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tkvarcheli, an abkhaz town in georgia whose population declined from 40 000 to less than 5 000 after the war in 1992-1993 so that whole quarters were abandoned. the photos look like scenes straight out of our universe.
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all this should say a lot about azila's self-perception. it's not that she has no feeling of selfhood altogether - but it differs from ours so drastically it's difficult, if not impossible, to understand.

scenes - identity-related )
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think of azila as similar to a vulcan. no, not a healthy one (as [personal profile] dreaming_brooke has noted, she is much more vulnerable) - but an unstable vulcan suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder, like tuvok in "endgame" or t'pol.

after re-assimilation, she may as well resemble an average healthy vulcan: reserved, dignified, without a trace of her former vulnerability.

(when i told my friend that i saw azila as projecting a strong vulcan vibe, the response was "surprise surprise")
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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in other words - manufactured, used and discarded like an out-of-date instrument.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.
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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 )
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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 )
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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 )
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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 )


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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.
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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).
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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 )
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in a nutshell, this would be ibye's personality type by some 90-95%.

description and diagnostic criteria for epileptoid personality disorder

from a.e. lichko's personality disorders and accentuations in adolescents )


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