Date: 07 Aug 2009 01:13 Title: Exits in the Haze
Now I see what you were talking about with what he went through. I definitely felt for him, and his love for his child, despite her mother, is inspiring. Some blame the children when they have been traumatized in this way, even while feeling horrible for it. I'm glad it didn't go that way for him. Very touching story.
Thank you very much for your kind words.
I am always particularly...concerned about how my male readers will perceive this, because admittedly, there ARE some points I am trying to make. One--his strength. Something truly horrific happened to him, but he's a strong person. And two--yes, people talk about the mother-child bond as if a man will always experience something weaker than that, but that is oh, so NOT the case.
Dukat's beliefs very much play into the way he feels towards Ziyal. It should not surprise you that a man of his belief believes that life begins at the moment of conception and must be guarded from that moment forward. Basically...if he'd been a woman, I believe that he would have kept the child because of that belief. As a man, even though he has not carried Ziyal, he believes that fatherhood is not something he can turn his back on. Another reason...as you saw, he tried to kill himself. Not long after that, he found out Vedek Tora was pregnant. In a lot of ways, he sees Ziyal's birth as a sign from Oralius that this is not his time...he has a reason and a purpose to live, even though things have become so outright horrible for him. Finally (and PERHAPS this is a particularly masculine motivation), by being able to escape with Ziyal, he is able to take sole control over her upbringing...he completely thwarts everything Vedek Tora was trying to do to Ziyal. There's even an element of--not sure "revenge" is the right word for it (given that this Dukat is not particularly vengeful, like the canon version is), but it's the only one I seem to find right now. When he would sneak in to take care of Ziyal at night, even before he escaped...it was the one brief period in his bleak days in captivity when he got to assert control (though again, BIG difference between this sort of benevolent control and the awful things canon Dukat did).
Date: 25 May 2009 18:54 Title: Exits in the Haze
I always appreciate AU stories for how they are at once so alien and yet so familiar. You've done a great job of that here, creating a chilling and frightening world, yet populated by some strong enough to fight back and fortunate to receive help from unexpected sources.
Thank you very much indeed for reading.
And I am very, very glad to know that you see AU Dukat's strength. That means a lot to me as his author and it would mean a lot to him, too.
Date: 23 May 2009 21:37 Title: Exits in the Haze
So powerful. Dukat really did suffer there, didn't he? To be caged up like that and used as he was...I can understand now why he barely talks.
I'm glad to see he rescued Ziyal. I was really hoping he'd kill Vedek Tora before he left, but that would have drawn unecessary attention to him. Great story Nerys.
Thank you very much for reading.
Yes...he suffered terribly. And "used" is such an understatement for what was done to him. That was a very, VERY hard thing for me to write, make no mistake.
I'm sure Dukat wanted to kill Vedek Tora...but a few things were at play there. First off--Ziyal was his top priority. Endangering her in any way was out. (And one good thing about his religious beliefs: Ziyal may have some of Tora's genetics and features, but he knows she has her own soul.) But secondly...awful as it was for him to admit to himself...she traumatized him VERY badly. He just had to get OUT.
I will say that as compared to the Round Robin, in his own world and with people he knows...he talks a bit more than what you've seen in the RR environment. But it definitely changed him--he IS quieter than before, no doubt about it.
Date: 03 Apr 2009 00:16 Title: Exits in the Haze
The idea of Dukat as a resistance fighter in a religious war that the Bajorans are winning is an intriguing inversion. At first I thought he seemed out of character because I read his death first, but here you show how the arrogance and self-certainty we associate with Dukat existed in him until he was captured and tortured by the Bajorans. Are you presuming that Dukat has the Cardassian equivalent of bipolar disorder to explain him going off his rocker at the end of DS9? I noticed in "Sacrifice" that you mentioned lassitude after the manic episodes, which made me think of manic depression, although he seems to be almost manic schizophrenic with the hallucinations... but then there's no reason Cardassian mania should work like it does for humans.
Regardless of the universe he's in and his circumstances, it seems the love of family is always one of the driving forces of Dukat's life. It's quite believable that he would be attached to Ziyal despite the circumstances of her birth.
I don't know that Dukat's cockiness ever reached the same heights it did in the canon universe, even during his most heady days as a winning resistance fighter--but he could definitely be hotheaded sometimes.
You may be interested to know that bipolar disorder in humans can sometimes lead to delusions as well, during the most extreme manic episodes. Whether Cardassians with bipolar disorder are more prone to that particular effect...I'm not sure. But yeah, I figured something as extreme as what happened at the end of DS9 would suggest some sort of underlying disorder--even though I still think choice plays the biggest role in the difference between these two Dukats. See, the odd thing is this...AU Dukat has had to face his disorder to a much greater extent than the canon one ever did! He hasn't had the benefit of access to sophisticated medical treatments available to the canon Dukat; to maintain an even keel, he's reliant on medications that the Resistance can't always steal enough of.
And in this story, Vedek Tora did something that flushed out whatever medication may have still been in his system when he was first captured, and even enhanced the mania. (Whatever else she did, I will not speculate on beyond what you see in the story, even in private, out of respect for AU Dukat.) After that, he went into an extremely severe depressive phase. That's how you're seeing him now--though I suspect he's in a bit of an in-between phase where he can function fairly well. I think he knows himself well enough to realize he'd better take advantage of it, that he can't wait until he ends up on a wild high.
Love for Ziyal...yes. That's the force, coupled with AU Dukat's faith, that has literally kept him alive. Sadly, I think that had Ziyal died in infancy, or even just not been conceived...he would've kept trying to kill himself until he succeeded. She gave him something to live for.
(BTW, if you want to see some of the music that inspires me to write this character, check out the soundtrack thread on the Ad Astra forum.)