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Old June 29 2011, 11:47 PM   #1
Nerys Ghemor
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Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

This story is the origin of the Mirror Universe in the Sigils/SigCat continuity, as I started to tell in The Lightless Ends of the World, a crossover between the SigCat universe and Gul Re'jal's Shaping a Cardassian universe. I highly recommend our co-authored story as a "gateway" to Gul Re'jal's works!

I set the scene here first with an excerpt from part of the story where I first hinted at what I thought about the Mirror Universe in Sigils/SigCat. The second part is the prompt response.

The characters you see here are the Sigils and Unions-universe Sisko (that universe being my continuation of the canon universe), and the Catacombs of Oralius version of Dukat...a far kinder, gentler man than Gul Dukat even hallucinated that he was. Though AU Dukat by necessity a resistance fighter in his universe--the truth is he is a rather quiet, sensitive person when not on the battlefield.

Catacombs of Oralius is my take on the universe seen in TNG's "Parallels" where Cardassian and Bajoran roles are reversed. Because I put the Mirror Universe's point of divergence before where I have the SigCat universe split off, this tale is true of all of my universes.

-----------------------

Excerpt from The Lightless Ends of the World:

After a moment of scrutinizing the Cardassian—the human smiled as if amazed by the words he was about to speak. “Welcome, Dukat. I must say, this is an unexpected potentiality. And a pleasure.”

Dukat tilted his head as he tried to place this man and quickly gave up. “Who are you?”

“I am Sisko. And I am of…” The human paused, his smile dimming slightly. “I am of another potentiality,” he decided. “One where you and I were not fortunate enough to meet in this way.”

Dukat remembered what Jarol had said about visions…and a certain human man…and he thought he understood. “You’re a Prophet.” He wasn’t sure how that thought made him feel: awed? Repulsed? Shaken?

Sisko shrugged. “In a manner of speaking. Listen…Dukat, you were right that this kind of power is beyond what can be safely handled. The Orb that brought you here has…a history—one that on one occasion did a world catastrophic damage from which it may never recover. The Bajorans in your universe suspected this in some way, and they hoped to harness what was left of this Orb. But there has been an intervention, and because of it, they failed. Even so—Dukat, the Prophets want your memory to be erased.”

To Dukat, it seemed as if the temperature in the room had dropped to match the chill of the void. “No…” he whispered, with a vehement shake of the head as if to dislodge the remembered hiss of a hypo. “Don’t do that to me!”

Sisko reached towards Dukat, though he kept his hand just beyond range. “I told them you would want a choice. That you deserved a choice. It is still too dangerous to let anyone carry the knowledge into your universe that the weapon created a fissure…even you. But there is a compromise I can offer. You can keep the core of the memories—things you felt, what it meant to you—but with…a loss of detail, like something experienced while your disciplines are not in operation.”

“A dream. Or a vision.”

“Close enough,” Sisko replied. “The essence would remain true. But the lost Bajorans cannot be allowed to know what they have wrought.”

Dukat’s eye ridges lowered in dread. “How much will I lose?”

“Your mind is…quite resilient. Some will surely remain. But names—details…the understanding of where you have truly been…those will fade.”

The last thing Dukat wanted was to accept even the slightest tampering with his memories. With his awareness. But this was different—this Sisko, whoever, or whatever he was, had offered him something else. Consent. Dukat contemplated in silence. He relived moment after moment in full clarity for one last time, and Sisko waited without the slightest trace of impatience, as if time held no meaning to him. He debated the merits and the consequences to himself…to his world. To his family.

-----------------------

Writing Prompt Response: "A Dark Creation Tale"

The being known as Sisko regarded the softspoken, desert-robed version of Dukat who stood before him, contemplating the possibility of having his memories of this crossing between universes excised by the Prophets. Sisko knew from his time in life that he wouldn't have cared one bit for that if he had been in this Dukat's place, and he felt for the gentle being. Those are some adjectives I never thought I'd apply to a man with that DNA, Sisko thought to himself. But this Dukat had somehow escaped the fate of so many of his counterparts. Had never sold his soul piece by piece by piece until he became nothing more than a vessel of evil spirits, just like Fra Alberigo in Dante's Inferno, who betrayed his guests and his soul descended into hell while his body still walked the earth. True, Gul Dukat had betrayed his people to his guests, rather than betraying his guests like Alberigo had, but the essential nature of the crime--the abuse of a relationship entered into voluntarily--was the same, and Dukat had suffered the same fate Dante had imagined.

