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Reviewer: Jean-Luc Picard Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 01 Sep 2011 00:55 Title: Prologue

Very nice start to your story. I liked how equally divided it is between the Cardassian and Starfleet POVs. I also liked the strong dislike Macet has for his Vorta counterpart.

Also caught the USS Petraeus. I had once considered naming a base after the general, but I wasn't sure if he'd still be remembered in the future as significant as someone like Rommel.

Overall, I look forward to reading more.

Author's Response:

Hey, welcome to The Thirteenth Order and thank you very much for reading!  Glad you like it! :-)

Putting aside the fact that I don't think a dictator's general would or should get a ship named after them in the Federation (though granted, we've seen some rather undeserving individuals, like Hernando Cortez, get ships named after them in canon), I did not see any reason a ship should not be named after Petraeus.  As for the Petraeus, it's a Sabre-class starship...not a massive one, but certainly a ship capable of handling itself in combat. :-)

Reviewer: Jean-Luc Picard Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2011 20:11 Title: Chapter Seventeen

While I may not agree with your assessment of Picard's actions in "The Wounded", I must say I loved how you presented it. Some of the best war fiction I've seen is often from the opposing side, and in their mind, they're just as correct.

Overall, a very good account of this event from the other side. In addition, I am looking forward to reading more of Thirteenth Order. :)

Author's Response: own view is actually pretty much like Macet's.  I think Picard's handling of that situation was atrocious.  But I'm glad you still liked reading it. :-)

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 21 Oct 2010 10:07 Title: Chapter Sixteen

I dreaded reading this chapter again because I knew it would squeeze the last tear out of my eyes; and it started right with the first part and Rashad who felt guilty because loss of Prashek was heavier for him than loss of Ngaer. While his suffering, mixed with guilt and fear of his own feeling is sad, I am glad to see that he can see beyond genetics and political empires. Prashek was a person for him, not only a Cardassian or a (former) enemy, he was a person who he could connect with and go fishing.

"Bow deep, that way you won’t be as far from the ground when the gul slaps you down" - precious advice, I shall remember that :)

I actually agree with Speros - in a way. The tradition of not showing Cardassian dead to aliens was maybe obsolete and lost its practical meaning long ago, but it was a tradition and one that didn't harm anyone. So why to break with it, if it doesn't bring any harm and especially if breaking it could make many traditionalists unhappy. Some traditions don't have to be abandoned only because they don't make sense any more.

I love that the Cardassians appreciated Ngaer's sacrifice even though she was not a Cardassian. I googled what a rahnoavis looked like and it was one beautiful animal.

The ceremony was very touching. Speros behaved, Folani lost her aggression - even they felt it was a special, important and sad moment when their differences had no meaning and would be out of place. A great although truly mournful chapter.

Author's Response:

I did not agree with Speros.  The tradition once came from a necessary instinct of their ancestors.  But now, it is a reminder of how "superior" Cardassians are to other races.  I think in that sense, it may not harm anyone directly, but it DOES foster racism.  As such, it is a symptom of sickness and should be addressed in that manner.

As for Rashad...guilt is a common feeling after a loss like that, when people find that they are grieving in some way that they don't think is "the right way."  In this case it had a political dimension as well.

I'm glad you felt the ceremony worked.  I am not sure all of the Cardassians would have appreciated Ngaer's sacrifice, but Daro convinced the guls that it was a good idea.  Speros had to be talked into it, and I think that had Daro and Macet not been pushing for it, it wouldn't have happened.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Oct 2010 20:17 Title: Chapter Seventeen

Sorry to pour another review on you Nerys. But in amongst everything else I never got around to mentioning Gor Mindesa Rhos. Oh my! How traumatic as we begin to see the toll it s taking on her. It is quite terrifying to think about and all the more chilling for the approach you take to it. Very effectively portrayed. As well as being chilling and so sad it is also an example of an extrordinary kind of courage Rhos is displaying by showing such a committment to the cause. It remains yet to be seen how much it will cost her - she is literally losing a part of herself, her Cardassian nature, to the Vorta cloning. It also affects Macet too and he is clinging to signs of her retaining and holding on to her Cardassian nature, for example when she dips her head and he recognises it as absolutely Cardassian in nature. Wow to how that works for the characters involved.

Author's Response:

One thing I never liked was the way that all incarnations of Trek treated things like that as having no consequences.  I don't know how there wouldn't be consequences.  Thank you for commenting.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Oct 2010 16:44 Title: Chapter Seventeen

Firstly, in response to my review, thank you for the thought out answer. In regards to Speros I love him as a character as I said for the edge he brings to the story. It isn't shouting and screaming drama either because as you said it only works when valid and appropriate. In the scene to begin the edge and drama with Speros was actually all low key - but it is all the potential conflict that can jump up when dealing with him. He is very engrossing and by default all those interacting with him.

