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
    A lot of speculation and guessing here ;)

    Ordinance Fifty-Three is the last resort solution and shouldn't be used lightly. Even if you don't trust Toral to feel any sympathy for Federation species, there are Cardassians on that planet too and, as a soldier, Toral knows his first duty is to protect, not slaughter his own people.

    As to the other'll see ;)
  2. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I hope he'd try just as hard if there weren't Cardassians living on that particular planet. That would really tell us what kind of man he is.
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 3

    Rayak Nor
    Day 2

    Jarol was tired—it was long past midnight and she was on duty up until now. She slowly walked to her quarters, dragging her feet on the deck. From the corner of her eye she thought she saw a guard posted by her door and made a mental note to ask Borad the next day about it. However, as she approached closer she realised that the soldier by her door was not a mere guard.

    “How long have you been waiting?” she asked Brenok.

    “I don’t know.”

    She stopped in front of him and looked him in the face.

    “Why, Arenn? Why did it have to be him?” Her voice shook.

    “Do you think I did it lightly? That I don’t understand how dangerous this mission is?”

    “He’s all I have,” she whispered, grabbing Brenok’s shoulders. “He and you are the only constants in my life, the only people that the fate didn’t take away from me. I can’t lose any of you. I would not survive that.”

    “Atira...” She thought he wanted to say that she couldn’t shield her son from dangers of the galaxy for all his life but stopped himself in time. What kind of argument would that be!

    She let go of him and punched the wallcomm. He did not move. She stopped just before the threshold protrusion in the deck and looked into the quarters. “It’s so...empty,” she whispered. She then entered and the door closed behind her. She realised that Brenok didn’t follow. She stepped back so the sensor would detect her and open the door. “Aren’t you coming in?” she asked. She heard the squeak of his armour and he joined her inside. “Did you want to talk about something?” she asked, heading for the replicator.


    She looked at him. “No?”

    “I came to see how you’re doing.”

    “I’m worried. I’m nervous. I’m scared to death. I feel guilty.”

    That was an understatement. A part of her understood his decision, a part of her knew someone had to go there and deal with the problem, but the part of her that was a parent didn't want to accept that it had to be her son. The nightmare of losing her children on another space station returned with all its strength and she hated that feeling.

    She had tried to concentrate on her work, she tried to bury the unpleasant feelings deep inside her, but it wasn’t easy. She knew she had treated Brenok coldly when he had told her, but she had tried to do her best not to let her panic surface itself. Assuming ‘on duty’ face made controlling her reactions easier.

    “I don’t want you to feel guilty.” His voice was soft and she had an impression he was no less worried than she.

    Sisstu juice,” she told the replicator, took her beverage, sipped on it and then looked at Brenok. “Who would you send if I wouldn’t bring him here?”

    “I would leave it to Toral,” he answered after a long moment. “There is no one else who could do it.”


    “Can you imagine her dealing with such a delicate matter?”

    Jarol considered his reply for a while. “Maybe she’d do better than he would. He’s young and has no experience.”

    “You underestimate him.” The gul smiled sightly.

    Jarol leaned against a wall behind her, feeling the panic raising in her heart. Brenok went to her and put his hand on her arm. She sniffed. “Don’t leave me alone tonight,” she said very quietly.

    “I won’t.” He pulled her to himself and embraced in a fatherly hug.

    CUW Radalar
    Day 2

    Medic Albek jumped when he felt someone touch his shoulder. He barked a curse in Nokarian.

    “You fell asleep,” Boreep’s voice told him.

    “What?” Albek looked around and then recalled where he was. “Where’s Jabat?”

    “In bed, most likely,” Boreep replied. “I came earlier because I wanted to take a look at some readings and found you here. Have you been to your quarters at all?”

    “No,” the station medic admitted. “I kept postponing it and...” He pointed to the table on which his head had been rested.

    “Go to sleep.”

    “No. There’s too much work.”

    “Albek, there’s little use of a tired brain. Go to sleep, even for a couple of hours.”

    “All right, but you will wake me up if you find something.”


    “Here are my notes. No sense if you repeat my work.” Albek handed Boreep a padd and the younger medic took it and activated. “You can also take a look at their medics’ data, you will find something very interesting there.”

    “I will. Now, go to sleep.”

    “Yeah, yeah,” the dishevelled Cardassian muttered waving his hand dismissively and left the laboratory.

    The characteristic sound of the comm woke Demok up. He had had problems with falling asleep and when it finally happened—he was woken up a moment later. He glanced at the chronometer. To his surprise he discovered that he slept for five hours.

    The comm sounded again.

    “What is it?” he asked.

    Sub-Archon, Prefect Krause demands to talk to you.” It was Aladar’s voice.

    “I’ll be there in five minutes,” the young Cardassian replied and jumped out of the bed.

    He quickly dressed up, combed his hair, splitting it evenly in the middle and swiping down to sides. To Jarol’s amusement, her son has adopted Brenok’s hairstyle, just without the length.

    He entered the small office that he had been assigned and looked at the screen, expecting the human fuming there while waiting for his arrival. He was not mistaken.

    “Prefect Kr—”

    It’s Governor Krause!

    “Of course, forgive me, sir. It’s a habit—”

    What are you doing regarding our problem?” the man boomed.

    Demok tried to hide his irritation. “Three of our medics work on it—”

    Without any results.

    The sub-archon didn’t appreciate being interrupted. He even less appreciated ridiculous demands and accusations posed by Krause. The colonists had been working on the cure for weeks without results and this man expected the Cardassians to find it overnight? Be diplomatic, he thought to himself. Your mother negotiated a treaty with Federation diplomats, you can ‘negotiate’ with this...person, he can’t be worse than them.

    “Governor Krause, we didn’t have much time to work on it but I assure you that we work on it around the clock and won’t rest until we have something. This colony is—”

    I’m sure you can talk as much as any other Cardassian,” Krause interrupted again. “I want a report every hour on your progress.

    Demok’s eyes opened wider. He could hear Aladar, who stood nearby, drawing a loud breath in.

    “Krause,” the sub-archon said, his voice an octave lower than before. “Make not mistake, we are here to help but we are not going to—”

    You will—

    “...listen to your orders.” This time he didn’t let the human interrupt him and continued, speaking louder to drown out the human. “We offer our assistance but we do not report to you. You report to me.” He pointed his finger at the screen. Krause muttered something that the translator did not interpret. “I will contact you as soon as we have any useful information,” Demok concluded and turned away from the viewer. Aladar took it as a sign of the end of the conversation and signed off.

    Demok went to one of consoles and sat in a chair behind it. He pressed his wristcomm. “Demok to Albek.”

    Boreep here.

    “Where’s Albek?”

    Asleep, I hope. I had sent him to bed thirty minutes ago. I took the liberty of re-routing comms to him to my communicator to give him some time to rest.

    “All right. Do you have anything?”

    Not that much of new information, but there is something... If you could come to the laboratory?

    “I’m on my way.” He looked at Aladar. “If he calls again, tell him to wait for me to contact him back. I will not be yelled upon.”

    “Yes, Sub-Archon.” The garesh nodded.

    Demok left the office, his office, and headed for the laboratory.

    Medics Jabat and Boreep were present there when he arrived. There were also a few nurses and medical technicians there.

    “Ah, Sub-Archon,” Jabat greeted him. “I hope you slept well?”

    Demok only rolled his eyes and smiled. The medic seemed to understand the message.

    “So, what do you have?” the young Cardassian asked.

    “We can tell for sure,” Boreep started, “that the virus was artificially created.”

    “For sure?” Demok repeated.

    “An artificial virus is too regular, too symmetric to be a creation of nature,” Jabat explained.

    “So there is not doubt. Actually, I am not surprised by this discovery.”

    “Neither are we, but there’s more.” Demok looked at Boreep who continued, “The colony medics did not notice that.”

    “Maybe they noticed but didn’t seem necessary to include in their reports,” Jabat suggested. “It’s quite hard to omit.”

    “Whatever. It was not in their conclusions.” Boreep shrugged.

    “Does it change anything?” Demok asked.

    “Yes and no,” the Damar medic replied. “If someone creates a virus, they also often create a cure. However, according to the data the virus has mutated and such a cure might not be usable any longer.”

    “Is there any indication as to who created it?”

    Both medics shook their heads. Boreep said, “It’s too early to tell. I’d like to talk to their medics, in case there’s more they didn’t include in their reports.”

    “I’ll try to arrange that.”

    “Actually, I’d like to go down to the planet.”

    “Absolutely not!”

    “But sir, that way—”

    “Boreep, from what I understand this virus spreads fast and is deadly. You will not beam down.”

    “I’d wear an EVA suit all the time.”

    “And how can we be sure the decontamination would work fully after returning you to the ship?”

    “You can’t risk bringing it here,” Jabat supported Demok.

    “Fine, a comm channel would have to suffice,” Boreep gave up.

    “Anything else?” the sub-archon asked.

    “Not for now,” Jabat shook his head.

    “I’ll leave you to your work, then.” Demok turned and left the laboratory.
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Rayak Nor
    Day 2

    Glinn Borad donned his armour and looked in the mirror. He combed his hair one more time to smooth all remaining unruly wisps and turned his head to check if everything was conquered.

    Satisfied with his looks, he went to his computer panel and, as each morning before starting his shift, he recalled the pre-programmed command. He sat on the edge of the chair and looked directly into the camera. He smiled—it was a real, warm smile; he never had to fake it as the thought of for whom the smile was, was sufficient to cause its appearance on his face—and said “I love you.” Then the message was sent to his wife.

    The command centre was still fairly quiet when he arrived. He went to his console, logged in and checked all systems first. Everything seemed under control, so he relaxed a bit and glanced at the door to the legate’s office. Was she already in? He knew that the day before her son had been delegated to the infected colony and could imagine she was worried about him.

    The command was slowly waking up and getting noisier. Exactly when the day shift started one of two lifts arrived and Legate Jarol entered the centre. Borad looked at her; if she had a rough night she didn’t show any of it. She nodded back replying to his greeting and went to her office.

    Borad had to admit he appreciated her trust. He had had a few guls, Gul Dukat included, that liked to look over his shoulder and control his work. She didn’t do that, she left his tasks to him and didn’t seem interested in how he’d get answers for her, only that he would. He was sure if he failed to live up to her expectations and failed that trust, she’d start double checking his performance but then, he would prove he weren’t up to this job and needed checking. He had no intentions of making such an impression.

    His long experience taught him to efficiently organise his work. Making regular summaries and creating short hourly reports became a habit that made his life much easier. With time his hourly reports took shape that helped him to collected them neatly to prepare a daily report. In the end his daily reports were incredibly detailed and very fast and easy to make. Legate Jarol seemed to appreciate his efficiency. She also did something that no other superior he had did: she acknowledged receipt of each report, every evening, every time. Too many guls neglected that regulation for their own laziness, or comfort. It was so much easier to blame an administrator for negligence than admit to losing data and if there was no proof of them receiving a report, they could blame anyone of anything. But not her; it was a refreshing difference.

    “Glinn Borad, do you see that?” It was Federation Commander T’Sarik that called him.

    He went to her. “See what?”

    “Here.” She pointed to a point on the screen of the sensor console. He leaned closer. “It’s very faint,” she continued. “It’s almost gone now, but I am sure there was something.”

    Borad straightened and moved away from the console. He thought for a while and then headed for the tactical table in the pit. T’Sarik followed him.

    “It would help if you had better sensors,” she said. “I mean, in scientific sense. Yours are calibrated for military purpose.”

    “This is a military station,” he replied.

    “It is but gathering some additional information wouldn’t hurt, would it?”

    “Computer.” Borad stopped by the tactical display. “Replay the sensor readings from time frame oh nine fifteen to oh nine twenty.”

    The Cardassian and the Rigelian leaned over the table and studied the reading.

    “What is it?” she asked.

    “I don’t know but we can’t study it farther. First, it seems to be gone. Second, it’s in the Federation territory.” He looked at her. “You can notify your superiors, if you need. They might want to study it farther.”

    “I think they noticed that too,” she answered. “But you are right. I’ll tell Captain Ronus to contact them and inform of this...event.” She was just about to return to her post when she turned to look at Borad. “Your sensors reach a bit too deep into the Federation territory.”

    He only gazed at her without saying anything. She returned to her post. He looked back at the display. The phenomenon—or whatever it was—was gone and there was no sign of it. There were also no Federation ships in vicinity. Maybe it was only a sensor glitch. Or something really insignificant. Or not. He went up back to the Federation post.

    “Commander, I’d like you to keep an eye on that part of space,” he said. “In case this thing reappears.”

    “I will.”

    He returned to his console.

    Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
    Day 2

    Gerard Krause nervously paced in the corridor outside hospital’s laboratory. Finally, the door opened and a short Bolian left the room behind it.

    “From the look on your face I can tell you’re not succeeding,” the tall human said.

    “I’m afraid not.” The Bolian, Doctor Chu’kra, shook his head. They headed for the lift. “Every time we are close to creating an effective cure, the virus mutates.”

    “Why does it mutate so fast?”

    “I don’t know, but this is nothing unusual. Some viruses are like this; flu, for instance.”

    “This is way worse than flu.”

    “I know that.”

    “Are children still immune?”

    “Yes. It would appear that this particular characteristic doesn’t change.”

    “Is there any hope for us?”

    “I don’t know, Gerard. I wish I could tell you but I can’t.”

