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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 24
# 4
03-19-2013, 01:30 AM
(Part 4)

Gorel felt his heart and his suspicion leap.

"Excuse me?"

His uncle grinned. "Please excuse this old man his little amusements. I didn't ask you here to get your perspective on the Yorktown as a designer, although I've appreciated what you've said. I asked you here to show her to you and offer you her command."

"But Starfleet Command should be the ones to make that decision, and I'm sure that such a unique ship would never be given to a dual-citizen with only one prior command." Gorel struggled with his great-uncle's proposal, throwing out the first objections that came to mind.

"Starfleet Command has made the decision, but I've taken it upon myself to make the offer on their behalf. And as for your selection, that is a complicated issue."

The older man's voice lost some of its vibrance and warmth, shifting from that of an uncle to a disappointed and tired senior officer.

"You are familiar with the True Way, yes?"

"Gul Madred's hardliners?"

"Right. Of course Starfleet has some concern with them, but they're much more of a problem here in the Union."

The legate gestured at one of the chairs as he moved to another, and Gorel sat.

"The Federation has been tremendously helpful with the recovery efforts, and they've treated us far better than I think we would have treated them if our places were reversed. Between the Andak project, the successes in eradicating diseases, the Oralian awakening, and the Detapa Council, the Union has made many great scientific and cultural strides with Federation sponsorship and assistance. In many ways, the Union has never been more friendly towards scientists, artists, and philosophers."

"But while we were never known as a warrior people, the Cardassian love of order has led to us have strong participation in the Cardassian Guard and the Obsidian Order. The Order is long gone, and the Guard has been remade into the Cardassian Self-Defense Force. Our defeat in the Dominion War, combined with the awakening of our spiritual side, has caused many Cardassians to shy away from the military, and feel shame about our history. A shame that is not undeserved."

"And then we have the True Way, which disdains our new culture and pushes for a return to traditional Cardassia. This dwelling in the past is wrong on many levels, and most of the Union despises them. But at the same time, they are a reminder of when Cardassia was strong and independent, of when we were free to travel the stars and establish order wherever we could."

"So we have a cultural divide that many of us dislike, but is difficult to get around. The majority of the Union dedicates themselves to peace and science under the leadership of the Federation. It's not a bad way to live, but that way lies the loss of much that being Cardassian truly means, and eventual incorporation into the Federation. For those unable or unwilling to accept the peaceful ways, the only alternative is the True Way, which is even worse. That way lies a second war, with an outcome even worse than the last one."

For a moment the older man grimaced and ground one fist into the other hand's palm.

"Damn Gul Madred and his idiots! We lost that fight already! If we truly want an independent and strong Cardassia, we need to find a new way, not continue to cling to the old!"

He took a deep breath and looked to Gorel earnestly.

"A new way is exactly what I and many of my fellows are trying to create. We need a way to inspire the Union, to show that we can be strong without being brutes, that we can be capable of great things without needing the Federation to hold our hands. This, my boy, is where you and the Yorktown come in."

"You're one of the first Cardassians to reach command rank in Starfleet under the dual-citizenship program, fully Cardassian but trained by the Federation. You can lead, you can fight, you can explore. You can show us that we can do the things we have to do to be strong and independent, and do them right and for the right reasons."

"The Yorktown takes the best of Starfleet ship design and adds to it the best of what we've learned: our own Cardassian techniques, and even what we learned from the Dominion and the Breen. We couldn't build something like it for the CDF, not now, so it had to be a Starfleet ship. Maybe it would have been better for the Yorktown to be a bit less combat-focused, but this was the first good arrangement we could reach with Starfleet to work on a project of this magnitude."

Gorel had listened and thought as his uncle spoke. For the most part, he agreed. He couldn't really blame the Federation for winning the Dominion War, nor could he look upon the Union's arrogant and imperial past without some sense of shame. But while he really had nothing against the cultural melange that was the Federation, he had no desire to see the Union subsumed into it, see a few small elements of it preempted and the remainder confined to Cardassia Prime and perhaps one or two other planets. The Union could be strong and independent, unreliant upon the Federation for survival, able to contribute its own unique culture and achievements to galactic civilization.

"Why would Starfleet agree to this project, if its goal is to keep Cardassia independent?"

"Well, we didn't phrase it like that, first of all, although their analysts are as sharp as ours, so I'm sure they had some idea. But they do want to see what all of our modifications can achieve, and they needed us in order to do it. And, in the short term, they agree with our goal. If we can give the Cardassian people an outlet for their wishes to serve the Union through exploration and taking the fight to its enemies, then they can reduce the True Way's appeal amongst the population, and so hopefully dry up their recruitment and support. They see this project as a first step towards more fully integrating the Union and Federation, while we hope it will help to inspire the galaxy to trust us and our people to trust themselves. I'm not sure who will be correct, ultimately, although I have my hopes, and it's certainly a better chance than doing nothing or supporting the True Way."

Last edited by thesciencer; 03-19-2013 at 01:54 AM.