It's Not You I Hate-- Reflections of Miles Edward O'Brien by Enterprise1981
Summary: After his trial on Cardassia, as depicted in the Deep Space Nine episode "Tribunal", Miles O'Brien looks back on his attitudes and perceptions towards the Cardassians.
Categories: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine Characters: Bashir, Julian, Garak, Elim, La Forge, Geordi, O'Brien, Miles, Picard, Jean-Luc, Riker, William, Sisko, Benjamin
Genre: General
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 1880 Read: 4469 Published: 21 Feb 2011 Updated: 22 Feb 2011

1. Dare Not Know by Enterprise1981

2. Blending Opposites by Enterprise1981

Dare Not Know by Enterprise1981
Author's Notes:
Also recounts events and dialogue from the TNG episode "The Wounded".

It’s Not You I Hate

Reflections of Miles Edward O’Brien

Historian’s Note: The following is a log entry made a week after the resolution of Miles O’Brien’s trial on Cardassia Prime as depicted in “Tribunal” (DS9) late in the Earth year 2370.

"There is but one coward on Earth, and that is the coward that dare not know.” W.E.B. DuBois (1898)

Personal log, Stardate 47999.4: An experience like this would normally leave a man more cynical and more resentful of the people who put him through that ordeal. The Cardassians framed me for supplying weapons to the Maquis and then subjected me to one of their bloody show trials. The only reason I’m alive now is that I was let off the hook at the very last second. The Archon did a complete one-eighty as soon as Commander Sisko walked in with my former crewmate from the Rutledge, Raymond Boone. Or rather he was a Cardassian surgically altered to look like Raymond Boone.

The whole experience has left me considering my own prejudices against the Cardassians, especially because conservator and the Archon brought it up. “The bloody Cardies can’t be trusted” was how Makbar put it. I would say the most challenging thing about overcoming ones prejudices is realizing you have them in the first place. It goes back to when Captain Maxwell was going after the Cardassians on his own and those three Cardassians had come aboard the Enterprise as a show of good faith. I could almost swear that Gul Macet fella looked a lot like Gul Dukat.

During the first mission briefing, I got the sense that others in that room— Captain Picard, Commander Riker, LaForge-- seemed rather apprehensive. I asked Keiko at breakfast the next day why anyone would still be uneasy even after the war was over. She reminded me of my own war experiences, saying how that would take its toll on people. I would later recount my experiences on Setlik Three to Glinn Daro.

“Cardassians were advancing on us, moving through the streets, destroying, killing. I was with a group of women and children when two Cardassian soldiers burst in. I stunned one of them. The other jumped me. We struggled. One of the women threw me a phaser, and I fired. The phaser was set at maximum. The man just incinerated, there before my eyes. I'd never killed anything before. When I was a kid, I'd worry about swatting a mosquito. It's not you I hate, Cardassian. I hate what I became because of you.

That was one incident that still haunts me to this day. My parents told me growing up that humanity had improved beyond that level of barbarism. I was like all those young soldiers in those old war stories. They come out of a violent and brutal war completely changed. I was young and nave back then, much like Julian was when he first came aboard DS9. I now hope to God, he doesn’t end up reading this log. I was looking for something to prove. I would act without thinking.

Despite that recollection and my own uneasiness when the glinns followed me into the turbolift, I insisted I had no problem with the Cardassians. Maybe, more than anything, I was trying like hell to convince myself. Captain Picard had articulated it well when he gave his appraisal of Maxwell’s motives.

"I think when one has been angry for a very long time, one gets used to it. And it becomes comfortable, like old leather. And, finally, it becomes so familiar that one can't ever remember feeling any other way."

I was still very certain that the Cardassians were up to something. And that Captain Maxwell couldn’t have been going off on vengeful quest without provocation. My instincts were dead on when Captain Picard confronted him. In his own words, the peace treaty was just a ruse. But those kinds of vigilante strikes are what kept the wars going for that long. And the Maquis and Cardassians in the Demilitarized Zone are engaged in more of the same. I’m no diplomat, but I do have to believe many in the Cardassian government are serious about peace. I’ve learned from experience, though, that Cardassians can be a tricky bunch. That’s what led to the Occupation of Bajor.

Speaking of which, it wasn’t until I first came to Deep Space 9 that I realized my own prejudices went beyond ordinary legitimate suspicion.

End Notes:
Stay tuned for Chapter 2 "Blending Opposites" where O'Brien reflects on his time on Deep Space Nine, especially in the episode "Cardassians".
Blending Opposites by Enterprise1981
Author's Notes:
In addition to "Tribunal", also recounts events and dialogue from "Emissary", "The Siege", "Cardassians", and "Profit and Loss".

