforms, but could easily point out to the commander and not only because he appeared to be the oldest. The other two were following him in everything. They didn’t reach for their bowls before he did that; they didn’t start to eat before he did that. They were looking up to him, to lead them and show them what they should do and when. And all that without words. Just actions. She wondered how much of that was the training, how much cultural raising and how much their instincts.

    The commander finished his bowl and put it back on the tray. When all three of them finished, the leader took the tray and stood in front of the forcefield with a clear intention to give her the tray back. Pemutruch took his phaser, but she stopped his hand. “That won’t be necessary,” she said. He frowned, but listened to her. “Just lower the forcefield.” She went to the cell and a moment later the tray was in her hands. The Cardassian, as she expected, didn’t try to pull any tricks. She wondered if it was some kind of polite custom—to give the tray back.

    She was just about to turn and move away, when he spoke. “If you don’t’s a little too cold for us. We’d appreciate either raising the temperature, or some warm blankets.”

    “Certainly,” she said, nodding. Of course, the Cardassians liked hot. She decided to go straight to Golek to get the permission to grant the Cardassian’s request.

    There was nothing more left for her to do, no more excuses to stay—she didn’t have to wait for them to finish their food, she could have come back later to pick the dishes—so, reluctantly, she headed for the exit.

    She decided to volunteer to deliver them food for as long as they would stay.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, Gil Kapoor’s quarters

    Kapoor was tired and all she wanted to do was to take off her armour and lay on her sofa with a book. She reluctantly approached her computer terminal, which emitted a sound in regular intervals—it indicated an awaiting message. She accessed the terminal to be informed that a call awaited her and that it was urgent. No, not urgent—important.

    She activated the connection and waited for a short time before it was answered. She found it quite strange that she couldn’t tell who was the caller. All she knew was that the call was from Cardassia. Why would anyone want to hide his or her identity?

    The children? Did Tasar call her to tell her that something was wrong with the kids? Did something happen? But then it would be not only important, but also urgent and she had already determined that it was not the case. And he surely would hide his identity.

    Her thoughts started to create the most terrible scenarios and the few minutes started to drag into long dozens of minutes. Finally, the call was answered and she saw the face of the person that she hoped to never see again.

    “What do you want?” she asked rudely, not even attempting to conceal her hostility. She almost regretted that the habit of using end-sentence particle ‘go’ was so deeply rooted in her by now that she automatically addressed him properly as an older person, in spite of her harsh tone. Oh, how she wished she had omitted that one tiny word! It probably would be more disrespectful than calling him names.

    Amrita, please, listen to me before you cancel the connection.”

    She winced. Technically, he was her father-in-law, but they had never gone through that little, adorable ritual of acceptance into the family and switching the way of addressing each other from ‘strangers’ to ‘family.’ So how did he dare to call her by her first name, especially since he used the end-sentence particle ‘ga’ appropriate for addressing a younger person, not a daughter—he clearly didn’t consider her one. She found it extremely offensive and she knew that was exactly the effect he wanted to achieve. “Aji tar ergan go,” she barked. Speak. Again, ‘go’ slipped out of her mouth in spite of her best efforts. At least a growling Cardassian language make ‘barking’ more possible than any language of Earth would and she used the opportunity to produce growling ‘ghr’ sound, although usually she opted for a Federation Standard version of ‘g’—Tavor had told her that she sounded like a native Nokarian speaking without a growl, as Nokarians—including Gul Jarol—didn’t growl and their manner of speaking was softer than a standard Lakatian accent, which in fact was Unionese language. Now, however, she forced her throat to produce the angry sound, as it perfectly showed her feelings.

    You must convince Tavor to return to Cardassia. Only for a short time, but he must come.


    Gul Karama considered his answer for a moment—or maybe he considered telling her the reason—and finally replied. “It’s time for my shri’tal and I need Tavor to be here for me.

    “Why talk to me? Why don’t you ask him?” Shri’tal, she thought. So the old bastard was dying.

    I already did. He refused.” She wasn’t surprised. In fact, she was surprised that Tavor even talked to his father. “He didn’t even want to talk to me.” So she knew her husband well after all.

    “And what do you want me to do about it?” she asked in an annoyed voice.

    Please, talk to him. I know that you can’t even imagine the importance of this tradition, but this ritual is sacred and I need one of my sons to be there for me, when the time comes.

    “Are you dying?”

    He was silent for another moment. He shifted in his seat and finally answered, “I am in advanced stage of an overgrowth disorder. It’s a popular name for internal cell mutation synd—

    “I know what it is,” she interrupted, rolling her eyes; he didn’t have to explain her the basics. Cancer, she thought. So, finally bad karma returned to you and now twists you alive upside down, just like you did to others all your life—this one and previous ones, too, and most likely also the next ones. She didn’t feel sorry for him. She felt that he got what he deserved. “Why don’t you ask Tasar? Isn’t it the right of the oldest child?” she asked.

    You understand very little of our traditions.

    “Insulting me isn’t the best strategy when asking for my help,” she said sourly.

    Forgive me, you are right.” He paused for a moment and then continued, “What I have to share is of great value in the right hands. Tavor is in much more powerful position than Tasar. He could do a lot more with this information. He is also much better protected. It must be him.

