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Old March 19 2009, 06:16 PM   #1
Nerys Ghemor
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Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

Author’s note: The challenge was to write about a character's motivations for joining Starfleet. This story takes place in the “Catacombs of Oralius” universe—the same one I’ve used for my TrekBBS entries. This world was first seen in the TNG episode “Parallels.” In this universe, the Bajorans, under the influence of the Pah-Wraiths, have violently occupied their neighbors of a rivaling faith…the Cardassian, believers in the Oralian Way. This story takes place several months before “Captives’ Ransom,” just a few weeks after TNG: "Parallels," and follows Cardassian ensign Hirhul Mendral aboard the Enterprise-D.

Some may not like the way I portray human society here. It won't be changing, though…


13 Zroumayn, Twenty-Third Year of the 371st Ăstraya

Federation Year 2370
USS Enterprise-D

It had been another long, exhausting day—and yes, terrifying. But—at least for now…it was over. Piloting a starship in the twenty-fourth century Federation might not place the same demands on the body as the anachronistic T-38 fighter plane he’d studied and flown in his Academy days, but the sustained stresses of ship-to-ship combat took their toll nonetheless.

Ensign Mendral was finally in from the cold—which still managed to fray his nerves during the most harrowing of maneuvers—and into something much more comfortable than his Starfleet uniform. Seven years, he thought, including his Academy years, and I’d still swear there’s something wrong with the way the autofitter sizes these things. It wasn’t as bad as that dreadful necktie he’d seen some of the human men wear on formal occasions, to be sure…but the material never quite felt like it gave in the right places as it rose over his neck ridges.

He felt somewhat more relaxed in the Nevotda ruviyal he now wore—a loose-fitting black, silver-trimmed garment that bore a slight resemblance to a Han Chinese robe, and getil-wool black rhipăsbre-ciy’iyas, Cardassian sleeping-socks with treads. Back on the worlds of Cardassia, the ruviyal would never have served as nightwear, but aboard a starship, especially in combat situations, it behooved one to sleep in something one could report to duty in if the situation were so severe that there was no time to dress fully. And that, especially on this ship, was something that seemed to happen at least once a quarter.

The Enterprise helmsman’s hair fell over his ears to a point a four or so centimeters past his jaw ridges, free now of the grease he usually used to slick it back. Nothing in Starfleet regulations forbade him from keeping this loose style he’d favored in his adolescent years, but his on-duty appearance was his nod to the Cardassian military tradition that threatened to vanish in the deep shadows of the Occupation. And never…ever would Mendral allow himself to forget the place from which he came, the world to which his heart still belonged. He had wrestled with that, to be sure—and especially this close to the Bajoran border, it still tore at his spirit.

First, though, Mendral had to tend to his body, which he’d pushed to the limit today. He stretched from fingers to toes, following it up with an enormous yawn as every bit of fatigue he hadn’t allowed himself to feel for the past ten hours crashed into him. It overwhelmed his awareness and yet that last bit of adrenaline still ran through his veins, still unwilling to let him go. It taunted him: not quite yet, ‘Rhule.

Mendral sighed. He still felt too much like doing something to sleep. He sat down at the desk next to his bed—a utilitarian, Starfleet-issue thing like most of his possessions, but what graced its surface was one of the only relics he had from his childhood in the Cuellar refugee camps. It was a still photo of his parents the last day he ever saw them, taken by the human man who had brought Hirhul and his brothers Arjan and Lopar across the border.

It had taken a year of living in the affluence of the Federation to really see the extent of what the Occupation had done to them, for him to understand the contrast to how things were supposed to be. It wasn’t natural, he’d come to realize, for the skin to draw taut across the neck ridges like sailcloth, for the shadows under the cartilaginous eye hooks to be so deep, for the figure to be so frail in middle age. Who knew how many meals they had sacrificed for the sake of their sons?

Mendral lit a candle, then opened a drawer and pulled out a sheet of parchment and a Cardassian calligrapher’s pen and inkwell—replicated, of course, but true to the traditional form. It was a laborious process, he acknowledged as he fixed the thăv’os-bone nib to the pen and dipped it in the ink. He wrote in his native Cardăsda as he did with all such missives, determined to keep his ancestral tongue close to the surface lest he lose it under the constant rush of the humans’ language.