    “I have to tell the people something. Anything.” Krause hated trivialising the problem to his political responsibilities but he couldn’t completely ignore them.

    “How about the Cardassians? Do you think they can help us?”

    The Cardassians. He had been against the idea of calling them and had agreed to it reluctantly. Two dying men volunteered for the mission, were given a shuttle and went to that terrible station the Cardies had build in the neighbouring sector. Tibaut was friendly with Cardassians and he misguidedly believed that all of them were as benign as the local colonists. None of them returned. That gul had said they fell sick and died but Krause wasn’t sure the bastard didn’t kill them. “I doubt it. Even if they had technology, and I suspect they don’t, I don’t think they’d care enough to try sufficiently hard.”

    “There are also Cardassians here.”

    “Acceptable losses.”

    “They are not that cold-blooded.”

    “They are reptiles, they’re cold-blooded all right.” Chu’kra was too young to remember what the Cardassians were like. Krause knew that some things had changed, some even improved, but he didn’t believe that the people changed. Still, millions wore those terrible, triangle uniforms of theirs and flew in their Galor warships. And that meant nothing good to anyone.

    Chu’kra shook his head. “They are our only hope.”

    “I wish we could contact the Federation. I’d trust their abilities better. And their medical technology. The Cardassians are good in creating biological weapons, not curing diseases.”

    They arrived to the hospital’s canteen. They chose food from a modest offer and sat at a table by a window.

    “How about that civilian they've sent to us?” Chu’kra asked.

    “He is a child!” Krause shook his head. Then he smiled. “But a brave one, I have to give him that. I’m more worried about that gul and his warship.”


    “Because he’s a gul and he has a warship. In our orbit. Isn’t that reason enough?”

    “Well...I’m more worried by our virus. Look at the bright side,” the Bolian smiled putting a bite of food into his mouth. “You asked for a civilian and they sent one.”

    “I asked for civilians to solve this, and they sent one aboard a warship. A baby civilian. I think they try to show us who’s the boss. They are laughing in our faces, Shoss, this is an example of their sick sense of humour.”

    “At least they have a sense of humour.”

    They ate in silence for a moment.

    The governor was distrustful of the Cardassians, of their motives and of their methods. He had witnessed what they were capable of and he didn’t believe in swift change. He knew there were good people, good Cardassians, he knew a couple of decent Cardassian men himself, but it didn’t change his opinion of the race as a whole. And certainly not when he had to deal with them through official channels. With decision-makers. Who knows, maybe that child they had sent to him was the best option available. If he only weren’t demoralised by his big brothers, he could be the only chance the colony had. If he had any real authority. If...if...if... Too many ‘ifs,’ not enough facts.

    “I must return to work,” Chu’kra said pushing away his empty plate.

    “Of course.” Krause nodded a bit absently. “Good luck.”

    Rayak Nor
    Day 2

    Red klaxon startled Jarol who worked in her office. She quickly went to the command centre. “Report!” she demanded.

    “We have detected an automatic distress signal,” Borad reported in his non-nonsense voice. She was just about to say ‘location,’ when he continued, “It’s coming from a small Federation ship in the Federation territory.”

    The legate looked at Ronus who together with his two officers occupied the sensor station assigned to them. The Trill turned in his chair to look at her and then back to the console.

    “Are there any other Federation ships in the vicinity?” she asked.

    “Negative. We are the closest outpost,” he added, looking at her.

    “Our treaty doesn’t allow any Cardassian ships into Federation space,” she said, putting her hands on a rail, which protected the highest level of the command, and leaning on it. She looked at Ronus. “But we can’t leave them like this.”

    “If you’d give me a small ship and a few engineers...” Ronus approached her, hope obvious on his face.

    “Zamarran, assign three engineers,” she said, her eyes on the Trill’s face. “Borad, you go with them. Prepare Hideki Five.” They needed to name their patrol ships, soon.

    Both Cardassians confirmed their orders. She could hear Zamarran calling Kapoor; Smart choice, she thought.

    “Thank you,” Ronus said to Jarol and went to the lift. He waited for Borad to joined him and they both left the command centre.

  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Krause's worry that the Cardassians won't try hard enough sounds exactly like what I said. And if he knows there's the possibility they have Ordinance Fifty-Three up their sleeves, I have a feeling that would've influenced his decision not to call for help sooner. From his perspective, how little would it take for the Cardassians to use it on them? In that light it makes total sense how firm he's being with them. And it also makes sense that they would see sending someone as young as Demok to help them as an insult.

    Unfortunately, there is some very ugly racism in Krause's perspective too--so whatever legitimate concerns he has (and I think some of them very much are), he's still an ass.

    Completely the opposite--Borad's love notes are CUTE! :D

    It's interesting that Borad is allowing T'Sarik to look and see just how far those sensors reach into Federation territory (or at least the range the Cardassians are allowing her to see). Undoubtedly she will be able to conjecture from that just how much further those sensors could reach...

    And now they're getting ready to violate Federation territory. This could either be for a very good reason (someone innocent to save), or there could be someone trying to lure them into exactly this, to void the treaty. Such a person could be either Federation or Cardassian--OR Klingon. (Who says Klingons don't sneak, despite their propaganda?) There are parties on all three sides with good reasons to want to void the treaty.

    Oh, and as a random detail...your Cardassian men now have the freedom to do their hair the way they want? ;)
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    The thing is that the sensors, naturally, reach all around the station in a circle. The borders aren't that neatly shaped and there is a "blob" of Federation territory that comes quite close to the station. That's why the sensors reach inside that extended Federation "arm." The 3 Federation officers are there to monitor that part and to make sure that the Cardassians don't monitor that part too closely or want to abuse the access to this sector. So it's not that Borad allowed her to observe that space. He asked her for a favour to monitor it and inform him in case of something happening. He knows that she knows that the sensors go that far.
    Of course they do :D Laran's hair is something very similar to this, just not so curly:

    I'm glad you liked Borad's little morning habit :)
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 4

    Rayak Nor
    Day 3

    Through the door to her office, Legate Jarol heard some kind of minor alert sounding off in the command centre. She waited for a short moment but as no one bothered to inform her of the problem, she decided to go to the command herself and ask.

    “What’s going on?” She approached Zamarran and looked over his shoulder. He was working at the main engineering console and clearly not on a task related to the alert, which by now was turned off.

    “A security alert, Legate. Garesh Dalar is taking care of it as we speak. Nothing to worry about.”

    “I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” Dalar’s voice reached them from the lift that was just arriving to the command. “I found this in the restricted area.” The garesh left the lift pulling a weakly resisting Ferengi by his elbow. “Obviously, he tried to gather intelligence on our station.”

    The Ferengi hissed. Jarol was not sure if he was more scared or angry.

    “What were you doing there?” she asked.

    He only looked at her.

    “I found this on him.” Dalar handed her a Klingon scanner. “My guess would be that he is a spy.” The last word was said directly to the Ferengi’s face—Dalar had to lean low to the level of the shorter alien.

    Jarol felt her fury raise.

    “Lock him up,” she said to Dalar and went back to her office. She hailed the Ferengi ship.

    Ah, my pretty Legate,” the DaiMon greeted her with his toothy smile.

    “Delva, you little, miserable troll!” Jarol hit her desk with a flat palm causing the image on the monitor to flicker. Then she leaned on the desk, putting her hands on its edge and shifting her weight on the hands. She didn’t feel like sitting at that moment, so she remained standing.

    What did I do?!” the Ferengi shouted surprised.

    “Did you really think we wouldn’t detect it? You sent a man to scan the station! Did you really think we wouldn’t detect it? Who sent you? Who did you want to sell it to? Let me guess...”

    Now, now, Legate.” Delva raised his hand. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. We have not been scanning your station. If you detected anything, it’s because we keep scanning the surroundings of the station. You didn’t say anything that we cannot!

    “Delva, stop pretending,” she hissed. “We have caught him!”

    Caught whom?

    “That man you had sent to scan the interior of the station with a Klingon scanning device.” She didn’t speak, she growled.

    The DaiMon seemed puzzled and for a moment and Jarol thought that perhaps he really didn’t know anything about it. Then he turned to someone behind him. “Frek, who is not aboard the ship?” Jarol didn’t hear a reply, but Delva’s face expression told her that he got an answer. He looked back at the Cardassian woman. “Believe me, my sweet Legate, this is a rogue action on his part. He is going to be severely punished.

    “And I am supposed to believe that?”

    Delva’s demeanour changed completely. His toothy smile disappeared, his eyes opened wider and he straightened. “Look, Legate Jarol,” he said in a respectful and serious tone of voice. “I am a serious businessman. I want profit and a lot of it. Selling stolen intelligence may be profitable but it’s a one-time deal. Having a fruitful and long-term co-operation with another serious party—such as yourself—would bring a stable and handsome profit and I would not choose the former. In the long run, business with you would be more profitable than one deal with the Klingons, the Romulans or whomever. What’s more, I don’t appreciate my own crewmember trying to cheat you and endanger our agreement. My agreement with you.” He paused. “Whatever data he has collected, feel free to inspect it to know exactly what it was and deal with that knowledge how you deem necessary.

    She had never seen a Ferengi behaving like this. It could have been an example of good acting, for all she knew Delva could have sent that man to spy on her station himself, but for some reason she believed him.

    “All right, Delva,” she said. “Let’s say I believe you.”

    The relief on his face was very obvious. “Can I have him back? I will punish him accordingly.

    “‘Accordingly’ meaning what exactly.” She sat in her chair.

    I will confiscate all his assets and cut his wages in half.

    “This better be a harsh punishment.”

    Believe me, my lenient Legate, it is. For a Ferengi it is.

    “You owe me one,” she said.

    He eyed her. “On the other hand, I could leave him in your hands to be executed.

    “But then you’d have to hire a new crewmember...for full wages.”

    He chuckled. “You are a Cardassian and a female, but you have lobes for business.

    “You’ll get him back after we interrogate him. Don’t worry,” she added, seeing his face expression. “We’ll return him in one piece. I want to know who he worked for.”

    Delva sighed. “All right, but be gentle. He must be able to work.

    She only smiled. “You may leave the station as soon as we are done with him.”

    What about our agreement?

    She picked up a Ferengi padd he had left her a day before. “I have it here. Signed.”

    Oh, my wise Legate, you will not regret it.

    “You will also find a short list of requests on this padd,” she said.

    Ah, wasting no time.

    “Expect someone to deliver you the padd. Make no mistake, I have a full copy of its content in our database, so don’t even think about cheating.”

    Do I have to repeat my speech about the value of a good customer?

    “No, I have a good memory.” She pointer her finger to her temple.

    You are a Cardassian.” He grinned.

    “That I am.” He raised his hand to cut the connection, but she said, “Delva?” He looked at her. “Sorry I called you a troll.”

    He smiled. “You can call me whatever you want, my scale-y Legate.” And he signed off.

    Do I start to like him? She thought. Nah, she shook her head, impossible.

    CUW Radalar
    Day 3

    Toral wondered how it was possible that Demok didn’t lose his patience yet. That prefect of theirs was rude and sometimes was just a step away from verbal abuse and the sub-archon was able to control himself. Toral would have snapped long time ago.

    How can I trust you, Cardassian. You have never done anything to gain my trust,” the prefect was saying.

    “All right.” Demok paused. “All right. I’ll try to gain your trust.”

    Oh, Sub-Archon, it’s not only about you,” Krause said. “How about him?” He pointed to Toral who was leaning against a console on the right side of Demok.

    A smirk came to the gul’s face. He enjoyed being feared by this human, oh, he did.

    “Toral,” Demok growled. Toral looked at him and did his best to remove the smirk from his face. The sub-archon looked back at Krause. “Governor, Gul Toral is under my command. He will do what I say.”

    Will he?

    Toral moved to stand behind the young Cardassian. “He is in command here, Prefect. I obey.”

    He knew Krause wanted to be called ‘Governor,’ but he didn’t care.

    “Excuse me for a moment, Governor,” Demok said and gave Yamuc a signal to cut off the sound. Then he turned to face Toral. “Who do you have a problem with, Toral? Me or the governor?”

    The gul was surprised. He didn’t expect Demok to attack him. He opened his mouth, but didn’t get a chance to say anything.

    “You will behave diplomatically, that is my order,” the sub-archon said. His voice was calm and even but left no doubt—no disobedience would be allowed. “You will be polite and co-operative. Is that clear?”

    “Yes, Sub-Archon.” Do you have any idea how much like your mother you are right now?

    “Good.” Demok turned back to the screen. “Sound,” he barked not looking at Yamuc, but the gil understood the order was addressed to him. He pressed the right sequence of buttons. “Govern—”

    Cleared your hierarchy dispute?” Krause’s voice was full of sarcasm.

    “Governor Krause.” Demok still sounded calmly but Toral could hear a note of irritation in his voice. “You will stop abusing my patience and insulting me and my people right now. If you cannot behave like a civilised man, like a representative of your colony, then we set course for home and leave you alone with your problem. I am tired of your impertinence and accusations. You called for our help, we came with help and now you keep insulting us. We, Cardassians, are not patient people.”

    You are.

    Demok silenced. Krause’s words were neutral and Toral wondered if all that abusing behaviour wasn’t a test of some kind.

    Sub-Archon Demok,” Krause continued. “If you guarantee, if you give me your word that you are in command of this operation, and not this gul, I will do my best to co-operate with you. But I want to make one thing clear—I do not trust him. And there is nothing you can say or do to make me change my mind. I’ve seen too many like him not to know what they are capable of.

