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the other day, i described to a friend how azila's neurological symptoms worsening over time despite the administration of high-dose medication and other aggressive treatments, and her overall condition continued to deteriorate.

friend: ... but the operating system needed to be reinstalled.

for the record, the post-separation syndrome included, in no particular order: minor seizures; hypersensitivity due to lowered sensory thresholds, which produced considerable pain; disequilibrium; what we call "brain zaps" - the sensation of a momentary contraction or blackout in the brain, or a constant electric charge causing a vibration strong enough to be disturbing, but insufficient for the field of vision to shake; spells of extreme dizziness where she had difficulty standing up and/or walking; double vision; little black dots dancing in front of her eyes, the sort we call "flies" in russian; tremor and convulsive movements in the fingers; severe migraines of the "circlet" or "helmet" variety, accompanied by nausea and extreme sensitivity to noises and light; the occasional major seizure; uneven pupil size in the more advanced stages.
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the other evening, i had an interesting discussion with a friend about azila's potential for being perceived as a far more tragic character, because she cannot retain more than a small portion of the individuality she has gained and must go back - into primordial serenity, dissolution and oblivion, or what one might be tempted to see as such. many would regard this as a form of psychological death. if she doesn't return for reassimilation, she will die in the full, direct, physical sense. 
in a sense, she reminds me of a character from s. lukyanenko's "daywatch", referred to as "the mirror", who was registered in ukraine under the name of vitalij rogoza but was, in fact, created out of nowhere (or, to be more exact, out of "the twilight", the mystical parallel dimension where most of the action takes place) for the sole purpose of aiding the dark forces, who were at a disadvantage, and thus restoring the balance between the dark and light forces. once this was achieved he was promptly de-materialized again and returned to "the twilight", which, in that universe, meant complete obliteration. to use his own words, he wasn't given a destiny, a chance to choose his own fate.  
in other words - manufactured, used and discarded like an out-of-date instrument. an object. 

the situation with azila is better in that she hasn't been manipulated in the same manner by the powers-that-be. she had a choice twice - when she was on the brink of death and was offered a second chance as a member of the t'elx collective, and when she began to succumb to the neurological degeneration, and both times she made it on her own.

but, like "the mirror", she is only here for a short while. she cannot stay. she is a breath of wind in one's face, a soft whisper, a ripple on the surface of a pond. one moment, she is here - in three brief years, she is gone again. when she was given the chance to start over, she left her old life behind; she continued as an entirely different creature whose internal existential state is near-incomprehensible to ourselves, and wasn't supposed to ever come back to our world. in a very genuine sense, she did die. she was separated by accident, and the fact that she survived was nothing short of a miracle, as the post-separation syndrome should have killed her in a matter of three to four weeks. after this, the time she could linger in human society before she had to be reabsorbed into the superorganism was measured in weeks, if not days. as it was, she eventually managed to extend her stay in our world by almost three years - a record by all accounts.

in the three years that she interacted with humans and ihr, she began to develop a personality more recognizable to most of us, but, just as it started to solidify into a more definite shape, the neurological degradation resumed and she had to revert to being a drone to stop the process.
this is not our position as the authors, or her own. she doesn't want or need the individuality, not in the extreme form we think of as natural and take for granted, no longer understands its merits, and certainly has no fear of melting back into the collective consciousness - to her, this means coming home. her entire being had ached for that moment ever since she was severed; she grieved over the loss of her home while she was held captive and longed for it later, after she decided not to return, and this was killing her as much as the degenerative neurological disorder. the one concern she had was that she might be unable to stay in touch with her memories upon re-assimilation, and that she may lose her newly rediscovered human perspective and the ability to communicate with humans as an individual, all of which she was able to retain after the second, partial assimilation; nothing beyond this mattered to her.

that said, i could see that point of view being adopted by some or perhaps most of the readers.
moonflower77: (Default)
each of the two dreams would come at a point where he finds a resolution for a major internal conflict connected to his relationship with azila. the first would signify that he is not, after all, chasing a phantom of his wife, whom azila resembles in terms of appearance and several prominent personality traits. the second would reflect the dawning realization that he is suicidal, and that this is bound to have repercussions for azila - he is drowning and, whether he wants to do so or not, he is pulling her down along with himself (one of the reasons being, once again, her similarity to sunim, as well as her sheer presence at his side). it was this darker undercurrent to their relationship that mbuta had sensed from the start. the full understanding of the situation would hit only after he is fatally injured, but the dream would indicate that it has begun to take shape inside.

