The Third Order: “Unwanted Reunion” (Second in the Series)

By Hadrian McKeggan

Published March 15, 2001

Darek was sorting through data files. Latest intelligence reports showed that his decisive defeat of the Wyoming’s task force did not go well with Starfleet Command, and that they were sending Captain Keogh, a veteran of these wars, on the brand-new USS Odyssey to control the sector. The Odyssey was one of those new Galaxy-class starships. The Obsidian Order had yet to inform Central Command of the precise tactical abilities of these new vessels. Darek knew he would have to change tactics, for the little the Obsidian Order did inform him about the Galaxy-class starships made them out to be formidable opponents indeed. Routinely, Darek pulled up a file on all passengers from the most recent freighter. He could have assigned the duties to one of his inferiors, but Darek considered it necessary to know everyone on the station, so he could gauge any and all potential threats. The civilian populace of Uptok Nor consisted of mainly traders and ware-sellers. Most, if not all, were of the Cardassian species. They were restricted access to all key areas of the station such as Ops and kept under surveillance, but any one of them could be a terrorist intending to plant a bomb or a professional assassin. Checking the official records of everyone on every freighter that docked was tedious work, and Darek’s nerves. But Darek was paranoid, more so than the usual Cardassian. He had many enemies in high places. As he scrolled through the list, he spotted an intriguing name. Uncharacteristically skipping the search to that name, he checked the biography. He only had to take one look at that face to realise that his brother was on the station.

The doors to Glinn Entak’s office opened, and Entak, looking up casually, bolted upright when he saw his superior officer. Darek eyed Entak for a long, cold moment. His visits to security were infrequent, so he liked to make a lasting impression on his security chief, regardless whether or not that officer was to be reassigned as early as tomorrow. Trusting anyone but himself with the main armed force of the station was not something Darek liked, but some rules were set in stone. “You have him secured.” Darek asked.

“Yes sir.” Entak swallowed. It wasn’t every day when he had to stun his victim. Without a word, Darek walked past Entak into the holding cell. The prisoner had a scar across his face administered by the guards. The prisoner, who was called Eneb Darek, looked up. “Ah, brother, I should have known it was you behind this concoction. I can tell you that you have no right to hold me-” Eneb Darek protested.

“I have been granted the right to detain anyone I wish by Central Command.” Elam Darek said equally sharply, cutting him off. “Guards, leave us.” Elam Darek said, practically biting his words. The guards left, and with utmost haste. Virtually everyone in the Third Order knew that when Elam Darek was in a bad mood, it was best to keep away from him. The guards were more than pleased to do so. “Not hiding behind your goons, anymore eh? I remember when you used to be quite fond of them.” Eneb said. Elam had no time for what he viewed as petty discussion. “Who are you working for?” He asked, pacing across the room, his eyes never leaving his brother. “Who am I working for? I just happened to think that opening a shop on a frontier space station would be a wise investment.” Looking up with a distasteful glare, Eneb Darek continued, “The last thing I needed was you.”

“And you expect me to believe that?” Elam said sarcastically. Eneb shrugged.

“I don’t expect you to believe anything.”

“Eneb, I will ask this question only one more time before I interrogate you: Why are you here?”

“Interrogate me? Your brother? But then, you never had any respect for family, did you?” Eneb said half-surprised, half-disgusted. Elam knew precisely what Eneb was getting at. The thing Eneb was referring to happened when Elam was five, one fateful evening. He was supposed to be asleep, but like most children his age he had no intention of such a thing. While lying in bed, his older brother Eneb already in a deep slumber, he overheard his mother and father talking about the atrocities of the Central Command. Having been flooded with party propaganda Elam lurched out of bed and contacted the Obsidian Order. His mother and father were dead by morning. Elam was praised as a “child hero,” the standard term used for such children. His “selfless act” had him on the road to high places. It was the determining factor between him and another conscript to enter the Cardassian fleet. And here he was know, the commander of the Third Order. Eneb’s emotional plea fell on deaf ears. Darek had shredded such hindering emotions like compassion a long time ago. “As far as I am concerned, Eneb, whether or not you are family is not a deciding factor to your loyalties. Your very presence on this station and your disapproval of my actions is reason enough to suspect—” Darek paused, deciding the phrase in a sharper tone, “—to know that you are here on a threatening intent.” Eneb backed up slightly, looking into his younger brother’s eyes.

