Date: 17 Oct 2011 05:21 Title: Checkmate
And a powerful conclusion to a powerful trilogy.
What Ziyal's death did to Dukat is more than obvious, but I think Dukat has a point: Garak never allowed himself to fully embrace his feelings for Ziyal and controlled himself to a point that all he did, all his love was half-hearted. His loathing for Dukat was blown to its fullest, though. Hating doesn't make one weaker, does it? Does he think so?
Date: 17 Oct 2011 04:18 Title: Check
Another good story showing tensions and hatred between these two Cardassians. Dukat's father matter returns, Garak's father matter returns...all the old and unresolved things.
I'm sure Dukat planned it to the detail not to inform Garak that he was supposed to stay on the station, only to tell him himself in the last moment. Clearly, his plan was a bit ruined by Garak's words, but in the end seems like he is the winner of this battle.
But I must admit I don't feel any compassion for Garak. He is abandoned and punished for whatever he had done, but he is so rotten that I can't help but not feel anything for him.
A great story and you wrote both Cardassians in-character perfectly.
Date: 16 Oct 2011 10:07 Title: Power Play
I can't even imagine choosing which of those two is worse: Garak or Dukat. For a second I got caught and sympathised with Dukat, who clearly cared for his father and what happened to him, but it all vanished with Dukat's final treatment of the Bajoran.
That's a side of Garak that we knew was in him, but were rarely shown it. It was so easy to wash him of his past in the show, because usually he wore a slimy smile on his face and talked riddles to Bashir and we didn't have many occasions to see what he was really capable of as a (former) Obsidian Order agent.
A powerful story that starts almost comically with Dukat strolling on the Promenade with torn pants and ends with torture and death. And two monsters walking off.
Date: 09 Nov 2009 22:58 Title: Checkmate
For some reason, your pre-Battle of Cardassia Garak is one that I always want to see brought low. I'm never quite sure if it's because I despise him so thoroughly that like with the canon Dukat I simply want to see him destroyed, or if it's the thought that the harder and harder he gets hit, the lower and lower he goes, the more likely he becomes to realize he needs something other than Tain's conditioning to sustain himself.
Going back and rereading this after writing "Those Who Live in the Shadow of the Night" with you was quite the shock, that's for sure. This Garak and the one we see in that story--yes, you can see the similarities, but to me they now read as dissimilarly as canon and AU Dukat.
Author's Response: Sometimes people do have to hit rock bottom before they see the need for a change. I definitely think that happened with Garak, and I think in the end, he was a much better person for the experience despite the pain of it. He did change quite a bit between this story and ours, didn't he? Thanks for the review and insight!
Date: 29 Sep 2009 14:35 Title: Check
Eh? How did I miss this story? Explain to me how PSGarak! Explain yourself!
Thank goodness for the challenge. Again, your portrayals of Dukat and Garak are spot on and fascinating to read. The power play is always there, great big undercurrents! Ha!
And of course seeing this moment for Garak is so galling and crushing for all the more so being delievered so casually and with so much enjoyment by Dukat. Dukat himself is at a pretty horrible spot in his life/career but this probably gives him a smiling happy moment in these dark days.
Author's Response: I sneaked it in like an assassin in the night. That must be it! hehe
I'm glad you enjoyed it. I felt that after the horrible drubbing Garak delivered to Dukat in "Power Play", Dukat deserved to get back a little of his own. As the challenge says, no one wins all the time!
Date: 23 Sep 2009 12:17 Title: Check
Oh, boy, that was a humdinger. You could feel the loathing between them. The dialogue was pretty good, too. I could hear the actors using those lines. Well Done!
Author's Response: Thanks! That was pretty much an all out hate fest. Dukat was smarting from the last encounter and was ready to get back some of his own. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Date: 24 Aug 2009 07:58 Title: Checkmate
Oh wow PSGarak. That was really I think beautiful is the word. Certainly sublimey told, with lots of emotion and terrific on the spot dialogue. You channel these characters. I almost feel as if that actually were a scene in the show, it just seemed so real and evoked that real a response in me.
Ziyal indeed deserved such a scene to justify her end. it brought a little humanity and some emotion, some heart to the charcters of Garak and Dukat who were two rather deplorable figures, very opposed to one another and yet she managed to bridge that divide and their cold hearts.
This scene of yours tells the pain and anguish her loss is to them and points to how much lesser their lives and understanding of others will be with her passing.
Once again, I find myself blown away with your writing and characterisation and scene setting and dialogue and everything. Plain and simple, terrific writing.
Author's Response: Thank you. The story played out very visually in my head. Bashir surprised me with his ability to put Garak in his place without being cruel about it, regardless of how Garak saw it. What he said to him about keeping his lies to himself came out of left field, but I remembered how he responded to Garak's attempts at provocation in "The Wire". For all of his flaws, Bashir is a deeply compassionate man, very dedicated to his role as a healer, and intelligent enough not to be run roughshod by Garak or provoked into a fit of temper when he needs him for something.
I've often wondered what would have happened had Ziyal not died. As much as she loved both Garak and Dukat, and as much as that love was reciprocated by both of them in their own ways, I wondered if she would have been able to bend them to a certain degree toward one another, as she did Dukat and Kira. It's a moot question, but it doesn't keep me from wondering.
