- This is a Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius alternate-universe character. You may be looking for Skrain Dukat, the canon-universe version, who was born and lived under entirely opposite circumstances.
In an alternate universe where Bajoran and Cardassian roles were reversed, Skrain Dukat was a rebel fighter along with his daughter, Ziyal Dukat. He was a devout believer in the Cardassian religion, the Oralian Way, a faith that saw him through hardship after hardship, from his capture and torture at the hands of Pah-Wraith vedek Tora Naprem that led to the birth of his daughter, to the torments of his own mind on occasions when the Cardassian Resistance couldn't steal enough of the medicine he required to keep symptoms resembling Earth's bipolar disorder at bay.
Skrain is also an honorary member of the Kekil-haaf, a Kurabda tribe, from whom he learned many of his survival skills; he often dresses in Kurabda robes, as well--in the years after his capture he becomes more insistent on this, only wearing city clothing for missions in the city. (Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius "Exits in the Haze," "Those Who Live in the Shadow of the Night," "Sacrifice")
Skrain Dukat was born on Cardassia Prime in Federation year 2305, the second child born to his parents. His father was a federal archon in the city of Culat, and his mother a civil servant affiliated with this Cardassia's version of the Cardassian Guard. By the time he was twenty years old, he would have four younger brothers and sisters still in primary and secondary school.
- The Pocket Book novels suggest that the prime-universe version of Skrain Dukat was born in Lakat rather than Culat. His birthplace is unknown in the Star Trek: Sigils and Unions universe; however, even if it is Lakat, it is entirely possible due to the different course of events in the Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius universe that one of the two families relocated from its ancestral home at some point in the intervening 500 years since the two universes diverged.
At some point in his youth, he toured the Catacombs of the Shaping in Lakarian City--a place that functioned both as a center of learning about the evolution of the Cardassian race and as a shrine for practitioners of the Oralian Way, who believed that the evolutionary process, as discovered by science, was the work of Oralius. This experience was one that would continue to shape Dukat's faith as he got older.
When he was thirteen, he experienced his first onset of major depression, which cleared into a brief period of normalcy and then into a manic state. Once this state subsided, he believed he was through with this strange upheaval he never could explain to anyone--until the depression struck again, stronger this time, and in his desperation, presence of mind gone, he tried to end his life.
Fortunately, his father found him before he could perish, and from there, Skrain was checked into inpatient care while his condition was diagnosed and a treatment plan devised, which combined medicine, psychotherapy, and spiritual elements. While he relapsed on a few occasions and ended up having to repeat a grade in school because of his absences and academic difficulties at times when he was present, after that he was able to get back on track and while he was older than most of the incoming novice students at twenty years old, he entered Yavenn Pretam University of Culat with a focus in pre-law, hoping someday to become a prosecuting nestor (the Cardassian equivalent of district attorney).
Invasion and pilgrimage
But one fateful day during his first semester, in 2325, the word came in--the Bajorans had broken through Cardassian lines and were coming straight for Cardassia Prime. He attempted to evacuate from the university campus and return home to his family...unfortunately, the invasion progressed too quickly, and in fleeing from the enemy he got disoriented and ended up in the deserts of Kurab.
There, the Kurabda tribesmen agreed to teach Dukat how to fight the invaders--but only if he was willing to become a sincere seeker of religious discipline among them, as this would give him an "excuse" to live among them as a non-Kurabda. In his case, the Guide Rulaahan assigned him the discipline of silence: for an indefinite term, he would surrender all speech.
Under this vow, Dukat began to learn both the physical and spiritual survival skills he would need to see him through his efforts to repel the invaders. During this same period, he experienced a terrifying vision that--while he could not remember the man's face--was of his alternate self. This vision reinforced his decision to be a very different person than the alter he never knew.
