ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    See? And you expected the worst :)

    Sabal was young and very naive when he volunteered to join the Obsidian Order. He was accepted thanks to his piloting skills, but he was lucky that his skills were not good enough to utilise them the way the OO initially planned. More about it soon.
    He wanted to punish himself. I think he thought that physical pain would cover his emotional pain.
    They can talk freely, they just don't understand each other ;) Seriously, she understands Cardassian way much better now, after so many years among them, so they rather exchange their opinions, not trying to convince each other who is right and who is wrong. They accept that they are so different. I think in a way they enjoy being so different. They are never bored of each other's company.
    I figured that religion of humility could be a good way of warrior race to transform into peaceful race. They had their "Surak" to call for peace, but he did it differently. And a successful transfer of his soul into the Indurite the Skorrs took as a proof that soul and spiritual things exist and can be proven, which changed their view on the world. Alar is a kind of prophet for them ('prophet' in Earth meaning, not Bajoran).

    Ronus is not Dax for sure ;)

    Actually they are. The people have a right to remove an unwanted legate or a detarr (a name for a civilian member of Central Command) if they can prove the given legate or detarr harms the Union (by 'proof' they have to describe what is wrong, any additional evidence would strengthen their claim; the proof doesn't have to be anything special, but must be proven enough not to abuse this for political fight; other legates also have the right to remove one of their own of there's something wrong with them). Anyone, literally anyone can file a (-a clever name for the document here-) in which they call for removal of that legate/detarr, Central Command has to call for a referendum and ask the public for their opinion. If the majority wants that fellow to go away - he/she goes away. Bye bye.

    I plan to write a "translated" version of The Charter of the Cardassian Union for the Federation use; it would be shortened to the essence without Cardassian love for "speeches on paper", but it's going to include the general information on their current political system.
  2. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    It seems he isn't very good at coping with pain. He either tries to drown it or otherwise replace it. That's not going to be good for him, if he has no way to work through things when he's on his own. :(

    Kind of like Moses, maybe? does a civilian meet the burden of proof, without access to state secrets? This sounds like an average person trying to impeach the President; it wouldn't work too well. ;) Also, how do you prove it's not politics leading to the removal? That's a standard that could be set so high as to make it impossible...
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    This was very rare and extreme situation. It doesn't happen often.
    But sometimes yes, he has problems with coping with pain.
    Perhaps. I wasn't thinking about any specific parallel to Earth.
    Why do people in many Earth democracies change parties they vote for? Maybe it doesn't happen in US, but here in Poland there wasn't a political party that would create a government twice (I mean since end of Communism, so within last 21 years). After 4 years of their term (sometimes earlier, as elections before that term end are not a rarity) people don't vote for them, because they are unhappy with them. People don't need to investigate and have access to state secrets to see that what happens is not so good or satisfactory.

    I imagine it works the same for Cardassians. They can see that changes implemented are not good. Maybe a nosy journalist investigates something ;) A legate's term is long, 10 years, so if a legate is really doing harm, he or she has to be stopped before he or she does more harm.

    A filed complain has to get climb a few levels from a local "town hall" and if it's a bull, it can get refused on any level. If it reaches the top third or forth level, there's organised a referendum and the people decide if they want that legate to leave or not.

    It's not perfect, many people would try to abuse it, but no political system is ideal and this one doesn't pretend it is. But they try.

    If a crime (eg. bribery) is proven on the way, no referendum is called and that legate must leave and answer to his/her crimes.

    But something like this wouldn't happen often (didn't happen yet as of 2396), because before someone can become a member of Central Command, they have to first prove their are capable and right people for this position. Not by promising pie in the sky, as is the case with democratic elections, but by working alongside the previous legate or on any other position related to that particular "ministry". A candidate has to have history of successes in that field to be even considered. So people know what to expect and who is that person (unless that person suddenly changes his or her political views and instead of doing expected A does opposite B).
  4. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Since we don't have a parliamentary system, it's not possible to have a government not form at all. We can, however, have Congress deadlocked between the two parties, or an impasse between Congress and the President.

    As to state secrets--I figured that much more would be a state secret on Cardassia. Some of this, of course, would be a good thing (sometimes our press goes over the line here), but some could be very bad, and really hide reality from people.

    As for people doing an about-face, saying and doing one thing in one position, and then doing another when they get a promotion--it's not hard to imagine someone doing that. In fact, I still think that's how the True Way might climb back to the top, or other groups with similar intentions. If they are willing to be patient... :evil:

    (BTW, it's funny that you came to the idea of a 10-year term...that was actually a number I had settled on for certain posts in the the SigCat government...)
  5. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    At first I thought about something longer, but decided against it. The term is 10 years, but they can be "re-elected" for 3 terms in a row and fourth (if necessary) with a break.
    No more. And no lifetime positions. They are called "legates" for rest of their lives, but it is more a courtesy than anything else (just like with our former presidents). If they continue to service in the military (in case of gul turned legates and back), their real rank is a gul again, although everyone would address them "legate" (while they actual rank would be lower than Brenok's :lol:)

    In situation like this we have re-elections. I am not sure now, but I think this is even in our constitution. We have regulations to deal with such "conflicts", but they don't always work. And then re-elections are necessary.
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Oh, my...that's confusing! :lol:

    So are your legates still military officials, and do you still have to be military to lead?

    I've never properly understood the parliamentary system...most countries in the Western Hemisphere follow a presidential model similar to the US (possibly because we gained our independence from our colonial power first, in this area). I try to, enough to get SOME kind of basic idea, but it's still hard.
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    A legate in Central Command is a military member, but not in active service (they are politicians now). After resignation/stepping down/stopping being member of CC, they can return to active duty with a rank of gul and serve in the Guard. Or retire. Up to them.

    To be a member of Central Command one doesn't have to be a military member. Legates have their advisers, among whom candidates to replace them are usually chosen from. Advisers can be civilians.

    Currently there is at least one detarr in Central Command: Dr. Azuge'el; she's responsible for all education matters. I don't know if there are more as I didn't create names for all of them, only those that I might need in my current stories.

    But to lead Central Command and the Union one has to be in the Guard. The Cardassians want to keep their military face as a tradition. The military brings safety, order and discipline, so they find it natural to be represented by a soldier.
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Warning: These chapters contain quite terrible descriptions, so...well, you’ve been warned.

    Chapter 10

    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    “Sir,” Gil Sabal squared his shoulders in front of Brenok’s desk in the gul’s office.

    “Yes, Sabal, what is it?”

    “I would like to ask to be included in the investigation team, sir.”

    Brenok, whose eyes were on his monitor until now, looked at his pilot. “Why?”