He began by sketching out the elliptical root symbol by which he indicated the nature of his sentence, and from there the words branched out along their central lines in a diagram much like the sort human children used to learn their language’s grammar. While some of the function was grammatical, the structure of written Cardăsda also had something in common with musical notation, conveying information on the speaker’s tone and pacing that brought the writer’s voice to life in the mind’s ear in a way that the bland lines of Federation Standard rarely could.



Dear Mother and Father, Hirhul Mendral wrote, his lips silently forming the words in Cardăsda as he sketched them onto the paper,

Do forgive my rambling, for just like every other letter I’ve written since I started my tour of duty aboard the Enterprise…I can never actually send this, only my prayers, for they are the only thing I can rest easy that the Bajorans will never intercept. And this one more than anything, for after last week’s anomaly, the Bajorans have become more aggressive than ever.

Whatever technology or natural phenomenon it was that tore the boundaries between the universes asunder, they crave it like ravenous
ze’ered. I don’t know if you knew this, but they say their “True Prophets” have the means to do something similar, though no one has ever seen the proof with their own eyes. They say it’s a key to usher in their so-called Restoration. We know what it is they really want, though I wonder if all of them truly realize what it is they seek: Mătz Irhiy’iylakou [the Day of Sorrows]. Sam tells me the humans of his sect have a similar concept. They call it Armageddon.

So it’s been a constant string of attacks in this sector from the Bajorans since. They are determined to wrest this sector from the Federation, and so Starfleet has sent a task force to accompany us. This is the largest Starfleet show of force I’ve seen along the Bajoran border since the war, when you sent the three of us away. Part of me is beginning to hope that the Federation is finally waking up to the extent of the threat. It’s hard for them to believe, since they still insist on framing the Occupation of Cardassia as a merely parochial matter—nothing more than primitives slugging it out over things unseen and unproven.

And I still believe that some of the peoples in power find it difficult to empathize with us for other reasons. Of course, I have seen many of them behave very much to the contrary, who have actually known me—especially Sam. Our friendship is as Cardassian to Cardassian; I have never had the sense from him that my appearance stood in the way.

But the fact remains that to some…we look the role of primitive creatures—the sort that on Earth have a reputation for unfeeling ruthlessness. Even their term for metabolisms like ours…“cold-blooded” (though of course that isn’t even what we are in the physiological sense—their doctors, at least, have a more accurate term in their language)…is used to express that very sort of character. And for that—I think they have an even harder time looking to the nature of our spirits than they might have if we were more like them.


The Bajorans hadn’t had quite the chokehold on Cuellar that they had on the Cardassia system—but they came around often enough, mainly to choose workers from the refugees as a farmer would choose livestock from the central markets of old. Hirhul had witnessed this numerous times as a child, heard how the Bajorans spoke of his people. ‘People’ was the last word on their lips when it came to Cardassians.

He well remembered one of the Bajoran overseer’s vociferous complaints about his posting to the conquered Cardassian territories. The one thing I will never understand, the major complained, is how repulsive, retrograde creatures such as these could pretend immersion in the ways of the spirit. You have no idea how it turns my stomach when I catch them pretending to pray! It’s an affront to the True Prophets, to see such brutishness putting on the airs of refinement, like a meki lizard standing on its hind legs and parading around in a vedek’s robe. I mean, look at them! Hair on their heads and scales on those cadaverish faces, like nature couldn’t quite decide whether they were men or beasts!

That same major seemed to have no problems identifying the women among the Cardassian refugees, and saw nothing in the slightest hypocritical about it.

Not surprising given the particular sins he’d have to condemn himself for, in addition to the obvious ones, if he put two and two together! Mendral thought with a bitter twist of the lip.

The humans—and most of the other peoples of the Federation—were quite different. They tended not to wear their prejudices on their sleeves…but on occasion, if Hirhul looked closely enough, he caught the way some people averted their eyes when they were near him. Maybe some of them just hadn’t seen a Cardassian before and they were simply afraid of being thought rude for satisfying their curiosity…but whatever the cause, it had made high school in Phoenix a rather lonely period for the Mendral brothers—as if their experiences weren’t already enough to set them apart.

Attending a real school had been quite a different thing from being educated by their parents with their older and younger bothers as their only classmates. True, Mother and Father had brought the best of their eidetic memories of their own educations to bear, so it had taken only a year of private tutoring to catch up enough to enter the ninth grade…but that hadn’t made the environmental shock any easier.

