Day #3 Write a Letter Challenge

A 30 Day Write a Letter Challenge Response

write meDay 3 – Your Parents

Time to write letter number three. This time it is to a character’s parents. The family left behind is actually often a gap we find in Trek writing – be it fan fiction, Treklit or canon – unless of course you consider all those stories where someone’s family crops up in a vital plot position all of a sudden.

dear-momThere have been a number of prompts on the forum that hit on this theme. Most recently Weekly Free Write #118 — Parental POV  and Weekly Free Write #114 — We Are Family. All of these and more show just how myriad the family circumstances can be for our characters. Unsurprisingly then, heading into this challenge, I am again stuck as to which character I will utilise. Noah Cutler comes to mind save for the fact I’ve written a letter home to his mother before. Therefore, I have to come up with someone different. Again, I’ve played with scenes dealing with T’Vel and her mother and grandmother, so I want to steer clear of retreading that.

So I returned to character from Weekly Free Write Prompt #8 First Day. In this prompt, we were introduced to a Antem Lok, a young and nervous Cardassian officer, burdened by the legacy of his father’s complicit actions with the Dominion during the War. The character is to be part of the Legacies series of stories set within the Watchtower Universe. He also (I somehow forgot this response as it was completed on the forum in a sitting rather than on the computer hard drive) had his own little vignette in aptly named Weekly Free Write #15 Legacies.

“A Legacy of Ashes – The first tale in the Legacy stories focusing on a joint colony venture between the Federation and Cardassia. Efforts to find and make a new world for Cardassia’s needs faces unprecedented challenges and dangers from within and without.”

Antem Lok’s an example of a young Cardassian stepping out from the shadow and the ruins of the Cardassian War, a war visited upon them by their elders and politicians, who himself is something of a pacifist and is now struggling with the prospects and future of his people in this post-war era.

Amid the ruins of Cardassia, Antem represents a possible salvation of the Cardassian Union but the legacy of his father and the struggle within Cardassia as to its new direction are all pulls on the young man in an uncertain age yet a vital moment for its continued survival.

Cardassian ruins

Cardassian ruins

One possible path of salvation for Cardassia and a possible path of redemption for Antem, is his assignment to a joint Cardassian/Federation colonisation taskforce with the prescribed mission to find a new world for Cardassia’s displaced millions.

Antem is conflicted and unsure of himself around other Cardassians with the high profile of his father’s collaboration with the Dominion.

In addition, he is uncertain how to navigate the personnel of Starfleet officers and the difficult chain of command that exists on the taskforce ship. Overshadowing everything however, is his relationship and his conflicted feelings to his father. Here then, Antem sits down and addresses some of these feelings in a letter he composes to his father who sits awaiting trial for his part in the Dominion War.


Given that this letter may never reach you or it would only reach you heavily redacted as per the prison regulations, I write my words freely without constraint. It is only understandable that such security protocols be taken. You are after all a traitor to our State. You are an enemy of the people. You brought calamity down upon our empire by welcoming the Dominion and handing the reins of power over to the Vorta and Jem’Hadar.

No doubt such accusations still make your blood run cold and your scales itch in aggravation. You still no doubt hold to the contention that you were duped, misguided, or hopeful that the course of action you approved and supported would usher in a new era of Cardassian expansion and the might. Perhaps the strength of your conviction testifies to your honesty, to your sense of patriotism and to your delusion.

No doubt you will call me a traitor if news of my assignment is made known to you. I do not know if they will permit you this knowledge or not. After you are trialed and sentenced they might permit it. I have been assigned to the joint colonisation project with Starfleet. Yes with our ‘enemy’. Who though is our enemy Father? You were one of the architects who delivered our people into the hands of the Dominion. You bade them welcome and honed the message that they were our allies in making Cardassia great. Yet it was the Jem’Hadar and the Breen ships that turned their weapons upon our worlds and almost annihilated our people.  Had you not advanced the Breen as potential allies, equally spurned by the Alpha Quadrants powers and robbed of their true place in the galactic scheme of things? I remember your remonstrations over the family dinner table despite your revised recollection afterwards. You berated us – your family – for not understanding that the Breen were like Cardassia in how we were blighted by Starfleet.

I know that perhaps I should be more loyal, more circumspect towards you Father. But I have walked amid the carnage of our cities. I have helped in the relief measures. I have dug blasted bodies out of the rubble. I have parcelled out meagre medical and food supplies to the lines of starving children and destitute families at the over-crowded relief camps. So I find that my fervour and loyalty to you Father wanes in light of these miseries and truths.

Instead, I walk under the accusing eyes of others. They watch me as the son of a traitor and a collaborator. They expect me to betray them next. The sins of the father are my sins to carry. I carry the legacy of your – should we call them sins? Perhaps they are simply your miscalculations, your mistakes. They are sins but you did not intend them. You were fervent in your belief. You honestly believed that you were doing what was right by Cardassia and stubbornly held to that belief when others saw reason and wisdom and turned against the Dominion.

This I find the most galling. I am judged and belittled by others. Seen as a walking traitor. Yet I never served a day on the frontline fighting the Dominion War. These others fought alongside and for the Dominion. How did they not see their own traitorous act at that time? Why is it that because they turned sides before the end that they are seen as heroes and patriots? Heroes such as Gul Hedak. Yet their heroism meant they carried out a guerrilla war on their own people. Sometimes, I truthfully find it impossible to recognise what it is to be a traitor and what it is to be a patriot.

Maybe my lack of fighting is my true crime, my true sin and why I am met with such scornful and accusing eyes by my own people. I had your contacts and influence no doubt to thank for that. I did not seek such exemptions from duty. Shamefully, I was not aware of the true scale of the war’s cost on our people, our soldiers and military. From my safe position, it all seemed so far removed. Yet is this my fault or yours? You did what any father would do. You kept me safe. It was I who was blind to the war.

Blind to the war as I may be, I am no longer blind to the consequences. It is why I join this expedition. It is why I work with our ‘enemy’ Starfleet. I work with them because I witnessed how their ships stepped between our worlds and the forces of the Breen and Dominion as they rained hellfire down on our people. It was alongside Starfleet officers and with Starfleet supplies that I gave out relief measures in the camps. So it with Starfleet I will cooperate with to find new homes for our people. A new chance for us to create a world.

There is a chance I am wrong. That in years to come my actions here, working with Starfleet, will be seen as a blight or even a traitorous act towards Cardassia. Some among our number already do view it with such skepticism. But I make this decision for myself. I make it informed by own knowledge and feelings on the matter. I have the burden of your legacy yes to climb from under. But this decision is mine and mine alone.

Your son, Antem, ever shamed but ever loving.

[pullquote align=”center” textalign=”center” width=”70%”]Antem figured, ‘Here is one of the most prized and thuggish fighters on the Rebellion’s side and here am I, the son of a disgraced Dominion sycophant.’

Antem Lok in Weekly Free Write Prompt #8: First Day[/pullquote]