In fact, the reason I preferred the first scene as to the latter [Note that I use preferred - I didn't dislike the latter between Macet and Spirodopoulos] is because various different characters have an exchange of opinions and ideas that is all very absorbing to read. It is absorbing to read and learn of their opinions and the reactions of others to those expressed opinions/ideas. Not so much the character conflict as the character interactions - which were very strong and good here.

Now in the latter we DO have an expression of ideas and YES we are 'surprised' to learn that Spirodopoulos is of an opinion that a much vaunted and famous Starfleet Captain was in the wrong and should have acted X, Y and Z instead. That in itself is an interesting revealation, albeit we the readers are in on how Spirodopoulus thinks. Likewise, there are bound to be many other Starfleet officers [particularly tactically minded security officers] who would have had a completely different approach to the Phoenix situation than Picard had. Hey any number of fanfic Captains and officers we both know and love [iIm thinking primarily the Gibraltar cast] would have completely different approaches. So Spiropoulos' apparent lack of loyalty to a senior officer I have no issue with. Every other Starfleet captain in canon, literature or fanfic has had a different way of doing things after all - so obviously there would be disagreements - especially where there is valid reason to do so.

Now we learn some fascinating things by virtue of what Spirodopoulus says in return to what Macet reveals. We learn he has a quick and keen grasp of things to come up with such an organised and well thought out response to the Cardassian. Which can't have been easy for him given the circumstances and the details he has just learned. In giving his opinion he shows Macet that not all Starfleet officers are mini-Picards. Picard was very much his own kind of officer - and various others who ahd to deal with him learnt this - from Riker, Jellico by default of taking charge of his ship and shaking things up, various Admirals, and of course later we saw Sisko and Janeway both were different kinds of captains. And that's just limiting comparisons to captains. We also see that his own opinions on the course of action that should have been taken were very much like Macet's own thinking. I don't think this makes Spirodopoulus treasonous or an awful Starfleet officer. In fact, it confirms how good a Starfleet officer he is to see beyond the petty and see the larger picture. It also confirms jus how much he shares in common with Macet. The two of them are as I said very akin to one another.

And rightly so, there shouldn't be a massive conflict between the two for the sake of drama. As you say Nerys, drama shouldn't be there for the sake of it, instead it should serve the story and of course come from the characters and what their reactions would be. Spirodopoulos' exchange here is very much in keeping with the established character and his building trust and relationship with Macet. Macet is undoubtedly surprised by what Spirodopoulos says - I think the starfleet officer himself has come much quicker to the realisation that he is on a similar wavelength to the Cardassian Gul than Macet has - maybe this is what will convince him that Spirodopoulos is not just in it to get out of prison camp. My only issue was just how concise and perfect Spiropoulos' response was to Macet - it was almost as if he read his mind. I thought there might also have been something else he might have brought to the table in terms of how he would have reacted. Being a security officer and a younger officer I imagine him to think and act differently to Picard AND to Macet. Perhaps I expected more surprise than a nod of agreement from Macet to the proposed options Spirodopoulos would have taken.

Now, I look forward to the fact that there might be a time in the future the two sides step on each other's toes. Obviously because it will create some great character interaction and story dynamics, in otherwords 'drama' - I hope you don't limit my definition of drama to hysterics, people in each other faces for the hell of it, pushing the enveloping for the sake of it, or writing a depressing thing with a bunch of anti-heroes. While some can make that into a good story and good drama [and some authors do an excellent job of using such tactics] it isn't needed or required to make good drama. Characters make for drama. And here it can be said, you continue to ahve compelling great characters I love to read.

Author's Response:

To me, if drama occurs without the right context in the characters or the situation, or if it reaches a pitch that doesn't fit those factors, then it is hysterics.

As to Macet and his mannerisms, one impression I got from "The Wounded" is that he is very, very guarded in terms of his mannerisms.  Nowhere was this clearer than the scene when he had just witnessed the destruction of those Cardassian ships, and instead of a lot of yelling and screaming like we would've gotten out of Dukat, and possibly even Picard would have done the same had the tables been turned, he restrained himself to the point of leaving the room so as NOT to go off in Picard's face.  So even though he was indeed surprise, he's sometimes kind of Vulcan-like in his mannerisms.

But anyway, my characters will step on each other's tails when it makes sense--no more, no less.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Oct 2010 19:45 Title: Chapter Seventeen

I have to say I was fascinated by the 'senior staff' meeting between the Guls and Spirodoplous. Gul Speros is especially an enthralling character to read about, whether it is anticipating what he has to say or how others are going to react to what he says. He is a very for lack of a better word 'entertaining' character. My reason being that there is so much drama and conflict possibilities surrounding him. From the more careful and reserved officers like Macet and Berat who try to manage Speros to a degree to seeing Falinni react to Speros and talk about the Bajorans. It puts the reader on tenderhooks seeing what way he will go.

In addition to this, we see that the mission and the dilemma that now exists now that they are free to begin their operations against the Dominion. What are they to do? There are lots of valid suggestions being made but not every one of them is entirely possible or the best course of action. It shall be interesting to see how this all unfolds. Likewise the continuing question of how the Federation officers will fit into the plans.

