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

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

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I think Brenok did what he had to do. The Federation tends to act too late on things--but Cardassian lives on the line might, might finally be enough to get them to act, once Ronus' report is added in.

    The Federation-Klingon alliance has to end. They have to see what their "allies" really are: cold-blooded murderers. Where Brenok has hope is in appealing to the Federation's people. That's one thing about democracy: if he can get the people angry enough, outraged enough, they'll force their government into action.

    At least in Sigils, you'd have officers like Spirodopoulos who despise the alliance with the Klingons, and others both in Starfleet and in the population, too, who would protest and kick up such a fuss that the government might actually have to think twice before sitting it out.

    The Cardassians ARE better allies than the Klingons.

    (And Ronus' remark about "eating ME" was hilarious! Why Jadzia Dax wasn't totally grossed out, I have no idea! I mean...yuck. It DOES seem like it would be Trill cannibalism! :cardie: )

    Now...other subjects...

    Nerot's cute. :) You really do a good job creating some huggable Cardassians, don't you?

    Tolkar Saratt, Medic Nerot, the younger version of Brenok, Borad, and Aladar...they'd be like a basket full of kittens! (Don't tell the soldiers that they belong in a "basket of kittens," though! ;) )

    Brenok is now a full-grown cat. Still cute, but don't try to put him in his carrier and take him to the vet. (But he NEEDS to go to the vet; he really does. This new symptom is very worrisome. It also makes me think of what will happen as my Gul Berat gets older.)

    Ronus...oh, boy. He has bad timing. That was the worst time for him to have that conversation with Laran. If he wanted to actually make a point and be listened to, doing it while Jarol was laying on a biobed either dying or facing the prospect of serious brain damage was not the time to do it. He was right, and I think that if Laran is ever going to be a successful archon, he will have to face the fact that Ronus WAS right. He will have to face the fact that if ever his mother is put in a tribunal, he will have to recuse himself as archon, that he cannot and must not abuse the law in any way to protect her. (Though he could be her "lawyer," because a lawyer is someone who takes sides, by definition.)

    He does at least know the truth deep down, and so far, so far, he does not strike me as arrogant. In some ways, I like the fact that he allows himself to be afraid and confused when it's the time for those emotions. He's not wearing a mask, so that means he hasn't sealed himself off the way Gul Dukat did and Jarol is in danger of doing.

    (As for a potential sentence for Jarol...I think, sadly, that the injuries she has just suffered may force the sentence that she requires, that is not death: loss of power, prestige, and position. But I would not make it a merciless sentence, though. I would not want her symptoms to be severe--just disqualifying as far as military service goes. I would send Laran back to Cardassia Prime where he could be there, and she could have family with her: her parents and her son both. The best part of her is the "family member" part...taking the rest, and leaving her in a position where she could enjoy that part would help, I think, to repair and redeem her.)

    As for who Laran reminded Ronus of, though...was it the man that his previous host, the woman, fell in love with?
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    What is going to happen, what the Federation is going to have to wait for the next chapters.
    I thought the same thing, when I was writing it: how come Jadzia could eat food that looked pretty much like Dax and was live at that!
    I didn't even plan to make him any special tribble-type Cardassian ;) Heck, I didn't even see that until you said that :lol:

    It's soooo difficult to write his "funny grammar" though. I have to go back to each sentence and "fix" it :lol:
    Oh, yes. It remind me of my Beanie and how he behaves at a vet. Oh, my, they have a huge warning in his medical record: red letters CAT BITES, and no one believes me that he is the sweetest furry being on Earth :lol:
    H didn't plan to have to conversation there. All he wanted was to see how she was doing and hearing what Laran was saying, he just couldn't not to reply to it.
    I'm not sure, but I don't think it was that man. I think it was someone else, but also someone whom he has fond memories of.
  3. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I wonder if it was part of Jadzia/Curzon's little "rebellion against all rules." But as you know, I am not a fan of Jadzia...and her Klingon infatuation (which was in part Curzon's personality taking her over) did NOT make it better. I could understand liking Worf, but Klingon culture? No.

    I couldn't help but see it...especially when he got all flustered and started saying, in his unusual way, "I be so sorry!" :alienblush:

    I can imagine! It is when I write Mehmet Burakgazi in my universe, too, having to work with that weird word order.

    Oh, cat, Annie, is EXACTLY the same way--at the vet, she's a terror!

    I don't know...I think that at least part of that could've waited until later.
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Asu couldn't be further from Jadzia's and Curson's personality, could he? He's just not like that. Not a party boy, not a Klingon culture lover, certainly not a fan of their cuisine :lol:
    I can't help but wonder what's going to be the next thing he does :D
    I usually forget to write "be" everywhere and then have to return and carefully check each sentence.

    For Cardassians it probably sounds even worse than in English, considering my Cardassian grammar, especially verbs.
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    To me, Nerot sounds like he's speaking in Creole, or an African/Caribbean dialect.
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Cardassia Prime
    The Central Command Headquarters
    Legate Ekoor’s office
    03:17 (23:17 station time)

    Legate Ekoor rubbed his tired eyes. This was not what he imagined his office term would look like. He looked at the padd that contained the document again. He didn’t want to send it, he had been postponing it for over an hour already. Maybe he could do it tomorrow? Maybe a miracle would happen and he wouldn’t have to send it at all? Or maybe it was just a bad dream.

    A comm interrupted his reverie.

    He pressed the button. “What is it?” Was Glinn Forles still on duty? Why didn’t he go home yet?

    Legate, we received a communication from the Klingon Empire,” Ekoor’s aide said.

    “What do they want?” More threats? More insults?

    I do not know, sir. I didn’t listen to it.

    “Put it to my terminal.”

    Ekoor’s terminal was isolated from the common database. He stored too many important and top secret documents there to risk any unauthorised access. Every connection had to be controlled and secured. And temporary.

    The current Klingon chancellor, Urok, looked at Ekoor from the screen.

    Legate Ekoor, leader of the Cardassian Union. I hope this message finds you in good health.

    “It was brought to my attention that a Cardassian station on the edge of the Cardassian territory had been attacked by a small Klingon force earlier today. Please be assured this was a rogue operation and not in any way endorsed by the Klingon High Council. If the captain hadn’t died at the hands of your brave warriors, he would be executed for this foolish and cowardly act.

    “We hope that the Cardassian Union didn’t suffer any serious losses and will remember the soldiers that went to Sto’Vo’Kor while defending their territory.

    “We also hope that this will not provoke any undesired consequences. We do not seek war with you. The Klingon Empire does not see any gain in a conflict with the Cardassian Union. We hope this unauthorised action can be ignored.

    “We await your response. Qa’Pla!”

    The message ended. Ekoor stared at the screen, not believing what he had just seen. Did the miracle really happen?

    Due to the distance, live communication with Qo’noS was impossible, so the chancellor had sent the message. Now Ekoor had to prepare an answer.

    If it was genuine.

    Why would the Klingons ask for peace after this sneak attack? A rogue captain story didn’t sound very convincing.

    “Forles!” he called his aide. The glinn was in his office within seconds. “There are a few things I need you to do. First, contact the Federation ambassador. Second, wake up everyone; this is not time to sleep. Third...”

    Glinn Forles kept nodding, memorising every order.

    Cardassia Prime
    The Central Command Headquarters
    Legate Gortan’s office
    06:17 (02:17 station time)

    Ekoor didn’t feel tired. He didn’t have the luxury to let such feelings overwhelm him. He entered the office that had been occupied by the legate responsible for interstellar affairs and looked expectantly at two people present: Legate Gortan and Federation Ambassador Azagoo.

    “Madam Ambassador,” Ekoor greeted the Zakdorn woman.

    “Legate Ekoor,” she answered, nodding to him.

    “Legate Gortan had told me you have some information for me.”

    She nodded. “Indeed.” She paused, thinking for a while. “You wanted to know if the Federation would have any idea why the Klingons attacked and why now they ask for ignoring that attack.”

    “That’s right. Anything you could tell me without risking your treaty with them, naturally.”

