Star Trek: Shaping a Cardassian - Among the Dragons

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gul Re'jal, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    The information is given to Ghemor. Whether or not your Ghemor could act upon it competently, I don't know--but then at least duty would be satisfied even if the same result (a coup) still occurred.
  2. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I think that my Ghemor would ask the Federation for help...and I think the result is easy to foresee :( He had no support from any part of the military after all--one part was The Directorate, and the other part the Mar'Kuu Group. If he had any supporting guls, it wouldn't be enough. So he might have a stupid idea of asking the Starfleet to help him.

    I can only hope the Federation would refuse, but I am not so sure of that.
  3. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    If that's the case, then what would have to happen would be a popular uprising if such a plot were exposed publicly. One thing the Cardassians would not want would be to have scenes of troops slaughtering and torturing civilians who rose up. This would have to come accompanied by a few possibilities, for it to work. One would be for Ghemor to stand up and take a harder line towards the Federation. Another would be a special, off-cycle election--to get a leader who is more in line with what the Cardassian people believe is right. In other words, Ghemor would have to voluntarily set a date (soon) to step down. That I could accept much more easily than the coup.
  4. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I am not sure he'd want to step down or if the Federation would allow him to step down. That would mean that the next person wouldn't agree to limit the military and to other demands they had.
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I think the right person could do it--keep reforms moving forward without crippling the Union or turning it into a Federation copy. This person would have to be a combination of not (naturally) aggressive, yet highly assertive and know what he or she wants. A statesman, basically.
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    You know how my Cardassians think--that person would have to be visible for quite some time already to have real support. It would have to be someone present in their politics for some time. Not as weak as Ghemor and not as "unreformed" as the Directorate.

    I know only one name that was present on political scene of Cardassia at that time. Gul Daset. Still, he would be closer to the Directorate than Ghemor in his approach to the Federation.

    Not another anonymous "pie in the sky" fellow. The Cardassians would not accept that kind of election again, seeing how badly they chose the previous time.
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Is your Gul Macet "political" at all? Or does yours prefer to be a soldier only? (Or would his unfortunate kinship keep people from seeing his qualifications?)

    I realize there are multiple interpretations of the character of Macet--some of which are positive, and some of which are negative. But it's my first thought. We've seen him work alongside the Federation before--but the way Picard behaved (atrociously) during that mission would make very sure that Macet is wary, and able to stand his ground where required.
  8. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    I think my Gul Macet has enough of politics and diplomacy after dealing with Picard.

    No, he didn't participate in politics at all, just a soldier.

    There were three big political forces on my Cardassia: The Reunion Project, the Directorate and the Mar'kuu Group. The first one very civilian and in the end too pro-Fed, the second too much set in the old ways and pre-war Cardassia, and the third one that tried to be in the middle and pose a the "reasonable ones." Smaller groups didn't have any real influence and those three groups were searching for supporters all around.
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I see. And of course your Macet didn't have any experiences that might make him re-evaluate his stereotypes. (Or at least think that one Cardassian was born on the wrong planet... ;) )
  10. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    True, although I'm not sure my Macet thinks that all humans have the "Picard superior attitude." He just wouldn't like to deal with those that do, again. One time was enough for him ;)
  11. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 19 – Day 521

    Seeing one’s own mother crying is one of the most terrible and scary things in the galaxy. It was for me.

    “Mom, please...” I whispered.

    But she only kept shaking her head and sobbing. Dad was sitting next to her, frowning. I could understand how they felt, that’s why I wanted to explain to them the reasons behind my decisions.

    I had been sending letters and calling them occasionally, but didn’t share everything—not a word about Tavor. I didn’t know why; maybe I feared their reaction, maybe I was not sure there was any future for this relationship and didn’t want to hear another ‘you sell yourself cheap,’ as if I slept with everyone. Hell, I didn’t even sleep with Tavor!

    You must return home,” Dad said. “You must. We watch the news, we know what’s going on there. I always knew these Cardies cannot be trusted and I never liked that you had volunteered for this assignment. And now—this?” He raised his hands and then brought them down to his thighs with a loud slap. “You must return!

    “Dad, I don’t want to return.” I didn’t appreciate his calling my friends ‘Cardies.’

    Is there anyone beyond the camera view with a phaser pointed at your head?

    “No!” I shouted with indignation.

    So why can’t you return?

    “I don’t want to return, Dad. I can but don’t want to.”

    They made you say this. I know they did.” He was visibly shaking now. I wasn’t sure he was angry, nervous or scared.

    “Daddy,” I tried to calm him down. “It’s not like that. I have friends here, I have a life here. You know that, I had been telling you about them. It’s not that different from Starfleet, really.”

    How can you say this!” Mom shouted. “I know you have friends there, sweetheart, people you care for, that security girl,” I guessed she meant Ma’Kan, “But...this is dangerous place now. After that coup! Do you have any idea what kind of monsters are in power now?

    “Actually, Mom, I have a very good idea, because I know personally some of those people. They are not any monsters.” Glinn Brenok was a definition of a non-monster, if anything. “I’m sure it looks bad from over there, but here it isn’t—”

    You must return home, now!” Dad shouted.

    “No,” I tried to be calm, I really tried. Why couldn’t they trust me? I wasn’t a baby any more, I could take care of myself.


    “No,” I repeated. “And I have more news for you. I am getting married.”

    Silence for a long moment.

    To one of them?” Mom stopped crying a looked at me with round eyes.

    “That’s right.” I nodded. “He is a gentle and a wonderful man.”