Sisko would never have believed it if he hadn't had the Prophets' eyes to read the long-haired Cardassian's timeline, and to catch a fleeting glimpse here and there of his more eternal lines. Sisko gave thanks for those lines...for this Skrain Dukat's time to live was far, far too short. Too short for a human. Especially too short for a Cardassian. Sisko kept his lips sealed, though; Dukat had far too many burdens to bear in his own universe to bear one more like that. Sisko well knew what it was like to live, as one of the timebound, under the dread of such a prophecy. He knew better.

This Dukat's universe, from a purely Bajoran standpoint, might have looked as though it could have gone as badly as the one twisted so many years ago by the Orb of Potentialities, the first Orb ever sent to Bajor, tens of thousands of years before the Orbs whose prophecies were traditionally recited on Bajor. But evil would not triumph there even with the Pah-Wraiths ascendant on Bajor, for where evil might have been found in one place in greater proportions than in his own universe--good could be found in other places. Like the Cardassia from which this alter-Dukat came.

That other universe, though--to which the entire sheaf of universes Sisko, this Dukat, and Gul Jarol all inhabited, was inextricably linked--had no chance, save for the souls of a small remnant scattered from world to world. All of that suffering...that unimaginable suffering, that bloodbath, that bitterness...all of it had come thanks to an aggressively ambitious Bajoran kai who thought he could create paradise in his time. Just another lie like "peace in our time," Sisko thought to himself. One more self-righteous idiot who forgot we, those who are less than infinite, live in a corrupt world and a corrupt nature. Except this one destroyed an entire universe.

Even the acts of genocide Gul Dukat had hoped to carry out, and many others throughout the galaxy had succeeded in carrying out--paled to what that kai had done. He had hoped, through the Orb of Potentialities, to influence another universe into resisting the first fall from grace while forgetting that he himself was fallen. Instead of creating the paradise of which he dreamed--the corruption in his soul, that even touched his world-bound idea of what a paradise really was, spread like a virus throughout the other universe, magnifying its corruption to extremes found in no other universe. And that universe, like every other where sentient life had taken root, spawned its own entire sheaf of universes. All suffering. All decaying at a rate unprecedented in any other universal group.

When Vedek B'hala found out what his kai had done, a horrific war broke out on Bajor that destroyed its first civilization--a blow from which Bajor never truly recovered until the First Republic. A city had been named in honor of B'hala, when his forces finally wrested control away from the kai and destroyed the Orb the kai had sought to preserve...and this even after his apocalyptic atrocity. No honors remained for the kai--his name stricken from history so thoroughly that no record even mentioned him, or the Orb. Only the whispered tales of a few. And the Prophets had not injected Orbs into the timeline again until a point where the other Orb--the very memory of it--had been almost completely obliterated and deemed heretical by the establishment.

One fragment had found its way to the Sirah of a village Sisko had visited once as a human. Even the tiny fragment of the Orb of Potentialities that had survived to become the Sirah's talisman remained capable of creating awful realities out of the terrors that lurked in the corners of sentient hearts. It galled Sisko, to understand exactly what that first Sirah had done, what the tool he used ostensibly to 'unite his village' had once wrought.

Another fragment made it to an Obsidian Order lab. God only knew the horrors they would have inflicted on the universes, if they had figured out how to release its power.

A third fragment...on the Bajor of alter-Dukat's universe...the Pah-Wraith-dominated Bajorans had tried to weaponize the fragment. And they had done the very thing the Orb had been destroyed to prevent: breached the boundaries between universes once more. That could not stand. The Bajorans of his world could never know that they had succeeded, for if they continued down this path, they could by Orb and technology create another horror just like the worlds the ancient kai had twisted. How fortunate--how blessed they were--that timeline could be averted...if Dukat would just make the right choice!

In the worlds the kai had warped, acts of mercy seemed not to last in the grand scheme of things--to peter out far earlier than they ought to. A few individuals here and there might survive...a few souls might rise above the mire...but the twin viceroys of those universes, death and chaos, held sway there with a force they had managed in no other worlds. Saul of Tarsus, for instance, had seen the vision but only briefly turned from his ways. The descendants of Petrite, Barnabite, and Jamite refugees had fled Europe for America hoping for freedom from the constant waves of fighting and persecutions that had wracked Europe since the fall of Rome and Byzantium in the 3rd century. But when one of the Founding Fathers, George Washington, chose elevation to President for life, he had established the beginnings of the Terran Empire.

