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

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

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    It would be ironic if some of her self-discipline techniques were even Cardassian in origin, even if they were part of a technique given to her by another species! :lol:

    For my Betazoids, I think the most that a fully telepathic Betazoid would be able to do would be to learn to block images and words. But I'm not sure mine could stop sensing emotions without taking drugs or having invasive surgery. Some of the most powerful ones (like my Professor Shalwa) may not be able to fully stop "overhearing." The best they can do is learn discretion, and be very, very careful about judging people with only fragmentary and very out-of-context evidence. (Actually, I think it's this kind of discipline on Professor Shalwa's part that made her the good diversity instructor. She hears things she can't help hearing, but she learned a way of thinking about it, and appreciating each individual as they are, that turned into an appreciation she passes on to her students. :) )

    With his strong sense of honor, I can see why he'd feel that way, even though I agree it's not the same.
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 15

    Rayak Nor, Medic Fatret’s office

    “What can you tell me about Captain Andric?”

    Jarol blinked. “Why do you ask me about him?” She didn’t look at the medic, her eyes were on her right hand, which still showed proofs of cuts from the morning. The skin had been regenerated in the infirmary, but the tiny scales don’t grow back within seconds, so her hand was marred by pinkish lines.

    “I would like to know how you feel about him.”

    “I respect him.”

    “Even though he is a human?”

    Jarol’s eyes met Fatret’s. “What does it have to do with anything?”

    Fatret smiled weakly. “How many humans did you meet in your life?”


    “Yes. Personally. How many did you talk to?”


    “Who was the first human whom you spoke to?”


    “Who was he?”

    “A colonist. He lived on one of the colonies that used to be Federation but were handed to us after the Border Wars.”

    “Did you respect him, too?”



    “Ondracek helped the Cardassian colonists who were forced to relocate to that planet. The Cardassians had nothing and the Federation people agreed to help them.”

    “How did you feel about it?”


    Fatret was clearly taken aback by that. “Why? Was it so wrong to help other people? Federation resources were not good enough for Cardassians?”

    Jarol’s eyes flared with anger. “If you don’t understand something, then ask. Don’t judge me not knowing all facts.”

    “I had asked ‘why’?”

    “Because the Central Command dragged people out of their own homes and moved to another planet without anything. The government treated their own people like trash, with complete disregard for their needs. I was grateful for the help the Federation people offered. They showed more heart to the new colonists than the colonists’ own government. I felt terrible that my own Central Command did that. I felt terrible that my stupid gul claimed the success to me and himself. Neither of us did that, neither of us helped the colonists. It were the Federation colonists and they should have been awarded for their actions.” Fatret nodded. “I think you owe me an apology,” Jarol said bitterly.

    But the medic said nothing. Instead, she asked another question. “What about the times when the Federation colonists turned Maquis.”

    “They were killing us, not helping.”

    “But not all colonists were Maquis. Did you make that distinction?”

    Jarol felt blood escaping from her face. Her hands tightened into fists. No, they did not. She did not, not always. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

    “Why not?”

    “You have already decided that I’m a monster, why do you ask for more proof?” she shouted heatedly.

    “You had the man who had raped a civilian executed to stop this kind of soldiers’ conduct and to show your troops this was not right and would not be tolerated. You also prevented one massacre. Why didn’t you prevent more?”

    “Because I was angry.”

    “With whom?”

    “With the people who hurt Cardassians. They all approved that. And so did we.” She paused. “That’s not good, isn’t it? That I think like that.”

    “Do you think it was fair? Justice?”

    “We could have been better than them. We could have made a distinction between those with weapons and those without, even if they didn’t make it. But we were not good at that. We hardly ever cared.”

    “Who is ‘we’?”

    “We, the Cardassians.”

    “So now your mistakes belong to everyone?”

    “I didn’t design Bajor and the same injustice happened there,” Jarol barked. “Do you want to pin that on me, too? Yes, we made mistakes. I wasn’t the only one.” Fatret didn’t say anything. “You have a day of jumping to conclusions,” Jarol smirked.

    “I’d rather concentrate on you and you alone. Let’s leave others’ sins in peace.”

    “Oh, so the colonists massacres were only my responsibility? Mine alone?”

    “I don’t ask who was responsible. I ask how you feel about them.”

    “I think my feelings are clear. This session is over.” With that, Jarol rose and left the room not looking back.

    “What happened to your hand?” Fatret called after her, but the gul didn’t intend to stop and grant her an answer. She was sure that Fatret knew anyway, or would know very soon—from Laran.

    She left the office and headed for her quarters, hoping that the broken mirror in the bathroom was already replaced. Not that she wanted to look at the despicable woman in the mirror; she just hoped that the quarters would be empty and no strangers roaming around with their tools.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, Gil Kapoor’s quarters

    Kapoor smiled to her husband’s face on the monitor. “I hope I’m not bugging you?” she said, literally translating an English idiom. He already knew what it meant; it was their little family joke, as it was no secret that she was terribly afraid of all sorts of insects.

    You can ol’rot me all you want,” he replied with a smile of his own. “I take it any time over being bugged by the rebelled colonists.

    “That bad?” she asked. She knew the Damar was currently dealing with some disgruntled Cardassian colony.

    No, not really. But they are annoying and I’m no diplomat. But you didn’t call me to ask about that, did you?

    How could he tell? How? How was it possible that he always read her so well. “True,” she admitted. “This is...” There was no way around it, so she spit it out, “This is about your father.”

    Tavor’s eye ridge rose slightly. “Did he contact you?

    “He did.”

    Kapoor’s sweet teddy-bear turned into a dangerous grizzly. “What did he want? To make me talk to him?” he growled angrily.


    I told him to leave us alone. I told him clearly to leave us alone!” The last two words were almost shouted.


    You don’t beg me for him, do you?!

    “No, I beg you to calm down.”

    I hope you didn’t talk to him and just told him to go to hell and disconnected.

    “I talked to him.”

    Did he insult you in any way?

    “He tried not to but he’s too stupid to know when he actually does that.” Glinn Karama fumed again, so she said quickly, before his anger would explode. “Tavor, listen to me. I don’t want to convince you to talk to him, or anything. But I know that you refused to talk to him completely and you don’t even know what it’s all about.”

    That’s right. There’s nothing he could tell me that I’d be interested in.

    “It’s about shri’tal.”

    Her husband’s face changed in an instant. Anger was replaced by surprise and then a calm mask. “He wants me to return to Cardassia,” he guessed.

    “Yes,” she confirmed.

    Did he say when?

    “Not precisely, but I think it’s quite urgent. He didn’t look well.”

    Evil deeds return to him?

    “Yes, it seems so,” she confirmed with a small grin. She had talked to Tavor about her beliefs, she was happy he respected them, but she’d never think he would start to share her faith in karma. He probably didn’t even realise that himself—and he never named the balance that way—but it wasn’t the first time that he seemed to believe that bad and good things sooner or later returned to you.

