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Old September 5 2011, 09:21 PM   #676
St. William Of Levittown
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

I can't imagine that every agent, or every person who thinks like one of them, was eliminated in the Battle of the Omarion Nebula.
Of course not! Garak's alive, isn't he?


Nerys, I have been sadly neglectful in not reading this section sooner. Very well-written and literary, as always.

Specific thoughts: you convey quite well the consequences of prejuduce--not just the girl (whom I'm guessing is the Bajoran girl whose name sadly escapes me...?) mistaking Istep's legit actions for..."playing doctor" in the most contemptable sense of the word--but also in Yejain's attitudes towards humans. While not specifically prejudicial--he does truly respect Spirodopoulos--he still finds great difficulty assimilating the oddities of humanity.

There's the many different "dialects" (), but his reflections on a human's unpredictability are particularly interesting. I wonder--is he even aware of the "hawk-dove" gap among humans? Because he seems to be interpereting the different policies of "appeasement/acommodation" and (to use a bad general term) "neoconservatism" as simply two elements of one style of policy, as opposed to two different styles whose respective use depend on the current leadership of the society.


A note: funny you and Nasat should bring up autism--

Deranged Nasat wrote: View Post
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.
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
It's interesting that you bring up the autism comparison...while the rigidity, by human standards, could seem to lead that way, in contrast, the hierarchical instinct strongly impacts social relationships and makes knowing the rules a bit more of an inborn thing for Cardassians than it is to humans. I actually think to a Cardassian, a human could look as if he or she were a little bit on the autism spectrum due to the failure to give some of the "right" tones, gestures, and responses according to various spoken and unspoken cues.
As someone on the Spectrum myself (Aspie, BTW), I find this most fascinating. Perhaps it is this which helps me enjoy Vulcans and Cardassians so much.

While I can get a bit "motormouthed" when talking about things I like (which helps explain my feelings of identification with Bashir and Ezri), still, as you've no doubt noticed, when I analyze things, I really analyze things. And Yejain's rigidity is definitely something I can understand....

As to learning disabilities and even the Cardassian equivalent of autism spectrum disorders, you actually have met one Cardassian with a learning disability already, and that's Gul Berat. If you compensated for the differences in his alien psychology, Gul Berat would show clear indications of ADHD. (Did you notice Yejain trying to steer Berat's interest towards the paperwork, a bit? He knows his gul needs a little bit of encouragement for such tasks. )
Nice touch. For me, it depends on the paperwork....

(Funny, I believe you once noted in a discussion with me how you saw Ezri as possibly having something akin to ADHD. It's interesting, aside from her wandering attention in the beginning of "Shadows And Symbols" ("I-I mean, at least I think it's Emony.... Hi, Jake!"), there's her noted hatred of company paperwork in "Prodigal Daughter"....)

About Daro, I didn't want Daro to sound bigoted or like he was looking at humans as the be-all-end-all, as someone like Picard seemed to want. So I'm glad that part came off well to you. Daro sees strengths and weaknesses in both ways, but I get the feeling that he secretly enjoys the uniqueness of all the different species he's encountering. He's an academic by nature--not quite the analyst Yejain is, not as much the need to acquire every fact so that it can be put in its proper order; I think for him, it's a quiet curiosity for the sake of it.
It'd be interesting to see more of this. Do you see Yejain as thinking more like a scientist, whereas Daro is more akin to a philosopher?
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Old September 5 2011, 10:20 PM   #677
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I can't imagine that every agent, or every person who thinks like one of them, was eliminated in the Battle of the Omarion Nebula.
Of course not! Garak's alive, isn't he?
Whether or not you'll smile about that fact depends on whose Garak you read...


Anyway, thanks for reading.

Specific thoughts: you convey quite well the consequences of prejuduce--not just the girl (whom I'm guessing is the Bajoran girl whose name sadly escapes me...?) mistaking Istep's legit actions for..."playing doctor" in the most contemptable sense of the word--but also in Yejain's attitudes towards humans. While not specifically prejudicial--he does truly respect Spirodopoulos--he still finds great difficulty assimilating the oddities of humanity.
You'll see who it is and exactly what happened in the next chapter.

As for Yejain, you're right that he does have some prejudices and some difficulties comprehending humanity. That said, it's interesting to note that there is a difference between prejudice and bigotry. We all have prejudices, but we do not all let them turn into bigotry.

