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Formal introduction

Posted on Tue Sep 30th, 2014 @ 2:48pm by Legate Vadrek

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: CSecO's office



Cardassian Embassy, DS12



“Who the hell are you?”

Legate Vardek resented anyone interrupting him when he was tending his airponics pot plants. It was one of his few hobbies and his personal staff knew better than to disturb him.

He looked to up to see a weather beaten Bajoran standing just inside the doorway. He thought for a moment, running station personnel through his memory and putting names to faces.

“Senior Chief Shakaar Renalla, if I am not mistaken. Please forgive my earlier rudeness. What can I do for you, Chief Shakaar?”

The Security Senior Chief cleared his throat. "Legate Vardek, Chief of Security Svardberg has ordered increased security around all embassies and diplomats during the length of an ongoing investigation. We apologize for any inconvenience this may impose on you."

Vadrek’s tone changed as he listened to the creature. “I see. You are merely the messenger. Don’t worry, it is not my habit to shoot the messenger. Perhaps I should visit your mistress and assure her of my co-operation in all matters.”

"I believe Lieutenant Svardberg is in her office if you would like to talk to her." Shakaar replied.

“Then please escort me. I trust that is what you’re here to do, be my escort. Or would ‘tail’ be a better description?”

"Tail implies that this is surveillence." He hit his combadge, "Senior Chief Shakaar to Lieutenant Svardberg. Legate Vardek would like to speak to you."

Tori's voice came over the com a moment later. "Bring him here, I will be happy to meet with him," she said in a voice that did not belay any mirth.



CsecO’s office



Tori was sitting at her desk, every console around her showing pictures or data regarding her two cases, except one which had a list of supplies and personnel headed to the new station ahead of everyone else. She looked up when she heard a throat clear. "Lieutenant? Legate Vardek to see you."

Vadrek waited until he had been announced then bowed politely. “You would be the station’s new Chief of Security, I gather. I fervently hope you will last longer than your predecessors. Captain Harrison is a fine man and a good organiser but I fear that security is not his forté.”

Tori eyed the Cardassian with a professional regard on her face, then gave a polite bow as well. "Legate Vardek, I fervently hope I last longer than my predecessors as well. I am not inclined to die any time in the next eighty years. As for Harrison, as long as he doesn't meddle in security, I am quite fine with it not being his specialty. I don't know how to run a station, and if he does, that's what matters," she said genially, appraising the man. He didn't look to be sinister, well, he did look Cardassian, but not overly sinister. He seemed decent enough; for a spoon head.

"What can I do for you, Legate? I imagine you didn't come here just to check out the new guy on the block?" Svardberg asked.

“I came at your request, Lieutenant. That, at least, was what Chief Shakaar led me to believe to be the situation.”

Tori raised an eyebrow, shooting a look to the door. She had never requested anything, except to have him brought here when he wanted to speak to her, rather than her go to him.

“While I am always pleased to make new acquaintances, I wonder if there is not something more to your request. Is there something I can do for you, Lieutenant?”

The Lieutenant smiled politely, she might as well find information out from him. "Tell me about Cardassia. I spent a great many years at the border during the Border Wars. Formidable military."

“By which I gather you mean ‘tell me something about Cardassia other than what I have already heard many times before’. If you will indulge me then.... There was a time when Cardassia was renowned for things other than its military might. We were a proud people; some say we still are,” he added reflectively. “In those days, though....” Vardek’s eyes glazed over slightly. “In those days we were a civilized people. We produced music, art, literature, architecture to rival any in the quadrant. I hope to see those days return. However, they will not return while the military decides the major questions faced by our government.”

"I thought following the war and the end of Dominion influence that a civilian government was installed, rather than military." Tori replied, "Would you like a seat? A drink? This replicator makes horrible coffee."

“Do not mistake me, Lieutenant. The military still pulls many strings behind the scenes. They, in turn, are having their own strings pulled. As you know, Cardassia is resource poor. When our own resources threatened to run out we went seeking them elsewhere. We could have purchased them, of course, but there were those who argued ‘why buy what we can simply take?’. That was the start of military control and the conception of evils like the Obsidian Order.” He paused, considering. “As to your kind offer, tea would be appreciated. Darjeeling, black, no sugar.”

Tori snorted, shaking her head as she went to the replicator to make the tea. "Fools. The idea that you can take something by force never works. It only makes you use more resources and lives."

“Such a condescending tone does you a disservice, Lieutenant. Were there not nations on your own planet who did much the same thing? Did they not pitch your world into destructive wars in which millions were killed?”

"Many." Tori replied honestly as she handed a cup of tea to the Cardassian. "Often more brutal than the next, until the point where we nearly destroyed everyone on the planet. Same as Vulcan, as many other planets. We learn, though, that cooperation and alliances work better than jack boot thuggery," Svardberg said, "The Federation can spout all it wants about moral standards, but it didn't change to be moral, it changed to be sustainable. War and domination are cheap in the short term, but costly in the long term. And now we are moving to another station to guard our borders better against sabre rattles."