    He sighed. He was silent for a moment and then said, “Thank you for telling me.

    She frowned. “Are you going to go to Cardassia for him?” Tavor nodded. “But...why?”

    Amrita, shri’tal is bigger than my father and me. It doesn’t matter if we hate each other, it doesn’t matter that we haven’t spoken for years.” She was completely astonished hearing her husband saying almost exactly the same thing that his father had said. “He needs someone to share information and he wants to share it with me. I cannot refuse. I don’t want to refuse. He was a powerful gul and he knows a lot of things. He cannot take them to his grave, because some of those things could be used to help people, or to protect people. I know that the things that could harm people will go to my grave with me, as I won’t burden any of our children with that, but I want to make sure that I have all I need to protect those who are my father’s enemies. And to make sure that his friends don’t turn against me, my brother, you or anyone else.

    “It just has to be done. This ritual is not a meaningless old tradition. This ritual is bigger than my father and me. It’s bigger than any single pair of Cardassians. I have to go

    She didn’t fully comprehended it, but she nodded as if she did. If he felt he had to do it, then it was good enough for her.

    Rathosia, Yapplorettix City, Federation Observation Point #567887

    Tibaut entered the bring with a tray and headed straight for the Cardassians’ cell. All three were seating on a bench and discussing something in hushed tones. It looked like an argument, but the ensign wasn’t sure if it was a correct impression.

    “Breakfast,” she said and the discussion immediately seized.

    Garesh Aladar—she knew the leader’s name now—approached the forcefield. “Thank you,” he said. But she could tell that it wasn’t the only thing that he wanted to say.

    “Step back from the forcefield,” Pemutruch, who was on duty again, said.

    Aladar made three steps backward without a word. His eyes didn’t leave Tibaut, when she entered the quarters and put the tray with food on a bench. His gaze was so intense that she started to wonder if he wasn’t considering taking her as a hostage. However, he didn’t make a move until she left the cell and the forcefield was back up.

    “How long are we going to be kept here?” he asked.

    “I...I do not know.”

    “No one interrogates us, no one comes here but you. Are you going to keep us here locked until the planet is destroyed? Are you going to force us to die with the Rathosians?”

    His words cut her heart like a sharp, serrated blade. His tone of voice wasn’t aggressive, or even harsh, but the meaning behind his words reminded her that the Federation Prime Directive forbade them from doing anything for the aliens on this world and adding these three Cardassians to the casualty tally was only adding to her strong feeling of guilt.

    “I really don’t know,” she said quietly. Oh, God, don’t let me cry, she thought, feeling tears swelling under her eyelids.

    “Can’t you ask someone? Or tell someone I want to talk to them? Please?”

    “I will,” she promised. She hesitated, but then decided to ask the question that rang in her mind since the capture of the Cardassians and their statements. “Are you here really to help the Rathosians?”

    He shifted and she had an impression that he took more relaxed pose. “Yes, we are. We don’t have any laws that forbid us from helping others.”


    “Why does the Federation do it...sometimes?”

    “That’s one of our missions. That’s what we do.”

    “One: it could be our mission and what we do, too. Two: you don’t do it now, so we have to.”

    She closed her eyes for a moment. Was that the truth? Were the Cardassians here, because the Federation wouldn’t do the right thing? What did that make of them, the Federation? Another wave of guilt flushed through her soul. She opened her eyes and looked at the Cardassian.

    He smiled. “You don’t approve of that any more than I do, am I right?”

    Oh, yes, you are, she thought, but didn’t dare to say it. She looked back to glance at Pemutruch and he waved to her to approach him.

    She left the Cardassians to their meal and went to her boyfriend. His cranial trunks waved with a faint sound. “I listened to them all morning,” he whispered. “They talked about their warship and about the Talarians. And about this planet. And about the Rathosians.” He paused. “I can tell you one thing: they don’t lie. Everything they told us is the truth.” He paused again and leaned closer to her. “And it pisses me off that we try to stop the Cardassians from helping. I really does!” The last word was so emotionally packed that he didn’t manage to keep it quiet and his trunks emphasised it by emitting a high pitched sound.

    The Cardassians glanced at them and then returned to their breakfast.

    “I was in the command centre this morning,” Tibaut said, leaning closer to Pemutruch, “and the commander talked to some captain. That captain knows that we have the Cardassians and wants them released before the Cardassian gul gets pissed, but the commander doesn’t want to release them. She doesn’t trust them. She even told an admiral that she is against trusting the Cardassians in this matter. She is sure they are not here to help, but to conquer.”

    “She can’t refuse orders.”

    “They didn’t order her. They just asked.”


    “Because she has the expertise in a situation like this.” She motioned her hand around, indicating the study complex. “In the end she has the final word.”

    “But if the Cardassians really want to help, should we stand in their way? Ok, the Directive says that we cannot, but do we have to interfere when someone else wants to?”

    Tibaut only shrugged. “I don’t understand that, either. And I can tell you that I don’t like it at all.”

    “Neither do I.” Pemutruch looked at the Cardassians. “I can’t say I fully trust them, but they certainly don’t appear to be vicious, bloodthirsty monsters.”

    The ensign wondered how many officers in the base would agree with them, how many felt discomfort knowing that they were watching a race that was doomed and were not doing anything to stop their extinction, even though it was possible.
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, Laboratory Five

    Yassel was leaning over a console, so concentrated on her study that she didn’t notice Zamarran entering the room.

    “Any progress?” he asked, looking over her shoulder.

    She jumped. At first Zamarran thought that he had startled her, but her initial reaction didn’t evaporate. She made one step back and it seemed like she tried to keep him at a distance. He did not violate her personal space, he did not approach her that close, so he wasn’t sure what could have caused such a reaction.

    She seemed to compose herself. “I’m so sorry, sir. I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean...” she started to mutter and the gul’s confusion only rose. What was she apologising for?

    “No, I’m sorry for startling you so badly. Now, can you—”

    He didn’t have a chance to finish, because Yassel slipped by him and ran out of the lab. He flabbergasted stared at Kapoor. “Was it something I said?” he asked.

    “I’ll talk to her,” Kapoor offered and after receiving an approving nod from the gul, she followed the glinn.

    Zamarran looked at Gil Rotan. “Yassel had told me that you had news for me,” he said.

    She nodded. “Indeed, sir.” She motioned to the main display with a star’s diagram on it. Zamarran guessed that it wasn’t just any star, but the one that was causing all the trouble. “As per your orders, sir, we kept scanning the level of phorogotium in the Rathosian sun. The level didn’t fall since our initial scan, so I would assume that the low levels are the result of Talarian mining operations. If this is their target, or just a side effect—I cannot tell yet.

    “We have also scanned for other elements and their levels. There is some imbalance, but we haven’t detect any change since our arrival. However, there is a significant drop of some levels, if we compare our readings with the readings given to us by the Federation captain. I would assume that the Talarians mined the sun between their and our scans, hence the difference.”