Then we come to the important conversation between Macet and Spirodopulus. It is a very illuminating point that is delievered from a Cardassian stance of the events surrounding the Phoenix incident and Maxwell. It is also illuminating to see Spirodopolus' opinion on matters. My own beef here is how it all plays out a little too evenly. They more or less read off the same page here, and whilst I appreciate the point being made I would have preferred a little edge or drama to things. My point being to look back at all of the delicious drama that surrounds the interchanges with Speros. Obviously, since Macet and Spirodopoulus are more akin to one another there wouldn't be the same conflict. Otherwise, another greatly detailed and well thought out chapter Nerys.

Looking forward to where and what you do now with their fight and how not just the Starfleet and Cardassian forces integrate together but also how will the various Guls work together too?

Author's Response:

I think the big thing about Spirodopoulos is that he is not like most Starfleet officers.  Macet was not expecting to find that degree of common ground with Spirodopoulos.  He was willing to work with him, but he still had a bad impression of Starfleet because of the Phoenix incident.  Seeing that Spirodopoulos was SO much more reasonable from his perspective was an eye-opener for him, and shattered his stereotypes.

I do not see the need to have my characters have drama and arguments for the sake of arguments.  I like Battlestar Galactica, but I don't need to write it--just the same as I do not need to write TNG where conflict is forbidden.  There is a time and a place for it.  With Speros throwing his verbal bombs, conflict was inevitable.  With Spirodopoulos and Macet, the whole point was that they found there was NOT a conflict, and I think it surprised Macet.  And undoubtedly it also made Spirodopoulos think, too, to discover he could get on such a wavelength with this Cardassian gul.  In that case, it was NOT the place for conflict.  If you think that one of the two should not hold the opinions they do, fine.  But I am not going to have my characters in each other's faces just for the hell of it.  There has to be a legitimate reason for it, not just because I happen to feel like pushing the envelope or writing a depressing thing with a bunch of anti-heroes.

Speros, depending on what happens, may well be an anti-hero.  It's not the character type overall that I have a problem with, and if I didn't think there was a place for drama, believe me, I wouldn't have had him doing his bomb-throwing with Folani and Berat.

The Cardassians and Federation will still step on each other's toes yet.  But it is NOT necessary to have it going on all the time.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 18 Oct 2010 13:47 Title: Chapter Fifteen

What an irony that it is today that I re-read this chapter and Macet's words about naïveté and it was earlier today that another chapter on the same subject had been posted.

It's clear that what had happened back then on the Enterprise is still hunting him and still with him. And it didn't shape very flattering opinion of the Federation and its officers.

I like "almost familial affection" phrase :)

Spirodopoulos had a morning (?) of studies: discovering and interspecies study in the bathroom and a study of his own face. And his own soul. It's been only a few days, but so much had changed, such a different situation he was facing now, such different decisions he would have to make. It's not the same war for him any more.

Dr. Hetalc is nothing close to the infamous Moset. He cares for his patients, he cares for their lives and isn't happy that one healthy man wants to risk his health and maybe quality of life for some Vulcan mind hocus-pocus. And he hated losing T'Ruveh in the end, even though he knew he couldn't help her. 

Author's Response:

Having to stand there and watch all those lives be snuffed out, on an impersonal computer display, definitely haunted him.

And for Spirodopoulos to see this image of himself so changed really got his attention, that's for sure.

As for Dr. Hetalc, yes--he did NOT like the fact that he was expected to supervise that mind-meld.  Not because he was a bigot, but for exactly the reason you said: he thought it could harm Subek.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 18 Oct 2010 09:53 Title: Chapter Seventeen

I'll be lazy and repeat word by word what I have written on TrekBBS :)

Speros vs. Berat - it's interesting to watch how they have to cope with each other. Speros with his oh-so-Cardassian attitude, and Berat, with his patience. Sometimes I feel like he sadly smiles inside at Speros's aggression, a fatherly smile in a way, like a smart one forgives the silly/stubborn one. I don't know if what I try to say makes any sense, but that's how I feel.

Speros is the old type brass and Berat is everything but old type, and they -Speros actually - would have to cross the bridge some day and get closer to ones like Berat - or Macet - to soften the rigid approach to some matters; and some people, Cardassians and non-Cardassians.

Spirodopoulos is not a blind Federation citizen, who believes in its superior morality, superior right to do things and superior whatever whenever however. He can see that his Federation is not perfect and that there are Captains who make mistakes.

I wondered what he would tell Macet, but even if I suspected he wouldn't support Maxwell's and Picard's - especially Picard's, which are served to us with a pretence of correct and right - actions, I wouldn't have guessed that his opinion would be so harsh. "Maxwell was insane." He not only says that, he back that with arguments.

