Date: 24 Nov 2011 15:55 Title: Worth Saving
And ... the link is established ... and deepens.
I gotta say, I can see where O'Riordan is coming from. It has got to look strange. And, truly, why would someone do this? Saratt is right when he notes that he's an alien, from a species that wasn't well-trusted, he's mutilated, etc. and then Ardema goes and mutilates herself for the chance (which was never guaranteed) of communication and, perhaps, rescue (also not guaranteed).
This is not just above and beyond. This is nuts. Exploration is one thing, but few of us would sacrifice our own selves, particularly for someone who we had barely just met.
The connection is turning into, perhaps, what Ardema really wants - and it seems to be that she is looking for a kind of soul connection. Whether that is a type of love or something else, it's hard to say, but love is the only thing that, to me, makes any sense at all. But it's a true stretch to think of love so quickly, and with someone who really was not able to show of himself at all. Even people who fall in "love at first sight" tend to reinforce that with their beloved's actions. Otherwise, it's just an infatuation. So, is this a reinforcement that's going on?
I am also curious as to why these are several stories, versus chapters of one larger one.
There is a larger story that I am working on as well; these short stories set up the scenario in the larger one that deals with the fallout.
About Ardema's act. You are right that it is irrational. And that it walks the fine line between irrational and insane.
I think that Saratt is able to perceive through his connection, and through watching her, that she is not insane, though he is very sure that this is irrational. I think he could've forced a disconnection if he thought it were the latter. (He alludes to the ability to do so at one point.) At the same time, he, much more than Ardema, is able to perceive both layers of what's going on--the internal "avatar world," and the external world where their physical bodies are, and that possibly in two ways (both with his eyes and with any cameras on the bridge). So he definitely understands what O'Riordan is seeing.
As to why she did this--I would note that she was able to see something of who he was after seeing the stark difference between Saratt's and Bantal's ways of treating the away team. I would not say that there is any romantic attraction there, though. I'm also not sure she anticipatied the depth of connection that the link would afford them.
There is another motive in play as well, one that you would get to see when I go into the larger story (which will be a bit before I'm ready to post it). But here are two questions for you to ponder: why would a soldier throw himself in the path of a bullet or an IED for a civilian he or she does not know? Or why would a monk, nun, or doctor stay behind in a city being destroyed by a plague that has no cure, to treat victims he or she does not know, while running the risk of death because of that action?
Date: 24 Nov 2011 14:46 Title: Worth Saving
He still can see everything through his artistic eyes--the colours, the aesthetic values, the shapes...everything filtered through his soul of a painter.
And that terrible admission how he tried to end all that and kill himself; he failed and now he blames himself for the deaths of the others...while he would keep on living :( That's horrible on so many levels :(
After she connects, he starts to discover how helpless she is and how limited the power over her own body is. She can't see, she can't hear...but she still can smile. He became so protective of her, so caring.
And it's so important for him how she sees him!
I think that the fact that he does still see everything as an artist is painful to him. A whole other level of torment to discover that.
And yes, that moment where he feared everyone else would die and he would "live" forever was one of the hardest things in this story for me to write.
In a lot of ways--at least in the "avatar world," their situations are reversed. I think that in part because Saratt himself knows what it is to be completely helpless, he knows what she is feeling. Not only can she not hear or see, she can barely move or speak independently either. He feels responsible for her, and there's no doubt he recognizes the enormity of what she's done--that she has placed her life in his hands. He is treating her the way he wants to be treated.
And you're also right, I think, that it means a lot to him to be valued. To be seen as a living being with feelings rather than a machine or "just" a torture victim.