Very sorry to take so long to reply, Nerys
; I’ve been wanting to give a useful response, but my mind seems to have its switch in the “powered down” position at present. I very much enjoyed this, as usual, particularly its focus on Yerain’s POV, because I find him one of your most intriguing Cardassian characters. It’s very impressive how your interpretation of the race’s psychology has lent itself to truly individual characters who fit the established model while also showing some realistic and interesting variety. Yerain being situated towards one end of the spectrum, with his strong (maybe exaggerated) hierarchal instincts gives great insight into just how you imagine the Cardassian mind as alien to most humans, while keeping them unique people.
Yejain's mind is very multi-faceted and highly structured, and that complexity is captured very well in your writing. There’s a cool, methodical order in there. In some ways it seems slow, and I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, I mean he has an interestingly measured outlook. I also concur with Gul Re'jal
that Yerain seems not to assume that he has to reach a judgement or conclusion right away. He makes the contemplation and the measurement itself his concern rather than push himself to a "result" too swiftly. Which isn't to say he hasn't got a purpose in mind - we can see how displeased and even truly incomprehending he is of any exercise without sense (hence his condemnation of the OO). So he certainly doesn’t make the contemplation an end in itself. But he holds the need for it to lead somewhere at bay, and allows himself to work through the problem efficiently. I'm even getting the sense that he's perhaps equivalent to some humans with autism; that is, very rigid and measured but actually in other ways highly flexible and insightful, so long as he has his framework to steady himself. It’s almost like he’s capable of seeing the “big picture” that others might miss, but through the prism of the rules and boundaries rather than thinking “outside the box” in the manner of a Human or other less rigid intellect. I think the last few paragraphs reinforce this; they make it clear that his appreciation and commitment regarding order extends beyond his own position in the scheme of things and into a strong sense of the greater community. I really appreciate that because I find it a fascinating mirror to my own sense of community which is far
more chaotic. Seeing a similar appreciation grounded in a much more rigid framework is really insightful and wonderful grounds for an alien reaction that’s still familiar to me.
Another quick point: I liked his recollection of Daro's insights into Human memory and information retrieval; that was very interesting. Humans as seen through non-human eyes is often one of the harder aspects of this type of fiction to pull off, and it’s always good to see a thoughtful exercise in it.
There was also some great humour in this one; the Cardassians have met their enemy, and it is the English language.
The little snafu with the "no good deed" joke was amusing too; I guess for a people as attuned to hierarchy and order as most Cardassians, "punishment" and rebuke aren't concepts to be taken lightly.
Great work as usual.