Date: 27 May 2013 16:20 Title: Chapter 6
While the B-side plot seemed rather irrelevant, again ala DS9 style, it was a clever move to wrap it up with the A-plot. That was a clever resolution device!
As for Bashir being let off the hook, well he had to for the sake of plot continuity so I'm not really complaining. But I find it telling that Bashir convinces himself he made the right course of action after that conversation with Sisko. It was Bashir's way of burying the ambiguity to the righteousness of his actions, so there is a lot of psychological insight in that small scene alone.
All in all this story got over some important moral quandaries and it was clear that what the parents did was wrong. There is no other way of seeing it from the human point of view, but you were clever enough to balance that with respecting other cultures and believes no matter how much they conflict with our own sense of values.
Ultimately Bajor is not part of the Federation and so subject to its laws, so while Sisko may have morally made the wrong decision, in a legal sense and cultural sense he made the correct one. But such a decision merely delays the inevitable, the inevitable being when such a situation arises after Bajor has become a member of the Federation. Would Sisko's decision still hold under those circumstances?
For a story less than ten thousand words, there is a lot to think about from a cultural, spiritual, legal and moral position so this is a very well put-together story which addresses such sensitive issues. And to you credit you did address both sides fairly and didn't skew who was right or wrong to anyone particular side. You let the reader make that choice so that takes some skill getting rid of any bias.
The dialogue and characterization was nearly flawless (apart from Aron's lass line of dialogue were he was gleeful for some reason, that confused me if Aron is going to lose his parents why would he be gleeful?) and this could be a DS9 episode since the story was so on it.
To conclude I give this story four and a half stars out of five for being such a great little gem and for throwing in so much with less than ten thousand words, and yet there is a story which does not feel rushed. Condensed less but it does not detract from its effectiveness. I would have given five stars but the B-side was a filler, but I'll let you off the hook for mimicking DS9's episode format!
A great read!
Author's Response: Glad you enjoyed the whole story. The B-plot may have seemed irrelevant, but the two stories did sort of tie in the end. Kira made a bold move that paid off, while Bashir not so much. I thought I made the point that Bashir worried for Aron that he did not know his long term fate, but seems I didn't (a lot of these decisions regarding custody of a child are made without that child's input).
Date: 27 May 2013 16:04 Title: Chapter 5
I knew Bashir was going to do that, and he's doing so for his own beliefs and it's rather symbolic. This clash of beliefs for determining the fate of Aron's life, and Crag and Katalia shunning Aron was just as I feared.
And right now I'm on Bashir's side here, I do not understand Crag's and Katalia's reaction, even if it was in accordance with their beliefs. I like to consider this with an open mind but it's totally irrational what Crag and Katalia did and a Bajoran sect with a covenant of such irrational restrictions is messed up.
So did Bashir do any Aron any favours? I'm not sure, it is either a life cut short or being abandoned by his parents. If this were in a Federation world there wouldn't be this problem, and if I were in commander Sisko's position I would have ordered that Aron receive treatment. But it's not a Federation world so -- and taking Sisko's position here -- I would have no choice but to side with the parents which is rather galling. But the Federation has no authority over Bajor, so...
Now that is one great morality tale, the sort which really provides some emotional stakes for the reader and makes them decide what they would do, and while there is no happy outcome for Aron. It is a realistic outcome and very much in keeping with DS9.
On a different note I take it those escape pods were temporary buffers used to absorb some of the Breen's torpedoes while Kira took some potshots at those Breen raiders?
Date: 27 May 2013 15:46 Title: Chapter 4
“Just remember some advice Curzon once gave you. That sure is people who have absolutely nothing to lose. You and I just make a decision and get on with life.”
A word or a couple of words are missing here and that makes it harder to work out the significance of what Jadzia told Sisko, but it's only a little bone I've got to pick with you.
The thing I'm surprised about is that Sisko didn't consider his role as Emissary. He could so easily decree that this is the will of the Prophets that Bajorans can be injected with foreign bodies, in this case blood transfusions. He could so easily do that, though I see why not as it would cause some serious consternation amongst this sect, but surely they would follow the words of the Emissary? But this being season 1 Sisko, I can see why he has not considered this.
Though since Aron's parents, Crag and Katalia, do not refer to Sisko as the Emissary -- as Sisko himself realised -- perhaps the words of the Emissary have less sway over this Bajoran sect?