    She observed the old man. Arrogance still rang in his voice but he tried his best to hide it. He used words like ‘forgive’ and ‘please’—words that she had no idea he knew.

    She couldn’t not notice that he lost a lot of weight and his hair was almost completely grey. Prematurely for a Cardassian. It was obvious that he was very ill and she thought that he had to be really desperate to ask her of all people to convince Tavor to talk to him and to agree to take part in the ritual of sharing secrets. She wasn’t sure, though, if her husband would like to know his father’s dirty secrets. Gul Karama had to know a lot of terrible things and Tavor wouldn’t want to have anything to do with that.

    “Why do you think I would be able to convince him?”

    You are his wife. You are the woman for whom he left his family. You have enormous power over him. You can do it.

    Unbelievable how misguided this man was! Tavor didn’t leave his family, he just cut himself off of his father. He didn’t want to have anything to do with the man whom he despised and who didn’t accept his wife because of her species. Old Karama believed that Tavor’s insistence to marry her was her spell and power over him; he clearly never understood that his own, Gul Karama’s racism, wouldn’t stop his son from doing something that wasn’t that weird in other parts of the quadrant.

    “And why would I want to convince him?” she asked.

    The old man stared at her without a word. He slowly blinked and then said quietly, “This is more important than what you or I want. This is not about liking each other. This is about...” He shook his head. “You won’t understand. You cannot even imagine what I know and about whom. I want him to have that information. I want him to secure himself with that information. You turned him against me, but he still is my son and I still love him.

    Her mouth opened in shock, but she was only able to shake her head. She turned Tavor against him? She did it? Not years of beating and humiliating? He loved Tavor? With his heavy fists in Tavor’s face?

    “You know something?” she said angrily. “I won’t talk to Tavor about it? You know why? Not because you keep insulting me, not because you twisted the reality to fit your imagination. Because he wouldn’t want to and I don’t intend to have a family quarrel over you! You are not worth it. I won’t anger my beloved husband for you. Forget about it. Your son hates you so much that you will have to die with your secrets. I’m sure he wouldn’t even want to know any of your dirty thoughts.” With that she disconnected.

    She felt terrible. She felt like she had just done something really, really awful—she stood between a father and a son. What if this was the last chance for them? What if Tavor wouldn’t forgive her—and himself—that he didn’t explain things and didn’t participate in shri’tal before it was too late? After Gul Karama’s death all would be lost and it couldn’t be undone.

    But would Tavor ever want to come to terms with his father? Would he even have a need of talking to him and explaining everything? Tavor waits for the old man to die to take his mother to his brother’s home. And so does Tasar. Both brothers had turned their backs on their father, who had abused them all their lives and didn’t want to have anything to do with him. Gul Karama had struck Tavor in front of Kapoor! She had been so shocked and later her shock even grew as she had realised that no one else had been shocked. It was a routine for them! Hitting your son in the face was so normal that no one cared!

    Still...she felt uneasy.

    She decided to mention to Tavor that his father had called her. Not to convince him to do anything, but to inform him that this had happened. What she’d do next would depend on her husband’s reaction.

    A terrible evening had just gotten worse.

  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I like how you described the people that a Betazoid reads in detail without consent as victims. That's what I've always thought, especially about how the creepy Trois. Yeah, both Lwaxana and Deanna were creepy.

    One question, though. How much is a Betazoid, in your universe, unable to control, and how much is a deliberate probe? At least in mine, there are certain things that my Betazoids are unable to help sensing.

    I like how Captain Ram doesn't deliberately probe people without asking. (I wonder, though...under what circumstances would she feel the situation is appropriate to ask?)

    I wonder how Zamarran would feel if he found out that this Betazoid believes in asking permission?

    I loved the scene where they found all that chaos in the wardroom! Do you think that some of these scientists have weaker hierarchical instincts? (Kind of like my Iymender, who actually has a diagnosable issue, by Cardassian standards.)

    I'm coming to like Ensign Tibaut...a little bit. But a duck-blind scientist is not high up on my totem pole of people to consider deserving of my liking them. At least she was able to see that these Cardassians weren't scaled monsters.

    I hope Golek won't decide it's in his best interest to freeze the Cardassians. :( I hope he'll at least have the decency to go get them some blankets.

    For Kapoor, losing her temper at her father-in-law...I understand how she felt, but I think it would be right if she would simply tell Tavor what happened but without any encouragement one way or the other. it is; it's your decision.
  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I am sure that some things cannot be stopped and that some "reading" cannot be avoided by a Betazoid. But Ram is fully aware how uninvited reading is taken by non-telepaths and I think she trained herself to be able to control her mind as best as possible. Maybe some Vulcan techniques, or something like that.

    In addition, Zamarran is a man of discipline, so I am sure that even if she wanted to read him, she wouldn't be able to. With her not trying and keeping her mind locked and his shielding his--she wouldn't know much of what he's thinking.
    He would be positively surprised. And maybe a bit guilty about Yassel's ability to read the voices. It's not the same, as Yassel doesn't violate privacy and uses only what's readily available, but Zamarran would still feel like it's cheating a bit.
    I think that the highest ranking ones didn't follow the protocol for whatever reason. The lower ranking scientists just follow their leaders.
    I wonder what you'll think of her after the next chapter, which will be posted shortly.