Six months into his time with the Kurabda, the Bajorans harassed his tribe and singled him out specifically, seeming to believe that he had done something against them. The Bajorans only let up on him after the Kurabda tribesmen, through careful wording, gave the them the mistaken impression that Dukat had been born without the ability to speak (furthered by the fact that Dukat was now permitted to communicate by Kurabda sign language), rather than just refraining from doing so. As recordings of the rebel leader they were after very clearly showed him shouting orders, this ruled out Dukat as the culprit. Still, some of the Bajoran unit remained quite uncomfortable with their encounter with Dukat, perhaps recognizing his potential to become a threat.
A visitor from a neighboring tribe, who had had contact with the rebellion, was quite startled upon encountering Dukat--he looked just like a rebel he had seen, except with different ridging and skin tone. Dukat immediately understood what had happened: his cousin Akellen had survived and was leading attacks against the Bajorans. He sought and received permission to leave for the location this tribe specified, and there he was reunited with Akellen Macet. ("The Desolate Vigil")
In 2351, Dukat was captured by the Bajorans. After transport to Bajor, he was delivered into the hands of one Vedek Tora, who subjected him to a terrible degradation. It was from this that his daughter Ziyal was born--but instead of fearing or despising the child, Dukat instead became determined to free her, to raise her where her mother could never touch her spirit. When he escaped from Bajor, it was with the infant Ziyal in his arms. He escaped with the aid of his universe's version of Winn Adami. ("Exits in the Haze," "A Door to the Soul")
Prior to his capture, Dukat had a wife, two daughters (Eral and Breka--his oldest and youngest), and one son (Kadresh--his middle child) on Cardassia Prime; they lived in a residence converted from a cavern. Tragically, three weeks after he was taken prisoner, his family was rounded up and executed, leaving only the infant Ziyal and his cousin Akellen Macet alive. Dukat would always keep his wife's matrimonial bracelet, and a cloth she embroidered that bore the children's names at his altar. ("The Guide," "Those Who Live in the Shadow of the Night")
- Due to the execution of Skrain's wife by the Bajorans, Mekor Dukat was never born in the Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius continuity--nor were the three children Dukat had in the canon universe after Mekor.
In 2369, Skrain and Ziyal Dukat would rescue a stranded traveler in the nearby desert who gave the name of Elim. Though they had no idea where Elim came from, they cared for him until he was strong enough to return to where he had come from; in return, Elim repaired the cloth that memorialized his children. ("Those Who Live in the Shadow of the Night")
The Dukats were eventually captured for a second time, tortured, and killed in mid-2370 during an attempted raid on the Eye of the True Prophets, the Bajorans' station in orbit of Cardassia Prime. In his final moments, with his daughter at his side, Dukat felt the peace of his people's deity and foresaw a time when his people would be free. ("Sacrifice")
Dukat, who died at what his people consider the tragically young age of 65, never had the opportunity to share his vision. When his body and that of his daughter were found on the Fireplains of Revakian months after their deaths, it was a dispiriting blow to the Cardassian people. ("Captives' Ransom")
On first glance, this alternate version of Dukat seems to have a personality so different from that of his prime-universe counterpart that it may seem as though there is no way they could indeed have the same genetics. However, upon closer examination, a number of key traits observable in the prime-universe Dukat become very evident in this version, though the purer manner in which they are expressed sometimes obscures the similarity.
In many ways, it is this Dukat's faith that put him on such a different path from his alter ego, for it has given him a guiding star and a reality check outside of himself. Rather than cutting himself off from the ability to care for anything other than his own advancement, Skrain is instead a compassionate man who, while a warrior by necessity, still cares deeply for those around him. His attachment to Ziyal is very strong, just like that of his alter, but in a far more unconditional, selfless manner...indeed, he placed her life above his without holding the terrible circumstances of her birth against her. Unlike the prime-universe version, he never forgot the family he had prior to their murders. He loved them genuinely and still keeps their memory alive, even teaching Ziyal that his wife, and the half-brother and sisters she never knew are something like guardian angels to her.