    “Would simple delivery of missing components help?” Zamarran asked, sure that it wouldn’t be so easy.

    “I am not sure, sir. A star’s chemical balance is a fragile one and it’s not easy to control it. Even if it would be a solution, there’s still a question of delivering the elements to the sun’s core.”

    The gul nodded. “I see your point.”

    “It would help, sir, if we knew what exactly the Talarian ships extract from the star and how.”

    “Doubtful that the Talarians would share that kind of details, but I’ll see if I can get that information somehow.”

    Rotan smiled weakly. “To be honest, I have no idea what to do now. We have gathered a lot of information, but there’s little we can do about it. If Talarians mined the sun for some time and we returned to see the difference...well, that could help.” Seeing Zamarran’s face expression, she quickly added, raising her hand. “I know, this is not an option. But right now I cannot tell what kind of change we’re dealing with. I see only results. It’s like seeing a dead body. We know it’s dead and we even know how killed it, but we don’t know how.”

    “So be a good investigator and find out.”

    “That’s what I’m trying to do, sir, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

    “Keep working. I’ll see if I can get any information from the Talarians or the Federation.”

    The gil nodded and Zamarran turned and headed for the door, when a young kara approached him.

    “Sir...” she said shyly.

    “Yes, Kara Talis, what can I do for you?”

    “Are we going to rescue our people from the planet?”

    “We are, Talis. I’m not leaving anyone behind,” he assured her, wondering why it was so important to her. Was it personal? He wouldn’t dare to ask, as it was none of his business.

    She seemed satisfied with his answer, as a small smile appeared on her face. She nodded and returned to her duties.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the gul’s office

    Zamarran returned to his office to be mildly surprised by the presence of two of his officers there. “You better?” he asked Yassel.

    “Tell him,” Kapoor said, clearly addressing the glinn.

    “It doesn’t matter any more,” Yassel replied quietly.

    “Tell him or I’ll tell him,” the human engineer demanded, crossing her arms on her chest.

    Zamarran knew this tone of voice. Kapoor was determined and would not stop before getting what she wanted. “What is the problem?” he asked, looking at both women.

    Kapoor gave Yassel an expecting glance, but since the Cardassian only lowered her head, she decided to speak. “Glinn Yassel was sexually harassed by her previous gul. She doesn’t think that you would even do anything like this, but the fear is there. So you startled her today.”

    Zamarran was speechless. His initial shock slowly turned into hot fury. He went behind his desk with the intention to sit down, but instead walked around, took a chair and put it in front of the one that Yassel sat on. He made sure it wasn’t too close and sat too. He leaned toward her. At first she didn’t react but finally she raised her head and looked him in the eyes for a second. Then she looked away.

    “Yassel, how far did he go?” Zamarran asked softly.

    “Only touching. And talking.” She shifted her shoulder under her armour and the motion reminded him of Gul Brenok shifting his shoulder when his neck ridge was in pain. She had said ‘only,’ but in Zamarran’s eyes uninvited touching of neck ridges was everything but ‘only.’ “And ‘accidental’ rubbing in a corridor or on the bridge.”

    “Did you report him?” he asked. She shook her head. “Why not?”

    “He threatened that I would regret it. That he would tell my family that I am indecent. And that I would have to pay him for the trouble. Besides...who would believe me?”

    “I believe you,” Zamarran said gently. He glanced at Kapoor, who stood just behind Yassel’s chair. “And I will report it.”

    “No!” the glinn shouted. “He will change my life into hell. He will—” She silenced, seeing Zamarran’s hand stretched to her. He didn’t want to grab her hand without her consent to additionally stress her, so he offered his and waited if she accepted it or not. She slowly, uncertainly, put her small hand in his.

    “I will protect you,” he promised. “Gul Zeter will pay for all he did to you, for all his threats and for all attempts of making your life difficult. I can assure you that Gul Brenok would not allow something like this stay in the Guard.” He would not call a beast of that kind ‘someone.’ “I will personally make sure that he will take care of this matter.”

    Now he understood why she was always so uncomfortable in his presence. Or in Torpal’s presence. When dealing with women or younger men, Yassel was fine and relaxed, but when in presence of higher ranking, older men—she seemed like she was afraid to breathe. Cardassian men who represented any sort of power paralysed her. Zamarran suspected that she was as afraid of her own father, as of any other powerful male and it was nothing personal. The abuse that she had to suffer at the hands of Gul Zeter only strengthened her feeling of vulnerability—even when you are being hurt, you cannot do anything about it.

    She looked up at him and he saw hope in her eyes. “Won’t you be in trouble, sir?” she asked, worried.

    Zamarran smiled slightly. “Yassel, your previous gul broke the law. Reporting it is my duty. My duty as a soldier and my moral duty. You can be sure that Gul Brenok doesn’t tolerate incidents like this.” He wanted to joke that not reporting it at once might get her into trouble, but decided that she was not ready for jokes, yet.

    She took a sharp breath and he had an impression that it was a muffled sob. Then a small grin appeared on her face. “Thank you, sir.”

    He let go of her hand and leaned back in his chair. “Now, tell me what happened so that I have something to present your case.”

    “Do you still need me?” Kapoor asked Yassel.

    The glinn shook her head, but Zamarran said, “Stay, Kapoor. We could use an additional pair of ears. And have a padd ready with the recording on stand by.” Not mentioning that Yassel would be better with another woman present in the room. He looked at the glinn. “This will be for Gul Brenok. I hope it would let avoid asking you the same questions over and over and re-live that many times. Just this one time.” Yassel nodded. Her eyes went to the sofa in the corner of the office, so Zamarran said, “Let’s move to a more comfortable environment.” He tried to sound encouraging, but he was sure that Yassel detected in his voice that it was forced. He knew that if she needed a comfortable place, her report would be all but short.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the mess hall

    It felt good to tell someone about all those things that had happened to her. It felt like pushing a heavy rock off her chest. She could breathe now.

    Yassel’s father was a gul since she remembered—as if he were born a gul and never had to climb the ladder of ranks—and he treated everyone at home as if they were his troops. She always envied all those kids that had loving, warm dads. She had never experienced anything like it—until now. Gul Zamarran was so worried and so caring that for a moment she wished she were his daughter. She had never known before how it was, when someone wanted to help you and fight the injustice that had happened to you. And now Kapoor—without any reason—had helped her to talk to Zamarran who—without any reason—had promised her to take care of the matter and take it to the commander of the military. Not even of the Order, but of the Guard!

    The goodness that had just met her overrode the terrible feeling of recalling all those unpleasant events and she was now having her meal in quite a good mood. She felt calmer. More at peace. Zeter would have to face the consequences of his actions and perhaps—she dared a shy thought—he would be even expelled from the Guard in disgrace.

    “How are you feeling?”

    Yassel raised her head to look at Kapoor, who stopped by her table with a tray in her hands. “Surprisingly well,” she admitted. She still had no idea how come the engineer managed to make her tell her all about her fears, but she was grateful. “Would you like to join me?”

