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Zurin Dakal was a Cardassian cadet who served in Starfleet in the late 24th century, one of only four cadets in his year permitted to undertake his field studies on a new starship's maiden voyage—specifically, that of the USS Titan.

During the Dominion War, Dakal and his family fled Cardassia to the neutral world of Lejonis, an action about which he was deeply torn at the time as the necessity to escape the clutches of the Dominion clashed with deeply-ingrained patriotism.

Starfleet Academy field studies aboard the Titan

Dakal shattered even more taboos of Cardassian society when he chose to enter Starfleet; until that time, to enter another culture's military forces was unheard of and even to fraternize too much with non-Cardassians seen as rather aberrant. While Dakal intended, upon enrollment in Starfleet Academy, to act as something of a "cultural ambassador" to introduce those outside the Cardassian Union to something other than his people's warlike side, in practice Dakal could be rather shy. Contrary to the Cardassian reputation for xenophobia, it was not their diversity that bothered Dakal--in fact, unlike many crew members, Dakal responded to the presence of the predators in the Titan's mess hall with equanimity. Rather, it was unease with himself and his ability to relate to them, that troubled him. The cautious-natured Dakal was sometimes self-conscious about his status as first Cardassian in Starfleet, a difficulty that led him at times to withdraw from conversation lest he be made to deal in a public manner with actions his people had taken of which he was ashamed.

Bajoran science officer Jaza Najem took note of Dakal's difficulties and made the effort to draw him out with a well-placed quotation from Cardassian poet-in-exile Iloja of Prim. This initially flustered the Cardassian cadet, who tried to fade into the background and let the reference pass--until Jaza directly called upon him to explain it. In their conversation afterwards, Jaza demonstrated to Dakal that his fears about the perceptions of others were ungrounded; rather, Dakal was allowing his own insecurities to paralyze him. (TTN novel: Taking Wing}

In 2380, Zurin Dakal was assigned to a research team aboard the USS Titan, a move intended by Jaza to help draw out his potential. At first, his groupmates attempted, sometimes unintentionally, other times deliberately (as in the case of Lieutenant Roakn) to shunt him to the side, placing him on tasks that seemed to bear no relation to what the group was doing. Dakal turned these attempted slights to his benefit in the end, as one such assignment resulted in a critical discovery that helped the Titan crew to begin understanding the nature of the space surrounding the dangerous Eye of Erykon. He proved to be of further value in piloting exploratory probes via the telemetric observation VISOR to explore the phenomenon.

Finding closure after the loss of Jaza at Orisha proved difficult for Dakal--especially since Cardassian mourning rituals demanded the presence of the body, which could not be located. Still, Dakal resolved to do his best to live up to the legacy of the mentor who, in spite of all historical precedent, had taken the time and the interest to help him step out of the shadows. (TTN novel: Sword of Damocles)

After his long-distance graduation and commission on ship, Dakal remained aboard the Titan along with fellow cadet Torvig Bu-Kar-Nguv. By 2381, he served as the gamma shift operations officer. Dakal and the other gamma shift crew were on duty when he picked up a high powered sensor beam from the strange energy source the ship was tracking. The officer on watch, Fo Hachesa, thought might be Borg in origin, and ordered shields raised; a feedback pulse managed to knock out main power and warp drive. (ST - Destiny novel: Gods of Night)

Miscellanea

Among his personal likes is an "obsession" for Terran sushi gained during his stay at the Academy. Though not exactly a dislike, Dakal found the presence of Syrath astrophysicist Se'al Cethente Qas disquieting due to its resemblance to a lamp owned by his grandmother.

Kaleen Ghemor's maiden name was Dakal. Assuming that Dakal is not a common Cardassian last name, it is possible that she was a member of Zurin's family. If this is the case, it means that he is related toTekeny Ghemor and Iliana Ghemor by marriage. (DS9 novel: Fearful Symmetry)

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This article uses material from the "Zurin Dakal" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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