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Nerys Ghemor September 20 2011 04:58 AM

Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
Author’s Note: This story takes place in Hebitian days, and is therefore part of the history of both my Sigils and Unions universe and the Catacombs of Oralius AU. The title comes from my SigCat novella, The Desolate Vigil.

While inspired by Cobalt Frost’s “Stars Fall” challenge, I found as I wrote that the story was neither served by the word-count minimum, nor by the artificial imposition of a mythology that did not fit the Hebitians of the time periods described. What I present to you may not be “contest material,” but I hope you will enjoy this as an entry to a heretofore unseen part of my Cardassians’ history.

Please note that since I am describing a historical Hebitia, there are terms and descriptions of certain groups of Hebitians that some readers may find uncomfortable reminders of terms from our own world. It should be abundantly clear that these are not endorsed by the author but I had no wish to compromise on the period feel I sought.



Sigils and Unions/Catacombs of Oralius
"The Spark in Yartek's Eye"


6 Ma’avoun, Ninth Year of the 302nd Ăstraya
Earth Year 1620

“Miti!” Tehir called, thundering his way up the solid wooden staircase of his Lakatian rowhouse to the bedroom where his wife was hard at work at the desk by the window on illustrations for his next book. She started her work early every morning once the light was right; candles and gas lights just couldn’t provide the same evenness and quality of light as that of Verkoun.

“You pound like a hound,” Miti chided as soon as he turned the corner into their room. “Our poor neighbors are going to think we’ve had an earthquake. And have a care for Lanorr here.” She gestured at the meticulously-inked figure of a Hebitian adventurer on the page. “You almost gave him an inkblot right on his eye ridge. Would you like to explain to him how he ended up with an assassin’s bullet right through his head?”

“Tempt me and I just might write a murder mystery,” Tehir growled with a smirk; he loved how he and his wife could talk about his beloved characters like children. Very…odd children, he added privately.

He made a grab for his wife’s fountain pen. She cocked an eye ridge at him, carefully swooping her equipment away from him at an angle that wouldn’t spray ink all over the page. “No, you don’t!” This wasn’t just for the illustrated Lanorr’s sake, but the protection of her drawing equipment: the soft tips of each gold-nibbed pen adapted over time to the precise angles at which their users held them and borrowing tended to result in getting back a pen whose nib was completely bent out of shape and useless for the original owner. And the way people in the Mejurak house ran through pens, they couldn’t afford that kind of waste.

Especially not with the difficulty of getting a male author published in the speculative-fiction field. Tehir’s contract could end up canceled at any time if he were found out by the public; his publisher had been very clear on that matter the day he’d signed it. And with that, the biggest venue for Miti’s illustrations would dry up too. Which meant that for their real children’s sake, the Mejurak family needed to save every last silverchip they could, just in case, especially since their daughter Elin was carrying Tehir and Miti’s first grandchild.

Miti capped her pen and turned towards her husband. “So…what’s got you excited enough to bang your way up the stairs like a herd of untrained riding-hound puppies?”

Tehir unrolled the broadsheet he’d been clutching in his right hand with a flick of the wrist. He didn’t need to look at the title line; he’d memorized it already.

Scientists Believe Breathable Atmosphere on Yarte’krinek!

“This isn’t the Blabber anymore, Miti…if the Sentinel is running the story, that makes me think they know what they’re doing. We already know Yarte’krinek is a pretty reasonable size, that the gravity would only be a little lighter than ours, and now the spectroscopic readings make it look like there’s enough oxygen that we could breathe, and probably not anything else that could kill us. The air might be thin, the way it is in Arhit-in-the-Mountains, and it would be cold—really cold—but we could adapt. Which means if we could figure out how to make crops grow, Hebitians might be able to live there! Isn’t this great?”

Miti pretended to think about it. Then her grey eyes lit up. “That depends. Do you think you can write a book about it?”

“I think so! You know, I could even make Lanorr a starfarer. Or his wife,” Tehir appended as an afterthought; he wasn’t sure how believable it would be to the average reader if Lanorr himself was supposed to have the advanced technical knowledge he suspected the journey would require.

Miti pursed her lips at that. “Or both,” she suggested.