    “I believe I could be useful, sir. I don’t posses any specific knowledge, but maybe there is something I could help with. I do know how the Obsidian Order worked and thought, so I hope to be of some use.”

    Sabal wondered if Brenok could hear the sound of his beating heart as clearly as he could. He feared so badly that the gul would assume he was hiding some secrets and was willing to reveal them on need-to-know basis only, but it was not the case. His offer was sincere, as sincere as it was possible.

    “It might require to reveal your past connections with the Order,” Brenok said.

    “I realise that.”

    “Your crewmates might grow distrustful of you and feel cheated, after all you have been lying to them for so many years.”

    “I know. But I put the good of the mission and their safety before my own comfort.” Like a good Cardassian should do, he thought.

    “Permission granted,” Brenok nodded. “You will join the away team today.”

    “Yes, sir.” Sabal headed for the door, but stopped before the door parted into the bulkheads. “Sir,” he said, turning back to face Brenok. “I know that Jattok wasn’t executed and still is in prison. He was in the Orias system.”

    Brenok looked at Sabal. “We know, Gil. I’d already talked to Archon Fepor. She had granted permission to interrogate him but, as suspected, he was not willing to share any information.”

    “It could be extracted, sir.” Sabal used the euphemism, but he was sure Brenok understood.

    The gul smiled slightly. “There was an...extraction...attempt, Sabal. He didn’t reveal anything.”

    “Did you remove his implant?” the pilot asked, referring to an implant each Obsidian Order agent had in his or her brain.

    “We can’t without killing him.”

    “Shame. I am sure he knows just something.”

    “According to Gul Toral, Jattok was teasing his interrogators, enjoying their frustration. He knows more than something.”

    “I wish I could help...”

    The gul sent his officer a warm smile. “I know. Right now you can help by doing your best during this mission.”

    “Yes, sir.” Sabal’s back straightened.
    Sabal returned to the bridge, locked his console, reported leaving the bridge to Zamarran, who acknowledged with a nod, and headed for the engineering where he knew the away team was preparing for departure.

    “You?” Ya’val seemed surprised by Sabal’s presence in the team. “Why you?” he asked in his blunt, direct way.

    The pilot looked at the faces of the officers who were included in the away team: Ya’val, Ma’Kan, Karama, Kapoor, Garesh Tarub and three of his armed to teeth men.

    “I have volunteered because...” Sabal started but hesitated. He didn’t have to tell them, but he decided to stop hiding the truth.

    “Your piloting skills are formidable but unnecessary at this time,” Ma’Kan commented.

    “It’s not about my piloting skills, it’s...” They patiently waited. “It’s... I used to be...” It was harder than he had thought it might be. “I could be useful because I know similar vessels.”

    “How come? This isn’t anything I had seen before,” Ya’val said.

    “Because I had been in the Obsidian Order,” Sabal whispered.

    Kapoor’s eyes opened wide. She looked at her husband who appeared to be stunned by the revelation. Ma’Kan squinted at Sabal, observing him carefully. Ya’val’s eye ridge cocked and then he nodded once. “Why didn’t you say before?” the engineer asked.

    “It’s not exactly something I’d like to be public knowledge. I don’t want people to think that I spy on them all the time.”

    “Do you?” Ma’Kan asked suspiciously. Ya’val gave her a surprised look.

    Sabal shook his head with an extremely unhappy face. The tactician’s eyes narrowed to thin slits as she scrutinised him. After a moment her face brightened and she amicable poked Sabal’s arm. “Got ya!” she laughed.

    “That was cruel,” he said, smiling with relief. “We good?” he asked, looking at Karama and Kapoor. The communication officer’s face was unreadable. He grunted and went back to his preparations. His wife followed his example. Sabal glanced at Tarub, wondering what his reaction would be. I was one too, the garesh mouthed and half-smiled. Obviously, he didn’t want it to be public knowledge too and understood what Sabal was going through.

    “Ready?” Zamarran’s voice rasped behind Sabal. The pilot spun to look at the gul’s aide; Sabal was the only one not in his suit yet. Zamarran eyed him and then said addressing everyone, “first the troop team will beam and test the conditions. If everything is fine, the rest of the team will follow them. Ya’val, you will test the security protocols. After you’re done Kapoor will beam,” he looked at the human woman. “Do you understand that this is a great risk?” She nodded. “If nothing goes wrong, we notify the Federation team that it’s safe to beam and they will join you. Tari will keep the channel open in case the ship wants to talk to us or we need to talk to it. Just a precaution. Questions?”

    Sabal finished donning his EVA suit by the time Zamarran explained everything. “Do we attempt to activate environmental controls?” he asked.

    “Yes,” Zamarran confirmed. No one else had any more enquiries. “Report to the Transporter Chamber One.” Everyone headed for the door. “Sabal,” Zamarran called. The pilot returned to him. “Memorise everything. I want a full report on what you see from your perspective. Every similarity and difference to the projects you had seen in the Orias system. Maybe we will learn something useful from it.”

    Sabal knew it would mean breaking his word; the word that he had given to the Order. “Yes, sir,” he replied. A splash of zabou shit.

    He slowly followed the rest of the team, almost bumping at a young engineer who rushed somewhere. She looked at him and smiled. “Bei’asara, Gil Sabal,” she said.

    Bei’asara, Kara Takiya,” he automatically replied.

    “Good luck.”

    “Uhm,” he muttered.

    When he reached the door, he looked back over his shoulder at her; she still stood there, looking at him. She smiled and somehow it improved his mood. He smiled back and left the engineering feeling a little better.

    The Obsidian Order vessel
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    When the orange light of the transporter beam dissipated, Karama looked around. It was dark and foggy. Dusty rather. He felt a strong urge to cough in spite of wearing a protective EVA suit.

    “This way.” Ya’val’s voice sounded in Karama’s headgear and he looked the way the engineer was pointing to. There was a door with a huge hole in it. “There’s the control centre.”

    “Did you locate the bridge?” the communication officer asked.

    “Negative,” Ya’val shook his head behind his face plate. “And I am sure this is not it. You’ll see for yourself.”

    They entered the control centre. There were a few consoles lightened, but most of the room was hidden in the dark.

    “Ya’val to the Damar.”

    Brenok here.”

    “We’re ready for the power transfer.”


    The engineer operated one of consoles—Karama could see it was an engineering console even from the spot he was standing in—and the chamber hummed with life: consoles activated, lights in bulkheads lit and environmental systems started to ventilate the dust.

    Ma’Kan busied herself at another console. Karama, in a meantime, tried to find any communications station, but there didn’t seem to be any. Either the builders didn’t think the crew would need to talk to others, or this wasn’t the bridge indeed.