So many worlds had gone like that in the corrupted universe: Vulcan, Andor, Cardassia, and Qo'NoS...all twisted. All with histories just as warped as that of Earth. The Ferengi were trying...but there was no telling how long they would hold out. How long they would last before they, just like so many who had struggled for faith, hope, and love, had perished, leaving only a pitiful and trembling remnant behind.

Sisko regarded the Cardassian before him once more. Please, Dukat. I know how much it hurts you...especially after what Vedek Tora did to you...to think of having any tampering to your memory. But your Bajorans can't know what they've done. They can't start to dream of possibilities like this again. This is for the sake of your world, that they not twist it into a dark mirror of itself. And mine, and all of our worlds.

But Sisko knew there was hope. For this kindhearted Dukat came from a universe where mercy's legacy lived on even after life was cut short.
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Old June 30 2011, 08:27 PM   #2
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Hmmm, interesting take on the Mirror Universe. In other words, the Orb of Potentialities was the Pandora's box that allowed evil to slip through the multiverse.
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Old June 30 2011, 08:39 PM   #3
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Not dissimilar...think of it as massively intensifying the effects of Pandora's Box--or the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and that's what happened.

We discovered each sin, one by one, invented new ways to torment each other as we went through history. Imagine having a "head start" on that.
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Old June 30 2011, 08:42 PM   #4
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Wow. A most fascinating take on the origins of the Mirror Universe, from a most unlikely perspective.

Fascinating connections--the Sirah's "Orb Fragment", B'hala, and so on.

And most disturbing, how you describe the differences in Earth history--Saul of Tarsus (whom in our universe becomes known as "St. Paul", author of much of the New Testament) does not truly repent of his acts of persecution, George Washington does not reject the appeal to make him king of America...and so on.

I wonder if, after this, Hamilton does lead American forces to seize all French territory in the Western Hemisphere, in the MU--rather than being held back by Adams and Jefferson?

Does King John Adams initiate an "Alien and Sedition Act" far more devastating than the one he signed in our universe? Does King Andrew Jackson simply kill off or enslave the Indian tribes? Does Emperor Woodrow Wilson conquer Europe? Does Emperor Ronald Reagan nuke Russia, and with the world under his thumb, begin to spead the Terran Empire into space?

As Spock would say, "There are always...possibilities."

Well done.
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Old June 30 2011, 11:01 PM   #5
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

^ Glad you noticed the differences in the two George Washingtons, Rush. In my entry, from what I gather about Meya Rejal in The Never Ending Sacrifice, she was the Oliver Cromwell of the Cardassian Underground, anointing herself the new leader. At least George Washington had the humility not to follow Cromwell's example.
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Old July 1 2011, 01:10 AM   #6
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
And most disturbing, how you describe the differences in Earth history--Saul of Tarsus (whom in our universe becomes known as "St. Paul", author of much of the New Testament) does not truly repent of his acts of persecution, George Washington does not reject the appeal to make him king of America...and so on.
The fact that Saul only temporarily turned from his ways is a particularly critical event.

As for Washington...we were THIS close, in our universe. We could easily have gone that way but did not because of one individual's decision.

Does King Andrew Jackson simply kill off or enslave the Indian tribes?
Jackson wouldn't need much of a push to be MU material...he was pretty much there already, right down to ritually murdering his enemies. It would not surprise me at all if he were one of the kings who set MU America on such a bloody path. Perhaps even the one who established assassination as a traditional means of advancement (or gave it some form of legal sanction). That makes a scary amount of sense, actually.

Does Emperor Woodrow Wilson conquer Europe? Does Emperor Ronald Reagan nuke Russia, and with the world under his thumb, begin to spead the Terran Empire into space?
Interesting possibilities. What about an Emperor Kennedy pulling off a Stalinesque personality cult and conducting purges?

Well done.
Thank you for reading.
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Old July 6 2011, 12:23 PM   #7
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

I like how you take the extremity of the Mirror Universe and justify it rather than trying to write around it. Trying to describe or depict the MU more sensibly than it was often shown on screen might have entailed uncomfortably ignoring its exaggerated aspects, but instead you've taken the approach of searching for explanations. Given that the wormhole can lead to the MU, it does make sense that the orbs are involved.