There's the many different "dialects" (), but his reflections on a human's unpredictability are particularly interesting. I wonder--is he even aware of the "hawk-dove" gap among humans? Because he seems to be interpereting the different policies of "appeasement/acommodation" and (to use a bad general term) "neoconservatism" as simply two elements of one style of policy, as opposed to two different styles whose respective use depend on the current leadership of the society.
Well...given what I think of Federation politics, which I'd have to get into at a later date, I'm not so sure Yejain is misinterpreting. I don't think there's as much of a gap anymore on Earth so much as one side having slapped down the other pretty "violently"...though that said, the Federation does have a rather expansionist/interventionist streak when it suits them. Woodrow Wilson would be proud. (Brrr...)

While I can get a bit "motormouthed" when talking about things I like (which helps explain my feelings of identification with Bashir and Ezri), still, as you've no doubt noticed, when I analyze things, I really analyze things. And Yejain's rigidity is definitely something I can understand....
That's very interesting to find that you understand him. Do his thought processes still seem alien to you, though? Just curious.

(Funny, I believe you once noted in a discussion with me how you saw Ezri as possibly having something akin to ADHD. It's interesting, aside from her wandering attention in the beginning of "Shadows And Symbols" ("I-I mean, at least I think it's Emony.... Hi, Jake!"), there's her noted hatred of company paperwork in "Prodigal Daughter"....)
I'm not quite sure I suggested Ezri having ADHD so much as the symptoms of her unprepared joining causing her to express similar behaviors...but that is interesting.

It'd be interesting to see more of this. Do you see Yejain as thinking more like a scientist, whereas Daro is more akin to a philosopher?
That's a good word for it...Daro can be quite philosopher-like. Yejain actually reminds me a bit of Odo; I think he and Odo would've gotten along quite well. (Especially since Yejain doesn't do arbitrary punishments like Thrax and Dukat.)
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Old September 6 2011, 04:20 AM   #678
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Well...given what I think of Federation politics, which I'd have to get into at a later date, I'm not so sure Yejain is misinterpreting. I don't think there's as much of a gap anymore on Earth so much as one side having slapped down the other pretty "violently"...though that said, the Federation does have a rather expansionist/interventionist streak when it suits them. Woodrow Wilson would be proud. (Brrr...)
Well, by "neoconservative", I simply mean standing up to enemies--"hawkish", if you will.

That's very interesting to find that you understand him. Do his thought processes still seem alien to you, though? Just curious.
Not particularly. Again, my own "disorder" (and I use that word somewhat ironically) helps me identify with such processes, a great deal....

(Funny, I believe you once noted in a discussion with me how you saw Ezri as possibly having something akin to ADHD. It's interesting, aside from her wandering attention in the beginning of "Shadows And Symbols" ("I-I mean, at least I think it's Emony.... Hi, Jake!"), there's her noted hatred of company paperwork in "Prodigal Daughter"....)
I'm not quite sure I suggested Ezri having ADHD so much as the symptoms of her unprepared joining causing her to express similar behaviors...but that is interesting.
We were toying with the idea, when I'd suggested Ezri's eccentricities weren't simply due to her joining. You noted similarities between her quirks and your own, I recall.

But as I said, she noted to O'Brien that one reason she hated the idea of the family business involved paperwork. It kinda implies to me that her mind naturally isn't wired to focus on such things--and that her fast-paced personality was there prior to joining.

It'd be interesting to see more of this. Do you see Yejain as thinking more like a scientist, whereas Daro is more akin to a philosopher?
That's a good word for it...Daro can be quite philosopher-like. Yejain actually reminds me a bit of Odo; I think he and Odo would've gotten along quite well. (Especially since Yejain doesn't do arbitrary punishments like Thrax and Dukat.)
It's funny you should bring up Odo. He and Bashir are actually the two DS9 guys I identify with the most.

Odo is the outsider who throws himself into his passions, and has a great deal of trouble socializing with others outside such.

Bashir is another outsider who copes with irreverence and at times (I freely admit) narcissism--and who seeks to find enjoyment in life whenever he can--and can get quite ticked off when encountering the injustice of life. (It also helps explain my attraction to Ezri--I think her own personality and ideals represent an "ideal" of sorts for Bashir, and similarly...)

I suppose I swing from one fellow to the other, depending on my mindset.
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Old October 15 2011, 06:34 AM   #679
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

And here we are, on the first part of Chapter 20! I'd first like to thank Gul Re'jal and Lil Black Dog from Ad Astra for beta-reading this scene for me and helping me pinpoint some of the problems I was having with it.

