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Reviewer: Gibraltar Signed [Report This]
Date: 09 Aug 2009 01:38 Title: Exercise Four - What Did He Give You Cass?

Ah, I'd wondered what the ultimate fate of Jean-Luc Picard had been in your universe, and though you don't give us all the details, I can guess that it was some manner of very long-range exploration or diplomatic mission.

What a difference from the early, sentimental Cassidy Riker to the cold, nearly mechanical Thraiin commander she has become.

A brief but touching and troubling segment.  Thank you.

Author's Response: I have to giggle. I sent Jean-Luc on a 30-40 year mission at the age of 95. And like Bill says - how Picard can you get? :D It's so far 'out there' as a matter of fact that it takes 3 1/2 years to get messages to him and 3 1/2 to get one back as the ship he's on didn't have enough room to take on the subspace relays required to make communication any faster. I wrote that it would take him ten years just to reach his destination to undertake a 10-20 study with Daystrom's gang and 10 years to come home. If he lives that long. :)

Reviewer: Gibraltar Signed [Report This]
Date: 08 Aug 2009 23:25 Title: Psych Clearance

Who know Carebears could be so damn stubborn? ;)  Well, he got to what he was after, and he only had to make her relive the experience to do it. 

Question: Is this a segment of a larger story?  How'd these guys get aboard the ship, and where is Security and the rest of the crew?  So many questions!

Terrific segment.

Author's Response: HA! There's an underground joke that the authors that created the species that Huilan is a member of designed him to look like Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. :) This segment is a work-out of "flashback" scene I might be using in Book Three. It refers to a "flashback" scene already done in Book Two in which the Tolradian pirates were able to board the vessel while the shields were down. As they're a low-grav species, they used a device to knock out the art-grav in the Titan and then enter the bridge where they reset the gravity on the bridge to their lower levels. The rest of the ship is floating in zero-g. In the scene Riker and crew were able to lock out the computers before the pirates (slave and tech merchants) could reach them and they held Deanna in the Obs lounge and beat Riker on the bridge in order to get the codes. Tuvok, Beth and a few others, including Melora were away from the ship making a run to the nearby alien starbase. (This occurs while the Titan is exploring in the Gum Nebula.) Only Bill and Cassidy were kids on board. Security was there, but were in involved in altercations around the ship. The Security Chief Ranul Keru makes it to the bridge just as Cassidy does - except she's a hair faster. Lt. Reet - the Cardassian helmsman and the kids first babysitter - is killed on the bridge. The scene was written from Bill's POV and is referred to the day "when everything changed" for Cassidy. And it does. It's from this point on Cassidy's sweet nature never really reappears.

Reviewer: Gibraltar Signed [Report This]
Date: 08 Aug 2009 22:44 Title: Exercise Five - She Can Do What?

Wickedly smart kid, as are all the Riker offspring.  This was a wonderful look into the talents and mindset that will prove both blessing and curse to Cassidy in the years ahead.

Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 07 Aug 2009 23:00 Title: The Reception

Well, I'm glad to see that at least to her mother she's willing to defend Cassidy.  The one problem I see here is this...Cassidy has no idea of how her mother is going to bat for her.  I know family unity is an important thing, but I really think when one's child is being mistreated by relatives, that's the time where you might have to throw that unity out the window.

But sadly, it seems like the whole family has issues...if the siblings are at each other's throats that badly, something is VERY wrong.

For thing I wish she could have learned, that a certain person would have tried to teach her--you can't change others' attitudes towards you.  But you win not by reacting in spite, but by being a better person, and not letting anger rule her as it rules the sorts of people who act cruelly towards her.

