ST: Shaping a Cardassian - The Shadow of the Order

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

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I remember that. I think that people like Saratt and Iliana represent everything they hate, and so they try to destroy people like that whenever they can.
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Here is the ‘soundtrack’ for the Sabal scene. There’s a flash player there, you have to click o listen (sorry for the weird language, but I couldn’t find an Engish website where you can upload files for listening without a need of downloading them).

    The Karama & Nadar short story is here.

    Chapter 14

    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26-27th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Sabal didn’t know why he came to the Obsidian Order ship. He had spent quite nice—as nice as it was possible under these circumstances—evening with Kara Takiya from the engineering and after that he had returned to his quarters.

    So how come he was here now? Why did he come here?

    Saratt. He went to the sleeping man and looked at him.

    He had met him shortly after he had been taken to the Orias system. They had been assigned the same quarters and quickly discovered that they had more in common than just a room. They weren’t just room-mates, they became friends. Sabal remembered that Saratt loved to draw. He had a special pad, which he could plug to a computer and he used a stylus to produce most beautiful drawings Sabal had ever seen.

    He looked at Saratt’s fingers—or rather what was left of them. This man would never hold a stylus in his hands ever again.

    Suddenly Saratt’s eyes snapped open. Sabal jumped, startled. Saratt frowned and a growl came out of his throat. He moved his fingers, first it was barely noticeable motion but then it was obvious he stretched them only to clench them into a fist a moment later. Then he stretched them again and clenched again. The metal connections to the machine snapped torn and Saratt somehow managed to wrestle himself from the clamps that held his limbs in place.

    Sabal stepped back. He wanted to ask how it was possible but he couldn’t find his voice.

    Saratt sat, not taking his eyes from Sabal’s face. He slowly lowered his legs to the ground and sat on the edge of the table. His face pulled in a grimace of hatred and his eyes squinted at Sabal. He bared his teeth and licked his dry lips.

    The pilot wanted to tell him how sorry he was. How much scared he was. How terrified he was that he had been so close to land on that table. But he couldn’t. His throat was tightened in a grasp of fear and guilt.

    Saratt got up and slowly moved toward Sabal who walked backward, trying to keep the distance from his...friend. The lights on the bridge changed their hue to greenish and became brighter. Consoles transformed and lost their oval and irregular or triangle shapes, gaining a new, circle look. The humming of the ship changed into a kind of mechanical buzz.

    A feeling of dread washed through Sabal’s body. He knew what was coming. He had never met them, never saw them with his own eyes, all he knew about them was reports and dreadful footages, but it was enough to easily recognise what was happening now. There was no escape for him, it was all over. His life was over. It was the time to pay the price. The price for what? For everything; everything that he had done and that he hadn’t done. Everything that could have been done. Every thought. Every word. Every emotion.

    Saratt’s hand stretched and reached Sabal’s throat just when the pilot’s back touched the bulkhead behind him. The fingers—the horrible fingers without tips and with exposed phalanxes—tightened on Sabal’s throat just where his neck met his neck ridge, piercing the skin and sinking in his flesh.

    “This should have been you,” Saratt’s voice sounded nothing like him. It was something between hissing, growling and mechanical sound of a machine. “It should have been you. Now you will serve the Union. Resistance is futile!”

    Two tubules extracted from Saratt’s other hand and connected with Sabal’s left elbow, causing sharp pain.

    He screamed...

    ...and found himself on the floor of his own quarters.

    His face was covered with tears. He sat and rubbed the left elbow. Apparently he had fallen from his bed and hit the elbow against the hard deck. He crawled back to his bed but didn’t dare to close his eyes again.

    He was not aware of his own sobs.

    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73691.2
    10-11th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar

    Asu tried to read but he couldn’t. He knew for certain that sleep was out of the question and wasn’t that surprised that reading belonged to the same group of ‘forget about it in your state of mind’.

    “Do you sometimes feel like it?” Asu asked out loud. “Do you feel powerless and like a tool in someone else’s hands? How can I know if what I do is what you want?” He silenced and sipped his coffee. “Do you like coffee? Hate it? Don’t care? Did anyone ask you if you wanted to be joined with me? They asked your previous host and she said ‘yes’, but was it her opinion? Yours? Of both of you?” He rubbed his eyes. “You have given me so much. I never thanked you for all those wonderful memories. Thank you, Ronus. I hope I add to those memories and you enjoy our life together.” Another sip. “Do you?” He scratched his circle beard. “I think you like Cardassians. You. It’s your feeling, not mine. It’s not that I dislike them or hate them. I don’t know them. Asu never met any. But you were in love with one. You remember him. And now I remember him and what he was like. I through him I like them all too. Do you want to know if he had any children?” He thought for a while. No. He didn’t want to know, he was...jealous. “Am I jealous or are you? You,” he decided. “How could I be jealous if I never met him. Heck, he was a guy! I like girls.” He smiled. “But he had a nice smile, didn’t he?”

    He laughed quietly. Did every joined Trill do that or was it only him? Why hadn’t he thought about doing it earlier, why hadn’t he thought of talking to his symbiont before?

    “You know,” he said, absently pulling his ear, “during my zhian'tara I had a chance to meet all our previous hosts. To talk to them. To meet them and see what they were like. I wish I could meet you the same way. To talk to you. To receive your electric impulse in that mud pool and understand it.”

    One of his unruly wisps of hair fell on his forehead.

    “You prefer to be a girl or a boy?”

    He ruffled his hair and thought that he missed long hair and hairdos he could make. She could make. It could make. Asu never had long hair.

    He laughed again, louder this time.

    “This is very weird when you think about it.”

    Then don’t think about it. Just be.

    “I am. We are. I could grow my hair long, but don’t you even think about shaving!”

    His laughter died away and a sudden feeling of guilt overwhelmed him. How could he laugh and joke while that poor Cardassian man was there in pain, reduced by those damn Obsidian Order bandits to a mere piece of equipment!
  3. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    26-27th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    “Did you know?” Karama asked Zamarran.

    The gul’s aide looked at his friend. “Know about what?” he asked, although Kapoor was certain that he knew very well what Karama was asking about—just as she did.

    “About Sabal,” the communication officer’s tone of voice clearly indicated that he knew Zamarran knew.

    “I did.”

    “And you never said anything.”

    “Why should I? It was his personal matter. He had told me and Gul Brenok, but the way he had done that left no doubt—he didn’t want it to be known by everyone. He realises how people react to former agents, even if those agents had been proven to be harmless pawns only and hadn’t done any harm to anyone.”

    “He lied.”

    “He hid the truth.”

    “What’s the difference?”

    “I don’t know,” Zamarran shrugged. “But it was not my place to say anything. It is his personal matter.”

    “He was an Obsidian Order agent!” Karama shouted with indignation. “You say he didn’t do anything to anyone, but would that be the truth if the Obsidian Order wouldn’t be destroyed shortly after he joined and if he would have a real career as an agent? Can you tell for sure his file would be as clean and innocent as it is now?”

    “Can you be sure you wouldn’t be like your father if your superiors sent you to Bajor?”