“Co-commanders,” Tehir replied. “I like that. Maybe by the time people are ready to go to Yarte’krinek, they’ll be ready to think of men as being part of the discovery and invention, and not just bringing the brawn to build things with. Or slaughter innocent Hăzăkda with.” Tehir sat down, his thoughts ticking along like a timepiece running much too fast. “The way things are going…maybe the Hăzăkda would be running to the stars to save their race.”

“Wouldn’t surprise me one bit,” Miti sadly agreed. “Even if the Hăzăkda are a different species, who’s to say Oralius didn’t create them for a reason? That they’ve got any less right to be here than us?”

Tehir snorted. “Some people would say that ‘reason’ is to show us just how far we’ve come from the wild. ‘The Tan Man of the Sand.’ Might as well take the word ‘man’ out, the way some people act.” And some people did deprive the Hăzăkda, by virtue of their tan hue and the strange, craggy nature of their macroscales of any privileges of being Hebitian. They looked like sand, such people said, so they must be creatures—sub-Hebitian creatures fashioned to blend in with the ferocious desert and spring their traps on any good, but unsuspecting Oralians who came their way.

Well, if that’s true, Tehir thought derisively to himself, then I guess that makes the grey man a stone demon. Maybe we should think about becoming one with the mountains.

Some people are wrong,” Miti firmly replied.

Tehir rolled his eyes. “You think?” They had to be Hebitian, and as such, deserved to be treated just like any other Hebitian. Then—despite the residual twinge in his stomach that warned him not to speak against those of such authority—he declared, “Some Guides need to shut their mouths.”

“And Ăstraya is doing herself no good by not opening hers,” Miti added.

And that was another reason Tehir’s publisher insisted that he write, and his wife illustrate, under pseudonyms: the locals in their sector strongly suspected—and they were quite right—that the Mejurak family only went to the temple for appearances. Given that, Tehir hadn’t been able to produce a letter of recommendation from his Guide when his editor asked for one…and that meant—in addition to his gender—the only thing standing between him and the end of his career was the public buying, demanding his books, and never knowing who wrote them. As far as the public was concerned, ‘Nemel Mayak’ was an invalid woman who couldn’t get out to do readings the way most of the popular authors did.

It wasn’t that Tehir and Miti didn’t believe in Oralius…they did; it was just that he got the feeling the Oralius they believed in wasn’t the same one most people around them believed in. Tehir’s Oralius wouldn’t create people specifically for the sake of treating them like servants or imbeciles. It specifically said in the Hebitian Records that a Hebitian might err, but no Hebitian was an error.

Though certain self-righteous Guides might say that meant Oralius had every right to create people in different parts of the hierarchy, some to lead and some to serve forever and through the generations, and that this was design and no error, that made no sense to Tehir. Why would Oralius give less of her creative care to one race and not another? If the grey man were the ideal, that would imply that the tan Hăzăkda…was in essence an error deliberately made by Oralius herself. Did the Guides who ignored or encouraged what was going on in Hăzăk simultaneously believe that Oralius was without error and that they were helping her cover for what common sense said would be an error on her part?

“Well,” Tehir said, “If Ăstraya thinks keeping silent on this is going to win her any friends with the Leaderless Sects, she’s making a poor calculation.”

It wasn’t that the so-called Leaderless Sects were without hierarchy—nothing ordained by Oralius would be—but they did not recognize the authority of Ăstraya, the name always adopted by the highest member of the Oralian clergy. And according to some reports, which Tehir suspected might be sensationalized by the Blabber and similar publications, they disregarded tradition left and right. What was certain was that among a few groups, men had been ordained as Guides despite the traditional belief that as strong and smart as men could be, they lacked the spiritual discernment, self-control, and creative ability possessed by women. And that had to crawl all over Ăstraya—especially since, ‘leaderless’ as they were, they had a tendency to ask some very uncomfortable questions.

“At least they’re not being attacked the way the Hăzăkda are.”

“Like dismissing someone from their job and slandering them so they’ll never find other work is so much better,” Tehir countered. “I guess that way she gets to pretend she isn’t the one who’s starving people.”

“She’s never suggested anyone should,” Miti reminded him. “People make their own foolish decisions.”