Author's Response: Exactly. Cassidy has serious trust issues. Like I've said she see things with a much harsher black & white mentality. She rarely if ever sees things with any amount of gray. To her and her own scale, people are either right or they're wrong - there is no in between. And forgiveness is not a part of the bargain. I'm not saying that Cassidy is incapable of forgiveness, no, but she doesn't dole it out more than once. If a person crosses the line MORE THAN ONCE, forgiveness is impossible to obtain from her and unfortunately for Deanna - that's what happened. Deanna's a wonderful mother - not unlike any mother I know who gives birth to a child with a genetic disability - she would do ANYTHING to cure her child. It's just that in this case, Cassidy doesn't want treatment, never did. It all arose from an acquaintance of mine who was born with a physical disability, his arm was born stunted, he had a small set of fingers at his shoulder. He told me a story that he and his parents, his mother especially, weren't talking as during his adolescence, she kept taking him to docs to see if prostheses would work - and he NEVER wanted one because he had already learned how to live with his condition. He taught himself to drive, despite the fact his mother believed he'd never be able to. It's not that she was wrong for wanting her son to be cured, but HE never saw his condition as a disability and hated the fact that his mother did. This was the inspiration for the conflict between Cassidy and Deanna. A scientist and a mother, Deanna she sees Cassidy's condition as a disease that needs to be treated - Cassidy could rightly give a crap.

Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 07 Aug 2009 16:53 Title: Melora

Oh, my...that WAS very nasty of her uncle Gavin!  And it really shows that intolerance can exist (and perhaps even in the boldest forms) in cultures that like to claim they're perfectly open and tolerant.  I wonder if things like this were in the back of my head when I had a Betazoid do something nasty in one of my own drabbles.

I like what Melora says, "Since when is Betazed your home?"  I just have to wonder, though, if perhaps in later years Cassidy twisted that around in her head to justify unleashing her anger on her mother and the Federation in general.

The description also adds further to my disrespect for Lwaxana Troi.  Her intolerance, sadly, is no surprise at all.

And one point I'm curious what extent did Deanna go to bat on Cassidy's behalf, when her mother got ugly with Cassidy?

Author's Response: Read the partial scene I just posted - Reception

Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Jun 2009 22:49 Title: Exercise Three - A Discussion About Anthek

Man, that had to be REALLY heartbreaking learning why Lwaxana was behaving like that.  Sadly, the fact that Lwaxana WOULD be rude to Cassidy--or at least, cold to her compared to the way she was towards everyone else--is not surprising.  I mean, Lwaxana is not the nicest of people, in my opinion.

You know, though...I find myself wondering if she spent any time with Ensign Reet, like Beth did.  Somehow I have to think that would be relaxing being around a person who can't read her, and is nearly unreadable to telepaths as well.  (At least in my story, you'd get a sense of presence, but nothing else.)  No unfair expectations on her, basically.  Too bad he couldn't have helped her. :-(

Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Jun 2009 22:46 Title: Exercise Five - She Can Do What?

That's a pretty interesting talent to have, indeed!  I'm curious to know, do you have any idea how it came about?

I'm glad, though, to see that at this age, she still seems interested in the idea of showing her mother her abilities.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 24 Jun 2009 10:07 Title: Exercise One - Diagnosis

Gosh oh. Just by chance I clicked into this, I'm waiting for the summer to really get stuck in with your fisrt book. But something niggled at my mind and so here I am. Glad that i did. That was a very thoughtful and provocotive piece. This Outsider syndrome really does shape up to be a particular problem for the patient. I can see why Deanna is so devastated, knowing the difficulties the child will face and indeed her own lack of a connection with her child.

I pity Riker, and it wouldn't be often that I would do that, but he seems genuinely at sea in terms of how much this will affect his daughter. It speaks of the diversity in the species and also though Will's lack of true understanding. Perhaps if he thought if it in terms of his Imazadi he might better understand the absence of the connection Deanna and the doctor speak of.

Anyway, this has wetted my appetite and I can wait for the opportunity to get stuck into the stories.

Have to say I am impressed at the fact this is an exercise for Book Three. It bespeaks of your thoroughness and care for the subject matters and characters of your story. Kudos to that. It is something to proud of. This exercise was a joy to read for the examination of a difficult topic and situation for the Riker/Troi relationship. Nicely done.

