Date: 10 Dec 2011 13:56 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 2
Ho, ho. Neatly played by all parties. Zamarran and th'Arshar are alike in ways - both were upright, principled and most importantly here, willing to listen to the other side and extend a measure of trust. For Zamarran this was a particularly difficult thing to do given the nature of the society and the stranglehold the Order has on Cardassia. Given that he took this situation to place his faith in Brennok he already had given a lot of himself over to risking himself. On the Starfleet vessel he took an even bigger gamble. But he realised the bigger stakes at play and also wanted to deprive the Order of any kind of victory. I rather imagine him being an almost underground resistance to the Order in some fashion to come.
For such an intriguing situation that you set up, it was always going to be difficult to come up with a resolution that could work. Perhaps in TV Trek the Vulcans would have become a protectorate of the Cardassians. But that would be a little too sugary for a proper resolution. Given their return to the Federation it too would seem too sweet a resolution but it was the manner in which such a resolution was manufactured that made it novel, interesting and really worthy.
Such a resolution gives hope to the future of the Federation and the Cardassian Union - not os much becoming allies but for their own sakes. For Cardassia, this was a triumph of the Detapa Council and even the military command over the Order. For the Federation it might be a means to make ammends for the failings towards the Vulcans.
Lastly, the fate of the Vulcans in the Federation was horrible. A plague among them all to eradicate them was just devastating. But even before that, the Federation's stepping in to force ponn farr seems - no is - unseemly and wrong. No wonder T'Khovk was so angry/emotional when she spoke about it. Though this story was about Vulcans they didn't feature largely but this appearance alone attested to their Vulcan emotional state and that rather than being cold and impassioned they have very strong feelings they discipline with logic. But logic does not mean allowing themselves to be used and demeaned. So the emotion here is very logical and adds to the layers in the story by giving a depth to the Vulcans many do not get or miss when they write them. Again, kudos for a great story and complex situation delivering great moments.
Gul Zamarran is a man of principles and he was lucky that th'Arshar also is something with his own set of rules to follow. And the last thing Zamarran wanted was to be force to slaughter a colony. He knew, though, that if he didn't find a solution and didn't follow orders, he and his crew would be slaughtered and that was something he wanted to avoid. Any risk seemed worth taking it.
I worried if the solution would work. It wasn't easy to come up with something that would seem too easy and too convenient. Tough problems rarely have simple solutions.
Vulcans might suppress their emotions but those emotions exist and boil under their logic. T'Khvok was hurt and hurt so deeply that she wasn't even able to effectively hide those emotions. I don't think anyone blamed her, though.
Thank you for your thoughtful reviews :)
Date: 10 Dec 2011 13:32 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 1
Wow. There's so much here in this one chapter alone. I guess you come already with a rich universe of your own so to see the AOS universe version is coming in already rich with characters, connections and possibilities as well as tracking the differences, changes and sadly and also happily the what ifs that will not happen.
Kapoor and Karama will never be. Jarol is not Gul but seems to have been spared some of the horrors of her Prime Universe lifeline. She seems more open here, reflecting some of the curiousity of Kapoor in the Prime Universe. Also the reversal here of Kapoor being a Commander and going up in the ranks of Starfleet. All very interesting tweaks and changes, bringing some of the same but different character dynamics. I think that is where an AU stands up - how it can justifiably make the characters the same in a fashion but also different - giving the reader new possibilities within a certain degree of familarity.
You created a great backdrop here, using the AOS setting to great effect to create a myriad universe filled with new histories and potentials across the geo-political spectrum. From the lack of contact between the Federation and Cardassia, to the talk of the long Cardassian/Romulan War. Lots of really interesting nuggets here to discover as well as the sartling revelation that the Vulcans are extinct. Or were thought so until now.
In addition, you have created a really interesting situation here with the Vulcans and the Cardassian wish to relocate them. It speaks something of Cardassia in this universe that it would seek to relocate them, affording them that chance, yet similarly the Cardassian Union will press on with its seizing of the planet regardless.
It is also telling that the Federation/Starfleet crew were going to so very easily leave the fate of the ex-Federation member colonists be whatever it was going to be. They weren't going to interfere until the magic Vulcan word was mentioned. Now, from the fascinating introduction of the Andorian captain, we could gather it is his approach to the situation. They made their call and will have to live by it. This of course changes when they discover them to be Vulcans but before that it seemed Starfleet would not interfere. Does this suggest a particularly troubled Starfleet, mired in its own difficulties? I kinda think there is the possibility that it is somewhat troubled given the attitude but I can similarly see it as a starship captain making a call based on the apparent wishes of those who left the Federation.
The fact the colony then is a secreted away Vulcan refuge raises all manner of questions. Very interesting and problematic ones. Well done for creating such a story and of course enriching the AOS universe which is a little lacking in such depth currently given the limited canon appearance and little fanfic service that I've read. This is an interesting AU regardless with a very interesting issue to wrangle with.
