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Part of USS Cupertino: Uncharted Dimensions and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

Experiences (Pt.2)

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After a few hours of working on the Zantett and getting to know its crew and medical staff, Nichelle found that she wasn’t actually scared of Cardassians. They were people, and they had major or minor injuries, and just like what species someone was had never really interested her beyond the biological component, here too it seemed to matter a lot less than she had anticipated. 

On the other hands, she was growing somewhat concerned that the Cardassians were, in fact afraid of her. Which was an entirely new experience, and one the Doctor didn’t quite know how to handle just yet. 

“All done.”, she told a young Cardassian man who had sustained moderate plasma burns on his arm. A damage that was quickly fixed by the medical equipment she had available here. “Do you want any pain medication?”

He shook his head, which annoyed Nichelle. Mostly because he was quite obviously in pain, but also because shaking one’s head didn’t constitute as an answer when you could actually use your words.

“Is that a yes or a no?”, she asked, perhaps a little more annoyed that she had meant to, because the Cardassian tinged dark grey and for the first time made eye contact with Nichelle. For about two seconds. Then he looked away again. “I don’t need any. Thank you, Doctor.”  

“What was that about?”, Nichelle asked, mostly herself. It was true that she liked to rule sickbay with somewhat of an iron fist, but that’s how things got done, and her crew knew very well that she might not be winning any award for ‘nicest person on the Cupertino’ any time soon, but was there for them if they needed her. 

“He doesn’t know how to approach you.”, responded Doctor Duran, who had been observing the interaction. 

“What do you mean he doesn’t know?”, Nichelle frowned, swallowing any unsavoury commentary she was about to add to the question. if anyone should be uncomfortable, it should be her. 

“It is … difficult for some of us to deal with our people’s past.”

“Well it’s not his past. Yours, maybe, but not his. He was probably a toddler when the war happened, it’s not like it is his responsibility to atone for it in any way. If we keep blaming people for something their ancestors did, we just maintain reasons to be pissed off.” 

Nichelle sighed. She hadn’t ever thought about what it must be like to be Cardassian, and to carry such a difficult history on ones shoulders. The young men (and women?) serving on the Zantett had nothing to do with the Occupation of Bajor, and most likely weren’t even involved in the Dominion War. They had either been toddler, children, or not born yet. 

What was it like to grow up on a planet that had been turned into rubble – to live through illness and starvation and the efforts to rebuild – and at the same time be told that your people brought this upon themselves? That they deserved it. 

“Many of your own people think the Cardassian people should pay for what was done.”

“I don’t think that way.”, she told Doctor Duran. “I mean… it’s difficult for me. I was very young during the Occupation, but I saw things I would much rather forget. And I will admit I really didn’t want to come here.” 

“No one is blaming you for that.”, assured the older Cardassian woman.

“Yeah. But they shouldn’t blame themselves either. No one deserves to be ashamed of something they had no way of influencing, and of something that happened years before they were even born. Especially not when they are hurt and in pain and should be taken care of.”, she hesitated, then asked “What can I do to make them more comfortable?”

 


In the meanwhile, Catherine had an entirely different experience. She found that she liked Talor – whose full name was actually Neritalor Zorkal – who divulged little details like that he had an uncle working as Ambassador on a Starfleet-owned starbase near the Cardassian border, and pretended to be the last living member of his line. He was a very capable engineer despite this not being his actually speciality, and asked questions about what life on Earth, and in the Federation in general, was like. 

“You’ll just have to come and find out.”, Cat offered, not entirely sure whether it would be possible, but willing to figure it out. 

“Let’s see if we have cleared out any residue of Chief Engineer, huh?”, Talor grinned, and Catherine made a face. “Sure.” 

She was glad that they shared the same brand of humour, though it seemed his was a little darker than hers. Nevertheless, Talor reached for a scanner and began checking the area for remnants of Cardassian DNA. 

It was only when Talor teasingly turned to Cat and started scanning her, that Catherine realized that there was something she should have probably have disclosed upon coming on board. Or once they started talking. Or five seconds ago, before he stared her down. 

This was bad. 

“Look, I can explain…”, she said biting her lip. 

“You better.”, hissed Talor, suddenly seeming a lot more Cardassian than he had before. 

“I… I am half Cardassian. My ship knows, my Captain knows. Obviously. I look human because… because I can’t stand stupid questions and theories. That’s all.” 