Perhaps, Hirhul thought, he’d had enough of feeling cast adrift in this alien society. Perhaps applying for Starfleet Academy in his senior year had been about tethering himself to something. About belonging. But even under that rationale…some things still didn’t quite hold up, for that society was one he had observed at length and found, in spite of its great promise, to be wanting.
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Old March 19 2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

I struggled fiercely with all of this before I ever joined Starfleet, he wrote again even though he had done so in the past, even more so with the fact that we couldn’t be together to discuss this in person as a Cardassian child and his parents should. My brothers thought I was crazy. After all, the Federation has never officially lifted a finger to help us. Certain civilians like Mr. Singh have—and I’ll always be grateful to him for getting Arjan, Lopar, and I out of Bajoran space. But there’s never been anything official.

Arjan still barely speaks to me. All we have left of home is each other and he has quite literally turned the power that runs through him against his brother and driven me away from him. I can only wonder if this grieves him as much as it does Lopar and me.


Yet the questions he asks are real.


Why would I commit my life to another power when Cardassians are fighting and dying in the resistance back home, making a real difference? Is that not my place instead of the military of the Federation?

How could I give my talents to a government that has done nothing for us, and would probably arrest the ones who have, if they ever got caught?

And could I give my service over to a society whose dominant world maintains a veneer of tolerance towards aliens, and our beliefs, but to not its own people when they hold to the old faiths like Sam has? Would I in doing so betray not only Cardassia, but Oralius herself? Does she not grieve when those who would seek after that which is beyond are turned aside by the habitual dismissals of her children?



The expression on Ensign Sam Lavelle’s face when he’d first caught a glimpse of the new ensign in the break room nearest to the bridge had been quite unlike the curious glance and coolly polite reception he’d received from most of the non-Cardassians upon his arrival: the brief nod and introduction, if they felt so inclined, the handshake from the humans whose unintended bioelectric intimacy warred with the impersonal nature of the gesture.

He had just been finishing his thanksgiving prayer over his lunch when the doors swished open to admit the human. Mendral prayed with eyes open as Cardassians often did for their simpler prayers, his hands extending out past his plate, not quite touching, palms out as if drawing in the warmth of a candle flame. As he finished, he briefly inclined his head as if for the bow of leave-taking.

Only then had he allowed himself to register the quite literally alien presence in the break room. Glancing over, he’d seen a pale human man with brown hair standing silently just inside the door. Undeniably human, yes…yet how that wistful mixture of recognition and time-dulled grief resembled the look his brother Lopar got whenever the discussion turned to Cardassia. The expression faded as quickly as it had come; he seemed not to realize how much he’d betrayed of himself in that first instant. Still, he did not speak until Mendral issued the invitation. “It’s all right,” said the Cardassian. “I’m through—you’re not disturbing me.”

“Saying grace over a replicator meal,” the young human mused. Then he smiled. “I like that.”

“It fills my stomach and nourishes my body,” Mendral replied, careful not to burden this new acquaintance with too many of his travails. Some, he had learned, found that sort of sharing unnerving when issued unprompted…even offensive, like unwanted proselytizing. “That’s always a thing worthy of gratitude…even when your meal was organic fertilizer in its previous life.”

“Yuck,” the human replied in a wry pro forma display—it wasn’t like anyone on a starship was ignorant of the process. Then he proceeded to order his own meal. Once it materialized, he asked, “Mind if I join you?”

Mendral gestured to the chair next to him. “Not at all. Now, what was your name again?”

“Oh—sorry!” His cheeks blushed rose. “Sam…Lavelle,” he stammered.

“Don’t worry about it, Lavelle,” he replied with an affable wave of the hand, though he took the human’s surname in Cardassian fashion. “My name is Mendral.”

Ensign Lavelle sat. “Thanks for letting me join you,” he said. Then he lowered his voice, even though there was no one else in the break room with him. “I…appreciate feeling like I’ll have a chance to eat without being judged for my practices.” He mumbled the last few words as if speaking of a serious disease.

And suddenly Mendral understood the expression Lavelle had worn when he first beheld the Cardassian praying: the young man believed. In an alien god or gods, to be sure, but such things were rare among humanity—or at least, rarely spoken of in the open. He’d seen it in that Phoenix high school…those who did often found themselves isolated from their peers aside from those who shared their convictions, or those similar. True…the Third World War had been just as devastating as anything the Bajorans hoped to do to the Cardassian people, but the tragic overreaction, in its own slow, silent way, had left its own unspoken wounds on the psyche of a people.