Author's Response: I guess then, it should say, "Being sure/certain is people with nothing to lose". It's another reminder of how making a decision is easy with nothing on the line, but the real challenge is making decision when the potential gains and losses are considerable. As for Sisko's role as Emissary, this was at a time when he didn't entirely embrace the role and when it had far less significance to the series as a whole. At this time, it's more understandable that some Bajorans would be skeptical of the idea of their Prophets appointing an alien Emissary.
Date: 27 May 2013 15:24 Title: Chapter 3
Clever Bashir giving Aron that egg, since his parent's sect values life then giving Aron something which once had the potential to bear life is a very smooth move indeed. Also -- I forget about when reviewing the second chapter -- but I was astounded to read in the second chapter that this sect refused to fight off the Cardassians. That is truly remarkable and shows just how hardcore this sect's beliefs are, in a time when many Bajorans were casting away their D'jarras, this sect were clinging on ever more firmly to their believes. Thought-provoking stuff indeed!
All the moral complexities of saving Aron's life is classic Star Trek material, but you -- following DS9's example -- made it even more complicated and I like this moral maze which you have created. Though I get the feeling that if Bashir goes through with this and performs the blood infusions upon Aron, then Aron's parents may just reject their son because Bashir broke the sect's covenant; or the parents did by not stopping Bashir from performing the blood transfusions. So the question is this; will Aron's parents be that cold-hearted?
Great story by the way, and you are developing a knack for examining morality and spirituality!
Author's Response: I was actually thinking back to the off-world refugee camps featured on TNG. Where did they originate? Were they off-worlds colonies forced to fend for themselves once Bajor was annexed, did many choose to leave rather than fight the Cardassians, or was it a little of both?
Date: 27 May 2013 15:06 Title: Chapter 2
Already this sect the Bajoran parents belong to is getting me thinking. I mean they refuse to have foreign bodies injected into themselves and their son. But what about drugs? Aren't the drugs being used to treat the boy a foreign body of sorts? Classic Star Trek right there and already to have this much food for thought so early on is really great! So this story of yours is already shaping up very nicely!
Finally it is nice to see Bashir's counterpart doctor Girani been given some lines and character development! I didn't know her name but I do remember that Bajoran woman being a part of Bashir's staff from season 1 and onwards. So it is a nice touch!
Author's Response: As the opening notes indicated, some of the plot points were derived from an episode of Grey's Anatomy where one of the patients was a Jehovah's Witness. They believe that one's blood is akin to a distinctive life-giving force and another person's blood would contaminate that life force. The Bajoran doctor in this story is the one repeatedly referenced in a Season 7 episode, and is not the same person as the Bajoran nurse from Seasons 1 through 3. And she sure does speak to how diverse a people the Bajorans are, which strays from Trek's tendencies to portray non-humans as monolithic races.
Date: 27 May 2013 14:53 Title: Chapter 1
Ah God bless Deep Space Nine! This feels like a DS9 episode, the Bajoran parents who refuse to accept blood donations to save their son because of their covenant, and the young Major Kira -- ill-suited to a bureaucratic job -- looking for a bit of action. The dialogue is spot on and Bashir, Kira and Sisko feel perfectly in season 1 character! So a real treat this story is going to be!
Author's Response: Thanks for commenting. Glad to know the opening is in keeping with Season of DS9.
Date: 17 May 2013 13:20 Title: Chapter 6
And so ends a good story. Bashir's ethically dilemma is classic Trek at its finest, exploring a deep and confusing issue through a futuristic setting. Bashir's characterization was spot on throughout as was season one DS9's crew. Before they all became weighed down by war and paranoia, this crew was one that was young.
It was good to see the ending here as Sisko let Bashir go this time. Sisko's observation was a true one and I'm glad to see Bashir isn't beating himself too much about it. A very episode-esque story and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Author's Response: Glad you enjoyed, TF. I thought this story idea made for a nice examination of how some of the DS9 characters were in the beginning of the series, as well as an addressing one of the overarching themes of Babylon 5--that there are certain actions that are always morally right, yet they too often get bogged down by what's considered politically convenient--as well common Star Trek dilemma of deciding when the good of one person is more important than the good of the many.