    Karama hit the table with his fist. His body shook with indignation. “No!” he shouted. “I could never be like him!”

    Kapoor put a hand on her husband’s shoulder and gave Zamarran an irritated look.

    Karama and Zamarran were best friends for almost twenty years. When Karama and Kapoor became friends—and more with time—she had difficulties with dealing with Zamarran. He was her fiance’s best friend but at the same time he was her direct superior. Socialising with Zamarran, who back then he had been the chief engineer, had felt awkward. Zamarran had never said anything, however she was sure he’d felt awkward too. The glinn was a traditionalist and socialising with subordinates had to feel strange to him. Karama was the head of another department, so even if he had a lower rank it didn’t feel like violating the order of the Cardassian society. She was in Zamarran’s department, the engineering, and he was her boss. You don’t spend your free time with your boss. And certainly not with your subordinate, especially if you are a Cardassian.

    However, the situation has changed. After she had married Karama and had their first child, she had taken an extended leave of absence from active duty and worked in the Inventions Department on Cardassia under Gul Tarkan. By the time she had returned to Gul Brenok’s ship—a new ship of a new class which she had helped to design—the situation somehow didn’t feel as bad as before. Zamarran was still her—and now also Karama’s—superior, but he was not the head of the department. Ya’val was. She liked Ya’val but their relationship didn’t go beyond work and it made things much easier. And somehow her relation with Zamarran changed. It didn’t feel so awkward any more. It felt comfortable enough for her to send Zamarran an angry look now.

    “It’s not circumstances that make people bastards,” she said. “It’s themselves.”

    “So why do you assume that Sabal would be a bastard?” Zamarran looked at Karama, not at her. “Did he ever appear to you to have that in him?”

    “He lied.”

    “And so did you, many times. We all lie at some point of our lives.”

    “This wasn’t a small lie.”

    “But he’s told you eventually.”

    “He has. So what? He was forced to.”

    “No, he was not. He could still keep it a secret and only report his findings to me and Brenok.”

    “You think he was afraid to tell us?” Kapoor asked.

    “Maybe. Probably.”

    She didn’t say anything. Both Zamarran and she knew why Karama was reacting to Sabal’s secret so badly.

    During the Dominion War, Karama had had a friend aboard the Roumar. That friend, Nadar, had been a traitor, who for years had been spying the ship’s crew for the Dominion. He had been found out and executed quietly; the same night that Karama had planned to tell Nadar about his plans to join Legate Damar’s rebels. If Nadar’s betrayal were found one day later, Karama had no doubt that his ‘friend’ would inform the Dominion of Karama’s plans and the communication officer would have been arrested and executed.

    It was Zamarran who had brought Karama the bad news about Nadar and Zamarran’s support during that difficult night was the first seed of the engineer and communication officer’s friendship. Karama trusted Zamarran completely, but he was very sensitive in matters of friendship and trust. And now he felt that Sabal betrayed them all.

    Karama didn’t say anything more.

    “Did you like the dinner?” Kapoor asked Zamarran. The truth was that neither of them ate much. The glinn nodded and smiled to her. “Did my cooking improve?” He smiled even wider and shook his head. She laughed. “Do you think we have a chance to help those people on that ship?” she asked seriously after a short moment.

    “I don’t know, Kapoor. Even Taret doesn’t know. I’d never seen anything like it. I never heard about anything like it. I had no idea something like this would be possible.” Zamarran shook his head with disbelief. “A man is a man and a computer is a computer. A man commands a computer but not this way. This is against nature and against engineering. This is against everything.”

    “Do you think he volunteered for it or they forced him?”

    “I don’t know. If he volunteered I think they didn’t tell him the whole truth. Even service and duty to Cardassia has its limits. Especially if it’s as pointless as this.” He waved his hand dismissively.

    Karama had told Kapoor that Zamarran had his secrets too. Her husband knew those secrets but he didn’t share them with her. She didn’t mind, she knew he couldn’t and certainly not without Zamarran’s permission. However, he had hinted that those secrets had political background and she was guessing that Zamarran either was a dissident or he had them in his family and his family never reported that to anyone as they should have according to the Cardassian law. The former Cardassian law, she was glad to add.

    How deeply their friendship had to be rooted if Zamarran had told Karama that secret; how much Zamarran had to trust her husband to share something that could cause him and someone he loved their lives.

    “I think I’ll call it a day,” Zamarran said.

    “Don’t go,” the communication officer looked at him. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to be difficult or mean--”

    “It’s not you, Karama. I just need to think about it all, to quiet down and to try to find a way to save this poor man.”

    Kapoor’s husband nodded. “I hope we’re going to decrypt that database and we’re going to find something useful there,” he said.

    “So do I, my friend. So do I.”

    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73691.2
    10-11th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar

    Av’Roo couldn’t get him out of her head. After she finished her prayer and meditation, she accessed the database and tried to gather all data about Borg that could be useful in their current case, but she couldn’t concentrate.

    She was thinking about him, about his fingers, about his nose, about his head and his hair, about his ridges and about his scales, but most of all about his voice and the vibrations it was sending when he sang.

    “He is a Cardassian, you are a Skorr,” she said out loud but it didn’t change anything. “He is a gul, you are a mere lieutenant.” No, this didn’t help either. “You can’t fall in love, he’s too different.” What a nonsense! His body was different, however she wouldn’t fall in love with his body but with his mind. And his mind was different but weren’t all minds different from one another?

    Let’s face it, she would fell in love with his singing.

    She couldn’t believe herself. Singing was how Skorr males were courting their females, but Brenok’s singing was nothing like that. Yet she still found it luring and reacted to it as if he were a Skorr male.

    “He is not thinking about you this way,” she said in a firm voice. “And this is something you can’t deny.”

    But what if he would? What would happen then?

    Stop it!

    Read about the Borg! Now!
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    27th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Brenok approached the terminal in his quarters, trying to do something about his dishevelled hair but long wisps kept escaping from his hands.

    “Computer, open the channel.”

    The computer beeped and a face of an elder woman appeared on his monitor. Gil Tari had told him who was on the other end of the connection.

    “Doctor Zabar,” Brenok greeted her. Her face reminded him of his grandmother; it had a gentle expression, yet there was some strength in her eyes. She looked at him seriously scrutinising him for a short moment and then her lips formed a small smile.

    I’m so sorry to wake you up, Gul Brenok,” she indeed sounded apologetically. Brenok tried to tie his hair into a queue—it was faster than making a braid—knowing very well that doing it in haste would most likely uncover his appalling ear scar, but he also understood that this was a medical professional that was looking at him and she would be the last person to react to it strongly. “However the report from Medic Taret sounded very seriously and I wanted to contact you as soon as possible.”

    “That is all right, Doctor. We have a situation here and my sleep is the least important. I hadn’t slept that well anyway. Is there anything you could help us with?”

    My dear Gul,” she said and it sounded like ‘my dear boy’, “I am not sure if I could help but I will try nevertheless. I brought my old report about which I’d like to talk to you and Medic Taret. I am already on my way to you, but I thought that you’d need time to familiarise yourself with that report before I reach you.”

