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Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 23 Nov 2011 13:31 Title: Being Before Seeming

Even though I understand - I think - what you are doing here, it's difficult to articulate it. In a way, it's a shared consciousness. I do that with shared dreaming in a lot of my own writing, but not to this extent.

In some ways, Ardema is a bit of a puppet, even if she is a willing one. Her thoughts, her mind, her actions, such as they are, are only possible via a type of control. In some ways, it would make more sense if these two people loved each other, and I suppose they now do, a bit, already.

Several years ago, I recall, I tried to write a story about a woman in a coma from her perspective. And I ended up abandoning that project, but that is the sense here, evven though, technically, Ardema isn't comatose.

I'm also reminded of a story - new Twilight Zone? Ray Bradbury? Something else? I'm unsure - where the protagonist is showing all of the hallmarks of death except that breathing is extremely shallow and the breaths are very far apart, and the pulse and heartbeat are very faint. That guy was fighting, in any way he could, to not be buried alive. It's a similar vibe, and in the main story, Bantal is fried, so it's pretty obvious that he has died. But what happens if one of these so-afflicted persons (I'm grasping at straws as to what to call their condition) "dies" in some other way? It would take rather sensitive equipment to be absolutely certain that death had occurred.

The story also reminds me a bit of the Bynars, where the consciousness exists in tandem, with a computer linkup. Is that the fate of what may be, perhaps, now termed as the Saratt-Ardema entity?

Author's Response:

Unlike the mind-meld attempt in the canon story (which would've taken place within minutes of the time that Ardema arrived in the AU), I can at least say that the two of them do have independent thoughts.  That much has remained intact, so they are still two separate beings, albeit with a high-bandwidth connection between them.  I don't see a loss of their senses of self happening.

Coherent speech that others can hear, though, is definitely a collaborative effort, though after the words are passed to her it is her choice to repeat them.

I'll actually be posting a fic tonight that may shed a little more light on what's going on in this scene.

You are right that this connection is proving to be emotionally very powerful, in addition to giving Saratt a far better way to communicate than what he had until this point.  I don't think Ardema fully realized the extent to which she would have to trust her life to Saratt in this process, but she is, and in a way she has surrendered herself to him.

But it seems she had a sense that he was worthy of that trust. :-)

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Nov 2011 05:35 Title: Being Before Seeming

I felt like she was in fog--she knows something is happening around her, there are people and they are saying something, there is the whole world outside, but it all is hidden behind something that cannot be touched, smelled or described, but it is there, effectively separating her from everything. And only the presence that is her connection with the reality helps her function and do what she wants to do and what she entered the fog for. In a way, he is her connection with the reality hidden in the fog, but so is she. She helps him to contact and pass his words to everyone in the fog, too.

I can only imagine chaos and near panic when everyone outside of that virtual world realised what she'd done. O'Riordan wants to make sure no harm is happening to Ardema, so she asks question even if they could be offensive to Saratt. She cares about her crewmember and doesn't care if she is impolite. That care, though, also shows that she suspects her patient--an immobilised, suffering man--of harmful intentions and doing to someone else what's been done to him. Where's compassion? Isn't she a doctor? Should she care about both of them?

Very kind. For Saratt these world are so important. I guess they made him try even harder to help her and support her, as if he should live up to those words, keep proving that this judgement is correct and make sure he remains kind...because that what he is.

Author's Response:

It wasn't long after she entered the link that she became completely unable to perceive the outside world.  I suspect her mind couldn't cope with that much sensory input, especially with how overwhelming the flow of data from the computer is.

And you're right...Saratt is the one anchor she has in that world.  There is an odd kind of equality in the link.  She is the dependent one here, even though she has come to save him.  It will take both of them to do this.

What O'Riordan did here was absolutely nasty.  It's fortunate that Saratt turned out to be much calmer about that than Ardema was able to be, enough that he could help her (Ardema) to calm down.  Ardema knows that's not true; she can feel that so deeply!

As for the final words of the was very important for Ardema to say that.  Not just to convince her crewmates in the outside world to let her continue, but because when you get down to it, it was that sense of Saratt's kindness that made her believe she could trust him in the first place.  Part of what gave her the courage to do this.  And now the way that he, who is helpless in the outside world, has stepped up to the plate to care for the life that she has placed in his hands, it means so much to her to make sure everyone else knows that.

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