    Kapoor smiled and sat. “Thanks.” She took her dishes off the tray and pushed the tray away. Yassel noticed that Kapoor’s choice of food was a mix between Cardassian and alien—presumably human—dishes. “I am sure it was difficult to talk about those things, but it had to be done. This bastard should be locked in prison, if you ask me.”

    Yassel didn’t say anything. She wished they talked about something else. “Can I ask you something?”


    “Why don’t you use your husband’s surname? People of Earth don’t do that?”

    Kapoor smiled. “In many Earth cultures they don’t, but it’s not the reason. I have Tavor’s surname, but people used to call me by my own, plus we used to serve on one warship and it would be too confusing to have two Karama’s there. Officially I use both, Kapoor-Karama.”

    “Do you have the same rank?”

    “No, but you don’t always use the rank.”

    Yassel nodded, agreeing with it. “Do you miss him?”

    The engineer smiled. “Every second.”

    “When was the last time you talked to him?”

    A shadow appeared on Kapoor’s face. “This morning.”

    “I’m sorry, I hope...this wasn’t a bad conversation...I look sad and sound...I’m sorry.”

    “No, it’s okay.” Kapoor shook her head. “Don’t worry about it. We didn’t quarrel, we just had to talk about something unpleasant. There’s something he has to do and he doesn’t like it. And I don’t like when he’s unhappy.”

    “You have two kids, right?”

    “That’s right.”

    Yassel grinned. “Tell me about them.”

    The engineer’s face brightened as she started to talk about her children. Yassel listened with genuine interest, asking questions from time to time and finally forcing Kapoor to promise her to show her images of the little Karamas at the earliest opportunity.

  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Some people could claim that Zamarran has no emotions to sense ;)
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor that surprised me that Fatret would ask about Jarol's attitudes towards humans. That really does make me feel like your Cardassians are changing, if this medic would approach potential racism as a negative attitude and a resentment that has to be set aside.

    (And boy, does this play into what we're discussing in private.)

    That broken mirror worries that she's gotten these cuts once, it makes me worry she could go into more deliberate self-harm to try and punish herself, like Gul Brenok does. (Of course, he doesn't cut himself, but he does self-harm.) She has a lot of healing to do and things to atone for--but that's not the way.

    I hope, though, that eventually her condoning the massacre after she was held prisoner will come out. That was one of her cruelest moments of evil.

    If Karama goes to Cardassia, sorry to say...I hope it will be after his "father" is too weak to strike him. One comment is very telling, though--that it's his father's enemies who need protection, and his father's friends who are threats.

    I also thought it was interesting that Karama seems to be absorbing a belief in Karama!

    As for Aladar...I liked what he said to Ensign Tibaut--the accusation that these scientists were not only cruel enough to watch the Rathosians die, but also cruel enough to claim to be against the death penalty (as the Federation claims) but leave them to die while washing their hands of their indirect execution. Somehow, I think that fits the hypocrisy of people like that scientist commander, and people like Picard.

    Maybe, maybe these younger scientists will act, now that their commander has refused to surrender the Cardassians. Otherwise, Zamarran might have to send down troops, and it'll end up devolving into an old-fashioned Federation vs. Cardassian fight, replete with all the usual stereotypes. :(
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I am so glad Yassel was able to tell Zamarran what happened. And yes...the way I imagine Brenok, I bet he would be furious to hear what Zeter did. I bet Laran would be furious, too. More than furious.

    I hope Zeter's friends will also be prevented from harassing her. And her father. (Man, I hope her father--cold as he was--never engaged in inappropriate behavior towards his daughter, of that nature.)

    Gul Zamarran--the Scaled Crusader for Justice! I love his strong sense of right and wrong. He's such a principled man. :)
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    It does. But this section was written long time ago. I have lots of Jarol material ready to be used as days pass.
    Tavor knows that is someone is his father's friend, then they are nothing good either.
    Is that intentional or a misspell? :)
    Well, you'll have to wait to see what will happen :)
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    OH MY! It's a typo! But what a FUNNY typo!!!!

  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I think that for healing to start, Yassel needs that closure of Zeter facing consequences. From that point she might be able to start to move on and not be chased by her fears that badly. And certainly would learn that she can do something about it and not be a silent victim.
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Kapoor married the right man! :guffaw:
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I actually find myself hoping Zeter will be publicly humiliated in a tribunal. Tribunals on your Cardassia can take place with less severe penalties than death or the kind of labor camp that leads to death, right? I suspect your Cardassians would hide the victim's name. But it would really be awesome for Zeter to be exposed as a pervert to the entire Union. It's exactly what he deserves. :evil:
  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I'm not saying a word, but his fate is already decided and written down.
  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I just hope Yassel will indeed be safe from reprisals. Including from her own father.
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 16

    Rayak Nor, the gul’s private quarters

    Jarol waited for the connection to be established, hoping that she wouldn’t interrupt anything important—she knew Brenok was a busy man, especially since the Rathosian situation indirectly caused problems with one of Cardassian colonies.

    Finally, his face appeared on the screen. He smiled at her. “Good to see you,” he said. “How are you feeling?

    She didn’t even try to fake a smile; she knew it would fail and didn’t want to insult anyone, especially him, with her pathetic attempts. “This is rather official,” she said simply.

    All right. Gul Jarol, what can I do for you?” He still didn’t seem to treat it seriously, as in spite of his words his voice was friendly like in any other personal situation.

    “I officially inform you of my resignation.”

    The smile disappeared from his face. “What?!

    “I am useless, I am always wrong, I am unable to do my job. I shouldn’t drain military resources—you cannot pay me for doing nothing.”

    He shook his head. “I won’t accept it!

    “You have no choice. You cannot force me to stay.”

    Atira, you are on medical leave and that means you cannot be relieved of duty permanently.

    She sighed. “You’re twisting it. You know very well that this regulation doesn’t apply to my situation.” She kept speaking in spite of him shaking his head. “You are not allowed to boot me while I’m on medical leave, but I am allowed to resign. And this is exactly what I’m doing.”

    No. I won’t let you.

    “You have no right to stop me.”

    I will stop you. I will not grant it because you are on medical leave.

    “You bend the rules.”

    He shrugged. “Yes, I know that.

    She felt irritation growing. She had never expected him of all people to be a person who violated regulations, because it fitted his purpose. He was supposed to be better than that. “I can see that you are not as honest and decent as I had thought. It’s clear that I can add you to the long list of my wrong decisions, as obviously making you the Guard’s gul was a mistake. You’re no better than any other corrupted gul!” And with that she angrily punched the key and disconnected, causing Brenok’s astonished face to disappear from the screen.

    She didn’t even take another breath in, yet, when she started to key in the command to re-establish the connection. His face expression hadn’t changed much since a moment ago when she had disconnected. “I’m so sorry, Arenn, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t talk to you like that.”

    His features softened. “It’s all right, Ati. I know that this whole situation is very hard on you.

