Reviews For Among the Dragons
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Reviewer: FalseBill Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jul 2013 23:53 Title: Day 1

Interesting opener, give a good feel of what going on a culture exchange to a Cardassian ship would be like.

Did like the Cardassian have a strict timer on the shower. plus the Gul being surprised by sweat.

Reviewer: Lil black dog Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jul 2013 23:40 Title: Day 1

This is positively delightful. Gul Rejal!  I'm a novice where Cardassians are concerned as well, so I can easily identify with Amrita and Maeva's unease and confusion.  I feel like this will be a learning curve for them, and I get to tag along.  Can't wait to read more! :D

I do know enough about your world from free writes and challenge stories that I have read to recognize some familiar characters, however, so I feel like this will be a chance for me to learn more about their backstories, and about them as individuals.

Author's Response:

I'm very happy you're liking it so far :) I hope the rest won't be disappointing and as enjoyable.

Thank you for reading.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Jan 2012 19:05 Title: Day...I lost count

Sweet and lovely (I take it this is the ending).

Reviewer: Ln X Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 15 Jan 2012 09:06 Title: Day...I lost count

Well I wondered when the end would come to this story, so here it is. It was good fun watching Amrita become steadily more integrated with the Cardies. You have a knack for writing about Cardassians and developing their culture, their physical features and language, which is all rather tricky stuff to do, and pulled off the language part without it sounding cheesy.

The next thing I constantly noticed was your interpretation of the Cardassians. There appears to be mismatch between the arrogantly aggressive Cardassians of TNG and your Cardassians, and a mismatch with the Cardassians who occupied Bajor.

Perhaps the best evidence for this mismatch is in Duet, with Aamin Maritza. He seemed to be the only Cardassian in the Gallitep labour camp who was deeply uncomfortable by what was going on. So from what you could rather confidently conclude that there were very few Cardassians who actually cared for what was happening to the Bajorans, and who thought it was wrong.

The point I'm trying to say is that Cardassians are somewhat xenophobic and when they have control over other humanoids they abuse those humanoids rights if it so suits them (Cardassians). I can see the ordinary Cardassian wishing the Obsidian Order was gone, and Central Command not so encroaching. But I would think your average Cardassian would not like to see outsiders living on Cardassia. Sure they would be tolerated but Cardassians are proud and a bit vain, and they always go on about how their culture is the best and most richest in the Alpha Quadrant. Amrita only fitted in because she tried to emulate the Cardassians, that and her curiosity of them. But she must have know it was mainly SHE who had to really adapt to the Cardies, and not the other way around.

That did come over in your story, but this should have been made stronger, and to really show that Amrita wants to overcome certain Cardassian prejudices because she wants to live with these people, and that she sees the good points, and is prepared to overlook the bad points. This story sometimes rather conveniently glossed over sticky points: the occupation of Bajor, Cardassian Union joining the Dominion, and that coup you referred to in the story.

You portrayed the coup as something bloodless, like one easy transition, and you just snap your fingers and voila! In one week you have a new government, and everyone just accepts this.

I don't buy it, and I know I have commented on this before, but I still don't buy it. I've never heard of a military coup that has been bloodless and not resulted in more instability inside the country. What about Alon Ghemor’s supporters? I cannot believe he had no power base or people who backed him up. In fact the dissident movement in DS9 wanted something like this to happen (democratic government on Cardassia), and they seemed to represent a minority of far more enlightened Cardassians in DS9 (or perhaps a bigger minority than first thought?).

Nah this coup you dealt with would have descended into civil war, it smacked to me of the old order (Central Command) trying to stop the new order (the Cardassian government and all) from growing in power and popularity. I know Cardassians have been conditioned and somewhat brainwashed, but it strikes me that the Cardassia you write will eventually slip back into the tyranny this coup supposedly tried to avoid.

Again Alan Ghemor's supporters would not be happy about this, there would be protests, and how would this new government (Jarol's government) deal with this? I'll tell you how; violence and oppression. Jarol would become the dictator and tyrant she does not want to become. This was such a big plot opportunity that you missed; could Amrita still live with her new found Cardassian friends, despite in the midst of some sort of Cardassian civil war? This no-real-consequences-to-the-coup thing is such a crazy paradox, that I would go as far as to say that you deliberately made the Cardassians civilised and nice.

