Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Oct 8, 2010.
What is "GR"?
.... *glaressomemore* You are asking this now for the pleassure of asking, don´t you?
Garak? But how to shortnen Garak to GR?
Rusot is my pal, he wouldn't gag me, he'd gag YOU.
Gul.... RRRrrrrrr... I don't know
Actually it stands for Glinn Re´jal, cause I have just decidet I need to demote you for playing stupid, which is an act of insubordination. If this continues, than the G fastly can stand for Gil!
Aaah.... For some reason I assumed you grab GR and together with him you gaged me.
You can't demote me, Captain
The "Captain" is just a disguise for not shocking the people with my high ranking cardassian importance.
PS. Glinns don't have security clearance high enough to write stories.
Well...I can decite who gets which security clearance...so I give you an extra clearance for the writing AND confine you to quarters to write now. When I return from my seminar in about 6 or 7 hours I´d like a piece of story.
I even may promote you back to Gul then, cause I am a really nice and fair Legate, who treads his subordinates with uttermost respect and care ... when they behave.
Hmmm... A thought occurred to me.
You are dead for 21 years now. And we, Cardassians, don't believe in ghosts, so........pfffffffffff.
And now excuse me, I have to accompany Glinn Zamarran to a conversation with the Feddie captain.
And another chapter of my new English grammar book for dummies to study.
You confuse the real time with your story-times. It is 2374!
I allow you to accompany the Glinn. Dismissed!
No, you are confused. 2374 is a history. It's past. Gone. No more. Time moves on. It's already 2396. A new, post-war generation has grown up and brings glory to Cardassia.
*growls* I said: You are DISMISSED!
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
9th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar
“Captain,” Lieutenant Commander Farr looked at th’Arshar. “They ignore our hails.”
“Why am I not surprised?” the Andorian muttered to himself, rolling his eyes. Then he added louder, “Keep hailing them, Commander. We can’t force them to talk to us but we can be bothersome.”
“Sir?” Av’Roo turned to look at her captain.
“Don’t even comment that, Lieutenant.”
Th’Arshar was confused and angry. The mysterious Cardassian ship disappeared and he had no answers from the Cardassians. Did they make it disappear? He had had a short conversation with Gul Brenok but the Cardassian hadn’t been forthcoming. He either didn’t have any answers and didn’t want to admit that or he didn’t want to share his knowledge. That way or another, th’Arshar knew nothing.
He felt a strong temptation to use a few colourful metaphors but he knew it wouldn’t be appropriate on the bridge. “Do the scans tell us anything?” he looked at Av’Roo. She shook her head.
What was going on?
“Sir,” Farr’s ears perked up. “We are being hailed by the Cardassians.”
“More evading answers, no doubt. On screen, Commander.”
Th’Arshar expected to see Brenok’s face but the viewer was filled with Zamarran’s grey scales and ridges.
“Captain,” the glinn greeted the Andorian.
“Glinn Zamarran,” th’Arshar hoped his voice sounded politely.
“We have gathered some information we’d like to share and ask if you have something to share too, perhaps.” Th’Arshar nodded, encouraging Zamarran to continue. “We have determined that the ‘disappearance’ of the vessel can be explained by a Romulan cloak.”
“Correct. We are in contact with our team aboard the vessel. They have informed us that there is limited power available. They have disabled security protocols so it should be safe for your team to beam there too, should you choose to do it, however we’d like to make sure this is the case before letting you aboard. Our team is unable to drop the cloak. They don’t know the reason. According to our engineer it appears as if someone overrides his commands.” Suddenly Zamarran silenced. He knitted his eye ridges and turned his head to look at someone; he didn’t say a word, though. The captain patiently waited for the glinn to resume but he felt as if the seconds dragged into years. Zamarran turned his body to look at Gul Brenok, whom th’Arshar could see in the background in his command chair now. Brenok only nodded to Zamarran and the glinn turned back to the camera and looked at th’Arshar. “We have just received a very strange thing,” he said. He paused for a moment, thinking about the last thing he had been saying before he was interrupted, and then continued, “We would like to ask you if you know anything about Romulan cloaking devices. Our knowledge in this matter is very limited.”
“Why would we know?” Th’Arshar was disappointed that Zamarran didn’t share the ‘strange thing’ with him.
“You are Romulan allies, are you not?”
“Not really, Glinn Zamarran. We had a common enemy,” th’Arshar panicked; it wasn’t the best thing to say, was it? How could he be so stupid? To his relief Zamarran didn’t react to his words in any way. “Now, that the enemy is gone, we are no longer...friends.”
“Maybe you should ask someone from your Obsidian Order? They were closer to the Romulan cloaking devices then anyone in the Federation,” th’Arshar said... And again regretted his words as soon as they left his mouth, not only because they were a lie.
“Unfortunately former Obsidian Order agents usually aren’t forthcoming with any information,” Zamarran said. Must be a Cardassian trait, th’Arshar thought bitterly but was wise enough not to speak out loud this time. “We have one important figure serving his time in prison but I doubt he would share anything. We will ask him, of course, but I wouldn’t count on getting any answers.”
“Prison?” Th’Arshar’s white eyebrows raised.
“For atrocities committed against Cardassian citizens when he had been in service of that criminal organisation,” the glinn explained.
If it were possible, th’Arshar’s eyebrows would travel higher at this revelation.
“I will try to find some useful information, Glinn,” the captain said. “I can’t promise much but we will try.”