    “But it doesn’t mean that I should be hard on you.” She hoped he could really see how much she regretted her stupid words. She couldn’t believe that she had told him all these awful things. “I just...don’t like rules to be broken, that’s all.”

    His lips smiled, but his eye ridges remain frowned. “You are not yourself and that’s the reason why I don’t want to accept your resignation,” he explained, not even realising how true his words were. “I want you to get better and then decide what you want to do. I don’t think this is a good time to make big decisions, Ati.

    “Is that what Fatret told you?” She paused and then added, “Maybe you’re right. I proved many times over and over again that I am not good at making decisions. Even at my best, if I ever had ‘best’ in my life.”

    That’s not what I mean.” She smiled sadly. He opened his mouth to say something more, but she heard the door to his office opening and he raised his eyes from the screen to look at his visitor. The person said something—too quietly for Jarol to understand the words, but she had an impression that it was Glinn Karama’s voice—and Brenok looked back at her.

    “I know,” she said, raising her hand, “you must go.”

    We’ll talk soon, very soon.

    “Uhm,” she confirmed without confidence and he signed off.

    So she was stuck where she was.

    With Fatret.


    Rayak Nor, the merchant ring

    Borad decided to go for a stroll in the pole ring, which less and less reminded a part of a military installation. Thanks to his own orders, no less. On paper it all looked fine, but when he was walking he lost the confidence in his own decisions.

    He knew that it was inevitable and that the station, once it had lost its strictly military purpose, would start transforming into a multi-purpose hub, but wasn’t it too fast and too much? Would Jarol be furious after returning and retaking the command?

    Two food distribution points had been replaced by two restaurants. Delva had opened a stall with his merchandise and patiently waited for Borad to find him a shop to move in there. On Borad’s desk lay two more applications for permissions to open businesses in the pole ring and Borad started to get used to calling it ‘the merchant ring’ due to its commercial activity.

    He knew this still was a military base with its mission to protect, but the region became safer and the Klingon threat wasn’t as serious as it used to be. He couldn’t tell for how long, but for now it was quieter. Even the mysterious race that had attacked the Klingons didn’t seem to be interested in bothering the Cardassians. They weren’t friendly, but they weren’t openly aggressive either and that was something.

    Borad walked to Delva’s Treasures and stopped to take a look at the items for sale. He knew that most of the Ferengi’s business was special orders, but Delva wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t try to maximise his profits. In the result, the stall offered some rare items that weren’t readily available and weren’t even necessary...unless your wife had a birthday, or something like that.

    Borad’s wife didn’t have her birthday any time soon, but one of items drew his attention and he thought of buying it for her. It was a kind of knick-knack; a small sculpture of an abstract form, but very Cardassian in its nature and colours. No doubt this wasn’t anything alien.

    He took the item and studied it carefully. The base was chirped a little, but it was barely visible when placed on a flat surface, like a table or a shelf. “How much?” the glinn asked, not looking at the Ferengi shop assistant—or rather ‘stall assistant.’

    The assistant smiled. “Three hundred leks.”

    Borad’s eyes darted to the shorter man’s face. “You must be joking!”

    “This sculpture is very old, very precious and very pretty. I’m sure your female would love it.”

    “This sculpture is chirped, too,” Borad noted.

    “Two hundred eighty leks, then.”

    Expensive but the Ferengi was right: his wife would love it. “Is this Cardassian?” he asked.

    “Of course. Look here.” The assistant pointed to the place hidden in a shadow between two protruding fold-like shapes. “See? I’m sure you can read it. I can’t but it looks Cardassian to me.”

    Between folds near the base there were words in Cardassian script. The letters were more gentle and more curved than the modern Cardassian characters, but they were Cardassian nonetheless. Borad squinted at the tiny letters and tried to read the words.

    Fanehrian City,” he read out loud. An old name for Fanehr, a city in the southern part of Eheen. There was another word after that, but it seemed incomplete. Borad wondered why it would be incomplete and scrutinised the sculpture as if it could answer his question. Suddenly he realised that perhaps it was a piece of a bigger whole and was worked on to look like a separate item. It wouldn’t be hard to polish harsh edges, as the material was fairly soft. “Where do you have it form?” he asked.

    “I only sell it. If you are interested in wholesale, you must talk to my boss.”

    “I certainly will.” Borad stretched his hand with his thumb up and let the Ferengi press a padd to his finger to confirm the payment. Then, with the sculpture in his hand, he headed back to his—Gul Jarol’s—office. He had some searching to do.

    Rathosia, Yapplorettix City, Federation Observation Point #567887

    Aladar was furious. The Federation had interrogated Veltek and was now interrogating Pa’Ler, but they didn’t seem interested in interrogating him—the team leader. Did Golek think that he could break the younger soldiers easier? Veltek didn’t have any visible signs of force used—no bruises, not cuts—but he was very quiet since his interrogation. He had told Aladar that he told the Federation nothing and hadn’t answered any more of the garesh’s questions.

    Ensign Tibaut, a short, slim human with orange hair, had brought them three blankets and asked to hide them each time Golek came into the brig. She hadn’t elaborated but Aladar was sure she had brought them in spite of her orders. He had tried his best to hide the blankets under benches, but they were still visible from the outside of the cell, so Lieutenant Pemutruch had offered to hide the blankets in the brig’s locker during days and return them to the Cardassians for the night time, so they had some protection from cold when they slept.

    Aladar didn’t know why these two were helping them, but he was grateful.

    He waited for Pa’Ler to be brought back, hoping that he wouldn’t seem in as bad mental shape as Veltek was. Whatever the interrogations included, it seemed to be very non-Federation, he thought bitterly. It angered him that he was unable to protect his people from the Orion man.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge

    Zamarran was getting frustrated. Captain Ram had confirmed that Federation scientists on Rathosia had Aladar and his men. She had also told Zamarran that they had refused to release their prisoners and that a Federation admiral didn’t want to order them to do that, believing that the scientists knew best what they were doing and what was good for the Rathosians.

    For Zamarran it was simply unbelievable. How can a high ranking gul refuse to give orders to lower ranking officers? It was so twisted that the gul wondered how an organisation, in which this was allowed, could function. Maybe it was just an isolated incident, or maybe it was how they worked—he didn’t know.

    And he didn’t care. All he cared about was getting Aladar and his team back.

    “Sir,” Torpal spoke from his post. “I detect seven ships approaching.”

    Zamarran turned to look at his tactician. “Talarian?”

    Torpal shook his head. “Negative.” He looked up at the gul. “Gorgor.”