initran's dreams )
moonflower77: (Default)
taken from here:

i really liked the exploration of what the borg may have become like if they began to develop a gestalt-type group consciousness.

besides, in a nutshell, this is a good description of our T'elX. :)

the borg composite )
moonflower77: (Default)
for [personal profile] dreaming_brooke. written until the moment of re-assimilation as it was originally intended for the resonance collaborative writing site. i'll post the altered final version later on.

azila - character history )
moonflower77: (Default)

once again, this is mostly for [personal profile] dreaming_brooke to make the character easier for her to write. pertains to the three-year period between de-assimilation and re-assimilation.

azila - special abilities )
moonflower77: (Default)
this was compiled as support material for [personal profile] dreaming_brooke and for the resonance site, so it's a lot more detailed than necessary. most of this won't go into the actual character description.

azila - character design and appearance )


moonflower77: (Default)
reposted from the star trek ruminations blog at and discovered as far back as 06.07.2012:

the fractal collective )

what's in a unimatrix? )

moonflower77: (Default)

the articles summarize the controversy around capt. janeway's actions and highlight the ethical issues surrounding them.

in effect, the entire debate boils down to four principal questions. would the decision to disconnect seven of nine from the collective consciousness and to force her to stay on voyager have still been ethical and justified, if:

a) ... the separation had triggered a degenerative neurological disorder that would have been fatal within several weeks or months, or, in the best-case scenario, the neural degradation had been suspended, but she was left incapacitated, in a state of chronic, severe disorientation and suffering?

b) ... the species who assimilated her had not been "artificial" or "constructed", in the sense of using technology to reinforce their bodies and thus arguably having less of a right to claim authenticity, but, rather, "all-organic"?

c)... if the assimilation had permanently altered her physiology, including her nervous system, and, therefore, her core cognitive and perceptual processes, turning her into a member of another species (or a mixed-species hybrid) and was, in full or in part, impossible to reverse?

d) ... if the assimilation had been voluntary and she had agreed to become part of the borg or at least hadn't been opposed to the prospect?

e) ... if the species had not taken any offensive action against other races, were neither aggressive nor expansive, and would only assimilate those who wanted to join?

in effect, our "selfless" is an exploration of these five premises.

disintegrating synaptic pathways amount to an unshakeable argument because they are so thoroughly indifferent to rhetoric. the question is whether one really needs to be this obvious and this radical to get the point across.
moonflower77: (Default)
prospective book title: "selfless".

yes, as simple as that. it just occurred to me earlier today that this is *the* word to encapsulate the essence of our protagonist - both on the more figurative level (as in self-sacrificing, self-denying, self-disciplined) and the more literal (as an ex-drone).
moonflower77: (Default)
a post i wrote during a private exchange with a moderator on the resonance site. i just thought it might explain some of the reasons why i want the race to be, well, exactly what it is at the moment.
why create a vampire-esque race who are not actual vampires )
moonflower77: (Default)
 this is what the ihr race has evolved into after years of development. 
natural strengths and weaknesses: the so-called curse )
moonflower77: (Default)

when i think about the tone of ishan's narrative, i'm reminded of "the forest of the gods" by balys sruoga, an autobiographical account of the author's stay at stuthof concentration camp during wwii and an excellent example of detachment, grim irony and sarcasm (bordering on the grotesque) as a psychological defense mechanism. at first, one's mind starts to paint a two-dimensional, cartoonish, distorted picture which is hilarious and triggers uncontrollable hysterical laughter, but as one reads on, one gradually comes to realize that, on an emotional level, sruoga'a experience was nothing like this - indeed, it was more horrifying than one could imagine. the more dots one connects, the more one's hair stands on end. i think, had sruoga faced the horror in dead earnest at the time, he might not have survived. 