    What is his name?” Mom asked. Somehow, her behaviour changed. Maybe she could understand me better now, maybe she could see that for love a woman is able to do anything and everything. Maybe she started to believe that I wanted to stay and was not forced to it. If being in love and getting married wasn’t a reason good and convincing enough, then I don’t know what would be.

    “Tavor Karama.” I said his name softly, as it always sounded softly to me. Once Tavor had told me that I said his name almost the same way that Glinn Brenok did. Tah-voh. I had terrible problems with Cardassian ‘r’ sound, never could get it right and at ends of words I was omitting it completely. Too much contact with British during my school days, I supposed.

    Mom nodded, absorbing the name, but Dad fumed.

    That rapist?!

    “What?” I didn’t expect that. And then it occurred to me that he had to talk about Tavor’s father. No doubt Bajorans shared their list of war criminals with the Federation and Dad could have become very interested in the subject since my coming to Cardassia.

    He’d raped that officer, the one that had been there with you. That’s why she had been sent back, not to be able to press charges against him. Cardassian law...” he muttered with contempt.

    So it wasn’t about Tavor’s father. Stupid Ullmann! I wanted to scream in anger. “No, Dad, that is absolutely not true.” How come was my voice so quiet?

    What did he do to you?” Dad asked suspiciously. “Did he...did he....harm you?” His voice shook. I knew it was hard for him to even think about his daughter being violated that way.

    “No, Daddy, he is not like this.”

    Did he...did—

    “Daddy, no! He never touched me. At all. It’s not appropriate for them. Only after being married.”

    Oh, and I suppose they were all married to those Bajoran women they had been raping for decades.

    “Dad! Don’t judge the whole race based on minority!” I said sharply.

    But it doesn’t seem like a minority to me, baby. That’s the problem.

    I clenched my hands, trying not to explode. “He hasn’t even been to Bajor. Ever.” I paused to take a breath. “If you could talk to him, you could see how gentle and caring he is.”

    Could we talk to him?” Mom asked.

    I thought for a moment. Actually, why not? Maybe if they would see him, ask him questions, see him smile, listen to his soft way of speaking, look in his kind eyes—maybe then they would understand that not every Cardassian was a monster from Bajor. “Sure, I’ll call him.” I pressed a comm. “Kapoor to Karama.”

    Karama here.

    I made sure the translator was off and said in my broken Cardassian, “Come to me. Mom and Dad want to talk. Be good.”

    On my way,” he answered. I hoped he understood my message. I wanted to tell him to be patient with them but didn’t speak Cardassian well enough to convey this message.

    You speak their language?” Mom looked surprised.

    “A little,” I smiled.

    A chime sounded and Tavor entered. He wore a civilian tunic and I thought that it was a happy coincidence; maybe it would help them—help Dad—see through the stereotype of a ruthless Cardassian soldier and see Tavor for what he really was—a person.

    I rose from my chair and let him sit on it; I pulled another one and sat next to him.

    “Sir, Madame,” he greeted them politely.

    Mom smiled and nodded back. Her smile was a bit reserved but at least she made the effort. Dad, however, suspiciously scrutinised him. And then it started.

    What do you think you’re doing, Cardassian! This is kidnapping!” Dad shook his fist. “I will do everything in my power to get my child back.

    “Sir,” Tavor tried to say something but was interrupted; his voice sounded incredibly calm, though. Did he expect a reaction like that?

    Don’t talk to me, Cardie! You raped that other woman and now God only knows what you do to my little girl!” I could feel Tavor tense. I glanced at him and he still had that polite smile plastered on his face but I knew it was a mask. “If you think you can enslave everyone to serve your pervert needs, you will have to deal with me!” Mom tried to calm Dad down; she put her hand on his shoulder but he shrugged it off. Tavor seemed not to react. Frozen. “You can kill each other over there for all I care, but I don’t like that you keep my child there. I don’t know how you force her to lie to us like this, I don’t know how you threaten her to lie to us at all, but—

    Dhirendra, please,” Mom tried to interfere but he wouldn’t listen.

    No!” Dad shouted at her. Then, he turned back to the screen and hissed, squinting at Tavor. “You miserable, little, scheming reptile. Make no mistake, I’ll file a protest and get people to free my daughter. And then you’ll pay for this, you spoonhead!

    That was too much. This wasn’t a conversation, my father wasn’t allowing Tavor to present himself, to show who he was. This was a rant, a show of insults and it was clear to me that all my father wanted was to threaten and yell, not listen. Why did he behave like this? He had never been like that, he had never been a racist, I had never heard him using racial slurs. Until now. And all that directed at the man whom I loved. No! I won’t accept this! Tavor was too polite to react, obviously, although I had no idea how come he didn’t talk back. He should have.

    “Enough!” I slammed my hand on the desk, hitting the comm button and breaking the connection.

    Tavor looked at me astonished. “What did you do that for?”

    “Couldn’t you hear? Didn’t you understand what he said?!” I was shaking, angry.

    “I did. So what? He’s worried, he fears for you.”

    It was beyond worry. “He insulted you. Many times!”

    “And I would let him. He would throw all that out of him and then we would have a chance to talk.”

    I was flabbergasted. What was he saying? I sat in the other chair and stared at him. “What?” I whispered.

    “I thought that if I would let him to let the anger out and he’d calm down, we could talk. Really talk. Have a conversation, with questions and answers. Your mother seemed to have a lot of questions.” He silenced for a moment. “She seemed nice,” he added. “And with your father—”

    “He can go to hell,” I growled. “No one will call you...the ‘s’ word.” I was so angry. He had taught me that insulting people was unacceptable, that calling them names was unacceptable and now he did just that. That man looked like my father but behaved nothing like him. I was disgusted by that show of hatred.