Zamarran nodded. “And now for the new piece of information,” he said, surprising the Andorian again; th’Arshar was sure he’d have to ask about it. “A moment ago we have received a message. It was attached to our comm beam. It said ‘help us’.”
“We know nothing more, Captain. We keep the channel open to be in constant contact with our people, who are currently trapped aboard that cloaked ship, and the message was transferred on that channel. It was coded but we managed to decode it. It wasn’t sent by our team. We don’t know who sent it. It could be an automatic message, but...” Zamarran’s voice trailed off.
“You doubt it,” th’Arshar finished. “And so do I.”
Zamarran nodded. “We have more and more mysteries on our hands, Captain. And no answers.”
“So I’ve noticed.”
“I’m sorry for keeping you in dark for such a long time, but we have a heated situation here and couldn’t answer your hail.”
“I understand,” th’Arshar nodded. At that very moment he didn’t care if Zamarran told him the real reason, he appreciated the politeness. “We will get back to you with any information we are going to find.”
“Thank you, Captain. I’ll assign an officer who would be responsible for keeping you informed and sending you the reports on our progress.”
“A wonderful idea. I’ll do the same.”
Zamarran smiled and signed off.
“That was nice,” Fong commented.
“Maybe he just wants something,” Jeto said. “He wants to prepare the ground and then ask for it or just demand it.”
“Maybe,” th’Arshar agreed but his voice lacked certainty. “But let’s not spoil this lovely moment. Av’Roo, dig into the database. Fong, ask Starfleet Command if we can share what we know about the Defiant’s cloaking device.”
Cardassian Union Warship Damar
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
25th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar
Zamarran signed off and looked up at Brenok. The gul was tapping his fingers on his chair’s armrests. His lips were pursed and eyes squinted. Zamarran knew what it meant. He also knew he had to deal with it and he didn’t look forward to that. However he had been given an order, hadn’t he?
He approached the gul’s chair. “Sir, can we talk in private?” Brenok shot him a glance and ignored him. Did he know what Zamarran intended? “Sir, I am under orders,” the glinn emphasised.
Brenok audibly let the air out, got up and headed for the office. “What?!” he snapped when the door closed behind them.
“You have ordered me to act the next time you’d lose control. This is the time.”
Brenok’s eyes shone with rage. For a moment Zamarran thought the gul would strike him but then Brenok’s face expression changed. Tears appeared in his eyes. His bit his lower lips and put his hand on Zamarran’s shoulder. The glinn mirrored the gesture and smiled slightly. “I hope no ugly words were said this time?”
Brenok shook his head with grim expression. “There were ugly words and the fact he couldn’t hear them doesn’t change the fact that everyone on the bridge did.”
Zamarran knew it looked simple but he was sure it wasn’t easy for Brenok. The gul had to be still angry with whatever made him that mad but he tried to control it now. He knew he had to control it, because he just had been told how uncontrolled his behaviour was. The glinn had seen it twice so far; he had witnessed Brenok’s wild fury and its symptoms, he had also witnessed Brenok’s stings of remorse after both incidents. The young gul couldn’t forgive himself his words—his anger never crossed the line of physical violence—and felt guilty for weeks. He never shared with Zamarran what he had been thinking during the critical events, but the glinn was sure that part of Brenok’s conscience was paying also for the things that had not been spoken out loud but they did exist in the gul’s head.
“Do you need a break?” Zamarran asked.
“No, that won’t be necessary. Let’s go back to the bridge.”
They returned to the command centre. Zamarran went to his post, but Brenok didn’t sit in his chair. He stood in the middle of the bridge and said, “I would like everyone’s attention for a moment.” When all eyes turned to him he continued, “I want to apologise for my behaviour earlier. It was unacceptable and I have no excuse for it.” He silenced. He opened his mouth a few times but didn’t speak. Zamarran sighed quietly. He knew how Brenok felt; he knew that the gul could not find words that would sufficiently express his regret.
“We understand, Gul,” Karama said quietly.
Brenok flashed him a warm and grateful smile and Zamarran was sure that Karama was one of Brenok’s targets. His forgiveness meant a lot to Brenok. It wouldn’t annihilate his remorse but it would help him deal with it.
The glinn made a mental note to talk to the gul later that day. He wanted to know what had triggered Brenok’s fury; those explosions didn’t happen without a reason.
“There is one more thing,” Brenok said. “You know very well I would not allow any of you to use the...vocabulary I have used. Your gul is not above the law or above the decency; you should not allow me to use such slurs either. In the future, if I...start again, please notify Glinn Zamarran immediately. He would deal with me.” He looked at Zamarran who nodded his head with a serious face expression. The glinn resisted the urge to smile; Brenok didn’t need leniency right now, he needed someone who would firmly chastise him. As strange as it seemed to Zamarran, he sometimes had to be his own gul’s father figure.
Brenok looked in each and every officer’s face and then returned to his seat. “Let’s get our people back from that ship before they ran out of air in their tanks,” he said in a commanding voice. His aide, though, was sure the strength if his speech was only covering his shaken soul.
Zamarran called Gil Tari and informed him of his new task: to prepare full reports for the Federation captain and keep th’Arshar informed. Then the glinn’s attention returned to his console on which he was preparing his own summary of the day for the warship’s log.
“Sir,” Sabal approached Brenok and stood to his right. “I could try to contact a few former colleagues who used to work in Orias System. I cannot promise it would help but I can at least try.”
