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Opposite Factions

Posted on Monday 20 June 2022 @ 14:36 by Lieutenant JG Oakham Renn & Lieutenant JG Zirvell Khen

Mission: Revelations
Location: ?
1486 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

Zirvell found himself wandering, almost feeling like the lost soul he had been for the past decade, even though he'd been pretty much asleep during that time. Still, he felt restless, unable to take his mind off of recent events. Already, he had to abandon a place he had hoped to call home, and that made him feel unhinged. Adding to that, he felt really out of place even though he had earned his place, had worked hard to get where he was. He knew he was as much a Starfleet Officer as the next person, and yet he still felt like the odd one out. The only Cardassian here on a Starfleet vessel.

As he looked up, pulled from his reverie by the sound of approaching footsteps, he noticed the oncoming officer was Bajoran. The Cardassian froze in his tracks, not sure whether to greet the other officer, or whether to turn away. His hesitation was evident as finally, he offered a somewhat awkward hello to the approaching officer.

Oakham spotted the other man almost to late and immediately he stopped in his tracks, cursing himself internally for his hesitation and the ingrained prejudice that flared up within him towards a man who had nothing to do with the occupation of his home world which he had never really known himself as he was far to young.
"Ensign!" he said by way of tense greeting before turning to the replicator in the mess hall and ordering himself some Hasperat.

"Zirvell," the Cardassian nurse corrected quietly, not quite looking at the man. He too had the innate prejudice, despite never having had anything to do with any Bajorans before. After a few seconds of silence, curiosity won out as he spotted the other's dish. "What is that?" He asked, pointing at the food on the plate.

"My lunch!" the fresh faced young man said as he turned looking for a seat and realising the only one left was with his Cardassian 'friend'.

"Obviously...." Zirvell sat, gesturing for the other to do the same as clearly these were the only available seats. Apparently, hunger had unconsciously steered him to the mess, where he got some simple Terran sandwiches from the replicator. "But what is it?"

Oakham choked down on his pride, knowing that eyes would be watching from across the mess hall given the well documented history between Bajor and Cardassia. In truth he wanted to turn and leave or land the arragont swine on the chin but he was Starfleet, as was the Cardie before him so he would bite down and tolerate and at least give the impression he was willing to look past their shared history.
"It is Hasperat... Local Bajoran cuisine, very spicy. Not something non Bajorans usually take to!"

"I wouldn't mind trying sir." Zirvell hesitated. "If you're willing to share?" He had noticed the man did outrank him, and he too was aware of the eyes that were staring in their direction, but their owners pretending they weren't doing such. He shrugged. "So, let them stare," he muttered under his breath, "they act like they've never seen the likes of us together. I lost most of my family in one war or the other, and frankly....they chose to be soldiers. I'm not a soldier, never have been and never will be. I help heal people... and don't care who needs healing, as I'll help anyone who needs it."

"I was a child when the occupation ended but I lost everyone. My mother, my father, my sisters... everyone because of you..." he stopped himself and took a breath. "Because of the occupation. I grew up on the streets and vowed that I would never allow those kinds of atrocities to happen again!"
The young Bajoran man was collected, unwavering in his tone and conviction, his eyes locked on his lunch time companion... or was it opponent?

"Same. I lived on the streets of a Cardassian colony that was on the verge of famine, after my father abandoned me. My mother and sisters were killed in the war, and my father despised me because I didn't want to be a soldier." He looked down at his plate, feeling the burden that was on his shoulders because of what his people had done. "I'm sorry you lost everyone, but I had nothing to do with that.... It's not fair to judge me for something I had no part in, same as I won't judge you for..." He shook his head. "No, I'm not even going there. We're Starfleet officers and.." He paused again. "And respect is earned. All I ask of everyone, is just not to treat me differently. I'm Cardassian, but I pretty much grew up on a Starship, with a Human brother and sister... and a Human father. After I was rescued from that colony anyway..." He sighed. "How'd you end up with Starfleet?"

"I may be Starfleet, as are you. That means I will work with you if I have to or if I'm ordered to... That does not mean I can forgive your people for what they did. I know you had no part of that but blood hatred isn't gotten over in one afternoon over a single serving of Hasperat..."
Oakham stood, the chair pushing back into the table behind and disturbing those enjoying their meal. "I have no interest in sharing but funnily enough my appetite isn't what it was a few minutes ago... You can have it!"

He started across the mess hall, all eyes looking to him and to Zirvell. His own emotions in turmoil. He knew he needed to be better than the older generations from Bajor but he couldn't bring himself to be that man... Not yet.

Zirvell stared at the abandoned plate and for a moment he felt torn. He didn't deserve the yelling at, and suddenly he had no desire in trying the foreign dish either. "Wait..." he called after the retreating alien, getting up to hurry after him. "Come on... I didn't deserve this... I know this isn't easy for you, but aren't we supposed to set an example? Isn't the younger generation to show that we can get along?"

"Don't push Ensign... Just go back to playing your little games with someone else!"
The usually cheerful and happy Bajoran was angry, generations of blood hatred bubbling to the surface but he could feel the Cardie behind him. The mess hall their venue for what would end up being a very public disagreement.

"Games?" Surprise flickered across the nurse's ashen face. "You think I'm playing a game? I'm actually quite serious....change has to start somewhere, why not with us?" While as a very young child he'd heard his father speak of Bajorans as if they were the lowlife of the galaxy, Zirvell had never really thought of them that way. Their spiritualism fascinated him, especially since he upheld no religion of his own. He had no faith in any kind of deity, believing that just helping another would be its own reward.

"So why didn't it start before millions of my people were slaughtered for no real reason by your people... We had the Cardassian War with Starfleet, millions more died there. Then the Dominion War... How many wars have my people started? So yes, I think you are playing a game and you are pushing me despite everything I have said... Now run along before you regret saying anything more!"
Oakham had wheeled around to face the other man, one of the servers came up to them to try and calm the situation but he pushed him away.

"I don't know," Zirvell answered, throwing his hands up as if to ward the Bajoran off, "I honestly don't know. But I promise you, I'm not playing a game with you." Running along definitely wasn't an option, as that meant he'd have to pass the man and right now, he had a really hard time trusting a very angry Bajoran to not stab him, or do anything else, while his back was turned. "I just want to get along... we don't have to be friends."

"Is that not what I said not less than two minutes ago?" his words were venom at this point. One more word from the Cardassian and he would snap and lash out so he turned again and started stalking out of the mess hall.

"Well.... you're acting anything but 'get along' and you're making a scene, yelling like that," the Cardassian countered, following him close on his heels, wanting to get away from a public place like the mess as fast as possible. "Keep your prejudices to those that deserve it... I've done nothing wrong."

Oakham turned in the opposite direction to the Cardassian and stalked away knowing he needed to work of some steam in the gymnasium.



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