Date: 17 May 2013 13:16 Title: Chapter 5
I thought, just for a moment, that Bashir was going to let the boy die. He seemed to be ready to let him go but he rode into action as I knew he would. He did a good thing and I completely agree that he did the right thing. Letting the child die for the sake of beliefs when there is treatment to save them is wrong ... again, this goes back to a larger issue with the Federation in general where the Prime Directive so often gets in the way of things like saving an entire people when they have the power to do so.
Sisko ripped into him good but he didn't seem too broken up about it. As he admitted before, he would have signed off on the treatment if not for other concerns. Bashir did what Sisko could not. It's sad to see Aron get rejected as he was but the boy seemed to take it well ... I hope he goes on to have a full life.
Kira chimes in here with her little plot, and acts in typical season one Kira fashion-a bit rash and a bit brash, but ultimately succeeding due to her experiences.
Author's Response: Yeah, it was a risky decision Kira made, and one she's probably had to make many times in the Underground, of keeping civilians out of the line of fire without regard for her own welfare and safety.
Date: 17 May 2013 13:03 Title: Chapter 4
Oh, this is a tough pill to swallow for poor Bashir. Sisko's internal debate and thought processes on this decision are spot on. Often in Trek we get commanding officers who face decisions like this and must weigh the pros and cons. Sisko, in this case, has a very big con here and that's the relationship with Bajor. As the CO of the station he is charged with fostering that relationship, not harming it up.
The parents seem dead-set on sacrificing their child to prove a point about their religious beliefs. It doesn't seem they're there to get help at all but rather to use the station/crew to further their agenda ... I find myself hoping Bashir says "to hell with it" and saves the boy. The child doesn't need to be made into a statement.
Date: 17 May 2013 12:53 Title: Chapter 3
Oh, Julian. You have season 1 Bashir down to a T. His reactions and thought processes are both in line with what he was in the series at that time. I love how in the medical ward he seemed to give the parents religious beliefs a bit of a boost by giving the boy the egg to care for. It was a nice way of showing them that he didn't hold a grudge and that he respected their beliefs.
But once the treatment showed itself as ineffective as Julian knew it would be, his impatience got the better of him. He should have let it play out a little longer, worked them a little more, but he jumped down their throats. I can't blame him as that type of thing just seems so dumb, but the way you portrayed it was how I imagine it would have gone down.
It was nice to see Kira pop back in here and see her thoughts on things ... it seems her end of the episode (this reads very much like a DS9) is the "B" plot.
Bashir and Dax and Quark in the bar was a good scene. The three played well off one another and Dax and Bashir's last exchange reminded me of Kirk and Spock a bit ... it looks like Bashir is going to be using some "cowboy diplomacy" as it comes to the boy.
Author's Response: I thought the scene in the bar was one the best in the story with Quark chiming in on the situation. He often threw his two cents in giving the ultra-conservative point of view. Quark's take is similar the libertarian stance on the recent health-care reform issue and on poverty in general--that being impoverished is a lifestyle choice rather than some people getting the short end of the stick.
Date: 17 May 2013 12:31 Title: Chapter 2
Oh, Bashir, you and I are thinking exactly the same thing friend. But I fear he's playing a dangerous game ... as his assistant point out, the treatment is only going to keep the boy alive for a few weeks more and it won't heal him. Bashir is betting on his ability to convince the parents to save the boy's life, but what if they don't?
A hugely ethically challenging dilemma and one that is very much in the vein of the best of Trek. Bashir is written well here, that young season 1 arrogance here and accounted for. His thoughts on the matter ring true to the character, and the chiming in from the rest of Ops is nice, though ultimately unhelpful for him. Sisko will make a pitch too, but I fear this will be all for naught.
This looks to be a good read. Continuing on.
Date: 17 May 2013 11:57 Title: Chapter 1
Well, this is certainly setting up very much like an early DS9 episode. Bashir and co. are treating a little boy and he does seem very brave. His parents, on the other hand, bug me to no end. I'm with Bashir here ... if you're looking to help your child and coming to him, why reject his method of treatment? Bashir's frustration is palatable.
Very much like Kira's, who obviously has a case of cabin fever. She wants to be in the action and doing something. Kira, over the course of Ds9, grew to understand the role of patience in a command position but here she is still very much the solider that was fighting against the Cardassians. Her method of getting Sisko to let her out was amusing. I'm glad Sisko saw through it too, as it was pretty obvious she was guilt tripping him.
Moving on to the next chapter.