I also like how even Sisko didn't acknowledge the Kai's name, as if the Kai has been blotted out of not only history but the existence of the Celestial Temple, too (other than in general awareness of what happened). It suggests almost a humility on the part of the Prophets, an unease in that while they're quite aware of their (potential) error, the exact details are not something they want to consider. The general knowledge and basic awareness is enough; maybe safer, too? Tying in to that, I also like the explanation for why the Prophets - timeless beings - would only begin sending orbs in the last 10 millennia. They've already rendered a whole swath of Bajoran history too satuated with dangerous knowledge or understandings to justify the risk of contact. I wonder if to non-linear beings, that would be like having patches of your mind or awareness traumatized? I like that the Prophets have a sense of caution, but it makes me wonder if to them that stretch of Bajor's history is like a negative equivalent to what Dukat ends up with - fuzzy, but more like a guilt-driven bad dream or a sickening awareness than a vision? Anyway, it seems to me that there are hints of shared experiences for wormhole aliens and mortal beings, here.

The short explanation of the whole branch of the multiverse corrupted by the Kai is great, because it focuses on the actual implications, the terrible waste and the tragedy, rather than just on the events themselves. And of course your choice of historical focal points reflects that, with people like Saul and Washington failing to take the path they did in our reality - the true evil of the MU is not the creulty in and of itself but the fact that noone seems to have the strength to turn around and try to reverse or stall it.

As a final point, I particularly liked how you acknowledged the Ferengi's MU portrayal and noted that they're one of the few hopes for that universe (even if it is a very slim one). It leaves me curious as to how they ended up not only one of the few bright spots but probably a more "enlightened" culture than they are in our universe. It's a shame we don't know enough about Ferengi history to guess what happened to send them down different paths...
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Old July 7 2011, 03:59 AM   #8
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

It seemed for me that for a universe to be THAT messed-up, something had to be much more fundamentally off.

It's always hard to tell how much is the Prophets and how much is Sisko-as-Prophet. OR, alternately, if the Prophets' awareness of the situation in fact derives from Sisko.

But I think that this kind of incident also explains how it could be true that the Bajorans had a great civilization before humans even learned how to speak, yet were not outrageously advanced when the Cardassians came.

As for the MU...it's almost like (in my universes, anyway) the tremendous loss when the canon Dukat chose evil, but multiplied over an enormous scale. It's part fate--but part choice.

The two historical flashpoints I chose are not the only ones that went wrong. Worldwide and universe-wide, so many other choices were botched. Surak failed. Kahless failed. In some way the Oralian Way failed (more severely, perhaps, than in the canon Sigils universe). I have some much more detailed ideas on why evil is SO powerful in this universe and good is so weak, and I can PM you with that if you like, including more details on how various pieces of the history you saw here fit together. It is entrenched to a greater degree than it is here in this world, and really is harder for people to resist. But there is a pattern in my MU--a group does get together and does try to stop it, but just as they reach the cusp of greatness, a choice is made that instead triggers a painful downfall. And that pattern occurs again and again.

As for the MU Ferengi...I also have a theory as to why they might be the ones who, if they can't turn it around, can at least forestall the ultimate downfall, or separate into an enclave of better people, less affected by the evil around them. Believe it or not, there are actually some clues in canon Ferengi history. Just let me know if you're interested and I can PM you that, too.

Thanks for reading!
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Old July 7 2011, 11:28 AM   #9
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I have some much more detailed ideas on why evil is SO powerful in this universe and good is so weak, and I can PM you with that if you like, including more details on how various pieces of the history you saw here fit together.
I would very much like to hear more, yes. And your ideas on the Ferengi, too.
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Old July 8 2011, 06:45 AM   #10
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Sent!
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Old July 9 2011, 05:58 PM   #11
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

I really hope that you don't mind this NG, but DN and myself discussed your theory regarding the MU Ferengi when we met in person yesterday for a pint or two of the good stuff. I think that you have a brilliant evolutionary perspective as to why the Ferengi are just that bit different from Cardassians or indeed humans.

Your story is, as per usual, your brilliant best but I'll have to leave you a more detailed comment later
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Old July 9 2011, 06:45 PM   #12
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Hey, no problem. I'm glad you enjoyed that. If DN gives permission, I can forward you the same more detailed message I sent him, if you'd care to read it.

Look forward to your comments whenever you get the chance.
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Old July 9 2011, 07:19 PM   #13
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Sure, please feel free to pass on any exchanges I "feature" in. I have no objections at all.
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Old July 9 2011, 07:28 PM   #14
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Thanks guys! {clasps hands together in traditional Ferengi gesture of gratitude}
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Old July 9 2011, 07:32 PM   #15
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Re: Sigils/SigCat: "A Dark Creation Tale"

Thor Damar wrote: View Post
Thanks guys! {clasps hands together in traditional Ferengi gesture of gratitude}
Nerys Ghemor will require five slips of latinum per paragraph released. I'll smooth the transaction over in exchange for...let's say 15%?
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