I felt a lot while writing this. I'm glad that the feeling came through for you. It's really humbling to get such high praise. I think all of us as authors strive to touch people with our works, whether it's to entertain, amuse, horrify, or tap into some of the more uncomfortable emotions like grief or guilt. It feels good to succeed at the goal, so again, thank you very much!
Date: 23 Aug 2009 18:20 Title: Checkmate
Wow, PSGarak. This is above and beyond anything you've written so far, and that's saying a lot, because the rest of it has been really good. Not only did you nail every character, you made my heart break for them all -- for everyone who loved Ziyal. What a perfect piece of writing.
Author's Response: I always felt Ziyal got short shrift. Her death was rushed and treated as barely an afterthought. She was a good character, and she deserved more. I know the writers had a lot of material to cover, and that's why they did it that way, but it never felt complete. Now at least I have the closure I wanted for her and her loved ones. Thanks so much for the very high praise!
Date: 12 Aug 2009 19:21 Title: Check
Brutal. That was uncompromisingly brutal. The both of them enjoyed that troubled moment far too much, each seeking to wound the other either physically or emotionally. In the end, both are scarred, Dukat with having to slink away from the occupation in disgrace, and Garak with having to remain behind in exile.
Dark and depressing... just the way I like it!
Author's Response: I'm very glad you liked it. I like dark tales, myself, and you are right. The two of them enjoyed that sadistic showdown far more than either of them should have, despite the painful ending of it for both.
Date: 12 Aug 2009 13:22 Title: Power Play
I'm sitting here wondering what to say.That was chilling. And a 10.
Author's Response: Thank you very much! It took me to a disturbing head space, too. From the moment both Cardassians focused on the girl, I knew things were about to get a lot uglier.
Date: 05 Aug 2009 09:34 Title: Power Play
Wow. It's hard to tell who's more chilling here--Garak, or Dukat. I'd have to vote for Garak, personally, because however messed-up and twisted it is, there is SOME part of Dukat that seems to arise spontaneously, that isn't simply a killing machine. With Dukat, you always wish he could've been better. With Garak, the way you've written him, it's hard to want anything other than to see him dead.
On the "details" level, I really like how you write that section where Dukat realizes he has to listen to Garak to the exclusion of his other senses, to catch something closer to what he really means. I imagine the Cardassians very much that way as well, not relying fully on their hearing. I think they make very, very effective use of what they have, but it does require different techniques and approaches than what humans or other species with better hearing would do.
Author's Response: I'm hoping in time to give a slightly different perspective on Garak than what I was able to show in this, but yes, no doubt he is extremely dangerous and capable of setting aside any emotion necessary to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. Dukat was definitely his real target in this particular instance. The round may have gone to Garak, but the match is anything but over. (A sequel is already brewing despite efforts to resist.) I love the details you've put in your stories about Cardassian senses, particularly the purpose of the "spoon" and how it senses bioelectric fields. I started thinking about little ways Garak might give himself away without being aware of it (because he's not perfect by any stretch), and it made sense to me that because neither he nor Dukat have particularly acute hearing, he might not be able to hear the full nuance in his own voice. I've been spelunking, and when you turn your lights out and just sit for a while in pitch blackness, your hearing goes crazy acute. I figured the same would happen to Dukat, who was also already keyed up by everything that happened. Thanks for reading and the review! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. :)
Date: 03 Aug 2009 16:14 Title: Power Play
This is an unsettling tale on many levels, expertly rendered in vivid detail. The cold, calculating hate between these men is palpable, most especially after Dukat has to watch Garak work as he experiences what his father suffered at Garak's hands. These men, both ruthless in their own way, are as much victims of the Cardassian system as the Bajorans that suffer under their boot-heels. They've been twisted into something dark and obscene, all the while maneuvering for advantage over one another in the great game of chess that is the Occupation.
Phenomenal stuff, and a fantastic introduction to your work.
Author's Response: Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review! I, too, see the Cardassian people as victims of their totalitarian regime. Part of the tragedy of who they are stems from how great they seem that they could be. Many have said of Dukat that he seemed destined either for greatness or infamy, that there was no room for in-betweens. In a war such as occurred during the Occupation, there are truly no winners.
Date: 03 Aug 2009 15:23 Title: Power Play
Wow! Very powerful piece this. Two ego's and personalities clashing and have done so and as we know would continue to do so for a time yet. This was very vividly portrayed here. From get go it is a clear power play between the two men - even before the mergency - just thier greetings and interactions in the tailor shop. Deftly done.
You portrayed Garak as a complete monster almost for his cool approach and skilled hand at torture. Dukat comes off the better Cardassian here. Of course, when it came to these two Cardassians in particular the shades of grey were the most fascinating thing about them. That and the fact the two men also have a certain fascination with one another. You nailed both characters, their mannerisms, their speech and everything that they leave unsaid [often the most important element of these two - Garak especially]. It all works very effectively and is a convincing piece. Well done.
This would work perfectly as a piece for the Clashing Personalities challenge up and going at present. You should consider entering it for it.
Author's Response: Thank you very, very much for the generous review! Honestly, writing this piece was very nervewracking for me, precisely because I like both of these characters a great deal, and it was important to me to try to do both of them justice. I don't think the balance of power question ever fully got answered between these two, and I would have loved to see them get more air time together on the show. One day I will probably return to another Garak story for a different facet of his personality, but as he was played and from the things he said about himself during the show, I had no trouble whatsoever seeing him operating in this fashion. (Tarok Nor would have been quite a different tv show from DS9. :D )