Maxwell could have brought a war on the Federation, but the Cardassians didn't react. I'm tired of people pointing out how bad Cardies are, they were arming, Maxwell wanted to protect the peace, blah, blah, blah.
Protect my a$$! He murdered hundreds of innocent people and Picard didn't stop him. You don't prevent a war shooting and murdering people, you start it this way. The Central Command didn't pick the bait, lucky for the Feds, and that tells me that they were not as evil, bloodthirsty warlords they are presented. Maxwell falls into that category and I'm sorry to see that Picard, and many others, seem not to see that.

Loyalty and support of a man, who took lives and risked destroying many more, is misguided [irony mode] even if he is a Federation captain [/irony mode].

I think that's good Macet and Spirodopoulos cleared that between them. That conversation was very important as now they both know where they stand, what to expect from each other and that's a good step to deepening their trust.

Author's Response:

Since I've already replied at TrekBBS, I will just say thank you! :-)

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Oct 2010 11:23 Title: Chapter Fourteen

His hand maybe not as dextrous as they used to be, but his mind works with the famous Cardassian efficiency, which even a Jem'Hadar cannot not appreciate. Go, Gul Berat! :D

Gul Macet had to execute a difficult protocol and proved strength of his character by not forcing that on Spirodopoulos, or any other non-Cardassian. A very sad moment. Hiding it behind military talk, article numbers and bureaucracy didn't diminish the heaviness of the task. But the sacrifice for the Union goes before everything.

Author's Response:

Anyone who underestimates Gul Berat is going to get "taken to school" in a BIG way.

As for the Jem'Hadar, even with all of their programming, it sometimes seemed like they had a bit more in the way of personal honor than the Vorta.  So I felt like Volet'aval would notice Berat's skills.

As for what Macet did...that was one of the hardest things I had to write in this story so far.  It was even harder than writing Gul Speros mowing down all those prisoners.  You can bet he DOES feel the heaviness of his task.  And the other thing I did that I realize could be controversial...Article 58 is real--or at least it was real, and it was used in the real world to "justify" the same kinds of things that the Cardassian Union did to its people and others.  Having a person like Macet actually use Article 58 to deliver his sentence was HARD.  But I think that's the Cardassian mind: he felt like an awful tool to use, but it was the only one he felt was available to him, until a day when something else replaces it.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Oct 2010 10:13 Title: Chapter Thirteen

I couldn't help but smile thinking of Iymender's head, popping out of the shuttle with that grin. He's so cute :D Berat should be jealous ;)

The Cardassians take great risk trusting new officers on their way. They can't know for sure if those people aren't just pretending to rebel to betray them later. It wouldn't be the first time. But they have to take that risk, don't they? They can't just shoot everyone on their way, not their own people, who could join them and make the Thirteenth Order stronger.

It's sad they can't simply assume all Cardassians on the way are on their side. That would be a case in a perfect world, but this one is far from perfect, unfortunately.


Author's Response:

Iymender got caught in an embarrassing situation by an attractive woman.  And one that would be his superior. ;-)  I don't think Berat would be jealous, though. ;-)

It's definitely a risk.  A few of them have proven themselves with their deeds, but yes, there could certainly be a betrayal.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Oct 2010 04:02 Title: Chapter Twelve

I love the idea of the sign language. It makes perfect sense on a battlefield: soldiers can communicate without fear of being overheard by their enemy.

And this was fast paced chapter for sure! Things happening so fast and so many at the same time; great risks taken with only hope of success. The Thirteenth Order is going to lose many good people, too many, but they know their sacrifices are necessary for greater cause.


Author's Response:

I also thought that a species that doesn't hear as well as humans might see sign language differently, too.  But what Macet allowed them to see is not something ordinarily shown to outsiders in this universe.

This part of the battle was a real experiment for me, with so many different things going on.  I'm glad you liked it. :-)

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 16 Oct 2010 10:52 Title: Chapter Eleven

Oh, I hate this chapter. I hate it because of Ngaer ;(

Spirodopoulos just passed his exam for the full commander. With Speros's "help", but he passed it. And passed it "more" than any other commander, because he "exam" was no simulation and he knew it.

It's good to see that some Cardassians joined them; they are probably happy to finally serve Cardassia, not the Dominion. It's not good that there still are cracks in the Thirteenth Order.

I liked the narration of the Macet's group fight. It was so torn and abrupt, perfectly showing the abruptness of the fight.

Yeah, Gruner got what he deserved!

Author's Response:

It was a very tough chapter to write, because I really didn't want to kill her, but when I saw where that polaron cannon was placed, I knew that nobody else would be able to get that kind of shot off.

When I originally wrote it, I actually didn't remember the command test because it has been so long since I've watched TNG.  But I definitely knew it was an important moment for Spirodopoulos.  As for Speros, I'd be curious to know what you think that look was about, at the end of their section.  And what about Daro and the role he is playing?

It's hard to imagine how there wouldn't be some cracks in the Thirteenth Order, with its being so new.  Of course, to Gul Macet, this was a VERY inappropriate time for that kind of behavior, which is why he nipped it in the bud immediately.