    This couldn’t mean anything good, Zamarran was sure. The Gorgor were still a mystery, but there were some facts that the gul was aware of. It was the Gorgor who had attacked the Klingons, which allowed the Cardassians to avoid an open conflict with the aggressive race after their attack on Rayak Nor. The Gorgor had developed some kind of wormhole technology that allowed them to open fissures, through which they could move to distant parts of the galaxy—and the Klingon Empire seemed to be their first choice. They had decided that the Klingons were too aggressive and had to be stopped before destroying the ‘order,’ whatever the strange aliens understood by that. The Federation had managed to establish a friendly contact with the Gorgor and helped the Union to negotiate some kind of non-aggressive relations, but Gorgor-Cardassian relationship was far from friendly. The Gorgor thought of the Cardassians as no less dangerous than the Klingons. Zamarran couldn’t blame them for that, but he also didn’t need additional weapons trained at his hull at the moment.

    “They are hailing us,” Seltan said.

    “On screen,” Zamarran replied, wondering what he would see. He had no idea what a Gorgor looked like.

    A big snail. He saw a big, slimy, dark-brown snail on his viewer. At least—the visible part of the alien’s body reminded him of a shell-less pafkat snail: the Gorgor didn’t have any neck, or a head, all that was on the screen was just a long, shiny, elongated shape, on top of which there were two short feeler-like protrusions with blinking, lidless slits—presumably the eyes. The protrusions moved, each in different direction and Zamarran wondered if it meant that the alien had just looked around. There was nothing to resemble a nose, but there was a small maw filled with spiky, sharp teeth.

    “This is Gul Zamarran of the Cardassian Union,” he introduced himself.

    You fought the Talarians,” the Gorgor stated flatly.

    “That is correct. However, it was not an aggressive attack.” The gul felt that explaining things to the alien would be the safest course of action. If he proved that the Marritza wasn’t a threat, the Gorgor might leave them alone.

    Why did you attack them?

    “We tried to stop them from mining the star.”


    “This star is going to seize to exist and take this star system with it.”

    Why do you care?

    Zamarran felt interrogated and didn’t like that at all, but he still kept answering the demands. “This star system is inhabited by sentient beings.”

    The alien was silent for a moment. “Is your mission to protect?

    “Yes, it is,” Zamarran confirmed. “To protect and undo the damage.”

    Noble.” And—to the gul’s astonishment—the Gorgor disconnected.

    “Are we in trouble or are we not in trouble?” Yassel asked no one in particular.

    “You tell me, Yassel. Could you read his voice?”

    “Sorry, sir, but no. I think their speech is too different from an average biped and the translator doesn’t help much in this aspect.”

    “Biped,” Seltan repeated. “We can’t even tell if he had legs.”

    “We can’t even tell if it was a ‘he,’” Torpal added.

    “Enough,” Zamarran said sharply.

    Everyone muttered their ‘sorry, sir’s and got back to their work. A moment later Seltan informed the gul that the Gorgor wanted to talk to him again.

    I am First Siadatch Fook’tok’mat,” the alien said. “We were informed that there was a conflict here and my superior sent me to investigate.”

    “I understand,” Zamarran said, but he didn’t. What was it business of theirs? However, he appreciated that the alien stopped only demanding the information and offered some of his own.

    We will not interrupt your mission.” And again—he suddenly disconnected.

    “Glad to hear that,” Zamarran muttered to himself. The last thing he needed was another player in the game.
  15. 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 private quarters

    “Mom! Where are you?” Laran entered the sitting room and looked around. The door to her bedroom was opened, so she was not crying her eyes out this morning. He went to the bathroom—the mirror was still there, so it appeared that she hadn’t broken the new one, too. He still felt shivers after that incident the previous day.

    She emerged from the kitchenette. “I’m here.”

    He smiled, hiding his hands and what he kept in them behind his back. “Cooking?” he asked.

    “I can’t watch you eating all those unhealthy things any longer.” She returned to the kitchenette, so he followed her.

    “Mom, I have something for you.”

    “A phaser so I can finally shoot my head off? Or a death sentence? Signed by ten independent archons?”

    “You have an adorable sense of humour,” he said sourly. It deeply hurt him to hear her talking like that.

    “What do you want me to say?” she said angrily, turning to him. “How can you not believe that I deserve anything else than an execution? You are an archon, you swore to protect the law and serve the justice. And look at me? I did so many bad things in my life that I lost count. I was a bad sister, a bad officer, a bad gul and a bad legate. And the fact that you cannot do your duty proves that I’m a bad mother, too.”

    “Now wait a minute!” Laran frowned at her. “You can talk about Gul Jarol what you want. You can slur Legate Jarol all you want. But don’t you dare to talk badly about my mother!” He shouted the last two words and she looked at him surprised. The fact was that he believed that she had been a good gul who commanded her warship wisely and a good legate who fixed wounded and hurting empire, but Fatret had told him not to argue with her about that, as it would be pointless. However, he would not listen to her telling him that she was a bad mom. From all the people—at least those alive—he was the one most qualified to judge that and he would insist he had the best mother in the Cardassian Union.

    He forced his frown to disappear and made an attempt to smile, hoping that she would take it as a sincere change of mood. “I have something for you.” He took his hands out from behind his back and handed her a small, wrapped object, which he had acquired on his way back to their quarters on his middle-day meal break.

    “What is it?”

    “Open it.”

    She washed her hands to remove the remains of food and took the gift. She placed it on the worktop next to a bowl with washed lettuce, unwrapped it and her eyes opened wide. “What it is?”

    “I have no clue, but I hope you like it. It has a Nokarian touch to it, doesn’t it?”

    He wasn’t even sure if the thing was Cardassian, but its shape reminded him of architecture of Drav, a city that was not only in Nokar but also the closest big city to his mother’s home village. The town hall was decorated by shapes very similar to this one.

    She studied the object, gently touching all surfaces. “Laran, where do you have it form?”

    “The Ferengi stall with art. Why?”

    “Droplet, this looks like a piece of a giant Medal of Justice.”

    “Medal of Justice, you say? Then it’s a good gift from an archon, wouldn’t you say?”

    But he could clearly see that she was not in the mood for jokes. “Come with me,” she said and went to the computer terminal. Her son followed her. “Computer, access the historical database.” The computer beeped in an acknowledgement. “Access: Nokar. Architechture. The Statue of Archon Mobar.”

    A reproduction of the Statue of Archon Mobar from Drav is available,” the computer male voice responded.

    “No. Display the image of Bavosal’s sculpture.”

    “Mom, what’s going on?” Laran asked uncertainly. Did she completely lose her mind?

    A two-dimensional image appeared on the monitor. Laran knew that the image showed one of completely destroyed by the Dominion cities, but that was all he knew about Bavosal. He knew more about the tragedy of the people and New Bavosal, which he and his mother had visited earlier this year, than about the old city’s architecture.

    The image showed a big statue of a man. He wore ancient armour, held a sword in one hand and an old-fashioned book in the other one, pressing it to his chest, as if protecting it with the sword. He also wore a cape and there, to that cape, on his shoulder was pinned something oval with feathers attached to it. A medal of some sort.

    “Look here.” His mother pointed to a place on the medal and then put the item that Laran had brought her closer to the monitor.

    “It looks exactly the same,” the sub-archon whispered, surprised. “You don’t think that it’s a part of a monument that was destroyed by the Dominion, do you?” he asked, looking at her.