For those of you who are new to The Thirteenth Order, you can find the entire rest of the novel-in-progress at this link. New readers are just as welcome as old ones!

If anyone has read my short story "Shared Practices," you may recognize the events here. These are indeed the same events, seen from Spirodopoulos' point of view.

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

Chapter 20

The Andorian woman was positively livid, both literally and figuratively, fueled by a combination of insult and injury. The instant she laid eyes on Spirodopoulos, she lunged forward as if to try to jump down off of the biobed. The Cardassian nurse tried—albeit from just beyond arm’s length—to warn her against it, but it was only when Spirodopoulos said, “Hold on a minute, Petty Officer!” that she went still.

One antenna aimed at the human; the other pointed at the nurse like the business end of a rifle, both stretched taut and quivering with fury. “You need to tell that…doctor to hold on!” zh’Thessel snapped, jabbing a thumb at Istep, making his title sound for all the world like a synonym for ‘devil.’ “Sir!” she amended after a hard look from her de facto commanding officer.

“Tell me exactly what happened,” Spirodopoulos ordered. And no commentary, just the facts, he almost added, but bit his tongue before it could get out. This harkened back to Spirodopoulos’ earliest days on Deep Space Five; he’d dealt with more than one allegation of sexual assault. And he knew very well that even if zh’Thessel had simply perceived an attempt at violation, it was both impractical and highly disrespectful to make it sound as though he wasn’t taking that perception seriously. One did not get to the bottom of an assault—or a terrible misunderstanding—by coming off in any way unsympathetic to the person making the charge. Even a misunderstanding could be deeply upsetting and ought never to be brushed off as insignificant. And zh’Thessel’s body language made it most clear that something had indeed happened, regardless of possible explanations.

That doctor had just finished doing his scans when he ordered me to take off my clothes and let him look at me that way, and even let him put his hands all over me! Then he actually had the nerve to get angry at me when I told him ‘no’! He gave me some kind of garbage about it being standard procedure…for who?” zh’Thessel snapped. “Prisoners?

Spirodopoulos lifted an eyebrow. That definitely didn’t sound like standard Starfleet medical procedure, except for surgery and other very specific cases of emergency. Federation privacy regs didn’t allow for an unclothed exam for species who wore such coverings, without explicit medical necessity—nor even creating a full holographic representation a person…any more than a simple layout of their internal organs…without their permission.

As he got closer to her, zh’Thessel flinched. Seeing the clear evidence of her unease, Spirodopoulos stopped, pulled up a chair, and set it a little further away than he might have normally. “What did Dr. Istep do when you said ‘no’?”

“He tried to spin it around on me and say I was the one getting all bent out of shape about ‘nothing,’ and then—”

“How did he phrase it?” Spirodopoulos asked. He kept his voice low; while he needed the information now, while it was fresh on zh’Thessel’s mind, the last thing he wanted was for his interruption to come across as an attack or a contradiction. This was not his account to relate. It was hers.

“Not quite like that,” zh’Thessel amended. “He said, ‘You’re taking my order completely the wrong way.’”

The situation still didn’t make sense to the human officer—but it was starting to corroborate the sense he’d gotten from Istep’s comments…that of a serious cultural misunderstanding. He forced himself to pause for a moment; they both needed to gather their thoughts, and it would be disrespectful to rush. “Did Dr. Istep touch you after you refused consent?”

“No, sir,” she grudgingly admitted.

“Did he suggest there would be any reprisals for refusing?”

Zh’Thessel grumbled. “He said he’d call you.”

“Okay. Anything else?”

“He sent that nurse in here to ‘keep me from leaving’ while he called you. Like I’m his prisoner!”

Spirodopoulos nodded. “Is there anything else you would like me to know about what happened?”

Zh’Thessel narrowed her eyes. “I think it’s pretty clear what happened, sir!” As much as Spirodopoulos wanted to retort that no, it was not clear, he knew very well that was the last thing he ought to do; something might be logical but it had to be presented gently. Respectfully. Or sometimes, at a more appropriate time, and this was not it—especially when he himself did not have full command of the facts, either.

“All right,” he decided. “I’m going to go and speak with Dr. Istep, and see what his explanation is for this. Once I’ve heard from both of you, we’ll go from there. And if you think of anything else—any other details you want to let me know, please feel free to when I get back.” He tapped his wristcomm. What he almost said was, Istep-ra—Spirodopoulos, but that, too, would have been unkind to the Andorian woman under these circumstances. “Spirodopoulos to Dr. Istep…I’m ready.”

