Date: 21 Jan 2011 19:30 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
Once again, Nerys Ghemor is to be congratulated on writing a truly excellent tale, filled with subtleties and complexities--and "Easter Eggs", of course--which oftentimes gives the reader a new experience with every reading!
Thank you for reading. :-)
Date: 09 Oct 2010 13:08 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
"But tonight, twenty-four years late though it might be…Varec Berat smiled."
And so did I :)
I was wondering if the man, who wanted to smile, but couldn't was a particular person with a name, and for some reason Ghemors were my first thought. I didn't think about Berats, but that made the ending a really nice surprise :)
Thank you for reading this! :-)
Because of the Cardassian lifespan, this is Berat's grandfather even though it's so long ago. I also wanted to get a bit of a glimpse of some of the things that Tayben Berat could do before the assassin took the use of his hands from him. It's not Tayben, but I think Tayben definitely got a lot from his grandfather Varec.
Date: 03 Jul 2009 23:11 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
As to the detailed review, I think the story warrented it, on top of which I reviewed it in a way I never had before. As I went through each part, I commented in the review box as I went along. It proved a useful tool as I usually forget half the things I wanted to say by the time the review comes. And even with such an approach I got caught up in the story and stopped commenting as I went along.
First, I think it was how you treated Spock in the opening part. I thought it a true insight into his character but dealt with a simple toned down manner.
Second, it was your treatment of Pike who I know from different posts really appealed to you in the movie. He was a great character and a highlight of it and of course Greenwood was superb in the role as to be expected. Sad as I always wanted him to play a role in one of my fanfics. But your treatment of him seemed truthful and touched on the character seen and expanded it so.
Then of course there was Pike's wonderful introduction to Cardassian society and his careful observation of cues and political undercurrents. It all must have profondly affected him and his diplomatic core and principles. Atop of which, demonstrated his intellect and skills at reading people.
Lastly, there was Berat's ancestor and the hope he had for the future of Cardassia and hope for the alliance.
To my mind you really should explore this AU. I would consider it different to your other AUs. Simply because you could explore the alliance in a two fold manner as treated here. How does the Federation alliance affect or change Cardassia? To some extent for the better and to some extent for the worse - eroding of certain cultural mmindsets - respect to elders, duty to the state, etc.
These are areas I think you would be particarly capable and interested in exploring. Of course, I'm merely assuming so and only my two pennies worth.
But if you did this approach I know it would mean writing things at times from a Starfleet perspective which you don't normally enjoy or do. But consider Thirteenth Order and how you flip and switch between the two sides. perhaps such an approach would work. Also, with his experience perhaps Pike would be one of the ones heading up the forging of links between the two peoples. Thus giving you opportunity to write more Pike.
I like the idea of the Cardassians having a long life, it seems fitting to me - not just because I called them turtles necks once upon a time and relate the idea of their cuiress armour uniform and their necks to notion of tortoises. However, with such a long lifespan, one can understand the mentality of loyalty to the state rather than absorbed in the here and now and self-gratification. It also would reinforce familial ties and close loving relationship built upon respect within each.
Yeah, I imagined the NIxon China parallel because of the suspicions and worries that would follow such an overture between both peoples. But the closest parallel would be the North Korean one in regards the totalitarian state. But I just love the fact that your story gets me and other people thinking of parallels in the real world in the first place. Kudos for that and well done again.
I wonder if it will be Cardassia that changes. Or if it does...if perhaps the Federation will change as well. Not sure yet...but we'll see.
And I really appreciate your reading, your confidence in my work, and your detailed feedback. :-)
Date: 02 Jul 2009 21:37 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
From the start I think you got a very good handle on Spock and the wrestle within his mind between logic and emotion. After all this time it is something he should recognise in himself. Which makes it all the sadder to contemplate the losses he has seen and endured and perhaps feels in some way accountable for.
I also liked the reasoning and fretting about the actions of Nero in the interim of twenty years. I think that was most peoples' beef with the film - this big hole in the story timeline in which anything could very well have happened. It adds a sinsiter and dubious aspect to what the AOS Romulans or others might indeed get up to. Well done for giving me a niggle in my brain thinking of the potential ramifications of that one.
As to the details as we know from your story we now turn. The greedy Klingons and Romulans though vying for blood makes a lot of sense. I hadn't thought of them teaming up together but this too does make sense - how long either could trust the other party before one ultimately betrays the other is another matter. But for the present acting in concer tot rid themselves of the Federation is in their best interests. But rich, rich material there for a writer to explore the dynamics of such a partnership and the ensuing political stabbing and betrayals that are bound to follow.
And then we come to the Federation's need to absorb new blood, new allies; turning in what might have been unlikely direction in the Prime universe ...
