Thanks! I'm very glad you liked it!
I can't say I've ever had any interest in Discworld, but I do find that plotline amusing. It's OK to call a Cardassian an asshole if they REALLY ARE an asshole. But not to assume they all are.
As for the mess hall being designed to reflect the hierarchy...I do
think it went against the grain for Spirodopoulos some, and he didn't just dismiss the thought as easily as you suggest, but at least the fact that he was consciously processing it helped.
About Berat, I'm glad you like him. He can be a lot of fun to write for--which is why I wished that little mis-start between him and Spirodopoulos hadn't happened, but I couldn't find a way to undo it.
I often do feel like my characters are "alive" in a way. I've heard Gul Re'jal
say the same thing about her own characters.
As for Titan
...I really liked those stories. Doubt I'm going to read much more Treklit given some of the nonsense that went on in those books, but I definitely have good memories of those stories. Diane Duane's depiction of a true multispecies crew is even stronger of an influence on me.
As for the mannerisms...yeah, I always felt Cardassian mannerisms, if we'd really been able to depict them on the show accurately (and not through Garak and Dukat who were both "false" in their own ways) would seem just slightly "canid" rather than wholly "primate," such as the whole eye-contact aversion thing. The hierarchical instinct does affect their mannerisms, in my continuity. (I think you may remember "The Nature of the Beast," too, and that AU, where that same instinct was enforced
on someone else.)