Never,” Mendral swore, strong and solemn. “You don’t have to hide a thing from me.”

And he’d meant it down to the fiber of his being: it felt like a sign straight from Oralius—he had understood her correctly after all. Now he knew—he truly was in the right place.


I prayed long and hard
, Hirhul wrote of long years before that confirmation. But ultimately I couldn’t escape the conclusion: yes, the Federation and Earth in particular had—and has—serious problems.

This, however, is what she showed me in the end: I solve nothing by running from those problems. I change nothing by hiding my soul in a cave. About that Sam has a very apt saying…to be “in the world but not of the world.” There is much truth in his alien wisdom: I pray to Oralius that I never become so immersed in this place that I cease to be aware of its ills…and yet she would not have us withdraw from our surroundings, for in doing so we cut ourselves off from the ways in which she might move through us to serve others.


And that is a very Cardassian thing: service. I could no more tear out that need to serve something greater than myself than I could rip the macroscales from my own neck ridges. And Oralius knows that nowhere is service in her name more needed than the places where her warmth reaches as few hearts as Earth’s cold winter sun. In such places we must be her warmth to others. For now, especially while I’m young, that’s all I can really accomplish. Yet I know this is part of her purpose for me, and I must be patient and serve in the moment.


Faith, service, hope, and love: the four things to which we Cardassians cling in these desperate times for our people.


And those are what ultimately carried me into Starfleet though in the eyes of Arjan they should have turned me away.


There were times I feared nothing would change, just as Arjan surely does—and nothing but my sense of duty and faith to the way of Oralius kept me going. Even when we would skirmish with the Bajorans I never felt the urgency, the recognition that evil must be opposed.
Or even that evil exists.

And yet something seems to be happening here in the Federation as of late. At least, it is on the Enterprise. They look at me and the other Cardassians in the crew in a thoughtful way now, now that they’ve endured the Bajorans’ naked aggression in something more protracted than a mere border skirmish. I think they’re starting to see now: if this is what they do to a powerful enemy like the Federation, how much worse they must do to the conquered!

The Bajorans’ zeal to capture this sector may bring about a war—the sort that would make all Bajoran territories, including the worlds of Cardassia, fair game for Starfleet. Commander Worf especially favors decisive action, and I think Captain Riker is coming around to his view. And with Riker as an advocate, others in the fleet may follow and put pressure on the admiralty from the field.

I hate to hope for a war…but I have seen what the status quo of peace looks like and it’s killing us. There was a human economist that referred to the idea of “creative destruction”: there are those rare cases where what has been must be destroyed to make way for the new. Or restoring ancient traditions and truth…giving our people the right to our souls once more.

I have real hope now that attitudes may be turning. The Bajorans have walked a careful line until recently. They know that if the situation turned to outright genocide on Cardassia, the public outcry in the Federation worlds might force the Council’s hand and finally compel them to drive the Bajorans out of our space once and for all. But how many people would have to die before they finally acted?


If we are fortunate, Starfleet will move before that happens. And on the
Enterprise…I may have the chance to witness firsthand the liberation of our people, perhaps even take part in it. And if Oralius wills it…if you live, perhaps I’ll have the chance to see you again.

Until then, you have my love and my prayers.

Your faithful son forever,

Hirhul



The robed Cardassian ensign set down his pen. Finally his body had begun to acquiesce to what his mind had been telling it for over an hour now. His eyes burned with fatigue, and he squeezed them shut for several moments, rubbing the outsides of his eye ridges.

His hands sought the warmth of the candle flickering on the desk nearby. Without even looking, his hands located that space just beyond the perimeter where its heat would burn if he remained there too long. And in this position, hands outspread to draw in the candle’s warmth as he drew upon the spirit of his people’s deity, he prayed for his colleagues aboard the Enterprise and for Sam by name, for Arjan and Lopar in their shared exile on Earth, for his parents—wherever they were, and above all for every Cardassian who still lived in slavery.

And for one brief moment, just as he extinguished the candle and slipped wearily under the covers, he could feel it: hope edging ever closer, though still faint as the cosmic background radiation that echoed the wild glory of the First Day.

Where I have brought you is where you are meant to be.

Someday…
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Old March 19 2009, 09:57 PM   #3
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

I liked it.