“What’s wrong with looking Cardassian?” 

“Well, it’s the Federation….”, Cat replied weakly, finding this to be the first time where she had to try and explain her adjustments from someone from ‘the other side’ of things. Usually, she told people that she was half Cardassian, they made assumptions regarding the nature of her conception, and that was that. 

“And you can’t look Cardassian – or slightly Cardassian – in the Federation?”, Talor inquired with a glare. 

“Of course you can, it’s just…”

“Just…”

“I…”

“You are ashamed of looking part Cardassian.”, he stated eventually.  

“I…”

“There is nothing wrong with being Cardassian.”, Talor insisted, but didn’t let Cat reply. “On Cardassia, people would be ashamed to look part non-Cardassian, but they would never alter their appearance.”

“I don’t say there is something wrong with being Cardassian.”, replied Cat, a little desperately. 

“Then why hide it?”, he wanted to know. “If there isn’t anything wrong with being Cardassian, and if your Federation doesn’t judge you, why would you not want to look the way you do?”

“I can’t answer that, okay?! It’s complicated. I just don’t want the questions! Can we get back to … working?” 

Talor looked… incredibly disappointed. 

“Yeah. We can. I just… have to think first.”

He turned, and then he left. Cat’s heart sank. She hadn’t wanted to disappoint him, and she had wanted to be…. friends? She had enjoyed the banter and the humour, and now everything was yet again ruined because of her genetics. 

 


Sydin liked the Captain’s office. It was nice, spacious, and the chair was exceedingly comfy. And while she had no interest in claiming it for herself (just yet). She was also very much enjoying her conversations with Gul Dan, who turned out to be an intelligent, well-articulated and soft-spoken man. 

The fact that both of them knew that the other had both a personal agenda and an agenda that aligned with their factions interests, added an interesting twist to the conversation, and made it somewhat more… honest? Maybe that wasn’t the right word for it. 

“Tell me about the Cupertino’s Captain.”, said the Gul while sipping from what he had said was redleaf tea. 

“What do you want to know?”

“She seems… young.” 

Sydin smirked. That was a very nice way to say ‘inexperienced’. Of course she had her own views on Captain Nassar and her competence, but she wasn’t going to share them with her new acquaintance. As a matter of fact, she regretted sharing them with Doctor Trova, too. 

“Youth isn’t an indicator of competence.”, she reminded gently. “The Captain has earned the trust of the crew, just as I believe yours trusts your leadership. Right now, I couldn’t ask for anyone better to lead us through this… ah, mess.”

“I believe it is safe to say nether of us encountered something like this before.”, he mused. 

“I think that is an accurate assessment. And I don’t think many have had such an… impromptu opportunity to work with the other faction. I am curious to see how it turns out.”

“Surely you have a preferred outcome, Lieutenant Sydin?”, he grinned. 

“Of course I do.”, she admitted, mirroring his expression. “It does include getting out of here.” 

Behind the Gul, the door opened and a somewhat disgruntled young man stepped inside. 

“If you would excuse me for a moment…”, he said to Sydin, who gave a nod before the channel was paused. Ashli took the opportunity to check if there were any reported changes from the away team, but as of now, no message had reached them. Which was either good, or bad. Sydin very much hoped for it to be good. 

Unfortunately, that wasn’t how things tended to play out. As the Gul’s face reappeared on the screen, he looked… more serious. Not overly concerned, not overly angry, but there was certainly a change in his demeanour. 

“You sent a spy on my ship.”, he stated plainly. 

Sydin blinked. She did what? She most certainly had not sent a spy on his ship, nor did the Cupertino have any spy-capable personnel on board. 

“We did… not?”, she said slowly, not sure what to even respond to this entirely random accusation. “Who is the spy?”

“I beg to differ. And until I have decided what to do about this obvious breach of trust, I believe we should end our conversation.”

“Wait-…”, Sydin tried, but the line was cut before she could say anything else. Immediately, she got up, left the Captain’s office, and made her way to the bridge. 

 

Comments

  • Damn that is some rollercoaster stuff! From the perspective of the good ole doctor looking at the situation of young Cardassians being afraid of her? To the awkwardness of the CEO as they find out her DNA being half Cardassian. Now Sydin plan is backfiring at her for sending a spy! How dare she....evne thought she doesnt know who it is or is this another lie! Awesome work !

    July 10, 2024