    “What is it about?” he asked. What could all that have anything to do with some old report written by a civilian physician?

    It’s about proving that connecting a living man to a computer is impossible.”

    If there was any sleep in Brenok’s eyes, it was gone now.


    Years ago I had been asked—and it was one of those requests you shouldn’t refuse—to write an extensive report about a possibility of using a living man’s brain as a main computer core. The Obsidian Order demanded full information with proofs. Since proofs meant I’d have to try to do that in practice, they had gotten none, but I had delivered a theoretical study. To conclude it in one sentence: I have proven that successful plugging a Cardassian to a computer would fail. There are too many things that would make it impossible. I have read Medic Taret’s report and my conclusion is that those monsters in the Obsidian Order used my report to avoid the problems I have listed. Of course they caused a lot of other problems, which only proves I had been right all along.”

    She took a breath and would continue, but Brenok raised his hand. “Wait, wait. Did you say you were on your way to us?”

    That’s what I have said, yes.

    “I’m sure Medic Taret would appreciate that.”

    I feel partially responsible for Saratt’s condition and I intend to do everything I can to save his life. I am not sure if it’s possible, as a report, even a detailed one, is not the same as an examination, but I will not give up only because it looks grim.”

    “I assume you’re going to be here in three days?” He knew that was the time needed to reach the Argaya sector from Cardassia Prime.

    That is correct. Gul Evral was so kind to lend me a pilot and a shuttle.”

    “Is there anything we could do for Saratt and the other one before you arrive?” Brenok asked.

    No, I don’t think so. The coma appears to be the best available option. I would, however, consider waking up those people in stasis.”


    In my theoretical study I have suggested that full communication with people like Saratt would be possible only through another kind of Cardassian-computer fusion, which I assumed to be nonsense. I think those people are disproving my opinion; the Obsidian Order found a way to create such people. They would probably be able to ‘talk’ to those two men. It’s very possible they are medics.”

    “I’m not sure I want to read your report, Doctor. Please, don’t take it the wrong way but--”

    Gul Brenok,” she interrupted him, raising her hand, “my report was supposed to be full of bullshit that would discourage them from changing someone’s life into hell. Instead, they used it as a template. This report isn’t a benign collection of theoretical facts any more, it is someone’s nightmare. You don’t have to apologise for not wanting to know the details. I wish I didn’t know them myself.”

    He smiled weakly. “We await your arrival.”

    Is there any chance you could patch me to Medic Taret?

    “I’ll see what I can do,” he replied and gave Gil Tari necessary instructions.

    Brenok stayed at his desk and considered returning to bed, but decided that he wouldn’t fall asleep anyway. Not after hearing the revelations about Doctor Zabar’s report. He went to his tiny bathroom to take a hot shower and make plans for the starting day.

    He stood, enjoying hot water pouring on his head and dripping from his long hair. He could stand here for a long time if he wanted. The ten-minute water ration didn’t have to apply to him—after all he was the highest commander of the Cardassian military—but he didn’t want to steal. For him using twenty minutes of water would mean that someone else would have zero. Or two ‘someone elses’ would have five. Water didn’t reproduce itself just because it was coming out of a Gul Grade Five’s shower, water didn’t care about ranks.

    He knew his ten minutes would be up soon. So soon. Too soon.

    Doctor Zabar told him to wake up the people in stasis. What if they were another failed experiment? What if Taret would wake them up into pain? Why didn’t Saratt wake them up? Couldn’t he? Or was it his choice not to wake them up? Was he afraid of them? Had they done that to him and then had been—in the limitless stupidity of the Obsidian Order—mutilated the same way as their ‘exemplary service to the Cardassian Union’ obligation demanded from them?

    He wished he could stay under the shower indefinitely, isolated from the brutal reality by a wall of water—clean, pure water.

    The computer gave him one minute warning—he had programmed it to give him a warning before cutting of the water to give him time to rinse all soap—so he reluctantly grabbed a towel and left the shower booth.

    He sighed.

    He dried his hair, made a braid—noting that it was the time to shorten his hair a bit—donned his black-silver armour and went to the bridge.

    “Tari, can you get me Medic Taret,” he said upon arrival.

    “Shall I disconnect him from Doctor Zabar?” the young gil asked.

    “Are they still talking?” Brenok was clearly surprised.

    “They are.”

    “Then let them talk. But connect me after they finish.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    The gul didn’t expect them to have such a long conversation, but since it was so long he could only hope it was a productive one.

    “Karama and Sabal beamed to the Federation ship,” Zamarran informed him. “I don’t think Ya’val returned to Damar for the night at all.”

    “Order him to rest if you have to.”

    “When I tried to contact him the early morning, Lieutenant Fong told me that Ya’val was having a nap. So he did sleep.”

    “A nap is not sleeping,” Brenok smiled. He couldn’t help but admire his crew for their dedication. He was also glad that in spite of differences they were able to work with the Federation officers. And vice versa. “How is your firewall working?”

    “I hope we won’t have to see in practice. Lieutenant Jeto had some interesting ideas, so I have implemented them into the programming.”

    “How was she?”

    “She was reserved, but professional. No troubles at all.”

    “I’m glad to hear that.”

    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73696.4
    11th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar

    Ya’val had no trouble in finding his way to the engineering. He had asked Fong to show him the Sabre class ship’s blueprints, he had memorised them and now could wander around the ship without losing his way.

    “How can you work with such a sorry excuse for a manual!” Lieutenant Jeto greeted him in the engine room.

    “Excuse me?” He stopped and stared at her; it was the last thing he expected to hear. He had been told she needed him but was it really about a manual?

    “This is pathetic.” She raised a padd and shook it. “How am I supposed to work with such sparse information? How am I supposed to learn anything from that manual? What is that? A quick guide?”

    “ is,” he smiled.

    “Excuse me?”

    “It is a quick guide.”

    “And where’s the full version?”

    “Here.” He pointed to his head.


    “We do not keep important information stored in databases. We memorise it. If something goes wrong you don’t have time to log into a computer and search for instructions. You have to know things. This,” he pointed to the padd, “is a reference file. It guides us where is the information stored, under which paragraph or in which chapter is more information, but it’s not all we know.”

    “Your reference file is hundreds of pages long.”

    “Yes, it is. How long are your manuals?”


    “So are ours. We just don’t keep them in our computers. We don’t have to.”

    “And what if you happen to need it.”

    “If you don’t know your engines, you’re not qualified to do your job. Take a leave and return when you educate yourself. Besides, storing such a vital data in a computer could be a risk of security breach.” She kept looking at him. He silenced and stared back at her. “What? Doesn’t it make sense?”

    She pulled her face. “In a way, it does,” she reluctantly admitted. “But how the hell am I to work if I can’t get any information from this quick guide to mental manual?”

    “Ask me,” he shrugged.

    “Fine.” She motioned to one of consoles. “Here,” she pointed to a part of code on the screen. “I can’t find any information on the purpose of this. What kind of function does it serve?”

    Ya’val moved closer to the monitor—it didn’t escape his attention that Jeto moved away to keep the distance between them—and studied the code for a moment. “This is Zamarran’s work, isn’t it?”