And I'm glad you liked the fight--and Gruner's demise! :-)

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Oct 2010 09:33 Title: Chapter Ten

It was disturbing to read how Speros killed in cold blood those Cardassians, but when I reached the point when Macet's group discovers Vergal's betrayal my first thought was "where is Speros when you need him?"

Berat not only had to make a difficult choice at Septimus III, he knows he might have to face it again. Never-ending sacrifice of one's aching heart.

Iymender clearly is not a warrior, but I'm sure the "pocket gul" could take all "three" Duras Sisters with her bare hands.

A good chapter. Not everything goes as planned, just like in the real life.

Author's Response:

Speros' actions were disturbing for me to write as well.  I do think he went too writing it isn't an endorsement of what he did.  He represents one extreme--the Federation represents the other extreme, and neither one works.

As to the betrayal--thank goodness these Cardassians weren't accustomed to dealing with other species' hearing!

And yes...Berat knows that if the mission fails, he will have to abandon everybody on the ground and that he will be the commander of the entire force.

As for Rebek, I'm sure that her small size means there is a point where she would be outmatched in hand-to-hand combat.  Her skill with a weapon means that getting that close to her is NOT easy, though.

As for Iymender, you are SO right.  He is not a warrior, and though he tried, and I know he had to go through the same training everyone else did, I think it was probably a struggle for him and I imagine that he just barely passed his physical training requirements.  But the Guard accepted him because his programming skill was one that the state needed.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 14 Oct 2010 08:11 Title: Chapter Nine

Speros with his face in the mud. If not the terrible situation that surrounded it, I'd call it a good lesson of humility ;) And... it reminds me a particular scene from War and Peace by Tolstoy ;)

Daro is a brave man; what he did could have been the last thing done in his life, his final sacrifice for Cardassia. But it didn't stop him.

I cetrainly don't want to be that guy who is now Speros's, oh, no!

That scene with Folani at the end: I know it's not funny, but somehow I couldn't stop smiling. The Cardassian seemed very proud of herself for almost biting Folani's fingers off.

So, we know more about Glinn Daro. Not about his past itself, but about what this past means to him and to others too. He has that dignity, a quiet sort of dignity, which he wears like an armour, but would probably deny having it if anyone asked. I think it's the combination of his quietness and this great dignity is what wins others' hearts. He is not a hero in his own eyes, but that makes him more a hero in theirs. And a traitor in eyes of those who are too stupid to think independently.

Author's Response:

Haven't read War and Peace yet, though I know I really ought to.

The woman who tried to bite Folani's fingers...I kind of think got kind of crazed by the battle and then seeing a Bajoran when she woke up.  I don't think she was in her right mind.

I think that Daro doesn't give a lot of thought to the influence he has in certain quarters--it took a Bajoran to remind him that he could use it here.  In a lot of ways, I think he could get along very well with AU Dukat, though I think Daro thinks a bit more with his head and AU Dukat thinks a bit more with his heart.  (Doesn't mean they each don't have what the other one is strongest in, though.)

And you are so right.  SO right about being Speros' prisoner.  It's not good.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 12 Oct 2010 15:22 Title: Chapter Eight

Gul Berat had to make a very difficult choice and it hunts him, doesn't it? Even if it couldn't have been done differently, he still hopes there was another way.

Ewwww, Gruner is more that disgusting, he is... no, there is not a sufficient word in any vocabulary. That description of him stroking his ridges, yuck, it made me shiver!

A vision of Iymender on the floor biting his stylus on the other hand - adorable :) What a shame he and Sorabec won't have a chance to see where their possible friendship would take them. She deserved better than to be shot by that bag of filth.

Author's Response:

It definitely haunts Berat, and he wishes it hadn't been like that.  His quick improvisation did save lives, at great risk to himself--but it doesn't make him feel much better.

And yes, writing Gruner was just awful.  It was even worse when someone decided to interpret that as desirable in some fashion...needless to say, I don't regret chewing that person out.  And if you remember that language exercise I sent you...remember when I said you get to decide whether he deserves to have his gender fixed in those sentences.  Think we should keep his sentence in the feminine? :evil grin:

I'm glad you liked Iymender, though!  He's a very unusual individual, and as a Cardassian I imagine that could be difficult for him without support from the right kind of commander.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 10 Oct 2010 12:18 Title: Chapter Seven

I laughed out loud for a long moment at the "habit" Sporodopoulos shared with Picard :D

So, the real work starts and the test of how well both groups can work together begins. Folani and Speros at one table, and still not jumping to each other throats - I call that a success. Daro seems to be an inhibitor - he's calm, composed, and respected by the gul, who is most difficult to handle.

Author's Response:

I'm glad you liked that part! ;-)

Daro definitely is a calming influence.  A lot has to do with the things that happened in his past, and some parts of Speros' character that the world doesn't see.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 10 Oct 2010 10:53 Title: Chapter Six

"But... but... but... but..." Poor Iymender. Bad Va'Kust, bad! To terrorise the poor guy! And so Spirodopoulos has learnt that the Cardassians have familiar sense of humour, maybe more cruel (;)), but they do!