    “All security systems appear to be down,” the tactician said. She tapped her wristcomm. “Sir, we are ready to beam Kapoor in.”

    Karama’s breathing became heavier and faster. He took a riffle from one of the gareshes and stood ready to defend his wife in case anything would attempt to attack her. He didn’t care what others thought about him right now, Amrita was his priority.

    She materialised near the door. At first she didn’t move and only her eyes were searching the surroundings. Then she slowly raised her hand and Karama as slowly readied his riffle. However nothing happened. She made a few steps forward—still nothing.

    “The systems might detect her EVA suit as Cardassian and not react,” Ya’val said.

    “So what now?” Karama asked, not taking his eyes from his wife and not lowering his weapon.

    “Now we double check the environmental controls...” The engineer was tapping at the panel as he spoke. “And—” He raised his hands to his headgear, but Tarub stopped him.

    “No! You’re too important to risk losing you, Glinn.” The garesh pointed at the man from whom Karama had taken the riffle and the soldier slowly took off his helmet.

    “Stinks,” he said. “But breathable. Should be fine.”

    Everyone took their headgears off, except for Kapoor. The communication officer raised his riffle to be ready and nodded to her to free her head. As she did so he had an impression that everyone in the room stopped breathing.

    Nothing happened.

    Kapoor didn’t stop there and started to take off her suit.

    “You don’t have to do this, Gil,” Ya’val said.

    “I do. If the Federation team is to beam here too, I want to be sure they are safe.”

    The engineer smiled and nodded. He looked impressed by her dedication.

    Karama felt a needle piercing his heart. She cared about them and she was ready to risk her life to protect them. Did she miss her people? Did she miss them badly? Did she regret her decision now, after seeing all those alien faces she grew up with and she was accustomed to see?

    “Gul Brenok, you can notify the Federation that it is safe—at least for humans. They can beam to our location.”


    It didn’t take long for the USS Karamazov away team to beam in a blue light to the control room. The group included Av’Roo, Ronus, Fong and some blue person. Karama smiled to Av’Roo and her beak changed its shape in response, so he assumed she smiled back.

    “Welcome to the mystery,” Ya’val said to Ronus.

    The Trill smiled and nodded. “You know part of my team, Lieutenant Av’Roo, Lieutenant Fong and this is our assistance chief engineer, Lieutenant Churmou.”

    No Bajoran then, Karama thought. A Bolian woman instead, he guessed, as the blue officer had a ridge splitting her face vertically to two halves.
  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Ya’val brought the Federation team up to date and then he and Ronus studied the ship’s schematics, which they had found in the database, to gather information and decide what should be their next step. At first they could not agree if to go to the bridge or the engineering and neither of them wanted to split the team for safety reasons, but in the end Ya’val convinced Ronus that the bridge was a better idea.

    Karama couldn’t help but wonder how they were going to work if they had two team leaders who, most likely, wouldn’t be always in agreement.

    They left the room through the hole in the door and went along the corridor, led by Ya’val. At first both teams seemed to keep to themselves with the Cardassians in front, but Av’Roo moved forward and walked just behind the Cardassian engineer, inviting others to mingle to create one unified group.

    “What now?” Fong asked, when they arrived to another locked door.

    Ya’val studied the wallcomm. “Sabal,” he said. “What do you make of these?” he pointed to holes in the panel.

    “Access ports,” the pilot answered, closing to take a better look at the objects. “Nothing I’ve seen before, so I’m only guessing.”

    “Can I?” Av’Roo asked and both Cardassians moved away to give her access to the panel. She took her tricorder and scanned it. “It appears to have organic matter embedded deep inside.”

    “Someone put a finger in?” Amrita asked.

    Fong expelled air audibly through his nose. Karama glanced at him; was it a derisive reaction? But Fong was smiling and so was Amrita. Did he get her joke and it was his... laughter? Karama was puzzled.

    “Can you open this door?” Ronus asked Ya’val.

    “No. It appears to be programmed to recognise specific people and I certainly am not one of them...” His last word was spoken slowly, as if his brain was already busy with something else. “Gul Brenok, do you monitor us?”

    We eavesdrop all the time, Ya’val,” came Brenok’s voice.

    “Ask the ship to open the door marked...har-blue,” he read from above the panel.

    We can try.”

    They could hear Brenok giving the order to Gil Tari.

    For a long moment nothing happened and then the door screeched terribly and moved into the bulkhead.

    First three militiamen entered. “Lights,” barked one of them and before anyone else had time to go inside Karama heard something that sounded awfully like someone vomiting.

    The rest of the team joined the three Cardassians and Karama couldn’t believe his own eyes.

    “Gul, please send Medic Taret here,” Garesh Tarub said quietly.

    At the same time, Av’Roo tapped her communicator too. “Av’Roo to Captain th’Arshar. We need Doctor O’Riordan.”

    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Medic Taret’s infirmary was ready for any casualties that Garesh Aladar might beam in from the mysterious and dangerous ship, but he did not expect to have to go to the ship himself. He hoped that no one would be harmed so badly that he or she couldn’t be beamed back to the safety of the warship.

    He went to the transporter chamber, carrying his heavy, full of most necessary equipment medical kit. He preferred the luxury of his infirmary, which was full of medical devices and apparatuses, but he couldn’t always have what he wanted, could he?

    The Obsidian Order vessel
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Aladar beamed him to a corridor just outside a big chamber in which he saw the team members. A quick head count told him that all were standing and accounted for. So who needed his help?

    He entered the room and was just about to ask what was going on, when the air behind him shimmered and a short, red-headed human woman materialised in whirls of blue light. Her hair colour contrasted with her blue uniform.

    “What’s the emergency?” she asked.

    No one said anything but the group split and moved aside for both medics to see for themselves.

    Between walls of the living corridor Taret saw the most hideous and terrifying thing in his life and he had thought he had seen it all.

    The chamber was clearly the bridge. There were consoles in walls on both sides, but there was no command chair and no viewscreen in the front wall. Instead, there was a huge, slightly tilted table on which a man was laying. The table looked more like something he could find in Ya’val’s engineering than in his infirmary.

    “Oh my God,” he heard muffled words next to him. He glanced at the Federation doctor who covered her mouth with her hand and stared at the table and the Cardassian on it with huge eyes. “Who did that to him?”

    “The Obsidian Order,” Taret replied grimly and went toward the table. He put his kit on the floor and retrieved his medical scanner. The other medic mimicked his action. They scanned the man from both sides.