    “What about me?”

    You, Mr. Demok, are young. I don’t know what to expect from you. I can see that you are trying but I can also see that he is not.

    Demok thought for a while. “As a sign of my good intentions, I will beam down to the planet to discuss the matters with you in person and be your direct contact with my medics.” He paused for a while, while Toral felt a gag grow in his throat. “I will take one of them with me.”

    “Absolutely not!” Toral shouted. “This planet is infected.”

    As much as it appals me, I have to agree with Toral,” Krause said. “I don’t want you to become infected.

    “I will wear an EVA suit all the time.” Toral kept shaking his head but Demok seemed to ignore that. “Prepare two EVA suits,” he said to Korel. The glinn nodded and, without looking at his gul, went to his console to issue necessary orders. “Tell Medic Boreep to meet me in the shuttle bay. We will take a shuttle—”

    “Sub-Archon Demok, I strongly advise to drop this insane idea,” Toral said slowly.

    “No, Toral. This is something I have to do.”

    “No, you don’t.”

    “That’s an order.”

    Toral clenched his teeth and pursed his lips. “Demok, you have no idea what kind of risk you’re taking,” he said quietly. “Please, don’t do this.”

    “I have to.”

    “This is a mistake.”

    “I have to.”

    Was there anything he could do to stop his? Apart from locking Demok in his quarters? “The risk is too great.” Maybe locking him up was an option? He would deal with the consequences later.

    “Expect me in your office in thirty minutes,” Demok said and gave Yamuc a sign to cut the connection. He moved toward the door but Toral stood in his way. He tried to go round the gul, but Toral made a step and stood in his way again. “Move aside.”

    “This is suicide.”

    “I will be careful.”


    “Move away or I’ll have you executed for insubordination!” The sub-archon didn’t raise his voice but sounded commandingly enough to make the gul step aside before Toral realised what he instinctively did.

    Demok left the bridge.

    Toral pressed his wristcomm. “Toral to Boreep.”

    Boreep here.

    “Medic, Demok and you are going down to the planet.”

    Yes, I have been informed.

    “Now listen to me carefully. You are personally responsible for his safety. If he gets infected, you get executed. Is that clear?”

    Perfectly, sir,” came an answer after a second.

    “Good. Toral out.”

    He was angry, he was furious. That kid was going to kill himself on his, Toral’s, watch. And there was nothing he could do about it. Absolutely nothing. He could only hope nothing bad would happen. He could only hope the precautions were sufficient.

    He slammed his fist on the nearest console. Glinn Nevir, who worked at that post, startled and looked at his gul. Relieved that the anger wasn’t directed at him, he returned to work. Toral patted his shoulder. “Didn’t want to scare you, carry on.” Nevir nodded and Toral returned to his seat.

    Korel approached the gul’s chair. “I have checked the medical protocols aboard the shuttle which they will take. We will be able to decontaminate them successfully.”

    “Let’s hope there’s going to be someone to decontaminate,” Toral muttered.
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Rayak Nor
    Day 3

    Zamarran was in a middle of another test, when the station was hailed. At first he didn’t react, it wasn’t his responsibility, but then he realised that with Borad being off station, it was his job to take care of it.

    He activated the comm. “Rayak Nor here,” he said, looking at the oval screen.

    Glinn Borad’s face appeared on the viewer. “I need to talk to the legate.

    “I’ll call her.” Zamarran pressed his wristcomm. “Zamarran to Jarol. Legate, Glinn Borad’s on the comm. He looked distressed.”

    And he did in fact.

    Jarol was in the command within seconds. How did she do it? Zamarran wondered. How was she able to be able to drop everything and be where she was needed without an unhappy smirk of being interrupted.

    Borad looked at her. “Legate, they refuse any help from us.

    “Why?” Jarol frowned.

    Ronus’s face appeared on the screen, as he moved closer to the glinn to be caught by the camera. “Apparently, they are some kind of Cardassian dissidents,” he explained.

    Zamarran’s position didn’t change, he didn’t raise his head from his console, but his eyes stuck to Jarol’s face. What would she do? What would she say? There was freedom of speech on Cardassia now, but if someone travelled in the Federation space, in a Federation craft and claimed they were dissidents—something that didn’t exist on Cardassia any longer—it probably meant they haven’t been to their homeworld for twenty years and don’t understand the changes that had taken place.

    However Jarol used to be government. In the final days of her term she had been the force that ruled it and it had been her support that finally had pushed Ekoor into the big chair, instead of her. While no real dissidents existed and people had a right to express their unhappiness with the Central Command’s decisions, the former legate didn’t like people who disagreed with her, especially politically. And if someone defected to the Federation and didn’t return home, it was a clear sign that that someone didn’t share her understanding of what’s good for Cardassia.

    “So?” she asked eventually, confusion obvious on her face.

    Zamarran knew his face did something it didn’t do often on duty: it stretched in a wide, happy smile. He should have known better, he should have known that she wasn’t like them. He should have known that she was the new Cardassia. She helped it shape because she believed it was the right thing to do and now he could clearly see it.

    So they fear of being arrested,” Borad explained shrugging.

    “What if Captain Ronus assures them they are safe? What if Gil Karama does?” Jarol asked.

    We already tried that,” the Trill said.

    “Is there any chance to repair their ship without bringing them here? At least enough to let them reach the nearest Federation outpost where they could receive a better service?”

    Borad shook his head. “No. We need spare parts and we can’t replicate them here.

    “So what can we do? We can’t bring them by force and I assume sending a bigger ship would not be welcomed either. They’d assume they are under attack.”

    Maybe another Hideki with the spare parts?” Ronus suggested.

    “And what if something else is needed? You expect me to open a shuttle service of spare parts to that ship? That’s wasting resources.”

    That may be the only way,” Borad said. “I hope that after seeing that our offer of help is genuine and not a trap, they’d agree to beam here and we’d bring them to the station with their ship in tow.

    “All right,” she sighed. “Send the list to Zamarran.” She looked at the engineer. “And what are you smirking about?”

    “Nothing, Legate.” Zamarran lowered his eyes to his console and saw an incoming file, undoubtedly the spare parts list.

    “You thought I was worse than I really am?”

    “I wouldn’t dare, Legate.” He shot her a glance and saw she was smiling. It wasn’t the first time he had an impression she favoured him, although he never understood why. He had been able to get away with things she wouldn’t accept from anyone else, even when still on the Roumar. Now, back under her command, it appeared that this situation didn’t change.

    Her face became thoughtful for a moment. “Zamarran,” she said slowly, approaching the gul. “Where’s Delva right now?”

    The engineer checked the sensors. “In the grid four-four-five mark two-three-eight,” he answered a moment later.

    She lurked over his shoulder. “Hail him. Let him do the good deed.”

    “Do you think the Federation...dissidents...whatever they consider themselves are going to trust him?”

    “No, but at least they would not take his presence as an attack.”

    “Good point. And who’s going to pay for it?”

    She smiled. “Let me worry about that.” She looked back at the screen. “Borad, I’m going to get Delva to help us. If those people refuse also the Ferengi help, then...I don’t know what, so it’s your job to make them accept it. Understood?”

    Understood, Legate.” Borad smiled in a way Jarol could not interpret and signed off.

    A moment later the screen was filled with big Ferengi ears. “Miss me already, Legate Jarol?

    “Miss you? No. Need you? Yes.”


    “Do your scans reach as far as to that small Federation craft in the Federation territory?”

    Yes, I am aware of that ship.

    “They need help but they refuse ours. You are going to be our intermediary. As to the price, we will discuss it in private.”

    How private?” Delva’s hand wandered toward his ear.

    Jarol rolled her eyes. “No, not that private but I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.”

    First the payment, then the service.

    “Forget about it. They don’t have that much time.”

    And why do you care? They are only the Federation people?

    “They are Cardassians. So I care. Do it now or no deal.”

    I’ll do it but only because I am very curious about the price.

    “So am I.” Zamarran was sure she heard him muttering, as she shot him a glance, but his eyes were already glued to the screen and the Ferengi.

    She noticed something drew his attention to the screen. “What is it?” she asked but he shook his head, his eyes not leaving Delva’s face.

    Yes, Gul Zamarran?” the Ferengi asked politely.

    “What’s that on your neck?” the Cardassian asked. Delva opened his mouth to answer but Zamarran continued, “I’ll buy it from you.” He could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest.

    I’m afraid it’s not for sale.

    “I’ll pay you double of what you had paid.”



    “Zamarran, if you show him how much you care, he’ll rip you off,” Jarol warned.

    “I don’t care, I must have it,” he said, glancing at her and then his eyes returned to the screen. “I’ll pay whatever you want, if this item is genuine.”

    Of course it is!” Delva seemed offended by the suspicion. Then his face gained a slimy expression. “Why do you want it?

    “This is something...Cardassian.”

    Jarol squinted her eyes and took a better look at the sort of necklace on Delva’s neck. It indeed vaguely appeared Cardassian in origin and it did remind her of something, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.

    It is also very old and valuable,” Delva said.

    “Name your price.” Zamarran’s voice showed no hesitation. Whatever it was, he wanted it badly.

    If I refuse to sell it, would you take it by force?” the Ferengi asked.

    “No. It would defy its meaning.”

    What?” Delva didn’t understand—and neither did Jarol—but the engineer didn’t seem inclined to explain. “I’ll think about the price,” the Ferengi said.

    “Shall I consider it sold to me?” Zamarran made sure.

    A contract is a contract.

    “I’m not a Ferengi.”

    No, you’re not. Your bargaining skill is the lousiest I’ve ever seen.

    “Shall I?” Zamarran repeated as if Delva didn’t say anything.


    With that, Delva signed off.

    “Zamarran?” Jarol asked. Curiosity was eating her alive, but he ignored her still staring at the empty screen. A small, happy smile played on his lips. She thought he looked like a little boy that just received his dream toy.

    “Ah?” Finally he realised she spoke to him. “Sorry, Legate. This is something of a great value to my wife.”

    “Care to share?”

    He hesitated and then said quietly, leaning toward her. “It’s a Fourth Element Seal.”

    It clicked in. She had seen such shapes in a museum, in Lakarian City. “You mean your wife is...” Her voice hung in the air of an unfinished sentence.

    “Yes, she is,” he confirmed, his intensive gaze targeting her eyes and seeking her reaction.

    “I had no idea any still existed,” she admitted.

    “A lot of things still exist, Legate.”

    “Isn’t that necklace’s place in a museum?” A great disappointment and worry marred his face with wrinkles. She smiled. “I hope you can afford it and make your wife happy.” Wrinkles crawled to other parts of his face that reshaped it into an expression of a smile. She was just about to leave, when she stopped and asked, “Are you?”

    “No, Legate.” His answer was straightforward but it left a strong feeling that there was an unspoken ‘but’ at the and of it. She didn’t press. Whatever secrets he had, they were his to keep...regardless of her curiosity. He appreciated that. Not that he didn’t trust her, he just was so used to his family secrets and he didn’t feel like sharing them with anyone, even her.

    Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
    Day 3

    Demok and Boreep stepped out of the shuttle and were met by two men.

    “This way,” one said.

    They had landed their shuttle on a roof of the low government building and now were walking downstairs to, Demok thought, the governor’s office.

    Both Cardassians, clad in dark grey EVA suits, were led to a big room, where Krause and some other man they didn’t know waited for them.

    “Welcome to Mazita, Sub-Archon Demok,” Krause extended his hand. Demok looked at it uncertainly. “I don’t think you would get infected by shaking my hand through that suit,” the governor said.

    Shaking? Demok’s confusion rose.

    “He means this,” Boreep stepped forward and grabbed Krause’s hand.

    “Oh, oh,” Demok raised his gloved hand to his mouth behind his headpiece. “I’m sorry, I am not versed in human greeting customs.”

    “That’s all right, Mr. Demok.” Krause smiled and extended his hand around Demok’s shoulder, not touching him. He directed the young Cardassian to a big table. “Let’s sit down and talk.”

    It was hard not to notice that Krause’s attitude changed significantly. Did he realise that Demok really came to help? Did Demok’s sacrifice and risk showed him that these Cardassians really mean well?

    “If you don’t mind,” Boreep said. “I’d like to join your scientists.”

    “Of course, doctor—”

    “I’m not a doctor.”

    “Oh, I thought you were one of physicians that came with Mr. Demok.” Krause was puzzled.

    “I am. But I am not a doctor. A medic.”

    “Oh. I understand,” the governor said but it was clear to Demok that he didn’t. Krause pressed a button on his desk. “Ivanov, take Mr. Boreep to the laboratory.”

    A man entered and soon Boreep was gone.

    “Now we can talk,” Krause said, going to the table. “This is Mr. Maleda, my secretary and advisor.”

    Demok nodded to the man and then looked back at Krause. “Is whole planet infected?”

    “I’m afraid so. Most colonists live on the western continent, here. As far as we can tell, the virus came here from the eastern continent. There weren’t many people there and most of them were Cardassians.”

    ‘Weren’t.’ ‘Were.’ These words didn’t escape Demok’s attention. “I see. Did you have any visitors from other colonies? Is it possible that the virus was brought from somewhere else?”

    “We don’t want any contact with the outside,” Krause said. “We prefer to keep to ourselves, however I know that there are supplies deliveries to the Cardassian colonists on regular basis. Or rather—used to be.”