It was such an important moment for them all, and still not silly pompous, but natural and smooth.

"Guinness meets maple syrup!" Ahahahahahaha!

This is my favourite chapter. It was when I had read it the first time and it still is. Seriousness mixing with humour, big plans with little gestures. They attempt to build a bridge, which would connect them and let them meet in the middle of it; no one has to be more important than the other. They are equal, even Folani seems to understand it. And Speros too.

Gul Berat! The first deep glance into him, what he is like, why he is different - and I don't mean only his physical condition, but his open personality; his readiness to forgive, to remember, but forgive; his honesty; his open-mindedness.

Did Spirodopoulos actually hear his name before? I remembered that Berat told him that at the end of their conversation, so I had been paying attention if the Greek was actually told the young gul's name. He wasn't "on-screen". And in this chapter seems like he didn't "forget", but "didn't catch". Cardassians should learn to introduce people properly ;)

Author's Response:

I think that for whatever reason, Spirodopoulos didn't hear it or didn't remember it.  When he first met Berat he had a LOT going through his mind.  But I'd actually hidden his name so that if anybody were to read my stories who remembered Betrayal, it would come as a surprise to see who he is.

Gul Berat's still all Cardassian (at least I hope so), but there's no doubt he's a very unusual person.

As for Va'Kust and his humor...well, some of that is just Va'Kust's personality.  He has a very dry sense of humor, so it's easy for him to string people along, so to speak.

I'm really glad you like this means a lot.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 08 Oct 2010 14:23 Title: Chapter Five

It was the first thing I had thought about Folani's victim back on AR-558 - he was most likely too young to be a part of the occupation. But for her it didn't matter, she just wanted him to suffer. And die.

Oh, no, Folani didn't want to use the "s" word with the cutlery in it, did she?

Macet's reaction was understandable for the "alleged' word, but I wonder if the young officer shouldn't be rather educated, instead of punished. She believed what she had be told/taught and she didn't have to necessarily know that her words were offencive and wrong. She had been lied to all her life and in a totalitarian system not many have a chance to know the truth and/or be able to tell it apart from propaganda and official stand of the government.

Folani got her speech too, but I can understand her. I would have problems with putting on an SS uniform too. And I have no idea if any Spirodopoulos would be able to make me do it, if I locked myself in refusal.

Author's Response:

Folani didn't pay any attention to the fact that her victim couldn't have been responsible for the Occupation.  All she saw was...well, a "spoonhead."  Which was indeed the word she was about to use. :-(

As to Macet...there are a number of reasons he reacted so harshly.  Before the Dominion takeover, the Cardassian government had issued a few apologies for certain things done during the Occupation.  Since the government made these official admissions (keeping prisoners on one of the worlds of the Cardassia system after the withdrawal, and another one when they signed the treaty with Bajor), Trughal was essentially denying something Cardassia's own government had said.  And unlike the moment where Macet made an exception on the bridge, here in front of the Starfleet officers, he wasn't about to.  We know he's been willing in the past to publicly punish his soldiers in order to make an example of them when they're stuck in Obsidian Order or other unacceptable ways.  And he especially wants to make an example of Trughal because he doesn't want his people getting the idea that they'll be allowed to mistreat the Starfleet officers without severe consequences--no matter what the circumstances.

But there's also a personal motivation that even if we ignored all these factors, and thought that maybe there would be reason to educate instead of punish Trughal--remember that Macet knows a LOT about the atrocities because of his hated cousin, Gul Skrain Dukat.  Basically, his cousin was in some ways like Hitler...his cousin was the source of those atrocities.  He has a LOT of strong personal feelings about this--anger, disgust, outrage, and though he keeps it contained, I truly think he hates his cousin.  It didn't put him in any mood to be forgiving, that's for sure.

So even though there was an alternative, I think there's reason enough that this character would not take it.

As for the thing with the uniform...that's why Spirodopoulos insisted AFTER Trughal was gone that Folani and any other person who did not feel they could wear a Cardassian uniform could refuse.  He wasn't going to have Folani throwing out racist words, but he also felt that her refusal was understandable.  Spirodopoulos would not make you do it.  Basically, his complaint against Folani was that she should have handled it without resorting to racist language.

Now, I tend to think of the Cardassian uniform as more like that of the Wehrmacht than the SS, but that is still something that would be objectionable to Folani and some others.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 06 Oct 2010 08:40 Title: Chapter Four

"Oh-dark-hundred hours" :) I love this one!

And I like that Spirodopoulos didn't lose his sense of humour, a bit morbid and sarcastic, but it's still there in spite of the situation.

He has a lot to think about, doesn't he? He still doesn't trust them, but he can clearly see there is something different about this camp and those four guls. Maybe they feed him with lies and want to use their prisoners as tools, but maybe... maybe there really is something in what they say.

Knowing, who those guls are, especially the one, who remained unnamed, lets me understand better what they represent and what kind of impression they could make on Spirodopoulos.