    “This guy is a genius,” Ya’val muttered more to himself than to Jeto. “This is a tool,” he explained. “It calls for bigger programs to execute their backups. Just in case. It lays dormant until another tool ‘tips it off’ that there is an error in executing commands protocol.”

    She gave him a distrustful gaze, pursed her lips and moved closer to take a better look at the code on the monitor. He wished he could glance at her but his eye ridge was blocking his view and he didn’t want to startle her by moving and openly staring. He didn’t want to add to her negative experiences with Cardassians and he was sure she would interpret his interest the wrong way.

    She muttered something in Bajoran, but it was too quiet for the universal translator to pick it up. Ya’val wished he knew what she said. A curse? A praise? Surprise?

    He shifted and she jumped away. He opened his mouth to assure her that he wouldn’t hurt her, but decided it would be better not to say anything.

    “Do you have any more questions?” he asked instead.

    She shook her head and went to another console. “It may be completely useless,” she said, “but Bajoran resistance had some ways of decoding Cardassian encryptions. We didn’t share everything with you, could be useful.”

    He tried to see what was on her monitor without moving toward her, but craning his neck only caused discomfort in his neck ridges. She must have realised that and she moved away, inviting him to take a closer look. He did so.

    “Did you send it to the decoding team?”

    “Not yet. I have just finished entering it into the database. We didn’t share it with the Federation too. There was no need.”

    “Interesting solutions,” he commented.

    She smiled. To Ya’val’s surprise it wasn’t a smug smile, it was a smile of someone who was praised and appreciated that. She must have realised the same thing as the smile disappeared rapidly and her face returned to its cold, indifferent expression.

    She was pretty, Ya’val judged. In spite of those ridges on her nose, she was pretty. The blue colouring on her chanth and neck ridge scales were covered by some kind of grey make up, but the colour could be still seen through the thick layer of powder. The engineer thought that she must hate her own face and her own body for looking so Cardassian.

    “What you’re staring at,” she barked at him.

    “Nothing,” he tried to sound innocently.

    “Don’t you get any thoughts, I can call security and they’d shoot you in an instant if you tried.”

    Ya’val tried not to get angry, for he knew she wasn’t to be totally blamed for what she thought, but his pulse rushed anyway. And what do you think I’d do, he swallowed the words without saying them. He returned his eyes to the monitor. “The decoding team works in the science lab. Can you send it to them?” he asked.

    “I can,” she replied but didn’t move.

    He sighed and moved away from the console. She approached it only when he was a few meters away.

    We’re not all like this, you know, he wanted to tell her, but she wouldn’t believe his words, would she? “How come do you know this Bajoran code?” he asked. “You’re too young to be a ter-- In the resistance.” Damn.

    “My mother showed it to me once, when she was telling me about her brother.” She answered. “He was a hero,” she added in a strong voice, emphasising the last word.

    “She showed it to you once?”

    “Yeah, once. So what?”

    He only smiled, but she obviously understood what he meant as she growled and wrinkled her already wrinkled nose.

    “Do you have to stay here? Don’t you have anything else to do?” she asked him, her tone of voice was clearly hostile.

    “I’ll return to Fong,” he said, jabbing his thumb over his shoulder to the general direction of the door.

    “You do that.”

    “Bye,” he said in a light tone and left the engineering. Charming, he thought.
  5. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Lieutenant Jeto’s eyes were doing their best to close, but she fought them with all her inner strength. She had to get to her quarters first. The long day of work—including that nasty Cardassian engineer, who kept staring at her in that kinky way—had been preceded by another long day of work and she was exhausted beyond ‘deadly exhausted’.

    She tripped over something and at first she thought her feet were trying to join her eyes in sleep, but then she realised her big toe hurt and that meant it had hit against something. Starfleet could have thought of better shoes for their officers. She looked down to see a leg sticking out of the curve of the corridor. A heavily booted leg. A Cardassian leg. She craned her neck to see what was its owner doing on the floor and she saw two Cardassians sprawled on the deck. She stared at them in shock; they weren’t moving, there was no sound, just two Cardassians laying on the deck in a corridor.

    Her heart started to beat fast. Were they dead? She crouched by one, leaning on the deck, and checked his pulse. She found none and she realised that her hand, which she used for support, sank in a warm, thick liquid. She raised it to her tired eyes only to confirm what she already knew. Blood. She looked at the other body. A pool of blood under it was spreading in rhythmic intervals, which meant that his own heart was pumping his own blood out of his organism. She crawled to him, ignoring red substance sticking to her trousers and leaned over him, trying to take a look under his armour to find the bleeding place. She put her hand inside, pressed and tapped her commbadge with her free hand.

    “Lieutenant Jeto to the sickbay. I have seriously wounded here, deck four, section A-Three.”

    Acknowledged,” came a disembodied voice of one of nurses.

    She put the other hand to the wound trying to press it even harder, but she could feel the blood pushing and dripping between her fingers.

    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    27th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Brenok was just about to leave the bridge and call it a day, when Gil Tari reported, “Sir, we are being hailed by the Karamazov.”

    “On screen.”

    Gul Brenok, I have bad news,” th’Arshar looked worried, maybe even scared. “We have one wounded Cardassian in our sickbay dead.” He paused and Brenok inhaled air loudly. Karama, Sabal and Ya’val were working on the Federation ship that day and he wasn’t notified if they returned to the Damar yet. Who?

    “Who and what’s happened?” he asked, trying not to show his anger, fear and worry.

    Th’Arshar moved away and Ya’val stood next to him. “Sabal is dead. Karama is near death, he lost a lot of blood.” Brenok could hear Zamarran giving orders to Taret to immediately beam to the Federation ship. “Everything indicated that...” Ya’val shot a glance at the Andorian, “they were attacked. It was not an accident, sir.”

    Brenok looked at Kapoor who stared at the screen frozen. He rose from the chair and went to her. “I’m beaming over,” he told two men on the screen. Th’Arshar nodded. The Gul grabbed Kapoor’s arm and pulled her toward the lift’s door. “Zamarran, you have the bridge. Tell Taret not to wait for us.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73696.4
    11th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar

    The Federation sickbay was incredibly bright and as incredibly cold, but Brenok didn’t care. Kapoor ran toward a room behind a transparent wall, but she was stopped by a human nurse.

    “You can’t go in there, they are operating,” the nurse explained.

    The human gil turned to Brenok, as if she wanted to ask him to let her in, but he only sent her a sad and worried look and approached the wall to take a look inside. “How is he?” he asked the nurse.

    “He lost lots of blood, so he will need a transfusion for sure. Right now they’re trying to stitch his wound.”

    “It was you!” Kapoor’s voice behind him was full of fury and hatred. He turned startled to see Kapoor jumping to Jeto, whom he hadn’t noticed before.

    “Kapoor!” he ran to her to stop her from attacking the Bajoran; he grabbed her just in time. “Compose yourself,” he said in a firm voice. Her face was wet from tears but her eyes shone with anger.

