Zurin Dakal was a Cardassian male 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 Federation starship 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 was 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, Dakal was assigned to a research team aboard the 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.
During the course of this mission, he became attracted to one of his groupmates, Lieutenant Hsuuri (a Caitian). He had already decided to ask her to share a meal when she approached him and told him she would welcome any opportunity for the two of them to spend time together to "discuss cultural differences".
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. When Jaza was lost, Hsuuri came to Dakal and offered to "explain" to him how her species celebrates death- and life. (TTN novel: Sword of Damocles)
Service as a commissioned officer
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 it 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)
Following the Borg Invasion of 2381, Dakal spent his leave taking crash courses at Starfleet Academy, eventually shifting from the operations department to the sciences division. By the time the Titan resumed its mission of exploration on First Contact Day of 2381, Dakal had become a sensor analyst.
Later that year, Dakal was involved in a computer science research team dispatched to observe an artifact from an unidentified vessel. The artifact later proved itself to be the Sentry drone SecondGen White-Blue, much to the astonishment of Dakal and his colleagues. Dakal was later sent on an away team to observe the Sentries process of refueling the Titan. When the Null attacked the shuttlecraft Holiday, Dakal, Commander Tuvok, Lieutenant Pava Ek'Noor sh'Aqabaa, and Lieutenant Holor Sethe were forced to evacuate the shuttle. Unfortunately, the attempt to transport all four of them out of the shuttle at once left Dakal with his arm fused in with the glove of his Environmental suit. The away team soon realized that they were standing on the Sentry-in-exile FirstGen Zero-Three, who willingly told the officers the entire origin of the Sentries and the Null. However, Dakal's condition was deteriorating to the point of delusion. When Zero-Three was destroyed by the Null, the away team was rescued and Dakal was transported directly to sickbay, where he would soon make a full recovery. (TTN novel: Synthesis)
By 2386, Dakal had been promoted to Lieutenant junior grade. During the Titan's conflict with the Solanae, Dakal sacrificed his life in order to prevent the Solanae from using a biogenic weapon against the Dinac and the other inhabitants of regular space. (TTN novel: Sight Unseen)
Among his personal likes was 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.
Dakal also had a fondness for politics and political science.
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 to Tekeny Ghemor and Iliana Ghemor by marriage.
|USS Titan sciences personnel|
|chief science officer||Jaza N. • M. Pazlar|
|other science personnel||aMershik • Berias • Bralik • Chamish • Z. Dakal • Eviku • P. Fell • Hsuuri • Ichi • Kekil • Kesi • Lonam-Arja • O. Malar • Y. Modan • K. Norellis • K. Polan • S. Qas • Roakn • Savalek • L. Tereshini • Vennoss • Voris|
|see also: engineering personnel • medical personnel • operations personnel • pilots & flight control personnel • security & tactical personnel • senior staff|