Author's Response:

That's a common saying in the US military...I'm sure Spirodopoulos picked it up at the Academy. ;-)

And yes, Spirodopoulos' sense of humor can be a bit sarcastic.

This is a very, very tough decision for Spirodopoulos to have to make.  It doesn't even matter that Spirodopoulos thinks that sometimes Starfleet/Federation leadership makes foolish decisions.  "Even" a Starfleet officer doesn't want to be a traitor.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 05 Oct 2010 07:04 Title: Chapter Three

Gul Macet is as loyal to his crew as they are to him, no doubt. He cares for each and every one of them, which is a very good and important quality in any commanding officer. They are not expendable cannon-fodder for him, they are his people, his officers and his troops and he is reponsible for them. He respects them. And they answer with respect, loyalty and trust.

And Rhos's comment on Damar? Oh, my. She's no fan of the Legate's, but such words? Macet is really lenient, leaving it practically without a reproachful comment. Stress or no stress, I think he should have a talk with her, in private. She shouldn't express such disrespectful opinions of high rankings officials, no matter what she thought of them and certainly not in public! Such behaviour could negatively influence crew moral, which probably isn't at its best right now anyway.

I like the crew's Cardassian spirit and readiness to sacrifice their lives to free their home. "Cardassianness" at its best :)

Author's Response:

He definitely cares about his crew...that's for sure.

The situation with crew morale is interesting.  While it may sound crazy, I actually think that crew morale right now is far higher than it's been since the Dominion took over--they're thrilled to hear the news that after all their preparations to fight back against the Dominion, they're really going to get to do something!  They are now fighting for something that they can really believe in, and I think that makes a huge difference.

Macet did take a gamble here.  I think that he felt what would be MOST damaging to crew morale is if he just told her to shut up, and he did not address the suspicions they ALL had about Damar, and whether or not by rebelling they were going into a trap.  If he was evasive after this "bomb" was thrown, he thought that they won't see "Rhos is insubordinate," they would see "Macet and possibly others are playing a dangerous game with our lives."  However, while I didn't state it outright, it was my intention to imply that there was indeed a very stern private conversation about those remarks.  That's what I meant with "dealing with Rhos’ borderline-insubordinate attitude later."  I expect he told her that while he chose to let it go this once, there will be no more exceptions and any further comments like that will be dealt with severely.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 01 Oct 2010 07:14 Title: Chapter Two

Owwww, the relation between Berat and Macet is so close, so full of trust. It was wonderful to observe their conversation, something so opened and honest, surely not an often sight in the Union. In my universe the fact that they use their given names would be very significant and seems like it is the case here too.

That trust lets them ask questions no-one would dare to ask and answer them truthfully without worry. Their care for fellow officers, their comrades is touching and telling.

I hadn't realised that Yejain was especially chosen by Tekeny Ghemor to be Berat's aide. Now, knowing a bit of what kind of man Yejain is (from the Natima Lang's article), I am happy that Berat has someone, who he can immensely trust and who is such a decent man.

Now, Spirodopoulos still expects to be sent to hell. He already noticed that there is something different about Macet and that impression only strengthens, but he doesn't expect whole premise to be any different. One good Cardassian doesn't make a POW camp a vacation resort.

And about the "reflex". Was it about zh'Tessel, who thanked, or the Cardassian woman, who helped? Or both? Wouldn't the Andorian thank someone, who helped her, because that someone was a Cardassian /a capturer; or wouldn't the Cardassian help a prisoner, because it was a prisoner and can break her legs for all the Cardassian cared?

Author's Response:

The two of them are indeed very close friends, and the fact that they use each other's given names does mean a lot.  That is something they would only ever do in private, though...they would not use each other's first names if anybody else could see: Berat because it would appear disrespectful of Macet's age, and Macet because it would make it look like he didn't take the younger gul seriously.

Yejain was indeed specially chosen for the position.  In fact, right now (a few chapters ahead of what's been posted), I am writing from Yejain's perspective and he's remembering what it was like when that happened.

You're very right that Spirodopoulos expects to be sent to hell, and he's very much on guard against whatever could happen in there, regardless of what Macet has said or done.

As for the "reflex," Spirodopoulos thinks it was the Cardassian woman who helped, mainly.  He believes that for a Cardassian, another species is automatically a lower form of life and would not deserve the same kind of consideration as a fellow Cardassian (and that prisoners are treated that way, too).  As for zh'Thessel, she doesn't like Cardassians at all, but I think she's deliberately refusing to be rude.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 30 Sep 2010 06:56 Title: Chapter One

And so Spirodopoulos started wondering. The Cardassian has Dukat's face, Dukat's voice, keeps him captive, but there is something different about him, isn't there? There is something behind that facade, that "Cardassian" facade. Cardassians are this and that. "Everyone" knows it.

So what is wrong with this picture? Or rather: what is wrong behind this picture? Since when staring at Bajorans (rather glaring, no doubt) is wrong for a "good Cardassian"?