    She pursed her lips. “We know nothing. The Klingons don’t share this kind of information with us and their ambassador was not forthcoming with information.”

    Ekoor sighed. So he still had nothing. He still was unable to tell what the Klingons were planning or thinking.

    “However,” Azagoo continued, “I have been authorised to pass information that could help you in the current crisis.”

    Ekoor felt his hope returning. He wished it wasn’t a false hope. “I’m listening.”

    “Please remember this is an unofficial information. You cannot use it for any kind of official statements or even in your news broadcasts. This is between us, the Federation and Cardassia. The Federation doesn’t want another war in the quadrant, even if we wouldn’t be involved.” She paused again. “Several weeks ago we detected a strange space anomaly. A kind of subspace fissure. The phenomenon re-appeared several times, each time stronger. The analysis showed that there was a pattern. A circle pattern with the centre in the Klingon territory near Qo’noS. The fissures there were the biggest, lasted longest and were most clear. The further from the centre, the less significant the fissures were.” She nodded to Gortan, who activated a monitor. The display showed the Alpha Quadrant with clear indication of empires’ borders and major planetary systems. It also showed the places where the phenomena had appeared. It reminded Ekoor of circles on water surface after dropping a pebble.

    “How does it help us?” the legate asked.

    “Those fissures were artificially created.”

    “By whom?”

    “We don’t know. But the Klingons do. Yesterday, the biggest fissures near Qo’noS opened and a fleet of aliens emerged from them. They attacked Klingon targets. We know nothing about them. We know nothing about their motives. The Klingons don’t tell us anything and I am not sure they know much more than we do.”

    “How does it help us?” Ekoor thought aloud.

    “It keeps the Klingons busy, sir,” Gortan said. “They don’t want a war on two fronts, so they ask us for peace.”

    Azagoo nodded. “That would be our guess too, Legate. The attack on the station preceded the alien attack on Qo’noS. We think they wanted to start a war with you, but now they have a bigger problem and would rather no have to fight against two enemies. Especially since it’s their territory that was attacked. They have to defend themselves and even for a Klingon defence has priority over an aggression.”

    Ekoor was certain that the Klingon attack had not been a rogue operation. No Klingon would do such a thing without someone’s blessing. But now it started to make sense why the Klingons didn’t pursue this course of action. They had their hands busy and they didn’t need another problem with the Cardassians, who had to appear strong after destroying their warships.

    However, he wasn’t ready to accept it as a certain answer just yet.

    “Madam Ambassador,” he looked at the Zakdorn, “How can you tell this is the reason they don’t want any war with us?”

    “We cannot be sure. But that would explain their unusual behaviour.”

    “And what if those mysterious aliens finish them and then turn on us?” Ekoor asked.

    “You seem to read my mind, Legate,” Azagoo smiled bitterly. “But this is a conversation for another time.” She looked at the display. “The situation would explain why the Klingons ask you for peace. It is up to you if you accept this explanation.”

    Ekoor didn’t say anything, lost in thoughts.

    “Legate Ekoor,” Azagoo said, approaching him. “I have been authorised to officially support your position, should you choose not to declare war against the Klingons. The Federation is with you in this matter.” Her tone became softer and quieter. “And I can see that you are not fond of the idea of the war with the Klingons either, Legate.”

    “That you for your help, Madam Ambassador,” Ekoor said quietly. “The Central Command has to discuss it, as I have no power to make such decisions on my own, but I will explain the situation and I hope the decision that had been made will be changed.”

    “Please, keep me informed.”

    “I will.”

    He bid farewell and returned to his office.

    Rayak Nor

    Brenok left the legate’s office and entered a quiet command centre. Only skeleton crew worked at their stations. He saw Zamarran at the main engineering station. The engineer didn’t work. He just sat there, staring at the floor before him. Brenok wondered what was wrong, so he motioned toward the older man. Zamarran noticed him approaching, so he rose from the chair.

    “Has the decision been made?” he asked.

    “Yes,” Brenok confirmed. “The Klingons will receive our answer by the morning.”

    Rayak Nor

    Demok sat on a stool, but his head lay on a biobed, just next to his mother’s shoulder.

    “I never told you that, Mommy, but I always felt like something protected me. Like there was a force that made sure nothing ever happened to me. All bad things avoided me, as if a forcefield surrounded me and never let them harm me. I wish I could give you that force, I wish I could build such a forcefield around you and it would protect you...” His eyes filled with tears.

    The time given by Medic Nerot was up. She should have woken up many hours ago; but she didn’t and there was a huge possibility that she would never wake up.

    “I’d rather you keep that protecting forcefield for yourself.”

    It took him a while before the words—and the voice that spoke them—sank in. His head bobbed up and he looked at his mother. She lay there, her eyes squinted from too bright light, looking at him. She raised her hand to touch his cheek. He grabbed it and squeezed gently.

    “You’re back, Mom, you’re back!”

    “What happened?”

    “So many things happened, so many things...This was the worst day of my life, Mom.”

    A few moments later the medics surrounded her, scanning her and throwing medical terms at each other. Demok didn’t understand much from what they said. He moved away to give them space and contacted Brenok to let him know that she woke up.

    Rayak Nor

    Jarol’s eyes wandered from the first man to second one and then to the third one, and then back to the first one. The three of them stood at the feet of her bed, talking simultaneously, each gesturing and trying to draw more of her attention to himself than to the other two. She could barely understand what they were saying. There was something about a Klingon attack on a station, but she wasn’t sure if it was her station, or some other Cardassian station, or a non-Cardassian station, or perhaps a Klingon station. Then Arenn and Laran argued for a moment about some war—one of them was against it and the other one tried to justify it, but concluded that he was glad it wouldn’t happen. Toral—why was Toral here anyway?—tried to tell her something about the status of Rayak Nor, but she was so confused she didn’t understand much of it.

    It didn’t matter. Whatever they had to tell her, they could do it again—separately. Right now she enjoyed the show, for they amused her a great deal. It was like listening to children, who blamed one another for some naughty prank.

    She looked at her son. Laran’s hair was a mess, a mess of greasy wisps, falling on his face as he shook his head arguing with his uncle. He seemed tired, deep shadows inside his eye ridges betrayed a difficult day behind him, but his eyes shone with excitement and joy.

    Arenn looked no less tired. He spoke fast in his melodic voice, addressing either her or her son, talking about necessities and difficult decisions. Laran only snorted at him.

    Gul Toral seemed most rested of them all and in the best shape, unless counting some kind of injury on his face.

    Jarol used the opportunity that Arenn and Laran argued with each other and asked the gul, “What happened to your face?”

    His hand wandered to his cheek, but he didn’t touch it. “Oh, it’s nothing. Just a mild burn. It should be completely gone within days.”

    “But why do you have it?”

    “Something exploded on the bridge during the battle.”

    “What battle?” Suddenly both Arenn and Laran silenced and their heads turned to her. All three men stared at her. “What?” she asked. What did she do that they looked at her like that?

    “The battle we are telling you about...” Laran said quietly.

    “When you hear separate sounds in two channels it’s called ‘stereo,’” she said. “How do you call three separate channels?”

    They kept staring for a while longer and then exchanged worried looks.

    “Mom, are you ok?”

    “You three keep talking at the same time. How am I suppose to understand anything?” she smiled. Why did they look so worried? Her joke obviously wasn’t funny, but was it that bad?

    All three of them looked at the medic, who sat nearby.

    He raised his hands in defence gesture. “Don’t look at me. I couldn’t understand anything from what you said either and I was-be here and witnessed all those events...sirs,” he added after a moment and smiled sheepishly.

    “So you say this is not any brain damage?” Arenn asked him.

    Brain damage? Jarol thought. Did they talk about her? Did those worried looks mean something was wrong with her head? They acted like a bunch of idiots, they talked simultaneously... But she wouldn’t realise if something was wrong with her, would she? She wouldn’t know that she’s more stupid not, would she? It’s the world that would appear more complicated and incomprehensible, wouldn’t it? She looked at the medic panicked.