Then we come to the secret mission and the reason why in canon Trek we never heard of the Cardassains in TOS. A very plausible and relatable idea. A nice touch then to see it played out so by Admiralty so in this new timeline after Nero's attack on the Kelvin. A nice touch too that Pike is part of this mission as is Ambassador Sarak. It seems Spock was not the only one to skirt diplomatic trouble.
A great introduction of the Cardassains and their world as through the eyes of Pike. It allowed for a fresh eye and take on the Cardassians and tying in the great Dying calamity to the idea of forging an alliance makes it all the more plausible and grounded, helping us to empathise with the Cardassain motivations - despite their totalitarian regime.
The introduction of this paranoid and closeted species who dared not show any openess in the meeting is a terrific piece of retcon observation - how would the first Federation representatives have viewed the Cardassians and their world. I think you painted an accurate reflection of what they might have seen and how they might have felt about said observations.
The signs of the Orwellian culture - the large TV broadcasts, the secrecy and the apparent superiority complex, how they address the party upon arrival and what Sarak picked up on - all telling signs for us in hindsight but for these people making first contact. The suspicion and wariness is reminescent of China and the US for one example when Nixon tried to open relations.This was alll extremely well told and presented Nerys.
The little touches and clues that Pike picked up on where subtle and terrific and do indeed show the man to be very skilled and highly intelligient if trusted so early on in his career with such a mission.
The look of regret Pike caught and his inference of what it signified was just such an example and the moment that helped to give the Cardassian part of the story dealing with the first contact some heart. Not that it was heartless but it added the human dimension to the Federation party and indeed to the Cardassian representatives [or some at least].
Then to end from the Cardassian point of view with Berat's relation. First off, I liked the structure and timeframe and different character points of view. All employed to great effect in telling the story.
And I think I pegged him as Berat's ancestor from the sit down and regret in his eyes at not being able to return the smile. For a moment I thought it even would be Berat what with AOS and breaking the timelines. So neat to get confirmation of it and further proof of the man's character.
A great story Nerys with so much material to cover and explore it is nice to see you kept the story pared down to these bones making it a thoroughly absorbing read. I'd love if you'd return to this AU at some point to delve into how the Cardassian / Federation Alliance works out for the better and worse of the peoples. Does allying with the federation allow for the military junta to lose sway and a more open Cardassian regime? Will both parties become overtly militaristic in response to the Klingons and Romulans with these dual alliances mirroring much of the build up to the First World War and the feeling among parties that all encompassing war was inevitable. Will this be the fate for all of the Alpha Quadrant?
So many questions and avenues to explore. I do hope oyu choose to explore some of these at a future date.
Thank you for such a wonderful, detailed review! :-)
Since the movie never established any other attacks in that twenty-year time period, I decided to assume that the Federation simply had no idea. Let their paranoia build...which of course will lead into what they do next.
I'm not sure exactly HOW close the ties are between the Romulans and the Klingons in this timeline--just that they are both vying to take down the weakened Federation, which they see as the next big threat.
Glad you found the Federation-Cardassian alliance idea to be reasonable! And for me as the author, it was really fascinating to imagine seeing Cardassia through new eyes--especially since it's a setting and a people I'm so intimately familiar with. I had not thought of the parallel with Nixon and China (admittedly I am not as familiar with exactly how that happened as perhaps I should be), but that's definitely a good one!
To me, all the signs in the movie pointed to Pike being a VERY intelligent man. The fact that he finished the Academy not just with a degree, but a dissertation--which suggests postgraduate work, and that he rose to his rank young (though not as young as Kirk, of course) made him seem like someone who would be ideal for this sort of mission. I see him as very serious and studious when it comes to stuff like that, although also able to have a sense of humor.
Very cool to know that you liked (and recognized) Berat's ancestor! I worried that it would seem implausible for him to show up in such a prominent position--but there are hints in the DS9 novel Betrayal, where Berat originally came from, that his family was once quite an influential one before they were so brutally executed (most of them) in 2369. I also really enjoyed getting the chance to show, through Varec, some characteristics that I never really have had a chance to show with Tayben. That Varec, even as a largely untrained hobbyist, is able to build the things he does...I wanted that to be a hint at what Tayben was once capable of (from a physical standpoint), what it would've been like to see him in action.
Believe it or not, Varec is actually Tayben's grandfather! I know that's a long time gap between him and the 24th century time into which Tayben is born--but consider that in my universe, Cardassians live 150-200 years, they have more time in which to build their families than even 24th century humans have. Tayben's father hasn't been born yet, in 2258, though. The twins you see there are Berat's uncles.