Is the social intolerance of religion the Federation is something you consider unique to this alternate reality, or if it reflects your thoughts on the Federation in Alpha Quadrant-Prime? I actually think it captures what the Federation would probably be like--the humans of the Federation would give "primitives" leeway to believe whatever nonsense they wished, but expect "better" of their own "evolved" species and other "adult" societies, for example the Vulcans or the Trill. Very interesting point... is it a Soviet Federation of Planets after all?

Also, pen and paper makes Mendral come off faintly pretentious; although it is very reasonable to assume he learned to write by pen and paper and not computers, given the poverty of the Occupation, the refusal to use more efficient means of document creation strikes me as a pose or even self-righteousness. Intentional? It does work, so it's not a criticism per se.

Finally, what's Sam's deal? Is he attracted to Mendral? He's flushing over a guy not knowing his name, so I'm curious.
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Old March 19 2009, 10:05 PM   #4
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Finally, what's Sam's deal? Is he attracted to Mendral? He's flushing over a guy not knowing his name, so I'm curious.
Having read her other stuff, I can confidently say 'no, it's not that.' But my question is: Does it matter if it was?
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Old March 19 2009, 10:38 PM   #5
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

A dedication to service is perhaps to be expected as a motivation to serve in Starfleet but to link that dedication in part to faith and thus part of the motivation is an unusual take. However, it is a take that works extremely effectively, especially when written so compellingly.

The characters of Sam and Mendral have a mutual connection, a bond they probably fear to show to others. The exile in the story could be either one. There is a beautiful symmetry to your writing.

Again, a wonderful piece of writing Nerys.
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Old March 19 2009, 11:24 PM   #6
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

SLWatson wrote: View Post
Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Finally, what's Sam's deal? Is he attracted to Mendral? He's flushing over a guy not knowing his name, so I'm curious.
Having read her other stuff, I can confidently say 'no, it's not that.' But my question is: Does it matter if it was?
Only to him.

I was genuinely curious. I found it an odd reaction. I don't think I'd normally get embarassed over a guy not recalling/knowing my name, but might if it were girl I were attracted to. Through the magic of human empathy, I placed myself in the character's shoes in order to try to understand his behavior.

I'm not saying there could be any other reason, as it takes all kinds (blushing, that is), but I thought I was zeroing in on the one, which from my perspective, seemed most likely.

This was a satisfactory answer to the substance of your question, I hope.
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Old March 20 2009, 12:24 AM   #7
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
This was a satisfactory answer to the substance of your question, I hope.
Yup!
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Old March 20 2009, 12:41 AM   #8
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

Sam and Mendral are not attracted sexually, no.

But two things are going on here. One...Sam in the canon universe (in "Lower Decks") sometimes seemed a bit awkward and likely to beat up on himself. (Remember that awful, awkward conversation with Riker?) Two...he's suddenly met someone who will not look down on him for his beliefs and I think that he's as much overcome by what that means spiritually, as he is by the in-the-moment awkardness.

The way I imagine them as the friendship forms, they're like brothers, these two--close enough to be family in all but blood. And I think they ARE concerned about letting other people see it, exactly because of how it can be misinterpreted.

You are right that Mendral learned to write with pen and paper, not on the computer. He's not trying to look pretentious...he does this to connect with his past and the traditions he grew up in.

And yes, in this case--what you are seeing of Federation society and the intolerance is how I see both the canon and AU versions of the Federation.
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Old March 20 2009, 03:02 AM   #9
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Sam and Mendral are not attracted sexually, no.
In all fairness, there are a lot of types of romantic attraction without it necessarily being sexual in nature.
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Old March 20 2009, 06:17 AM   #10
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

SLWatson wrote: View Post
Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Sam and Mendral are not attracted sexually, no.
In all fairness, there are a lot of types of romantic attraction without it necessarily being sexual in nature.
Maybe so...but to me, it's ultimately the image of brothers that comes to mind.

I will tell you, though...I did intentionally write it with a closeness that I fully expected to make some of the men uncomfortable. I fully expected to get at least one "OH NOE TEH GAYZZZZ!!!!!1!!!111111" type comment. So at least my quota is fulfilled; let's just hope others will read the discussion before they comment.
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Old March 20 2009, 06:49 AM   #11
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Maybe so...but to me, it's ultimately the image of brothers that comes to mind.
Oh, I get it. Of anyone, I would. What I meant was, you immediately leapt to the conclusion because of that comment that Myasishchev meant it was a sexual attraction. I felt like pointing out that being attracted to someone in a romantic sense doesn't necessarily require a sexual component.