Tehir’s eyes flashed. “But she isn’t condemning it. And that’s the problem. If we keep up this way, the Hăzăkda and a lot of other people will be dead by the time Lanorr and his starfarers would probably make it to Yarte’krinek.”

That gave Miti pause. Then she regarded her husband with a long, uneasy look, accentuated by the naturally wide, round shape of her eye ridges. “Tehir, what if we find people on Yarte’krinek?”

“I would guess they’d be therapsids like us,” Tehir figured. “I wouldn’t expect reptilians to survive on such a cold world. So more than likely, either therapsids, or mammalians.” He smiled at the image of aliens resembling a walking getil. “Small, furry people. Maybe even kind of cute. You think you could draw that, Miti?”

The illustrator didn’t return her husband’s smile. “That’s not what I mean, Tehir, and you know it.”

“If we were to do it right…well…I don’t think it should matter even if the Yartekda were primitive. Maybe Oralius will have spoken to them already; if not, then that would be our job.”

“You can’t mean—”

“No, Miti…you know I would never, ever approve of that. Never by force. Never. What isn’t chosen isn’t valid, and it’s not the injured soul that will be held responsible. It’s the one who does the injury.

“I think we can be a little more creative than that.” Miti grinned at that choice of words; Tehir couldn’t help remembering the day she proposed marriage, telling him that she wasn’t one of those artist-women who had a problem being married to a man just as creative as she was, in his own way. “If we’re going to say they’re a little mammalian race, then maybe Hebitian strength would be a commodity to them. I say we serve. I say we hire ourselves out to the Yartekda as labor and domestic help. That way the flow to Oralius would come naturally by giving them the kind of service she wants. Not by beating people until they say the right words.”

Miti considered it for a moment. “That could work. But it could also teach them we don’t deserve an equal place in the hierarchy.”

“If we worked hard, we’d be rewarded with one. But that would come over time, after we’d proven we weren’t there to take over. That we knew how to be obedient, too. I think at that point, we and they could occupy any place in the hierarchy that Oralius deemed fitting.”

The shadows over Miti’s eyes deepened. “That’s still troubling. I like the idea too…but somebody could get impatient. And if the Yartekda are smaller and weaker, the way the Hăzăkda are more primitive, not everybody is going to want to work for primitives and do things their way.”

“That will be a problem,” Tehir acknowledged with a subdued nod.

“There’s the central conflict,” Miti announced. “You should write this.”

“Could be hard to get published,” Tehir observed.

Miti stood up and wrapped her arms around her husband. “Take some time and pray. I will too. If we still feel it’s the right thing, that it won’t put the children in danger, don’t you let anyone stop you.” She pulled him tighter. “Maybe you can figure out how they get there and I can go ahead and make some illustrations. What do you think they’ll need to get there?”

Tehir narrowed his eyes. If he were to look up, he could just barely catch a glimpse of his own eye ridges looming over his eyes as he thought. “Well…the first thing that’s coming to mind is for after they get there, though it might also help with the problem of getting their ship off the ground. What I’m thinking is that they’ll have to have a source of heat…probably constantly if it’s as cold as it looks like it’ll be on Yarte’krinek. Look at how many people have died trying to reach the poles here on Hebitia; hypothermia is going to be a big concern. Not only that, I’d be willing to bet they’ll need hothouses for their crops; I wouldn’t think Hebitian plants would grow well if it’s too cold and the seasons are out of rhythm.

“I’m thinking these people will run through gas and coal very quickly. And Yarte’krinek doesn’t look very green through a telescope; they might not have wood like we’re used to. So they’re either going to have to get mining operations going on a large scale very quickly, or be getting constant supply runs and risk freezing if a cargo hauler doesn’t make it on schedule. That or they need another source of power…something new, something different.”

“You mentioned hothouses,” Miti said as she sat down and picked up a pen. “That makes me think you could get power from the sun.”

Tehir cocked his head, feeling the tendons of one neck ridge relax and the other one tighten. “Maybe so, but with Yarte’krinek being further away from the sun, I wonder if that would make it more difficult. Still, I’m not sure if that would be enough to satisfy the energy needs a starcraft would have in order to break out of orbit, or to heat the colony. I almost wonder if they could bring a piece of Verkoun to them somehow.”