    “Were they stopped because of the risk of contamination?”

    “No.” Krause silenced. “There’s no one left alive on the eastern continent,” he said quietly.

    Demok had problems with breathing for a moment. He felt like the air in his tank was gone and his lungs screamed in pain. “All are dead?” he asked after a moment.

    “Yes. It would appear that the virus is especially aggressive to Cardassians.”

    “Your messenger had said that children were not infected. Weren’t there any children left?” Demok was not even ashamed of his shaking voice. There is no shame in mourning death of a whole continent.

    “We have brought the children here. We have visited all Cardassian settlements to make sure we didn’t leave anyone behind.”

    “Where are they now?”


    “Are they sick?”

    “No. But we had no other place to put them.”

    “How about Cardassians on this continent? Do they die faster?”

    “Yes. But recently the virus mutated and started to attack everyone with the same severity.”

    Demok closed his eyes. “Are other children as safe as Cardassian?”

    “For the time being.” Krause looked intently at the Cardassian, moved his chair closer and said. “Mr. Demok, I understand that the situation is terrible and there may be no help for us. We may never find the cure. But our children are not sick, at least not yet. Please take them from here before the virus mutates to attack also them. Save them. Please, save them.”

    “We have to develop some kind of test to make sure children aren’t carriers and won’t take the virus with them,” Demok said.

    “I understand,” Krause nodded. “But please hurry.”

    A ring sounded, so the governor rose and headed for his desk. “Yes?”

    Governor,” a disembodied voice said. “The Cardassian ship wants to talk to their leader.

    Demok found it inappropriately amusing that someone called him a ‘leader.’

    “Please, put it through,” Krause said and—to Demok’s surprise—Medic Albek’s face appeared on a big, rectangular screen on the wall.

    Governor,” Albek greeted Krause. “Could I please talk to Sub-Archon Demok in private?

    “I am not sure how you’d like to achieve that.”

    If you would be so kind to turn off your translators, that would be sufficient. It’s a message from his mother and it’s a personal matter.

    Krause looked at Maleda and then back to the screen. “All right.” He pressed some buttons on his desk and nodded to Demok.

    “What’s going on?” the sub-archon asked. Did something happen to his mom? It took his imagination a second to create at least a dozen of terrible scenarios.

    Get out of there, now!” Albek said in Nokarian, surprising Demok immensely.

    “What’s going on?” the young Cardassian asked in the same language.

    This virus is artificial and if I’m correct it had been created to target Cardassians exclusively. Return to the ship, now.

    “I will. Prepare decontamination procedures.” Albek’s discovery corroborated what Krause had told him a moment ago. Albek signed off and Demok looked at the governor. He waited for the human to turn the translator on and then said, “It would appear that I must return to the ship.” He smiled a sheepish smile. “I’m young and my understand...”

    “Perfectly,” Krause nodded but Demok was certain that the governor didn’t buy it.

    “A question,” Maleda spoke suddenly.


    “This wasn’t Cardassian language, was it?” It was not a question.

    “Yes, it was.” Demok was not surprised at all; in fact, he expected one of the humans spoke Cardassian. They had agreed to turn off their translators too quickly. They had thought they could understand anyway, expecting the medic to speak in Unionese, but clever Albek outwitted them. Now, he had to get out of there before they would get their computers to translate Nokarian. “Demok to Boreep. We’re going home.”


    “No discussion. Meet me on the roof by our shuttle.”

    Yes, Sub-Archon.

    He returned to the Hideki, escorted by a guard, and impatiently waited for Boreep to join him. Finally, the medic came, accompanied by another guard. They boarded the shuttle and Demok sat at the helm.

    “Beginning contamination procedure,” Boreep reported, while the small craft rose above the buildings.
  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    CUW Radalar
    Day 3

    Gul Toral jumped out of his chair with a roar. “What?!” he boomed.

    “Our Hideki is under attack,” Lorrun repeated.

    “Locate the source and destroy,” Toral ordered.

    He was mad, he was furious, he felt he was just about to explode with wrath. He had feared there might be trouble but he expected the virus to be the greatest danger, not some kind of ground artillery.

    “The surface is hailing us,” Yamuc reported.

    “On screen!” As soon as Krause’s face appeared on the screen, Toral wished he could grab that frail neck and crush it.

    Gul Toral, I don’t know what’s going on but we are not firing at your representative.

    “Oh, I suppose the forest didn’t like to noise the shuttle makes,” the gul growled.

    I’ve just sent a rescue group. They will locate and bring back your people. I am very sorry for this, Gul Toral. Please, don’t punish all civilians for a mistake of one group of extremists.

    Krause was not an arrogant ass any more. He was begging Toral.

    “If something happened to Sub-Archon Demok and Medic Boreep, you will pay with your head for this,” Toral hissed.

    Fine. But don’t take all heads of all colonists. I take full responsibility. I will find and punish the guilty ones. I—” He silenced for a moment and seemed to listen to someone. Toral could hear somebody talking but no matter how he strained his ears, he could not catch anything meaningful. “I have just been informed that Demok and Boreep are alive.” Krause’s voice was full of relief. “I’ll have them brought here. Not sure about the shuttle.

    “Forget the shuttle.” Toral sat in his chair, sighing heavily. “Keep them in your office until we can bring them safely back aboard the Radalar.”

    I will. I’ll tell them to contact you as soon as they are here.” Toral only nodded. “Do I have your word you won’t retaliate against the civilians?

    “You do.” Since when do you trust a Cardassian gul’s word? Toral wanted to ask.

    Thank you.” He disconnected.

    Toral closed his eyes. If the shuttle was badly damaged, there was a huge possibility that EVA suits were torn or damaged too. And that meant... He didn’t want to think about it.

    But he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    “Have you found an excuse to your coup yet?”

    Glinn Borad wasn’t sure he heard correctly. He looked up over his half-emptied plate to see that Legate Jarol was in the middle of her dinner just a table away—how could he not have noticed her over there before!—and Captain Ronus standing by her table and looking at her.

    Did the Trill really ask Jarol what Borad thought he did? The glinn’s eyes went to the legate’s face. However, she did not seem furious. In fact, she seemed amused.

    “Should I?” she asked eventually, gesturing to a chair and inviting the Trill to sit down.

    Borad swallowed and put another bite into his mouth but his indifference was not genuine. He hoped his ears didn’t perk as he started to eavesdrop to the conversation that started at the next table.

    “I thought you need to justify everything,” Ronus said, sitting and waving to a waiter.

    “I’m long past caring to justify anything.”

    “Your position doesn’t require to explain anything to anyone.” It was not a question, it was a statement.

    “On the contrary.” She shook her head. “As a legate I had to answer to billions of people throughout Cardassia.”

    “So why lack of care?”

    “I’m too old to worry what everyone thinks of me privately.” She shrugged.

    “You’re not old.” His lips stretched in a smile.

    “Said three hundred years old Trill,” she replied smiling, too.

    “So, what’s the excuse?”

    “All right.” She put her fork away and thought for a moment. “We didn’t break any laws because there were no laws on Cardassia at that time. Unless you count Dominion laws and believe me, better don’t.”

    “But weren’t there elections earlier? Some rules had to regulate them.”

    “Federation laws,” she shrugged and picked her fork up.

    “Ouch. To be compared to the Dominion.”

    “You came to our home and wanted to force us to adopt your rules.”

    “At least we didn’t force you to accept non-Cardassians as your rulers.” Ronus smiled innocently.

    Jarol chuckled. “Once, shortly after the war, I had talked to one of relief co-ordinators from the Federation. You know what he told me? That I should put my arrogance into my pocket, shut up and do what he said because he protected me.”

    “And what did you say?”

    “That I had heard that before, the same thing, from someone else. She had long, wrinkled ears but exactly the same, slime smile.”

    “And what did he say?”

    “He was insulted. And rightly so!”

    “So, would you be able to put your arrogance away for the good of Cardassia?”

    “I’m a Cardassian, it’s my job to be arrogant.”

    Borad didn’t know how to interpret Ronus’s smile, but it seemed to be an amused one.

    “You didn’t answer my question,” the Trill pressed.

    She looked at him and her relaxed face expression was replaced by a serious one. “Captain, if it served Cardassia, I’d take my armour off, tie my hands with a rope and give myself in disgrace as a prisoner to the Federation. Or the Bajorans.” She smirked. “But not to the Klingons and certainly not to the Dominion.”

    “How about the Romulans?”

    “Only if I get a ride on that D’Deridex class warbird. Always wanted to visit one.”

    Borad was astonished. He knew Jarol had a reputation of a difficult woman. In a way he dreaded serving under her command, but shortly after she had arrived to the station he discovered that as a superior she was a fair and a good soldier. Still, he wouldn’t dare to touch some subjects with her. There was a kind of aura around her, an aura of power, the said arrogance, stubbornness and an impression that she considered herself infallible. At the same time her command of the Unionese language left a lot of be desired, she openly sought advices from her officers and was able to change her mind if the offered information justified it. He knew it was possible to make her withdraw some orders or change her mind. He wouldn’t dare himself, but he heard rumours that Gul Brenok could do everything he wanted with her.

    And now he could observe that Federation Trill, who asked his outrageous questions, and she was...laughing. They teased each other. Joked. And she didn’t seem to want to execute him. Would anyone else be that lucky? And why this Trill?

    Or maybe all that he knew was only a façade? Armour to cover what was inside, to shield a chanth that was not protected by a layer of scales? Then again, why would this man deserve to see what’s under that armour? Or was it just because she treated him as an equal: a commander to a commander, a gul to a captain; but she was grade four, an admiral by Federation standards!

    She shot a glance at him and suddenly he realised that she was aware of his eavesdropping; it sent a cold shiver down his spine. He lowered his head and tried to concentrate on his meal. So much for a softer side of his gul; she was made of steel and that’s the only thing he should remember.

    “Why couldn’t you let the legitimate government continue to rule Cardassia?” Ronus asked. “Maybe they just needed more time to learn how to do it.”

    Jarol smirked and it wasn’t a nice face expression. “When the Klingons invaded Cardassia in the year 504...2371,” she added, seeing confusion on the Trill’s face, “it was shortly after the Detapa Council took over. Civilians. Cardassia was weak and that political turmoil made it even weaker. Vulnerable. The military was pushed away and the civilians started to make big decisions. In a wartime at that. The war was a disaster, we were taking a beating and the Klingons seemed unstoppable. But one day something changed. We had acquired detailed intelligence on Klingon fleet’s movements, armaments and even plans. That could have changed everything, I mean everything. We would know where and when to strike to be effective.

    “What did the Detapa Council do? Nothing. They refused to regroup and plan a counter-attack. They wanted to talk.” She spat the last word. “The Klingons were slaughtering their people and they wanted to talk! The Klingons don’t talk, they fight and that’s the only language they understand. We, Cardassians, can talk everyone to their deaths, but we can’t talk to anything people that sink their knives in the middle of our speeches.” Ronus smiled slightly. “We were losing and the civilians refused to use something that would give us an advantage.

    “After the war the Federation posed many demands, including limiting our military. The demand was so ridiculous that I couldn’t believe it was for real at first. I am not sure the Federation didn’t do it just for a show, to get refused and demand something else instead. But Ghemor agreed to that nonsense. He agreed to leave us vulnerable. He was not much better than the civilian government of 504. He would prepare us for conquest and then someone would come and wipe out the Cardassian Union!

    “We couldn’t allow that. We couldn’t afford to give him a chance. His mistakes were too dangerous to let him continue. We had to act and we did. You may claim it was wrong, it may not agree with your perfect Federation conscience, but we still are free people and we are growing stronger every year. Thanks to that bold move, not in spite of it.

    “So, you’ll forgive me if I don’t feel guilty about it. I believed it was the right thing to do twenty years ago and I still do now. Borad!” The glinn jumped in his seat. “Would you prefer a civilian or military rule on Cardassia?”

    “Military,” he answered without hesitation.

    A slime smirk appeared on the legate’s face. “Why?” she asked slowly.

    “The military brought order to Cardassia. The Federation tried to introduce their chaotic, no offence,” he added looking at Ronus who nodded and smiled, “their chaotic political system. Ghemor was clearly not up to this task and while someone else could be, the military’s structure is clear and stable. Our rebuilding process had to start from cleaning and the military order assured that this cleaning process proceeded neatly.”

    “Would you like the civilians to take over now, when it’s cleaned?” Jarol asked.

    Borad’s memory returned to 504. He had been on duty when the armed civilians had attacked the Central Command building. He had heard them in the corridor outside, storming into each Order’s command centre. For some reason the rooms were in reverse order and the Twelfth Order’s chamber was the first one, then the Eleventh’s and so on with the First’s at the end. Borad, working in the Second Order command centre had heard the noise nearing and had known there had been no way he could do anything about it. He had only ordered all officers to lock the consoles and waited.

    They had been given orders not to shoot.

    And then the civilians had come. Armed with clubs and fists, some had had phasers, undoubtedly stolen from soldiers. Borad had never taken such a beating as that day. It had been a matter of seconds when the mob had flattened him on the floor and kept kicking. He had woken up in a hospital and had never learned what else happened in the Central Command building that terrible day, or who had saved his life—he was certain that if not someone’s intervention, the angry mob would beat him to death.

    “No,” he answered Jarol’s question in a strong and firm voice.

    “Convinced?” she asked Ronus.