Brenok looked at him. Zamarran observed the gul’s face and, to his surprise, he couldn’t read it. “Is there any risk for you?” the gul asked.
“Could you get into trouble by asking risky questions?”
“Not if I use a secured channel.”
“No, Sabal. You’ve said it yourself, you don’t know if you would succeed in acquiring any information. The risk is too high. I don’t want you to have a mysterious and deadly accident as soon as we return to Cardassia. Not for asking questions to which most likely no one would give you answers. Request denied.”
“Yes, sir,” Sabal appeared clearly disappointed. He was just about to move away and return to his post when Brenok stopped him.
“Sabal, don’t prove your loyalty to me by risking your life,” the gul said quietly. Zamarran had a feeling something had happened between these two when he was off the bridge in the engineering. “Not foolishly risking your life.”
The gul’s aide grinned slightly—he knew Gil Kapoor called this grin ‘a smile without a smile’--whatever had been the problem, Sabal was forgiven and so was Brenok.
“Are we still on?” came Ya’val’s voice over the comm channel.
“Indeed you are, Glinn,” Brenok replied.
“Uh, sorry, sir. I thought only Glinn Karama was lis--”
“What’s on your mind, Glinn?” Brenok asked.
“That message, sir. Someone asks here for help. Let’s promise them that help.”
“Let’s reply to that message. I can’t do anything here, sir. We have arrived to another door with another secured wallcomm and this door appears to be well prepared against curious officers with cutting tools. It could be the main bridge. But we won’t get inside. And I don’t think Glen Dole wants to spend a night here.” Was Ya’val grinning? His voice sure sounded like he was.
“I’m not a coward!” Dole protested.
“No one claims you are, Glen.” Zamarran was relieved to see that Brenok’s mood improved. Nothing sounded better than your officers teasing each other in a friendly manner. “Zamarran, what do you think?”
The glinn didn’t expect to be ask for his opinion. “We can try. I hope it won’t end tragically for our team there. Glinn Ya’val,” he said louder to make sure the microphones would pick his voice. “How much oxygen do you have left?”
A moment of silence and then the chief engineer replied, “One hour twenty minutes.”
Zamarran and Brenok looked at each other. Zamarran knew what the gul was thinking: in eighty minutes their officers would suffocate and they had no certain options to bring them back either in a shuttle or by beaming them aboard. They had to try everything.
Zamarran nodded slightly, so slightly that only Brenok, who waited for this signal, noticed that.
“Karama,” Brenok said, looking at the communication officer. “Send a reply. ‘We will help’. Send it the same way we have received it. Send it decoded and coded the same way we have received it. Do everything you can to maximise probability of them receiving and understanding our answer.”
“Yes, sir,” Karama acknowledged.
Sabal turned to look at Brenok and the gul nodded once toward Karama; the pilot went to the communication officer to help him.
“We’re ready,” Karama announced.
“I heard it, Gul.”
“Be careful.” Brenok didn’t finish his sentence yet when the vessel decloaked. The gul punched the comm button on his command console. “Brenok to the Transporter Chamber One. Bring them back, Aladar.”
“I have them, Gul,” came a reply a moment later. “All three of them.”
“Report to the infirmary for full check up. And then get some rest.”
“What about the report?”
“It can wait. We know all the important things and we can wait with the details.”
“Wait?” Zamarran asked his gul with incredulity.
“Invite th’Arshar and his team to the Damar.” Brenok ignored his question. “We will have a meeting in the wardroom in the morning and I want the Federation scientists to be present. And the away team’s memories should work better if they don’t have to fight their own fatigue.” He didn’t ignore his question, Zamarran realised, he answered it indirectly by presenting his reasoning.
“Yes, sir,” the glinn acknowledged the order. “I’ll get right on it.”
Gil Tari, who was sitting just next to him, looked at him expectantly, awaiting his orders.
“I’ll send the message, Gil,” Zamarran told him. “You prepare full report for the briefing tomorrow. Highlight the information that we have given the Karamazov, so we won’t repeat ourselves and tell them things they already know.”
The aide noticed that Brenok signed off of his command console and locked it. The gul’s shift officially ended.
“Sir,” Zamarran went and stopped in Brenok’s way when the gul headed for the lift.
“What it is, Zamarran?”
“Can we talk for a moment, sir?”
“Can’t it wait?”
“I’m afraid not.”
Brenok sighed. “Very well then. Office.”
They went to the gul’s office and sat on both sides of the desk: Brenok in his chair and Zamarran in one of guest chairs.
“What is it?”
“Sir,” Zamarran hesitated. “I understand we have a mystery on our hands and the Federation too, however I do not comprehend the cause of today’s...outburst.” He hoped he didn’t cross the line. All he wanted to do was to help but he wasn’t sure if Brenok wanted this kind of help.
Brenok closed his eyes for a moment and then quietly said, “After Ya’val had beamed to that ship I was contacted by Legate Jarol.”
“What did she want?”
“That is the problem, I don’t know. The connection was worse than bad. I am almost sure it was due to another sand storm.”
“This is the season of sand storms in Lakat Prefecture,” Zamarran agreed.
“True. It’s not the first time that a connection was less than perfect. Usually, when the connection is distorted to a point we can’t see and hear each other, she disconnects and hails us again when weather improves.”
“She didn’t do that this time,” Zamarran guessed.