Miti shook her head. “There’s no way that kind of harvesting mission would work…not with any kind of machine that makes sense. Your hypothetical ship would melt before it even got close to Verkoun. Metal would melt and traditional fuels would ignite.”

“You’re right, my little tinkerer,” Tehir said with a smile. Like many Hebitian women, Miti was quite adept with household repairs—a practical skill that women had honed for over a thousand years while the men went away to war, and one that gave women a privileged window into the way things worked. “But what’s interesting is that the spectroscopic lines we’ve gotten from Verkoun suggest that the elements we’d need to start a reaction like that on our own are easy to find in our own atmosphere.”

“I can’t imagine that would be easy…not to mention dangerous.” Miti shuddered. “All I can think of is that horrible explosion in the Tillok District. Two whole blocks of homes—burned up just like that just because of a tiny leak and a spark. Whatever kind of fuel it is you’re thinking of, if it’s enough to power a star, couldn’t that blow up the whole planet? Maybe even light the whole atmosphere on fire if those are the same elements that make up our atmosphere.”

“I don’t think so, if it were contained properly. I mean, if stars were that unstable, I think we’d be seeing supernovae far more frequently than we do. We’ve had two Starblooms thirty-two years apart, but that was a rarity to have them that close together. For the most part, the stars in the Hebitian sky have been unchanged through the ages. Containment would be the tricky part, and I think we’d have to ignore some of the difficulties because I don’t really know how it could be done. It is possible to store static electricity in a bottle, though, so I imagine some kind of bottle design would be convincing. Let’s call it a sunbottle.”

Miti grinned at that. “I like that! Are you thinking that’s what’ll keep the steam heated, for the colony’s power plant?”

“Maybe so,” Tehir replied. “They might find a different way to harness the sunbottle’s power without overloading the system, but I think we should go with steam just to be sure.”

“That’s probably the most elegant choice to draw,” Miti concurred. “I’ll work on a few designs and let you see what you think. Maybe that’ll get you to firm up your story ideas some.”

Tehir leaned down and even before his lips made contact with the blue-hued bioelectric node at the center of her forehead, she smiled and shivered in anticipation as his field grew more and more intense.

That reminded him—he was going to have to think of some sort of insulator material to say the power plant was lined with. The krilătbre-yezul picked up artificial power currents quite readily, just as it did naturally-generated fields. Making people feel like they were constantly surrounded by predators, or prey, wouldn’t be good for their nerves; that was for sure…

He shook that out of his head. And just kissed her.

Nerys Ghemor September 20 2011 05:00 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
6 Ma’avoun, Ninth Year of the 302nd Ăstraya
Earth Year 1710

Skadren pulled his heavy coat tighter around himself as twin landers descended, bearing the last of the reserve crew from the ringship orbiting above, and with them, completion of the first wave of Hebitian colonists to Yarte’krinek. What a long journey it had been for all of them—fifteen months in transit and all the time before that preparing their immune systems for first contact with their new world.

The young Hebitian smiled. He’d wondered during the banquet before they went into pre-launch isolation if Ari Velet, the grandson of ‘Nemek Mayak,’ had gotten tired of hearing colonist after colonist gush about how The Spark in Yartek’s Eye had set them on their path to this place of stone and algae. They had conjectured so much—the hothouses, the electroinsulation suits worn by the workers in the most highly-charged parts of the power plant…well…Hebitia hadn’t quite invented fusion reactors yet, but scientists were hard at work on the theory now. How Tehir Mejurak had foreseen that without any knowledge of the atom…coincidence? Vision? What?

A miracle, Skadren decided. How far we have come…from gaslight and steam to a home in space in ninety years. That was another miracle. Skadren wished the prescient couple had lived to see this day. To enjoy their fame under their own names.

The landers touched down in flawless synch on the tarmac. The screech of engines gave way to the chanting of Guides as the final passengers disembarked. And the light of Verkoun gently teased at the gold script shining on each vessel’s side:

Tehir Mejurak. Miti Mejurak.