It is very clever how you moulded Amrita into accepting the Cardassians, and lures the reader in as they get more enraptured by who these Cardassians really are. But if you just step out of it for a minute (and after the coup part) and really examine the story, the feel is wrong and it goes back to that coup.

I still think it was a golden opportunity to really see whose these Cardassians were, and to have two opposing sides and one hell of an interesting conflict. But oh well, what's done is done.

This was enjoyable to read, but the Cardassians seemed a little to perfect and nice, it almost seems to me that you are making a defence of these Cardassians but overlooking their real nature, which may explain why something was slightly amiss in this story.

Don't get me wrong, these are subtle points, and they don't make this story bad, but it does make one think...

Finally on a different note, it would have cool sort of like ending this story when Amrita is on her deathbed or something...

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Dec 2011 22:30 Title: Day 715

Ha! And now we find out - kinda - whhy the neck is off-limits before wedlock.

Very nice, very subtle.

Author's Response:

Yeah, there's more to neck ridges than just sexy look ;)

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Nov 2011 23:04 Title: Day 714

Ah, the wedding! The vows remind me a little of my own wedding - my poor husband had to repeat the Hebrew vow about four times before he got it perfectly right! :)

Author's Response:

At least he got it right. I am not sure Kapoor was that successful ;)

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Nov 2011 23:03 Title: Day 628

I like the compromising on the food - always a good thing in a relationship.

Author's Response:

They'll have to have a lot of compromises if this is going to work ;) It's like a clash of two cultures.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Nov 2011 23:03 Title: Day 609

Scary recollection of the Order, amidst happiness, it's reminiscent of a broken glass at a Jewish wedding.

Author's Response:

It still is fresh in many Cardassians' memory and there still are things that could remind them of it. A "perfect" mood spoiler.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Nov 2011 23:02 Title: Day 568

I can see why Tavor is upset, but I can also see Amrita's concerns. At least for humans, abuse often runs in families. Even if Tavor doesn't want to repeat his father's behaviors - and even if he does everything he can to prevent that - it's hard to say what he'll do if he's ever truly pushed.

Author's Response:

And that's what she was thinking of--it is a scenario that often repeats with next generations. But her question was so blunt and so sudden that she really hurt him.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Nov 2011 16:01 Title: Day 714

Yes! Yes! Yes! I always like this story, even if half of it doesn't make much sense to me. Now I'm wondering just what else you have in store for Kapoor. I mean are you going to cover all the important events in her life up to when she dies? Great stuff, and keep the chapter acoming!

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:45 Title: Day 531

Interesting how this chapter progresses, from a job interview (Godzilla, excellent) to, eventually, the memorial. All of these are the foundation that Amrita keeps laying, as she, essentially, turns herself into a Cardassian.

Author's Response:

Gul Godzilla was planned well ahead, but the art part wrote itself, in a way. I wanted to finish the chapter somehow and then she went to the city and discovered that exhibition.

You're right, she's becoming a Cardassian. Slowly, she's adapting and starts to make her life there. For her it's still an adventure and she enjoys it.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:43 Title: Day 521

And now the bridge to how is obliterated.

But - it's very telling that she never mentioned a word about her beloved to her parents. That tends to not bode well for couples in real life. Something holds her back. Now, while she is well aware that things are not necessarily going to be rosy, I am kind of interested about why she would not have tried to at least prepare them a little. The day #s indicate that they were "going out" some two hundred or so days. Hence this was a fairly active deception/cover up. Not accusing Amrita of anything, but she had her chances to at least let the information begin to leak out.

I like the writing but the character! Man oh man she did not handle that well. I do not condone the father's behavior but he is rather shocked about all of it, too. Plus they know they will not see her, perhaps never again. These are a lot of difficult blows at once for the Kapoors.

Author's Response:

Another example of her not really thinking about what she was doing ;)

I think she hid her dating Tavor, because she feared the stereotype that Cardassian men had would upset her parents. She feared such a reaction and probably kept putting it away "until next time" and that time finally came and she dropped a bomb. An atom bomb, considering what Ullmann had reported.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:34 Title: Day 518

Quite the decision!

It's a bit reminiscent of people coming to America about a hundred years ago. You left, you were not coming back. And if your family did not go with you (say, you were escaping the draft), then that was it.