Spirodopoulos expected a stereotypical case of being captured by Cardassians; he had heard enough stories and legends to have an opinion. However the reality didn't live to those stories and now he knows not what to expect. Is it good or bad for him and his comrades?


I'm not sure Rhos knew exactly what she had agreed to, but even if it's worse than she expected, she's bravely enduring it. The Cardassian sacrifice at it's best :)

Hopefully she has enough strength to stand it to the end.

Author's Response:

I do think there is good reason for the things Spirodopoulos has heard.  He has probably even received training that is based on what has happened to people who were captured by Cardassians.

So it makes no sense to him when <i>nothing</i> happens, other than his staying confined.  The unexpected worries him--the dissonance.

BTW, this is the speech I was referring to by Reagan, about the loss of the <i>Challenger</i>.  Reagan had a very warm way of speaking, especially on more "personal" matters like this:   Ignore all of the political comments people left...I think they aren't paying attention to the kind of speech this was (completely non-political).

And yes, Rhos is making a BIG sacrifice.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 29 Sep 2010 10:13 Title: Prologue

Gul Macet clearly has no love for the Dominion and that Vorta on his ship, and while he can't express it openly, he found that way of disrespectful distorting her name to irritate her. It's also very clear he is not a fan of pre-Dominion Central Command government.

Arawil is as adorable as a slug: slimy, and disgusting. Macet is a man of patience - to stand Picard's patronising behaviour years before and now Arawil and her Vorta-talk?

Folani seemed to enjoy torturing the young Cardassian, although I am not sure that this particular man was guilty of any Bajoran crime. Her hatred is targetted at every Cardassian, not only those, who hurt her planet and her people. I pittied the poor guy. Fight is a fight, one must kill or be killed, but is cruelty really necessary? Doesn't she become too much like those she hates?

Spirodopoulos appeared almost glad that he can finally fight someone, who feels emotions and isn't just programed to fight, like a robot. You can use someone's emotions against them, their fear, their fury (angry people don't think, they just react).

Author's Response:

Yes, he is not a fan of either government!  He hates the Dominion even more, but he thinks Central Command could be pretty foolish, too.

I agree that patience is one of Macet's defining traits.  He can certainly outlast an enemy!

As for Folani...this might be the first Cardassian she's seen since the Occupation.  Her behavior was definitely disturbing, for sure.

And yes, I think Spirodopoulos was glad for the fact that the Cardassians aren't engineered killing machines.  But more than being able to take advantage of that...I think there may also be an element of finally having a chance to fight man-to-man, if that makes sense.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 24 Jul 2010 23:22 Title: Chapter Sixteen

This from a young ensign: I kind of got the feeling that if he hadn’t been Cardassian, if things had gone differently, he’s the kind of guy I would’ve liked to take fishing. This just feels kind of messed-up. Backwards—I mean, until just recently, we were POWs. Is the strongest sign of how the two sides are coming together in a mutual way. A sign of respect and even growing friendship.

Onwards to the honour guard and the naming of the ship as Zerayd. That was a really well thought out and detailed ceremony with a great deal of emotion carried through it. The element of honour very clear to every little nuance. A very good job Nerys and quite an honorific by all to include so many in the ceremony.

It is especially nice that the Cardassians like Daro noted the more reflective reactions of the Federation crew. I don't share the idea that Starfleet or the Federation are as anti religion and doubt there would be such regulations given the liberal, pluralistic ideals of the Federation.  [I  do accept a strong secular element within Starfleet as seen in various guises in canon.] But it for one thing makes for great story telling here and adds a further layer to proceedings as well as offering common ground for some of the characters of both sides.

Now, we look forward to the crew working together and what their next plan of attack is going to be. This is a ragtag fleet as you ahve called them and they are going to be at a disadvantage from their numbers and from having to have two different parties working together. But perhaps from that diversity will come a strength in itself.

Author's Response:

Thank you for the review...I was beginning to think this story got lost over here!

I'm very glad you liked the ceremony--I appreciate your picking up on different parts of the chapter, though! :-)

While the regulations on the Federation side are certainly nowhere near as stringent as in the Cardassian Union (where you are executed if caught practicing religion), I'm glad you see the "mirroring" of the Federation and the Union.  Though I would prefer to discuss the details in private, I do think there is enough precedent both in Trek history and IRL to suspect this as at least a possible outcome in the 24th century we see on Trek.  Though someday I MIGHT write Spirodopoulos' arrival at Starfleet's becoming pretty clear to me he would experience a real culture shock on his own planet if not clashes with some of his professors.

I'm still trying to work on what exactly comes'll take me some brainstorming to determine what makes sense!

Reviewer: Enterprise1981 Signed [Report This]
Date: 22 Mar 2010 01:42 Title: Prologue

The Vorta's little "We're all friends" attitude was spot on.

Author's Response:

Thanks for reading!  I hope you'll enjoy what I have so far on The Thirteenth Order!

That attitude was something I remembered from Weyoun, and I figured the Vorta would all act like that.

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