“That’s right. It would implicate that she had something important to tell me, something that couldn’t wait.”
“Do you have any idea what it was? Did anything from her message get through?”
“I caught a few words. Later I tried to clear the message, but it was pointless.”
“What were the comprehensive words?” Zamarran knew they had to carry enough information to influence Brenok’s behaviour that way.
“Among non-relevant or non-readable words I caught some meaningful, like Daset’s name,” said Brenok and Zamarran thought it must have been related to their orders. Legate Daset was the head of the Cardassian Union. “I also managed to pick out ‘attempt’, ‘hospital’ several times and...‘Latana’,” the gul’s voice shook when he said the last word.
And then Zamarran understood. Latana was one of orphans left by the Jem'Hadar attacks on Cardassia Prime. An Oralian Way follower whom Brenok had met shortly after the war and who, like him, had no one left. Her cheerful personality had helped him deal with his enormous loss, especially since he always saw her as a sign from his daughter. Brenok felt Latana had been sent to him to take care of him, not the other way around. However, her situation was far worse than his, as she was only a teenager at that time and as an orphan she had no status in Cardassian society and no way to fend for herself. She had been under care of other Oralians and with time Brenok took it upon himself to take care of the young lady. He has been living in Legate Jarol’s in-laws’ house since the Dominion War; he had a part of the house only for himself and that’s where he took young Latana, giving her back the taste of the family life. Latana not only won an uncle in person of Brenok, but an aunt in person of Legate Jarol and Jarol’s son became Latana’s little brother.
Now Latana was an adult woman and had a family of her own—a husband—but Brenok still saw a little girl in her and still felt very protective of her. She was a kind of personification of his lost daughter for him and if something happened to her—repeated word ‘hospital’ sounded menacingly—then Zamarran wasn’t surprised Brenok had lost it earlier that day. The glinn would lose it too if anything would happen to his daughter. Certainly, the worst thing was that Brenok didn’t know what and if anything actually happened and his imagination was surely drawing most horrible pictures in his mind.
Zamarran tried to find comforting words but everything seemed trivial and meaningless.
“Is that all?” Brenok asked him. There was no irritation in his voice.
“Yes, Gul. Thank you for your time. Have a good night.” But the glinn knew it wouldn’t be.
Brenok left the office and the bridge and Zamarran stayed long enough to check if the night shift had reported for duty but not a minute longer. He returned to his quarters.
“Computer, what is the weather condition in Lakat Prefecture?” he asked, taking off his external armour.
“Unable to establish connection with the weather broadcast,” the harsh male computer voice replied.
“Computer, inform me when such connection is possible.”
He would wake Legate Jarol, if he had to, to let her tell Brenok her news as soon as it was possible.
Oh, that's not good news. I imagine the Oralians wound up blamed in some messed-up way for whatever went wrong in their province, and that Latana was attacked. Or maybe even their entire gathering was attacked, since so many Oralians out in the open would be a tempting target for a bigot.
As for Brenok...I am very glad that he apologized for his language publicly, AND to know that it is his policy not to allow his people to speak like that. But most of all, the fact that he acknowledged his wrong in public is critical.
I also like that they are assigning an officer to keep the Starfleet crew up to date, instead of just saying "F*** you" to them.
Wow, what a grim scenario. Brenok probably imagines something as bad as this.
It's hard for me not to imagine it. Especially with the attack recently on a church in real life (not in my country--but it still hurts).
Cardassian Union Warship Damar
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
25-26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar
Sabal felt like zabou shit. He disappointed his gul and after that he made himself an overeager fool in front of his gul. What a perfect day! To die...
Ma’Kan had invited him to a dinner with her and Ya’val, but Sabal didn’t feel like joining their cheerful company and the last thing he wanted to do was to spoil their moods. He also didn’t feel like eating. He was sitting at his dining table and staring at his—already cold—food. He haven’t even touched it; he was playing with the fork in his fingers but the cutlery haven’t had any contact with his meal.
He put the fork away, leaned his elbows on the table and hid his face in his palms. He wished he knew how to cry; maybe tears would help him.
He felt guilty. How could he go to have dinner with Ma’Kan and Ya’val if he hid important information from them. He should have told them: ‘this is an Obsidian Order experimental ship, be extremely careful!’ Would they be more careful than they had been in fact? Maybe. Probably. But he chose—he chose!—not to tell anyone and they were in danger. He should have told Gul Brenok. The Obsidian Order didn’t exist any more and being its member was not something a Cardassian should be proud of. He certainly wasn’t. Back then he had thought that he had been doing the right thing. He wanted to help Cardassia, he wanted to serve Cardassia. And they wanted to use his piloting skills. At least they didn’t have him torture anyone. He was just a pilot, a stupid pilot, nothing more.
So why did he feel so badly now? So guilty? So sorry? An investigation had proved he didn’t harm anyone, neither directly nor indirectly; he had his life back and could do with it as he pleased. He chose to join the military and continue his service to the Cardassian Union. Torturers, those few who hadn’t gone with Tain’s mad expedition to the Gamma Quadrant and hadn’t died there, were now rotting in prisons in Kraness—the coldest and nastiest continent on Cardassia Prime.
But what is a man if he doesn’t keep once given word? He’s not a man any more, he’s something worse than a splash of zabou shit.
He decided to volunteer to join the scientific group. He knew nothing of this ship, but maybe there would be things with which he could help. Something could trigger his memory, perhaps? Bring to the light things he had overheard and memorised and didn’t realise it right now?
