Place of Origin: Cardassian Union, Cardassia Prime, Lakarian City
Played by: Deletham
Zalek fits the typical description of a Cardassian security officer: trim, well manicured, and a piercing stare. Bronze, scaled skin and neck ridges complete the appearance. Zalek, however, doesn't carry himself with the usual swagger associated with Cardassian military men. Instead, Zalek walks hunched forward, eyes scanning his surroundings and hands shoved into his pockets.
Zalek Keved is one of the millions of scattered Cardassians struggling to build a future in the aftermath of Dukat's War. He returns to Lyshan Colony in search of a home after years away wandering through the remains of the Cardassian Empire. Before the war Zalek was considered something of a charmer. His easy smile and soft eyes made him an easy friend and an accomplished investigator for the Cardassian Directorate for State Security and Enforcement (DSSE). Yet he denied himself companionship. Or rather, the Directorate demanded it. Officers were forbidden from forming new relationships beyond the necessity of an investigation. Until he met someone...a human on Lyshan Colony.
After the war Zalek changed. The jovial, easy-going Cardassian became a broken, sullen man. Forced to leave Lyshan, he wandered through Cardassian space alone looking for a new line of work. A new life. Yet Lyshan continued to call for him. Namely his sister and an old friend: Marshall.
Cardassians posses an inherent immunity to some poisons and a disposition toward temperatures far hotter than your average Terran can sustain. Beyond these basic characteristics, Zalek is a skilled investigator and security officer. With a laundry list of contacts and favors at his disposal, Zalek can find information on nearly everyone with even a tangential relationship with a Cardassian or an organ of the Cardassian government.
Zalek doens't trust easily. Not anymore at least. His self-imposed isolation has made him a suspicious man. While he's returned to Lyshan to help his friend Marshall, Zalek isn't interested in making friends. This isolation makes him an obvious outsider, and as a Cardassian on a Federation colony he has a long way to go to earn the trust of its people. It's rumored Zalek has taken to hard drinking in private on occasion.
Zalek wants to be left alone. At least that's what he tells people. Secretly, the Cardassian yearns for companionship, and wants to find the Vorta responsible for the execution of the colonists during the Dominion War. This, however, is unlikely to come to pass.
Hobbies and Interests
Zalek enjoys long runs alone in the outskirts of Lyshan Colony without music or technology save his communicator. When he can, Zalek backpacks in the wilderness for days on end. The introduction of his sister's child, Gila, has pulled him out of his isolated activities. He babysits when needed and takes the young man on hikes.
Zalek Keved was born on Cardassia Prime to a modest family. His father owned a shop. His mother worked as a low-level bureaucrat for the Cardassian state. For Zalek service to the state was an escape from a menial existence on Cardassia Prime. His family lacked the pull for a position in the Union's officer corps. Instead, Zalek looked to the closest institution to law enforcement: Cardassian Directorate for State Security and Enforcement (DSSE).
The Directorate provided physical security to Cardassian installations and facilities across the Union's vast territory. His early postings offered little more than combating petty theft or busting local contraband operations. Zalek proved himself, however, as a capable investigator. He climbed the ranks from patrolman to inspector in half the time it took his colleagues. After busting an arms deal between a crooked Cardassian quartermaster and a weapons smuggler, Zalek was promoted to Station Chief of the newly occupied Lyshan Colony at the outbreak of the Dominion War.
After the war began, the directorate's officers were tasked with counter insurgency operations on former Federation worlds. At first the occupation began relatively uneventfully. Cardassian administrators and Federation colonists stayed at arm's length from one another. Years of isolation behind the DMZ created a hearty population used to managing their own affairs and getting by with next to nothing. At first, Zalek continued his professionally imposed isolation. The colonists after all were his ward (and some his enemies). But as the war dragged on Zalek began to form an attachment to one colonist: Victoria Marshall.
At first, the pair only bumped into one another while at the colony market or the small events put on by the Federation colonists or Cardassian authorities. Slowly their meetings began more frequent. Knowing they couldn't be seen alone together, the pair arranged encounters on the outskirts of the colony. Their walks through the wilderness stretched into the evening. They planned their lives after the end of the war over and over again. One night they stayed out until dawn. They stopped meeting for weeks, barely able to look one another in the eye. The war continued, and Zalek found himself yearning for it to end even if it meant Cardassian defeat.
Then the Dominion came. It was time to put an end to insurgent activity, and the Dominion dispatched their fearsome soliders to do the job. Zalek protested, discounting their proof of Maquis activity on the planet, but the Vorta overruled him. Jem'hadar soldiers broke down doors. Burned houses. Lay waste to whole fields. It was a bloodbath. Cardassian security forces were ordered to stand down and bear witness to the barbarity of the Dominion's loyal foot soldiers. Zalek tried to intervene on the colonists behalf, but the Vorta continued to ignore him. Colonists were dragged into public squares and executed for all to see. One of them was Victoria Marshall.
When the war ended, Zalek left the colony. Without saying a word to his sister, the Cardassian packed his belongings into a backpack and boarded a shuttle for Cardassia Prime, or what was left of it. He needed to be somewhere else. For years he wandered the remains of the Union in the hopes of finding a quiet corner of the galaxy, but he wasn't alone. Millions of Cardassians wandered the remains of their empire looking for anywhere to go. Eventually, on the day of the Lyshan Colony massacre, Zalek received a call from an old friend: Marshall.
Note: I have a bit of work to do on this. I will be digging in and fleshing out Zalek's background with Sean's character Marshall.