One of the youngest guls currently serving in the Cardassian Guard, Sherouk commander Tayben Berat has forged a reputation of persevering in spite of an extraordinary series of personal losses and setbacks--yet in the end, still finding it in himself to smile. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions)
- The character of Berat originates in Lois Tilton's novel Betrayal. However, many of the events portrayed in that book have been retconned into continuity with events later revealed in DS9 canon as well as established aspects of the Sigils and Unions universe. The first name of "Tayben" is specific to the Sigils and Unions continuity.
On first glance, Berat is not the sort of man one might expect to command a Galor-class warship. His ordinary temperament--especially in recent years--is quite affable; he smiles easily and is quick to look for opportunities for friendship. He does have something of an impulsive streak at times, which most often shows in the rapid-fire stream of unusual, sometimes very risky tactical ideas that come to him in the heat of battle. He also has a tendency to boldly interfere when his friends (or general principles) come under attack, even when this might be to his detriment.
This same impulsiveness, pushed to its greatest extreme, cost him dearly when actions he took on Deep Space Nine in 2369 came back to haunt him two years later. Though he reached his breaking point under extreme duress on that occasion, his "true" personality is quite a different matter and overall his mix of technical prowess and social skill has made him well-respected within the fleet among those who are willing to look beyond his physical limitations.
His build is quite average and not particularly imposing and a man of his youth would ordinarily be expected to hold the rank of glinn if that. Perhaps his most notable feature is his eyes, which are of a strikingly light, bright blue. Following the debilitating phaser shot he took on Volan III, which cost him the use of his hands for tasks requiring fine motor skills, he tends to stand with hands folded behind his back and gestures little, preferring to use cues of expression to convey nonverbal messages.
During his final year, he encountered Oralian practitioner Zejil Rebek, meditating beneath the surface of a lake. Despite his duty as a citizen and soon-to-be commissioned officer of the Cardassian Guard, Deghilzin Berat chose not to turn Rebek in--a decision that, after enough time had passed, led to a friendship between the two that would last through their careers. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion")
- The sections from "Obrast Nor" through "Deep Space Nine" detail the events of Tilton's novel. Nerys Ghemor has added some additional terminology and names, but claims no credit for the plot in this section and wishes this to be acknowledged as the foundation and origin of Berat's character without which none of his appearances in Star Trek: Sigils and Unions would have happened. Sections from "CUW Vrokind" forward are by Nerys Ghemor.
From 2367 until shortly after the Cardassian withdrawal from Bajor, Glinn Tayben Berat served as chief engineer of Obrast Nor, a station located on the opposite side of the Cardassian Union from the Federation border. Here he gained extensive knowledge of the Nor-class station that proved highly transferable to other stations built on the same specifications. Prior to this point, Berat had never served on a shipboard posting.
- In Betrayal, Obrast Nor is referred to as "Farside Station." Berat's position is stated to be "systems control officer," but when coupled with the Sigils and Unions understanding of his rank, this position became equivalent with station's chief engineer.
In 2369, shortly after the Occupation ended, however, a political cabal with connections to the True Way seized power in a violent coup d'etat. Calling themselves the "Fist of Revenge," the new powers-that-be immediately set about purging everyone they saw as responsible for the loss of the Bajor sector--and the newly-discovered wormhole--to the Federation. Such notable figures as Gul Skrain Dukat were imprisoned, and almost all of Berat's family was implicated, tried, and executed--including his uncle, Halav Berat, who served on the Detapa Council at the time of the withdrawal. (Betrayal, Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--"A Stone's Throw Away")
Tayben's posting at Obrast Nor, however, had been so far away from Federation space that the Fist of Revenge decided it would be too likely to provoke resistance from elements in the Cardassian Guard still loyal to the previous power structure should they deal with him in the same manner. Instead, Berat was forced to watch the hanging of his father (who had served in Cardassia's civilian leadership and advocated the pullout from Bajor), uncles, and some of his cousins--a ghastly, three-day spectacle that ended when True Way-loyal soldiers ordered the stoning. To his deepest shame, Berat succumbed to the pressure and cast a stone: aimed to miss but cast it nonetheless. (Betrayal, "A Stone's Throw Away")
- In Betrayal, the so-called "Revanchists" (an inexplicably French name for an alien organization) are described as a political party--which later in DS9 became flatly impossible given the direct military control of the government through Central Command. However, the tactics used by Marak and his ilk show a striking similarity to what would later be revealed as the True Way. This allowed for an explanation of the Revanchists as a cabal of True Way sympathizers who seized power within Central Command.
Horrible as that ordeal was, the Fist of Revenge wasn't finished with Glinn Berat. The Obrast Nor engineer was stripped of his rank and transferred to the CUW Ghedrakbre under the command of Gul Selost Marak, brother of a prominent architect of the Fist of Revenge coup. Here, Ghedrakbre crewmen were free to abuse the former officer however they saw fit, in hopes of provoking now-Garheç Berat to commit some sort of offense for which he could be quietly executed.