    The man was alive but it was obvious he was permanently...assembled with the table he was laying on. His limbs were stretched and thick metal clamps kept them in place. His body was nothing more than scales, cartilages and bones. In many places the scales were falling off which meant that he as malnourished and his body was unable to produce his skin cover effectively. Taret could see big, pinkish spots on the victim's body—that was bare skin, exposed to the environmental conditions without protection normally offered by scales. There were tubes coming out of his thin, starved body and the medic could see that there was some substance in them. A deeper scan showed that three tubes were removing waste from the Cardassian’s body and four other were injecting nutrients. Constantly. Without a break.

    The man’s fingers were stripped of skin and embedded into a machine, the same operation had been performed on his toes. The thick protective scales on his neck ridges and shoulders were peeled off—the thought of the procedure sent shivers down Taret’s spine—and there were ends of machinery embedded into his flesh not unlike with his fingers and toes.

    “I think his nervous system is plugged into the machine,” he said aloud to the other medic. She looked at him horrified.

    He had sent the message,” Taret heard Ya’val’s whisper behind him.

    The worst of all was the head. Top of his skull was removed and Taret could clearly see his brain tissue. There were thin spikes coming out of his brain; they were connected to the same huge machine that the other nerves of his body. The whole table he was laying on was in fact a part of that machine.

    “I don’t think this poor man could send anything,” the human said. She leaned over his face, studying the damage that had been done to his head.

    “Aaarrggh!” She suddenly jumped back, her hand on her chest.

    Taret looked at her surprised and then at the man and he understood her reaction. The Cardassian opened his eyes and blinked. His eyeballs seemed to search for something and then found Taret’s face.

    All monitors in the room went blank for a second and then one Cardassian word flashed on them.

    “What does it mean?” Ronus asked.

    “‘Kill’,” Kapoor replied. “That word means ‘kill’.”

    “Oh my God, his consciousness is undamaged,” the human doctor whispered, coming closer to the man.

    “Is he threatening to kill us or does he ask to kill him?” Fong asked.

    “We will try to help you,” Taret said softly, hoping the victim of this brutality would understand him.

    The Cardassian blinked and his eyes fixed on Taret’s face. The medic took a hypospray, programmed it for painkillers and tried to find a spot in the tortured body, where he could inject the medicine without an additional damage to the already mutilated flesh. He decided that the chest would be the safest spot and delicately pressed the hypospray there. The Cardassian jerked violently but Taret pressed a button and the man calmed down immediately.

    “Even the Borg aren’t that cruel,” the Federation medic commented. She looked at Taret but he was observing a tear sliding down from the victim’s eye into his eye ridge. “Can we cover him with something?” she asked.

    The Cardassian medic looked at her. “Better not. His body appears to be hypersensitive. I don’t want to inflict more pain; he’s already suffering enough.”

    “But we can’t leave him like this: naked, undignified, tortured.” She was clearly shocked.

    “We are not leaving him like this!” Taret said sharply. What did she think? That he didn’t care?

    The Cardassian word disappeared from the monitors and they resumed their normal—if anything could be called normal on this vessel—operation.

    “Can we move him?” Ronus asked.

    “I don’t know,” Taret shook his head. “I don’t think we can safely unplug him from all this here,” he pointed to the machine. “Even worse, I am not sure if we can unplug this machine from the ship to take the whole thing to my infirmary and attempt to help him there.”

    “It would appear he controls the ship,” Ya’val said. “I am sure it was him who had called for help, who had opened the door for us and a moment ago asked us to kill him and end his suffering. He is the ship.”

    “This is unbelievable,” Churmou whispered.

    “Sabal,” the Cardassian chief engineer looked at the pilot. “Is there anything you can tell us about it?”

    “No,” horrified Sabal shook his head. “If they did that in the Orias system, it was a secret.” He moved closer to have a better look at the victim and gasped and rapidly stepped back, bumping on Av’Roo. She grabbed him in time to prevent his fall.

    “What?” Karama asked.

    “This...” Sabal was breathing fast. “This is Saratt!” He tore himself out of Av’Roo’s hands and ran out of the bridge to the corridor where he vomited. Taret could hear him breathing and choking there for a moment. Then Sabal returned. “I’m sorry.”

    “Unnecessarily,” the medic assured him. “Who is Saratt? How do you know him?”

    “We were test pilots. We were one of the best and we were chosen for a special project. There were five of us and we had to compete with each other to find out who was the best one. Saratt proved his skills were superior to ours; I was the second one.” He silenced and looked at his former comrade. “If I won, it would be me.” His voice shook and he averted his eyes and looked at his feet.

    “Did you know what this project was about?” Ma’Kan asked.

    “No,” Sabal shook his head. “All we knew was that they needed the best pilot. I am sure other factors counted too, but they especially cared for spacial orientation.”

    “Now you know why,” Karama muttered.

    “How can we help him? What can we do?” Ronus looked at the Federation medic, then at Taret.

    “I am not sure,” the Cardassian shrugged, frustrated. “I’d like to access the database of this ship, maybe there would be some useful information.”

    “They had to store information how to take care of him,” Fong said.

    Taret, and a few other Cardassians, smiled. “Lieutenant,” he poked his head with his finger. “This is as reliable as a computer database. There is a chance of finding information in the ship’s computer, but the Obsidian Order didn’t like leaving traces, so it’s more likely their medics had to memorise all the information.”

    “So where are they?” Fong demanded. “The medics, I mean.”

    Taret only shrugged.

    “What are we going to do?” Av’Roo asked. She approached the table with the Cardassian and sighed. “Doctor,” she looked at the red-headed woman. “Would any knowledge about the Borg be helpful?”

    “I am not sure. It doesn’t look even remotely like Borg technology.”

    “It’s Cardassian technology,” Ya’val agreed. “No doubt about it.”

    “But the Obsidian Order might think they could recreate their own version of Borg,” Sabal said. “Not using their technology, but using their ideas.”

    “Would they go that far?” Churmou asked.

    “They would go as far as they would deem necessary. They had no limits,” Sabal said grimly.

    “So I can see.” Her tone of voice was as dark as his.

    “All right,” Ronus said in a commanding voice. “We will prepare a full report for you, including any information about the Borg that we find that could be useful in this case,” he said, looking first at Ya’val and then at Taret. “I suggest both doctors stay here and monitor Mr. Saratt’s condition.” The Trill glanced at the Cardassian engineer who nodded his consent. “We will proceed to the engineering.”

    “Kapoor and Zelek, you stay here,” Ya’val ordered the engineer and one of gareshes. “Kapoor, access the local database and try to find something about his condition. Anything. Zelek, keep an eye on everything. You’re responsible for their safety.”