Gul Re'jal September 20 2011 06:27 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
Wow, from candles and gas lights to landing on another planet within 90 years! Clearly, the presence of another habitable world in their system spurred not only stories, but scientific and technological progress as well. They had a goal and it seemed reachable to them to work hard and fast to accomplish it. And they did.

I especially liked that society changed to let real names of Tehir and Miti be known. Seems like a lot of things changed on Hebitian within those 90 years and those changes weren't limited to building a rocket and sowing warm clothes.

And the title Blabber...at once I thought "It must be a tabloid!" :lol:

But the situation on Hebitian in the times of Tehir an Miti was really troubling. The aggression against the Hăzăkda, the justification of that aggression and lack of any reaction from their spiritual leader? I wonder if it stopped by the time of Skadren; if in the face of possibility of "alien" lifeforms the Hebitians felt that they are all one, not two and not first-second. Tehir and Miti's real names were revealed, so maybe other changes to better followed.

It is clear, though, that while they criticise the spiritual leaders and disagree with them, they don't reject their religion and Oralius. They just think that those people are misguided and misinterpret Oralius's will.

And then their energy goes to discussing the technology of the future. Now I imagine that Tehir's books were a lot like Star Trek: sci-fi but a few decades later futuristic devices and tools from his stories became everyday items, surrounding everyone and serving everyone every day.

A great story :)

Nerys Ghemor September 20 2011 07:10 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
Quote:

Gul Re'jal wrote: (Post 5235876)
Wow, from candles and gas lights to landing on another planet within 90 years!

To put that into a little bit of interesting perspective, IRL we went from about that level to Apollo 11 in 100 years. Of course, the "space race" only started in earnest with Sputnik in 1957. Given 90 years to work with a goal the Hebitians saw as desirable and achievable, I felt like it would be possible for them to go through a period of rapid advancement. Even as tradition-bound as Hebitians are, I felt like this goal would light their minds on fire. :)

(What's also fun is that at least for a part of their history, this means humanity doesn't have bragging rights in the Trekiverse. ;) )

Quote:

Clearly, the presence of another habitable world in their system spurred not only stories, but scientific and technological progress as well. They had a goal and it seemed reachable to them to work hard and fast to accomplish it. And they did.
Let's be honest; what kept us here in the US going fast with our space technology was the prospect of beating some Soviet behind. ;) And of course the fact that similar technology was used for ICBM's and defense against them. Once that motivation went away, and that drive to be first and best, the ironic thing is that our space program decayed into the pitiful state it's now in.

When I was little, during the Cold War, it seemed like we were still working hard, and a Mars mission was considered feasible. Now...honestly, I don't think most of the public really cares about rocks and gas balls in space. :(

Having a habitable world in their backyard motivated the Hebitians in a major way. I suspect that it wasn't just governments, but private investors getting in on the effort in a serious manner. I don't think the government had a technological monopoly, and I'm sure the existence of some private sector initiative kept things moving faster too.

Quote:

I especially liked that society changed to let real names of Tehir and Miti be known. Seems like a lot of things changed on Hebitian within those 90 years and those changes weren't limited to building a rocket and sowing warm clothes.
I think there is still some gender disparity in their society--but things did improve, enough to where the idea of a male speculative-fiction author no longer seemed so foreign or offensive. :)

Quote:

And the title Blabber...at once I thought "It must be a tabloid!" :lol:
I couldn't get Tehir to tell me if that was the real name of the paper or if that was just his smart-a$$ name for it. I will leave that for the reader to decide. :D

Quote:

But the situation on Hebitian in the times of Tehir an Miti was really troubling. The aggression against the Hăzăkda, the justification of that aggression and lack of any reaction from their spiritual leader? I wonder if it stopped by the time of Skadren; if in the face of possibility of "alien" lifeforms the Hebitians felt that they are all one, not two and not first-second. Tehir and Miti's real names were revealed, so maybe other changes to better followed.
"Troubling" is a very good word for it. It ought to be troubling. I wonder if there was anything else about it that disturbed you or that you found chilling, as well as the clerical misconduct?

