Words as Weapons,
Sharper than Knives,
It Makes you Wonder
How the Other Half Die
INXS - The Devil Inside
His finger trembled slightly as it hovered over the console. The mere possession of such music was a crime punishable by death, likely after slow torture. Just like Kel. The thought of his soon to be martyred friend gave him both courage and rage. Edon Malar looked at his black painted fingernails. There was no going back now. He would show them that propaganda could work both ways.
He tapped the console, released the virus, and waited.
Almost everyone on Cardassia Prime was watching the view screens, both the giant public screens and the smaller, home variety. They had no real choice. No one knew if The Obsidian Order might notice that their screen was turned off, and then they could be the ones on trial. Gul Madred was reading off a large list of 'crimes' committed by the 'anarchist' Garen Kel, his monotonous drone contrasting starkly with bound, bloodied Cardassian chained to the wall of the court. Kel had proudly, if foolishly, confessed his crimes, and spit blood at the Gul, unbroken by days of torture. He smiled, blood showing between his teeth, "One day," His voice was a raspy whisper, "They'll be too many of us for you, for all of you. And this regime will fall into dust and ashes." Madred sighed wearily, They just never learned. "No, it won't." He shot Kel with his phaser, silencing the dissident forever. He turned toward the transmitters, "Such is the fate of trai. . ." The screens went black. All of them. Every single view screen on Cardassia Prime. When the image returned, it was not the stern, gray face of the Gul.
It was a young human, his brightly colored hair seemed to glow in the intense light shining upon him. His clothes were dark, ragged and bizarre. Other, similarly garbed humans were with him, each at some sort of musical instrument. And then the music started.
Edon Malar laughed. The real show was about to begin, and all Cardassia would be watching.
"What the hell is going on?" Madred had to shout to be heard over the human's wretched attempt at singing. Then he heard the lyrics, words that Central Command hated and feared. Outrageous words like free and revolution. And he knew, much to his horror, that he wasn't the only one hearing them.
The Cardassian people milled about in shocked confusion. The humans were on every channel, every frequency, jumping about wildly, singing treasonous songs. What were they supposed to do? Those that tried to turn off their view screens found that they could not, they had been locked onto this bizarre spectacle. Every speaker called out to them and none could be silenced. They had no choice but to watch and wait for order to be restored.
At Cardassian Central Command, there was turmoil on the verge of panic. "We can't stop it, sir. We can't even contact the next room! We have no way to track it, no way to tell how far it's spread. . . All we know is that it's a virus and we can't block it. We would have to destroy every view screen and speaker on Cardassia Prime!" The song ended, and a new band of humans appeared, black-haired and black-clad, Their tone was somewhat softer, but the message was the same. "I want communications restored now!" Legate Prin screamed, "We have to stop this subversive filth!"
Edon wondered how many people were enjoying the show. He pictured young people, wide-eyed, watching these videos and seeing rebellion for the first time. How many of them would he reach? Did he have the right to plant these seeds in others, knowing the penalty they might face? Did he have the right not too?
The music just kept coming, the bright haired human came back, dressed differently but still singing of freedom. It had gone on long enough. Enraged, the Legate shot the view screen in front of him and ordered his soldiers to destroy or disable every audio-visual device they could. But he could only communicate in person, and the broadcast was, apparently, planet-wide. He cursed loudly. This was a nightmare: alien, anarchist propaganda targeted directly at youths. They had to stop this poison from doing any more damage. And they had to punish whomever was responsible, painfully and publicly, to root out any treasonous ideas of 'freedom' by example.
An Obsidian Order operative entered the room holding a data pad. "We believe we have discovered the culprit behind these attacks. Edon Malar." The operative handed Legate Prin a picture of a young Cardassian with brightly colored hair, similar to one of the humans in the videos, he even had a tuft of hair on his chin. He was wearing a pair of tinted goggles, hiding his eyes from view. "He's an anarchist." "I know that you fool! Where is he?" His eyes widened at the frustrated slip of the tongue. Not even a Legate was free to insult an operative of The Obsidian Order. The operative ignored the insult, "He's an orphan, with no family or friends to use against him. He has nothing to lose besides his life. And we have no idea where he might be hiding." "Why was he not arrested for making such a spectacle of himself?" Prin had to tread carefully, not to let his mounting anger get the best of him and put him in hot water with the secret police. "He is a true genius in the fields of engineering and mechanics. We decided to overlook his. . . Idiosyncrasies because of his usefulness."
Hours passed, and the music continued. Edon had been gathering banned music for years. While others wasted their pay on gambling and seedier pleasures, Edon had been buying music from various merchants, mostly Ferengi. Ferengi could get you anything, for the right price. It had been hard concealing all of this from The Obsidian Order. Perhaps they had known, but had decided to overlook it in exchange for his work. They no doubt regretted it now.