“They’ve changed you.” He said weakly, nearly a whisper.

“For the better.” Elam said, deadpan. Elam left his older brother, those eyes poring into Elam’s soul. But Elam no longer had one. “Entak,” Elam Darek said as he passed out of Entak’s office, “have security bring our friend to the Interrogation Chamber.”

“Glinn Entak to Gul Darek. Sir, the Interrogation Chamber is ready.”

“I’m on my way.” Gul Darek responded, and walked out of his office and on to the elevator shaft. A Cardassian woman in civilian clothing joined him. He didn’t let the civilian clothing fool him for an instant, he knew exactly who she was. Ziral, the Obsidian Order’s contact in the Third Order. And Darek also knew that the fact she had entered the elevator shaft at the same time as he did was not a coincidence. To Darek, there was no such thing as a coincidence. The assumption that such things existed got you killed. “I hear that you are performing an interrogation.” Ziral said. She shot him a sideways glance. “Do you require my ... assistance?” Simple words said with business-like professionalism, but with an undercurrent of meaning. It was no secret that interrogation was a speciality of the Obsidian Order. But Cardassian officers had at times bested them. An aspiring young officer by the name of Gul Madred had already proved himself more than adequate interrogator, and much to the annoyance of the Obsidian Order, he was extremely good. The Obsidian Order was begrudgingly already considering adopting his infamous “four lights” policy. “No assistance is necessary, Ziral. I can handle it myself.” Darek responded, deciding to follow in Madred’s footsteps. Dismissing a member of the Obsidian Order certainly had its pleasures, but it did not beat that desperate look as the blood drained out of them. Calmly, Ziral got off at the next stop. The Cardassian Gul could posture as much as he liked, Ziral wasn’t concerned. She only hoped she could find a way to kill him nice and quiet so she could absolve herself of her disgrace to the Obsidian Order. As Ziral walked off, Gul Darek continued on to the Interrogation Chamber, with a grim sense of pleasure.

Darek entered the interrogation chamber. Strapped to a chair was his brother, quite helpless. A thin smile spread across Elam’s lips. Eneb looked up at his brother, and seeing the obvious pleasure he was going to have, he turned white with fear. “How many lights are there?” Darek asked, shining four bright white lights into Eneb’s face. The Order may still be debating whether or not to use this policy, but it was good enough for Elam. The interrogation process went on for a few hours, until Elam was convinced that Eneb, was indeed telling the truth and that he was here on Uptok Nor to set up a shop, not to make an attempt on Elam’s life or any other atrocity. But it didn’t matter if Eneb was guilty or not. Elam didn’t care, for Cardassian Interrogation would make a man admit anything. Hours passed, and then days. Darek worked his schedule around Interrogating his brother, and it became a commonplace occurrence. Hearing the screams echoing from the Interrogation Chamber only served to increase the fear everyone had for him. Eneb Darek was defiant, then pleading, then stubborn, and many more emotions. Elam stepped once more into the Interrogation Chamber a week after it began, but before the doors were shut, Eneb burst into tears, and collapsed at the feet of his younger brother. “Please, no more!” He whined. “I’ll say anything!”

“Were you guilty for an attempt on my life?” Elam asked.

“Yes!” Eneb pitifully echoed, still sobbing.

“Were you conspiring with the enemy?” Elam asked.

“Yes!” Eneb echoed again. In minutes, Elam had his brother confess to a whole string of crimes, none of which he was guilty. After a few minutes, Elam decided he had enough charges extracted from his brother, and he turned and left. He contacted Central Command and informed them of his brother’s “disgraces.” Upon hearing the list, Legate Danor had Eneb Darek was transported back to Cardassia for a public trial. A trial, which would be nice, short, and show “justice” again to the people of Cardassia. A show trial, with a sentence punishable by death. Gul Darek started out the window of his office to the coldness of space beyond. But even the vacuum was not homicidal. Darek had been responsible for the death of his father and mother. He now was responsible for the death of his brother. And he had absolutely no regrets.