    “I am scanning her right now.” He pointed to something above Jarol’s head. “So far everything is as it should be.”

    She glanced up to see some helmet-like device. The medic had said she was fine, so she decided to believe in that. She chose to believe in that. She refused to consider the other option.

    Her eyes went back to the three men in front of her; to one specifically.

    “Toral, why are you here?”

    Her question clearly made him uncomfortable. He shifted his weight from one leg to another and uncertainly looked at the medic in the corner. Laran crossed his arms on his chest and looked expectantly at the gul, but—Jarol noted—not without a liking.

    “I...” Toral stammered. “I...wanted to make sure you are all right.” Suddenly, he appeared very uncomfortable with all her attention directed only at him. And not only her attention—everyone in the room looked at him, listening to his answer.

    She didn’t buy his reply for a moment. He could have come, check up on her and leave. Why did he stay and joined the two talking monsters she called family?

    “Oh, tell her!” Arenn exclaimed. He looked at her. “He’s in—”

    “Brenok!” Toral interrupted him nervously.

    “Tell her, or I’ll tell her.” Arenn’s voice sounded menacingly.

    “What’s going on?” Jarol worried. There was something they were hiding from her.

    “Not here, not now, not this way!” Toral protested.

    “And what did you bring that for?” Laran pointed to something on the console in the opposite end of the room, but it was too far for Jarol to see what it was.

    Toral seemed to want to answer but didn’t. His cheeks filled with air and she was sure they grew hot. He let the air out with a quiet ‘pffffff.’

    “He’s right.” Arenn suddenly seemed to agree. “Come on, Laran. Let’s give them some privacy. Nerot.”

    “I can’t leave my pa—”

    “Yes, you can. Only for a short while.”

    Jarol observed the whole scene and her amusement gradually rose. Arenn, Laran and the medic left the room, leaving Toral—a very nervous Toral—with her. She pulled herself up, trying to ignore the dizziness, and looked at him.

    He seemed to hesitate for a moment, but then he went to the console and retrieved the object that lay there. A box of Assurian chocolates. He approached the head of her bed and sat on a stool that stood there.

    “Leg...Atira Jarol,” he said. Oh, so this was far from duty matters, this was private. Really private. “You seemed to enjoy this kind of chocolates before, so I brought you some more.” He put them on her lap, not looking into her eyes—they were glued to the box.

    “Toral?” she asked. Did it mean what she thought it did?

    Had she been so blind? She liked him, she knew he was a good soldier and a good commander but he always struck her as lacking some strength; too shy for an officer, too quiet, too uncertain.

    “And you better eat them all before you leave this room,” he said in a stronger voice, looking at her.

    “Or what?!” she asked defiantly.

    “Or I’ll make you do it. One by one.”

    “Until I’m fat and disgusting?”

    He smiled; he seemed to relax a bit. “You may get fat but you’ll never be disgusting.”

    “And you are the ultimate judge of that?”

    “You have no idea what kind of talents I harbour.” He frowned. “I have acquired the chocolates, I have brought them and I’ll make you eat them. I hope this is clear.”

    That was fun! When was the last time she did that? Ah yes, before Laran was born, with his father. Did she want to continue? Did she want to continue with Toral?

    He must have noticed her hesitation. “Oh, no! I managed to gather courage up to this point, there’s no way you can get rid of me now!” he said, shaking his head. “It took me over twenty years and you on the verge of death. I’m staying. I’m arguing. Execute me, because it’s the only way to make yourself free of me now!”

    “Unfortunately, I can’t execute you. I don’t outrank you any more.”


    “But I could ask Arenn.” She smiled mischievously.

    “I have his support, so you can forget about it.” She almost expected him to stuck his tongue out at her. He didn’t but the image in her head made her laugh.

    “Don’t even count on me sharing the chocolates with you,” she said defiantly, raising her chin.
    “What? You want to grow fat alone?”

    Grow fat alone? Maybe. Old? Not necessarily, she thought. She decided to test one more thing. “Maybe I should ask a certain archon to rule to execute you and have all chocolates without sharing.”

    Toral flashed his even teeth in a smile. “He’s on my side, too.”

    “I’m surrounded!” She would throw her arms up if she felt strong enough.

    “Completely. So better surrender.”

    “Never!” she shook her head. “I will fight the three of you till my last fit day.”

    “Well then...” He opened the box. “Let’s bring the first fat day sooner.”

    She smiled at him. He had a sneaky face expression, but she knew it was all acting—his narrow eyes laughed.

    “Toral...” She realised she had no idea what his given name was. “What happened when I was here? Slowly and in one voice.”

    His face grew serious. “It all started from the explosion in your quarters,” he began.

    She listened to him. She listened to him telling her how he had abandoned his post upon learning she had been hurt. She listened to him telling her about the Klingon attack and the progress of the battle. He told her about the initial Central Command’s decision to declare war, changed to agreeing to a non-aggression treaty with the Klingons, who had another war on their hands.

    In the meantime Arenn, Laran and the medic returned; they didn’t join Toral and let him tell her everything, for which she was grateful.

    She tried to absorb the information. A few things rang in her mind especially loudly: her son not wanting to leave her, Aladar forcing him into the panic room, Toral dropping everything to come to her, Arenn’s decisions first in favour of war, then—in the light of the new events—against.

    Toral finished and she looked at her son and then at Arenn.

    “This was one crazy day,” the long-haired gul said.

    “And I missed all the fun,” she answered, smiling weakly.

    End of Episode 3
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Oh, my! She actually woke up! I'm sure it'll take some time to determine if there are any other effects from what happened to her, though...head injuries require a LONG period of monitoring, to make sure.

    That "forcefield"...oh, my, if anyone ever realized who it was that prayed for Laran's protection, and who may have even come to pay a visit in that moment (I could REALLY start to feel his presence in the story and in that moment as he described it)--that would be a very, very freaked-out reaction from everyone but Jarol, Brenok, Zamarran, and Aladar! (And Taret's still around too, isn't he?) No doubt that certain someone is praying for everyone's bodies and spirits to heal.

    As for the Klingons and that new enemy...well, let's just hope that "protection" lasts for awhile because the backstabbing kind of Klingons who would do a thing like that might still feel like taking potshots at Cardassians and hiding behind the veneer of being "pirates."

    And Toral! Oh, my...he's being very cute here! :lol: It's a shame Jarol misjudged him and thought he was weak. I hope she's going to learn to see that's not true. Those chocolates may persuade her to reconsider...
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I told you he would be here again ;)

    To everyone, if you want to know what kind of protection Laran has, you need to read this: :D
    She doesn't realise that he stammers--if he says anything at all--only in her presence. She doesn't know that with other people he isn't so shy.
    But now, when he made that first step, I hope he's not going to be so nervous around her and she's going to see his true self :)
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Awww...thanks for posting the thread again. It was an honor to be able to write that with you. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into it, by both of us.

    So even if she just happened to be in the room, that made it hard for him to speak at all even if he wasn't addressing her? He had it BAD, then! ;)
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I planned to post the link to our story after posting this chapter, I just forgot :alienblush: Luckily, there's never too late for that :D

    In such a situation I think he was quieter than usually, though not that that badly not to speak at all. He was just aware that she was there, listening. However, I don't think that they there were many cases of them being in one room. He's Brenok's aide, so usually Brenok was one to do things and if Toral was there, he was "behind" Brenok, just like he was "behind" Jotrel 20 years ago.

    I think Toral is very nervous in presence of women in general, and if that's the one he's in love with...he's doomed! :lol:
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Chapter 1

    Torav, Nokar, Cardassia Prime

    “I don’t believe you would do this,” Laran said.

    They sat on a balcony of a small hotel in Torav. Torav was a small town, formerly a fishing village, with a very long history. Jarol had chosen it as the first stop of their trip across Nokarian continent, as the town was one of not so many tourist spots on the northern continent of Cardassia Prime and had a lot to offer. They stayed in a small, family-run hotel, occupying two adjacent rooms.