    “You shouldn’t say such things about your father,” Tavor chastised me.

    “You do about yours,” I said defiantly.

    “Mine is a rapist and murderer. Yours isn’t. He’s just worried about you. He panics. He fears for your safety and I understand that. He is sick with worry.”

    “Well, he expresses it the wrong way!” I got up and went to my tiny window.

    “You should call them back and talk to them,” he said quietly, approaching me and wrapping his arms around me.

    “No way,” I barked.

    I was so mad. I had known that conversation with my parents would be a tough one, I had known there would be tears and accusations, misunderstandings and a lot of explanations. I had been looking forward to it, though, because I had thought I could tell them about my life: that I was happy, that I found true love, that every day was an adventure, even if sometimes adventures were scary and seemed dangerous. However, they weren’t interested in my happiness. They were interested in their assumptions.

    “I need to talk to Starfleet now,” I said quietly.

    “Come to my quarters after you finish. I’ll have something yummy for you, to improve your mood. And I’ll let you win another kotra game.”

    “Nothing can improve my mood.”

    He turned me around to face him. “Maybe this isn’t the best idea,” he said very quietly, looking intently into my eyes. “Maybe it would be better if you returned home after all.”

    There was pain in his eyes, I could clearly see it now. Was it because the conversation with my parents went so badly, or because of the words he had to listen to? Or both?
  12. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    He was a Cardassian. He was a Cardassian from an unhealthy, broken family and I knew that it bothered him. That some kind of sacred custom has been violated; he talked about it sometimes and I knew he felt terrible because of the situation. Did he want to spare me the same pain? Of hating my own father?

    I didn’t hate Dad. I was just so, so, so mad at him.

    And Tavor? He was able to push me away, send back home, let me go and not be with me not to let a crack to grow between me and my parents. I wouldn’t be allowed to contact them after Cardassia isolates itself from the rest of the quadrant, and that would be bad enough. Now it was different. Did our last conversation have to look like this? Did it had to be a fight with bitter words? He wanted me to have a proper goodbye with my family, to make sure they knew I was happy. If I were to break my contact with them this way—with ugly words shouted in our faces—he’d rather withdraw his word and return me to my family than be with me. My family’s integrity was more important to him than his broken heart.

    If they only knew about it; if Dad knew what Tavor tried to do for us. But Dad wouldn’t listen, he’d just start a rant again, seeking a hidden malice in Tavor’s actions. I didn’t have to listen to that, I wouldn’t listen to that.

    I stroke his eye ridge gently, enjoying the feeling of his scales under my skin. “Go back to your quarters. I’ll join you when this is over.”

    He nodded, kissed me and left.


    I didn’t wait long for the connection. A commander appeared on my elegant, oval monitor.

    Commander Valatto. How can I help you?” he asked smiling at me.

    “Commander, my name is Lieutenant Amrita Kapoor, Starfleet Service Number JP-583-554.” He entered the number into his computer and I saw that red colour reflected from his olive skin. Clearly, some kind of warning displayed on his monitor. I ignored it and continued, “I would like to file my resignation from Starfleet.”

    Lieutenant,” Valatto said slowly. “Please wait a moment. I’ll patch you through to Admiral Nechayev.

    Before I had a time to ask ‘why?’ his face was replaced by the petite, blond woman’s stern look.

    “Admiral,” I said by the way of greeting.

    She ignored it. “Lieutenant Kapoor, I’m glad you decided to contact us. You are being recalled from Cardassia, effective immediately.

    I ignored her too. “Admiral, please acknowledged receipt of my resignation from Starfleet.”

    No, Lieutenant. You will return to Starfleet Headquarters to be debriefed.”

    What? Am I now a traitor? “Why?” I asked.

    If there is anyone in the Federation that understands what is going on on Cardassia, it is you. You have the insight, you are in the middle of it and you have the information we need.

    “I’m resigning from Starfleet, Admiral. I can prepare a full report about everything I know about current Cardassian politics, I can even try to interview the coup participants for you, I would answer all your questions, but I am not returning. I resign from Starfleet.”

    She gazed at me for a moment. “You have a direct access to that gul...we need to know what you know. Besides, it is not safe for you there any longer.

    “Admiral, you’re not listening, I am—”

    I heard you, Lieutenant. And I refuse to accept your resignation. You will report to Starfleet Headquarters.

    I knew it. I was sure they’d try this and I had prepared myself for it. “You cannot refuse it, Admiral. Starfleet Regulation Number forty-five-dash-seven-dash-eighteen, paragraph three. ‘Should a Starfleet off—’”

    Don’t quote regulations to me, Lieutenant, I know them.” She didn’t sound irritated...or she sounded irritated all the time, I was not sure which.

    “Then you also know you can’t refuse my resignation. If you received the file, I am no longer a lieutenant.”

    She silenced for a moment. Then she said in a much softer tone of voice. “Lieu...Ms. Kapoor, Cardassia is not safe right now. You can’t stay there.

    “Expect my full report soon. It’s going to be the last one.”

    I don’t like it and I think you make a grave mistake.” But there was nothing she could do about it and she knew it. “Good luck, Ms. Kapoor.

    “Thank you, Admiral.”

    She disconnected and just then I realised how tensed I was.

    I was sure it wasn’t the end, I was sure that Starfleet wouldn’t just take my file and forget about everything. But at that moment I didn’t care. At. All.

    The die is cast.

    The rope to Starfleet has been cut. The rope to parents has been torn to pieces. I hoped that the new Cardassian strings would prove strong enough to carry me into my future.

    I left my quarters and headed for the Roumar’s bridge and the gul’s office.

