Date: 15 Jun 2009 18:32 Title: Let He Who Has Eyes See
Such richness you showed of Cardassian culture. I have trouble getting in a culture that deeply because my writing is so spare.
I knew the Vorta was gonna get it, and it would be particularly nasty. I would have smashed his face in, but that's just me. I don't know if you had this in mind, but--in humans, at least--vision is processed in occipital lobe of the brain...in the back of the head. So not only could he not see philosophically and idologically, he couldn't see physically!
Berat said something that really hit home for me: “My disability does not sap the value from my life...it only adds complexity.” I've had many "days when the pain is so bad I hardly even feel strong enough get out of bed." Being disabled/crippled/whatever, I understand completely where he's coming from. Sometimes I say, "this thing I got won't kill me, but it sure as heck makes life hard." For the years I've had RA (nearly twenty now), I haven't really changed, or I've tried not to let being sick change me. Berat didn't let it change him. I know he's rather have done the deed personally, but sometimes you need someone--or something--else's hands to get the job done. ;)
Thank you...and I am VERY glad to know it could have personal meaning for you. Writing Berat's monologue was a very powerful experience and I'm glad you felt it rang true. :-)
Just to give you an idea where this falls, timeline-wise...at this point, Berat has had his disabiilty for three years, and has been a ship's commander the entire time. He is about 43 years old, and as a Cardassian in my continuity, his normal life expectancy would be 150-200 years. Physically speaking, if you disregard his injuries, he is physically equivalent to a 32-year-old human man, of the 24th century.
(I don't know for sure, and I don't really want to know...but I am not 100% sure Berat can expect quite a full Cardassian lifespan. I DO expect that by human reckoning, no matter what, he will have a long life.)
I think, about the hologram's approach from behind, there's something you have to remember about the concept of Cardassian justice. Even in a person I consider to be very nice, like Gul Berat, there's not going to be so much cultural embarrassment in talking about stuff like punishment and outright payback. He may be doing this in a way that means the Vorta won't suffer much--but that motivation is still there. I had forgotten about the location of the occipital lobe when I wrote that...but what I was thinking of was this: setting up Dasreen's demise in such a way where Berat could watch the whole thing unfold but the Vorta couldn't see a thing. (And there's nothing in his way, visually, to stop Berat from seeing the look on the Vorta's face, too.) Getting caught from behind seemed like an apt symbol to him. But I like the new layer you've added, too, given what Berat said about the failure to truly SEE him leading to his demise.
And yes. No doubt...he wishes he could have struck that blow himself. But one thing that I think also serves him well as a ship's commander in general: he is not so proud that he can't bring other people in on the action when required. I think he sees knowing how to employ the right resource when as a sign of strength, not weakness: do all he can when he can, but also make sure things get done when they are outside his physical capabilities.
Date: 07 Mar 2009 15:33 Title: Let He Who Has Eyes See
It is amazing how indepth your world is. A reader is totally immersed into when they read.
I felt an almost confining claustrophobia as Berat faced off against the Vorta. An unusual and enterprising method of disposing of a foe. It also fitted the character of Berat and represented a huge challenge for him to pull off.
Everything in your stories are just so. The detail and language is exacting. It all leads to a world richly layered and textured. Charactered fleshed out (or scaled, I suppose in the case of Cardassians) in rich details, with flaws and strengths, mannerisms and speech patterns, codes of honour and ethical choices.
This short story is no less so. It is a fascinating look at Berat and how he pulled off a coup against his Dominion interlopers.
The dialogue and verbal tryst between Berat and the Vorta is a great study of the characters and the disparity between their beliefs, idealogies and loyalties to their respective 'governments'. The Vorta's self-preening was sickening and cloying. So much of that was represented in how Berat felt and was portrayed. Pushed to his limits and insulted.
Berat had a lot to prove and the ghenorev was a personal challenge as much as it was a ruse to foil Dasreen. I felt for the slights he received and hoped fervently for his sucess in whatever his ultimate plan was supposed to be. I hadn't seen where the senario was going. A smile crept onto my lips as he achieved his goal. it's always nice to see the underdog win. I doubt Berat would like to be called an underdog, but he was faced with quite a challenge.
Congratulations on some very fine writing.
Thank you for reviewing here! :-)
Believe me...writing Dasreen's comments FELT sickening. Especially because I couldn't help but thinking of stuff I saw at the Holocaust Museum as I was writing it--specifically Aktion T4, a part that is often forgotten but was an extremely horrible part of the Holocaust. :-(
I think Berat would acknowledge that things are more difficult for him because of his disability--but I'm not sure he'd agree to "underdog," even though I think he'd know you meant it in a very different way than Dasreen. His imagination and character are unchanged by his injury...and I think, too, the loyalty of his crew is a tremendous asset and he's not so insecure that he's unwilling to bring them in on his plans and let them help where they can do things he is physically unable to do.
And as I mentioned over at the TrekBBS...I REALLY appreciate your comment, especially the way you picked up on how it felt to me as the writer, trying to come up with a plan that would work given the constraints I was working under.
This story meant a lot to me and I'm glad you liked it! :-)
Date: 05 Mar 2009 10:09 Title: Let He Who Has Eyes See
Bwahaha! Awesome. I woulda smashed the Vorta's face from the get-go; that Berat was able to keep his composure even in light of such insults, as well as his crew in line, speaks well of him. His coup was exceedingly well-played, too.
Thank you SO much for reading! :-)
The crew of the Sherouk is something very unique and very special. It is extraordinarily rare in the Cardassian Guard that his senior officers would've been given that stay-or-go choice by their gul...these are people who CHOSE to stick by his side, and that example has a huge impact on the lower-ranking crew. There are a lot of AWFUL guls in the Guard--these people know they've got it good. He's been good to them and they reward him with the same.
Writing the insults was tough even though I KNEW from the outset that Berat was going to get revenge. It was almost...embarrassing to even be able to THINK of such awful things. I think anybody in his position would've been hard-pressed not to lose their temper!