    The evening was warm, but the first signs of the humid season were obvious—especially on Laran’s body, as he wore a few layers of clothes. It was colder than in Lakat this time of the year and it would get even colder within the month they planned to spend travelling. She hoped he finally believed her that she hadn’t been overreacting when she had told him to take a lot of warm clothes.

    “I would, Droplet, I would.”

    “What? You taught me that war was the worst solution, you taught me that fighting was not an answer to anything, you taught me that one could never make peace through a fight! You taught me that!”

    “And I still believe it.”

    “Uncle Arenn doesn’t!”

    “He does too.”

    “No, he doesn’t! He had told me that war was a bad choice, that we would lose it and he still wanted it! This was disgusting!”

    “Now listen, Laran.” Her tone of voice became a bit sharper and chastising. “Uncle Arenn is not any more fond of war than you or me. He did not want it. But sometimes there is no other choice. It was not a matter what he wanted, it was a matter what had to be done.”

    “I disagree. ‘No choice’ is a convenient excuse to do a lot of bad things. Fighting is wrong. War doesn’t bring peace. War is always wrong.”

    “War is wrong, but sometime fighting is the only way.”


    “Were we wrong fighting against the Dominion? Were the Bajorans wrong fighting for their freedom?”

    “Were they right killing your children?” He didn’t finish the sentence yet when his face expression changed. She knew he regretted his words as soon as they left his mouth. “I’m sorry, Mom. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it.”

    “I know,” she said softly; although his brutal words hurt her very much. “Uncle Arenn made a difficult decision. It was the best option from the bad choices. Sometimes you cannot choose a good solution, because you are given only bad solutions. You have to choose the least bad one. I would make the same decision, if I were in his shoes.”

    “I’d disagree with you too.”

    “Good. You should think for yourself, not copy me.”

    He didn’t say anything. He reached for his glass of juice and sipped on it. She observed him. When did he stop being a child and start being a man? She’d love to hug him and never let go, but she knew it would only make him protest ‘ohhhhh, mooooooom.’ She smiled at her thoughts.

    “What?” he asked her.

    “Nothing. I was just thinking how cute you were when you were a boy.”

    “I’m still cute.”

    She chuckled. “So why isn’t there any nice, young lady in the vicinity?”

    “Oh, Mom!”

    “Young ladies like ‘cute.’”

    “Was Dad cute?”

    “ But I wasn’t a young lady.”

    “Was Father Joret cute?”

    “Yes, he was.”

    He leaned back in the chair and stretched his legs before him. “Tell me more about Mayel and Corat,” he asked.

    She liked when he wanted to listen to the stories about the family he never knew. She was glad she could share them with him. She felt it united both of her families into one.

    “Let me think...” She put her index finger to her lips and thought for a while. “There was that day, shortly after Corat was born, when Mayel asked what we needed another baby for and if there was something wrong with her...”

    Laran turned his head to her and leaned it on the back of the seat behind him. She knew she had told him that story many times before—there were no stories left, because Mayel and Corat had such a short time to create those stories with their lives—so each time she tried to tell it a bit differently.

    The sun sank in the desert’s sand in the west and the darkness quickly replaced the daylight. Lights on the street below were enough for them to see each other without turning on their rooms’ lights.

    “I wish I had siblings,” Laran said very quietly after she finished. She didn’t know what to say—she never knew he felt that way—but he spared her answering. He said, “Where do we go tomorrow?” His tone was cheerful but she could read him well—it wasn’t completely genuine. The longing not to be the only child—a rarity on Cardassia, even after the terrible, destructive war—was deeply rooted inside his soul.

    “I was thinking about two options,” she said. “One: tunnels under the desert where food used to be stored. Two: the remains of the small fishing village; they used to produce the best fish juice in the prefecture...about two hundred years ago.”

    “Tunnels? That sounds interesting. Why did they store food there?”

    She smiled. She liked talking about old Nokarian customs. Most of them were not practised any longer, but she made sure they wouldn’t be forgotten. For the last fifteen years she actively participated in the society for saving Nokarian culture and it made her very happy that her son, who was half-Nokarian but was raised in Lakat and identified with Lakatian culture, showed so much interest in her cultural heritage. He didn’t say a word in Lakatian language since they had started their trip, even though it was obvious that sometimes he struggled with Nokarian. He was fluent but not that fluent and she appreciated his efforts. Even if people—seeing his not so sharply slanted eye ridges typical for a full-blooded Nokarian—talked to him in Unionese, he kept answering in Nokarian.

    They sat on the balcony until late night hours and talked; or rather she talked and he occasionally asked a question. She wanted to stop the time, to stay in this town forever, to never worry about crew rosters, schedules, repairs or the Klingons. To breath real, not replicated and filtered air; to eat real food, not rations or replicated copies; to wear comfortable shirts and trousers, not heavy and hard armour.

    She knew a life like this would eventually drive her crazy but for now she enjoyed every moment of it, especially since Laran was with her. She would have gone on that trip anyway, but with him it was so much more precious and memorable. She could share her knowledge, she could show him things, she could be with him.

    Rayak Nor

    Zamarran was nervous and very unhappy. Gul Brenok had left him in command of the station and the engineer was certain that it was a huge mistake. He was an engineer, a man to fix broken equipment or to design a new piece of technology, not someone to give orders and administer a station. Peace or no peace, this was a strategic command.

    And now his job involved diplomacy, too. Captain Ronus’s presence was encouraging but Zamarran knew that the main responsibility of welcoming the new diplomatic officer from Starfleet was his.

    The docking cog rolled away and an elder man entered the corridor in which Zamarran and Ronus waited.

    “Commander Pertello,” the gul said, hoping that he didn’t mispronounce the alien’s name. “I am Gul Zamarran and I would like to welcome you to Rayak Nor.”

    “Pleased to meet you,” the man replied. His hair was completely white and his face was covered with wrinkles.

    He must be at least one hundred fifty, Zamarran thought. “I am not sure you know Captain Ronus.” And I should have known, he chastised himself.

    The Trill extended his hand in a human gesture of welcome and the human man grabbed it and shook. “We talked through the comm,” Ronus said. “Welcome.”

    “Your station sure is big,” Pertello said, looking around walls and the ceiling. Then he looked at Zamarran. “I hope I’ll get some city plan for it before you let me loose.”

    Zamarran’s first instinct was to tell the commander that he wouldn’t be allowed into more than a half of the station anyway, but he realised in time that the man joked. “I’ll see what I can do,” he said, trying to force a polite smile and not sure if he succeeded. “Captain Ronus volunteered to show you to your quarters.”

    “Wonderful! Is there a chance for a tour later, too? I read that you designed this station, Gul Zamarran.”

    Again, Zamarran stopped himself before saying that Pertello wouldn’t be allowed into many sections. “I can arrange that. I would gladly answer your questions.” That, at least, was the truth. If anything, Zamarran felt safe talking about his work and engineering matters.

    “When your duties allow,” the commander said smiling.

    “Since when are you an engineer? You’re a counselor turned a diplomat.” Ronus showed his teeth in an amused grin.

    Pertello waved his hand. “Oh, it’s just a hobby. And I find Cardassian architecture fascinating.” he smiled to Zamarran. “I think this place is beautiful. All those curves, elegant, so graceful.”

    Zamarran was stunned. “I’m...glad you approve.”

    The human looked at Ronus. “So, where’re my quarters?”

    “This way.” The Trill extended his hand and led the older man toward the junction on the right. He turned back and winked to Zamarran.

    The gul returned to the command centre and took his place at the main engineering console. He rarely used Legate Jarol’s office. He was telling himself it was her place and he was only temporarily taking over her duties, while she was recuperating and gathering strength on her extended shore leave, but it still felt somehow wrong. He wished her well and was far from claiming that she didn’t deserve that time far from the station and duty, but he couldn’t wait for her to return and take care of all those things he was so sure he was doing wrong. He was glad that Borad seemed to know what he was doing.

    “Sir?” Kapoor stood in front of him. How long did she stand there without him seeing her? “Are you all right?”

    “I’m fine, Gil. Do you need anything?”