    Gul Jarol gazed at me, looked at my civilian clothes with interest and then put away a padd she had in her hand.

    “Lieutenant?” she asked.

    “No longer, G...Legate.” Of course, she wasn’t a gul any longer. What was she still doing aboard the ship anyway?

    “I see,” she leaned back in her chair and gave me a more careful look. I’d say there was curiosity in her eyes. “What can I do for you, then?”

    “I promised Starfleet the last report about the current situation on Cardassia. I will write what I know. Everything. I wanted you to know that. I can show it to you so you’d know what I wrote, but I wouldn’t allow any censorship.” Bold. She could block it with ease and there would be nothing I could do about it; I didn’t want to do it without notifying her, though. I didn’t want to feel like I spied on them, I didn’t want them to think I spied on them. I worked too hard and too long to gain their trust—her trust—to fail it now. I hoped she’d understand it was the last thing I had to do, my last duty to fulfil. She was a soldier, she was an officer, she knew duty.

    Jarol smiled. “Lieut...Kapoor, if you write the truth, then I don’t need to check it, control it or whatever. Besides, I am really not interested in Starfleet’s opinion about Cardassia. It is of no consequence. Not any longer.” She paused. “All right, that is not entirely true, I’m not that short-sighted,” a small grin appeared on her face. Why wasn’t this beautiful woman surrounded by dozens of adorers again? “Write your report and send it. Thank you for notifying me.” So she did understand. I felt relieved.

    “About my stay in the Guard...?” I asked shyly.

    “I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to talk to Gul Tarkan, yet. I’ll do that first thing in the morning, all right?”

    Did she ask me if it was all right, or were my ears playing tricks on me?

    “Of course. I appreciate that, Legate.”

    She looked like she wanted to ask something more, but she only smiled and returned to her padd. “Dismissed,” she said.

    I left her office and went straight to Tavor’s quarters. I hoped he had a good plan for my mood improvement because I desperately needed it.

  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    This is very, VERY sad to read, how her family reacted. :( Karama's right that they're scared and upset, but in my opinion that still does not justify their behavior.

    The one thing I wonder, though...does Karama really, truly understand that it was his behavior that caused the misunderstanding with Kapoor's dad? NOT the racist rant--that was all Mr. Kapoor--but the underlying misunderstanding. Do you think he feels guilty about that? Because Ullmann's way of perceiving things was, in my opinion, justified. What Gil Karama did was beyond the pale, something no sentient being should EVER threaten towards another. We saw that he grew beyond that, of course, but Ullmann wasn't around for that growth, so as far as she is concerned, it didn't happen.

    I'm amazed Jarol is going to let Kapoor write a final, uncensored report. And I am doubly amazed that Starfleet did not tell her that her resignation would not be accepted--or issue a warrant for her arrest. They could have had her extradited as a criminal. Especially a hard-case admiral like Nechayev. Why did she not do that?

    As for why Jarol is being "gentler" it because Kapoor is temporarily a civilian?
  14. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    He tensed. It is a sensitive subject for him. Why? Kapoor doesn't know.
    I think most of all he is ashamed of this incident and of his behaviour. If he think that Kapoor's dad's reaction was only to this incident--I don't think so. Karama knows that it is a huge part of it, but he believes not only that. It's the general opinion the Cardassians have--that's why he wanted to let Mr. Kapoor fume and then try to talk to him to fight the stereotype and the negative impression of his as a person.
    Data couldn't be stopped from resigning from SF (they had to force him to submit to Maddox's experiment by establishing that Data was a thing, property and not a person), so I assume that they can't refuse a resignation. Service in SF is voluntary, not obligatory, so a person can choose if they want or don't want to serve.

    Nechayev didn't just give up, she has plans for Kapoor. Those plans will fail completely, but she doesn't know that yet. And Kapoor will never know (some background info that will never be in the story, but helps me make sense of it). Nechayev hopes that with time, when Kapoor cools down a little, they could recruit her as a spy.
    I think she was in exceptionally good mood :)

    As for the report: Jarol doesn't think she has anything to hide. They had a coup. The government on Cardassia changed and this is a fact. She is not ashamed of what they had done.
    And she trusts that Kapoor will write the truth.
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    I had to imagine that the way Mr. Kapoor reacted also had to remind Karama of some other unpleasant spats that he had in his past, at home. :(

    As for refusing a resignation...I had assumed it can be done, because even in the American military (which is all-volunteer), you can choose to join, but once you do join, there are things you don't get a say in, and I think that a resignation could be refused.

    As for Nechayev hoping to turn Kapoor into a spy...that does sound like typical Nechayev, now that you say it.
  16. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Especially since she was a spy, an undercover on Bajor, if I recall correctly. In Treklit. So it seemed like she could come up with such an idea.

    Of course, Kapoor would never agree to it, but she at least was spared being asked such a question (or ordered?) because the isolation was effective enough that SF couldn't locate her (and she was no longer aboard the Roumar, so they had no idea where to look for her).
  17. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 20 – Day 531 ​

    I arrived to Gul Tarkan’s office almost an hour too early. I approached a glinn at the reception desk and told him I had an appointment with Gul Tarkan. The glinn didn’t take his eyes from me and politely replied that I was much too early. He didn’t have to check it, he just remembered. Did he memorise the gul’s schedule for a day every morning?

    He told me to sit and wait.

    So I sat and waited.

    I hadn’t slept the last night. Tavor had told me that Gul Tarkan was an old, traditional gul, stiff in his ways and rough in his conduct. He hadn’t intended to scare me but that was exactly what he had done. So I hadn’t slept, fearing this meeting and regretting that I had asked Jarol to arrange it. Tavor had told me that most likely even Jarol was afraid of Tarkan.