It does trouble me a little bit that Amrita, in some ways, just ups and does this. Not that she needs to consult with her parents (she is a grown woman, after all), more, that she did not explore any alternatives. There could, potentially, have been a compromise, if she and Tavor went elsewhere. The closing of borders would probably be rather difficult to enforce on remote colonies. Neither of them might not like (and did not consider) living in the sticks, but it could be a way to have both his ties and hers.

The die is cast!

Author's Response:

I'm not sure Tavor would want to leave Cardassia, but that's true--she didn't even consider it. I think that it's part due to her getting used to her new "home," which is the warship, and part (the bigger part) due to her not thinking. Amrita often acts and then thinks and she sometimes is reckless. This is one of those moments where she didn't think it all through and just followed her heart.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:29 Title: Day 517

"I want to wake up next to you every morning, I want to play with my child that is also a part of you, I want to eat food cooked by your small hands and feed you with my desserts, I want to feel the touch of your soft nose on my scales when I kiss you, I want to walk the Alley of Heroes holding your hand and take a holoimage by the Legate Tekeny Ghemor’s monument with you, I want to have picnics with you in Hampat Park, I want you to find my first grey hair, I want to ask you if I my armour is polished and shiny enough and listen to your nagging that I don’t put it back where is its place.”

That is truly wonderful writing, and very, very true of long-term, good marriages. They are a lot less about major moments (although those exist) and grand sweeping gestures, but more about whether the trash is taken out or a spouse holds the door open for his or her beloved. Lovely.

And the political differences are good and believable. Values differ! And so they should! When we meet different civilizations, they are not all going to, lock-step, look and feel like things we know. We are going to see genocide and child brides and different governments and all of it.

Author's Response:

He said beautiful things, but he chose some moment to do that, didn't he? ;)

I guess their views on many things have to differ, because they come from different civilisations. Even on Earth people differ so much, so how could they not if they come from different planets. That will have to cause clashed and they will have to work out their differences; in some cases they would find a compromise, in some they'd have to agree to disagree.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:20 Title: Day 490

I'm really glad that you didn't use this moment as a means for amping up the romance. While it doesn't necessarily follow the Amrita would sob in her superior officer's arms, it is pleasantly unexpected that you took a different route with your writing.

Author's Response:

Romance isn't in Amrita's head right now. She's scared and she loses it even in her superior presence. I think Brenok was really, really surprised when she started to cry in his arms. I'm sure it never happened to him before. And while her first thought of him was "yum! handsome!" she doesn't think of him like that anymore.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:14 Title: Day 487

You do a good job conveying what would clearly be a rather tense time, without a lot being known. One thing that's bothered me in Trek (both canon and fanfic) is that, often, everyone, somehow, knows everything.

And that's just absurd.

Your characters meaningfully move from not knowing to knowing - it makes sense how they learn about all sorts of things, including the news.

Author's Response:

I wondered how it would read to someone, who doesn't know my other story, "Shaping a Cardassian," in which the same events are told from Gul Jarol's point of view (and therefore everything is known).

I didn't want Kapoor to know everything. How could she. She is the person that especially should be kept out of the loop, because she is a stranger.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 03 Oct 2011 22:12 Title: Day 202

Terrific! You write not only puppy love well, but also culture clash/changes.

There is, one day, going to be some day when a human and some other species (for real) have a conversation/thoughts that go something like -

  • What happens if I touch there?
  • Was that a good sound or a bad sound?
  • What does it mean when I'm allowed to see ___?
  • What does it mean when this certain word or name is used?
  • Can this work at all?
  • And, not to be crude but, do the parts fit?

In this story, that moment is very real, very well realized.

Author's Response:

Amrita is still discovering, still asking questions and still looking for anwers. And she just entered a different stage of her "discovering" on Cardassia, so her questions shifted a bit to a certain direction ;)

Reviewer: Ln X Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 29 Sep 2011 11:28 Title: Day 1

I love this story, and every chapter I attentively read and follow. It is a very addictive read, and though some of your ideas about Cardassian views on political and governmental systems I disagree with, they are still very tasty and thought-provoking stuff.

For that I tip my (imaginary) hat to you. The Cardassians you portray remind a bit of the Russian people. The two peoples share quite a few things in common: many years of suffering, government corruption, living through horrific wars.

But the most interesting thing is that the Russian people in general aren't very big on democracy. All they really want is a stable government, and a leader they can look up to. Which is very similar to the Cardassian beliefs portrayed in your story.