I will tell you, though...I did intentionally write it with a closeness that I fully expected to make some of the men uncomfortable. I fully expected to get at least one "OH NOE TEH GAYZZZZ!!!!!1!!!111111" type comment. So at least my quota is fulfilled; let's just hope others will read the discussion before they comment.
I didn't see that, either. It was a pretty simple question (and one I've gotten before myself over my writing, or for that matter, my self); I wanted it clarified myself, only because it COULD be taken as a comment such as you took it as.

I'd venture you had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction there to it; there certainly wasn't any 'OH NOE TEH GAYZZZ!!' in the question itself. And the commenter said there wasn't.

Honest to God, Nerys, the intolerance here that you speak of with the Federation's kinda showing up in your text. In the 24th century, when we've hopefully overcome this kind of prejudice, why would they fear anyone asking if they're lovers, and therefore keep their friendship quiet? If asked, they could just say, "Nope." This isn't the 20th century, or the 21st, afterall, where this is considered somehow terrible or dirty or wrong, right? So, why the fear?

I mean, unless you were trying to convey that your characters were harboring some prejudice there, that they would fear being labelled gay. In which case, intolerance goes well beyond the Federation.
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Old March 20 2009, 07:09 AM   #12
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

They aren't harboring any prejudice, and frankly I don't care for your suggestion that I do. I think that was a rather unnecessary jab.

Now on to substance.

It can become a very awkward thing for a male-female pair when the speculations and rumors start flying about a friendship, when people allege something else is there and it isn't. It would be the same thing in this case--the orientation wouldn't be an issue to them or anyone else, but rather the simple problem of people assuming something that wasn't true.

That's something I've gotten a lot over the course of my own lifetime because most of my closest friends have been male. And it gets very tiring, very annoying after awhile to constantly be mistaken for a couple because of a close friendship. It's as if some people don't know how to process a relationship where there might be assumed to be the possibility of sexual interest, without assuming it is there.

I hated that.

But as to why Sam and Mendral would be hesitant about letting other people see too much of their brotherhood, besides what I suggested above, I think in the end it most importantly boils down to the fact that they both feel very much like outsiders.
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Old March 20 2009, 07:30 AM   #13
SLWatson
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

...then again, maybe not.

I apologize. I had a knee-jerk reaction myself there.

Last edited by SLWatson; March 20 2009 at 07:37 AM. Reason: I'm eating crow!
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Old March 20 2009, 01:04 PM   #14
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

What's funny is that it was a very minor notion, a question I edited in afterward. If I'd thought more about it, maybe I'd have phrased it in a less flippant manner, but I'm afraid I never learned to give much weight to sexual orientation and often forget that the question sometimes goes over like a lead balloon.

Honestly, I wish I hadn't asked in the first place.

But since I did, I suppose I'll point out that it's a fascinating reversal of prejudices in the future you paint, Nerys. Is it any better to attach social approbrium to a person on account of their faith than it is on account of their desires?

Fwiw, I forgot Sam was even a canon character. It has been almost two decades since I've seen Lower Decks.
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Old March 21 2009, 05:54 AM   #15
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Ad Astra contest entry: The Exile

SLWatson wrote: View Post
...then again, maybe not.

I apologize. I had a knee-jerk reaction myself there.
Thanks...I accept.

Myasishchev wrote:
But since I did, I suppose I'll point out that it's a fascinating reversal of prejudices in the future you paint, Nerys. Is it any better to attach social approbrium to a person on account of their faith than it is on account of their desires?
Not in my opinion. Some would probably try to justify it on grounds that faith is a decision and one that they consider irrational and dangerous, but sexual orientation is not (and I think that's how people rationalize it in my version of the Trekiverse). But the thing is, they're generalizing the nutcases onto everybody, and that's where they go wrong. They're also acting in ways that they condemn when it's the other way around (religious people beating up on atheists, which of course is very wrong).

Fwiw, I forgot Sam was even a canon character. It has been almost two decades since I've seen Lower Decks.
Yeah, he's a canon character.

I think, though, that this one doesn't quite act like the canon version. Instead of becoming part of that whole huge group of friends, I think this version's early encounter with Mendral will have an effect on the way that he conducts himself. I know that one of his friends in the canon universe (Sito) was religious...but I'm not sure Sam would've had the same reaction because by that point, I think it had become known there were actual entities known as the Prophets that interacted with the Bajoran people. Mendral's faith, however, is more like Sam's: neither have anything tangible to go by. It literally is faith alone for them.
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