    The glinn busied himself with his duties and I sat there, staring at the wall opposite me and trying not to throw up. My stomach twisted and danced in my guts. I hadn’t been able to have breakfast and I was grateful for it now, as it would return the same way it had gotten there.

    Time was passing. Slowly. Sloooooowly. Slooooooooooowly. The glinn glanced at me from time to time and then returned to his work. A secretary in Cardassian armour.

    “You may enter,” he suddenly said. He nodded toward a big door to his right, my left.

    I glanced at the chronometer and it was twenty minutes too early.

    “Thank you,” I said—muttered rather—and approached the door.

    It parted quietly and I entered a huge room behind it.

    Please meet Godzilla.

    He was huge. Twice the size of a Cardassian. Three times. Ten times. Enormous! He stood by a big window, his hands clasped behind his back. “Please, sit down,” he gestured toward a chair in front of a bulky desk.

    “Thank you,” I said, hoping that my voice didn’t show how nervous I was.

    He sat too. He took a padd that lay on the desk and activated it. “I have been told that you had resigned from Starfleet,” he said looking at me, not at the padd. I only nodded and swallowed. “I’ve been also told that you would like to join the Cardassian Guard.”

    I nodded again. And then I thought I couldn’t make an impression of a coward; Cardassia didn’t need cowards. “Yes, sir.” I hoped my voice sounded strong but all I heard was a thin mouse squeak.

    “Why?” It wasn’t asked in an aggressive, demanding manner. It was just a question.

    A question I was not prepared for. I had an answer but I don’t think he would be interested in my love life.

    My hesitation had to be obvious, or lasted too long, as he said, “Let me rephrase the question. Why do you want to serve in the military of your former enemy?”

    That was supposed to help me to answer?

    He let the padd go and it fell to the desk with a loud ‘clack!’ I stared at it for a moment and then took a deep breath. “I don’t see Cardassia as my former enemy. I see it as my new home.”

    “And what if your new home goes to war with your old home? Where would your loyalties be then?” His voice was still levelled. Was it a test? Did he try to check if I betrayed the Federation? Did he fear I would betray Cardassia some day too?

    “I don’t know,” I said quietly.

    He stared at me. I felt he could see through me. Inside me. Outside me. All over me. His small, grey eyes pierced through my head. I knew Godzilla would eat me in a moment. He wouldn’t even have to chew, he’d just swallow me whole.

    “Why did you join Starfleet?” he asked.

    Finally a question I knew how to answer. “It seemed like a good career. And an interesting job. I’m an engineer and I don’t see that kind of job only as fixing broken things. This is also a way to learn about devices and tools. One of the reasons why I volunteered to serve about the Roumar was that I could learn more about Cardassian devices and tools. To discover them, in a manner of speaking. In Starfleet I had a chance to work on many interesting projects. It’s like an...adventure.” Did I babble? I did, didn’t I? But at least I was becoming less nervous.

    He seemed to listen carefully.

    “Do you know that the Cardassian Guard’s mission is not exploration?” he asked me after a moment of silence.

    “I do. I have been working on the Roumar for over a year now.”

    “‘Discovering’ Cardassian technology,” he said. “What will happen when you know everything and there’s nothing more to discover?”

    “There’s always something to discover, sir.” I smiled. I really dared to smile!

    His frown softened for a moment. And then he asked, “Why do you want to stay on Cardassia, Kapoor?” That question again. “The truth.”

    “I will marry a Cardassian,” I said. He wanted the truth, he got the truth.

    He inclined his head to the left and looked at me with a new expression. He was surprised, I could tell that for sure. He shifted forward and leaned toward me, leaning his forearms on the desk. “If you want to stay in the Guard, you would have to go through the same process as any other Cardassian.”

    “Do I have to go to the Academy?” I can’t say I didn’t expect something like that.

    “Yes and no.” He paused, pursed his lips and after a short moment continued. “You have graduated from one academy and I see no need to waste time and resources to teach you things you already know and train you in a way that you had been already trained—if not at the Federation academy, then aboard the Roumar. You don’t have to attend classes but you must pass all exams. You can study at home, or have a private tutor and approach exams when you are ready. That should speed up the process for you.” He most likely overestimated my memory. “After successful completion you would start as a d’ja and climb the ladder of your new career from the bottom, as everyone else.” He paused again. “I had talked to Gul Brenok and he is willing to keep your aboard the Roumar. You will be an eresh in training. That should help you with your study.” I nodded. This was really good news. “However...” Oh, no! “I have another proposal for you.” My eyebrows raised. “I am attempting to gather a team of engineers to work on innovations and improving Cardassian technology. I believe you would be a great asset to such a team. With your Federation, non-Cardassian experience and knowledge you could bring unique ideas.” What was he saying?! He was offering me a job? “I can understand that you might feel like betraying your...old home,” he leaned back in his chair and shrank a bit. “That’s why I would like you to take time and think about my offer.”

    “Would I be able to resign from that team if I wanted to?”

    “Of course. However, all your input would stay a Cardassian property.”

    In other words, if I invent a weapon and they start shooting my people with it, I can leave in protest but they keep the weapon.

    “What kind of inventions would those be?” I asked.

    “For a start, I think we need a new, better warship. And more efficient replicators. We had received a few industrial replicators from the Federation a few years ago and they are better than ours.” He thought for a while. “I could even give you an option to choose your projects. Non-military only, if you wish.”

    “Even a frying pan can be a weapon if your intent is to kill,” I said before I stopped myself.