    The doors to the sickbay opened and th’Arshar entered, accompanied by Ya’val. The captain went straight to the gul.

    “Gul Brenok, whoever did this, they will be found and punished.”

    “Your punishment,” Kapoor hissed. “She will live a comfortable life in a penal colony,” she looked furiously at Brenok. She wanted blood, he knew. “She should be punished according to the Cardassian law,” her eyes went to Jeto’s face. “Why isn’t she arrested yet?”

    “Gil Kapoor, you’re out of line,” Brenok warned her. “But her question is valid,” he added looking at th’Arshar.

    “Lieutenant Jeto had nothing to do with it,” the Andorian sounded annoyed. “And I don’t appreciate your unfounded accusation,” he added.

    Jeto observed them calmly. No muscle moved on her face.

    “Sir, Lieutenant Jeto has saved Glinn Karama’s life,” Ya’val said quietly. “If she hadn’t stopped his bleeding, he would have died before help would arrive.”

    Kapoor’s body language changed completely. She covered her mouth with her hand and tears filled her eyes again. Jeto looked at her and a small, smug smile appeared on her face.

    “I’m sorry, Lieutenant,” Brenok said. “We shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.”

    She gave him a cold look. Kapoor was already stuck to the transparent wall.

    “Where is Sabal’s body?” the gul asked.

    “We have put it in our morgue,” th’Arshar replied. “It’s ready to be beamed to your ship. Lieutenant Fong has started an investigation--” he silenced as Brenok raised his hand.

    “No offence, Captain, but we don’t know who did this. I do not want to accuse anyone of anything but it was someone from your ship. I’d rather have my team to investigate it.”

    “It happened aboard a Federation ship.”

    “And was committed by a Federation crewmember.”

    “Lieutenant Fong was with me all that time, sir,” Ya’val said. “He couldn’t have done that.”

    Brenok eyed his engineer and then agreed. “Fine. He can be included in the investigation but my officers will lead it.”

    “Agreed. But no Cardassian style interrogations.” Brenok squinted at him. “And we will not extradite the suspect to Cardassia. We don’t have to, there is no such agreement between our governments and this ship is a Federation territory.”

    Brenok pursed his lips, his face gaining even sharper look. “It was a Cardassian who had been killed and it is a Cardassian, who fights for his life over there.” He pointed to the operating room. “The guilty must face the Cardassian law. Otherwise we would feel that he escaped the justice.”

    “I will not allow you to execute anyone from this crew, regardless of what he or she had done, and we both know that this would be the sentence.”

    Brenok kept shaking his head. “I will not allow a murderer to walk away free.”

    “The guilty won’t walk away free, Gul. He’s going to face consequences.”

    “A penal colony on a comfortable island?” Brenok asked scoffingly.


    “NO!” Brenok barked with force, startling th’Arshar who clearly didn’t expect that. “Either you agree to this condition or I lead the investigation and take him by force.”

    Ya’val gave his gul a surprised look, but he didn’t say anything.

    “I will fight you,” th’Arshar hissed. His antennae bent forward and lay almost flat on his head. “You will not kill anyone from this crew.”

    Brenok made two steps forward, eliminating the distance between him and the Federation captain, and spat the words between his teeth, “But of course your crew can kill us, after all your morality is superior to ours, isn’t it?”

    “Sir,” Brenok heard soft voice of Ronus. “Sirs. How about a compromise?”

    “You want us to half-execute him?” Mockery in Brenok’s voice was obvious.

    “How about a penal colony, but a Cardassian penal colony?”

    “This is against the law,” Brenok protested.

    “Can’t you ask your friends in the Central Command to make it happen?” th’Arshar sneered.

    “The Central Command has nothing to do with it,” Brenok growled. “Maybe your Starfleet tells our archons what sentences they should issue, but on Cardassia the judiciary system is independent from the government.”

    “Since when?!”

    “Since many years. As opposed to you, we have reformed.”

    “Gul Brenok, please. Can’t you try?” Ronus approached them and looked the gul in the eye. “Maybe this could be a start for starting official talks about subjects like this between our governments. This is not a typical situation.”

    Brenok’s eyes moved from the blue face of the Andorian to the spotted face of the Trill. “All right,” he decided after a moment. “I will consult the chief archon. And then we will do what she decides.”

    “Eye for an eye,” Kapoor said loudly. She stood with her back to them, as she watched the operation, but her voice was strong and there wasn’t any doubt who she talked to.

    “I think you spent too much time among the Cardassians, Kapoor,” th’Arshar commented.

    “Actually,” she turned to face him, “the origin of this philosophy comes from Earth.” She silenced for a moment. “But I am sure the killer spent too much time among the Cardassians and took their evil habits of random murdering innocent people.”

    “That’s enough, Gil,” Ya’val said.

    “I will talk to the archon,” decided Brenok.

    “Sir!” Kapoor looked at him surprised and disappointed.

    The gul approached her, took her aside and then quietly explained, “We have to compromise. I understand your feelings, I share them, but this is also about diplomacy. We may not like it, but we have to play this game.”

    She pursed her lips and turned away without a word; she went back to the transparent wall. Brenok didn’t blame her. And he knew that there was little chance of convincing the chief archon to forgo an execution, especially if there would be two victims instead of one. He looked at the operating table. “Don’t you dare to die,” he muttered to himself. “I will talk to the archon but I can’t guarantee she’s going to agree to this. What will you do if she doesn’t?”

    “Let’s worry about this when we know for sure,” Ronus said.

    “That’s very short-sighted,” Brenok commented.

    “Perhaps. But it would give me some time to think about the answer to your question.”

    Brenok sucked his teeth. “I want Sabal’s body beamed to the Damar.”

    “At once, Gul,” Ronus nodded and gave a nurse necessary instructions.

    Th’Arshar didn’t say anything; his eyes didn’t leave Brenok. The gul didn’t care about the captain’s hard glare. He wondered what he would tell Sabal’s family and what kind of interstellar consequences would this matter cause. He had to tell Legate Jarol.

    Sabal... He couldn’t believe his pilot was gone.

  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I didn't want to say it before, but I'd had this terrible feeling about Sabal, and been worrying that he was going to die, though my fear was suicide. :(

    Maybe the Obsidian Order has "bought" someone in the Federation, as crazy as that is. They would love to set this up as an act of racial hatred, undermine the alliance, make it look like the Federation is crazy and cannot be trusted. Personally...I think Kapoor and Brenok are right about what should happen to whoever did this, assuming it's that kind of scenario. Somebody like that should NOT get to go to a resort for a few years and then be done.

    Still, I have my doubts as to exactly what kind of scenario this is, but I won't put them here.

    And poor Zabar. To find out that report that was supposed to be made of BS that no one could use, was actually used as a how-to manual for torture...poor thing. :( I hope that being able to help (I hope) undo it as much as it can be undone will help her to know for sure that she really wasn't ever the type of person who would do this.

    I see too that I was right about the implants on the other crew's least, I think so.