    “Yes, sir,” they both replied. The garesh stood near one of bulkheads, from where he had a good view on the whole bridge, while Kapoor went to the main engineering console. She accessed it, glancing at Saratt to make sure her intrusion wasn’t hurting him.
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    If he knew it was possible, Asu would swear he felt Ronus revolting inside his body. The symbiont was 267 years old and it had never seen anything like this. Not even Borg drones were as horrible as this. They at least felt no pain and their minds were switched off. This poor man on the bridge appeared to be fully aware of where he was and what was happening to him. He reacted to their words, which was the best proof he had heard and understood them. When the Cardassian doctor put the hypospray to the man’s chest, the victim’s body reacted to it like he was shot and his face pulled in a grimace of pain. Stripped of name, stripped of life, stripped even of clothes, but they left him his personality to be fully aware of all that had been done to him.

    The commander looked at the Cardassian engineer next to him. The man was quiet; he walked staring ahead. The whole Cardassian team seemed shocked. They didn’t approve of it any more than Ronus did. Even the Cardassians had their limits of how far they would go in their service to their precious Union.

    What else had they been doing in the Orias system? Planing a genocide, that’s one. Constructing ship-man fusion monstrosities, that’s two. What else? Could it get any worse? How far could their imagination go?

    Ya’val stopped. Another door with a panel identical to the one by the door to the bridge.

    “What’s wrong?” Ronus asked when the engineer stood there, motionlessly.

    “We have to ask him to open the door.”

    The Trill understood the Cardassian’s reservations. It’s one thing to talk to a ‘ship’ and another to a tortured man whose mind was imprisoned in that ship.

    “Maybe we could—“ Churmou pressed the button and didn’t finish her sentence as the door slid open.

    “Maybe he deactivated all security protocols,” Fong wondered.

    “Maybe,” Ya’val muttered. Ronus could now tell with certainty that the Cardassian engineer was shaken by the whole situation.

    They entered the engineering which was a little bit bigger than the bridge. And just as the bridge, it appeared too small for its purpose.

    There were four oblong boxes of the size of a man in the far end of the room, behind another table with another mutilated victim.

    “Unbelievable,” Glinn Karama moaned.

    “Medic Taret, please report to the engineering on the double,” Ya’val spoke to the communicator he wore on his wrist.

    This victim, however, was plugged to the ship’s systems differently. His brain was exposed the same way as Saratt’s and so were his neck ridges, but his fingers and toes were free. There also were tubes coming out of his body—Ronus was guessing they were some kind of feeding tubes. The man’s back seemed to be fused with the table below him. Did they need access to his spinal cord?

    “Look at their fingers,” Ma’Kan’s voice came from the back of the engineering, where she was inspecting the boxes.

    Everyone moved closer and the boxes occurred to be stasis chambers. One was empty, three occupied and it was obvious even to Ronus, who had no medical experience, that one of occupants was dead. The other two looked normal. Except for their fingers.

    “Looks like...” Sabal started but didn’t finish. He didn’t have to. Ends of men’s fingers were severed and replaced by mechanical components. Two fingers on each hand—the small finger and the ring finger—were equipped with ports that perfectly matched the access ports in the wall panels.

    “The crew,” Av’Roo said.

    Taret stormed into the engineering and abruptly stopped, not sure who he should check first: the man on the table or the men in stasis. After a short moment of hesitation he went to the man on the table, simultaneously calling the Damar to beam a few nurses to help him.

    “They seem to be normal,” Churmou said. “Apart from their hands, of course.”

    “Nothing here is normal, sir,” Tarub commented. “You don’t know what they did to their brains.”

    Ronus had to admit the Cardassian could be right. In this house of horrors everything was possible and no torture would be too much.

    Suddenly the door closed and red alert activated.

    “What a...” Ya’val muttered and tapped his communicator. “Ya’val to Kapoor. What’s going on?”

    He received no reply.

    Ma’Kan went to a console, but it turned off as soon as she touched it. She moved to another one, but the effect was identical.

    Av’Roo scanned their surroundings. “There’s a forcefield around this room. It wasn’t there before. And I detect a dampening field too.” She lowered her hand and looked at Ronus. “We’re trapped here, Commander.”
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 11

    The Obsidian Order vessel
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    “Why do you live among them?” the doctor—O’Riordan, as she had introduced herself—asked Kapoor.

    “I fell in love with one of them. And I stayed.”

    “Don’t you miss home?”

    “Sometimes I do. The worst part was not being able to contact them when Cardassia was isolated. But a few months ago, when the Damar had participated in the Borg conference, I called my parents. They had been sure I was long time dead.”

    “I bet they had,” the doctor scanned Saratt’s vitals.

    “They were happy to see.”

    “Didn’t they ask you to return?”

    “They did. But I think after our conversation they understood that I really am happy here. This is my home,” Kapoor waved at her surroundings. “Well, maybe not this terrible place precisely, but I mean Cardassia. After so many years I grew my roots in dry, Cardassian soil.”

    “Do you have children?”


    “Did he marry you?”

    Kapoor stopped working for a moment and gave O’Riordan a look. “You think I have been a mistress for the last fifteen years?”

    “I don’t know,” the doctor shrugged.

    “Yes, he married me. And then he took me to bed, if you are wondering.”

    “I didn’t mean anything—”

    “No, you just assumed something.” Kapoor’s face brightened a bit. “But you also did ask, so I had a chance to clarify,” she smiled and the doctor smiled back, although uncertainly.

    They worked in silence for a moment.

    “Anything there?” O’Riordan asked.

    “Bits and pieces. I wish I had Cardassian memory, I wouldn’t have to go back and forth to collect any useful information.”

    “Is that true that they remember everything?”

    “Their minds are brilliant,” Kapoor said with pride. “It’s like asking an emotional computer to give you a piece of data. To draw a picture. They are not hunted by their unclear memories, trying for years to recall where or what it was. They just concentrate and bring it back. They have no deja vu. They can just tell you when and under what circumstances they had experienced something very similar the previous time. I tried to train my memory using their techniques, but didn’t go further than the program for seven years old children,” she laughed. “More advanced techniques were too difficult for me. But my kids did great! I’m glad they have their memory after their father.”

    “What is he like?”

    “Gentle, sweet, stubborn and sometimes annoying. Nobody’s perfect,” she winked.

    The doctor smiled, but Kapoor—not for the first time—had an impression her friendliness was rather forced. It was obvious O’Riordan cared for her patient, but she didn’t care for the Cardassians or Kapoor.

    It didn’t bother the engineer at all. She knew some of them would be distrustful; for many of them she was a Cardassian too.

    The patient moved, startling both women. Garesh Zelek moved closer to the table. He tapped his wristcomm. “Garesh Zelek to Tarub.” There was no answer. He looked at Kapoor.

    “Kapoor to Ya’val.”

    “Kapoor to Karama.”