this excerpt got me acquainted me with the book (i forget in which grade - "the forest of the gods" is considered a classic and is included in the school curriculum for lithuanian language and literature). a while later i read it in full and forgot about it afterward until the final year of graduate school, when we had professional practice in computer linguistics and had to use text-aligning software to match each sentence in the (atrocious) english translation with the lithuanian original. the program refused to work most of the time and i ended up aligning the sentences manually, re-reading the book as i did so and falling in love all over again in the process.

the man in charge of the official mail was an SS feldfebel named platz, whom the prisoners had nicknamed "the bald penguin".   

platz was an old man, over sixty and totally batshit. he had a sagging occiput and there were spectacles sitting on the vast continent of his nose owing to his short-sightedness. he was medium height, a little hunched over, with a face like a crumpled zipper bag.

never had there been a more fastidious creature in all of pre-war eastern prussia.

if he summoned you, you had to be there at the precise hour and minute, in the literal sense of the words. come in a minute earlier and he would show you his watch and order you to get out because you were early. come in a minute later and he would show you his watch and order you to get out because you were late. yes, such was the degree of punctuality you were supposed to demonstrate. 

in other words, it didn't matter when you arrived because you never were on time. no-one knew what principles that watch of his functioned on. and it wasn't just the prisoners, either - he was the exact same with the SS soldiers. 

he was the camp's chief censor, and, judging from the past, the most suitable candidate for the job: before the war began, he used to scrape horse manure off the railroad tracks in gdansk with an iron rod.

he would set a limit on the number of lines a letter could contain. if there were several lines too many, the son of a bitch just trimmed the bottom. he had sufficient time to count the lines, but none left to read them. the length of a line, on the other hand, was of no consequence - for all he cared, each could be five or twenty-five centimeters, as long as the number was correct. only one side of the sheet could be used, but whether you wrote as few as ten lines or managed to squeeze in fifty was up to you to decide. if anything in the letter was not to his liking, he tossed it in the bin and you were forced to start over.

i argued and pleaded with him all the time, while he, for his part, ratted me out to meyer on a regular basis. he was never certain as to what i had in mind when i wrote my letters. he must have assumed that i was thinking something other than what i was writing about.

in one of my letters i wrote: the devil alone knows how much longer i'm going to be locked up in here. he tore the letter into shreds and told me:

"you can't refer to the devil in a letter."

i wrote another letter and replaced "the devil"with "the gods", but that one also ended up in the bin. as it turned out, you couldn’t refer to the gods either. he then called me and began to lecture me on proper letter-writing, telling me what could be mentioned: i have received your package and letter in perfect order, thank you so much, please send me some more, i'm healthy and happy and feel awesome, hugs and kisses to all.

"sir sharfuhrer", said i, "such a letter wouldn't even be worth writing. why not just print it out on a dull gray thing [toilet paper] and be done?"

"get out!" he shouted at me, so i did.

one of my letters was confiscated because i had written: "i'm sick to death of being cooped up behind rusty wire".

"how dare you write that you're cooped up behind rusty wire? is this the only thing you've noticed here at the camp? don't you see the young birch trees over there?"

again he told me to get out and i went out.

i rewrote the letter. this time i wrote: "the electrified barbed wire of our fence is shining, sparkling like silver sprinkled with fine sugar. behind the fence i can see three young birch trees, two tree-stumps and one toadstool."

"again, you scoundrel! what is this bullshit? i'll tell meyer!"

that time he had already complained to meyer, but meyer hadn't been able to do anything.

"i told you, you must write that you are healthy..."

"what if i'm sick? really, what am i supposed to do then? sir sharfuhrer, would you be so kind as to feel my side?.." [at the camp sruoga developed severe pleurisy]

"get out!" he shouted at me, so i went out and composed a new letter: "in compliance with the current legal acts and regulations, i am healthy..."

of course, the penguin tossed my letter into the wastebin and threw me out.

he could shred my letter because it was too long, or because it was too short – in fact, a single sentence. that was no letter, said he; that was an act of outright mockery of the authorities. he would shred my letters because they were too sad or too amusing. others had a much easier time writing theirs, but i found it awfully hard to get a hang of the tone that rang right with the penguin. i could tell that he invariably felt like vomiting at the sight of me. 


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