    At first I was kind of surprised that Asu Ronus was laughing. It seemed so out of step at first...and yet, when I thought about it again, I realized that it ought to prove to him that he does have real harmony and care between host and symbiont, that they both have to be feeling that together. He can now rest assured, I think, that he is NOT to Ronus what the Obsidian Order and that ship are to Saratt.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  7. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I remember you wrote your hoped that Sabal wouldn't be found in his quarters on the floor. I thought then--you were so darn close in guessing his fate.

    Sabal was troubled, especially after seeing Saratt, but I am not sure he would go that far. It didn't occur to him. He'd rather want to fix things. Especially with Karama if the communication officer would tell him in the face what he had told Zamarran.

    Who, why and what's going to happen to that person: you'll see.

    She certainly feels bad about it, probably a bit responsible even if her work was supposed to have the opposite effect: not to make it happen.

    First and most of all it was an awkward situation for him. He never thought about such a "conversation", it felt strange to him, but he somehow felt like he had to do it. To know his (their) life is not a copy of Saratt+the ship.
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    You know...I was actually afraid Sabal overheard that whole exchange.

    And I think the emotions they experienced, as one, proved it. The way I think I understand Trills--and I could be wrong, or different from you--they have to be in harmony and balance with each other. And to see the positive feelings when his thoughts turned to symbiosis, seemed to prove it.

    I wonder if he is able to remember back to before the symbiont was ever joined to anyone, if that life feels as real to him as any of the hosts' pre-joining childhoods.
  9. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    He would be sorry, surely hurt, but I think in a way he'd understand Karama's position. He HAD been lying to them for years. He had felt terribly about it, but he was too scared of such reactions to admit to his past.

    He knew some people could react like that. Maybe he would react like that if he were in Karama's place. Ya'val was shocked too. And so was Kapoor.

    Good question. If a symbiont is more than just a flash stick to collect hosts' memories, it should remember its own life before it was joined.
  10. TerokNor

    TerokNor Captain Captain

    Mar 26, 2010
    :( Sabal killed? And Karama badly hurt? Oh man... who did that? And why?
    I find it ok, when the murderer does not get executed though, but has to work in a cardassian labour camp, after all isn´t that even more punishment? I besides I am against death penalty anyway.

    Cute that the Skoor fell in love with Brenoks singing. *L* Looking forward to see these two in conversation again, though I doubt something more could form, mostly from Brenoks part.

    Can you draw Jeto please?
    She really is jumpy and so misstrusting. Ya´val handeld the situation very well tough.

  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Everyone fells in love with Brenok's singing :p

    Draw Jeto? Hmm... I have to think about it, about her face. I'll see what I can do.
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I would enjoy seeing it too. :) I admit I gave a thought to trying it myself, but honestly, I don't believe I could get the correct mixture of features. So I can't wait to see how you draw her! :)
  13. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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

    Cardassian Union Warship Damar
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    27th day of the month of Lukyut, 532, Cardassian Union Calendar

    Ma’Kan stared at Zamarran and Ya’val not believing her own ears. This couldn’t be the truth, this was some kind of sick joke they decided to play on her.

    “What do you mean...Sabal is dead,” she whispered.

    Ya’val grabbed her elbow and pulled her inside her quarters. They stood in the doorway and every passerby on the corridor could witness their difficult conversation.

    “It can’t be,” she said, looking at him with huge eyes and letting him pulled her toward her sofa. Zamarran entered too, but he stopped just by the door.

    “It must be some kind of mistake,” she said. “You are wrong,” she shook her head.

    “You may go, sir,” Ya’val said softly to Zamarran.

    “Let me know if any of you needs me,” the gul’s aide said and left.

    “Zerin, please, please tell me this is not true,” she begged the engineer.

    His eyes filled with tears. “I’ve seen his body. This is for real, my friend. This is for real.”

    “But...who? Why? Why him? What did he do to anyone?”

    “I don’t know. I don’t understand it either.” He kept shaking his head.

    “I...sometimes I thought that I...” she didn’t finish. She couldn’t finish. It didn’t matter any more.

    She was the first person who befriended Sabal when he had arrived to the ship. There was something in him, something soft but he wasn’t soft. She had checked his profile—something she did with every new crewmember—and when she had discovered that part of it was classified, she had hacked in. That also was something she did with every crewmember. She didn’t see it as illegal, she had to know everything there was to know about everyone on this warship, because she was responsible for everyone’s safety.

    At first she had been shocked to discover that Sabal had been an Obsidian Order agent. He didn’t seem to have that cruelty in him. But later she realised that he would be a perfect agent because he didn’t have that cruelty. People would trust him. She just wasn’t sure he would be able to abuse that trust. His heart was too good for it. He was above dirty Obsidian Order tricks.

    “Zerin...” she looked at the engineer. “Zerin...” All she could say was his name.

    He took her hand in his and stroke its back. “Don’t say anything,” he whispered. “I know.”

    She sniffed and then her eyes hardened. “Zerin, I want to lead the investigation.”

    “Glinn Zamarran said we were both too close to Sabal to let us do it. He will lead it. With that Federation security chief.”

    “I am responsible for this ship’s security,” she said. And I failed so badly, she thought. “I should lead the investigation.”

    “Believe me, I know how you feel, but your perspective would not be neutral.”

    “I can’t just sit and do nothing,” she complained. “I can’t be useless!”

    “There’s nothing you can do.”

    “It was that Bajoran, wasn’t it!” she suddenly shouted. “She did this! She hates us all! I’ll kill her!”

    “Soterra, stop it!” he said sharply, although he didn’t want it to sound so harshly.

    “She deserves to die for what she’s done,” the tactician hissed.

    “It wasn’t her. She found them, but it wasn’t her.”

    “How can you know?!”

    “She tried to save Karama’s life.”


    “I have no idea. But she did. It was too late for Sabal.”

    “Who did this?” she felt so guilty now asking questions about Sabal and not about Karama.

    “Zamarran will find out. He has to.”

    “Will the Feds give us the murderer to face our tribunal? Somehow I doubt it.”

    “I don’t know, but Gul Brenok fights th’Arshar. If you could see him. He threatened the captain, he was angry and he yelled at him. The Trill tried to find a compromise, but to be honest I think anything else than an execution is unacceptable. Even Kapoor wants the guilty dead and she’s human.”

    “How is she?”

    “Still on the Federation ship. They were still operating when I left.”

    “Let’s see how it’s going,” she rose and went to her computer. Then she thought that Kapoor wouldn’t like to talk to a disembodied voice through a comm. Maybe she needed support? It was her husband there, fighting for his life. “Is there anyone we could ask? Apart from her?”

    “No one from our crew is still there. But maybe calling their sickbay would suffice.”

    “I’ll do that,” she tapped in commands and waited, sniffing her tears.

    She saw a face of a human. “Wait a moment,” the human said and then moved away, disappearing from the screen. Ma’Kan glanced at Ya’val who only shrugged.

    “Gil,” Taret’s voice spoke from the monitor and the tactician’s eyes returned there immediately.

    “Medic, how’s Karama?”

    “We managed to stop the bleeding and we seem to have enough blood for him in the Damar’s storage, so for now it seems good.”

    “For now?”