    This is not good, the human engineer thought. “Kapoor to the Damar.”
    Gul Brenok here. We’ve lost contact with part of the away team.”
    “So have I, sir. They went to the engineering.”
    “Yes, sir.” She looked at Zelek. “Go and check on them. Don’t get yourself in trouble. Then return with your report.” The garesh nodded and jogged out of the bridge. Kapoor looked at the doctor. “How’s he?”

    “I’m not sure. His vital signs are without change, but something did happen. I am sure his reaction is related to the away team’s situation.”

    Kapoor approached the laying man and looked him in the eyes. She felt shivers when he looked in her face. Her stomach was sickened by the condition that was forced upon him.

    “I am Gil Kapoor,” she said quietly. “I am a Cardassian engineer on a Cardassian vessel.” She wanted to calm him down and to assure him she was not his enemy in spite of her human face. Her armour should be proof enough, but she wasn’t certain if he could see it. “I am here with the Cardassian team and we are trying to help you. I wish you could tell me what is wrong and why we can’t contact them. My husband is among them and your friend, Sabal, too.” He blinked, but she wasn’t sure if it was a natural reaction or his reaction to her words.

    “Look!” Kapoor’s eyes followed O’Riordan’ finger. The doctor pointed to monitors, on which two Cardassians words were flashing. “Do you read Cardassian? What does it mean?”

    “It means ‘the other one’.” She looked back at Saratt. “What does it mean ‘the other one’?” she asked and then grunted. During her conversation with the doctor she spoke Federation Standard and didn’t switch back to Cardassian when addressing Saratt, relying on the universal translator. Now she repeated her words in Cardassian. “‘Yideji’ maladelaji mek go?” Another word flashed. Tapolor. The engineering. “What about the engineering? Tapolor mek go? Tapolordai yideji go?” she asked. To her horror the Cardassian word for ‘yes’—kai—flashed.

    “What? What did you ask him?”

    “I asked him if there was another one like him in the engineering? He answers yes,” Kapoor said in a gravely tone.

    “That’s why they called your doctor.” The word on the monitors changed. “What does this one mean?”

    “It’s ‘gat’, it means ‘no’.”

    “‘No’ to what?”

    Saratt closed his eyes. “I think that’s the end of our little chat for now,” Kapoor said, while O’Riordan scanned her patient.

    “It is. He seems to be in some kind of trance.”

    “Is he dying?”

    “For start I have no idea how it’s possible he’s still alive, but no, I don’t think so. His vital signs didn’t change, so he’s not worse—and no better, I’m afraid—than he was a moment ago.”

    “Kapoor to Gul Brenok. I have some new information.”


    “Saratt, the man plugged to the ship, has told me that there is another one like him in the engineering. I think the away team found him.”

    “The door to the engineering is locked,” Zelek returned to the bridge. “I cannot open it, as the wallcomm requests authorisation.”

    There was silence for a moment and then Brenok asked, “Kapoor, are you and the people with you in danger?

    “No, sir. I’m fairly sure we are safe. As strange as it sounds, Saratt is friendly and helpful, although communication with him is limited.”

    Understood. Stay there and continue your research.

    “Yes, Gul.” He signed off.

    “Won’t he tell you what he’s going to do?” O’Riordan asked. “About the trapped away team?”

    “No, he won’t. He doesn’t have to explain his decisions to me, he’s the gul.”

    “Yes, but—”

    Kapoor gave the doctor a careful look. “When I had served in Starfleet the captains didn’t explain their orders either.” Why the same action by Cardassians was viewed as a wrong one?

    O’Riordan made herself busy.

    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73691.2
    10th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar

    Th’Arshar was quite surprised by Brenok’s request for their communication to take place in private surroundings, but he didn’t object. He asked Farr to patch the connection to his ready room, where he sat behind his desk and activated the screen.

    “Yes, Gul, we can continue now.”

    Thank you. As I was saying, we already have some information, but I advise you to keep it on need-to-know basis.” Th’Arshar eyed the Cardassian. Great, now he’s going to instruct me what I should tell my own crew.

    “Why?” he asked. He didn’t intend to make it easy for the gul.

    Because of the nature of the information. It’s a nightmare come true, Captain. We have a visual log made by Glinn Karama, but I’d rather not upload it to our database yet and definitely not send it to you over an open channel, even a secure one.

    “What do you propose, then?”

    I’d like to give it to you personally on a data rod, or any other data carrier, compatible with your computers.

    “I see. Well then, I await your arrival.”

    No, Captain,” Brenok shook his head. What now? th’Arshar was running out of patience. Why did this Cardassian have to be so difficult? “I would prefer you came here, Captain.”

    The Andorian felt his suspicion rising. What did the good gul plan? “Why?”

    I have...” Brenok shifted in his chair uncomfortably and visibly moved his right shoulder inside his armour. “I have a medical condition and spending time in a cold environment causes neurological pain. Your ship, by Cardassian standards, is very cold.

    There was expectation painted on Brenok’s face. It was clear to th’Arshar the gul didn’t feel comfortable sharing this detail with him—who would be happy to share information about their weaknesses with people they didn’t trust?—so he appreciated Brenok’s honesty. The Cardassian could have made up a lie to cover the real reason.

    And then it hit him. Brenok’s reason for not coming to the dinner wasn’t his smugness, arrogance or an attempt to ignore th’Arshar—he couldn’t come because of his medical condition. He had visited them earlier, spent some time aboard their ‘cold’ starship, then returned home and was in too much pain to come later again. The real reason was personal enough for Zamarran to lie about it, but not serious enough to take Brenok’s absence as an insult. The Andorian felt guilty about his assumptions.

    “I will beam to your ship,” he nodded. He couldn’t muster a smile yet, but he felt something has changed. Brenok extended his hand and th’Arshar had no intention of slapping it away.

    Thank you, Captain. I await your arrival,” Brenok smiled and signed off.

    Th’Arshar returned to the bridge. “Commander Farr, you have the bridge. I’ll be on the Cardassian warship.”

    “Without security, sir?”

    “They came here without a detail, I think I can trust them too.” He hoped he was right.

    “But they came as a group and you go...alone?”

    Good point, the captain thought, but didn’t voice his thoughts.

    “Keep a lock on my signal, if it makes you feel safer, Commander,” he said.

    “I will, sir,” the Caitian confirmed.

    He left the bridge and headed for the transporter room.
  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Th’Arshar couldn’t believe his own eyes. He watched the recording, trying to concentrate on the team’s voices and not on the horrible vision.

    Brenok stood by a window, looking out at the stars, silent. Zamarran sat just next to the Andorian and the captain could clearly see that the glinn’s eyes were everywhere but on the screen. He had watched it once and obviously didn’t want to watch it again.

