January Challenge Entry: The Nature of the Beast

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Nerys Ghemor, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you very much for reading! It's good to see you around again, and I am very glad you liked this. :)

    And yeah, "chilling" is definitely the word for how it felt when I came up with this thing. If humanity was going to survive, there was NO way the Dominion would leave them to their own devices. They didn't leave the Teplans, the Jem'Hadar, or the Vorta, that's for sure...
     
  2. Dulak

    Dulak Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I never never never read "stream of consciousness" stuff. It just seems so fragmented and anoying to me. But this was so good I forgot about the perspective.

    Well done!
     
  3. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow. That truly is an honor, to know I was able to get someone to step out of their box as a reader. Thank you very much, and I'm glad you liked it.
     
  4. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Finished this last night, and I really enjoyed it.

    It features a very realistic, IMO, scenario of what would have happened if the Dominion had taken over. They're not just overlords, they're insidious. And you look deep into human and Cardassian mentality. As it is, humans are very slow to change, add to that the Graft, and the Dominion would have a very firm hold.

    The breaking of the Graft I found fascinating. It's very realistic- and a method many people use to conquer phobias. And you describe it very well! :) And you gave us an optimistic ending, which is nice! I don't think, with Phase technology, the Borg will stand a chance!

    I do doubt that the Jem'hadar will all die- I think that once that aren't addicted to White are far more common than the Vorta believe.
     
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks so much for reading! :)

    Interesting...I actually think of humans as very quick to change, compared to a lot of Trek species. This is what scared the Dominion so badly that they forced the Graft upon them. The idea of a species that could seemingly change on a whim (part of the very same innovative capacity the Dominion wanted to harness) freaked out the control-obsessed Founders, so they wanted to put humanity on what they THOUGHT would be some kind of leash.

    The narrator and other altered humans never actually broke the Graft, only the indoctrination and fear. They learned how to work with it so it wouldn't paralyze them when they needed to take action.

    Unless they assimilate it, which would be horrifying.

    Perhaps, but I think a LOT of Jem'Hadar would've taken their own lives, too. And I think the Confederation forces would've hunted down any who remained.

    BTW, what is your opinion on this--what ARE the inhabitants of Earth, by the end of the story? What would you call them? And what do you think they should do about the choices they face at the end?
     
  6. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Will reply- I thought of something else I forgot to mention... and then forgot it again... what was it??? grrrrr!!!
     
  7. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, let me know when you find it, or go ahead with the rest! ;)
     
  8. Marie1

    Marie1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'll go on, since whatever I wanted to jabber about will probably only occur to me at 3AM or something equally stupid. Note: TBBS quote feature is being dumb...

    I suppose I'm thinking of humans today- which I find painfully inflexible. But you're right that the adaptiveness of humans and the Federation is seen as unique- and the key to their successes, especially when under attack (even if they fly left and right, not up and down enough... :lol: )



    That's a good point too- but I think that's the point. You may never "get rid" of a phobia, for instance... it's in your head. But you can learn to not be paralyzed with fear over what scares you, function from day to day in spite of it... alone, in the dark, it may come back, but you can still make progress. I know people who kill every spider they see, can't sleep for hours after seeing one, move homes because they've seen one in the yard!! Those are responses that should be fought, at least for the person's well-being, or for the poor spiders! And that is kindof how I see over-coming the graft, looking for other things- the love of family etc. to make you work around it...

    Also true- but a difficult thing to "get their hands on" ;)
    I also love how you worked in phase technology to things other than bombs- such as the matter of the Founders that's also out of phase! Good job!

    That's true- they do tend to commit suicide runs when hope is lost, or kill themselves when Founders die especially. I'm not sure how many would be "hunted down" though, at least not in a genocidal function. They probably would be "cleared" as far as the forces could reach, but given what we've seen onscreen, I estimate thousands would use that opportunity to free themselves with a free conscience.