    She shook her head. “Laran, this monument was removed from Bavosal’s marketplace seventy years ago. After riots in Nokar that were caused by draughts, the Central Command punished the people by dismantling the monument, as Archon Mobar was one of the most important figures in Nokar’s history and this was one of the most important monuments in Nokar’s architecture. No one saw that statue ever again. I am sure it was sold.”

    Laran gave her a sceptical look. “Mom, you don’t think this is original...”

    “I don’t know,” she said, shaking her head. “But I intend to check it. I’ll finish our meal and then will talk to Borad about this. And Delva, when he’s back. This is not a coincidence.”

    The sub-archon was glad to see her so excited about something, so decisive again and so sure what she should do, but he worried that the disappointment, which was certainly going to follow her little ‘discovery,’ would only make things worse in the result. The possibility of this piece of something being a part of an old, lost monument from her home continent was zero. He had to brace for impact of her disappointment; he also made a mental note to inform Fatret of upcoming problems.

    Cardassian Union Science Ship Marritza, the bridge

    Zamarran logged out of his panel and looked around his officers. All, without an exception, were busy. Yassel was reading something from her screen and entering some data on a padd. Seltan seemed to be intently listening to some air traffic, probably eavesdropping. Torpal was frowning over his console and Zamarran was sure the tactician was performing battle simulations based on their current situation, as it was a standard procedure in such cases.

    “Torpal, may I see you in my office?” Zamarran asked, raising from his chair and heading for his room. The tactician nodded and followed him. The gul offered him a chair and then sat in his. “Glinn Torpal, I know that you had served under four different guls,” he said.

    Torpal’s eye ridges frowned. “That’s correct, sir,” he said and then quickly added. “It’s not that I’d been being transferred all the time due to my incompetency.” His voice sounded nervous. “The first two died in the line of duty, the third one was promoted and left the ship and I left the fourth one to be reassigned here.”

    Zamarran understood the tactician’s anxiousness, but he didn’t have any intention to cause it. He knew very well that usually an officer, once assigned to a warship, stayed there for a very long time, if not the rest of his or her career, and if they were transferred too often, it usually was a sign of their superiors’ dissatisfaction with their performance. From his own experience he knew that it wasn’t always the case, as sometimes the circumstances changed and one’s skills were needed elsewhere. In addition, it was not the reason of his mentioning that to the glinn. “Torpal, I don’t intend to ask you about the reasons, or to question your professionalism, in which I believe without a doubt. My point is that you have seen four different guls in command and experienced their command styles.”

    Torpal’s frown dissolved and transformed into a questioning look. “That’s correct.”

    “I would like to ask your opinion of my decisions.”

    A questioning look grew to an astonishment. “Excuse me, sir?”

    “What do you think about my command?” There was no way around it, so Zamarran decided to ask the question directly. “Do you think I’m too soft and too co-operative? Does it make me look weak and not worthy of respect in the eyes of Captain Ram and the Gorgor?”

    The gul couldn’t believe that Torpal surprise became even stronger. “Sir...absolutely not!” he protested. “I must admit that your style is very different, but this is also a very different ship. We’re not at war. We’re not on a patrol mission. We’re not to be soldiers here. It’s a combination of diplomacy, science and, most likely, soon also defence.” He paused for a moment, as if hesitated. “To be honest, I don’t think that two of my previous guls would do as well as you are doing, sir. Please, don’t get me wrong,” he added quickly, “I think highly of them, but I would expect them to first draw weapon and then ask questions. You talk, you negotiate and all these things are appropriate in our situation. I don’t care that you answer someone’s questions. We have nothing to hide. We don’t have to lie.”

    “But shouldn’t I have told the Federation and the Gorgor to keep their noses our of our business? They keep interrogating me and I...allow them to.”

    Torpal smiled. “Sir, we came to do our job and we get constantly interrupted. As much as I’d like to tell them to leave us alone, I know it wouldn’t work. I keep hoping that your co-operation in sharing information would at least make them let us do our job.” The glinn observed the gul for a moment. “You’re still not satisfied with my answer.” Zamarran shook his head. “You fear you appear weak.” Zamarran didn’t clearly confirm, but he was sure his stony look told Torpal everything. “No, I do not think so,” the tactician said. “They still didn’t cross a line to provoke us, so you still didn’t have to show our sharp teeth.”

    “Do you think I will decide to show our sharp teeth when they cross the line?” Zamarran asked.

    “Sir, I don’t know you well, as this is our first mission together, but I doubt that you would sit by and watch them ruining our mission. You’re not that kind of man.”

    Zamarran thought for a while. “Torpal, I have little experience in battle conditions...tactical experience, I mean. I am an engineer. If someone crosses the line, I will follow your recommendations regarding tactical matters.”

    “Understood. But if I may be so bold, had served under one of the best tacticians in the Guard and fought in war under her command. I am sure you’ve learnt something and you’d do fine, if we have to switch our tactics to a more militant attitude.”

    Zamarran grinned weakly. “Your faith in me is disturbing.”

    Torpal answered with a smile of his own. “An officer has to trust his gul. After all, someone smarter than me was certain that this is the place for you, so who am I to question that?”

    “Thank you, Glinn Torpal, that would be all.”

    The tactician nodded and left the office. Zamarran sighed. As much as he respected Gul Brenok, he still wasn’t so sure that the long-haired gul hadn’t made a mistake, assigning him to the science ship. He knew he should show the same trust in his superior as Torpal did, but his doubts in his own abilities were stronger. Brenok was smart but perhaps his friendly feelings toward Zamarran clouded his judgement. He’s been known for following his heart rather than his logic sometimes.

    Rayak Nor, the gul’s private quarters

    Av’Roo stood with a bowl in her hand in front of Gul—the Skorr still didn’t understand the demotion that Jarol had been subjected to—Jarol’s quarters and patiently waited to be let in. The door parted, so she proceeded inside.

    She stretched her hands with the bowl that she held toward the Cardassian. “Gul Jarol, I come with the Offering of a Peaceful Warrior,” she said. She knew that the Cardassian would have no idea what it meant, so she was not at all surprised, seeing the gul’s astonished look. “Do you accept?”

    “Y...yes,” Jarol said uncertainly, eyeing the bowl.

    Av’Roo smiled and placed the bowl on a low table near a big window. “Then you are ready.” The most natural question ‘Ready for what?’ was not asked, but the Skorr didn’t mind. She sat in a chair next to the table, waited for Jarol to sit in the other one and then started to explain. “This is a very old tradition from the times when my people were changing their ways. We still follow it, although these days it’s rather a symbol than the real need, unless someone struggles with his or her violent nature and reaches the moment that they cannot go on without support. I think that you are now on a crossroad and face the same difficult time as Skorr warriors did centuries ago.” Jarol looked at the bowl and then her eyes returned to Av’Roo’s face. The Skorr continued. “My people used to be warriors, brutal and vicious. We have changed our ways and became peaceful—that brought tranquil to our planet, our neighbours and also our hearts. I think you have reached this very moment of transformation from a warrior to a peaceful being. But you struggle with the same feelings and memories that Skorr warriors did—your violent past.” Tears appeared in Jarol’s eyes but she still didn’t say anything. “The Offering of a Peaceful Warrior is a special pudding, prepared with love and hope and given as a gift to a struggling warrior.” Av’Roo smiled. “This one is not that traditional, as I used Cardassian ingredients to make sure it’s edible for you, but the feelings and my support are exactly as they would be for a Skorr version of the dish.”