    “Actually, yes. I wanted to ask you for permission to have a family visit.”

    Zamarran frowned, not understanding. “A family visit?”

    “Correct. Since the situation with the Klingons seems to be solved—at least for the moment—and the Federation certainly in not a threat, the station is one of the safest spots of the Union.”

    “Perhaps. For the moment.”

    “So I’d like my kids to come and visit me.”

    “Kids?” Zamarran didn’t expect that.

    “Kids. You know, smaller copies of you and your spouse.”

    “I know what kids are, Kapoor. I have plenty of my own.”

    “I have two and they keep me busy. I’d like them to keep me busy again.”

    “Kapoor, things may be quiet now but we can’t tell for how long.”

    “I know. I don’t mean that their stay should be permanent. I used the word ‘visit,’ remember?”

    Zamarran could clearly see hope and expectation in her face, but he wasn’t sure it was a good idea. The station still was a dangerous place. Even if it lost most of its strategic meaning recently, it could become a target of another sneak attack. The quadrant was full of unfriendly aliens.


    How could he tell her ‘no?’ “Did you talk to your husband?”

    “Of course I did. He would organise the transport for them.”

    “Kapoor, I hate to make this decision,” he admitted. “Can’t you wait for Jarol to return? It’s only a month.”

    “A month after which their school year starts. It’s now or never.”

    “Next year?”

    “Zamarrrrrrrran,” she growled, vibrating the ‘r’ sound much longer than necessary.

    “You’re on duty, Gil,” he reminded her, although he was sure she didn’t need that reminder.

    “Don’t you miss your kids?”

    “I do. But that has nothing to do with it.”

    “Would Jarol agree to this?”

    Kapoor’s face had a mischievous expression and Zamarran hated to ruin her little ‘trap.’ “No, she wouldn’t. She lost her children when they visited her on a station.”

    Kapoor became serious. “You’re right.” She paused. “But this is different. I wouldn’t risk my children’s lives if I believed there was a reason to worry.”

    “We still have the assassin to find.” Gul Marrak’s investigation was in progress.

    “I know that. But as far as I know, he looks for a way the assassin left the station. He is almost sure that person is not here any longer.”

    “I don’t know. It’s too serious, too great a risk.”

    “Zamarran. Don’t be so overcautious.”

    He knew he acted like someone who had to take care of someone else’s precious vase and he assigned a separate room for that vase, letting no one in. He was afraid his wrong decision would bring a lot of harm. The station seemed to be safe but he would hate to be responsible for any bad thing that could happen to young Karamas. His friend wouldn’t forgive him and Jarol wouldn’t forgive him, either.

    “Well?” she pressed.

    “Let me think about it, all right?”

    “All right. Talk to Tavor.”

    He opened his mouth to remind her that they were on duty and using her husbands given name was not appropriate in this situation, but she was already on her way to her post.

    Torav, Nokar, Cardassia Prime

    The ruins of the fishing village were not ruins at all. Demok expected to see remains of cottages, some pre-arranged fishing nets imitating mess and what not, but what he saw was a clean, neat copy of an ancient village.

    The whole village was considered a museum of some sort, so it was surrounded by a fence with one single entrance. There was no charge to sightsee the place, though, unless someone wanted a tour with a guide. To enter, they had to pass through a gate and a booth, where they received a guide-book with descriptions and were asked if they wanted a guide. Jarol shook her head and was just about to proceed when the woman behind the counter shyly asked, “Aren’t you Legate Jarol?”

    Demok looked at his mother, who only smiled. It wasn’t the first time they heard that question and each time Jarol tried to avoid answering. The sub-archon looked at the woman. “Why don’t you sell tickets? It would help you to support this place.”

    “We receive subventions from NSCH and we don’t need to charge people.”

    “I see,” Demok said.

    “Have a nice day,” Jarol said to the woman and left the small booth, entering the village turned museum-on-fresh-air.

    “Mom, what’s a NSCH?” he asked, catching up with her.

    “Nokarian Society for Cultural Heritage,” she answered.

    “Oh. And they give subventions?”

    “The society, as any other cultural society, gets some leks from the government. They can later pass it to the most needing cultural objects or projects. The Nokarian society gives subventions to some objects under a specific condition. They get money, so they are not allowed to charge the public for visiting.”

    “Why such a condition?”

    “Culture should be for all, not only for rich.”

    “Did you have anything to do with that condition?” he asked. He knew his mother grew in poverty.

    “It wasn’t my idea, but I supported it.”

    He smiled. “Why am I not surprised?”

    She looked innocently at him. “I don’t know. Why?”

    He laughed.

    Cottages were mostly light brown to dark brown. Oval windows looked out toward the sea. Demok noticed that from the northern side there were no windows or doors at all, only smooth walls. Intrigued, he opened the guide-book to see if there would be any information why it was like that. As it occurred, in wintertime the winds from north were so strong and so cold that not to let the cold air enter the houses, they had to have all openings face other sides of the world.

    The cottages closest to the sea stood on poles. Again, Demok consulted the guide-book and read that it was to protect the houses from high tides. The poles were tall enough for water not to reach the houses in its highest level. Retractable stairs led to the entrances when the tide was low. During a high tide, people used small boats to move around.

    There was a row of small fishing boats, each with information when it was built and how. The first one was three hundred years old, the next one was fifty years ‘newer;’ the last one of the seven was dated in late 2350s. Barely fifty years ago. They were different one from another, but Demok could clearly see that the general principle was still the same: a single piece of wood made the hull, any other additional—and in some cases very primitive—equipment was a combination of wood and metal. The guide-book claimed that each of those boats, even the oldest one, could still float on water and wouldn’t sink.

    “Mom, why is Nokar called ‘the farmland?’ From what I know it’s mostly a dry desert. It seems that the fishing business could have been quite significant here, but a farmland?”

    “Nokar wasn’t always a desert, Droplet. After the Great Shift it was still quite green and produced most food of all Cardassian continents. The problems started recently, in the last century. The air became drier, the dry season longer and many draughts changed fertile fields into deserts. Only fishing villages and towns managed to keep up with a high demand for food. The farms are a history...” She smiled. “But for some reason people keep calling Nokar the ‘farmland.’ I don’t know why.”
  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    “What did our family produce?” How come he never asked about that before?
    “We had two orchards. One bore fruit during the dry season and the other
    one during the humid season. The problems started in late twenty-three forties. The dry season orchard, with fop, died. Even for the fop it was too dry. My dad told me stories of how whole family helped to water the trees but it was never enough. Within two years the orchard was a cemetery of trees. The humid season orchard, with goplu, was a bit luckier. It dried too, though, when I was a little girl. Humid seasons were not humid enough, the rain got bad, too toxic for delicate fruit trees, and all that combined killed the plants.”

    “What is there now?”

    “I don’t know. Probably nothing. Dad sold the land when he moved to Lakat to live with us. The new owners most likely destroyed the old house and build there a new one. Or something else. I don’t know.”

    “Would you like to go there and see?”

    She shook her head fervently. “No.”

    Her resolve surprised him. “Why not?”

    “Because I want to remember it how it used to be. As my home. I don’t want to know how unlike my home it is now.”

    “I think I understand,” he said. He regretted her decision, as he hoped to see the place where she had grown up and where he—and his—family came from, but he respected it. He guessed that she didn’t want her memories be polluted by the reality and strange people who owned the land now. He knew that if he told her that he wished to see that former farm, she would go to show him, but he didn’t want to do anything that could hurt her. This trip was supposed to be a healing trip, not bringing-what’s-lost trip.

    The tour—if one followed the directions in the guide-book—ended in a small juice bar, where they served fish juice right from the nearest juicery plant. The plant was supposed to be the direct descendant of the village and Demok had to admit that their fish juice was indeed delicious.

    “What will we have for dinner?” he asked his mother, sipping the juice.

    “I was thinking we could go to that salad bar again. There were a few more dishes I wanted to try.”

    “Sounds good to me...” Demok’s eyes moved from her face to something that was materialising in front of her. “What? Again?!”

