Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:12 Title: Chapter 6
So as I suspected the Orb vision was all a test to determine just how tenaciously Limis would stick to her beliefs and her moral compass. I do wonder though, what would have happened if Limis went along with Jellico's plan? Would the vision have continued? Would she be condemned to living out in this alternate universe until she 'died' in it? Anything is possible with the Prophets.
But the most intriguing thing is Limis' regrets. Yes she regretted all the horrible things she had to in the Bajoran resistance, the Maquis and in the Dominion war. But the point she keeps making these terrible decisions for the tactical advantage, and whatever her regrets or moral qualms she continues to kill and sacrifice people when in a really desperate situation. So the question Limis should be asking herself is why she is still capable of all this murder.
This sort of relates to Kira Nerys and in somes way Limis and Kira Nerys are very similar. Thus the only reason why Limis committed all those terrible things and deeds, despite knowing they were wrong, was because of this darkness inside of her. This darkness that will never really go away and flares up when death, desperation and war surround Limis. Yet she regrets it afterwards so does that make it right?
That's what I got from this story, it is kind of a critique on Limis' very pagh and yet the Prophets have forgiven her, as revealed in her vision upon seeing Arnit, and she is a non-believer. So is Limis really a good person? I would say yes to a point but I think her soul has been severely wounded with all the wars she has participated in, and while she has done some evil things, she is not that evil that she feels no regret.
She cares deeply about Yanith and her crew, and I believe the whole purpose of that orb vision was the Prophet's way of telling Limis that she is still a good person deep down inside and she is not truly evil and there is hope for redemption.
So all in all this is another great Lambda Paz story. I think I have read a more condensed version of this, but I like the expanded version a lot more. Again the dialogue is great, the battle scenes are their usual suburb quality but the moral and philosophical issues examined here are what makes this really great!
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:57 Title: Chapter 5
It's kind of ironic for all of Limis' pleas to Jellico to not use the weapon, she herself used the red matter device to her advantage destroying many Starfleet ships and jeopardizing a large portion of the Seventh Fleet. So it sort of reminds the reader that when pushed into a corner, Limis will use any means to escape or survive regardless of the consequences, which is exactly what Jellico is done. So the only difference between the two is the scale to which they will damn the moral consequences of their actions.
But Jellico is right in that the destruction of Cardassia may have helped the Federation to win the war, and now with this botched operation, the Federation now seems doomed and billions -- as Jellico so correctly said -- will be killed or imprisoned or live in fear as the Dominion imposes utter tyranny and a totalitarian system on the core Federation worlds it will soon capture. So has Limis condemned billions of others to death? Like all moral judgements this one is a very tricky one, I mean is this was the only way to save the Federation does that mean Limis is to blame for its destruction and morally accountable for letting this opportunity pass?
Or is the Federation not worth protecting if it means killing a few billion citizens? So this is not a case of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, so I know Limis was correct to stop Starfleet from destroying Cardassia Prime with red matter and the resulting black hole, but I don't think history will look on Limis too kindly if she threw away this opportunity to cripple the Dominion.
A morality tales at its best!
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:47 Title: Chapter 4
Grim stuff indeed! I love that sense of how everyone is ever so slightly different and yet so familiar. Rebecca betraying everyone, or you could argue blindly following Starfleet orders, was very moving and I sense the Rebecca of this universe is far more messed up than the one we all know and love. She must have taken the death of her husband a lot harder, and while most people feel strong grief with the death's of a loved one, in Rebecca's case she has channelled her grief into rage. Her words about the desolation of Bajor were very poignant to. So I wonder; did Dukat order the extermination of every Bajoran on that planet in this universe?
But aside from Rebecca fully supporting this red matter attack, and the annihilation of Cardassia Prime, I'm glad the other senior staff still have a strong moral sense and will follow Limis to the very last. Somehow, if the Seventh fleet survive this armada of Dominion ships, Jellico will be after Limis' head when this is all over!