Would Gul Brenok trust him? He had been really furious with Sabal for hiding the information.
The gil felt like a splash of zabou shit.
Brenok laid on his back, observing black tails of nasty thoughts sailing in the air above his head. He was frustrated and disappointed in himself. He was a bad commander and a bad man. That day he had treated his own crew like trash and his most trusted men like children. He used vulgar language and had hideous thoughts.
A lonely tear found its way out of the corner of his eye and slid into his eye ridge.
“What has happened to you, Arenn?” Brenok asked himself. “Did the Klingon do that to you? Or the Jem’Hadar?”
No, that would be too easy. To blame someone else. Whatever they had done, they were gone. He was here, now. And he was...this! He didn’t like ‘this’, didn’t like it at all.
He wished he could talk to Jarol, he wished he could cry in her arms. He felt lonely. He missed the close relationship he and Jarol had aboard the Roumar; they were not only a gul and her aide, they were friends. Zamarran was helpful, supportive and a wonderful aide, but he would never, ever cross the line of the tradition—your gul is your gul, not a pal. Brenok didn’t care for that tradition. He could talk to Zamarran about almost everything, he could go for an advice, but there were things he couldn’t do. He couldn’t open his heart. He couldn’t have a healthy cry in his presence. He couldn’t appear weak. He had to be Zamarran’s gul. He couldn’t be just a Cardassian.
And now all he wanted—all he needed—was to be only a Cardassian. Nothing more. No armour. No warship. Only scales and shame.
He got up and went to the bathroom. He splashed his face with cold water and looked at his reflection in the mirror. “This was nothing personal, Captain,” he said. “It could be anyone else. It could be Karama and my hand on his head. Sabal and my fingers on his throat.”
He closed his eyes. He saw Zamarran’s face in his mind’s eye. Zamarran’s lips moved and he said: ‘This is the time’. Another flush of shame went through Brenok’s conscience. The young Cardassian lowered himself to the deck and curled up on the bathroom’s floor.
“Computer, lower the temperature by ten degrees,” he said. Computer acknowledged the order with a beep.
Zamarran at first wasn’t sure what had happened. Then he realised that it had been the computer that had woken him up. He checked his chronometer—it was shortly after 4 am.
“Computer, repeat the last message,” he demanded in a sleepy, raspy voice.
“A connection with the weather broadcast can be established,” the computer said.
“What time is currently in Lakat?”
“Twenty-two hundred seventeen hours.”
Zamarran got off his bed. “Establish connection with Legate Jarol's house.”
“Unable to comply.”
“Emergency protocol. Authorisation protocol Zamarran, T. G. Blue.”
The first expression on Legate Jarol's face was surprise, then worry.
“What has happened?” she asked. The picture was grainy and the sound was a little distorted, but the connection was good enough for effective communication.
It didn't occur to Zamarran that she could assume that he was contacting her because something happened to Brenok. The last thing he wanted to do was to scare her. “Nothing, Legate. I just wanted to make sure Gul Brenok gets your message as soon as possible. Your previous connection’s quality was insufficient and he could not make anything useful of it.”
Zamarran couldn’t recall if he had ever seen Jarol in civilian clothes, which in fact meant he had never seen her in civilian clothes. Her hair surrounded her face like a shiny black helo, giving her a lovely ethereal look. She wore a light blue dress, which exposed her neck ridges but in a modest way. The sharp, clear ridges on her face were casting soft shadows on her scaled skin. The glinn never thought that way about his former commander but now he was astonished by her beauty.
“Thank you, Zamarran,” she said. “What time is it there?” she eyed his sleeping suit.
He smiled sheepishly. “Four in the morning.”
She gave him a look of admiration and then quietly said. “You are a good aide, Glinn Zamarran.” He smiled in thanks for the complement. “Now, please patch me through to Gul Brenok.”
“Yes, Legate.” He hoped Brenok’s sleep wouldn’t be too deep not to be woken up by the incoming transmission; somehow, however, he thought that Brenok wouldn’t be sleeping at all.
Brenok was laying on the bathroom’s floor, shivering, when he heard an incoming comm signal. He didn’t move; he suspected it had to be something important since it was such an ungodly hour but he didn’t move. The signal was stubborn, though, so he finally got up and went to the main room to answer it and scold the caller if necessary.
Her face was the most wonderful view in his life. “Atira...” he whispered.
“You look terrible,” she was clearly distressed by the state he was in.
“I’m much better now.”
She observed him for a moment and then said. “What is wrong?”
“Nothing. Atira, you tried to tell me something earlier today. Yesterday my time. What was it?”
“I had three news, two bad and one good, so--”
“Start from the news about Latana.”
She smiled. “This morning she had been taken to a hospital. It was a bit prematurely, but she is now a proud mom of two little boys.”
Brenok felt like a huge rock was taken off of his chest. “Why now? It wasn’t the time yet.”
“Her medic said that it’s because the babies are twins. But all three of them are fine. Latana will return home tomorrow.”
“Hi, uncle,” Laran’s head popped up from behind Jarol.
“Hi, Laran,” the gul replied. He was just about to ask ‘how’s school’, but shoved the words back into his throat before his mouth spoke them. He hated that question when he was a kid; being young doesn’t mean that there is nothing except school in your life. “Found a girlfriend, yet?” he asked instead.