Like his canon counterpart, he does experience a great deal of concern as to how others will think of him--however, instead of trying to force the issue upon others and assuming they have something wrong, he is much more prone to introspection...in other words, to believe that he has done something to offend rather than assuming that others do not appreciate his greatness.
Particularly in his youth, he did sometimes exhibit some sarcasm, sharpness of tongue, and sometimes even cockiness that bore a surface resemblance to his alter. It was for this reason that he was advised by his teachers to become a nestor (barrister/trial lawyer) as opposed to a conservator (a solicitor)--his rhetoric was considered too fiery for the latter position. That said, these traits never got the best of him, though they might have contributed to getting him into trouble with the Bajorans during the failed attack on the Culat indoctrination center. (That said, Dukat's self-analysis at this time must be taken in a guarded fashion given the manner in which he was tortured--whether or not his conduct really was as bad as he seems to believe it was is unknown.)
Following the assault during his Bajoran captivity, Skrain's personality diverged even further from his counterpart--that residual cockiness was shed almost entirely, and his natural compassion intensified yet again. He suffers certain symptoms that seem like post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of this incident, to include difficulty with even a casual or accidental female touch. Also, as a defense mechanism he will withdraw into silence at times. That said, his faith has given him much strength in adversity and he should never be mistaken for broken or defeated.
In a similar vein--it is interesting to consider the fact that he seems to have confronted his mental illness in a much more direct and intense manner than the prime version ever did...something that may well have given him much greater resilience of spirit than the prime version ever had. It is doubtful that the Cardassian state ever allowed the canon Dukat's illness to progress as far as this version's did before diagnosis--and it is a certainty that his treatment would have been radically different, given the state's banning of any and all religious expression.
- One compelling reviewer speculation is that for the canon Dukat, only the depressive phase was treated, but not the mania as the state saw this as something they could bend to their advantage.
This version of Dukat also seems to be quite imaginative, as is the main-universe version--but his imagination, when he gets the chance to indulge it, is focused upon books rather than self-delusion, especially Cardassian speculative fiction. He is also a voracious reader of whatever non-fiction he can get his hands on...which is especially important to him considering that he was never able to finish his education.
The Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius version of Dukat, unlike his canon counterpart, who may speak alien languages in addition to his native tongue, knows no offworld languages (except possibly a smattering of Bajoran), partly down to his comparative lack of formal education, and his intended career before the invasion, which did not require him to know any other language. However, Dukat is fluent in two different sign languages of his world, both Kurabda and common sign, a form of communication he seems to excel at and deeply enjoy. He likely also has some understanding of spoken Kurabda, although even after the vow of silence is lifted, he shares his own thoughts with them strictly in sign.
This Dukat is a participant in the Multiversal Round Robin at Ad Astra Fanfic's forum. The canonicity status of this adventure for Dukat has yet to be determined; however, it should be noted that Dukat's friend and spiritual advisor, the Guide Aamin Marritza, suffered visions for two days prior to Dukat's apparent capture. Whether the timeline will mend and all memories will be permanently erased is currently unknown. It does seem, however, that he has retained the memory of a spiritual vision experienced during the Round Robin, though none of the context surrounding the vision, judging by "Those Who Live in the Shadow of the Night."
On a somewhat more humorous note...I have tried to find a character quote for this version of Dukat--but unlike the canon version, when he's under extreme stress, he seems almost mute, and in most of his "official" stories, he barely speaks aloud. (Even in "The Desolate Vigil," he has taken a vow of silence, and this quote is a thought rather than something said aloud!)
- "Please don’t let me become like that, sealed in there all alone with nothing but my contempt to sustain me. I want to see...I want to feel, and understand, to know what it is to draw close to you and reflect the light of your flame. Don’t forsake your children—don’t withdraw your spirit from our hearts in our time of trial…and please, let us not forsake you."
- — Silent prayer after a vision of his alternate self. The Desolate Vigil.