Reviewer: Gibraltar Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2009 23:47 Title: Exercise Three - A Discussion About Anthek

A more in-depth look at how even a 6-year old Cass has noticed how Lwaxana treats her.  People never give little kids enough credit, they're very intuitive. 

This was a wonderful moment between father and daughter, even if both the subjects of Lwaxana and Anthek/Shinzon were painful ones for both of them to discuss.  These are the kinds of moments life is made from, the ones that stick with people over time.

A very nice read, thank you.

Reviewer: Gibraltar Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2009 17:42 Title: Exercise Two - The Meeting

Cassidy, usually the black-sheep of the Riker family, really gets a chance to shine here.  Her linguistic abilities and mental 'shields' are doubtless both equally fascinating to Pomalek.

I also very much liked Cass' brief reflection on her contentious relationship with her grandmother.  No doubt, Lwaxana has an affinity for Beth.

Great stuff.

Author's Response: Thanks Sam. Lwaxana's relationship with Cassidy is heartwrenching. She knows she doesn't treat Cass the same but just can't seem to shake that innate fear of being around someone she can't read. Cassidy loathes her for her seeming weakness. And you're right, Beth loves her grandmother very much.

Reviewer: Gibraltar Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Jun 2009 14:48 Title: Exercise One - Diagnosis

Okay... I finally get it.  You'd alluded to Deanna's rift with Cassidy in flasbacks in your future Heritage story, and though I got the gist that Cass' non-telepathic nature troubled her mother greatly, I didn't understand the depth of Deanna's concern.

Obviously, reading this I was right there with Will, scratching my head and wondering, "Yeah, okay, so what?"  Ree and especially Tuvok's explanations helped to underscore the trauma this disabiility creates not only for the child but for the larger telepathic society surrounding him or her.  

And the fact that Deanna's not just being petty about it, that's it's how she was designed to communicate, gives her issues greater depth and erases much of my earlier irritation with the character in regards to her actions regarding Cassidy.

Very well done and terrifically informative.  Thank you.

Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 13 Mar 2009 12:41 Title: Exercise One - Diagnosis

Thank you so much for posting this in-depth information!  So, if I understand correctly, the Betazoid psyche relies on the connection to others' emotions in order to function?  When their talents emerge at puberty, do you envision a sort of additional bond forming between the child and those who support him/her during the emergence of those gifts?  Is that a requirement for Betazoids to be psychologically balanced?

The distrust issue I definitely understand.  That's something I plan to work with as well in my own story: we've seen evidence that Cardassians are able to shut out other minds to an extraordinary extent--I mean, Gul Dukat (who was far from a truly stable individual, IMHO) actually blocked a Vulcan mind-meld, which is something I'm not sure I ever saw anyone else pull off.  So, I'd figure telepaths can't sense Cardassian emotions, though it's possible they might get a minimal read on their presence (still not sure).

But that seems to me that especially in a case where this sort of shielding is unintentional, it's incumbent upon other telepaths--especially Deanna--to do what is right and perhaps themselves seek counseling...not place all of the burden on the "defective" child.  I haven't read a lot of your work yet, but it seems a worrisome sign in this story that while Deanna seems to be thinking a lot about the difficulties Cassidy will have, she doesn't seem to be taking into account her own difficulties and the attitudes or prejudices she'll have to overcome.  Will that come with time, or will this omission extend later into the story?

Author's Response: Giggle - yes! 1) In book two I address the bond that forms with the twins and Deanna when their empathic abilities emerge. (Bk II is 1/2 way done) 2) I understand that Betazoids can't read species with muliple lobes (more than 2) like Ferengi or Uriall and that Cardassians have to train themselves to block the mental invasion - so you are correct in that at least those high up in the Cardassian military would definitely have that training. 3) Don't worry - Deanna does seek counseling and she attends the support group. There isn't anything (IMHO) that she doesn't try to make things right and she does it in the right way...It's Cassidy who's the problem there. This is a very complex tale and much more will be revealed about Cassidy and her reasons for her Book three of course. :) But rest assured - Deanna is NOT at fault. :)

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