    “For some reason, yes,” the captain replied, observing the glinn. Then, his eyes returned to Jarol. “However, I am not so convinced I’d get the same reply from a civilian.”

    “I’m afraid I don’t have many here to offer you to ask them the question.”

    “That’s ok,” the Trill smiled.
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 5

    Rayak Nor
    Day 3

    Inquisitor Kunn Dorak was worried. The Trill captain, Ronus was his name, had managed to convince him that he would be safe aboard that Cardassian station, he had guaranteed it and had given his word, but Dorak was not so sure it would mean anything if the station’s gul, whoever might that be, would decide to arrest him and his children.

    The children. He hoped that if it came to the worst, he would be at least able to bargain their freedom. They were innocent, they had been so young when he had had to run away...but did it ever meant anything to Cardassian authorities.

    Glinn Borad entered the small compartment in the back of the Hideki, where Dorak and his family were, and looked at the inquisitor. “Sir, Legate Jarol would like to meet you personally when we arrive to the station.”

    Dorak didn’t answer. Jarol. From all people, did she have to be on that station?

    He looked at his son, who had been only four when they had left Cardassia. After publishing Dorak’s political essays on political responsibility, the Central Command had set a high price for his head. From an inquisitor at a university he had become an outlaw. And then the Detapa Council had come, but before he had packed his things to return home, the Dominion had taken over. His hopes had risen once again after the war, but then another set of monsters had taken over. She was one of them.

    What could she possibly want? To threaten him? To arrest him?

    This was a mistake. A grave mistake. Whoever was in command of that station, he might have let them go, but with her present? Impossible.

    What was a legate from the Central Command doing there anyway? An inspection? Well, she just won the big prize: to bring one of dissidents back to Cardassia to hang him.

    He would agree to everything if she let his children go. They weren’t guilty of any crimes against Cardassia, they didn’t write any political essays.

    He knew that shortcut was a bad idea. He knew he shouldn’t have taken it. He knew it was too close to Cardassian territory. And now he was going to pay for ignoring his instincts.

    “Father, look at that.” It almost pained him to hear admiration in his daughter’s voice. “Look at that station, it’s so beautiful!” At least, she could appreciate Cardassian tastes. If only they weren’t expressed through this construction of aggression and evil.

    They docked and Glinn Borad returned. “I will take you to Legate Jarol. They will be taken to your temporary quarters.”

    “Will they be harmed?” Dorak asked directly.

    Borad seemed surprised. “What? Of course not! You can move back to your ship as soon as we repair it sufficiently to be safe to stay there.”

    Dorak thought that this glinn seemed like a decent man. “Take me to her, then.”

    They arrived to her office within minutes. On one hand time flew fast, too fast, as Dorak feared that meeting; on the other hand he knew it took quite long, which was proof of the station’s size.

    Her office—Dorak realised with dread that she was in command of the station—was smaller than he expected. After huge operations centre, he though he would see a vast and heavily decorated room; he also expected her to have a bad taste. There was almost nothing there. Padds on her desk, a monitor.

    His attention was drawn to a small sculpture over her head. It was a sculpture of a mar’kuu, if he wasn’t mistaken.

    Glinn Borad introduced him and left the office. And she looked at him.

    He expected a hateful reaction. He expected sharp words, being called a traitor and threatened with the worst what Cardassian torture had to offer...

    But she smiled. Her eye opened wider, as she rose from behind her desk, she opened her mouth and he had an impression that this was a reaction of owe, not contempt.

    “Inquisitor,” she said in a quiet and gentle...respectful?...tone of voice. “It is a great honour to have you on my station.”

    He stared at her with his mouth open. Was this some kind of sick game?

    “Honour?” he asked.

    She approached him. “Please, take a seat.” She pointed to a guest chair. He sat and she sat in the other guest chair, not behind the desk. He noticed that she wore ordinary armour with gul markings, not legate’s. “When I learnt it was you aboard that ship, I wanted to talk to you. I just couldn’t let such an occasion slip. I hope you’ll forgive me. I imagine you are a busy man, but rest assured the repairs are already in progress and you can continue your voyage as soon as they are complete.”

    This was very, very strange.

    “Why am I here?” he asked.

    She lowered her head for a moment and then looked back at him. “For two reasons. One, personal and egoistic...I wanted to talk to you. To have that honour. The other one more official. You deserve an apology. You couldn’t have returned home for such a long time because we locked the borders. We knew we were locking out many great minds, too many, but we had to do that. Too many petty minds tried to destroy us.”

    Apology? Great mind? Was that woman out of her mind?

    “After my ship is fixed, will I be allowed to leave?” he asked.

    “Of course. I hope, though, that you would choose to visit Cardassia some day. I suppose you have built a home somewhere else and might not want to return, but if you’d pay a would be a great day.”

    So, all that was to lure him to Cardassia. Did she think he was that stupid?

    “Why would it be a great day?” He had to play her game, he knew it would be too dangerous to reveal that he saw her through.

    “Inquisitor Dorak, your essays on political responsibility of those who are in power are an obligatory read at every university, especially at the Military Academy. Every glinn that is just about to be promoted to a gul must pass an exam and prove that he or she understands your philosophy. If they fail, they stay glinns for the rest of their lives. No second chances, no second approaches to the exam. They either understand their responsibilities, or not.

    “A visit of the man who wrote those essays, who created that kind of requirement for our military and, subsequently, the Central Command legates would be a great honour for everyone on Cardassia.” Why did she sound so honestly, why couldn’t he detect any sign of deceit in her voice?

    “I am a dissident.”

    She a mother that gently chastises her child. “There are no dissidents on Cardassia, Inquisitor.”

    “You killed them all?”

    She straightened. “You don’t know anything about the changes, do you?” she said. He wasn’t sure she was more surprised...or hurt. “How could you know,” she continued. “You had no contact with home for so many years and we allowed that contact only recently.”

    He didn’t trust her. At. All.

    “So you’re trying to tell me that I am a hero, not a traitor?”

    She smiled. “Yes,” she said simply.

    “I don’t believe you.”

    A shadow passed through her eyes but quickly disappeared. “You are free to go wherever you were going as soon as your ship is safe for travel. But I hope you would at least try to check my story. You don’t have to believe me, but don’t punish whole Cardassia for mistakes that its former rulers made.”

    “Oh, and you are a ruler that made none,” he snapped.

    “I didn’t say that.”

    “What did you do that they kicked you out of the Central Command and forced to take command of this station on the edge of the empire?” he attacked. He knew it was risky but he couldn’t stop himself.

    “I have stepped down. It was my time to leave. I wanted this command and this station.”

    Did he believe her? Did he believe that she resigned voluntarily? He had written that when a ruler feels his or her work is done, he or she should step down, but this woman didn’t appear to him as someone who would follow that advice. She looked like a power-hungry warlord that wanted to rule everyone’s lives and souls.

    “Why did you want a station that was the first step in Cardassian-Federation peace? I’d expect you to oppose this non-agression treaty with all your heart.”

    “I have negotiated that treaty, Inquisitor,” she said calmly, looking him in the eye. “This is something you can check very easily, if you don’t believe me. Check the Federation archives, I think you would find that a reliable source of information.”

    She got defensive. Defensive as in ‘falsely accused.’ She was good, really good, but he still didn’t trust her. For all he knew it was all a plot to lure him to the Cardassian territory and arrest him there, where the Federation eyes didn’t reach.

    “I will check that, rest assured,” he said, raising from the chair. “Now, if that’s all...”

    “One more thing.”

    Why wasn’t he surprised?

    She handed him an old-fashioned book and a marker. “Could you please sign it?”

    “Why?” Did she later want to forge his signature on some fake confession?

    “If you could transcribe it to ‘Brenok.’ He is my friend and he loves your poetry.” Her voice was soft and...pleading.

    Dorak, hesitantly, took the book—a many times read book with bent corners of the cover. He opened it and looked at the title page. There was his name there and a title, but his eyes went to the date of publication; the book was printed twelve years ago, on Cardassia Four. If this was a forgery, then it was perfect.

    “Who is Brenok?” he asked.

    “My dear friend. You are one of his favourite poets.”

    “How did you get his book here?”

    “It’s my copy. I’m sorry it’s in such a worn out state but I like re-reading my books. I am sure he wouldn’t mind it if it were signed by you, though.”

    Was it all a mystification, or was it all the truth?

    He took the marker. “What’s his full name?”

    “Arenn Brenok.”

    “Where is he from?”

    “Lakarian City.”

    Dorak looked at her. A Lakarian. “What is there now?” he asked quietly.

    “Lakarian City. We have rebuilt it.”

    He wanted to see, oh, he so wanted to see it. His late wife was a Lakarian and he remembered her tears when the news about the city’s destruction had reached them on Andor.

    He wrote ‘For Arenn of La’kar’ia’—the traditional way of signing books.

    “Thank you,” she said taking the book back.

    He left her office, puzzled. That was not what he had expected. At. All.

    CUW Radalar
    Day 3

    Gil Yamuc turned to Toral. “Sir, we are being hailed from the surface.”

    “On screen.” Toral rose from his chair and a moment later he regretted that; his legs almost gave under his own weight.

    Sub-Archon Demok, who was looking at him from the screen, didn’t wear his EVA suit.

    Gul Toral, we have a new development,” he said.

    “So I can see.” Toral wished he could see anything but that. What a waste! He should have been more firm and not let Demok go to the surface. And now this young, talented man... He couldn’t think about it...

    Obviously, I will stay here. Medic Boreep is already in the local laboratory, working with other scientists.” Toral could see Krause behind Demok. Oh, how he wished to chop the human into tiny pieces. “Our EVA suits were damaged during the emergency landing, so we both are infected. Please, set up a direct communication line between the laboratory on the warship and on the planet.

    “Of course.” That was all Toral managed to say.

    Demok seemed like he wanted to say something more but didn’t. He looked away and the connection was closed.

    Korel looked at Toral. “What are we going to do?” he asked.

    “We? We can only wait. Let’s see what Albek and Jabat can tell us.” With that he headed for the door.

    Both medics very busy. The laboratory was full of life: the medics employed nurses and lower ranking medics to work on their problem, even Garesh Aladar was helping, carrying padds with results from one person to the other.

    As soon as Aladar saw Toral, he came to the gul. “How is Sub-Archon Demok?”

    “On the planet, without EVA suit, most likely already infected and getting sick.”

    Aladar was clearly very nervous. Toral was not surprised. The garesh’s job was to protect the sub-archon and he failed completely. Not that it was totally his fault, even he, Toral, couldn’t stop Demok from going to the planet. Aladar would be no more successful in this task.


    “The same.”

    Aladar glanced at Albek, who was leaning over a console, studying readings on its display.

    “Did you check it yet?” Jabat approached the station’s medic.

    “Twice. The same result,” Albek answered, raising his head and just then he noticed the gul. “We have something, sir. You’re not going to like it.”

    “I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t like more than the fact that someone created a virus to kill Cardassians.”

    “That someone was...” Albek just shook his head. Toral approached him. “We know why the virus doesn’t attack children. It is unable to attach itself and use a cell of which DNA’s telomere has a particular number of base pairs. That number blockade is artificially set. The virus has been designed not to even stay in an organism that has a high number of base pairs, that’s why children are not even carriers.

    “It has mutated and now attacks all organisms but that one characteristic is still the same. There already are many different variants of the virus, each for different species and contact between those species—and in result—between different variants of the virus speeds up occurrences of new mutations.

    “Now, if we are fast enough, we may find a cure before the virus mutates and starts to ignore its limitation. However I suggest we take all children from the planet immediately.

    “We have determined the exact base pairs number that must be present in a telomere to protect a person. While that number is set, each organism ages a bit differently, so we are unable to set a certain age of a person—”

    “Albek,” Toral interrupted, raising his hand to his forehead. “You’re giving me a headache. Short and in Cardassian.”

    “We have to take everyone, whose telomeres are long enough not to be infected, from the planet. Now. Then we will worry about the cure for the rest.”

    “You mean...someone created that virus to kill Cardassians but decided to spare children?” Aladar’s voice was merely a whisper. Albek nodded. Aladar looked at Toral. “We have to find out who did this,” he said.

    “I intend to.” The gul looked at Albek and then Jabat. “Are you sure that children are not carriers?”

    “We should keep them under quarantine for some time,” Jabat replied. “But we are sure.”

    “It would be simple with very young children,” Albek said. “But we would have to test DNA of every older kid.”

    “Does the difference in lifespan also make a difference in those...telemores?” Aladar asked.

    “Telomeres,” Jabat corrected him. “Yes. Cardassian telomeres are longer. Human children have the shortest ones.”

    “How do you propose to organise the quarantine?” Toral asked Jabat.

    “I believe cargo bay three, with forcefields in bulkheads it should be sufficient. We can beam everything needed—food, water, blankets—directly there, without any personal contact with children.”

    “Who will take care of the youngest ones?”

    “We were thinking about starting from older children, teenagers, to explain everything to them and let them explain to the youngest, after those are separated from their parents and taken here.”

    “Do we have enough space for them all?”

    “No” Jabat rubbed his forehead ridge. “You should contact Cardassia and ask for transport ships.”

    “I’ll do that. Anything else I should know about it before I talk to Demok and Krause?”

    Both medics looked at each other and then back at Toral. “No,” Albek said.

    “If we think of something, we’ll let you know immediately.”

    “We already have a small team ready to start testing DNA and telomeres for older children, so please tell Krause to start sending samples.”