    “There are still things that could go wrong, however if his condition doesn’t worsen within next twelve hours, he should be fine.”

    “Is he going to return to health fully?”

    “If everything goes well, yes, he is.”

    At least some good news. “How’s Kapoor?”

    “She is with him. She’d use a friend.”

    “Are you sure I wouldn’t disturb her?”

    “I’m sure. You could use a friend too,” he added.

    Ma’Kan’s eyes filled with tears again.

    Taret disconnected and the tactician looked at her friend.

    “I’ll go with you,” he said. “There is a murderer among them and I won’t let you go alone.”

    “It didn’t help Sabal and Karama.”

    “They didn’t expect anything. Let me just contact Zamarran and ask him to warn that each and every Cardassian aboard their ship’s going to be armed.”

    “Good precaution.”

    Zamarran was furious. He was beyond furious. He observed Brenok pacing in the office and wondered how it was possible that the gul hadn’t strangled th’Arshar for his ideas there in that sickbay. Ya’val had told him what had happened there and Zamarran couldn’t believe th’Arshar had been defending the murderer. How blind those Federation types had to be to think that there was any justice in locking a killer in a cell to live in comfort for rest of his life. The glinn had no doubt that a Federation prison was nothing like a Cardassian one. He was certain that it was nice, tidy, warm and with all necessary utilities; after all anything less would be inhuman, wouldn’t it?

    “Sir,” he said quietly.

    Brenok didn’t react, he kept pacing. How different was Brenok’s anger with a reason from his anger without a reason. His frustrations were finding their way in insults and violence, sometimes toward others, sometimes self-inflicted—although he suspected that self-inflicted sort was rather a self-punishment for letting his emotions get out of control. His justified anger was locked inside him. He didn’t curse. He didn’t insult. His reasoning was intact and he could present you with all his arguments.

    “Gul Brenok,” Zamarran said again and again he was ignored.

    He didn’t mind. He knew that Brenok was on the edge and he probably feared he would explode in Zamarran’s face.

    “I will lead the investigation,” the glinn decided to speak anyway. “I will take Fong as my aide, so later the Federation captain cannot accuse us of falsifying proofs or any other nasty things.” He silenced for a moment, wondering if Brenok heard him at all. The gul stopped and looked at him. “I will also assign two security militiamen to every Cardassian that works aboard their ship and I really don’t care what they have to say about it,” the glinn continued. “I’ll send a troop there, if I have to. I’ve already ordered Tarub to assign four men for Karama’s protection. Whoever did this, he or she can try to finish the job.”

    Brenok sat, but not in his chair on his side of the desk, but next to Zamarran, on the guest side.

    “Troval, did I make a mistake?” he whispered.

    Zamarran’s first reaction was shock. He didn’t know what he found more astonishing: that Brenok blamed himself or that he used his given name to address to him.

    “A mistake?”

    “Was I too trustful? Not careful enough? The Federation were never our close friends. We have a history of conflicts. Was it my negligence? Did I trust them too much? Did my guilt after my my judgement? Did I try to make it up too much?”

    Zamarran listened to Brenok and kept shaking his head. “No, no, Gul, absolutely not.”

    “How can you be sure?”

    “Sir, there is someone on that ship, one or more people, who have killed our officer and attempted to murder another one. This is not your fault. You didn’t force their hand. Brenok, you didn’t even provoke them!” he said the last sentence louder and with indignation. “Whoever is to blame, it’s not you!”

    “And what if your investigation proves I am somehow responsible?”

    “I don’t see how.”

    Brenok lowered his head and Zamarran stared at him, wondering if there was anything he could say to convince the gul.

    “Gul Brenok...” he started but decided it was time to be rather a supportive friend than a subordinate. “Arenn, I will find whoever did this. And I will prove to you that it wasn’t your fault.”

    Brenok looked at him and he expected to be chastised for addressing his gul by his given name, but Brenok only stared. Zamarran opened his mouth to apologise for breaking the etiquette, but the gul sighed and his lips formed a sad smile.

    “I hope you’d also tell me if it were my fault.”

    “I would,” Zamarran confirmed. “However I know that it isn’t.”

    “Do you believe that Jeto didn’t do it?”

    “I don’t assume anything. I will investigate her too. But somehow I can’t imagine her taking two Cardassian men. If she was involved, she had help.”

    “She did try to save Karama.”

    “She might have realised what she tried to do and attempted to at least save one of them. Or it was all planned to look like she saved one, while she killed the other one.”

    Brenok sighed. “Any news about Karama?” He sat with his forearms leaned on his thighs, looking at tips of his boots.

    “He’s stable. This night is critical; if he survives then he should be safe.”

    “The people in stasis?”

    “Taret’s team is preparing to revive one as we speak.”


    “They don’t want to risk waking them both up. Not now, at least.”

    “I see.”

    Zamarran wished he could do more to help Brenok. He wished Jarol were here to cheer her friend up. He wished he knew if he could do that himself.

    “Sir, is there anything I can do to”

    The gul looked up in the glinn’s face. He looked like considering his answer. “No, Troval, but thank you,” he said finally. Somehow this time the use of his name didn’t bother Zamarran.

    There was something new between him and Brenok, a new kind of bond. His young gul didn’t want their relationship to be limited to duty only, he didn’t want Zamarran’s support to be regulated by rules, he needed Zamarran’s heart to lean on. And Zamarran intended to give all he could, every piece of his soul to this young man, who sometimes seemed like carrying too much weight on his shoulders.

    “Decryption finished successfully,” the computer’s voice said suddenly.

    Zamarran gave Brenok an asking look.

    “I have found some encrypted files about Saratt. Let’s see what the Order was trying to hide.”

    They both moved to the other side of the desk; Brenok sat in his chair and Zamarran stood behind him.

    “A visual recording,” the glinn commented slightly surprised.

    “That’s third one in his file,” Brenok said. “Let’s see...” he punched in a command and the recording started to play.

    They watched and their surprise, disgust and admiration grew. It was a record of an interview with Saratt. The young man sat in an empty room opposite a middle-aged man who kept asking his questions. At first questions seemed innocent, but the farther the interview went, the worse the questions got. And the clearer was fear in Saratt’s eyes.

    The man explained the procedure to him. He promised no suffering, he promised Saratt wouldn’t feel anything, he promised he would be unaware of anything. Saratt asked if it would be like death. The man confirmed. And then he promised that after one hundred years Saratt would be disconnected and could return to his life. Saratt clearly didn’t believe him. He asked what would happen if he refused. The man told him the next from the list would be taken in his place.

    Zamarran knew the next on the list was Sabal.

    Saratt seemed to consider the answer and then decided, “I’ll do it.”

    The man gave him a padd and the young painter pressed his thumb to confirm his consent.

    “They would kill him if he refused and he knew it,” Zamarran said. “That way or the other he wouldn’t leave the Orias system alive.”

    “I think it’s more than that,” Brenok replied. “I think he didn’t want them to take Sabal.”


    They both silenced for a moment. “Those bastards destroyed the best people Cardassia ever had,” Zamarran said with hatred. “They believed we all were guilty of something, it was only a matter of time to find of what.”