Before writing this story, I worked on the background--how things have changed in Kirk times to influence this part of galaxy and other people and powers. It was fun to play with the same characters to see where they could be with their lives. Initially, the story was supposed to take place in 2375, so around end of end of the Dominion War in Prime Universe, but Kapoor would be too young and I wanted her to be here to show that she had a different life and without Karama...although he draws her attention for a moment.
The Cardassian Union has a lot of its characteristics we know from Prime Universe, but the war with the Romulans taught them a few things--some sensitivity they lacked in PU and started to learn under the Dominion rule. So on one hand they want the planet no matter what, but on the other hand they aren't so quick to slaughter or occupy.
Starfleet and the Federation seem to be able to leave their own people to their fates; they proved that in PU handing the Cardassians border colonies. They might choose a similar solution here, but...you are right that Vulcan presence changed everything.
Date: 13 Nov 2011 14:49 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 2
I just stumbled across this story and I really loved it. This could have been a very nice TNG episode, actually. I loved the simple solution and the fact that diplomacy was used instead of weapons. Very well done!
To think of it, th'Asrhar's crew could be replaced easily by Picard's and Jean-Luc's diplomatic experience could be of great help.
Thanks for reading and reviewing :)
Date: 02 Nov 2011 02:23 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 2
One of the things about this story that I really appreciate is the respect you show for the basic dignities of both the individual and the group. While I'm not entirely sure I agree with T'Khvok's emotionally-driven decision to flip the middle finger at the Federation even after finding out that the rest of the Vulcan race was dead, you make her motivation very understandable and easy to sympathize with. Dignity and self-determination are very worthy goals, and having those slighted will, in my opinion, break any being, regardless of whether they pretend to lack emotions or not.
The way you introduced the history was very well done--you managed to avoid an infodump, but satisfy the reader's curiosity on many critical points and create an emotional involvement with it.
From the perspective of your universe, what is incredibly strange is that for almost every character I look at, they are refined. Improved. Their full potential is realized in ways it is not in the main Shaping a Cardassian universe. I think we've found your equivalent of the SigCat universe, in terms of giving characters a second chance--and a similar sad irony at the ungodly high price that had to be paid for it to happen. (But even though I say that, I want to make it clear that I see your universe as 100% original.)
Kapoor is disciplined and thoughtful here--enthusiastic still, to be sure, but not someone who will allow her emotions to blind her from her duties. She finds the Cardassian appearance fascinating, and I can see she's eyeing Karama, but she doesn't let hormones distract her. From a sentimental standpoint, I've got to admit it...it's sad to realize that she will never fall in love with Karama and those beautiful children she has in the main universe will never come to be. From an intellectual standpoint, however, this version of Kapoor comes across as far more respectable. She would never walk the line between naivete and treason that she did in the canon universe and willfully blind herself to what she should have done on the Roumar: call for extraction by the Federation and report Jarol to the Federation authorities so that hopefully the coup could have been avoided. Something tells me this Kapoor would do her duty first...and in that way I suppose I am very Cardassian: that as sad as the loss of the relationship would have been, that is the sacrifice that must be made in a case like that.
As for Jarol...she is far more respectable here, too. Perhaps the biggest thing is that she has not been given more power than she is capable of handling in an ethical manner. She is someone who needs a firm hand to guide her, and Zamarran is there to provide that. Eventually I think in this universe, she will be able to become an ethical leader, but this process is teaching her patience and respect, and fostering the positive characteristics that were squelched in her in the canon universe. This version still has curiosity and an open mind. The young girl she was is still welcome in the heart of the grown woman. And the good woman that we see at home in the canon universe is not at odds with who she is on duty. She's whole here.
Brenok...as you know, I believe that as admirable as he was as a young man in the canon universe, Jarol infected him much like Dukat infected Jarol, and twisted his mind with xenophobia and arrogance. These things are not as deeply entrenched in the canon Brenok as they are in Jarol, and we actually see his positive traits show up for duty sometimes in the canon universe and the potential for growth and learning. He is broken but not unredeemable...mainly because the canon Brenok realizes that he has his flaws and is man enough to face them when they become apparent rather than rationalize.
But in this universe, it is clear that with the mentoring of Zamarran, and the support of a friend who doesn't use her combination of rank and influence to put destructive thoughts in his head...this version of Brenok seems so young and free, but not in a stupid, naive way, either. He--and Jarol--both show that they have very dynamic minds and they are a big part of the solution here.
As for Zamarran...the difference isn't as extreme, and he feels like a more refined version of himself, a bit more confident. But I really get the semse that what we're seeing here is the way the canon Zamarran always wanted to be. That's the thing about Zamarran that I admire: he is so unwavering on his principles that even where the other characters broke, compromised, and let themselves be swayed from their goals, he never did in either place. If your Cardassia has some sort of "upstanding citizen" medal, he should get it. Even if he tries to deny it when you tell him that. ;-)
T'Khvok likes to think that she is logical, extremely logical and leaving the Federation without a goodbye in the light on the events was the most logical thing to do. I think she's one of those who can be even cruel in the name of logic. Ironically, she shows a lot of emotions--for a Vulcan. Even the "logical" choice of leaving was based on emotions: being hurt, feeling abused. etc., so I'm not entirely sure how logical the decision was in fact.