Laran only flashed a smile at Brenok and disappeared from the screen.
“Now, tell me about the two bad news.”
Jarol’s face lost its warm expression as she frowned. “The True Way is active again.”
“No,” Brenok feared the worst. The True Way had attempted to assassinate Legate Daset and Daset’s name did appear in Jarol’s previous message.
“I’m afraid so. There was fourth attempt on Daset’s life. He survived, but his condition is critical. Stable but critical.” She shook her head. “I don’t know if we ever manage to catch those bastards.”
“But he’s going to make it?”
“We don’t know yet, but medics say he should be fine.”
Brenok sighed. “And the other bad news?”
“We have results of the referendum.”
“The public has refused Doctor Galtet’s candidature.”
“What? She seemed perfect for this position! She has been working with Legate Jotrel for seven years. She has two degrees in economical sciences. She’s better qualified than Jotrel himself! Why did they refuse?”
“I think the people don’t want Jotrel to step down. They trust him and they trust that he won’t allow the Ferengi to cheat him.”
“Do you have any other candidates?”
She shook her head. “No one else is qualified. And if the citizens refused to accept most qualified people then I don’t think they would accept less qualified ones.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“We don’t know. You know that it’s against the law to impose a legate without the public’s acceptance, so we can’t forcefully replace Legate Jotrel with Gul Zenti or Doctor Galtet. Jotrel has to stay for now. And believe me, he’s not happy about it.”
“How is his wife?”
Brenok sighed. “Give them my regards.”
“I will. And now... go to sleep. Please.”
“Let me know when Latana is back home. I’d want to talk to her.’
“I will. Sleep. Now. Order. Mine. To you.”
“Yes, Legate,” he smiled.
“Computer, restore the temperature to the standard levels,” he said.
Brenok returned to his bed. He was relieved that Latana—and her babies—were fine, but he was now worried about Daset and Jotrel’s situation.
Legate Daset used to be Brenok’s nightmare. Almost twenty-five years earlier Brenok had served as the chief engineer aboard the Roumar under Gul Corak’s command. Daset—a glinn back then—had been Corak’s aide; he was a man of rules and regulations and hadn’t looked friendly at Brenok's long braid. He had changed the young engineer's life into a nightmare and Brenok never forgave him that. Even now, when Brenok knew that Daset respected him, he could not get over their past. He had no warm feelings for the legate, but Daset was the head of the Union and Brenok cared for him as such.
Jotrel, on the other hand, was someone Brenok cared for personally. The legate was responsible for Cardassia’s economy and contacts with the Ferengi and other races with which the Union had trade dealings. In fact, it had been Jotrel’s idea to start co-operation with the Ferengi to stop relying on the Federation charity and start fending for themselves. Jotrel was one of most popular and liked legates, just behind young and handsome Legate Marrak and Legate Daset, ‘the saviour of the Cardassian Union’—although it would appear that the True Way extremists did not share that popular opinion. They believed that the Union should be cleared of all aliens and Daset’s politic of ‘all citizens are Cardassians’ was the biggest crime among all ‘wrong’ reforms the Mar’kuu Group has introduced. Now, when only three members of the original Mar’kuu Group were still in the government—and one was trying to leave—Legate Daset was the embodiment of ‘all evil’ that their reforms have brought. Brenok hoped Jarol wouldn’t become the terrorists’ next target.
Brenok sighed. He knew Jotrel’s wife had the Gazeere Syndrome—a disease that attacked nervous system, destroyed it slowly to completely paralyse a patient within a few years. Jotrel’s wife has been diagnosed two years ago; she couldn’t walk any more and she was slowly losing mobility of her hands. The legate wanted to spend as much time with her as he could before losing her, but the citizens didn’t want to let him go. He didn’t make his wife’s condition public, so in their eyes there was no reason for him to step down before the end of his term of office. They refused to accept his aide as his replacement. They also refused his advisor. Brenok was sure it was not due to their lack of trust in the candidates’ abilites, he was sure it was the result of ‘Vote NO for Jotrel's stepping down’ campaign that a group of citizens have initiated.
Tired of his own thoughts Brenok fell asleep.
Kapoor nestled her head on her husband’s chest and smiled. She delicately stroked the scales on his chest and arm—the one that he wrapped around her as soon as she had found a comfortable position—ridges. The scales felt rough and weren’t as tightly connected as usually. She knew it meant he would shed them soon; she called it ‘the scratching festival’ as the process was obviously quite itchy.
”I heard what had happened on the bridge today,” she said.
“A lot of things had happened.”
“I mean Brenok and his apology.”
“Ah, that. I don't know what's the big deal about. It's not that he did anything so wrong to apologise to us all.”
“Didn't he call th'Arshar names?”
“So what? He was pissed and he cursed. l've heard worse.”
“And what did th'Arshar say?”
“Nothing, he never heard it.”
“Oh, I was under impression he did that in his face.”
“But he still felt badly about it.”
“Brenok is my third gul and believe me, I've seen worse and I'm the last person to say that the other two guls were bad.”
“But what he said was nasty.”
“Would it make it feel you better if he said—what is that word you use when you are angry? ‘Fuck’? Would it make you feel better if he used that word? He was under enormous stress and he cursed. You do that too and so do I.”
“But neither you nor me do it on duty.”
He laughed bitterly. “You would be surprised.”
“He's in command of this ship, he should set an example.”
“You make a big deal out of nothing.”