    Toral returned to the bridge with mixed feelings.
  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Rayak Nor; SS Zagta
    Day 3

    Zamarran, Kapoor and Ya’val from the Damar studied readings of Zamarran’s scanner. Engineers were in the middle of repairs of the small Federation craft in which Kunn Dorak travelled, while the three officers tried to learn what happened to the ship.

    “This is reeeaaaaallyyyy strange,” Ya’val said eventually.

    Kapoor rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it. Any more, any useful insight?”

    “This is unusual,” Ya’val answered.

    Zamarran chuckled. “Very useful indeed.”

    “I’m not finished.” The Damar’s engineer sounded hurt. “These readings make little sense to me too, but there is something specific about them. Do you see this?” He pointed to one spike on the display.

    “I do but I have no idea what it means,” Kapoor admitted.

    “Any guesses?” Zamarran looked at Ya’val who smiled.

    “Take a look at these numbers,” the engineer from the warship said. “Do they look right to you? Do they look like all other numbers?”

    “It’s gibberish,” Zamarran judged. And then looked at Ya’val, obviously thinking the same thing. “You think it’s some kind of subspace fissure?”

    “Oh, I’m not sure its subspace, but it was a fissure.”

    “Fissure?” Kapoor raised her head and looked at both tall men.

    Ya’val explained. “My theory is that the space cracked, something came out and then disappeared. Too fast to really register on sensors.”

    “But long enough to damage the ship that was in that place at that time.”


    “Can we learn more about this phenomenon?” Kapoor asked, looking back at the scanner.

    “I suppose we could study the ship and that part of space, but you know...” Ya’val smiled.

    Kapoor’s head bobbed in nods. “I know, I know, both are Federation. We are not allowed to go there and the owner of the ship doesn’t seem to trust us that much.”

    Ya’val couldn’t stop his smile. Kapoor, a tiny human woman, called a Cardassian ‘Federation’ and herself ‘us, Cardassians.’

    “So, no discoveries for your Federation instinct of exploration,” Zamarran teased her.

    “Eh? What?” She didn’t understand at first and Ya’val found it even more amusing that she started to think she was a Cardassian. “Hey!” she shouted when it sank in. “Sir!” she added dutifully after a moment and Ya’val burst into laughter. He missed having her aboard the Damar.

    “Summarising, we know nothing and we won’t know anything,” Zamarran said becoming serious again.

    “That’s right,” Ya’val confirmed.

    “What if we asked politely?” Kapoor suggested.

    “Why?” Zamarran looked at her.

    “This fissure was in the Federation space, but still awfully close to Cardassian. Do you want to leave it like that?”

    The oldest engineer observed her for a moment. “I’ll see what I can negotiate,” he said eventually. “But Dorak was very hostile, so don’t expect him to agree to let us sniff on his ship.”

    “It would be a great honour to meet him,” Ya’val said.

    “It would. But it won’t.” Zamarran’s voice was sharp like a knife and Ya’val gave him a surprised look. Was there something that bothered him?

    Ya’val glanced at Kapoor but she only shrugged. Obviously, she also had no idea what was wrong.

    They left the small ship and headed to the transporter chamber, from where Ya’val would return to his warship. Kapoor excused herself on the way, so the younger engineer decided to used the opportunity.

    “So? What happened?”

    “I went to him. I went to him to tell him how much I appreciate his bravery. I went to him because I wanted to tell him something my brother had said about him once. You know what he did?” Ya’val shook his head. “He yelled that he wouldn’t talk to anyone that wears armour and he shut the door in my face!”

    “For many years he had been hunted by people wearing armours. You can’t blame him.”

    Zamarran stopped. He turned to Ya’val and Ya’val thought that Zamarran would hit him. But the older man composed himself. “Why does he blame me for something I haven’t done?”

    “He’s a bitter, old man. And he’s probably scared.”

    “Some heroes Cardassia has these days,” Zamarran muttered and Ya’val understood that there was something more, that Zamarran didn’t tell him everything. He wouldn’t be so angry about it, he wasn’t some over-sensitive lady, he could take things in and deal with them. So, what was so different in this case?

    “Gul Zamarran!” Ya’val didn’t recognise the voice, so he turned to see who called the other Cardassian.

    A Ferengi?

    “DaiMon Delva.” Zamarran didn’t seem surprised at all. “Do you have my merchandise?”

    “Do you have my payment?”

    “Not before I inspect it and make sure it is genuine, not a copy or a forgery.”

    “You wound me with your accusations.”

    “I don’t accuse you of anything, but I also don’t know where you have the item from. I pay you a fortune for it, so I want to get exactly what I pay for.”

    “Fine,” the Ferengi sighed and handed Zamarran a small box. “Inspect it. When can I expect my latinum?”

    “Soon.” Zamarran took the box. Seeing Delva’s unhappy face, he added, “I will get on it right now.”

    “Perfect. I have to talk to Legate Jarol about the payment for my recent services.”

    Ya’val gave Zamarran a surprised look. The older engineer only shook his head and rolled his eyes.

    “Ferengi...” Ya’val muttered, amused.

    Still, Zamarran’s earlier irritation grated on him. He had never been very close to his former boss but he knew someone who was. He decided to talk to Karama, maybe Zamarran just needed a trusted ear to listen to his grumbling.

    Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
    Day 3

    Demok entered one of labs in which Boreep worked with other scientists.

    “Please tell me you are tired,” he said upon seeing the medic.

    “I am...” Boreep answered but the way he said the words clearly left unspoken ‘but.’

    Demok was worried. He knew the virus was fast and aggressive but would it make someone sick that quickly? And why didn’t he feel its effects yet?

    “Any luck? Any progress?” he asked.

    “Very little.”

    “Boreep. Keep in mind that the virus was created to kill us. Someone here might be involved and deliberately hinder the work.”

    “I know that but...” He didn’t finish.

    “Boreep?” Demok’s heart stopped for a moment. He put his hand on the medic’s shoulder.

    “I just need some sleep.”

    “Then by all mean go and get some.” A Bolian approached them. “You will work better when you are rested. Right not you are not only inefficient, but also could make a mistake. Get some rest.”

    “And you are?” Demok asked the blue man.

    “Doctor Chu’kra. I’ve been working on the solution since the beginning.”

    Without effects, Demok thought. Was he one of those responsible? How could he trust any of colonists? How could he...?

    You stupid kid! You are a lawyer, you know how to investigate matters and how to find who is guilty. Get to work, instead of criticising others.

    “Good luck with work,” he said to Chu’kra. Then he looked at Boreep. “And you, get some rest.”

    “Where are you going?”

    “There is something I have to do. I have neglected my job long enough.”

    He noticed Boreep’s asking look but didn’t want to explain, not here, not now. There was no time and he didn’t want to speak in presence of so many colonists. He could not trust any of them and from now on they all were suspects.

    Including Prefect Krause.

    Rayak Nor
    Day 3

    “Hello,” Karama raised his hand with a bottle of kanar in it.

    Zamarran frowned. “What’s the occasion?” he asked.

    “Won’t you let me in?” Karama glanced into Zamarran’s quarters.

    “Wouldn’t you rather spend time with your wife?”

    “I would like to drink this bottle of kanar and she wouldn’t let me. And certainly she wouldn’t join me; she would fear her boss’s reaction to her hangover tomorrow morning.”

    Zamarran didn’t react to the joke, he just moved aside, letting Karama enter his quarters. The younger man went straight to a cabinet with glasses and retrieved two. He put them on a table and the bottle between them. Then he sat and expectantly looked at Zamarran who still stood by the door.

    “What’s going on?” Zamarran asked him suspiciously.

    “I’m glad you ask,” Karama smiled. Then he became completely serious. “I heard you had visited Dorak.”

    “Ya’val...” Zamarran muttered, obviously understanding now what was the reason of Karama’s visit.

    “He thought you might want to talk.”

    “Tavor, this is—”

    However, Karama interrupted him. “Just let it out. I know it must be something big for two reasons. One—you never snap at people. Two—Dorak dissident. You never mentioned you knew him.”

    “Because I don’t.” Zamarran went to the table and sat. He grabbed the bottle and poured some kanar first to Karama’s glass, then to his own.

    “Why did you go to him?”

    “I wanted to talk, just for a moment. I wanted to tell him how important his work was and still is for Cardassia, how he helped to shape our new approach to many things.” He paused and then continued in a quieter voice. “But he wasn’t interested in what I wanted to say. He didn’t care. He just saw armour and decided I was a monster.”

    Karama saw that knuckles of Zamarran’s hand, which held the glass, became white. He wondered if the glass was thin enough to be broken by a squeeze.

    “Why does it bother you so badly?”

    “Don’t you understand?!” Zamarran jumped to his feet, startling Karama. “My brother had risked his life to help people like him, to help them leave Cardassia before authorities would lay their hands on them. I, I!” He pointed a finger at his chest, “Had risked my life hiding two of them in my own house. And that...that...ass tells me now I’m a piece of trash!”

    Karama knew that Zamarran’s younger brother had been a dissident. In fact, he believed that whole family had been. Seventeen generations of people who had tried to serve Cardassia but not the Central Command and not the Obsidian Order. Zamarran had told him history of his family—that generations ago a great tragedy had fallen on that family when the state had been put before the family and since then every family member was responsible for not letting that happen again—and he knew that for Zamarran serving in the military was an important factor of his patriotism and at the same time the engineer would have been considered a traitor had the previous authorities found out about his brother and, as it occurred, himself.

    “I had no idea you actively participated in that,” Karama whispered.

    “It had been just that one time. Zori had brought those two people to my door and I couldn’t have told them ‘no.’ I couldn’t have told him ‘no.’ My wife had been so scared; she had feared for our children.” Zamarran sat back at the table. “But she hadn’t protested, she had known it had been the right thing to do. It had been only one night but it still had been a risk.”

    “Did you ever regret it?”

    Zamarran shook his head. “No. I am only sorry they hadn’t managed to leave Cardassia. They had been caught near the border, brought back and executed.” Karama sighed, while Zamarran continued. “They had never revealed who had helped them and I am sure they had been tortured to tell that.”

    “Those were terrible times,” Karama said.

    “How could you know, you are so young.” Zamarran’s voice was soft and he smiled. He didn’t mean it as derogating Karama, he was happy that Karama hadn’t had to experience that dark part of living in the Union.

    Kamara moved his chair a bit closer to Zamarran. “Troval, forget about him. Maybe he has some really bad memories and any armour reminds him of something. Maybe his trauma is so severe that he is unable to look inside armour, his eyesight stops on armour and doesn’t notice anything else. It doesn’t make you any less hero. Or your brother. Or many other soldiers that served Cardassia the best their could and would support him, if they had a chance. Dorak, obviously, is a bitter, old man. Let’s try to remember that in his good days he did a lot of good too.”

    The older man looked his friend in the eyes. They gazed at each other for a long moment and then the engineer smiled. “Won’t your wife get mad when you return drunk?”

    “I’d rather worry about my gul smelling my breath tomorrow morning,” Karama joked.

    Zamarran’s eyes darkened again. “Can you imagine Dorak telling something like this to Gul Brenok? Brenok is...he is...”

    “He is someone who should have a monument.”

    “It was his idea to establish the Dorak Examination.”

    “Yeah...” Karama frowned. “He made sure I’d never take his job; there’s no way I could pass that exam.”

    Zamarran looked surprised at his friend and it took him a long moment to realise that Karama joked. “Let’s get drunk,” he said, raising his glass.

    “Bottoms up!” Karama raised his and they emptied their glasses.

  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    In some ways, I think that Jarol needed to see Dorak's anger up close and personal, to really see what Cardassia did to itself. She tries so hard to ignore it sometimes, that I think she needed to see that it wasn't just bad, bad Federation people who find themselves so revolted by ruling by force, but Cardassians. (Which is what she ultimately did, with the coup.) And not just "weak" Cardassians she could imagine as stupid, but smart ones like Dorak. Anything that doesn't do any actual harm but knocks her down a peg as far as that attitude goes is a good thing, in my book. I think Jarol deserved it because of her arrogance and her role in the coup.

    Mind you, I don't like seeing Jarol hurt on personal/family levels. That part of her is the part that wasn't corrupted. It's the political arrogance (and by the way, I saw her giving Dorak a look JUST like Gul Dukat, at one point), and what she did in the coup, that I have a BIG problem with.

    Zamarran, however, did not deserve Dorak's anger. He had a long heritage of making a difference, and himself did something that Dorak would have found admirable had he actually listened. He's never walked the line between being a good man and a monster; he doesn't need that warning and that chastisement.

    What's his wife a Guide?

    On to Borad...that IS a horrible memory. Were you inspired by any of the stories coming out of Egypt and some of these countries in the Middle East? To him I would have said that while the anger was justified, that the civilians had, their horrible conduct destroyed all of their moral high ground in my eyes. They had no right to torture him that way, any more than people had a right to beat and torture our journalists in Egypt.

    In some ways, though--and I would never have said this in front of Borad--that demonstrates the sickness in Cardassian society. It's easy to talk about Klingons only understanding force, as Jarol does, but force has been Cardassia's only example for 500 years. That is a LONG time of being that poisoned, and that to me demonstrates that both military AND civilians were poisoned by it. Apparently they used force as their first and only resort, too. That's what Borad is missing--though as hurt as he was, I understand why he doesn't see it: he doesn't see that the poison that the civilians had, and the military had, were one and the same.