I'm still not quite sure where this future will go from here, but I am very interested into delving further into it someday. :-)
Date: 27 Jun 2009 21:20 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
This is lovely! I hadn't realised we had a canonical First Contact date for the Cardassians, which is why the name of the drink just blipped by me (I think I misremembered the Organians mentioning them on ENT and assumed it wasn't a continuity error), but I really love the level of detail in this piece. I could picturing it very clearly, and I especially love the last line.
We don't really have a canonical first-contact date...just brief mentions in ENT--then nothing in TOS--and then suddenly there they are in TNG. This was just my way of explaining why they're not heard from in TOS (the embargo that would've gone into place had the attack on Vulcan not occurred). But I'm really glad you like the story! Do tell me, if you have the chance to drop a PM, if you think this is a plausible direction for the timeline to take following the attack! :-)
Date: 28 May 2009 19:32 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
You're gonna make your head hurt with multiverses. This was great-I liked how you conveyed the totalitarianism. The hints of things to come were easy to pick up-while appreciated your post script wasn't necessary-Your story conveyed a lot of info! 2 Thumbs up!
Thank you so much...glad you enjoyed!
Like I said over at the TrekBBS, I know the postscript wasn't strictly necessary--but I really enjoyed putting in all the Easter eggs and I felt like sharing. ;-)
Date: 26 May 2009 19:02 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
A terrific story that begs as many questions as it answers... and all from Uhura ordering a simple drink. At least you weren't compelled to write about the Federation's first encounter with the denizens of Budweiser Classic. ;-)
Wonderful characterizations all the way around. From Pike, to the Andorian captain, to the various Cardassian characters.
I'd once toyed with the idea of penning the story of the Federation/Cardassian First Contact (at least in the UT universe), but honestly, I don't think I could improve upon what you've done here.
As Pike discovers, these guys are the North Koreans of the Trekverse. Members of a totalitarian state so controlling that they dare not give even the slightest indication of warmth or potential openness. The fact that the Federation deliberately sought them out after the encounter with the Narada just goes to show how desperate things had become, only to become more so after the Vulcan Genocide.
Phenomenal work. I hope to see you dabble more in this alternate reality universe.
Hey, you can STILL write that first contact--remember, what I'm writing is an alternate universe! Therefore as far as the prime universe is concerned...anything still goes. :-)
I'm figuring the drink is either imported...or something the free-spacers cooked up that later caught on, on Earth.
You know, it's scary about the North Koreans. The more I've learned about them, the more shocking it's become to me--because seriously, they are actually MORE repressive than the Cardassian Union! The Cardassians, at least, are allowing some kind of contact between foreigners and their citizens, and allowing them SOME sort of knowledge of what lies beyond their borders...even if they do demand a contact report, and only allow travel abroad with their approval. To me, Stalinist Russia is the model I tend to use most for the Cardassians. Which is still controlling enough, make no mistake.
But yes...you definitely got the point of what I was showing here: the Federation is no superpower yet. And they ARE desperate. I just keep thinking the Narada was up to more than just sitting for twenty-five years. Nero's goal was to destroy the Federation as a power entirely. Twisted as he was, he had to have believed the Federation was vulnerable at this point in its history.
The way the engagement of the Fleet in the Laurentian system left so few to respond to the crisis on Vulcan (few enough that the cadets were scrambled to crew a number of ships) suggested to me that the Federation in the 23rd century still had not hit superpower status yet. That THEY were actually to the galaxy as the Cardassian Union later is to the other powers in the prime 24th century.
So...it became easier to contemplate the idea of the Federation making an alliance with the Cardassians. I just don't think the Pollyanna TNG version of the 24th century is ever going to come about in this timeline, given the enormity of what's happened.
BTW, feel free to PM me if you'd like to continue the discussion! :-)
Date: 26 May 2009 15:48 Title: Cardassian Sunrise
Oh, cool Story Nerys. I just love the way Spock and Pike both see the need for the alliance but both fear it in some ways.
Also glad to see why Cardassians were rarely mentioned in TOS and why the mission was secret in the first place.
Two thumbs up!
Thank you so much...glad you enjoyed it! Especially since you helped check my logic--I appreciate it. :-) In the TOS universe, it's my supposition that the potential embargo I described actually went into place...therefore no trade with Cardassia, no Cardassian Sunrises.
I definitely figured that our two Starfleet officers would feel quite odd about the alliance given that I don't think, at that point, that the Federation had ever allied with a power that had such different values. I also don't know how a Starfleet officer wouldn't have a visceral reaction upon actually setting foot on Cardassia Prime. Though I haven't gone totally nuBsG here--that's kind of what the encounter with Varec was for. ;-)