The Ghedrakbre crew--especially one Ragoç Halek--greatly relished the opportunity to make Berat's life a living hell. Berat's barracks-mates and superiors alike subjected him to a constant barrage of insults, beatings, contradictory orders and punishment shifts intended to wear him down both physically and psychologically. By the time the Ghedrakbre was ordered to show the flag at a trade conference at Deep Space Nine, Berat had been pushed within inches of the breaking point. (Betrayal)
- The Ghedrakbre is referred to as the Swift Striker in Betrayal. In the Sigils and Unions continuity, a "swiftstriker"--ghedrakbre, in Cardăsda, is an animal native to Cardassia Prime, and the Cardăsda name is used in lieu of the translation; similarly, the ranks of Berat and Halek are rendered in their original Cardăsda. Also, Gul Marak's first name is specific to the Sigils and Unions universe.
Escape to Deep Space NineEdit
Shortly after the Ghedrakbre docked at DS9, Ragoç Halek assigned Berat to perform maintenance on the ship's emergency airlocks--systems that only Cardassian vessels were programmed to use and in recent months had gone virtually unused on the now Federation-held station. Forced to do work that should have belonged to two men, Berat injured his hand. Still he held his complaints in until Halek ordered him to flagrantly violate Cardassian regulations. Berat was damned if he did, damned if he didn't: if he complied, Halek would surely report this and order his execution for the regulatory violation. If he did not, Halek would execute him on the spot for disobeying orders. All restrained shattered, Berat snapped and killed Halek in self-defense.
Acutely aware he had just signed his death sentence, Berat fled onto Deep Space Nine. As luck would have it, that section of the station had suffered severe damage during the withdrawal and all sensors were offline--that is, until Berat selectively activated a bank of them to alert DS9 personnel should Marak's soldiers try to pursue. Surprisingly, Ghedrakbre personnel did not immediately discover Halek's body, allowing Berat to find a hideaway where he intended to wait for the end of the trade conference. At that point, his plan was to stow away aboard one of the departing vessels.
When Marak discovered Berat's flight, he threatened DS9 personnel that if they did not locate the deserter, he would tear the station apart until he did--and when DS9 security staff did not find Berat fast enough for his tastes, he even sent his own deck patrol aboard to do so.
Berat was discovered soon enough--but not by either security force. Instead, it was Nog, in search of spare parts in the abandoned parts of the station, who cornered Berat. Nog spotted an even greater opportunity: why not keep not only a cache of spare parts, but a hidden Cardassian technician who knew how to repair the innumerable broken machines on the station? Nog made Berat an offer: in return for hiding him from Marak's deck patrol and station security, he would repair anything Nog brought him. It didn't take long for Quark to get in on the deal as well. Not long after this, however, Jake Sisko stumbled on Nog's secret and managed to catch a few minutes alone with Berat, where he took an interest in the young Cardassian's past.
Suspicious about the nature of Nog's repair business, Odo trailed Nog into Quark's back storage room--and discovered Berat. The young Cardassian panicked and bolted out onto the Promenade, in the process stunning Miles O'Brien. When security caught up with him, he turned his weapon on himself. One of the security officers stunned him in an attempt to prevent the suicide. Both beams converged upon Berat: the stun beam and a glancing beam set to kill from his own disruptor.
Berat was taken to the Infirmary with significant neurological damage, which Dr. Bashir was able to treat fairly successfully, suggesting that he would recover more function over the long run. When Berat woke, he became violent again, believing he was about to be handed back over to Marak, and had to be put in a restraining field.
His fortunes changed for the better when Jake Sisko vouched for him; as a result, Commander Ben Sisko accepted a plea for political asylum. Almost immediately, Berat's services were required to defuse a bomb the True Way had placed in Deep Space Nine's reactor. His efforts were successful and he even earned the respect of Chief O'Brien despite having shot him.