Nurse Terop will show you to my office. If you would…” he finished, clearly addressing the riyăk.

Gorhoç edek, Dalin,” the nurse replied, offering a shallow habitual bow despite her superior not being in the room. She pointed to a set of double doors in the back towards the left. Zh’Thessel’s troubled gaze followed the nurse’s finger. “He’s waiting in there, Commander.”

Spirodopoulos thanked the nurse and walked back to Istep’s office. The doors slid open to reveal a room with a half-eaten lunch stashed away on a shelf and a cot folded up in the corner. As the human stepped through, Dr. Istep rose and favored Spirodopoulos with a quick bow. Then Istep straightened, regarding Spirodopoulos with a set of intense, wide-ringed black eyes. “Commander—please, tell me you’ve been able to reason with her! With a shock like the one she took, I must be permitted to conduct a thorough examination!”

“Doctor,” Spirodopoulos began, “I understand from zh’Thessel that you ordered her to take off her clothes. Is that true?”

Istep blinked, flinching back in astonishment. “I am a doctor—of course I did. Isn’t that what would happen if you were being treated for an injury? I can’t understand why she just jumped to all these nefarious conclusions. Is every Cardassian a rapist to her?” His great, dark eyes went wide at that.

Spirodopoulos took a deep breath. “In the Federation, it is very, very rare for a doctor to ask a patient to take off his or her clothes. We consider that a violation of privacy, one that’s reserved for emergencies only.”

“She sustained a plasma shock,” Istep retorted. “In my medical judgment, that certainly constitutes an emergency, even if she is conscious and trying to be up and around.”

Spirodopoulos nodded. “I don’t dispute that part. But what I don’t understand is why she said you needed to ‘put your hands all over her.’ Can’t you take your readings with a medical tricorder? That is part of the reason for tricorders and scanners…to put an end to invasive examinations.”

Istep’s nostrils flared when the translation of the word ‘invasive’ reached him, and with Spirodopoulos’ growing knowledge of Cardăsda grammar, he was very sure when that was. “I never intended any intrusion. We certainly use tricorders—but that is no reason for us to abandon our traditions.”

The doctor pointed to the ankh-shaped protrusion on his forehead. “This is a bioelectric sensory node that is tied in with the Cardassian nervous system; we call it the krilătbre-yezul,” Hunter-eye, Spirodopoulos heard from the translator even as he listened past it to the original word. “Our ancestors used it to sense prey, and stronger predators. It’s a much weaker sense now, but Hebitian and Cardassian physicians have been using it for thousands of years to help us in diagnosing our patients. In sensing if something is off, something that medical sensors might not reveal yet. The bioelectric assessment is as much an art as it is a science; that’s why a decent physician will never rely on it exclusively. But we still find it a valuable supplement to the information we obtain with technology. It is a perfectly normal, expected part of a typical physical, on Cardassia—not a violation. It is not,” he reiterated, “some method of abuse.”

“If the node is in the forehead,” Spirodopoulos asked, “then what is the purpose of touching the patient?” He thought he knew, but he wanted to hear the Cardassian say it.

“Direct touch intensifies our receptivity to the bioelectric aura. It’s like using antennae to tune into radio signals.”
Spirodopoulos nodded. “I think I understand now. Now, I’m not happy to hear that zh’Thessel threatened physical harm on you, directly or indirectly. That said…I hope you’ll understand why I don’t intend to take her to task for it. I ask that you not order Starfleet patients to disrobe again, or to accept your touch, unless you have no other option to treat them. Is it possible for you to treat a patient effectively without a bioelectric assessment?”

“It is,” Istep replied, his tone colored by subdued displeasure.

“Then I will ask you…and I will raise this with the infirmary staffs of all of our ships…to refrain from making it a mandatory part of your examinations of Starfleet soldiers. That includes if the patient is unconscious—they shall be considered as not having given consent.” Istep wordlessly nodded his understanding. “But,” Spirodopoulos added, seeing the Cardassian doctor deflate before his eyes, “I have no problem with your offering it as an option, provided you fully explain what it is you intend to do, and you couch it as an offer, not an order. We have alternative medicine on many of our worlds too, so you might find some people who will relate it to things they know from their cultures even though it’s not a Starfleet practice.”

Istep sighed. “I can also make a Starfleet witness available.”

“That would be a good idea,” Spirodopoulos said, counting himself fortunate that Istep himself had volunteered the idea first. “But Doctor…I want to thank you for taking the time to explain this to me. I know this has to be very different from anything you’ve ever experienced.”