Again this is a fascinating look into the alternate Star Trek universe and probably one of your grimmest episode to date!
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:34 Title: Chapter 3
Good God! Things must be really bad now that Starfleet is considering red matter! I know that Jellico is a douche but he is no genocidal maniac, well I wouldn't even say he is a maniac as he quite sound of mind, just evil, cold and unreasoning.
I'm starting to see now why the Prophets forced Limis to have this vision. She was a terrorist yes and did some terrible things, but even Limis has limits (though I wonder if Limis would have those same moral limits if an opportunity to destroy Cardassia was presented during her Bajoran resistance fighter days, or during her time in the Maquis). I know Limis has done some evil things in her time but even she knows when to draw the boundary, even if the Cardassians are the Federation's mortal enemy.
This universe really is more grimmer than the prime universe and your observation that with Vulcan destroyed, the core systems of the Federation are more vulnerable is a sound one. However wouldn't Starfleet still have the same numbers of ships and manpower? I mean most of the Vulcans who were off Vulcan were either in Starfleet and on ships, so perhaps the loss to Starfleet is not so great.
But this is an altered universe so who knows what sort of situations could have arisen or been altered or the dates of certain events pushed forwards or backwards.
You also brought up 9/11 and the atomic bombings at the end of world war 2, which I take it is symbolic of the Federation's state of mind. Faced with annihilation the Federation will disregard all of its principles in a desperate attempt to survive, and even if it does push back the Dominion and defeat it. At what cost to the Federation's moral integrity will be incurred? I bet there is probably martial law on most Federation worlds due to security being so tight, so even if the Federation won, would move away from such police state actions?
On a different note I've always enjoyed your battle scenes, you blend them in so well with the scenes on the Lambda Paz that is flawless and so smooth! So a great read as always.
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:18 Title: Chapter 2
Ho ho! I knew something was off the moment Limis noted something different about Chief petty officer Cawley. And now she is in JJ Abram's universe! So that explains the destruction of Vulcan and why everything is just a little off.
So this Orb of Lost Souls, it takes people to alternate universes or they are merely universes with different temporal threads? My point is the NuTrek universe is chronologically identical to the Limis' universe up to the point when Nero went back in time. So really there are two universes, one created by Nero who caused this split in the temporal continuum and thus an entirely different universe.
Well that's how I see time travel anyway, if you change things you have created a split from in the timeline, so the original one is preserved while the new timeline originates from the moment this person has arrived from a time in the future. So how would the Prophets make sense of these thousands, millions, billions if not infinite numbers of alternate universes? The Prophets maybe powerful but can they really see everything? Is that non-linear time means? You can see all possibilities???
This Orb of Lost Souls has definitely got me thinking about the Prophets and how they can process all this information, and yet protect various timelines to. So fascinating concepts and a great idea this Orb of Lost Souls!
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:06 Title: Chapter 1
I'm making a start on this story as this is one Lambda Paz story which I've missed, but I am in the mood for weird, plus I've missed Lambda Paz so I thought I may as well play catch up!
As for those Jem'Hadar, man were they careless just blasting away! I mean what would happen if a phaser blast struck an orb? Just how resilient are these orbs to weaponry?
It's also good to see that Yanith, despite being a prisoner for so long, still has the strength to fight back! Like mother, like son! And from what I've read of those two I rather like their relationship, it brings out a tender side in Limis which you hardly ever see. Very much like Kira Nerys I might add, but with Limis... You feel her pain, and she has suffered badly what with her missing son.
Date: 02 Nov 2011 11:05 Title: Chapter 4
You want to know what part. Lumme what a question. What a question indeed. It would be this Lumis character, written well and with conviction. Not a part exactly I suppose but believable to a point more so than others.
Date: 01 Nov 2011 19:43 Title: Chapter 4
This piece was my runner-up for this challengee, and extremely well-written and also capturing the gritty, harsh feeling of the Dominion War.
