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Old September 14 2010, 05:25 AM   #16
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
A wonderful, endearing look into Berat's past--and indeed, a hint as to the origins of the great conflict within him for so long--the origins of his tragic, tortured soul, in a softer, sadder sense than the incident with the Maquis kid-shooter.
A lot of difficult things happen to Berat...but I think that although he has been pushed to the breaking point on at least one occasion, I think that by the time of The Thirteenth Order, he finds greater peace in himself. And interestingly enough, I think that the character is at his strongest in that sense after he becomes physically disabled. For that reason, while I see a lot of pain, I don't see a tragedy, at least not in the classical sense of the word.

This simple act of mercy--which goes against everything that had been bred into him by The State--this act of defiance against they oppresive tyrrany of the regime--this makes him far more of a hero, far more of a man (or what the Cardassian word for that is, as he is not a "human"...) than Dukat ever was.
Don't worry...I imagine that in the 24th century, "man" just refers to "member of the male sex." Personally I think it doesn't even necessarily mean "humanoid male," but might even refer in that time to any sentient male. Being a "man" would be to be biologically male and to know oneself. So I don't think it's an inappropriate term to use on Berat at all. He fits both criteria very well.

(And I might add that in "I, Borg," assigning the gender pronoun to Hugh, as well as the singular, was a BIG deal in the script.)

And yes...Dukat really squandered his potential.

Much like Damar, his conscience runs deep and strong. But unlike Damar--who had tried to drum it away through drink--Berat chose to accept it from the beginning, painful though it may be for him.
I think this incident really helped set the trajectory of his life. But it's definitely painful. Having a conscience and having little power is a very difficult thing.

Zejil is also a wonderful character, very well developed. (Do we see her in Thirteenth Order, BTW, as a character...or is she just in the background? My memory's turned to clay on that, it's so darn long between installments....)
She's there. You don't see her as often as Macet and Berat, but she definitely contributes to the story. Heck, she even speaks in the most recent installment.

Her relationship with Berat--his mercy towards her, her discovery of his release of her from fear...and that she grants him the use of her "endearment" name (in private, I assume...)--is very sweet and endearing.
Yep...in private. Given that they are now of the same rank and are friends, in informal situations it wouldn't be untoward for them to use their full first names (Zejil, Tayben) in front of others. But if a person has a nickname that they like (and not all people have or want one...I don't), I think Cardassians likely to be selective to an even greater degree.

(Oh...under this interpretation--I would say that Tekeny Ghemor doesn't like any nicknames he might be given, so "Tekeny" is the most intimate name he can give.)

BTW...I'm not entirely certain of why this crossed my mind, but...I can't help but wonder if Zejil is something akin to a fictional "self"...Nerys?
Nope...I definitely like Rebek and I feel for her, but she's not intended as "me."

BTW--the actress I imagine playing her (though let's just assume for argument's sake that she would be able to play a military role) is Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee.

(I don't know any of the works she's been in...I just Googled for Indian actresses, because when I first drew Rebek, I got a very set idea of what her correct facial features should be, and what her build should be. Mukherjee is 5'3"; in boots I imagine she'd get another inch. And one thing I knew from the start is that Rebek--physically--is a very small woman.)
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Old September 14 2010, 08:39 PM   #17
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

Good story.
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Old September 14 2010, 11:45 PM   #18
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

Another wonderful installation. I love the world building aspect of your work - the complexity that you create makes compelling characters readers care about. It's all well and good to have Action! and Adventure! but what does that matter if you don't really care about the who and the why?

Contrary to what others have hinted; I hope Berat and Rebek's relationship remains non-romantic. I must believe that men and women are capable of being comrades-in-arms without the complications of romantic/sexual feelings. That kind of complexity is interesting enough, but it seems too predictable and "Hollywood."

Your chapters/vignettes/sketches are well worth the wait - thank you!
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Old September 15 2010, 12:10 AM   #19
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

The most I can tell you on that is that within the timespan of the Dominion War, it will not happen. However, Cardassians do live longer than humans (average lifespan is 175, in my stories, with the typical range being between 150 and 200), and at least in my own writing, the possibility of starting a family lasts quite a bit longer for their women than for human women (likely from somewhere around 18-20, to 70-80). Given that, I can't make any predictions at this time for what might be happening 5, 10, or 20 years after this story. With Berat at 44 and Rebek at 52, their culture still views them as young.