Back on Cardassia Prime, the Fist of Revenge usurpers were quickly thrown out of power by the old guard, and with relative order re-established in the Cardassian Union, Gul Dukat arrived at DS9 to take Berat home, delivering the good news: his rank was restored, the charges erased from his record--and best of all, his cousins Karel and Tal had survived the purge. (Betrayal)
To set the young officer's career back on the right path, Dukat saw to Glinn Berat's first shipboard posting aboard the CUW Vrokind; while Berat appreciated the opportunity, he was decidedly wary of Dukat and sought to keep him at arm's length. Before actually assuming his post on the Vrokind, Berat was granted a leave of absence for medical and personal purposes, finishing treatment for the wounds he sustained on Deep Space Nine and restoring himself to proper physical condition. What weighed on Berat the most, though, was the events of the execution. He would revisit Memorial Square in Lakat, grasping for some way to begin coming to terms with what had happened. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--"A Stone's Throw Away")
At some point after Berat became the chief engineer of the Vrokind, however, he caught the eye of Dukat's cousin, Gul Akellen Macet, who spotted in him the potential to command and put him on a fast track towards his own ship. This was a time of great recovery and maturing for Berat, a period that went a long way towards shaping the man who would later play such a pivotal role in the fate of the entire quadrant. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--"Let He Who Has Eyes See")
Gul of the SheroukEdit
In 2371, Tayben Berat received momentous news: he would become one of the Cardassian Guard's youngest guls, and receive command of the CUW Sherouk. He relieved the previous commander, Gul Zarvat, in a ceremony where he accepted the ship's sigil and swore his oath to give his crew the full support of the Cardassian Union, through him--an oath he determined to keep even under the most trying of circumstances.
The Volan III IncidentEdit
Six months into Berat's command, Central Command selected him for an unusual mission: to meet with the leaders of the Volan III colony. Settled by the Federation and recently absorbed into the Cardassian Union, some of the colonists had turned to violence with the Maquis. Central Command's new idea was to try winning the hearts and minds of the settlers by making their case directly to the populace--with a little cooperation, they could do far more to improve these civilians' lot than the Maquis ever could.
Not five minutes into Gul Berat's mission, however, he ran afoul of a Maquis assassination attempt. Though he only took a glancing hit, the assassin's phaser had been set to lethal. His prior history proved damning--this time the shock seared throughout his nervous system and sent him into a round of seizures that nearly killed him...and this time, the damage proved irreversible and debilitating.
Central Command immediately issued discharge orders. Berat, however, still maintained his faith in his ability to serve even in the face of his new disability, and also in his original mission. He felt his return could be exactly the sign the colonists would need to lay down their arms. This, coupled with his previous fall from grace, convinced Berat to attempt the nearly unthinkable: to file a formal protest with Central Command, in full knowledge that he might die for his audacity.
This likely would have come to pass had his petition not crossed the desk of one Tekeny Ghemor mere months before the legate's disgrace. In concert with Legate Turrel, architect of the treaty between Bajor and Cardassia, Ghemor successfully fought to keep Berat in command of the Sherouk. This made Berat the highest-ranking of only six people to serve shipboard in spite of clear physical disability, an accomplishment partly made possible by Legate Ghemor's personal selection of Glinn Bresul Yejain to take over the role of Sherouk first officer as well as to serve as Berat's aide for some tasks his neurological difficulties would no longer allow him to perform.
Sadly, during Berat's recuperation and reinstatement struggles, Gul Aman Evek was deployed to Volan III to crack down on the settlers; Central Command had taken the attack on Berat as evidence that their unorthodox initiative had failed. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order)
The confidence of Berat's crew--thankfully--turned out to be a different matter. Once he was sufficiently recovered, Gul Berat took the highly unusual step of summoning all of his officers ranked dalin or above and delivering a very frank briefing about his condition and what it would entail for him and the crew. He then offered those officers the opportunity to transfer without prejudice to another ship if they felt that for any reason they could not serve under those circumstances.
Every single officer given the choice opted to remain on the Sherouk with Gul Berat. ("Let He Who Has Eyes See")
Dominion War ServiceEdit
Gul Berat continued his service aboard the Sherouk into the thick of the Dominion War.
In late 2374, the Sherouk was selected as one of the first ships to receive Dominion upgrades to its sensors and transporters. Right from the start, the incoming Vorta commander, Dasreen, proved contemptuous towards the Cardassians and specifically towards Berat--who, he asserted, should not even have been allowed to live after his injury, let alone continue to serve.
Dasreen's dismissal of Berat was his critical mistake. Gul Berat successfully goaded the Vorta into going onto the rec deck alone with him, without any Jem'Hadar guard, and used a voice-controlled hologram emitting in the infrared spectrum (invisible to the Vorta eye) to knock Dasreen unconscious. From there, the Vorta was beamed into cold storage, and the crew successfully killed the Jem'Hadar waiting in the cargo bay for the distribution of the ketracel white. ("Let He Who Has Eyes See")
A week later, the Sherouk was one of only three Cardassian ships present at the Septimus Massacre. Berat was unable to rescue anyone planetside, nor prevent the destruction of the Prenkar, but was instrumental in saving the Romac from destruction with a risky tractor beam maneuver. Though the gamble paid off, the severity of the losses Berat could not prevent weighed on him heavily.
This harrowing episode only reinforced the conclusion Berat had already come to: that the Dominion occupation had to end. ("Let He Who Has Eyes See," The Thirteenth Order)
Dominion War RebelEdit
From Septimus III, Berat took the Sherouk to the Lessek system, where he and fellow co-conspirators Macet, Rebek, and Speros were already making preparations for rebellion...including gathering a group of Starfleet prisoners they hoped to convince to join them in wreaking havoc behind Dominion lines.