    As far as the virus...if it was designed to target only Cardassians, there are still many different people who could have created it. I'm not ruling out people from any power as a suspect, from Klingons to Romulans to the Federation, even to latent Dominion activity, or even Cardassian/Obsidian Order fanatics.

    As for Demok...yikes...he DID do the stupid thing I was afraid he was going to. I REALLY hope Boreep or Albek is able to find a cure before it's too late!
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Do you think Dorak would be happier to see Cardassia occupied by the Federation/Klingon/Romulan forces for years?
    A look like Gul Dukat? When?
    All she felt was disappointment and hurt. She wasn't even angry.
    I wonder if you guessed who Zamarran's ancestor is.
    No. But it is related to religion. I once mentioned you that the Oralians weren't the only ones.
    No, that scene had been written before the Egypt event started.
    Revolutions hardly ever are bloodless, no matter who starts them. This is not only a case with Cardassians :(
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Not occupied. But I think that Cardassia could have elected someone better for them (not better for the Federation) than Ghemor. And if the rules under which Ghemor was elected were anything like what they are in the US or UK, an impeachment or a vote of no confidence could have forced an early--but proper--turnover of power given the emergency of Ghemor complying with the demand to weaken the military. That kind of weakening wouldn't happen overnight, and a vote of no confidence could be done quickly, before much, if any, damage was done. (And if the Federation tried to interfere in such a legal, legitimate process, even Federation citizens would cry out in outrage.)

    Leading a coup, on the other hand--that just perpetuates the cycle of "might makes right" that was exactly the problem with Cardassia. That's not how you prove yourself to be trustworthy, or in the right. That's the connection Jarol is missing, and that I hope she'll learn to recognize.

    The part where she looked at Dorak like a mother chastising her child. That sounded like a perfect description of the sickly sweet, patronizing look Dukat got sometimes (with a different gender, of course), and I thought you wrote it that way on purpose given the extreme influence Dukat had on her.
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    No, it wasn't on purpose. Even she didn't intend to be patronising. This time :lol:
  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Ahh...I see. The description just made it sound like that expression Dukat would get when he talked about being a "nurturing father" to the Bajoran people (or whatever his words were for it). With the association between Jarol and Dukat, it wasn't hard to make the leap between the two.

    And I apologize if your Cardassians would take this as an offensive comment, but the Nokarian eye ridges just made the resemblance stronger!
  18. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I'm sure Nokarians insist that Dukat was a Lakatian and Lakatians insist that he was a Nokarian :lol:

    Dorak could have taken her expression just like you did. He has a right to interpret someone else's expressions wrong, he is not a telepath after all. But it wasn't her intention.
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    CUW Radalar
    Day 4

    Glinn Lorrun observed his display with such an intensity that even Gul Toral took notice of it.

    “What is it?” he asked, approaching his tactician.

    Lorrun shook his head. “I am not sure, sir. I get some strange readings but I can’t make any sense of them.”

    The gul looked at his engineer. “Nevir? Can you take a look at it?”

    The glinn entered a few commands to display the same data that Lorrun studied and leaned over his console. He frowned and Lorrun knew it wasn’t his incompetence; the readings indeed made no sense.

    “Nothing? No theories, not ideas, nothing?” Toral looked from one glinn to another.

    Nevir opened his mouth but then shut it and looked at Lorrun. It was Lorrun’s job to interpret these things and the tactician appreciated that the engineer wanted to give him a chance to speak first. Otherwise it would look like Lorrun was incompetent and Nevir had to work for both of them.

    Lorrun started. “What we have here is energy readings from different points on the planet. All are located on the bigger continent and all seem to be in places that should have none or faint energy readings.”

    “Why?” Toral inquired.

    “Because these places are not industrialised in any way. They are forests, deserts and such. No people, no buildings, no infrastructure. Nature only.”

    “Is there any possibility that those energy readings are natural in nature?” Toral asked and grinned at his own wording of the question.

    “I wouldn’t say so, sir.” Lorrun glanced at Nevir.

    “No, sir, I’ve never seen anything like this as a result of a natural phenomenon.” Nevir shook his head, confirming Lorrun’s assessment.

    “There is one more thing, gul,” the tactician continued. “This is not based on any specific data but...” He hesitated but Toral gave him an encouraging nod, so he continued, “Based on my own experience and instinct, this looks awfully like weapon energy. Now, I don’t say this is in any way connected with some kind of armoury, but I’ve seen things like this. Each time it had been a power build-up to launch a probe or a missile.”

    “So it makes sense after all,” Toral smiled slightly.

    “Well, it would if those readings were coming from some kind of infrastructure, but there’s nothing there.” Lorrun shrugged.

    “Nevir? Anything to add?” The gul looked to his engineer and Lorrun hoped Nevir wouldn’t just dismiss all he had said with an ingenious theory.

    “There could be an explanation why there is no infrastructure, sir.” Nevir shifted in his chair. “It could be concealed. Either underground or by some sort of dampening field.”

    “In other words, it wouldn’t be wise to ignore that,” Toral said.

    Both glinns nodded.

    “We could ask Krause,” Korel suggested, approaching them.

    Lorrun thought that it would be a tactical mistake. If the colonists were in any way involved with this, warning them that they had detected their energy readings would have unforeseen consequences. He looked at the gul who seemed to consider that option.

    “No,” he decided after a moment, to Lorrun’s relief. “If they plan something, it’s better if they think we have no idea about it. Agreed?” Toral looked at his tactician.

    “Yes, sir, absolutely, sir,” Lorrun confirmed with alacrity.

    “Shouldn’t we inform Demok of it?” Korel asked.

    “We should but how?” Toral looked at him. “I am sure there is no possibility to talk to him without the colonists eavesdropping. I am also sure, as a civilian, he wouldn’t know the ‘flash code.’ We can’t talk to him.”

    “Maybe it’s worth to ask? His a soldier’s son, after all. Maybe the legate had taught him the code,” Korel suggested.

    “Asking him directly would also notify the colonists that we don’t want them to know what we talk about, that we have secrets. You’ve seen Krause’s attitude. I have no doubts he’d take Demok and Boreep hostage and even kill them to get what he wants. This man has no conscience.” Toral silenced. “But you didn’t say we have to ask him directly, did you?” He smiled and so did Korel. “Yamuc, get me Demok.” Toral looked around. “Who’s most versed in the ‘flash code?’” he asked.

    The ‘flash code’ was an old way of voiceless communication. Each word was represented by a number of longer and shorter signals that could be flashes of light, or sounds of a drum, or any other way that would allow to convey long and short signals.

    “I am very good at it,” Lorrun said grinning sheepishly.

    “Somehow I knew it would be you.” Toral smiled to him. “Come here.” Lorrun realised that the gul directed him to the command chair. “Sit down. Sit, Lorrun, it won’t bite.” Was his nervousness that obvious? He had never sat in a gul’s chair before! “Now, we hail them and you talk to Demok. Pat the code on the armrest.” Toral said.

    “Yes, sir. Won’t the sub-archon be surprised seeing me here?”

    “He’s a smart lad, he would immediately realise something’s going on.”


    Yamuc turned on the viewscreen and Lorrun saw Demok’s face.

    “This is Glinn Lorrun of the Radalar,” the tactician said hoping his voice didn’t shake. “How is the work progressing on the surface?” he asked and then tapped ‘can you understand?’ on the armrest, trying not to do it too fast.

    Demok observed him for a moment, glanced at his hand and then back at his face. “We still don’t have anything useful,” he said finally. “Could I talk to Medic Albek?” he asked, surprising Lorrun.

    The glinn heard the gul quietly telling someone to get Albek to the bridge, so he said to Demok, “Of course. He’s on his way. We will contact you once he arrives. The Radalar out.”

    Yamuc closed the connection and Lorrun let a breath out. He looked at Toral, worried that he didn’t do well, but the gul gazed at him with an amused smile.

    “Return to your post, Glinn,” he said and Lorrun, gratefully, went back to his place on the bridge.

    A Cardassian entered the bridge and Lorrun couldn’t take his eyes off the newcomer. His hair was...a mess, absolute, endless mess.

    “Medic Albek, Sun-Archon Demok wishes to talk to you,” Toral informed the medic. “Yamuc, get him back,” he ordered the communication officer.

    And then the strangest thing happened. Demok greeted Albek in some language and they started to talk. A moment later Albek told Yamuc to mute and turned to Toral. “He knows we want to tell him something. Hopefully, they didn’t decode Nokarian yet, so we might communicate this way.”

    Nokarian! Lorrun had never heard that language; in fact, he was certain that the language was extinct! No, wait, didn’t Legate Jarol speak it? The last native Nokarian specimen? Wait, didn’t she support and participate in ‘heritage protection’ and ‘save Cardassian cultural diversity’ projects?

    “How come didn’t they translate the language?” Lorrun spoke unasked before he realised what he was doing. “I mean...” All eyes turned to him and he silenced.

    “Continue.” Toral nodded.

    “It shouldn’t be that difficult for a computer to decipher one language, especially if they have access to another language from the same place of origin.”

    “We can’t know for sure that they didn’t decipher it yet,” Albek said. “But there is one difficulty for the computer. It would assume we speak the same language and attempt to find patterns on both our speeches. Right?” he shot a glance at Nevir who nodded. “But we don’t. I speak Western Nokarian and he speaks Eastern Nokarian. We can easily understand each other, but some of vocabulary and grammar patterns are different.”

    “Enough to confuse the computer for a bit longer,” Nevir muttered.

    “Hopefully,” Albek said.

    “If not, this may mean death sentence for our people there,” Toral muttered.

    “Gul Toral, until we find the cure, they are dead anyway.” Albek’s face expression was serious and sad.

    “Proceed.” The gul said but before Demok’s face reappeared on the main screen, something on Lorrun’s display drew his attention to it.

    “To the-gods-who-are-not...” he moaned.

    “Lorrun?” Toral was so quickly by the tactical console that the glinn thought the gul beamed over.

    “Those were definitely energy build-up readings. They are shooting something. Each missile is two meters long, oblong and appears to be empty inside.”

    “Who would bother with concealing launching-pads and launching missiles if they are empty?” Tassar at the help muttered.

    “Good ques...” Toral started to speak but then his eyes opened and he looked at Albek. “Do you know what I’m thinking?”

    Albek frowned and at first Lorrun thought that the medic was angry with the gul but then he understood that he was angry with the idea. The idea that became clear even to the glinn.

    “They launch the missiles filled with infected air?” Lorrun whispered.

    “That would be my guess,” Albek confirmed. “They want to get the virus to the atmosphere.”

    “But why?” Nevir asked no one in particular.

    “To kill us all,” Toral whispered.

    Lorrun looked up at the gul, who was still standing by the tactical console, and saw that Toral was shaken and rattled. But the moment didn’t last longer than a few seconds. The gul composed himself and moved to his chair.

    “Lorrun, order our troops to launch all Hideki fighters and destroy all those missiles with the virus. How many are there?”

    The glinn looked at his display. “Seventeen but I detect another build-up of energy. I think they are not finished.”

    “Fine. After all missiles are destroyed, annihilate those launch spots. I want no more of these messengers of death in the atmosphere.”

    “They aren’t targeted at the atmosphere, sir,” Lorrun said. “Their trajectory suggests that they are to leave the planet and...go to outer space.”

    “To lure an innocent Cardassian ship to beam it aboard and open,” Albek muttered.

    “No more games,” Toral growled. “No more lies. Yamuc—”

    “On screen,” the gil reported and Demok’s—and Krause’s—faces appeared on the viewer.

    Gul Toral, do you detect those probes?” Demok asked.

    “We do.” The gul’s eyes glued to Krause’s face. “And we know what they are.”

    What?” the governor asked. “Our scans show they are empty. Initially it was a planetary defence system, but when the colony landed on Cardassian side of the border, the Cardassians decided to dismantle it. All that is left are empty missiles.

    Maybe they were wrong? Maybe they weren’t full of deadly virus? Maybe someone accidentally triggered something? Lorrun was scared. Not very proud of it, being a tactical officer, but he was scared. He knew how to fight a big Gorn, not a tiny virus.

    “We’re suspecting they aren’t entirely empty,” Toral informed Krause.

    What? Oh, my God! You don’t think someone is shooting the virus at you?

    “Actually, we believe that someone is attempting to release the virus at everyone.”

    Gul Toral, you must destroy those missiles.” Krause’s voice was pleading. “You cannot allow for this plague to spread.

    “I don’t need you to tell me what to do, Krause.” Toral’s tone of voice was hostile but Lorrun knew his gul—Toral only pretended to be unmoved by the hideous idea of whoever was responsible for it.

    Toral,” Demok said. “I have started an investigation to find who is guilty of this.” What for? Lorrun wondered. They would all be dead anyway. “We have also organised the evacuation of children, so whenever you are ready to do that—

    “Sir.” Lorrun hated to interrupt but he knew it couldn’t wait. “The fighters report all missiles destroyed and three launching spots bombarded more activated. I detect new energy build-ups, also on the smaller continent.”

    “It would appear that they activate them remotely,” Toral thought aloud. Lorrun agreed. He didn’t detect any transporter beams and he doubted anyone was stationed there all that time. “Demok, we will start evacuation as soon as this crisis is over.”

    Toral, Gul Brenok said that Ordinance Fifty-Three applies in this case,” the sub-archon said. Lorrun’s heart stopped. He looked at Toral but the gul’s face expression didn’t change. “If there is no other choice—

    “Understood,” the gul interrupted.