“This is my first time to treat people from so many species. I’ve treated the odd Xepolite or Lissepian, but those are worlds with a close relationship to the Cardassian Union.” Vassal states, Spirodopoulos thought to himself, but there was no way a doctor like Istep bore any responsibility for Central Command’s expansionism. “They know our customs, and it simply didn’t occur to me that a standard medical examination could be taken so badly. Or that your people would place such strictures on your doctors. I would like the chance to explain to your soldier what happened. And to apologize. Then I will place the remainder her care in the hands of Nurse Terop and one of your field medics, with myself in an advisory capacity. I believe I’ve done irreversible damage, where zh’Thessel is concerned.”

“I believe that would be best for her.” Spirodopoulos did not deny the Cardassian physician’s assessment—for in spite of the misunderstanding at the root of this incident, the expression in zh’Thessel’s eyes had reflected the profound degree to which it had disturbed her. Still, he had no wish to see the doctor’s reputation dragged through the mud—either by one of his own officers, or by Istep himself. The Thirteenth Order had no Starfleet doctors; the four Cardassian CMO’s were all they had, though the combined education of the Starfleet nurses and field medics was certainly nothing to sneeze at. “Still, I will help you with that explanation,” Spirodopoulos volunteered. “If it will help, I can roll up my sleeve and let you do a partial demonstration.” That might be a little easier said than done, given the thicker material of the typical Cardassian uniform, but it could still work.

“That is most gracious.” Dr. Istep nodded, then gave a much deeper bow than the one he’d begun with, breaking eye contact. This, Spirodopoulos understood, was a bow of contrition, not simply acknowledgment. “I simply wish to care for my patients,” he concluded.

“You will,” Spirodopoulos assured him.

The human officer’s wristcomm chirped, and he tapped it. “Spirodopoulos here.”

Commander,” came Chief Librescu’s voice, “we have the results of our damage-pattern study.”

“Be ready to review them in forty-five minutes,” Spirodopoulos ordered. “I have one last matter to conclude here, and then I will see Gul Macet about giving us the Trager wardroom.”

In that moment, Spirodopoulos became more strongly aware of the Cardassian cuirass sitting on his chest and shoulders. This was it: Librescu’s results would either provide the last confirmation he needed—or prove that he, Makis Spirodopoulos, stood guilty of high treason and leading his people into the commission of said act.
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Old October 16 2011, 07:24 AM   #680
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Hmm...I'm not sure what Spiro means about "high treason". What is this controversy about? What would damage-patterns have to do with it?


Other than that: Nerys, another good piece. Though I was wrong about who the girl was...I'm glad to see I was right about what was going on.

A nice look at Cultural Misunderstandings.

Looking forward to what you can give us next!
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Old October 16 2011, 04:35 PM   #681
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Supreme Dittodrone wrote: View Post
Hmm...I'm not sure what Spiro means about "high treason". What is this controversy about? What would damage-patterns have to do with it?
I think you may have forgotten that from an earlier chapter. The Cardassians have offered him the chance to analyze the damage from that ship's first scuffle with the Dominion (at Rondac III) as proof that they went up against the Dominion and are not in fact colluding with the Dominion.

Spirodopoulos needs to make sure that by committing to the Thirteenth Order, he has not committed to a treacherous, anti-Federation course of action.

Other than that: Nerys, another good piece. Though I was wrong about who the girl was...I'm glad to see I was right about what was going on.

A nice look at Cultural Misunderstandings.

Looking forward to what you can give us next!
Thanks...glad you liked it! I kind of thought going the "Bajoran route" might be a little too obvious and stereotypical so I wanted to do something different.
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Old October 16 2011, 06:27 PM   #682
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

Nerys Dukat wrote: View Post
Supreme Dittodrone wrote: View Post
Hmm...I'm not sure what Spiro means about "high treason". What is this controversy about? What would damage-patterns have to do with it?
I think you may have forgotten that from an earlier chapter. The Cardassians have offered him the chance to analyze the damage from that ship's first scuffle with the Dominion (at Rondac III) as proof that they went up against the Dominion and are not in fact colluding with the Dominion.

Spirodopoulos needs to make sure that by committing to the Thirteenth Order, he has not committed to a treacherous, anti-Federation course of action.
Ah. I see. Excellent.