More than a few Cardassians watched in awe and admiration as the humans strutted about, singing openly of things they could not even dare speak in private. Many of the younger people found it surprisingly entertaining and listened intently to every word. Frustrated officials began destroying view screens and loudspeakers, but they couldn't hope to get them all.
Edon closed his eyes and pictured the chaos and horror in Central Command. If there was one thing a dictatorship could not afford, it was freedom of speech, of thought. His playlist was finally drawing to an end. It was set to a loop, every few days a spontaneous outburst of freedom would wreak havoc on Cardassian tyranny. He sighed deeply and ran a hand through his bright yellow hair. It was a bittersweet victory, at best. He probably wouldn't live to see his dream fulfilled. The Obsidian Order had almost certainly figured out that he was responsible for the 'attack'. Once communications systems were restored he would become the most wanted man in the Cardassian Union. He could escape off-world in the chaos, but where could he go that The Obsidian Order would not find him? He lay back in his chair, and watched the images dance across the screen, listened to the music. If they found him, they wouldn't find him alive. He had no desire to be tortured. He wouldn't give that sick bastard Madred the pleasure of laying a finger on him. He picked up the tiny capsule, and stared at it. Instant. Painless.
Which is more cowardly, He wondered, To end it all now, or to flee, to try to save myself?
No. He couldn't do it. He couldn't let them win like that. He wouldn't go down so easily. He could strike at them from afar, a resistance in exile. It shamed him to flee, but he could not commit suicide. The government would brand him a coward. But he would brand them as the tyrants they were.
He was one of the few people on the planet who could still communicate freely. And he knew a sympathetic Lurian with a fast ship. It was time to go. He would have to act quickly. He pulled his goggles over his eyes and destroyed his console to ensure the Obsidian Order could not easily access the root files or virus. He gathered his books and musical files, then he made the call and was beamed aboard the friendly vessel.
He watched Cardassia Prime recede into the distance from the Lurian freighter. The warships around the planet were quiet, without orders they would do nothing. They had no idea what was happening, much less that he was wanted, which he could only assume he was. He wondered how much, if anything, he'd accomplished. He prayed that Pel had been right, that, one day, Cardassia would be free. A tear rolled down his cheek as the ship went into warp and Cardassia Prime disappeared. He didn't know where he would go, but maybe, one day, he would be able to go home. . .
I've been thinking about this for a long time. What would be the thing stuffy Cardassian High Command would fear the most? Earth Rock and Roll!
The lyrics for The Devil Inside are from INXS and later Powerman 5000.
I was originally going to have Edon kill himself as the Obsidian Order closed in on him, but I don't want people to think of suicide as a way out. I had Toad commit murder/suicide in very dark X-Men story Burns, (the murder part was Storm.), and I regret it in some ways. I don't want anyone to think I sanction suicide (or murder!). So instead of losing his life, he has lost his world, (such as it is), and will likely never see it again.
No, Edon Malar was not named after Shakaar Edon, the Bajoran resistance leader. I made up the name Edon at random, not knowing it was a Bajoran name at the time. Malar is the name of a D&D deity, The Beastlord, god of the hunt, lycanthropy, beasts and monsters. I don't know why so many of my names coincide with D&D characters, like Vecna, Malar, Sargonnas. . .
Edon, like Taran Dibari, my Borg Consort from my other Star Trek fanfics, was an orphan, raised on the streets. Cardassians can grow facial hair, they just find it unseemly.
Among the songs/videos on Edon's playlist are Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd, Free, Super-Villain, Wild World and Action by Powerman 5000, and Shock to The System, Tomorrow People and White Wedding by Billy Idol. There are a lot more, of course.
Morn from Deep Space Nine is a Lurien. Perhaps he ferried Edon to safety.
Race - Cardassian
Occupation - Mechanic/Dissident
Alignment - Chaotic Good
Hair - Bright Yellow, (Dyed from Black)
Eyes - Purple
Height - 6'2"
Weight - 187 lbs
Edon Malar grew up on the mean streets and can hold his own against even trained military officers, but he prefers not to fight. He's very kind-hearted, and hates oppression and cruelty. He discovered rock music while working off-world. He also likes banned books, such as The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells. He never goes anywhere without his goggles. Only about one in one million Cardassians are born with purple eyes, (In my story universe).
Everything Dungeons and Dragons are copyright Wizards of The Coast.
Powerman 5000 copyright DRT Entertainment and Dreamworks.
Everything non-original Star Trek belongs to Paramount Pictures.
Billy Idol and his music are copyrighted Chrysalis records.
Pink Floyd and Brick in the Wall are copyright Pink Floyd Music Ltd.