She growled. Welcome to cultural differences world, she thought. There were many things that she and her husband didn’t agree about, but in this case his opinion surprised her. She knew this wasn’t a Federation starship, but Brenok was the closest thing to a Federation captain that she has seen so far and she had dealt with a fair share of guls—and some of them were real assholes—so such un-Starfleet conduct he had presented that day really surprised her. It was just so unlike Gul Brenok.
She had served under Legate Jarol—Gul Jarol back then—and while the Cardassian woman wasn’t a bad commander, Gul Brenok’s style of command was so different that it was hard to believe he gained his command experience accompanying her as her aide. Jarol was a Cardassian gul and there was no doubt about it. Brenok was a good commander, by both Cardassian and Federation standards. Dropping the ‘Federation standard’ he still held the ‘Cardassian standard’ and maybe that was why her husband didn’t see a problem.
The more Kapoor thought about it the more she thought that maybe, just maybe, her husband was right. One does things when one is angry, but it doesn’t have to mean that one would do them under normal circumstances.
Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
9-10th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar
Lieutenant Av’Roo took off her Starfeet uniform, put on her prayer necklace and sat on the meditation pillow she had prepared in the middle of her small quarters. She always had to be careful to place it in the right spot not to harm her wings.
She sat, crossed her long legs and lay her hands, palms up, on her knees. Then she slowly spread her wings, making sure she didn’t knock anything over. It appeared to be a save position, so she closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“Alar, I ask for your wisdom to guide me, to show me the way of peaceful co-existance with the universe and all beings that dwell and share it with me. Give me strength not to let my emotions take control over me and destroy me. Share humility with me so that I never claim I am more than others.” She finished her invocation and paused. “My captain is troubled, please help him find the light and guide him in his difficult decisions.” She didn’t have any more requests, not tonight. She silenced, concentrating on her breathing and removing from her soul all negative feelings she had acquired during the day.
She performed ‘Purge of the Evil from the Soul’ meditation every evening. She knew she needed it; her people were aggressive by nature and had to control that aggression or her planet’s history would repeat itself. Av’Roo herself was never a violent bird, but she believed it would be arrogant to think that she was above that kind of behaviour. She was no less a sinner as anyone else.
Her thoughts were now filled with the Cardassians. In some way they fascinated her. It was the first time she met any personally and they were not what she had expected them to be. The Cardassians were supposed to be aggressive, viscous and brutal conquerors, who brought the last bloody war to the Federation, but what she saw were...people. They were not more different from her than humans or Andorians. They had different priorities, but that was true for almost every interstellar power. They probably considered the Federation not less barbaric than the Federation considered them.
She wanted so much to talk to one of them: about their planet, their customs, their way of thinking and their way of doing things. She didn’t believe even for a moment that their technology was behind the Federation’s. No, they had to be resourceful and creative to achieve what they have achieved with so little they had. She knew about their reputation, of course, but she couldn’t help but wonder what they were like now. Whole Federation crew was sure they were the same Cardassians they had dealt with twenty years ago, but Av’Roo wasn’t convinced. She wanted to learn what they were like, not assume—and worst things at that.
Maybe she was blinded, because Jeto was her friend and the engineer shared her face with them, but Av’Roo’s feelings toward the Cardassians were nothing but curiosity and fascination—in spite of Jeto’s feelings about them. Av’Roo knew the Bajoran woman was hurting and she wished she could help her, but she didn’t know how. She could only hope that facing Cardassians who were not murderers and rapists would heal Jeto’s souls from the hatred that was burning her out from inside and destroying her mind. With th’Arshar’s new orders, however, it would be impossible—Jeto couldn’t discover there that decent Cardassians existed, if she was not allowed any contact with them. Still, the scientist understood reasoning behind the captain’s order. She hoped, tough, that with time Jeto would get used to them and maybe then the healing of her soul could start.
“They surprised me today.” Th’Arshar handed Ranus a cup of pu-er tea, an Earth beverage which they both were fond of.
“Why?” The Trill nodded, thanking for the tea.
“First I couldn’t get them to even talk to me and after that Zamarran was so open and friendly... I didn’t expect that.”
“Maybe they were really busy and not really mean.”
The Andorian only smiled. “Somehow I doubt it.”
“What is the problem, Tari?”
The captain shrugged. “I don’t know...”
“I know you don’t trust them. I am also afraid you don’t want to trust them,” Ronus said.
“How can I trust them, Asu, how? We deal with the highest commander of their military. I...” th’Arshar didn’t finish.
“What?” his executive officer and friend asked softly.
“I am afraid of him. I am afraid of mistakes I might make and...start a war in the result.”
Ronus smiled. “Aren’t you exaggerating?”
“I know you’re a scientist and always look at the big picture, but the Cardassians are not our scientific project. We don’t deal with big politics, we deal with one crew under one captain. Don’t look at him as an army commander, take him for what he is for us—a ship’s captain.”
“A ship...a warship that is one hundred times bigger than our starship. He could destroy us with one torpedo.”
“You are exaggerating.”
They sat in silence for a moment. “Do you think we can co-operate with them? I mean truly work with them? Trust them?” th’Arshar asked.
“I do. But both our teams have to work on that. I can tell they aren’t, but I can tell we aren’t either. And you are not an exception.”
“I’m a scientist and a captain of a science vessel. I’m not a diplomat.”
“Than be a scientist. So far you behave like a spy. You don’t trust them and don’t make it easier for them to trust us.”