(As to my forgetting...well, that's kina what happens when there's such a big gap between chapters....)
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Old October 16 2011, 07:43 PM   #683
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

This scene was actually a large part of my problem...I was having a really bad hangup with it and finally broke down and realized I needed to get a couple of beta readers to provide a second and third opinion. Hopefully this means I'll now be able to get back to updating at the least every month, if not on occasion more often.
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Old October 29 2011, 02:50 AM   #684
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

So sorry to have taken this long; I hope my tardiness in replying hasn't come across as disinterest. It's been a combination of a hectic schedule and a lack of the right frame of mind.

I can see why this might have been a difficult chapter to write - there's a lot of potential mortification and hurt; even worse, no-one's done anything wrong other than jump to conclusions or fail to consider how outsiders might interpret ordinary actions. Yet the distress is real; pain without blame, and that's sometimes the hardest form of pain to deal with, both for the observer/arbitrator like Spirodopolous and for the people feeling it - there's no way to vent and no-one to vent on. Particularly for Istep, who is both horrified that someone would think him capable of harming his paitents, and disturbed that he caused emotional distress, no matter how unintentionally. Also, there's the fact that he's potentially offended at the possibility of ugly assumptions based on race, but can clearly see that zh'Thessel was genuinely distressed and truly believed she was being threatened. Baceause of this, he can hardly feel justified in anger. Compassion and guilt and shame would smother it, because even though he didn't do anything wrong - he still caused harm. For a being like him, it's clear that knowing he would never assault a patient, and even knowing Spirodopolous and the others now understand it, doesn't change the fact that zh'Thessel has been harmed as the result of a misunderstanding. So even as he's genuinely horrified at the potential accusation, there is a guilt in there. And yet how can you come to terms with guilt that the rest of you insists is unwarranted and when another part of you is insisting you're the victim (or a victim) of the situation? That's a real knot of emotional reactions vying for recognition and the paralysis that follows is a difficult state of mind to capture. You do a good job - and perhaps your own state of discomfort writing this one helped you hit the mark?

Again, I certainly appreciate why this might have been a difficult chapter. zh'Thessel and, to a lesser but still significant extent, Istep have been wounded completely unintentionally and there's no clear means to address it, other than to take note of the misunderstanding and become more acute to heading off potential incidents like this before they manifest.

It's brave to write a "cultural misunderstanding/different customs clashing" scene that treats the potential consequences as genuinely damaging rather than a case of "hoo, wasn't that embarrassing!" Maybe this is another thing contributing to the difficulty of the chapter - it's the same basic issue that is so often turned to causing mundane or even comical difficulties for characters now causing real distress and harm.
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Old October 29 2011, 06:56 PM   #685
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

One of my fears was that it would look "light" even with the real damage that happened. I didn't want to play it for laughs or in any kind of non-serious way.

I think that sometimes the prejudice against Cardassians seems to be hardest on my Cardassian doctors. I think that "even" on Cardassia, a real doctor is someone who swears to be the absolute opposite of the Cardassian stereotype...a compassionate, caring person. So while they are at once very sensitive to the wrongs Cardassians have done, and ashamed, they also want to be seen for who they are. I think they want it to be known that they are Cardassian too--that not all about Cardassia or Cardassians is terrible and monstrous. There is another kind of person who has those scales and ridges, too--one who cares deeply about the life force that all six of his senses bring to him. (Seven, if you count his compassion and empathy for others.)

So yes, there is a very upset part of him that is thinking, "Why did you do this to me?" But you're also right about how guilty he feels. He knows now that he should've communicated better with his patient. And for him as a doctor, causing harm to his patient--to include emotional harm--is deeply mortifying. I think it makes him feel he has been dishonorable. I believe the clinical terminology for it is that he feels like crap.

The other thing that was hard for me about writing this was zh'Thessel. That was honestly more frightening to me because here we have a woman who believes she has been sexually threatened and as it turned out it was a misunderstanding. I was very afraid of coming off as belittling those who are victims of both real assaults and bad miscommunications. I guess I was also afraid there were those who might react viscerally to the idea of the man being "right" and the woman being "wrong" in such a situation. But I do think that sometimes these kinds of miscommunications happen and the result is exactly like this, where both parties end up hurt.
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Old October 30 2011, 04:24 AM   #686
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

On that note...Nerys, would you imagine there to be a Cardassian version of the Hippocratic Oath?
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Old October 30 2011, 05:14 AM   #687
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

I'm not sure one is in official use. However, I suspect there may still be private oaths sworn by some doctors, that have their origins in Hebitian days.
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