Again very interesting parallels, and nice one for such a great read.

Author's Response:

An interesting comparison. Not something I planned (although the Soviet Union and my own country's past tell me what's life like in a totalitarian country and I draw a lot from it), but I can see where you see some parallels.

I disagree with many of my Cardassians' views, too. And so does Kapoor. But the Cardassians think differently and I wanted them to be non-human in their way of perceiving the world, but still consistent and not inherently evil (as it usually happens with non-Federation aliens).

Thanks for reading and reviewing :)

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 23 Sep 2011 22:54 Title: Day 202

You do adorable puppy love moments so well. The scene of Kapoor watching Tavor on the bridge was hilarious and sweet and yes, she is obviously obsessed with neck ridges! This was sweeter than kanar! But seriously, nicely written - we get a good impression of how their love life is developing as well as a few cues about the possible difficulties ahead for them - as maybe not everyone will be in favour of their relationship nevermind the glut of cultural differences they still have to navigate. Great.

Author's Response:

Not only cultural differences divide them, but also political views. While they can find their way around culture, as you saw in the previous chapter, it won't be so easy with politics and how they feel about that.

I think she's obsessed with his everything LOL

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 23 Sep 2011 22:47 Title: Day 182


Well now, a nice simple game, a little banter and then a BIG moment! A kiss! And call me Tavor now!

Wow. Firstly, it is a great moment that has been really superbly set up and build up to and nows pays off in the writing of it. Secondly, again with the wonderful humour lacing everything. Kapoor's reaction here was priceless -

Oh? Oh...oh!

Hee, hee. Oh, I could so picture her face and her internal voice at this moment. The sudden change from puzzlement to OMG this means... Loved it. Only to be shortly followed by -

“Oh?” I was surprised. “Oh.” Disappointed. “Oh!” I realised it must be something special then.

Again, the flux of emotions and the mix of thoughts and trying to decipher the cultural differences and the rapidly changing personal circumstances between them both. It was sweet, endearing, funny and lovely. Super job.

Author's Response:

She's still discovering, it's just not "duty" matters any longer ;)

I hoped that emotions behind "oh's" would be clear. Whatever Tavor's thinking, I guess he is relieved to see that no only he is nervous and feels his way through it.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Sep 2011 15:12 Title: Day 160

Ah - so as the discussion gets too uncomfortably political, we play Kotra instead?! :)

Actually, I think her backing down makes the most sense. One thing she did not point out is that there isn't even close to 100% participation here, either. It does not necessarily indicate a rejection of the current system. Sometimes it is a dissatisfaction with the available candidates (such as Karama expresses), sometimes it really is a dissatisfaction with the process or the government. Other times, it is for fundamentally absurd reasons like it was raining outside. Then again, anyone who would forego voting because of rain is probably not someone you want to make your political decisions for you, anyway, eh?

I see you and I are both exploring the ideas of governments working with and perhaps joining the Federation when their methodologies are different. What we think of as tyranny and oppression, other cultures may see as being necessary checks on behavior. Or they might not see it as oppressive at all. Or they are conditioned that way, and may very well change their minds if they see sentient beings living a different way.

We do not all have to be the same - and we are not all the same. But I do wonder how the Federation will work with governments that are truly oppressive and/or corrupt. Will they accept them with open arms? Try to tell them what to do? Look the other way? Refuse to deal with them at all? Arm their freedom fighter rebels?

Author's Response:

Kapoor probably knew she wouldn't be able to convince Karama--at least, not in one day--so she changed the subject. A game of kotra is better than a quarrel ;)

I think the Federation by the times of TNG became so patronising that they would not want to deal with anyone, whom they'd suspect not to meet their standards of democracy and freedom. Which makes some sense, but "freedom," as Karama points out, is in fact quite difficult to define. And the Federation accepts an oppressive government as an ally, though: the Klingons. How many subjected worlds do they have? How cruel and brutal are they? How many Bajors do the Klingons have? The Federation seems not to have any problem with their empire, although it doesn't seem like it changed that much since the time when the Feds and the Klingons had been at war.