“Why would I make it easier?”
“See? You don’t even try!”
“We can’t destroy their ship with one torpedo.”
“Why do you assume they want to do that?”
“They can do that.”
“And you can sneak behind their gul with an ushaan-tor and slit his throat. Are you going to do it?”
“I might...” th’Arshar smiled, but it was obvious to Ranus that the captain understood the point he was making and his words were only a joke.
“Look,” Ranus said between sips, “we have an interesting scientific mystery here. And possibly a dangerous one. We need to trust each other. You plan to send a team to that vessel over there.” The Trill waved his hand toward a bulkhead. “I’m sure they will have to turn their backs to the Cardassian team many times. Are you ready to do that?”
“I have to trust they indeed had removed those booby traps they had mentioned. Isn’t that a good step?”
“Your curiosity is bigger than your distrust,” Ronus commented.
“Do you trust them?”
“I don’t know them,” the Trill shrugged. “And I treat them as anyone else whom I don’t know. I don’t presume they are bad people.”
“During the dinner you had said one of your previous hosts was on Cardassia. When was it?”
“Almost one hundred years ago. Laita was my host then. She was a biologist and the Cardassians invited her for their terraforming project. The project failed, unfortunately.” Ronus’s forehead wrinkled at the thought and th’Arshar wasn’t sure what was the cause of that worry—the failed project or something else, worse and unrelated. “But I met a lot of different locals and I can tell you one thing: they aren’t so much different than us. Of course, they have different mentality, different priorities and see the universe differently, but the basics are the same. They are people of rules and decent men don’t break those rules.” He silenced.
“Did something happen there?”
Ronus smiled. “Laita was pretty and there was one gul whose eye she caught. He was married and he never broke his vows to his wife. In a way,” the Trill’s eyes became absent, as if he was looking at something in a far distance. “I always admired his decency, but it was breaking my heart. I loved him for being so firm and I couldn’t have him because he was so firm.” He shook his head like he suddenly realised where he was. “I have met arrogant, impossible to deal with Cardassians, Tari. Gul Brenok and Glinn Zamarran don’t belong to that group. Give them a chance, my friend, give them a chance.”
Th’Arshar didn’t say anything; he only looked at his friend, sipping his already cold pu-er tea.
YAY, Latana is alive! And TWINS! That is SO not what I was expecting--I was so sure she was the one who was hurt! I'm so glad to see her alive and well.
As for Sabal...I'm glad we got a look inside his mind, because I was starting to distrust him as much as Brenok, given his Obsidian Order background. It's interesting to see that there were agents who weren't so brainwashed (like Garak) that they were automatically proud of the things the Order did. I hope we won't find his body on the floor in his quarters.
Speaking of self-torture, wow...Brenok is feeling REALLY guilty if he would deliberately inflict pain on himself.
As for Karama and Kapoor...it seems like they do a LOT of dancing around difficult subjects. That their marriage has held together this long in spite of that is really quite something. I know I couldn't marry someone I couldn't talk freely with, that's for sure. As for Karama--does he understand why what Brenok did was bad?
Av'Roo's prayer...very interesting! I had forgotten the history of the Skorr, since I have never actually seen TAS for myself, and given that, I think you provide a very interesting window into what it would be like to come from a faith that had just reformed away from violent ways. True humility is where healing starts...so while my first impulse was to say that Av'Roo worries too much, given that she's been the best person on this crew so far, the fact that she doesn't see herself that way is very good.
I'm glad th'Arshar and Ronus had that talk. Th'Arshar's self-sabotage was about to cause a lot of irreversible problems, just like Brenok's.
(I'm also glad to see a Trill that didn't take marriage as lightly as Jadzia Dax did...Ronus' story was very moving!)
As for their government--very interesting! That does help me somewhat when it comes to the new Union, even though I still think that the fact that the people had no say in what kind of government they wanted, and that Alon was removed by force, is a MAJOR problem. Still, they're now running into a problem that I have seen occur in the US with appointments to the president's Cabinet (or in the much clearer terms--for once --of the UK, his/her Ministry heads). In America our Cabinet heads, and certain other positions like Supreme Court justices, are named by the President and have to be confirmed by the Senate. (I'm sure you already knew that, but there it is again for anybody else who may be reading. ) Since the people can't name their own candidate, the only thing the Senate can do if they don't like the appointee--OR if they don't like the President and want to make a point about it--is to refuse to hold a vote, or just vote no on that appointee. This sometimes results in deadlock, and it can be very, very annoying.
Unfortunately, some presidents in recent years have been finding ways to go around Congress. By appointing people to be in charge of special projects or departments, who are not technically required in the Constitution to be confirmed by the Senate, they are able to take power away from those who must be confirmed and give it to unconfirmed individuals. If that continues, it isn't going to be good--though thankfully we have the power to kick out the President and Congress if they keep doing those kinds of things (as long as we bother to pay attention!). The same thing is very likely here, since there is no way for the people to do anything but say "no" to the limited choices they're given. Jarol, as a "founding mother," is probably not likely to do the kind of dirty trick I just suggested. But someone will come up with that idea once they get frustrated enough, and next thing you know, your legates (and are they admirals, or politicians?) will become figureheads like the old Detapa Council...not the ones really pulling the strings...and the people will be in no position to do anything about it. (And if your True Way gets the sense to stop the assassinations and do some political maneuvering instead...)
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