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Old November 9 2008, 04:51 PM   #16
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
This is the universe we saw briefly in the TNG episode "Parallels." I've always wondered WHY the Bajorans would've gone on the offensive--so I thought maybe the Pah-Wraiths were somehow dominant in that universe.
In actual fact, if you listen to what Riker says, he says that the Bajorans became ever more aggressive after they overcame the Cardassians. I speculate in that universe, instead of the Provivional government invited the Federation in, they took matters into their own hands and protected their own borders religiously, so to speak.
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Old November 9 2008, 09:50 PM   #17
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

Xeris wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
This is the universe we saw briefly in the TNG episode "Parallels." I've always wondered WHY the Bajorans would've gone on the offensive--so I thought maybe the Pah-Wraiths were somehow dominant in that universe.
In actual fact, if you listen to what Riker says, he says that the Bajorans became ever more aggressive after they overcame the Cardassians. I speculate in that universe, instead of the Provivional government invited the Federation in, they took matters into their own hands and protected their own borders religiously, so to speak.
The phrase I remember hearing when I actually watched the episode was "overpowered the Cardassians," which to my way of thinking could mean any number of things--to include both of our possibilities. The original script says "overthrew the Cardassian Empire." (Given that I don't own the DVDs, I can't go back to see which of these two was actually said, though I am pretty sure on the former. I have caught differences between the written scripts and actual lines before, so it could be either.) I personally think either way it was said fits both scenarios: either overthrowing their version of the Occupation, or the sort of aggressive jihad I described. Either one could be quite the ego booster for a world that's just getting started trying to establish itself as a galactic power to be feared.

But to me, two things suggested that the differences ran long and deep--much more so than simply overthrowing the Occupation: the presence of the Cardassian helmsman, and the strength and design of the Bajoran warship. On the warship: developing such a thing takes significant time and resources that an Occupation-stripped Bajor wouldn't have had. And from the reaction of the Enterprise crew, I'd say that wasn't their only one given that in order to be a credible threat, the Bajorans must have far more than one. There would've been more evidence, of course, if we'd seen what would've happened had the Enterprise had to face the Bajorans alone--but 285,000 Enterprises might even have made the Borg tuck tail and run!

Also, to me, the presence of that Cardassian helmsman suggested that the differences ran long and deep--long enough for this guy to leave the Union, become acclimated to Federation culture, be accepted by Starfleet Academy as being in earnest and not a threat, go through the curriculum, and receive his commission. To me, his presence and acceptance pointed to even greater differences...I felt he was being used as his universe's version of Ensigns Ro and Sito. From here I go into total conjecture...I thought the parallel ( )might even extend into backstory--that perhaps he fled an occupied Cardassia. That blatant a reversal called for some sort of explanation...which is where the idea came in of putting the Pah-Wraiths up against a version of Cardassia where the faith never collapsed.

(As to why the Bajorans decided to rumble with the Enterprise in my scenario, I would have pointed to two things: the Federation likely protested the persecution and sentients rights violations they perpetrated against the Cardassians, and the Federation would also represent a secular threat in their eyes, and therefore under the direction of the Pah-Wraiths, need to be opposed.)

But in the end...how about this: 285,000 universes we know of...one could easily have gone your way, and one went mine.
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Old November 9 2008, 11:37 PM   #18
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

I concede the point.
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Old November 20 2008, 02:38 AM   #19
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

Amazing story. Your depiction of the survival of faith against all odds is very moving.

I also have always felt that the character of Dukat had many possibilities never even guessed at in the TV series. The Dukat you've created here could easily be part of that Dukat, it certainly seemed real to me that being the oppressed rather than the oppressor would produce in him a strength and a faith that he's never needed in the canon universe.
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Old November 20 2008, 07:22 AM   #20
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

trampledamage wrote: View Post
Amazing story. Your depiction of the survival of faith against all odds is very moving.

I also have always felt that the character of Dukat had many possibilities never even guessed at in the TV series. The Dukat you've created here could easily be part of that Dukat, it certainly seemed real to me that being the oppressed rather than the oppressor would produce in him a strength and a faith that he's never needed in the canon universe.
Or, if you see it my way, a strength and faith that he desperately needed yet chose against.

And thank you very much for reading...I'm glad it came across as credible.

The basic idea of Dukat being different in a universe where he wasn't on top was also explored in the Myriad Universes anthology--but I thought in that story there wasn't really a lot of explanation as to how that came to be, what made that other Dukat tick. Creating a universe and being able to really explore the character and come up with a context where that would be believable was something I really enjoyed doing.

Oddly enough, even though I killed him, I feel at rest about it, much more so than I do about most characters dying.

Then again, maybe it's because I remember what that's like. (The most unbelievably realistic dream of such that one could possibly imagine, that is...real enough to make me ask a LOT of questions.)
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Old November 28 2008, 01:49 AM   #21
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

Good work. It reminded me of something Spencer Tracy's character says toward the end of Judgment at Nuremberg:

There are those in our country today, too, who speak of the "protection" of the country. Of "survival". The answer to that is: *survival as what*?
Sometimes, mere survival is not sufficient. Is life worth living without freedom, without dignity? From my admittedly non-spiritual perspective, this is the story of a man who decides that it's better to die on his feet than to live on his knees.

The alternate universe you describe is fascinating, and I was both surprised and pleased to discover the main character's identity toward the end.

The only criticism I have to offer is that the story consists almost entirely of backfill: instead of showing us what happened to bring the main characters to this pass, you tell us. I think your story would have been even more effective if you had found some way to show instead of tell.
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Old November 28 2008, 07:50 AM   #22
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: November Contest Entry: Sacrifice (PG-13)

That's a very apt quote. This Dukat sees HOW he survives as even more important than IF his body survives. And even shivering naked inside a coldbox, by refusing to give up their faith, he and his daughter have dignity even if that's not how it would look to the outside world.

I can understand why some might not like the style I adopted. But when I was writing, I had certain examples in my head--short narratives from a couple of books called Jesus Freaks. Those particular narratives were very short devotionals, about this length, in fact, and often had to explain (in a very short space) the political and historical backgrounds in which these stories took place. It might not be quite like living every single one of his flashbacks like he lives the one where Tora taunted him and Ziyal, but at least to me it evokes the feel of those true narratives.

On another note...Dukat's mind is all over the place here, for varying reasons. I think he's experiencing the life review--which I suspect you're thinking of in terms of the "life flashing before one's eyes," but I think it's not just a case of memories revisiting. Something in him is also trying to string it all together, trying to make sense of it all, because that sense, that purpose makes all the difference to him.

That's a sense I remember from my more direct experience, the dream I've alluded to in some of the comments. I remember how desperately important it was to put it all together how and why I'd wound up in the circumstances I was in, how that kept me going, how it focused me--and how it gave me peace as I realized my life was coming to an end, faith that bridged the gap until I directly experienced peace.

I don't expect that last part to mean much to you, because there's no way for me to fully convey something like that to anyone else in a way that would make complete sense. So I hope you will simply accept that it meant a great deal to me.
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