CARDASSIA PRIME – The closure of the Headquarters Allied Reconstruction Forces today marked the first time that Starfleet has had not an active presence on the Cardassian homeworld since the end of the Dominion War.
Located in the Coranum Sector of the capital city of Cardassia City, HARF–as it has come to be known by its staff and local residents–has spent the past seventeen years assisting in restoring the shattered infrastructure and rendering aid to the battered Cardassian people in the wake of the Jem’Hadar’s genocidal rampage in the dying hours of the quadrant’s bloodiest conflict. Although many Cardassians initially saw the joint Federation-Klingon effort as an occupation force, opinions soon changed following the restoration of Lakarian City in 2378, three years after it was leveled as a warning to Corat Damar’s rebellion.
Speaking at a ceremony to marks it closure, HARF’s commanding officer Captain Ansa Mapani gave a moving speech to a mixture of her staff and local Cardassians.
“In your willingness to set aside the distrust and bitterness of war, you have not only just rebuilt just your beautiful world but your very souls–your paghs,” she said. “If you had asked me, as a Bajoran, 20 years ago whether I would ever count a Cardassian as a friend I would have told you that you were insane. Today, however, I count many of you present as my closest confidants.”
Also addressing those in attendance was the Cardassian Foreign Minister Mala Padol, who spoke of her own experiences of HARF.
“I was on the verge of death underneath the rubble of my family home when I was found by the rescue teams,” she said. “Starfleet doctors nursed me to health again and Klingon soldiers rebuilt not just my home but the entire district. I would not be here if not the Allied Reconstruction Forces. They asked for nothing in return except the hand of friendship and I–and millions of other Cardassians–were more than happy to reciprocate.”
In its operational history, HARF has completely rebuilt the Cardassian water reclamation system, helped to cure several outbreaks of Orkett’s Disease, helped to found or reconstruct eleven ruined cities and dozens of towns and helped to reunite thousands of Cardassians with missing family members. Their work has also spread to other Cardassian colonies that suffered at either Dominion or Federation hands during the war.
Four years ago, the Federation Council and Klingon High Command agreed to scale back HARF’s involvement to allow for greater Cardassian input, with the Klingon detachment’s withdrawals and 700 Starfleet personnel reassigned. Today, however, marked the total removal of Starfleet personnel from the planet after a six month transition. It is believed that the Bajoran government will continue to provide humanitarian aide as it has done since 2380 under the proviso that the Cardassian Guard do not rearm themselves to pre-war levels as stipulated by the Treaty of Bajor.