    “Why?” Jarol asked quietly.

    “Because no one should be left alone to face their monsters. We have to constantly keep them locked under key and when they try to escape and are almost successful—we need a cavalry to help us keep them locked and not let them out.

    “I do not know what caused your change, I do not know if it’s not something any Cardassian has to endure in his or her life, but I can see that you are alone in this and I can see that you need cavalry.”

    “You cannot help me.”

    “Tell me, am I correct assuming that you have problems with dealing with what you had done in your past?” Jarol nodded weakly. “And you cannot undo those deeds?” The Cardassian shook her head from side to side. “And you regret them?” Another nod. “Was doing them necessary?”

    Jarol’s eyes opened wider and she stared at Av’Roo for a long moment. She seemed to think for a while and then said in a barely audible voice. “No, I don’t think so.”

    “You have to accept that it has been done,” the Skorr said. “You have to keep the monsters locked, but you cannot think only about them. Don’t let them out, ever; don’t let them eat your alive. Ask for help, if you need to keep them away. You cannot kill them. You cannot forget them. They will always be with you and they will keep reminding you what they are like, but that will only help you not to create more of them. And that is a good thing.”

    “How am I supposed to live with them?”

    “You’ll learn. You’ll always feel their presence, but you cannot allow them to define your life. Not any more. You have removed them from your heart, so don’t let them back in.”

    “How do you do this in practice?”

    “I am a Skorr and I have my ways of dealing with demons. I am not sure if mine would be of any use for you. But I know one thing: you cannot go through this alone and I think you’re trying to. Your monsters are still very strong. Not strong enough to return to your heart and make you do what they want, but strong enough to destroy you.”

    “Maybe I should be destroyed?”

    “Not this way.” Av’Roo paused. “You have a son. If you don’t have strength to fight for yourself, fight for him. Do you want the monsters to take his mother away? Did he deserve that?”

    Jarol firmly shook her head. Then she took the spoon that was in the bowl and tried the pudding. Av’Roo observed her, not saying anything.

    “Did some warriors lost their fights with their monsters?” the gul asked.


    “What happened to them?”

    “Something that I don’t want to happen to you.”

    Jarol stopped eating and looked at the Skorr. “Why do you care?”

    “I care about everyone. I try to, at least.” She smiled weakly, hoping her words weren’t arrogant.

    “What if no one wants to help me to keep my monsters locked?”

    “I doubt that. You have a son, you have a sister, you have a friend who is almost a brother to you. I refuse to believe they would leave you with this alone.”

    “My sister would.”

    “But not Demok and not Brenok.”

    “I shouldn’t burden my child with this.”

    “He shares your burdens, for he is your child.”

    “He shouldn’t worry about my monsters. This is not his problem.”

    “He already worries. Let him do something so he would know he is helping you and not just observing you disappear in the thin air.”

    Jarol shook her head and Av’Roo didn’t understand her resistance. There had to be something more about this. Had he accused her of something? Had he complained about her past? Had he judged her? Why would she think he wouldn’t support her? Was it Jarol’s misunderstanding or had something happened between them to cause that?

    “I would offer my support, if you’d accept it,” the Skorr said. “I volunteer.”

    “Why?” Jarol asked the same question again.

    “Because you are more a Skorr right now than anyone else on this station. Because I can’t just stand by and do nothing.” She paused. “My door will be open, should you decide to accept my offer.” She rose. “You have to eat the whole pudding. The monsters hate it and hide in corners, so they would leave you alone for a while.”

    “Thank you.” Jarol’s voice was quiet.

    Av’Roo nodded and left the quarters.

  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Oooh, smart Fatret. Obviously resigning would be another avoidance mechanism. I actually think Brenok would be following the rules if a medical professional stated that making big decisions in her condition should not be allowed, as a part of her course of treatment. (Of course, I know that at least in the USA, that logic wouldn't fly, but on Cardassia I imagine it would.)

    That art piece...that actually reminds me of the way the Berlin Wall was cut into pieces. But if someone's running an illegal art ring, with Cardassian art...NOT cool. I hope, though, that it turns out to be what Jarol says it is, because that could give her something better and more meaningful for her to do with her life. I still think she needs to resign--but once she can do so in a clearheaded fashion.

    As for Golek--to refuse a request for blankets when he knows Cardassians can get hypothermia? Bastard. But of course only a bastard can preside over the death of a planet. There's a spot in the Obsidian Order for you, Mr. Orion.

    Now, the Gorgor...that's interesting to see that they may well judge the Cardassians as "changed," and the Klingons as "not." But the Federation refusal to will that piece of information play when they find out? That has soooooooo many political implications. Some could be good, but others could be deadly for the Cardassians, the Federation, and everyone else.

    Personally...I think that what Laran said was right. There is so much of a separation between Legate Jarol and Jarol as a mother that they are like two different personas.

    As for Av'Roo...while her culture's way of expressing it is very different, I think what she did was very, VERY touching. If her people were once like Cardassia was--violent, oppressive, and uncaring--then it does put her in a unique position to deal with this. I also like that while she says this is mostly a symbol now, that she does not say it's devoid of significance, or a connection to something bigger than the tangible symbol itself.

    I know AU Dukat would've been pleased, too.
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Actually, I'm not so sure Fatret told him anything. It could as well be Brenok's emotions speaking. He doesn't want to let her go.
    I'm surprised Golek is allowed to refuse such an order. Either his commander is not much better, or she doesn't know. Or they both believe that the Cardassians "deserve" it.
    There's going to be on Gorgor. I'm not sure how much of their way of thinking and reasoning would be revealed in this story, but they are going to be a recurring alien and finally known better to the reader.
    I wrote that scene long time ago and had already made a decision to dump it and not use it. But then I changed my mind.
  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Any of those options is incredibly dangerous.

    I'm glad you kept it. I think it was wonderful. :)
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Initially the Av'Roo scene was supposed to be Intermission, then dumped as bringing nothing additional to the plot, but recently I thought of something and now the scene won't be so meaningless in regard to the plot.

    The main reason why I had wanted to dump it was that I felt it was very bland and boring. There's enough of boring character development revolving around Jarol not to add more :lol:
  20. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor

    That's the last word I'd use. "Rich" is what came to my mind. It's like what I feel when I write SigCat...even in the worst situations, there's something so layered, vibrant, and alive about AU Cardassia. This had kind of a similar feel to it. :)