    Godzilla...smiled. No, he chuckled. And shrank a bit more. “Will you consider my offer?” He became serious again.

    “Yes, sir, I will.”

    “Very well, then. Glinn Hertop will have a full curriculum for you. Report back to the Roumar. Notify Gul Brenok when you are ready to take the first examination and we will continue from there.”

    “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

    He looked a bit surprised at me. That’s right, Cardassians didn’t have that sweet habit of thanking their superiors. “You’re welcome,” he answered in an unsure voice.

    Godzilla shrank. He was a tall and slightly overweight Cardassian, but by no means a gigantic one. I smiled to him and left his office.

    The glinn outside rose when he saw me emerging from Tarkan’s office. He approached me and handed me a padd. “This is for you,” he said. Ah, so this was Glinn Hertop.

    “Thank you,” I smiled to him and he grinned too, although his smile wasn’t any more sure than Gul Tarkan’s voice a moment ago. I found it amusing.

    I left the building and outside was met by a hot, dry wind.

    That part of Lakat wasn’t as badly destroyed as other districts, not mentioning Lakarian City, so I decided to take a walk. Tavor had given me a padd with a city plan, so I retrieved it from my bag and activated it.

    I passed by government buildings, with majestic Central Command Headquarters in front of it, and headed for the oldest district, hoping to see some historical buildings and how Cardassian architecture has been changing through the centuries.

    It was a hot day, with hot wind, dry air and a lot of city noise. And crowds. I smiled to myself—it reminded me of Calcutta, only the humidity level was different.

    I stopped by their kind of pedestrian crossing—seven thin lines stretching from one curb to the other—and waited with other people for the signal. They didn’t have red and green lights one above the other, they had Cardassian letters one next to the other. A girl, four, maybe five years old, raised her head and looked at me. I smiled to her and she hid behind her mother, who gave me a surprised look. Was the child afraid of a stranger or an alien? Or both?

    The Cardassian character on the street light changed and I crossed the street together with everybody.

    The nearer to the old district I was, the emptier the city seemed. There was no rubble—it had been cleared already—but the holes left by destroyed buildings screamed about the great tragedy that fell on the Cardassians. I remembered hearing some of my colleagues saying shortly after the war that the Cardassians brought it on themselves, but what did that little girl do to have her home devastated? What was her mother guilty of? Yes, the Cardassians were not the gentlest and friendliest race in the quadrant, but if someone should be punished, then punish the guilty ones, not just anyone with ridges on his or her face.

    Something caught my attention. There seemed to be some kind of public gathering on a plaza; I headed there, curious. As it occurred, there was some sort of open-air exhibition of photos, drawings, painting and holoimages of Lakat. In front of many items there were circles drawn on the ground but I had no idea what was the purpose of it. I walked between the works and thought that the city used to be really beautiful. Dominated by brown and ochre colours, with everywhere present ovals and triangles—did those shapes have a special meaning for the Cardassians? I’d have to ask Tavor. Some people stopped, seeing me. Some started to point out to me and whisper something to their companions. Some faces expressed surprise, some hostility, some curiosity. There was one man that stared at me intently and didn’t avert his eyes when I looked at him. He didn’t like me being there and he didn’t hide it.

    One drawing especially drew my attention. It was a panorama, with spires and roofs, and buildings. I stopped in front of it and studied it. Some man stopped next to me and waved for me to move to my left. Was he shooing me away? Why? He pointed to the circle on the ground and then I understood that he wanted me to stand inside it. I looked around and noticed that other visitors did just that. Why? Did the state command from which place you should admire art too? However, I listened and stood in the circle. The man smiled and went away. I looked at the drawing again and then it hit me.

    From the spot I stood I could see the drawing and what was behind it... It was exactly the same view, the same landscape. Standing in the circle you could see what had been—in the picture—and what was—in the brutal reality. Tears filled my eyes and I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to muffle my gasp. I blinked and blinked but tears didn’t want to clear. I dried them with my hand and looked around, wondering if anyone noticed. The hostile man did but he wasn’t hostile any longer; his face was graced by a sad smile. Had he seen me as an enemy and now realised I didn’t condone what had been done to his planet any more than he did?

  18. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Tarkan came across as very blunt in his questioning--but ultimately well-intentioned.

    And I'm amazed he didn't take the "frying pan" remark as an insult! I wonder if he took an anger management class after the "Slaughter them!" incident in the original Shaping a Cardassian story? ;)

    The exhibit--and the way people reacted to Kapoor's presence--was really beautiful. :)
  19. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    Chapter 21 – Day 568

    I was terrified. I was just about to face a full Cardassian family, a Cardassian sacred family, and I had no idea what to expect—apart from the dreadful, horrible Mr. Karama that is! I knew what to expect from him! Tavor had told me to brace for impact.

    Their living room, which I’m sure was called differently, was quite big and, of course, quite dark too. Oval windows gave little light and the interior’s colours were mostly browns, dark browns. The wall to the right was all covered with bookshelves. On the wall on the right hung a huge painting, showing a panorama of some city. The city was unmistakeably Cardassian but I wouldn’t be able to tell which one it was.

    There were four people in the room. One thin woman with greying hair. I guessed it was Tavor’s mother. She observed me intently but I could not tell if she was a friend or foe. Next to her stood a much younger Cardassian. His face was very much like Tavor’s, so I guessed it was his older brother. The man wore armour. By the bookshelves stood another woman. Her eyes were gently looking at me and I had a very strong impression she fought her urge to smile. The fourth person was a big, armoured Cardassian man who stood in the middle of the room and was eyeing me with squinted eyes. He was everything but friendly. And I knew who he was.

    “Why did you bring that here?” he asked.