Berat took a now-rare excursion off of the Sherouk along with his first officer: he was one of the ones to meet with ranking Starfleet officer Lieutenant Commander Makis Spirodopoulos. The next night, he spent considerable time encouraging the young Starfleet officer in his expanded leadership role. The two hit it off immediately, enough so that Berat felt comfortable discussing the Volan III incident and its physical effects.
Much to the ire of Gul Surtak Speros, Berat was assigned the responsibility of commanding all four Thirteenth Order vessels in the upcoming battle of Lessek. The youngest of the four guls devised much of the strategy and tactics himself and took the lead in presenting it to the Starfleet crew. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order)
Family and relationshipsEdit
Berat is presumably a native of the city of Lakat. Nearly all of Gul Berat's family was killed in the Fist of Revenge purge; however, his cousins Karel and Tal survived. Deceased family members include Berat's father, his uncles Halav and Garuj Berat and his brothers Mesak and Varec Berat (the younger). Most of the female members of his family were also killed. (Betrayal, "A Stone's Throw Away").
He also had a grandfather by the name of Varec Berat. In an alternate timeline, Varec the elder was present for an accelerated first contact between Cardassia and the Federation. ("Cardassian Sunrise")
- Gul Akellen Macet: Macet regards Berat as his protege and has great faith in the young gul despite the sneering of others in the Guard. Berat considers Macet close enough that he is one of the only ones with whom he will discuss the incident aboard Deep Space Nine--even the suicide attempt.
- Gul Zejil Rebek: One of Berat's friends since assuming command of the Sherouk, it was on Berat's recommendation that Rebek was accepted into the rebel conspiracy that became the Thirteenth Order.
- Lt. Cdr. Makis Spirodopoulos: Berat went out of his way to befriend Spirodopoulos, demonstrating his willingness with an extraordinary act of trust.
- Gul Surtak Speros: Speros has been an outspoken opponent of Berat's remaining in service and does not hesitate to let his contempt show. Berat, for his part, finds Speros' rudeness insufferable and would probably let loose against Speros if not reminded by Macet of the risk inherent in doing so.
Disability and accommodationsEdit
Tayben Berat suffers from phaser-induced peripheral neuropathy, a disorder of the nervous system caused by the cumulative effects of the Deep Space Nine and Volan III incidents. Perhaps the most noticeable symptom to the casual observer is the loss of fine motor control of the hands; writing comes with great difficulty--if at all, and he cannot use a computer console for long. Tremors worsen at times of high emotion, as does the intense, shooting myalgia (pain originating in the nerves themselves) that sometimes wracks his entire body. Berat has become quite adept at working through the pain, however, and most of the time only his closest friends are able to spot when it is particularly severe.
When his condition permits, Berat does remain capable of less subtle physical tasks. When the Sherouk suffers serious damage, he refuses to sit still in his office when such work is to be had, and gladly comes down to the lower decks to pitch in with the "hound-work": the sort of unskilled grunt work Ragoç Halek forced him to do is now a point of pride to carry out on his own terms.
Glinn Yejain has become quite adept, too, at discreetly aiding his gul when necessary, taking over tasks such as manual data entry or pouring a drink--all without complaint or having to ask. Yejain also serves as Berat's representative on many ground missions requiring command-level presence given the fact that should Berat be shot again, even at low intensity, the result will likely be fatal. On those occasions when Berat does head planetside, Yejain invariably accompanies him; these trips, of course, are carefully considered given the inherent risk of both Sherouk senior officers being away. (Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order)
- "Any willing set of muscles is welcome on the lower decks, regardless of whether they come from waste reclamation or the gul's office. I may be no good for delicate tasks, but I can do hound-work just as well as any other man and I’m not about to stand around useless while the rest of my crew bears all Cardassia on their shoulders."
- — Berat replies to a question from Macet about why he's pitching in on post-battle repairs after the Septimus Massacre. The Thirteenth Order.
- "My disability does not sap the value from my life. It only adds complexity. Continuing my service to Cardassia—commanding this ship—carrying my people from battle to battle…holding a stylus in my hand and signing my name…putting on my armor and going to the bridge to serve on those days when the pain is so bad I hardly even feel strong enough get out of bed…I treat all of these things the same way as this puzzle—it is the striving itself that drives me on and gives me meaning, and pushes me further than I would ever manage if I listened to everything I am told about where my limits lie. Let me be the one to find what they are! I will not be swayed! Do you understand now, Dasreen? That very first moment, when you failed to truly see that, to see me—your fate was sealed!"
- — Berat gives Dasreen a lesson in Cardassian justice. "Let He Who Has Eyes See"