I thought the references to "Yesteryear" were very well done...just enough there to make it clear what you were referring to, but not so overdone that it became overbearing to the reader.
While I am not very familiar with your works, it's a very interesting remark in your story, where you say that Limis sometimes accepts the help of Section 31, regardless of the cost, no matter what she claims aloud to be her principles. I wonder if perhaps that was the Prophets' purpose in showing her this doubly cruel universe: to confront her with the ultimate consequences of that sort of realpolitik.
The fact that she would speak up for the sake of Cardassia, of all places, shows that she is not too far gone even though she walks the line here--that she may have a chance to step back from the brink before it's too late.
The 9-11 reference fell rather flat, though, and was one of the few sour points that kept me from voting for this story. I did not think that a Bajoran 400 years later was going to know that particular pre-Federation information about Earth and exactly how to use it against Jellico, even though I can see the point you were making with the comparison.
The one other plot point where I felt like I lost something was how she got back to her universe. To me, it seems that such a harsh version of the Federation would not react so calmly to someone coming in from another universe and criticizing them. It seems to me they would either conscript her or destroy her. Why did they help to send her back, or did she have to do it on the sly?
Mind you, that's not a damning plot hole because I do think there are possible legitimate answers to those questions both ways. I guess I just would've liked to have seen a bit more on that.
Overall, though, you certainly made me think hard about my vote, because this is well-written with some stark imagery of an increasingly cruel version of the Federation, and a very good personal journey for Limis.
I'd like to end with one last compliment. I thought your use of the Prophets was well done, how you (and they) helped Limis to come to her own conclusion, and the reader too, without beating her (and us) over the head with it.
Author's Response: Glad you enjoyed it. Keep in the mind, this isn't the Mirror Universe where folks there a little more skittish about visitors from the prime universe coming in and meddling in their affairs (again, liked your hypotheses on why things are so screwed up over there, btw). On the 9-11 reference, I've noticed a lot of discussions on various message boards in the post-9-11 era think of the Bajoran Underground and the Maquis as little more than terrorists. And while they did target civilians, at least they did not target a large number of civilians on Cardassia Prime. It was a fulfilling journey for Limis, especially considering she is a Bajoran who is more of an agnostic than a firm believer in the Prophets.
Date: 22 Oct 2011 18:58 Title: Chapter 4
Her world was back to normal, but somewhere in another reality the Federation decided to become as horrible and appalling as the enemy they sought to destroy. Very unimpressive.
But at least she stood her ground and told Jellico what she thought about that plan. An emotional response I can subscribe to. Her reaction is especially telling, because she is a Bajoran. Cardassians ruined her world and had been violating her planet and people for many decades. Still, she knew that murdering everyone on Cardassia Prime, murdering Cardassia Prime was not the way to solve the problem.
She also should have told Jellico that the plan wouldn't change much. I don't think a loss of one planet would stop the Dominion, Jem'hadar or the Founders. A lot of innocent Cardassians would be killed, but the Dominion wouldn't give damn--they'd just sent a new HQ somewhere else and send more troops from GQ. But the Cardassians wouldn't forget what the Federation did to them and they'd never ever turn against the Dominion. They'd only more viciously fight the Federation.
So in the end the decision was not only morally awful, it was also a short-sighted, tactically wrong move.
My guess is that in your universe's JJ-verse the Federation lost the war and stopped existing at some point. Limis is lucky she had a chance to return home before that happened.
Author's Response: Add to that, Limis may have struck a nerve in Jellico when citing the 9-11 attacks against the United States. And being able to stand her ground, it was certainly fitting that Limis confronts her ex-husband, who was led down the wrong path but then chose to give his life as an act of contrition, while having a vision with the Orb of Souls. As for whether the UFP is defeated is a whole different story, but a possibility with Vulcan having been destroyed and other core worlds being more of target.