    ‘That’? Did he refer to me as ‘that’?

    She is a person, father, not a thing.” Tavor’s voice was levelled.

    “It is not a Cardassian.”

    “No, she is not. She still is a person nevertheless.”

    The old Karama moved closer to Tavor.

    “How dare you use that tone of voice with me!” he boomed.

    “I didn’t use any tone of voice,” Tavor replied with his head raised high. “Yet!” he added defiantly.

    Oh my, this was not going well, was it?

    “You want some pleasure, use it!” the father said. “But don’t marry it.”

    Tavor’s mother closed her eyes for a moment. I couldn’t tell she was sighing or restraining herself.

    “She is not ‘it’!” Tavor didn’t raise his voice but the tone was sharp. I noticed his hands clenched into fists.

    “It is a non-Cardassian,” the old man repeated. I could decipher on his armour that he was a very high ranking Gul. “I will not allow it.”

    “I’m not asking for your permission, I am informing you.”

    “This family will not have half-breed children.”

    Tavor fumed. “Oh, and how am I supposed to know that I don’t have any half-Bajoran brothers or sisters, ah?” he shouted in his father’s face.

    And after that everything happened very fast. The mother gasped. The brother whispered with indignation “Tavor” and the young woman covered her mouth with her hand. The father...the father was in front of Tavor in a split second and with a swiping move slapped him hard.

    I flinched at the sound. However, Tavor didn’t. He kept staring his terrifying father straight in the eyes with a defiant face expression. He was furious. I have never seen him angry, irritated—yes, but not angry, and now he was like a typhoon: his nostrils were opening wider as he breathed audibly, his upper lip was twitching and his eyes were as narrow as of a laughing Chinese. His hands were still clenched into fists and a little raised, like he was preparing to fend off another attack.

    I have never imagined this was possible. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. My teddy bear changed into a grizzly and the shift took merely a few seconds.

    I felt someone grab my hand. It was the young woman.

    “Come, you don’t have to witness it,” she whispered and started to pull me out of the room. I resisted, I didn’t want to leave Tavor like this and retreat, but his mother moved toward the door and also, with a gesture, told me to leave. The brother stayed in the room, while we went to another one, which without a doubt was the kitchen.

    “Would you like some cookies?” the mother asked.

    I didn’t know what to say. Why did they behave like nothing happened? Was the scene in the living room nothing unusual? Was it normal for a father to slap his son like that?

    “Don’t worry,” the young woman said, seeing my worried face. “They will work it out. They always do. By the way, I am Inaya, Tasar’s wife.”

    Given names. She used their given names. Did that mean I was accepted at least by them? Or it would just be strange to say ‘I am Karama, Karama’s wife?’

    “Amrita, Amrita Kapoor,” I said quietly.

    “We know,” she smiled. “Please, sit down.”

    “Are they...” I looked toward the door.

    “Don’t worry about them,” Inaya said, also sitting down. The mother came with cookies and put the plate in the middle of the table.

    “Did you ever try zobar milk?” she asked.

    “Yes, I did and I liked it.”

    She nodded and a moment later returned with three mugs of warm zobar milk.

    I didn’t know what to say and the women also didn’t speak. I kept listening intently, hoping to catch some sound from the living room, but there was nothing. Either the walls were thick or soundproof, or they weren’t shouting and beating each other.

    I tasted a cookie. It was a bit gummy but very tasty. Not too sweet, a little salty, with tiny pieces of something that resembled peach.

    “Very tasty,” I said looking at the mother. Tavor had told me her name, but I, of course, forgot.

    The woman nodded but didn’t say anything.

    “Come!” a raspy, strong voice said behind me. I turned to see who he talked to and with a dread realised that the old Karama had addressed me.

    Swallowing loudly I followed him to yet another room, of which door closed behind me. He stood before me, big, wide, scary, looked down to meet my eyes and said in that deep voice of his, “I don’t want you in my family, but as I see it, my son is an adult and has a right to choose his own wife.”

    He motioned to a desk, which stood by a window and stopped there, looking at something on the wall, his right side facing me.

    “I am disgusted at the thought of having half-Terran children,” he continued. I couldn’t say he wasn’t honest. “I am disgusted at the thought that you would be part of my family. But the law changed and you are a Cardassian citizen with the same right as me, so I can’t just kill you and solve the problem that way.”

    Buddha be blessed for Cardassian reforms!

    “BUT!” Oh, yes, here we go. “But I expect you to adapt to some rules, as I am adapting now. My grandchildren will be raised as Cardassians, even if their ridges are not going to be prominent. They will speak and think in Cardassian and you will never have a right to take them with you, should you decide to leave my son.” He turned to me. “And I am sure you will decide to do it sooner or later. You, Terrans, are immoral, depraved people.” Look who was saying that? A man, who according to his own son, used Bajoran women as sex toys?! “And you divorce,” he spat the word, “and remarry many times.” He squinted at me. “With how many men did you sleep before?”

    Ah? What business was it of his? I didn’t intend to reply.


    “No,” I said quietly, expecting my voice to shake, but it didn’t.

    “Speak!” he boomed.

    “No. This is my private matter. Or a matter between me and Tavor. You have no right to ask me such questions.”

    “So there were men,” he said quieter. “Appalling!”

    So are you, I thought.

    He eyed me for a long time and I fought the strong urge to avert my eyes, but I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction. He was terrifying me, yes, but I didn’t want him to know how much. Choke on your hatred, you old bastard. I had been a Starfleet officer and now was a Cardassian Guard eresh and no Cardassian racist will tell me how to live my life and who to love, even my love’s father.