I tend to believe the overt violence and some of the discrimination had stopped...but that unfortunately, just as happened to the Australian Aborigines, a lot of damage was still done. That's the reason in my universe why we didn't see more people like Macet. Many died. :(

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It is clear, though, that while they criticise the spiritual leaders and disagree with them, they don't reject their religion and Oralius. They just think that those people are misguided and misinterpret Oralius's will.
There are others, including those of the "Leaderless Sects" (don't think Tehir and Miti were official members of such a sect, though they sympathized), who presented those alternative interpretations. To them, it's a result of poor if not outright corrupt scriptural scholarship. They believe the main messages in the Hebitian Records make that clear.

Quote:

And then their energy goes to discussing the technology of the future. Now I imagine that Tehir's books were a lot like Star Trek: sci-fi but a few decades later futuristic devices and tools from his stories became everyday items, surrounding everyone and serving everyone every day.
I tend to think of Tehir Mejurak as being something like the Cardassian Jules Verne. Even better that his wife was his illustrator and beta reader! :D

Quote:

A great story :)
Thanks. I'm glad you liked it! :)

Sandoval September 20 2011 10:26 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
I liked it. It's a very well written piece of work, and the setting in Cardassia's past is certainly something I haven't seen before.

Certainly the relatively short time it took them to land on another world seems plausible enough given the quantum leaps made by our own space programs throughout the 1960s.

Imagine if that rate of progression had continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s? A landing on Mars a few decades after landing on the Moon seem to be unfeasible given those circumstances.

Overall a nice piece of work.

Deranged Nasat September 20 2011 10:57 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
There's a real depth to this story; it might not have the pure emotional power of some of your work, but it's very subtle in the complexity it implies. The writing really gives the sense that this is a fully realized world; what we see hints at many layers to your Hebitia. It's three dimensional, and as usual there's the sense of real meat under the skin. A reader can learn a lot about how you envision this world without needing to be told outright. It's good worldbuilding, which is usual for your work, of course.

The characters are engaging; it's charming to see a well-adjusted married couple, and their conversation and concerns are very "humanizing" while retaining the alien edge that your Cardassians/Hebitians always have. The religious divisions in the Mejuraks' society were particularly interesting, with the large number of sects and individual people challenging the usual script, without rejecting the core faith (indeed to many of these dissenting voices they see themselves as reaffirming the true intent of the Records). That's a very Hebitian/Cardassian way to behave, isn't it? - to step outside the structure of society is near unthinkable, but that certainly doesn't mean they're stagnant or unquestioning (the relatively rapid success of their drive to reach another world demonstrates that). They have a lot of investment in the desire to better themselves and are every bit as varied in opinion and willingness to change as any other race - only the variety operates within a framework of order that to the ignorant outsider might appear rigidly inflexible. The debate and the ideological shifting is subtle but powerful, and if the Cardassian/Hebitian psychology isn't understood an outsider might miss what's going on. Which is something that always works in your stories' favour - it makes the social and spiritual disscussions feel powerful yet controlled, and subtle without losing any of their impact.

One thing I thought was very well played: "The Tan Man of the Sand". That's a great label, in the sense of conveying the attitude held by a lot of people towards the Hăzăkda. It has just the right balance between a worryingly casual dismissal and a sort of awe or at least fascination at the "almost-like-us-but-funny-coloured" being. An "exoticism" that is nonetheless considered vulger somehow, and a perception of the Hăzăkda as balanced between savagery and civilization. Almost respectful in an odd "look at the fascinating man-creature" way, but ultimately pointing to an inability to fully grasp their humanity (well, Hebitianity) and concealing a rather ugly sense of outrage or disgust. It really does sound like something you'd read in British literature of a century back, for example. It really rang true.

Overall, this is another inspirational piece. There's a sense of deft creativity and compassion, and subtle power. I really liked it. :)

Gul Re'jal September 20 2011 01:43 PM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
Quote:

Nerys Ghemor wrote: (Post 5235907)
I wonder if there was anything else about it that disturbed you or that you found chilling, as well as the clerical misconduct?