    Hmmmm... I think that they'll need to get over their guilt, real or imagined- especially those alive who found out what was going on and didn't kill themselves. People tend to plague themselves, and that can hold them back, even if there's nothing they could've done.

    They'll have to be careful, Borg or no, not to allow the graft to exert its power again now that the Dominion has been pushed back, nor must they allow themselves to fracture. They must remain together, find a cure together if possible. I think, since they pulled themselves together, they should fight the urge to consider themselves abominations of any kind, but to realize they're fortunate to be free, and not to have suffered as other AQ species did. And so, moving forward, they must try to help others, better themselves, cultivate friendships, so that they will be stronger.
     
  9. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Whoops!!! I completely missed your reply, Marie...sorry!

    The only difference here is that you don't use a phobia to serve you as in the end they learned to do with the Graft. They actually learned how to reorient themselves so that some of these innate responses could actually be called upon for their benefit instead of their detriment.

    Maybe, but if they found a generator not in use...trouble could ensue.

    I admit I got the idea and altered it a little bit, from the Animorphs series, but it seemed that if there wasn't something going on, then some of the things we saw Odo and other shapeshifters do would be impossible due to all that mass.

    I don't know that enough of them would be capable of that to survive. But only one generation would live, anyway, given that without cloning facilities, and only one gender, there would be no way to continue the species.

    Those are problems that the older generation will definitely have--the narrator himself is about 85 or so at the end.

    I have a feeling, again, that most of the older generation will be pro-cure, though some of them will have reservations about it because of the younger generations. Two generations have been born since the Graft, and how they see themselves will be critical. Will the younger people see themselves as having had their humanity taken from them before they were even born--or will they be comfortable as who and what they were born to be, and see an attempt at a cure as taking their familiar selves away? Remember that even how they have related to their closest family and friends is in part affected by the Graft.

    They also have a closeness with the Cardassians, a cultural kinship that definitely didn't exist before. Even the narrator, who is pretty much pro-cure, uses the term "cousin" for them, a usage I suspect started with the younger generations and worked its way up.

    But the big question becomes, what if the sons and daughters of humanity are not in agreement on whether or not they want to be cured?
     
  10. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Anyone else get a Fatherland vibe? :shifty:

    But really, really enjoyable. The Big Idea is especially cool, and something that never occurred to me--that the Founders could, and would, use their obvious mastery of genetic engineering and biological warfare to create more pliable subject peoples.*

    That said, I think I might disagree with the moral-philosophical premise--that humans aren't pack animals and easy to control with a tasty carrot and a suitably large stick. I think that history has shown that, very often, we are. :(

    Anyway, I still liked it a lot, and the divide between young and old lends itself pretty clearly to a sequel too. ;)

    *It's especially amazing that it didn't occur to me because I did something pretty similar in something not yet posted; it's surgical instead of genetic, but the basic idea is much the same--the Dominion is a cold conqueror, but one that prefers to preserve its resources by stopping short of nonlethal force when it can. (Indeed, I think this is why the genocidal tantrum of WYLB works so well--it's a little surprising and out of character for the Dominion.)
     
  11. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for reading! :)

    I wouldn't necessarily say genocide is out of character for the Dominion--what they did to the Teplan people would have ended up becoming genocide if the Federation hadn't intervened with a cure. But, I do think that they would rather put a subject race under their feet than destroy them entirely.

    While humans CAN be pack animals to an extent, when you look at the way aliens are portrayed in the Trekiverse, humans do seem "volatile" when compared to some of the other races, in terms of being unpredictable...in a lot of ways, Bajorans are the closest comparison. The unpredictability is what freaked out the Dominion, as is the human hatred of conquest (whereas, say, the pacifist Mizarians have never resisted when their world is conquered). Humanity likely would've become either suicidally rebellious, or done something like what they actually did, just sooner. So, the Dominion THOUGHT they could pacify humanity this way.

    What's been introduced to the human race, through the Graft, goes to a higher level than humanity's normal social instincts as we know them. It is true that modern humans are vulnerable to groupthink, bystander effect, and other such things.