In one of my other stories and Federation captain tells a Cardassian gul that he'd chose the Cardassians as allies over Klingons any time. And not only for more palatable food ;)

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Sep 2011 14:57 Title: Day 132

What I really love about this is the feeling of - these are individuals and they are not a monolith. I think it's easy for us to pigeon-hole people, and imagine how we are going to be when we meet aliens for the first time! If First Contact is with someone who has the equivalent of Asperger's and doesn't look us in the eye, will we ever trust the entire species? We could be condemning a relationship with billions of individuals because one person failed to shake hands or look at us in whatever we deem to be the "right way".

I recall reading a book several years ago (unfortunately, the name of the author thoroughly escapes me) about gestures. And of course there are differences wherever you go. You nod here, it means one thing, but it may mean something far different.

I worked with a woman, back in 2001, who conducted a number of conference calls. And she would inevitably say, "For those who can't see, Joe is shaking his head." And she MEANT nodding. She MEANT agreement. So I would jump in and say, "So, Joe is indicating agreement" or "Joe, you agree, right?" And Joe would confirm that he agreed and would look at both of us like we had three heads. Fortunately, this woman did not get upset at my barging in, but ... eh ... weirdness.

So we humans have these disconnects all the time. And then we get an impression about a culture and we need to, somehow, shake it off. Ullmann's behavior and report have set that cause back, big time. Her actions and words, clearly, confirm what the Federation has been thinking - that this will never work.

Go Kapoor, go!

Author's Response:

Ullmann had come to Cardassia with a lot of negative expectations and she found confirmation that she was right all the time. And then she took that word to the Federation, which accepted her report and judged the whole race based on one report. A nasty report, but still it was one incident and nasty behaviour of one man. Kapoor at least gave Cardassians a chance and made an effort to know them. She doesn't agree with everything, she doesn't like everything, but she's trying to learn about them as much as she can.

And it's so true about cultural differences. I live in a foreign country, on another continent in another culture and's really easy to misunderstand something. Sometimes effects are comical, sometimes surprising, sometimes frustrating, but there's no way everything could be totally bad or perfectly good.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Sep 2011 22:17 Title: Day 103

I want to give a more insightful review, a more thoughtful response but coming off what Karama says in this chapter I'm just surprised and taken aback. By the fact that he is so open with Kapoor to share this and the fact that the two of them really are growing closer together as friends and more than that. Really well done.

Of course, I wonder now how Kapoor will manage if left to her own devices on the ship. She is integrating herself into the crew and making headway in terms of being a part of the engineering team and even making friends; But how will she fair when left alone. Essentially she is alone by the fact that Ullman was working different shifts and become increasingly withdrawn from Kapoor too. Great, can't wait to see how she copes.

Author's Response:

I think Karama needed to throw all those things out, he needed to talk to someone. The most logical choice would be Zamarran, his best friend, but the fact that he opened to Kapoor tells a lot how he feels about her. I wouldn't be surprised if he started to realise how important she really is for him that very evening.

How Kapoor will cope? Next chapters coming soon ;)

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Sep 2011 22:02 Title: Day 57

I love this. Especially the surprised looks on Kapoor and Zamarran at seeing the other. I dare say Kapoor was even more surprised to see that Zamarran invited her to remain. That was sweet and it shows there's more to him that the officious exterior. I delighted in how he kept being startled by Kapoor's methd of finding out things but just LOVED the way Kamara totally pegged Kapoor when he made the comment, "She attacks with questions." So true - and he noticed! ;) me thinks <3 is blossoming before them and they don't even realise as yet. Hee, hee. Perfectly lovely scene, again with the finding out differences and cultural tidbits - not one sided either but for both sides. Excellent.

Author's Response:

Kapoor starts to discover what Zamarran is like. He probably thinks she's as unpredictable off duty as on duty. And that's true--neither Kapoor not Karama understand their feelings yet. Everything is developing slowly and without rush; they just think they are good friends.

Kapoor has a chance to show Cardassians that humans are not a monolith and that they also have colourful, interesting culture(s).

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Sep 2011 21:28 Title: Day 31

More Kapoor calamities to navigate here in the new setting of engineering. Again, I like the simple differences that are raised here, nothing startling, just little things. In addition, we still have Kapoor proving to be thoughtful and reflective about the Cardassian way to do things - post potentially putting her foot in it! :D

Karama's reaction was priceless and obviously both are happy to see each other again. Aw sweet.

Author's Response:

She tries her best to adapt. I guess it's her personal pride to prove to Cardassians that she can be as good as they are.

They are happy to see each other. They don't know what it means for them yet, but they are steering in the right direction ;)

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