Actually there is and it's more disturbing then the problem with clergy. Namely, the attempt of biological/evolution justification that Hăzăkda are sub-Hebitians and it's perfectly fine to exterminate them. I find it especially horrifying, because I had met once someone who used the same kind of pseudo-scientific BS to justify his racism. It's just :barf:

Nerys Ghemor September 20 2011 08:21 PM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
Quote:

Sandoval wrote: (Post 5236053)
I liked it. It's a very well written piece of work, and the setting in Cardassia's past is certainly something I haven't seen before.

I think on this board, only Gul Re'jal and I have written in that timeframe.

Quote:

Imagine if that rate of progression had continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s? A landing on Mars a few decades after landing on the Moon seem to be unfeasible given those circumstances.

Overall a nice piece of work.
Thanks for reading. :)

I'm truly not sure if, given the right impetus, we could've gotten to Mars and started serious colonization efforts (assuming we had a more hospitable "Mars"), so it could very well be infeasible as you say--but I can dream. ;)

Quote:

Deranged Nasat wrote: (Post 5236076)
There's a real depth to this story; it might not have the pure emotional power of some of your work, but it's very subtle in the complexity it implies.

I'll admit it is not one of my better works, which was another reason for not entering it in the contest, but I appreciate your reading it anyway.

Quote:

The characters are engaging; it's charming to see a well-adjusted married couple, and their conversation and concerns are very "humanizing" while retaining the alien edge that your Cardassians/Hebitians always have.
Thanks. :) I'm glad to know they still seem alien despite the resemblance to our own Victorian age.

I've been very blessed in that, while they are not at all artistic, I've had the example of my parents and my mom's parents to observe for a long time, to see what a stable--and fun--marriage looks like. It's good to know others see the same thing. :)

Miti was actually not a character I planned to have. When I sat down to write, I knew Tehir would have a newspaper (I have my Hebitians call it a "broadsheet" to imply that maybe their term for it is different). It was all on his own that he started running upstairs to show it to his wife. And when I looked in the room and saw her drawing, and then she started talking, it was a done deal. :lol:

Quote:

The religious divisions in the Mejuraks' society were particularly interesting, with the large number of sects and individual people challenging the usual script, without rejecting the core faith (indeed to many of these dissenting voices they see themselves as reaffirming the true intent of the Records). That's a very Hebitian/Cardassian way to behave, isn't it? - to step outside the structure of society is near unthinkable, but that certainly doesn't mean they're stagnant or unquestioning (the relatively rapid success of their drive to reach another world demonstrates that).
They're not stupid, so no, they're not stagnant. They are slower than humans to throw away traditions, though. Sometimes that's bad...but other times that's a good thing.

I would say that it would take something even more drastic than what's currently going on to get most Hebitians to throw out faith altogether. And it was a global catastrophe, in my continuity, that broke down the social order and caused Tret Akleen to get the upper hand with his hate. Presented with a Union-wide catastrophe at the Dominion War, one hopes they'll find a way to change again...

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They have a lot of investment in the desire to better themselves and are every bit as varied in opinion and willingness to change as any other race - only the variety operates within a framework of order that to the ignorant outsider might appear rigidly inflexible.
I would say that aside from the horrible revolution that plays out in Earth year 1870 in the Sigils universe, they are less prone to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. They prefer not to invalidate entire concepts without evidence; they would rather edit and refine their understanding.

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One thing I thought was very well played: "The Tan Man of the Sand". That's a great label, in the sense of conveying the attitude held by a lot of people towards the Hăzăkda. It has just the right balance between a worryingly casual dismissal and a sort of awe or at least fascination at the "almost-like-us-but-funny-coloured" being. An "exoticism" that is nonetheless considered vulger somehow, and a perception of the Hăzăkda as balanced between savagery and civilization. Almost respectful in an odd "look at the fascinating man-creature" way, but ultimately pointing to an inability to fully grasp their humanity (well, Hebitianity) and concealing a rather ugly sense of outrage or disgust. It really does sound like something you'd read in British literature of a century back, for example. It really rang true.
I am glad you didn't take personal offense, because British literature was EXACTLY what I had in mind, in particular the offensive material written by Rudyard Kipling and his ilk.

In a lot of ways, Rudyard Kipling is my big example of what not to do when talking and thinking about race, and that sounded exactly like the way he'd talk, about the "tan man" and the "grey man." He's not the only British author that does that kind of stuff...sometimes even C.S. Lewis, as mild as he often is, manages to strike a really wrong, discordant note every so often. More often in his case with gender, but occasionally with race, too.