    Brenok glanced at him. “They are gone and won’t come back.”

    “Lost lives can’t come back too.”

    The gul observed him and Zamarran wondered if he knew about his brother. Brenok had access to files very few people could see. Maybe there was something, maybe someone knew...

    “Let’s try to save this one,” the gul said. “Let’s do our best to save Saratt.”

    Zamarran nodded. “Let’s do that,” he wholeheartedly agreed.

    USS Karamazov
    Argaya Sector near the Cardassian Union border
    Stardate: 73696.4
    11th of September, 2396, Old Earth Calendar

    Amrita Kapoor sat in the Federation sickbay by the side of her husband. Her hand was just next to his and from time to time she was gently touching his with her little finger, as if she wanted to make sure he was still there, flesh and blood.

    It felt so surreal. She was here, in this bright Federation style room and it felt so strange, so alien to her. The Cardassian on the bed was her connection to what she considered ‘home’.

    She couldn’t imagine losing him. She couldn’t imagine what she would do without him. She couldn’t imagine how she could go on without him. How would she tell their children?

    She felt someone’s presence behind her. She turned to see the last person she’d expect to be here.

    “Why?” she asked the visitor. “Why did you do it? Why did you save him? You hate them.”

    “When I saw him, I didn’t see a Cardassian,” Jeto replied. “I saw a dying man and I acted. It was an instinct. If I thought...I might have left him there to die.”

    “Thank you. Even if you regret it, thank you. For me he’s not a monster, he’s my husband.”

    “Do you love him?”

    “Of course I do!”

    “Did he force you? Ever?”

    “Force me? To what? To marry him?”

    Jeto shook her head.

    “No,” Kapoor understood the question. “He never forced anyone to anything.” She grinned slightly. “He can’t even force our son to finish his dinner.”

    “Why did you marry a Cardassian?” Jeto pulled a chair and sat next to Kapoor.

    “Because I loved him. It’s as simple as that.”

    “His father was on Bajor.”

    “I know.”

    “Isn’t he like his father?”

    “Absolutely not. He hates his father. That hate includes what his father had done on Bajor.”

    Jeto didn’t say anything for a long moment, looking at Karama’s face.

    “My uncle was in the resistance. The Cardassians suspected that his cell was in our village and sent a troop to...investigate.” Kapoor didn’t need additional explanation for the last word. “They burned whole village, house after house, dragging all people outside, killing men and raping women. Very few survived. They would kill them all, but some commander appeared and told them to stop and ordered them to withdraw. My mother was one of very few survivors. She told me that story, but I always felt that she hid something from me. That she tried to hide how bad it really was.” Kapoor thought that this story didn’t seem like hiding any ‘bad’, it was as terrible as possible. “That she lied about that commander.”

    “Do you think there was no commander?”

    “There was one, I’m sure. But I don’t think he stopped them.”

    “Why? Maybe it really was someone who didn’t like what happened in that village. Someone who knew it was very, very wrong.”

    “There are no such Cardassians.”

    “There are. And maybe this commander was one of them. Maybe your mother tried to tell you that not all of them were so bad.”

    “Or maybe she made him up for me not to feel so terrible when I see my own face?”

    “Look, Jeto. I live among them and I can tell you that some of them are horrible assholes. And some of them are great people. Did anyone here treat you badly? Except for that unfortunate dinner, I mean.”

    “The engineer. I think he’d love to meet me in a dark corridor, if he could get away with it.”

    “Ya’val?” Kapoor didn’t believe her own ears. “He’s harmless. Whatever he said, I’m sure you misunderstood.”

    “He didn’t say anything. But the way he was scary.”

    “Are you sure you didn’t imagine things?”

    “I’m sure.”

    Kapoor was certain that Jeto was overreacting.

    “What’s he like?” the Bajoran nodded toward Karama. “Is he brutal?”

    “He’s gentle and caring.”

    “Did he ever hit you?”

    “What?! No!”

    “Did he hit your children?”

    “No! He was beaten as a child and he’d never do that himself,” Kapoor recalled their first conversation about this and her heart ached. She had been brutally blunt that day and she had hurt him with her aggressive questions.

    “His subordinates?”


    “Are you sure?”

    “I am.”

    “How about that Gul Brenok. How many people did he order to execute?”

    Kapoor didn’t answer at first. Brenok did order executions, but all those people were guilty of something, really guilty. “Why don’t you ask if he saved someone?” the Indian woman answered with her own question. There were more people Brenok saved then sent to their demise.

    “How many?”

    “I don’t know. Less than five.”

    “Within last year?”

    “Within his career. Last thirty years.”

    “I don’t believe this.”

    “You don’t believe your mother, you don’t believe me. Why do you ask if you’re not ready to accept answers that are not to your liking?” she paused for a moment. “Did your mother tell you the name of that officer?”

    “She didn’t know.”

    “Do you want to know?”


    “Afraid it may occur to be the truth.”

    “I’m not interested.”

    Kapoor wanted to ask if she wasn’t curious who her father was, but then she thought she wouldn’t be curious herself. She wouldn’t even consider that bastard a father. A monster was a much better description.

    “Why are you here?” she asked.


    “Why did you come to the sickbay?”

    “I...I don’t know. I wanted to see how he was.”


    “I don’t know!” Jeto said with anger. “But...” her voice was much softer and quieter. “But...I hope he’s going to make it.”

    Kapoor’s eyes filled with tears.

    Suddenly four Cardassian soldiers entered the room. Jeto gasped, clearly startled, so Kapoor put her hand on the Bajoran’s shoulder.

    “What is it?” she asked the ranking garesh.

    “We have been ordered to guard Glinn Karama. There are two men waiting for you outside, Gil. They will accompany you wherever you go as long as you stay aboard this ship.”

    Jeto ran out of the sickbay.

  14. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Oh my God.

    I cried, when I saw Saratt literally signing his life away, and why? Because they extorted him with the life of his friend!!!

    Another punch in the gut. An innocent person near death, and on that Earth calendar date. :(

    The conversation between Jeto and Kapoor was something that I hope both learned from. But it seems at the very end, not only was Jeto frightened by all of the Cardassian soldiers, but Kapoor stopped being human to Jeto, all over again.
  15. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Jeto still has a long way to heal her soul, if she ever gets healed.

    It wouldn't surprise me of the OO put young "recruits" in shared quarters with hopes that friendships would be forged and then those young men could be forced to do something to protect their friends. It wouldn't be beyond the Obsidian Order to use people's feelings against themselves :(
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Indeed. It sounds VERY much like them. :(
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    No surprise then that the Mar'kuu Group hunted them down and forced to face the tribunal. I suppose every execution was broadcast and "enjoyed" by the population. And the prison, built specifically for those who were not executed, is on their coldest continent :evil:
  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Ohhhh, yes.

    Even in my SigCat AU, the Oralians speak of the place of eternal torment as "the tundra."
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Maybe my Cardassians should drop by your AU Bajorans and borrow a few cold-boxes?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  20. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I think the word you want is "borrow." :evil:

    But those would be too GOOD for the ones who tortured Saratt...