    A small box appeared in front of her. It was wrapped in a silver paper and had a red bow. It was the third time that it happened and they both already knew what was inside and who beamed it in.

    “The Radalar must be in the transporter range,” Jarol said, taking the box but not opening it. “I don’t think Assurian chocolate goes well with fish juice, so we’ll wait with consuming it.”

    Demok loved the smile on her face. He remembered that the first time she had seen that mysterious box materialising in front of her, she was startled. After being bombed one could grow wary of strange objects, especially boxes appearing from nowhere. However, upon closer study of the box she saw a card written in Toral’s handwriting that read ‘The next step to grow fat,’ and it convinced her it wasn’t anything dangerous. Since then, each time Toral’s ship was close enough to Cardassia Prime, he beamed a box with one Assurian chocolate. A big one. Demok’s mother seemed to enjoy each next one more than the previous one and the sub-archon was sure it weren’t the chocolates that she liked and that brought a smile to her face.

    They finished their juice.

    “Ready to go?” she asked him.

    He nodded and they headed back to Torav.

  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Awwwwwww, Toral's "chocolate bombings" are ADORABLE! :D

    I understand Jarol's feelings about seeing an old home. I made that mistake once and went along with my parents on a trip to a house where we'd lived over a decade before. The various tenants through the years had not taken care of the place and the whole town just looked run down and made me want to cry.

    But, I'm glad to see Laran appreciates all of his heritage, and both of his languages. :)

    As for would be wonderful for her to see her family--but I am very nervous about it, like Zamarran.

    As for Pertello, so far he seems nice...definitely a little more diplomatic.

    Finally, about's good that she does not want to overdo her influence on her son. When she doesn't pay attention, or doesn't care to, she can be very overbearing. So it's good to see that perhaps Archon Colissa's assessment wasn't quite right--or is becoming less so.
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    He seems less shy when he doesn't have to look in her face ;)
    The situation is still quite uncertain but soon something more would be known.

    For now, Zamarran seems to be afraid the make any decisions ;)

    She never wanted him to be her "follower." If he was strongly influenced by her, it was due to her strong personality, not because she never allowed him to think or disallowed any disagreement with her views.
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    As for that particular decision, though, I understand why. That involves the lives of civilians, and specifically the children of someone I think by now is a friend of his. And after what happened to Jarol's children, I think he has good reason to be sensitive about that. Especially with spatial anomalies (which damaged Dorak's ship) and angry Klingons in the neighborhood.

    But with as strong of a personality as Jarol has, it is very important for her to say out loud and to be consistent in her actions, in showing Laran that she does not expect him to be her clone, or else Colissa's fear for Laran could come true. (That he could end up "terrified" of coming out from under Jarol's shadow.)
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 2

    New Bavosal, Nokar, Cardassia Prime

    Demok thought that New Bavosal could be a place where the best artists on Cardassia could live. The city was like a walk through a stylish palace. The city resembled a holoprojection: it was clean, regular and new. Perfect. Bushes in parks were trimmed to resemble the local fauna, including birds and small mammals that lived in these parks. The town was built around a small lake that made a central point of the park in the middle of New Bavosal. The lake and the park themselves were a kind of nature sanctuary. Clean streets, many for only pedestrian traffic, seemed to be designed to resemble different architectonic styles.

    Demok and his mother had spent the first two days merely walking in the central park and on pedestrian streets. They had bought of lot of useless objects, mostly knick-knacks, from countless stalls that occupied the narrow lanes. On the third day they decided to visit what was left of Bavosal—the original town, next to which New Bavosal has been built.

    There was very little left. Most of the remains of the older town were removed due to respect for those whose bodies were buried under the rubble, but there were a few buildings left—as a genuine monument to the place that so many people had called home. It was not allowed to approach the ruins closely for the safety reasons—they were surrounded by an energetic barrier—but the open-air museum was arranged to let visitors enter a hollow circle between the buildings, where a monument stood. The monument was a single and a very tall concrete beam. Demok’s first thought was that it didn’t look impressive at all, but he changed his mind when he moved closer. He realised that there was something written on it. Names. Hundreds of names. Thousands of names. After a moment he realised that those were the names of the people who used to live here, in Bavosal, and died here.

    He turned his head toward his mother to tell her about it and he realised that she wasn’t standing next to him any longer. He looked around and saw her sitting on the ground, just by the monument, with her head lowered.

    “Mom?” he asked worried. “Are you all right?” Medic Nerot had warned him she might feel dizzy sometimes. The sub-archon crouched next to her. “Mom?”

    She raised her head and he saw tears pooling in her eye ridges. “We should have done something...” she said quietly. “We should have done something earlier. We shouldn’t have allowed for this to happen...”

    He sat next to her. “Mom, you did what you had to. It doesn’t matter when you would turn against them, because that Founder would have ordered to murder us all anyway. You did what you had to do. Her evil intent is not your fault and not your responsibility.” She looked at him, trying to muffle her sobs. “Mom, you risked your life for free Cardassia, you risked our lives for Cardassia and that was the right thing to do.”

    “But maybe if we planned it better, maybe if we...did something differently, this—” she waved her hand around toward the ruins of the city “—would have never happened.”

    “Mommy, you did the best you could. No one could foresee this. No one could have thought that anyone in his or her mind would order something like that. You couldn’t have known that Changelings have no conscience.”

    “I should have known. We should have known.”

    He took her hands into his.—When did they become bigger than hers?—He looked around to see if they drew attention, but those few visitors didn’t seem to stare. He saw a young girl realising what the writings on the monument meant and covering her mouth with one hand and wiping her tears with the other. His mother’s reaction probably wasn’t anything unique, new, or rare.

    He regretted that they came here. He wanted to see the new town and the open-air museum, but now he regretted he had had this idea. He now promised himself not to take her to any places that would remind her of that war and the final days of it. He would never do that to Uncle Arenn, so why had he thought that he could bring her here? Because all of her family wasn’t killed? His father was, isn’t that enough?

    Both his parents—yes, he considered Uncle Arenn his parent—had told him lots and lots of stories when he was growing up, but there were very few from the Dominion War and—in Jarol’s case—from the Border Wars. She never said anything about her time on Terok Nor, too, now called Deep Space Nine by the Federation. Now he understood better than ever why—those memories were too painful, too terrible to share with anyone, especially one’s child. They hadn’t hidden anything when he had asked questions, and he had had many questions after each history lesson, but they also had never volunteered to share details about what they had experienced back then.

    “Come on,” he said, raising. “Let’s go back to New Bavosal.” He hoped another walk in the park by the lake would cheer her up. She enjoyed observing small mammalian creatures that apparently lived in the lake. They seemed to build their homes under the water level, but clearly breathed the air. One could buy food for them at the nearby stall and lure them closer, offering something they liked. It didn’t escape Demok’s attention that the animals were always in pairs, even when they came for the food. Were they siblings, mates or just ‘friends’—he couldn’t tell, but he found it adorable.

    She let him help her up and they slowly walked back to the land shuttle to be taken to New Bavosal.

    Lakarian City, Eheen, Cardassia Prime

    Brenok informed the guard in the lobby whom he was going to visit and entered the lift. It took him to the third floor, where he left it to quite a big entrance hall with a hoverchair parked in a corner. He chimed and waited for a moment before the door opened. A tall and big man stood in it; a serious expression on his face was replaced by a friendly smile as soon as he saw who was the visitor.

    “Gul Brenok, please come in,” he said, moving aside. “He’s waiting. He hasn’t been talking about anything else for the whole day. Next time please come for breakfast—that way we’d have to listen to that only through the morning.”

    “Talking? How can he talk?”

    “All right, writing and then calling either me or Temar to read it. That way or another—we can’t do anything because he draws all the attention. He interrupts us all the time!”

    Brenok grinned. “And you hate it.”

    “Of course I hate it!” The man grinned too. Brenok knew that all that nagging was a most wonderful gift to him, not in the least annoying. Having his brother back after twenty-five years—after being told that he had died, no less—was nothing less than a miracle. “I have a lot of work today.”