There is a lot of background information I left out, because I felt it was unnecessary for understanding this particular story and I didn't want to put too much information to dilute the events.
I'm not sure why the characters seem "improved." Maybe more stabilisation in their lives helped them be what they are here. Their lives were devoid of big, important events turning around them, so they could just grow and go through every day being themselves. Shaping a Cardassian originals have a rocky past and they were in the middle of big things often and maybe that's what made the difference so much.
Kapoor is much older and much more mature here. She knows her place and where she belongs, so it's easy for her to be firm and stay on the right side. I must admit that I put Karama in one room with her to show that lost potential of their relationship, which is never going to happen here. Their lives are different and they won't be together, even though there still seems to be something drawing their attention to each other.
Jarol is different, because two men who influenced her most were removed from her life: her first husband who died shortly after they'd married and Gul Dukat. They didn't poison her mind with their understanding of serving Cardassian and duty, so she stayed influenced by her own family.
I see Brenok as the closest one to his other self, just behind Zamarran. As it's shown in another story, he didn't lose his wife and daughter and he's one happy man. Bad experiences and influences didn't touch him that much, so there's no bitterness in him, no fear. On the contrary, he's quite bold and very young at heart.
I like to think that in the original universe Zamarran will some day become very similar commander to this one. The other Zamarran had a different past and he took his first command much later than here, but he should be as wise as this one. Though, this one seems bolder, if it comes to the Obsidian Order ;)
Thanks for reading and reviewing :)
Date: 25 Oct 2011 19:04 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 1
I immediately saw various historical parallels when T’Khvok points out that they may just ask them to leave again. That said, it's easy to simply nod and accept these kinds of territorial concessions as necessary for a greater good when not considering the ordinary people living there who are being effected by these decisions at the highest levels of government.
One could see a possible joint-colonization effort in theory, but "The Trouble with Tribbles" demonstrated that the Klingons were willing to cheat to achieve any advantages-- i.e. poisoning the shipment of quadrotriticale.
Kudos to Gul Zammaran for trying to find some kind of diplomatic solution even to the point of circumventing the Obsidian Order. As a Cardassian, he would still respect the Fed's willingness to take a firm stance on the issue.
Gul Zamarran probably didn't like his orders from the beginning, but hoped the matter could be solved easily. When Vulcans resisted and were supported in that "resistance" by the Federation, he knew that it could get ugly. And both commanders didn't seem to want any half-solutions, so they had to come with something permanent.
At least the Federation cared about the colony and didn't just give them away, but would they care of the colony weren't inhabited by almost extinct race?
Thanks for reading and reviewing :)
Date: 23 Oct 2011 14:50 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 1
Extroadinary, not just the alternate reality but the alternate...future reality. Writing was superb.
Thanks. I had to do a lot of planning and finding reasons why this future looked that and no other way. All those details are not in this story, but they will be, some day, in some story--that is certain ;)
Date: 21 Oct 2011 22:50 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 1
This was an excellent AU, not just in terms of the JJ-verse but in terms of your own universe as well. I enjoyed seeing Amrita in a different capacity, and had to grin at her subtly 'checking out' Gil Kamara. ;-)
Bringing in the Skorr science officer was a nice touch, and nod to TAS - what some consider to be the original AU. ;-)
I really felt for the Vulcans here - first losing their homeworld and then having their race die off as a result of an as-yet-unknown plague was just a double kick in the teeth.
As with jespah's story, I'd like to know more about the Vulcan colony on Setlik III - perhaps something you can explore in the future.
My initial thought as to solving the problem was this: the Vulcan colony is obviously very small. Would it have been possible to simply relocate them to another place on the planet, while granting the Cardassians mining and other rights, effectively sectioning off the planet into Federation and Cardassian sectors? Not being very familiar with Cardassian society, it's probably due to a lack of understanding on my part, and I found your solution most satisfing nevertheless. ;-)
The Skorr character features in my other story and I wanted to use her here, too, as the crew of the Federation ship, with the exception of Kapoor, is "copied" from that other story :)
Dividing the planet between the Federation and Cardassia might work as a temporary solution, but in the end they would most likely return to the starting point, because sooner or later mining would spread all over the world.
Maybe some day I would write a kind of sequel to this story, showing more about the Vulcans.
Thanks for reading :)
Date: 09 Oct 2011 15:42 Title: Nec Locus Ubi Vulcan Fuit – Nothing in the Place Where Vulcan Lay 2
Excellent, as always, and a neat solution to what would most assuredly be a vexing problem.
Fortunately, both commanders used their brains instead of only pushing buttons and they found a solution.
Thanks for reading.