    He approached me and towered over me, his eyes still piercing through me.

    “Are you not afraid of me?”

    “I am, deadly,” I replied honestly, still not lowering my eyes.

    He leaned over me. The seconds felt like years. Millennia.

    Then he reached for the door comm, pressed it and the door opened.

    “Go,” he said and I didn’t need any more encouragement.

    I left the room, wondering if he would follow me, but he didn’t. Tavor waited for me in the corridor in front of the living room. As soon as I noticed him standing there, my legs moved faster to reach him and my eyes filled with tears of fear. He extended his arms and I fell between them to be hugged the strongest hug in my life. I felt his cheek on top of my head and his hand stroking my hair. I couldn’t stop sobbing and was so ashamed that his family witnessed this.

    I calmed down a little and looked up at Tavor. He smiled.

    “Can we go home now?” I asked as quietly as possible, because I didn’t want others to hear my question. To my relief, he nodded.

    “Let me just bid farewell,” he said.

    I could wait that long.

    We were almost leaving the house when Tavor’s mother approached us and handed me a small packet.

    “I hope you really liked them and weren’t only polite praising me, because Tavor doesn’t like them and you will have to eat them all alone,” she said and...smiled. I knew after whom Tavor inherited his smile and gentleness.

    “Thank you,” I said in Cardassian, hoping I didn’t butcher the language too badly. The crew of the Roumar was surely used to my funny Cardassian but people here were not.

    We left.

    “I’m sorry for all this,” Tavor said while we walked back to a public transport booth. “I really thought he would behave. He didn’t seem that aggressive and negative when I was explaining to them who you were.”

    “That’s all right. Don’t worry about it.” I noticed some passers by were glancing at us curiously.

    “It’s not all right. I don’t know what he wanted to talk to you about but I’m sure he did his best to scare you to death.” And he succeeded.

    “I am sorry he hit you because of me,” I said.

    “It’s not the first time and I’m sure not the last either. He’s quick with his hands.”

    “Your mom is very nice.”

    “I know,” he smiled. “She was afraid to talk to you before he accepted you, but now she knows it’s all right.”

    This was ‘accepted?’ What would ‘rejected’ look like?

    “Did he ever hit her?” I asked and immediately thought that I probably shouldn’t have asked that question.

    “No, never!” He looked at me surprised. “Tasar and I needed discipline but he would never hit our mom!”

    So, he wasn’t a total bastard, ‘only’ 95% of a bastard.

    “Will I ever have to see him again?”

    “No. One of his conditions is that we won’t live with them.”

    Perfect for me but I was sure it was a huge blow for Tavor. He had always assumed he would live with the rest of his family, just like everyone else.

    “I’m sorry,” I said.

    “Don’t be. You did nothing wrong.”

    But it felt wrong, all of it felt wrong.

    “Where will we live?”

    “I don’t know yet but I’ll think of something. For now we can stay aboard the Roumar.” He squeezed my hand and I smiled.

    I tried not to look at surprised faces of passers by, so I raised my head to look at buildings.

    “Tavor, what are those screens for?” There were oval screens on many buildings, quite the same as the one in Deep Space Nine ops.

    “Ah, the ‘talking heads screens!’”

    “What?” I laughed; what kind of name it was!

    “Until the end of the war, before Ghemor took the Castellan’s office, they were always on and there was either a trial to watch, or some important event, or news and if there wasn’t anything to broadcast, a guy talked.”

    “Talked about what?”

    “Everything. Our duty, our sacrifice, what it is to be a good Cardassian, obedience, service, greatness of our government and such stuff. After some time you learn to ignore it, so no one really paid attention to it. Sometime someone would stop and listen, but if you hear babbling all the time, you tune it out or you’d get crazy.

    “They turned them off after Ghemor had won the elections, as ‘evil propaganda instrument’, so they are now useless.”

    Indoctrination. Obedience.

    The Cardassians were obedient to anyone who’d rule over them. All right, I had to give them that—it mattered who ruled them, they finally had rebelled against the Dominion, but they still couldn’t break out from this obedience conditioning on the most basic level. Tavor’s father bit him and Tavor believed he deserved that, because it was his father and he was right to raise his sons the way he did. I could only hope Tavor wouldn’t think this was the right way to raise children, for if we would be able to have any, I’d cut his hands off if he used force even once. I couldn’t imagine Tavor doing something like that, but I wouldn’t imagine him becoming a grizzly either and I had witnessed that not long time ago.

    There was no time like the present. “Tavor, I want to ask you a very important question.” He gave me an asking look, so I continued, “Will you discipline our children the way you and your brother had been disciplined?”

    He shook his head vigorously. “Never,” he said. “How could you even think something like that!” He knitted his eye ridges, giving me a hurt look.

    “Just making sure,” I said.

    “How could you even think about something like that,” he hissed and walked faster, moving ahead of me. I had to almost run to keep up with him.

    “You sound like you think that you deserved the beatings, so I want to make sure you don’t think this is the way to raise children,” I told him.

    He stopped and turned to me; his lips were pursed and eyes squinted. He glared at me for a moment and then resumed his walk. He didn’t speak to me the whole way to the transporter booth and then went to his quarters aboard the Roumar without a word of farewell. He was mad.

  20. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

    Jun 28, 2010
    Gul Re'jal is suspecting she's on the wrong space
    He wanted answers to his questions, honest ones, to understand her better. His purpose wasn't to threaten her or anything. After all, he wants something from her ;)
    I think he had a lot to think about after that incident ;)
    Thanks. I thought that the Cardassians would try to save what they could from their 'artistic souls' and express it somehow. Even in a half-rebuilt city.