    They walked along a long corridor to the last room—the day room. “Ignore him,” Brenok suggested, grinning.

    The big Cardassian shot Brenok a glance. “Did you ever try to ignore him?” Brenok shook his head. “I don’t advise it. The price would be high.”

    “Like what?”

    “Like an awful drawing of an ol’rot with extremely long legs stuck to your room’s door.”

    “An awful drawing?”

    “He couldn’t do it himself, so he asked Temar to draw. Let’s just say not all my brothers are talented.”

    They entered the day room. There were too men inside. One standing by a window and referring what he was seeing outside, and the other one on a special chair with an extended seat on which one could lie stretched legs and assume a half-sitting, half-laying position.

    Upon seeing Brenok, the man in the chair started to bang his hand on the armrest. The other one silenced, turned his head to see who came and—seeing Brenok—smiled.

    “If you forgive me, I have some cooking to finish,” the oldest man excused himself.

    Brenok went to the man in the chair. “Tolkar, I hear that you have been naughty.”

    Tolkar Saratt grinned and nodded his head. The man was in a terrible physical condition as a result of unbelievably cruel Obsidian Order experiment, but his spirit did not give up and he seemed to enjoy every moment of his life, regardless of limitations: he could not walk, he could not speak and his hands’ movements were limited. Brenok knew that he had worse days, but he never witnessed any. His older brother, Tabar, had told Brenok that the gul’s visits always improved Tolkar’s mood.

    Temar Saratt, the youngest from all three, put a chair next to his brother’s chair and invited Brenok to sit on it. “I’ll help Tabar,” he said and left the two Cardassians alone.

    “How are you feeling?” Brenok asked.

    Saratt shook his head and grabbed a big padd that Brenok had built for him over two years earlier. The padd allowed his not fully functional hands to write intelligible words with a special stylus; a typical Cardassian padd would be too small and too bulky for that purpose. Brenok had based this design on Federation padds.

    The gul waited for Saratt to finish writing and then took the padd to read it.

    Tolkar Saratt was a painter. He was unable to paint any longer, as his fingers were incomplete and he wasn’t able to firmly hold a brush, not even mentioning that his arms were too weak and too unstable to let him paint, but even when he drew something simple on the padd—as he did now—it was obvious that the man had a gift. Brenok had seen his paintings, he owned two of them, and he regretted that this talent wouldn’t produce any more art.

    Now, he enjoyed the simple drawing of a Cardassian couple, holding hands, and one of them wearing a bride’s robe.

    “You’re getting married?” Brenok asked him.

    Saratt gave him a look that made Brenok laugh. The painter’s eyes said ‘Are you kidding me?’

    “Tabar is getting married?” Brenok guessed again, again knowing that it wasn’t that.

    Saratt raised his hand and gently put it on his forhead. Obviously, the idea of his older brother marrying anyone was even more ridiculous than his own wedding.

    “Temar?” Brenok asked.

    Saratt nodded. Then he wrote something on the padd. ‘She’s as silly as he is.’

    “Why silly?”

    ‘They dive all days and study dead soktu.’

    “What’s a soktu?”

    Saratt explained that it was a kind of plant that grew under water. With time older parts died and changed into a hard matter and only soft parts on the top were alive and kept growing.

    Brenok smiled. “You are becoming an ocean specialist.” The youngest brother was such a specialist and it seemed like he shared his knowledge and passion with his siblings.

    ‘Can you gag him for me, please? I can’t listen to this any longer!’

    “Gag him yourself. Some exercise will do you good.”

    ‘Cruel, as every soldier.’

    “That I am.”

    They laughed; Brenok loudly, Saratt voicelessly.

    Temar Saratt entered the room. “I hope you’re hungry, Arenn. Tabar got carried away with the amount of food.”

    “Which reminds me!” Brenok rose and returned to the corridor where he had left a package he had brought with him. He took it to the kitchen.

    Tabar Saratt opened the packet and exclaimed, “And who will eat so much fop?!”

    “I heard someone here makes good jams,” Brenok said.

    “I heard that!” Temar’s voice came from the day room.

    Tabar grinned. “Oh, yes. He’s a real master. Thank you. You didn’t have to but thank you.”

    In spite of the oldest Saratt’s words, Brenok knew that he had to. They had invited him and he would eat their food from their rations. It would be rude not to share something to fill the void and let them save some rations on something else. Fruits were always a good idea and there were very few Cardassians that didn’t like a ripe and juicy fop.

    The dinner consisted of steamed taspar eggs, Brenok’s favourite dish gofut, two different types of salads, red leaf tea and fresh fop juice.

    “So what happened that you had to postpone your visit?” Temar Saratt asked Brenok. The gul was supposed to visit them a week earlier, but these plans had to be changed.

    “Um...” Brenok hated to change the good mood to something grim. “My neighbour died.”

    All three brothers looked at him.

    “What happened to him?” the oldest one asked eventually.

    “Old age and, I think, he was unwell for a long time.” Brenok paused and put away his spoon. “He had no one. He lost his whole family in the Dominion attack, so we had to take care of him and his mourning ceremony.” He paused again. “They say he didn’t say a word since the attack, since all whom he loved were killed.” Brenok thought that he was so close to the same fate—lonely, quiet, unhappy...

    “That’s so sad,” Tabar Saratt said. Brenok knew Tabar’s wife and both of his children died that day too. There wasn’t one Lakarian that hadn’t lost someone that terrible day. There wasn’t one Cardassian that hadn’t lost someone that terrible day. However, some of them had lost everyone that day and there was no worse fate for a Cardassian than to be family-less.

    “I could have been him...” Brenok whispered in spite of himself. He didn’t want this dinner to be a sad event, but he couldn’t stop talking. “I could have stopped talking, singing and impatiently wait for the death to come and finally take me.”

    ‘But you aren’t.’ Tolkar Saratt was equipped with a kind of stick, which he used to ‘speak.’ Even the knocking the characters of the flash code, which he used for communication, sounded softer now.

    “No, I’m not.”

    “Why not?” Temar asked.

    Brenok looked at him. The youngest Saratt had a gentle expression on his face, encouraging the gul to answer to the question, to find out—to realise—what had made it different for him. He thought for a moment. “Because I wasn’t alone,” he said at length. “I had no family, but I still had my friends.” He thought of Atira and her support, in spite of the fact that she had needed some too; she had lost her husband in that war and had been expecting a baby. He thought of Latana—an Oralian orphan who had showed him that he’d been still needed by someone. And of Laran who had been born shortly after the war and the presence of that little, troublesome boy had brought first happy smiles to Brenok’s face. They became his family. He was not family-less any longer. “Atira was there for me. And Latana and her friends. And Laran. I never stopped missing my little girl, but he was and still is a precious treasure in my life.”

    Tabar smiled. “That fact that you have another child—even if technically he is not yours—doesn’t mean you stop loving the older one.” Brenok looked at the oldest Saratt. “You don’t have to feel guilty that Laran was making you happy, even though you still mourned Tasara. Loving a new child doesn’t cancel loving the older one.”

    ‘Of course it does,’ Tolkar protested, looking defiantly at his older brother.

    “That’s right, it does!” Temar confirmed with triumphant face expression.

    Tolkar slammed his palm—gently—against the table, as if saying ‘damn, he’s got me!’

    Brenok smiled. He appreciated the change of mood to something brighter. “Administrator Saratt, the gofut is almost as good as my wife’s.” He put a full spoon of gofut into his mouth.

    Tabar smiled. “That’s a high praise. I’m glad it meets with your approval.”

    “Ummmm,” Brenok mumbled with his mouth full and the two younger brothers burst into laughter.
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Lakat, Eheen, Cardassia Prime

    “Dad!” Chumi shouted, running to her father and wrapping her arms around his neck as he leaned to her much shorter self to make that gesture possible.

    He pressed her to his chest. “Bei’asara, Precious.”

    She grabbed his hand a pulled him deeper into the apartment. Inaya, his sister-in-law, stood in the door to the day room. “Welcome back,” she said smiling. “We expected you several hours ago.”