    I’ll continue my investigation. If you could send me all data that you have on those missiles. Maybe there’s something new about them and comparing it with the local data would shed some light and answer a few questions.

    Lorrun was already on it and the first batch of data had been sent by the time Toral told him to do it.

    “Someone there is insane,” Toral muttered, more to himself than anyone else. “Albek, get back to work and find a cure. Lorrun, keep an eye on the whole planet. We must destroy all launching points, because the alternative is to destroy all life on the planet and I don’t want to murder thousands of civilians. I can’t murder thousands of civilians...” he repeated, whispering. “So you better give me another option!” he shouted and looked around the faces of bridge officers.

    Lorrun’s hands started to shake. He clenched them in fists and then relaxed but it didn’t help. He couldn’t refuse an order, could he? Especially not an order issued by Gul Brenok. The glinn saw Toral getting up from his chair and going toward him. The gul stood behind his console.

    Quietly, so quietly that Lorrun thought no one else would hear it, Toral said, “If it comes to the worst, I won’t make you do it. I’ll do it myself.”

    Lorrun thought he should be relieved hearing this, but he wasn’t. Would it really matter who pressed the button?

    “I appreciate that, sir, but it would be my duty,” he replied not believing he was actually saying that.

    “No, it’s not, Lorrun.” The glinn worried that his gul doubted his abilities, that his gul thought that he, Lorrun, was weak. “This is no one’s duty. No one should have an obligation of murdering an inhabited planet. But if we have no choice and we have to prevent deaths of millions of people by bringing death to thousands, I will take that responsibility on my shoulders and into my nightmares. Understood?”

    “Yes, gul. It will be on your shoulders but no order would prevent it from appearing in my nightmares.”

    Toral patted Lorrun’s shoulder. “Carry on, glinn.”

    “Thank you, Gul Toral.”

    “You’re welcome, Glinn Lorrun.”

    Toral returned to his chair and Korel approached him. He said, “Sir, regarding the situation. I have an idea...”
  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
    Day 4

    Demok looked at Krause intently.

    “Do you trust him?” the human asked. “Do you trust that Toral will not do something cruel? That he will save children, as he has promised.”

    I want him to date my own mother, of course I trust him, the sub-archon wanted to say, but, naturally, he didn’t. “Gul Toral is not a fool,” he said instead. “And not a heartless monster.”

    “He could fool me.”

    “I think that’s exactly what he wants to achieve, to fool everyone.” Demok thought of that evening when a very nervous Toral had come to his and his mother’s quarters for dinner—the gul was soft inside but he didn’t want anyone to know about it. Then Demok shook off the thought; it was not the time for this. “Now, I have a question about that planetary defence system.”

    “It’s an outdated Federation technology. The whole system is operated from a command centre under this very building.”

    “Can we go there now?”

    “Of course.” Krause rose and Demok followed him.

    They arrived to a huge door in the basement. Krause put his hand to a reader next to the door and then entered a numeric code on a padd. A red light above the door changed its colour to green and the door slowly opened.

    “No one has been here since it was locked,” Krause said. “It’s been almost three decades.”

    Demok expected the air to be stale and have unpleasant odour but it smelled quite fresh. “Should the consoles be operating?” he asked Krause.

    “No. Nothing here should be working. Half of systems had been gutted by Cardassians who had looked for valuable spare parts.”

    “Seems like everything was fixed.”

    Indeed, consoles flickered with readings. Demok approached the nearest one and looked at the display. He understood nothing. He regretted he had chosen to learn Klingonese and Ferengi, instead of Federation Standard. “What do those things mean? Can you turn it off?” he asked the governor.

    “They mean that the system is operating and working this very moment.” Krause’s voice was quiet. He looked at the Cardassian. “Demok, someone has been here and done all that.” He accessed one of consoles. “I can’t shut it down, it asks for identification code and doesn’t accept mine.”

    Whoever planned this, they prepared themselves. Demok has a bad feeling about all this. “Can you get any scanner? Maybe some traces of DNA would tell us something?”

    “Good thinking. I’ll have someone bring it.”

    “No. Go and get it yourself. I don’t want anyone here, I don’t know who is involved and I want to limit access to this room for everyone until I can rule someone out.”

    “Does it include me?”

    The sub-archon looked the older human in the eyes. “Yes,” he answered simply. “One question. If the door is locked...either someone knew the code and was authorised to enter as his palm scan would be valid, or beamed in. Isn’t this place protected from transporter beams?

    “It’s too deep in the ground under trinit. No beam can penetrate trinit; that’s why they had chosen this place to build this room in the first place.”

    “I see. So that leaves us with option one.”

    “I’m afraid so.” Krause seemed worried. Did he suspect someone? Did he fear that one of his colleagues was involved in this?

    “I’ll wait here for you,” the Cardassian said.

    He didn’t move until he was sure Krause was gone and then started to inspect the room.

    Rayak Nor
    Day 4

    For some reason she didn’t understand, Legate Jarol was glad to see Gul Toral’s face on her viewscreen. She smiled to him but his face remained serious and grim.

    Legate Jarol, you have orbital weapons platforms stored on the station, don’t you?” he asked without any preamble.

    “That’s right?” she confirmed, mirroring his serious demeanour.

    How many?

    She cast a glance at T’Sarik, who worked at the Federation sensor post, uncomfortable with revealing that tactical detail in the presence of the Federation officer.

    “Many,” she replied eventually. “Why do you ask?”

    He thought for a while, probably wondering why she didn’t give him a straight answer. Then, he said, “I will need to deploy them around Mazita. There must be enough for my plan to be effective.”

    “For how long do you need them?”

    “As long as it’s necessary.”

    “Did you discuss it with Gul Brenok?”

    “First I wanted to know if you had the platforms. I am going to talk to him as soon as we’re done.”

    “I have them. Enough.” Whatever he planned to do—and she hoped that it wasn’t the most obvious solution—she would give him what he wanted.

    “Thank you.” He signed off.

    What did he plan to do?

    And where was Laran?!

    Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
    Day 4

    Krause returned to the operations room sooner than Demok expected.

    “Found anything?” the human asked, seeing the Cardassian crawling on the floor under one of consoles.

    “I wish I had an engineer here.” Demok got back on his feet. “I see things but I don’t really understand what I see and, in result, I am unable to tell if this is right, wrong or manipulated in any way.”

    “Do you need a padd for notes?”

    The sub-archon looked at Krause surprised. “What for?”

    “Well...for notes.”


    “Will you remember everything?”

    “Of course!”

    “Ah, the famous Cardassian memory, right? Even if you don’t know what you’re looking at?”

    “It doesn’t matter. I commit the image to my memory and it stays there. I don’t understand a beauty of a sunset but I still can memorise it.”

    “What an interesting comparison.”

    Demok pulled his hand for a tricorder that Krause kept in his hand. “You think Cardassians have no appreciation of beauty?”

    “I didn’t think you care for beauty.”

    “Our art is unparalleled in the quadrant and—”

    “I am sure it is,” Krause interrupted irritated. “I just never saw your art. All I witnessed was the ugliness of your cruelty.”

    Demok silenced. He looked at the human with a blank expression, trying not to show his feelings. He was not going to engage in a conversation about Cardassian sins, just as he was not going to reply in the same manner. It was not the time for this and he saw no sense in such a discussion. This man’s attitude was clear from the beginning and even if he managed to work with the sub-archon quite effectively recently, it didn’t mean all his hostility was gone. It was covered with a political skill, undoubtedly for the good of the colony, but it was still there.

    “Can I have that tricorder?” he asked instead, as he still stood with extended hand and Krause didn’t seem to notice.

    “Yes, of course.” The human handed him the device.

    Demok activated it and inspected, wondering if he would be able to use it, not knowing Federation language. Some symbols were known to him, but most of those round characters were gibberish to him. “Ok, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” He returned the tricorder to Krause. “You use it. Scan for DNA. If we’re lucky, we’d find something and have our first suspect.”

    “And if we don’t find anything?” the governor asked, waving the device near consoles.

    “Then we will start interrogating every single person with medical and engineering skill sufficient to create such a virus.”

    The tricorder kept beeping and Demok wondered if it meant something or it was just proof that the device worked correctly.

    “I have two distinct DNA patterns,” Krause said, approaching the Cardassian. “Excluding ours, of course. One is human, one is a human-Betazoid hybrid.” The governor frowned.

    “What is it?” Demok asked.

    “There is only one half-Betazoid in the colony that I know of. And he’s a former Starfleet engineer.” Krause looked at the sub-archon worried.

    “Do you have DNA database on this planet?”

    “We do. The Cardassians had forced us to adopt that system of identification when they had arrived.”

    “I was hoping you would say that,” Demok smiled, ignoring another shadow of hostility in Krause’s voice. The governor might hate the Cardassian way of doing things, but he was just about to see that those things were necessary and could be very useful. “I want names.”

    CUW Radalar
    Day 4

    “I would like to interrogate him personally,” Toral offered. This was a very good news—Demok had found one suspect and everything seemed to prove that the man was deeply involved in the case.

    You must be joking!” Krause snorted on the viewscreen. “There is no way I’d give him into your hands!

    “The information we need must be extracted,” Toral insisted. He looked at Demok who stood next to the prefect.

    Extracted!” Krause threw his hands up in indignation.

    “Prefect Krause, you don’t have much of a choice,” the gul said frowning. Talking to this man proved to be very difficult; he didn’t listen to any arguments!

    No.” The word was spoken softly but firmly. Toral looked at Sub-Archon Demok and his first instinct was to oppose but he knew he couldn’t. Demok’s wishes were his orders.

    “No?” he only asked with disbelief.

    That man would tell you anything you’d want to hear only to make you stop hurting him. He would make up any story, he would sign any testimony you’d give him just to stop the torture. He’s in jail without proof of his guilt and that’s bad enough. I won’t let him any more harm.

    “He’s got information,” Toral said. “Information that is very important, that could save lives.”

    You can’t know that.” Demok looked at the gul. “For all you know he may know nothing about the virus and be responsible only for engineering matters.

    “Or he might be the brain behind all this and know everything.”

    The young Cardassian looked at the prefect. “What are your procedures in such case? How do you plan to proceed to gather information?

    Our investigators are already on it. We will share the results with you.

    “And how can we know you’re going to share all information or the truth?” Toral attacked.

    This is an internal colony matter.

    “No, it isn’t. The colony is a part of the Union.”

    Krause sighed. “I knew talking to you, Cardassian, would prove difficult. It’s just impossible to co-operate with you.

    Demok squinted at the human. “I’d appreciate if you’d refrain from openly showing your hostility toward us,” he said in a low voice. Toral thought that Demok sounded just like his mother.

    I’d appreciate you wouldn’t torture my people!

    Didn’t I just say that this wouldn’t happen?

    He wants to do it!” Krause pointed at Toral.

    And I say he won’t do it. The matter is closed.

    The human observed the sub-archon for a moment. Then, he said to Toral, “I will send you the information as soon as we have something.

    Toral wanted to comment that but managed to remain silent. He had already expressed his opinion about Krause’s investigators and intentions and saw no reason to remind it anyone. Krause wouldn’t care less while Demok wouldn’t have forgotten. He looked at Demok. “How are you feeling?” he asked softly, too softly, considering the presence of his whole bridge staff here and Krause there.

    I’m fine. But I think Boreep is already sick.

    Toral closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. He hated losing people.

    Cardassian Union Prefecture Mazita
    Day 4

    Demok could hear his boots thumping heavily on the floor as he ran. People were moving out of his way, even though he wasn’t shouting at them to move aside. He wondered if the thumping, which for many of them sounded like a Cardassian troop, wasn’t the cause of their clearing his path.

    He entered the room of the hospital and looked around. There were three beds in there, all three occupied, and many provisional beds on the floor. He threaded carefully, not wanting to step on someone, and looked around, trying to locate Medic Boreep.

    Finally he spotted him and quickly approached. He sat on the floor and took Boreep’s hand in his. “How is he?” he asked a Tellarite nurse who attended to the medic.

    “He had collapsed half an hour ago,” she answered. “He regained consciousness about five minutes ago.”

    Demok leaned over Boreep, who lay on one of makeshift beds in a corner. “Boreep? Can you hear me?”

    The medic opened his eyes, startling Demok: they had a yellowish, sick hue. “” he rasped, trying to raise his other hand and touch Demok’s face.

    “I’m fine, don’t worry about me. I am sure Albek is working on the cure and you’re going to be fine too.”

    “Your...mother would tell you...not promise things...can’t keep.”

    He was so weak. “Don’t speak, save your strength.” Demok felt tears filling his eyes; he had never seen such suffering so up close, he had never seen anyone so sick, he had never seen anyone...dying.




    “Shhh... don’t speak. You don’t have to say anything.”

    “Check your...telomeres...” Boreep closed his eyes and his hand feel down on his chest.

    Demok looked in panic at the nurse.

    “He sleeps,” she explained. “He’s very weak. He doesn’t have much time.”

    Demok rose to his feet and quickly felt the room. He ran through the corridor, not sure where he was running, until he found a maintenance closet. He pushed the door and entered the tiny room. He slid to the floor, pulled his kneed to his chest and started to cry. He covered his mouth with his hand, muffling his sobs a little, but his chest kept gasping, trying to catch more air through his tightened windpipe.