Vardek considered his response carefully. He decided that obfuscation would be the best way to not give too much away at this point. “I know little of the region to which you will be moving,” Vardek advised. “I was posted here for two reasons: I am away from the centre of power and thus wield little influence inside the central government, and; I grew up not far over the frontier so I have a good knowledge of local politics and power groups.”

Tori nodded, "Why keep a radical influencer around the people with power when you can shove them to obscurity. What power groups are strong here?"

“My apologies, Lieutenant: here or where you are going?”

"Yes. Both. I find it my business to be nosy."

“I can offer you one piece of advice. Keep an eye out for Gul Keshac.”

"Can't be a problem as a corpse."

Vadrek nodded. “You have heard of her then. Officially, yes, she is listed as dead, I believe. I do not think this is the case. Gul Keshac and I have somewhat of a history dating back to before the Dominion War. Various incidents during the war...exacerbated...the enmity between us. I do not think Keshac would die without leaving me some sort of parting gift.”

The security officer laughed lightly. "And I thought I was paranoid, Legate. So tell me, what would our ghost be doing?" Tori asked. As much as she hated to admit it, she was almost liking the Cardassian.

“I am speculating, you understand, but if I was to guess then my guess would be that she is currently annoying the Romulans. Her aim is to unite the dissident groups so that she can stage a coup. She would reinstate military rule with herself as the dictator. However, she is not so stupid as to believe that Cardassia has the military capacity to wage a war of conquest. Therefore, she uses the dissidents to destabilise Cardassia’s neighbours.”

Tori nodded, "Guerrilla warfare. Divide and conquer."

“You are no doubt aware of a series of attacks on both Federation and Romulan bases in the Gavarian Corridor?”

"Vaguely."

“I believe Gul Keshac is behind the attacks. My knowledge is scant, admittedly, as much of the information is classified. I believe though that they are not the random acts of violence that they appear to be. There is a co-ordinating mind behind them. Given that the Star Empire has recently handed the Corridor over to the Federation, that makes the region an ideal place for Keshac to play her games. If she plays them right, she can pit each against the other and watch while they tear at each others' throats.”

"Don't tell the Ferengi, they'd sell tickets to the show," Tori said. "Of course, you could just be paranoid about everything; hypervigilant after a war gone bad and the devastation of your home. Seeing patterns where there are none. Doesn't hurt to be paranoid, right?"

“There is an old Earth saying which I could quote here but undoubtedly you have heard it many times before. Perhaps I am being paranoid; being so has saved my life on more than one occasion. Do I see patterns where there are none? Perhaps. I was trained to do so and more than one enemy battle plan was rendered toothless because I saw the patterns where no others did. On the other hand,” he said wistfully, “maybe this is just the prattling of a old man who yearns for the days when he wielded influence and people took notice of what he had to say.”

The Security Officer grunted, "You can't be that much older than I am, Legate, and I'm not old. Despite what these whippersnappers outside might say." She smiled slightly, though she understood that feeling. Being a cog in a machine, feeling taken for granted. "We'll see which it is, though. I, like you, am professionally paranoid. I investigate everything."

Vardek bowed his head. “Thank you for saying so though sometimes I feel older than I am. Actually, it is all too often the case.” He rose. “I will keep you informed about Gul Keshac. I will also ask around about the...‘state of play’...I think you humans call it, in the region you are moving to. There might still be someone in Cardassia who is willing to talk to me and has something useful to say. Unfortunately, those willing to talk usually spout nonsense or propaganda and those with solid information are unwilling – or afraid – to talk.”

Tori nodded and straightened, offering a hand. "Always the case. I thank you for your effort, Legate. If there's anything you need, well, I would say I'm not going anywhere, but I am. At least you will know where to find me."

Vardek took the proffered hand. It was a gesture he found distasteful. Who knew how many germs were about to be exchanged, especially ones for which he – a Cardassian – had no native immunity? However, the look in Svardberg’s eyes suggested the gesture was made in good faith, not merely as some token formality.

“Indeed, Lieutenant,” he replied.

Svardberg’s grip was strong but she clearly was not exerting her full strength. A Cardassian would have seen this as an opportunity to assert himself. Svardberg clearly felt no such need which made her strength even more compelling. And dangerous.

“I am also easy to find,” Vadrek continued, keeping his voice light. “I bid you good day. I did not get the opportunity to meet your two predecessors at all so this is a welcome change in circumstances. It is also one which I look forward to repeating.”

Tori waited until the Cardassian left before she let out a sigh. "I'm losing my mind. I almost like a Cardassian." She muttered, moving back behind her desk to work.

 

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