    Tavor Karama shrugged. “Ship’s business. Where’s Tasar?”

    “Here.” Tavor turned to look at his older brother, who had just left the kitchen, wiping his hands in a cloth. “How long will you stay?”

    “Only a few days.”

    Tasar’s left eye ridge went wider. “‘Only?’ I’d say that’s quite something, considering how busy the flagship is.”

    Tavor smiled. “Well, I think it’s because Brenok wanted some time off to visit Jarol.”

    “How is she?”

    “Better, as far as I know.”

    A small figure appeared behind Tasar. The older brother must have felt the presence as—without looking—he said, “Stop hiding and tell your father what you did last week.”

    The little figure hid behind his uncle’s leg.

    “Tarin?” Tavor leaned over to have a better look at his seven years old son. The boy moved to avoid being seen. “Tarin, come here.” Tavor’s voice was soft but had a commanding tone. He stretched his hand toward the child. “Come and tell me.”

    Tarin shyly moved toward the offered hand. He grabbed it and let his father lead him to the day room, where they sat at the dining table.

    “What happened?” Tavor asked.

    The boy looked at his feet.

    “Tell him, or I’ll tell him,” Tasar said. Then, he returned to the kitchen.

    “Dad, it’s because of me.” Chumi wrapped her arms around her father’s shoulders from behind and leaned her head on the back of his. “He meant well.”

    “I’m intrigued now.” He looked at his son. “Tarin, what did you do?”

    Suddenly, the boy’s demeanour changed. Fire burnt in his eyes as he looked at his father. “That idiot shouldn’t have said those things! He asked for it. No stupid moron will make my sister cry! He got what he deserved!”

    “As far as I remember, you got what you deserved too,” Inaya interjected.

    Tavor sighed. “I’m very happy that all got what they deserved. Now, again and from the beginning. What happened last week. And why Chumi cried?” He turned his head to look at his daughter.

    “There’s that boy,” she said. “And he liked me, but I don’t like him. He’s a bully. And he said that I was so pretty and so special, but I don’t like him. And then he started to call me names.”

    “What names?”

    “I’d rather not repeat. Those were ugly and dirty words. Tarin heard that and rammed him smashed on the wall.”

    Tarin jumped on his chair. “I did not!” he shouted with indignation.

    “Yes, you did,” she insisted.

    “You fought at school?” Tavor sent his son a look full of astonishment. “Why didn’t you tell someone that he called your sister names? Why did you attack him? A boy almost twice your age!”

    “I’m not an Obsidian Order agent, I am not a fogar!”

    Tavor was speechless for a long moment. How come his young son knew such a word as ‘fogar?’ The glinn wasn’t happy that his child knew such a pejorative and full of contempt term, which denoted a person who sneaked upon his or her neighbours and family to turn them in to the Obsidian Order, and that he used it. “Tariiiiiiin.” Tavor let out a long sigh. “First, don’t use words like this. Say ‘I don’t tell on other children’ instead. Second, you can’t fix things this way. This is not right.”

    “No one will call my sister a ‘federant,’ or a ‘flathead!’” the boy shouted.

    “Tarin!” Tavor’s voice gained a sharp tone. “You will not use that word ever again!”

    “But he—”

    “Not a word more!” the glinn boomed. He hated raising his voice, he hated showing any aggression toward his children, but sometimes it was necessary.

    Chastised Tarin lower his head “Yes, father,” he said quietly, his sight returning to his feet.

    “You also will not fight at school. Regardless of others’ wrong behaviour. You will tell your teachers and your uncle and those naughty children will be dealt with. You do not deal with this yourself!”

    “Yes, father.”

    Tavor observed his son for a long moment, giving him time to think about his behaviour and his father’s words. The glinn glanced at Inaya. “Was he punished?”

    “Yes,” she confirmed with a nod.

    “Good.” His voice became softer. “Now, come here and give me a big hug.”

    Tarin raised his head and Tavor saw tears shining in his eyes. It almost broke his heart. The boy jumped from the chair and ran around the table to his father with his arms stretched toward him. “I’m sorry, Daddy!”

    “I know.” He knew that Tarin hadn’t apologised for fighting, or for ‘protecting’ his sister. He had apologised for disappointing his father and for making him angry. Tavor hoped that some day his son would understand why his behaviour was wrong.

    For now, though, he planned to enjoy his stay with his family. He only hoped Amrita could have been with them.

    Akot, Eheen, Cardassia Prime

    Ya’val smiled, seeing Ma’Kan approaching the table. He hadn’t seen her for too long. The last several times that the Damar had been near Cardassia Prime for them to meet, she had been ‘on the hunt,’ as she called her missions. This time they were luckier and the schedules of both of them allowed them to steal a few hours and have a dinner together.

    She had changed since the time she had left the military almost three years earlier. After the mission, during which they had found an old Obsidian Order experimental vessel and had witnessed terrible tortures two Cardassians were submitted to, she had decided to dedicate her life to hunting down former Obsidian Order agents that were still in hiding and didn’t pay for their crimes yet. She had a few successes on her account.

    “Zerin, you gained weight,” she said instead of a greeting.

    “No, I did not!” he shouted with indignation, straightening up in his seat.

    She laughed. “All right, you did not.” She sat. “Did you take a look at their offer?” she asked, pointing to a dish list padd.

    “I did. Everything appears so tasty I’d like to sample a bit of everything.”

    “You will gain weight, then.” She seemed to be in a good mood.

    He smiled. “You look nice. I mean, really, really nice,” he said.

    She gave him an attentive look and studied his face. “Thanks,” she replied eventually. “I grew my hair a bit longer. Now it doesn’t interfere with my duties.” She winked.

    It wasn’t only her hair, it was everything about her. Without heavy armour and easy-to-make hairdo replaced by a much more elaborate one, she looked more womanly than he had ever seen before. An idea popped in his head. “Is there someone?” he asked.


    “Someone special? Did you meet someone?”

    “Because of my hair?”

    “Your hair would be the result.”

    She shook her head. “No,” she answered shortly.

    Shame, he thought. She deserved the best man in the Union. “So...what do we eat?” he asked.

    They started to choose and mark desired dishes. The dish list padd sent their requests to the chef and they waited for their food to be brought to them. They talked about her latest assignment and about his service aboard the Damar. She asked how were the others—the officers she knew and with whom she had served for twenty years—and returned Ya’val’s question about meeting someone special.

    Those infrequent get togethers were an extension of gatherings that they used to have with Gil Sabal, their friend who had been murdered by a mad Efrosian three years earlier. They rarely talked about Sabal; Ya’val knew that Ma’Kan had been shattered by the gil’s death and he didn’t want to bring the sad subject. When they talked about him, they both choose only happy memories.

    That day, however, Ya’val wanted to hear about her newest case—one that she wanted to take very much, but couldn’t due to Cardassia’s stiff relations with the Federation. With these relations changing and warming up, there was a chance she could finally try to find that man who had a lot to answer for and who was presumably hiding in the Federation territory for last fifteen—twenty years.

  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    "Of course I hate it!" Oh, I could see the happy grin Tabar Saratt said that with. ;)

    And the ol'rot on the door--good job, Tolkar and Minion!!! You teach your brother that ignoring is futile! :evil: :D

    And is Ma'Kan going to get Garak? GET HIM! He was in the Orias system; he is guilty! Your Garak deserves death. Painful, nasty, slow death.

    As for Jarol...I wonder if she'll come to realize her "hero" was the source of the Dominion's evil in the Federation.

    One final note. The little mammalian creatures were cute, how they stayed with their mates. :)
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I am not sure of that, but he certainly fits the description :D She it is possible that she is after him, now. Consider what she had seen on that Obsidian Order ship, it would be partially personal, too.
    I think she understands that intellectually. Still, she's not free of that spell he had cast on her.
  20. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    It's a shame the AU version is SO much of a different person to her--a twin with the same name--rather than an example of what her Dukat could've been if he'd made better choices. (I know she probably thought certain parts of his personality were weakness...but that's a shame.)