"The Tan Man of the Sand," though, was most definitely meant to be offensive, and that's the epithet that earned the disclaimer at the top. I mean, sure, there aren't any swear words in it (and there are swear words used towards the Hăzăkda, one of which even got a man killed for using it in The Thirteenth Order), but there's no way to interpret it that could possibly not be racist. Either it implies a demon, a sub-Hebitian...or a romanticized "noble savage," which is racist too.

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Overall, this is another inspirational piece. There's a sense of deft creativity and compassion, and subtle power. I really liked it. :)
Thank you for reading. :)

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Gul Re'jal wrote: (Post 5236197)
Actually there is and it's more disturbing then the problem with clergy. Namely, the attempt of biological/evolution justification that Hăzăkda are sub-Hebitians and it's perfectly fine to exterminate them. I find it especially horrifying, because I had met once someone who used the same kind of pseudo-scientific BS to justify his racism. It's just :barf:

I think it's as much bad religion as it is bad science. It's a sort of evil confluence of both. And yeah, some people unfortunately still think that way IRL. :(

As for the Hebitians and what happens to them...Miti's question about what happens if they find life on another world is certainly a disturbing one...

Rush Limborg October 14 2011 02:25 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
A most fascinating work, Nerys.

I don't want to repeat what everyone else has already said, so--I'll focus on another element:

You wonderfully portray, in vivid detail, the creative mind at work. The writing process, via "stream of consciousness". They way the couple bounce ideas off each other is superb, and very realistic and believable.

Well done.

Nerys Ghemor October 14 2011 03:39 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
Thanks for reading. :) When I first was trying to write this story, I didn't know Miti was going to be in it, but she really helped to breathe some life into it. :)

And I just had fun showing what a happy marriage looks like, too.

Rush Limborg October 14 2011 03:45 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
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Nerys Dukat wrote: (Post 5288078)
And I just had fun showing what a happy marriage looks like, too.

That's kinda how I feel when I write Bashir/Ezri tales (the ones set before Avatar). They're just so fun together, and play off each others' senses of humor, fitting like hand and glove.

(They're not married, of course...but, had I had my way, most of their respective arcs in the Relaunch would have happened a LOT differently--and I'd have had them happily married by Unity.)

Ln X October 14 2011 09:45 AM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
That was interesting especially about your idea of the earlier Cardassians, with their religion, women being the dominant sex and so forth. That was interesting, what I do find a little implausible is how one book could bring about so much change in 90 years. I mean when you think about it such a book would have to be divinely inspired, like the Bible or Qur'an... To generate such a creative spur for the whole Cardassian population.

Gul Re'jal October 14 2011 01:23 PM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
I don't think it's the book that inspired them to work hard on such a huge technological leap. It's the discovery of another planet in their system that could be inhabited. The book, just as the fast development of technology, was the result of the discovery.

Nerys Ghemor October 14 2011 01:29 PM

Re: Sigils and Unions/SigCat: The Spark in Yartek's Eye
 
I'm not sure that women were the dominant sex, though I do think they came close to being so given that yes, they believe Oralius is a woman.

However, I'm afraid you misunderstood what happened with the rapid technological development on Hebitia, and I certainly did not fail to think that through. That was the result of knowing they had a habitable planet in their solar system. To put this in Earth historical perspective for you, we went from the age of Jules Verne's writings to a man on the moon in 100 years. Had we, however, had a known habitable planet in our solar system--known by much more solid evidence than the wild theories people often spouted about Mars, I believe that knowledge would have been sufficient to accelerate technological development considerably. Tehir Mejurak's book, while presumably an inspiration to many scientists the way the works of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series (which is not so well known these days, but was better-known to some of the first people in space back in the 60's), or hell, even Star Trek, have been, was more a "symptom" of this development lighting the Hebitian mind on fire. It was not a direct cause of all that technological growth, though I'm sure it inspired some women...and men...to take up a career in the sciences.

Edit: Thanks, Gul Re'jal. You got it perfectly. :)


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