    But in comparison, an unaltered human might seem to have something like Asperger's Syndrome, to someone who DID have the Graft--to be missing another level of tone, body language, and hierarchical instinct that goes beyond standard humanity. (And that's another reason I think you might get resistance from the young, when it comes to "curing" themselves: it might feel like blinding themselves. To the older people, while their reconfigured brains can handle the input from a physical standpoint, most of them do not want it. Some might choose not to accept a cure, though, if their children won't.)
     
  12. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're always welcome, of course. Your stuff is usually the best around.

    I don't wanna say they aren't easily spurred to genocide, but WYLB felt out of character because it felt less like a cold, methodical extermination done for a reason, than a psychological breakdown on the part of a Founder on death's door. But that's just my interpretation.

    Hey, it sorta worked. :p

    If it weren't for the Borg and the need for human inspiration, and hence a need for humans in sensitive industrial compounds, it might have worked totally. In a way, the Borg saved humanity. That's gotta be awkward.

    Yep. I'd suspect humanity, born or raised post-Graft, would be in this for the long haul.
     
  13. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Humanity may well have been exterminated if not for the Borg threat, definitely. Keeping humanity around was almost like keeping a pit bull, in the Dominion's minds: needed because an even stronger enemy was out there, but could turn on them with even the slightest "owner" mistreatment, hence the need for what they thought would keep humanity just peaceful enough.

    But now, without the Dominion, the Confederation (which as you might expect, encompasses areas both formerly of the Federation AND of the Cardassian Union--and adds yet another layer of complication to the Graft issue) has to hope the war with 8472 keeps going and that neither combatant turns on them next.

    About the industrial complexes...the Maricopa Research Center--and many other places like it throughout the Dominion's human-colonized holdings--was a place I see as very much like the place where the Manhattan Project was. I had actually debated using White Sands, too, or maybe even Trinity, but it seemed like that would yank people right out of the story.

    Even if humans hadn't had access to industrial facilities...I still suspect rebellion would have eventually come, just as it did for the Cardassians in the prime universe--and that arrogance would eventually end up being the Dominion's downfall.

    I really am not sure about the fate of humanity (Cardassiohumanity?) after this story. I just think there's no way it would be a cut-and-dried answer.
     
  14. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, that reminds me, that was a minor issue with the story--Cardassians still given a place in the Dominion hierarchy. It always seemed to me that the CU was permitted to maintain its own ships and government and such only as transition, and only so long as it was useful to the Dominion. It was necessary once contact with the greater Dominion in the GQ was cut off, but a Cardassian military and subsidiary leadership role always appeared to be a stop-gap, until such time as the war was over and contact restored.

    Maybe with victory and such their estimation of the worth of Cardassians went up. I mean, they did promise the CU the Alpha Quadrant, I just always sort of assumed they were lying.

    I dunno, I think it could've worked.

    "We post-Graft types prefer 'Humanassian,' thank you very much."

    :p
     
  15. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In my story, the Dominion mistakenly thought that by patting the Cardassians on the head and saying "good dog," they'd keep them happy and willing to serve the Dominion forever--give them an illusion of SOMETHING that belongs to them, and they'll be loyal pets forever. Letting the Cardassians think they were above humanity on the hierarchy preserved that illusion while keeping them still in a subordinate position. The Cardassians didn't get the Alpha Quadrant so much as they got humanity to look after (under close Dominion supervision, of course).

    The Dominion just didn't count on what it would mean to make the two races so similar in manner. Remember what I said about how an unaltered human would look to one who had the Graft? That's how humanity had always looked to the Cardassians pre-war. Some of Garak's comments about the way Bashir looked at the world seemed to hint in that direction. When the two species started to deal with each other after the alteration, I think the feeling would've been a really strange one, like seeing yourself in entirely different skin. The Dominion never really thought through the potential effects of that unseen kinship.

    Bad!!! :p :rommie:
     

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