Blending Opposites

“Jesus recognized the need for blending opposites.” Martin Luther King, Jr. in Strength to Love (1963)

When I requested an assignment to the old Cardassian mining station in orbit of Bajor, I was looking at a chance to lend a hand to the now-liberated planet. I never expected that Deep Space Nine would become one of the most strategically starbases in the quadrant. I was in charge of the operation to move the station the terminus of the first known stable wormhole.

Being around a lot of the natives, I had a better understanding of the kind of suffering the Cardassians inflicted on the Bajorans. It brought back a lot of memories of the casual brutality of the Cardassians. And Bajor was just one of many subject worlds at the mercy of the Cardassian Union. Having seen the atrocities committed against civilians, hearing firsthand accounts of POW’s being tortured by them, Bajor was lucky to be rid of their oppression after a half century. I knew the importance of not letting Bajor end up under Cardassian rule again, especially with the Wormhole becoming a valuable asset to Bajor and the Federation.

That was never more clear during the attempted military coup on Bajor earlier this year, secretly funded by the Cardassians. When the fighting escalated, the Circle demanded all non-Bajorans vacate the station. We did officially give in to that demand, but many of us stayed behind. I saw off Keiko and Molly. She couldn’t understand my decision to stay behind. Who could blame her? She wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about my transfer to some worn down outpost at the edge of known space. I told her, “We can’t just let the Cardies have the Wormhole.” I had a personal stake in this crisis just as much as any Bajoran.The coup failed; we got the station back. Then an even bigger defining moment happened a few weeks later.

One of the abandoned Cardassian war orphans visited the station with his adopted Bajoran father. Garak, the Cardassian tailor, went to say hello to the young man. He bit him on the hand. Based on rumors that these Bajoran foster parents were using these orphans to exact vengeance against their former oppressors, Commander Sisko arranged to have the boy stay with Keiko and me. “No big deal,” I thought. That was until Keiko was getting dinner ready. I assumed from just three place settings that Molly was staying with one of the other families on the station. Actually she and Rugal played together all afternoon. Keiko assured me that the boy was very gentle with my daughter. But then I just said, “Gentle was bred out of these Cardassians a long time ago.”

Naturally, Keiko was quite taken aback. I tried to explain myself. I was just as surprised myself having said it. She said she didn’t want to hear it twice, and that was the end of it. Keiko replicated a popular Cardassian meal. She certainly enjoyed. Me, not so much. Rugal didn’t even touch his. We both slid our plates aside and they both touched. A common ground. It got me thinking how close-minded I was. That comment I made just a few minutes earlier was very stupid. He’s just a boy. He’s not responsible for his people’s crimes.

Rugal and I ended up talking while I was catching up on paperwork in the middle of the night. His foster parents hated other Cardassians, he said. I said to him, “Well, you can't judge a whole race of people. You can't hate all Cardassians or all Klingons or all humans. I've met some Cardassians I didn't like, and I've met some I did. Like you.” We all know that to be true in the abstract sense. In my case, who besides Rugal did I genuinely respect?

Maybe “plain and simple” Garak is a spy. Maybe he isn’t. He and Julian have developed an interesting relationship. I imagine he’s an excellent source of mealtime conversation. He’s an intriguing character; I’ll say that. And in a manner of speaking, he’s like my competition. (Computer, delete last sentence)

Back to this story, Rugal’s birth parents were soon identified. He wasn’t an orphan after all. As it turned out, Dukat was seeking to discredit Kotan Pa’Dar, one of the civilian leaders who ordered the withdrawal from Bajor. Pa’Dar stopped by my quarters after he came aboard. I came out of our conversation having a better understanding of his people. I told him how much humans value their children and he said the same was true of Cardassians. He was devoted to his son as much as I am to Molly. More to the point, Pa’Dar’s political career would be over if the general public learned he had lost Rugal the way he did. I found myself hoping that didn’t happen. He was a decent person willing to do the right thing. Cardassia could use people like Kotan Pa’Dar.

I guess my point here is I haven’t completely overcome my own preconceived notions. No one truly overcomes ones prejudices overnight. With the strategic importance of the Wormhole, we should expect a few more less than friendly dealings with the Cardassians. My time here on DS9 and having met Rugal and his father did help me realize my prejudices. We all prefer to think other people are prejudiced— in my case, Captain Maxwell, the Bajoran population of this station-- but we aren’t. But what we don’t know fuels our prejudices more often than what we do know.

A few months ago, these three Cardassians were aboard the station when they’re ship was damaged. They were part of a dissident group opposed to their government’s Orwellian methods. After those methods were inflicted on me, I can imagine their citizens are tired of it too.

In any case, this past year has helped me to see that the Federation was once at war with the Cardassian government and military, not the race as a whole. It’s easy to forget that though. A hundred years ago, humans were just as resentful of Klingons. Now, a Klingon is serving aboard the Enterprise. And if Vulcans and Andorians could become two of the founding members of the Federation, I can change my own attitudes about the Cardassians.

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.” Martin Luther King, Jr. in Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story (1958)

This story archived at