    The recording was quite clear, however sometimes the centre of the picture was shifted and not directed at the Cardassian on the table. Th’Arshar guessed that the camera was mounted somewhere on Karama’s body—a shoulder, the chest, the headpiece?—and the officer avoided looking at the horror as often as he could and in the result the angle of the camera was not fully controlled.

    All th’Arshar’s suspicions were gone. He now fully understood Brenok’s precautions; he wouldn’t want this to leak out of a highly secured archive too. Not only this was proof of terrible crimes the Obsidian Order had been able to commit, it was also something not every stomach could stand and not every person should watch for their own sake.

    The recording came to an end.

    “I don’t even ask if you want to watch it again, Captain,” Brenok said, looking at the Andorian who was sure he was as pale as an Aenar. Right now he wished he was as blind too.

    “Do you have any technology to help this man?” th’Arshar asked.

    “I am not sure. Medic Taret couldn’t find a safe way to remove him from there, but he didn’t investigate the matter fully. It was more a guess than anything else. I was hoping we could combine our forces.”

    “Of course.”

    “According to the newest information we have, there is another one like this in the engineering,” Zamarran said.

    Th’Arshar shook his head. “Unbelievable. What was the purpose of this?”

    “I would appear that these men are in control of the ship. That would explain why the controls are limited. There is no need for a crew to man the vessel. They do it.” Brenok went to the replicator. “Anything, Captain?”

    “Only if you have Andorian ale there. Duty or no duty, I need a drink.”

    A moment later the gul put a glass of ale in front of the captain. He himself drank some kind of tea with a very strong, but not unpleasant, odour and Zamarran got a mug of fish juice. With a gesture of his hand, Brenok invited th’Arshar to sit at a small coffee table in a corner of his big—twice bigger than th’Arshar’s ready room—office. Zamarran stayed where he was and took one of padds that were on the gul’s desk.

    “If we can’t move these men here, we would have to work aboard the Obsidian Order ship,” Brenok said.

    “We could probably set up a kind of field hospital there and temporary transfer medical equipment and personnel to that vessel,” the Andorian agreed.

    Brenok sat with his head lowered and didn’t say anything for a long while. Then he raised his head and looked at th’Arshar. “We are not like this, Captain,” he said, nodding toward the monitor on which the Andorian had watched the horror a few moments ago.

    “I know, Gul Brenok, I know. Whatever my opinion is...was about you, the Cardassians, it would never occur to me to think that you all, or ever a majority, would condone something like this. This is a product of a sick mind.” He silenced for a moment, not sure if he could ask but decided that he had to stop to worry about the Cardassian’s reaction to his every word. “I just wonder... How long was this ship drifting? How come those men are not dead yet?”

    “According to the data that Gil Kapoor had found, the vessel was designed to keep them alive for about one hundred years, after which they would be replaced. They are fed and their biological needs are covered sufficiently for their survival. Since the ship had been drifting for a long time—the first log entry is dated twenty-five years ago—and used very little energy, the stored resources hadn’t been used as extensively as it would be the case during normal operation. As the result they could last longer than those one hundred years.”

    “You mean this ship had been adrift for...twenty-five years?” Brenok only nodded. “Is this man there in pain?”

    “According to Taret his nerves are connected to the ship and in many cases exposed. There were no precautions taken to make him immune to pain.”

    “You mean...he feels all this?” Brenok nodded again and it didn’t escape th’Arshar’s attention that he shifted his right shoulder under his armour for the second time that day. “Are you in pain now?” he asked, to his own surprise: worried.

    “No, but when I think that he feels in his whole body what I feel only in my shoulder and he has been feeling that for last quarter of century...” Brenok closed his eyes. “If we can’t help him, we’ll have to kill him for his own sake.”

    A few days earlier th’Arshar would think that Brenok was a bastard—but not any more. He could see the pain and shame in the gul’s eyes. He was facing the same choice that many captains faced when fighting the Borg: let them assimilate your crewman and let him live as a drone, or kill the poor guy and spare him the fate. Sometimes death was the, take that back...the less bad solution.

    “We will do everything to help him,” he assured the gul. “Hopefully you won’t have to make that decision.” He didn’t want to sound like he wanted to push the responsibility on Brenok’s shoulders only, but the man on the table was a Cardassian and he didn’t want to claim that he, th’Arshar, had any right to decide about that Cardassian’s life. “Whatever you decide, I will support you,” he assured him.

    Brenok smiled and for the first time th’Arshar saw not a scary, important Cardassian gul, but a man. A fellow captain who had difficult matters to deal with and who was...younger than him. He never thought about it before, but Brenok appeared to be very young for his position and if the Andorian recalled correctly from the gul’s limited profile, which was available in the Federation database, it wasn’t only youthful looks—Brenok was young, especially for Cardassian standards. Zamarran would fit better for the ship’s commander position; he seemed old enough to be Brenok’s father. How come their roles were so reversed?

    He smiled.

    “What is it?” Brenok asked, obviously puzzled that th’Arshar found something amusing.

    “Nothing. It’s just... I was thinking that your first officer is much older than you and that your roles are reversed. And then I thought that I should shut up, because my first officer is older than me too. About two hundred years older.”

    Brenok’s face brightened a bit and he grinned too. However a moment later they both were as serious as before.

    “How come you are commanding whole Cardassian fleet for such a long time? If you don’t mind me asking...” th’Arshar added quickly. “You couldn’t be more than thirty when you took command.”

    “It was a matter of who I knew,” Brenok replied.

    “The coup. You were part of it, weren’t you?”

    “Yes. I was considered a ‘new face’ of the Guard. Someone who would reform it and change its rotten and corrupted face into a new and honest one.”

    “Did you succeed?”

    “I’d like to think so. I hope so. But it feels wrong to chastise and punish officers for promotions thanks to their connections if your own promotion was a result of connections.”

    Th’Arshar smiled. This wasn’t an answer of an arrogant man. He started to believe he terribly misjudged Brenok.

    “Couldn’t you refuse?”

    “I don’t think they actually gave me that choice. It was more an order than a request. I was the best candidate. I was the only candidate. Can you imagine, I’m indispensable,” he laughed but there was little humour in his voice.

    “I think that you are unique indeed, Gul Brenok,” th’Arshar admitted. No other Cardassian gul he knew would care what was his opinion of the Cardassians after watching the Obsidian Order horror project he had been presented earlier. This one did care. “What do we do about the missing away team?” he changed the subject.

    “They aren’t missing, we know exactly where they are.”

    Of course, the famous Cardassian precision, even in words. “What do we do about the away team with which we have lost contact?” th’Arshar rephrased his question and a small smile played on Brenok’s lips.