There are a number of my Cardassian officers that I do not foresee relationships for (Speros is obvious, and Daro I do not see marrying either)--and of course over in the SigCat AU, in the aftermath of the events on Bajor, AU Dukat chooses the path of celibacy; he does not remarry or enter into another intimate relationship. AU Marritza is also unlikely to enter any kind romantic or physical relationship, either.
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Old September 15 2010, 12:46 AM   #20
Gul Re'jal
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
That kind of complexity is interesting enough, but it seems too predictable and "Hollywood."
Normally I would agree, but not in this case. So far Berat-Rebek relationship didn't go farther than friendship, and their secret (now two secrets, as they are rebels) makes that bond very strong. But there is something, something tiny, delicate, hinted, easily missed if one doesn't pay attention, which makes it so "unhollywoodish" - that in this case it didn't even occur to me to compare it to always-present-Hollywood style blunt and unromantic romances. This suggestion of something more than friendship ("deeper" wouldn't be a right word, as friendships can go deep too and this one surely does) was so elusive I wasn't sure I didn't imagine it.

But I wouldn’t change Zija.

That
much he knew.
This speaks volumes for me. This is love. You love your friends too, so this doesn't have to be a romantic love (maybe yet), but there are strong, deep feelings in that one sentence. Full acceptance.
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Old September 15 2010, 03:47 AM   #21
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

^Agreed.

It is an emotional bond, going beyond friendship...beyond family.

For me, I would not be suprised at all if the two come together...but there is room for their staying apart....
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Old September 15 2010, 07:44 PM   #22
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

A wonderful story! I loved the twist of a secret discovered becoming a secret kept. The stark chasm between the Oralians and the "party-line" Cardassians harkens to religious persecution throughout the ages. That added emotional twist had me wondering - when will her secret be revealed? That Berat kept that secret, in spite of his up-bringing, reveals the depth of his character.

As usual, you write with vivid imagery and subtle humor. It's always fun to read the back-story on characters and see the events that shape them. Very well done!
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Old September 15 2010, 08:40 PM   #23
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

TheLoneRedshirt wrote: View Post
A wonderful story! I loved the twist of a secret discovered becoming a secret kept. The stark chasm between the Oralians and the "party-line" Cardassians harkens to religious persecution throughout the ages. That added emotional twist had me wondering - when will her secret be revealed? That Berat kept that secret, in spite of his up-bringing, reveals the depth of his character.
We'll have to see if or when it's revealed. One thing I do know is it will be up to Gul Rebek to decide if and when she feels safe to do so. Gul Berat wouldn't do it for her.

I definitely drew on historical religious persecution--and that which still goes on in our time. We may be safe here in the US, but we are not in many countries, and this fear is the everyday experience of a believer in those places.

As usual, you write with vivid imagery and subtle humor. It's always fun to read the back-story on characters and see the events that shape them. Very well done!
Thank you for reading!
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Old September 15 2010, 09:59 PM   #24
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

Oh, wow, Nerys. I'm so glad I waited to read this until I had time to savor it. It's so evocative and you set such an authentic-feeling scene -- the police state, the transponders, the sense that Big brother is really watching everything you do, and the mental gymnastics and paranoia that induces ... your stuff is always good, but I think this is among my favorite pieces of yours.

It was really, really cool to see how Rebek and Berat first met. And the way you wrote it made it like being there. Also so great to see that Berat's respect for Rebek has only grown in the intervening years. You can see the growth of his character clearly in his reactions to her faith. Such an awesome entry for the TBBS challenge, and a great addition to Sigils canon in its own right.
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Old September 16 2010, 01:38 AM   #25
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: September Challenge: Sigils and Unions--"Immersion"

kes7 wrote: View Post
Oh, wow, Nerys. I'm so glad I waited to read this until I had time to savor it. It's so evocative and you set such an authentic-feeling scene -- the police state, the transponders, the sense that Big brother is really watching everything you do, and the mental gymnastics and paranoia that induces ... your stuff is always good, but I think this is among my favorite pieces of yours.
Thanks!

It was really, really cool to see how Rebek and Berat first met. And the way you wrote it made it like being there. Also so great to see that Berat's respect for Rebek has only grown in the intervening years. You can see the growth of his character clearly in his reactions to her faith. Such an awesome entry for the TBBS challenge, and a great addition to Sigils canon in its own right.
I think that Berat learned to see the difference between the Union's propaganda and reality. I think that genuine curiosity has come up in him, to understand how Rebek thinks, by this point in his life.
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