    “My people are working on it. A security team is trying to get into the engineering to let them go out. We can communicate with the ship—or rather with the man who controls it—and we asked him to release them, but his only answer is ‘cannot’. We don’t know if he doesn’t want to release them or is unable to do that.”

    “I want to beam there,” the Andorian said.

    Brenok observed him for a moment and then said, “Zamarran, Captain th’Arshar and I will beam to the Obsidian Order ship.”

    “Sir, I advise against it,” the glinn replied. “We cannot assure your safety. What if you get trapped just as the away team? For all we know they could be dead.”

    “You have the bridge,” Brenok said as if Zamarran hadn’t said anything.

    “Yes, sir,” Zamarran nodded as if he hadn’t said anything.

    Th’Arshar envied Brenok. His own officers’ attempts to change his mind wouldn’t end so soon, they would keep nagging him for quite a while. Here he could observe the Cardassian discipline at its best. The gul commands, his glinn follows.

    Did they still execute for insubordination?

  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Oh, man...this is a time when I did not want to be so close to correct. I didn't know JUST how bad it would be, but as soon as I saw that dataport, I knew they were messing around with some kind of technology they really shouldn't be.

    Poor Sarratt. I wonder how it is he's managed to keep something even somewhat resembling sanity during all this time. The fact that he's helping the team at all, even in whatever fractured state of mind he's in, says that he has. But this man in engineering--something tells me he's angry, and wants revenge. And if that's how he's been "fueling" himself, I doubt even Sarratt could "talk" him out of it, especially since--understandably--Sarratt seems to have very little will left to do anything but die. Yet somehow I do think Sarratt MIGHT be trying to reason with the man in engineering, hence the trance. (Assuming that those two men are able to communicate with each other in any way more meaningful than the few words Sarratt has put onscreen for them.)

    I am glad th'Arshar realized Brenok would never condone this.

    Oh...and Medic Taret's words in our story together--asking AU Dukat if the implant he had had been forced on him--are sadly ironic now. It's a horrible contrast...a benign technology that helps a man to live a better life and that AU Dukat could really be at peace with, versus this perversion that no person could or ever should have to bear.

    As for Asu Ronus...I wonder if his state of mind is unique, as a Trill. I don't know if in your universe the symbiont also has a personality and thoughts, but I bet Ronus feels awful for this man. After all, it (Ronus) understands what it's like to be held and manipulated by medical personnel and only be able to trust that what they're doing is right, and not be able to communicate or do anything in case something went wrong. Maybe it has the fear of being manipulated and used in a similar way and not being able to stop it, because I'm sure there are those in the galaxy who would love to experiment on symbionts. And I'm sure that both it and Asu (in their joined personality) feel like they're seeing a horrible perversion of what for them is (I assume) a natural and willing state where both of them get something good out of it. We've never heard a symbiont personality speak...all Trill talk about are the hosts, but I just have this feeling the Ronus symbiont in particular really IS horribly disturbed by this. :(
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I'm not saying anything, but they will find a few answers to their questions.

    I didn't think about it before.

    I think that a symbiont also has its own personality and isn't just a blend of its hosts. After all, the symbionts are supposed to be sentient and intelligent beings, so they have to be more than just a mix of others' experiences.

    Ronus is 267 years old, but first 100 years it spent in the pools and wasn't joined. It spent all that time thinking and "talking" to other symbionts. It has a mind of its own, its own personality and opinions. They join and blend with hosts now, but Asu Ronus isn't just a combination of previous--and current--hosts; this person's personality and experiences include the symbiont's personality too.
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I'd been re-reading our story last night, so it was fresh on my mind.

    Who knows...maybe in AU Dukat's universe, the people that invented these awful technologies in yours were at work on healing technologies instead. What a horrifying, cruel waste.

    I also thought symbionts had personalities. But I've seen people claim they're nothing but living USB drives.

    But when I tried to imagine how a symbiont might feel about what it and Asu were seeing, that it would have some unique memories to add to that situation. For some reason, though (and maybe it was because the DS9 writers didn't want to get that complex), Jadzia Dax was never asked that question during her trial in "A Man Alone." She was asked to talk about past hosts, but never asked about how the Dax symbiont feels about things and what it experiences. And that was the mystery I always wanted to know.

    But I would think with that position of absolute trust a symbiont has to put itself in--trusting of the Guardians, and trusting of doctors to take good care of it when it's put into a new host, that this would be a particularly horrifying thing to such a being.

    Symbionts probably don't move when they're in their host--that is, their own bodies--given that it would potentially injure the host. I imagine they're paralyzed in terms of their own bodies, but that they see and act through the blended personality they share with their hosts. I have always assumed that joining...though difficult on someone not not just endurable but pleasurable when both host and symbiont are trained and matched to each other professionally. So while Ronus may be inside Asu's body, I've always assumed that this is a pleasant state for it to be in, and the same for Asu.

    Sarratt has been forced into a similar arrangement against his will--one that gives him nothing but horrible pain and for which he was never meant. I have to imagine that would creep the Ronus symbiont out in a REALLY bad way.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    This parallel didn't occur to me too; Saratt is a symbiont and the ship is his host.

    Saratt trusted the doctors, who did that to him, too. Where this trust took him--we can see. Why he is in such a state...stand by for the next chapter ;) I'll just reveal there is a difference between him and the man in the engineering.
  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Exactly. Except he was never meant to be a symbiont, and that kind of host was never meant to be controlled by an organic mind.

    Whereas everything on the show points to both Trill humanoids and symbionts evolving over a long period of time to be compatible with each other. And while sometimes there can be difficulties--like Joran and Verad, or Ezri's unexpected joining--it seems like under normal circumstances you have two consenting people that chose the relationship they entered into.very similar to how the joined being then chooses if he or she wants to marry. (And to my mind there is no doubt the symbiont is a person, however radically different its body and way of communicating outside of a host is.)
  18. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I never doubted that symbionts are persons. If they are not joined they swim in those pools and communicate with each other. If they "talk" that means they have something to say.

    I just wonder if a symbiont can return to those pools. It's said it has to go into a new host within 48 (?) hours, but can't it return to those pools? Could they offer the same chemical balance that a new host would?
    If not, being joined is a point of no return. It is the same case for a host, but hosts don't live hundreds of years.
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Hm...honestly, I'm not 100% sure if it's a point of no return or not.

    (About the way the symbionts "talk"...I wonder if it first evolved because they used to shock predators that got too close?)
  20. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Mar 26, 2010
    Now...that were shocking pictures to imagine. :( The poor cardassians. I certainly hope they find a way to help them, even though when it means giving them the peace of death.
    The Obsidian Order really was a terrble organisation, though who knows what the real secrets services on todays earth all hide before the normal people... well surly not something like that, but still...