Comment on Policy of Truth

  1. Aaaahhhhhhhhhh this is wonderful!!!!!! I feel lucky to have been able to read it so soon after having read "Strategy of Attrition" for the first time, so I didn't have to languish waiting for the sequel! But seriously, take this as testament to how well these three Kira/Cretak stories work as an arc, as well as self-contained narratives. I love the continuities and discontinuities in the way the two characters relate to each other--the way the asymmetry between them has been reversed, in some ways, with Kira now a general and Cretak an asylum-seeker from a world on the brink of devastation, the way their delicate dance of trust and mistrust is affected by this change and by the lingering memories of Derna and their brief but transformative time as lovers during the war. The whole "I mourned you, Kimara" line--just...very good. Reflects the reality that there's no going back to who they were, but also the admission that lets them both take those tentative steps towards being transparent with each other at the end of the story (the given name detail!). And it seems very true to Kira's character to express her care for someone through the medium of grief. For most of Kira's life, as you've written it, loving someone leads eventually to mourning them--it's just the reality that Kira lives with, as somebody who doesn't really do self-deception or emotional walls. And the fact that, this time, mourning Cretak creates space for something new to grow between them is...I want this for her, as a character I'm deeply attached to. I'm glad you gave it to her.

    I guess this brings up a broader aspect of the story that worked so well for me, which was the way the story is equally concerned with the characters' past and the future. The leap forward after the first scene was a striking choice and I think it worked really well to signal the role temporal disjuncture is going to play in the rest of the piece. Cretak returns as a "herald" who forces Kira to reckon with the fact that she now has power to go with her principles and responsibilities to the future, but also as a ghost who calls back the past. I like the way DS9 is kind of a haunted space: the dartboard, e.g., which had meaning for Ro and Julian, and then for Julian and Miles before them, or the jumja stall, or the docking port where Kira last saw Ezri. It really brings home how much Kira and the station are entangled. Which is why her decision to develop an independent refugee policy for DS9 works so well as a kind of narrative closure.

    In keeping with this, I love all the glimpses of the world between the wars. Kira's relationship with Ro feels very on-point for both their characters--I like that their shared commitments and mutual respect don't necessarily make them friends, and feel like this fits the way they're written in TNG and DS9--and Julian's deeply wounded idealism is conveyed eloquently not just through his dialogue but through little details of appearance (the beard!) I appreciate the fact that Bajor is still independent, still wrestling with its own nationalism and legacy of colonialism. I appreciate the plausible way the Qowat Milat are contextualised in the framework of Romulan society (honestly I wasn't in love with the way Picard handled that plot thread, but you've sold me on radical-transparency warrior nuns here) and the way they work narratively as well as thematically.

    Anyway, thank you thank you thank you for a fantastic afternoon of reading, a mild case of heartache, and a lot of pondering and conversations to come in future!

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    1. Okay first of all I would like to say that I was delighted to find your comment in my inbox and absolutely FLOORED at everything you said – seriously this comment made my day, thank you so so much for reading this fic and for taking the time to talk about it with such depth as well <3<3<3

      But seriously, take this as testament to how well these three Kira/Cretak stories work as an arc, as well as self-contained narratives.
      I'm BLUSHING, I'm so very glad you liked all three of these fics!! I didn't approach them as an arc from the start, but "Strategy of Attrition" means a lot to me and inevitably every Kira/Cretak story I wrote since then has gravitated towards being a sequel. I wrote "Policy of Truth" as an independent fic (being for an exchange and all), but also as a way to bridge the distance between SoA and "Building", and I'm glad if it works in both contexts!

      the way the asymmetry between them has been reversed, in some ways, with Kira now a general and Cretak an asylum-seeker from a world on the brink of devastation
      This reversal is something I definitely thought about while writing, so I'm very happy you noticed! I tried to tread carefully with it because I think Kira is more conscious than most people about the power she wields (especially post-DS9) but Cretak still represents a profound alteration to the status quo Kira has lived with in the last decade. I'm glad it worked for you!

      And it seems very true to Kira's character to express her care for someone through the medium of grief.
      oof, yes, I completely agree with this. As you say, Kira doesn't do self-deception: she knows grief intimately, as the other facet of caring for the people she loves. A big aspect of Kira that I've tried to write into this story is that she's become... a little lonely at the top. She's lost so many, and everyone else has left the station. Unlike in SoA she can't even have a chat with Ezri. And Cretak being back is too good to be true, almost a sign. Except that it isn't really, but maybe they can still acknowledge each other, forge another alliance. It's different than the one they used to have, but no less important. And yes, I wanted to give Kira that very very strongly too :')

      It really brings home how much Kira and the station are entangled. Which is why her decision to develop an independent refugee policy for DS9 works so well as a kind of narrative closure.
      I'm very glad you think so!! And the fact that both the station and Kira are almost haunted, I agree. I felt like I had to frame this story like that, since about Cretak returning unexpectedly after being believed dead. In more than one way, it *is* a story about ghosts— both Kira and Cretak have survived against all odds and carry the very real weight of it on their shoulders.

      I'm very very glad that you found the relationship between Ro and Kira believable (it's maybe not a popular headcanon of mine, but I feel like they'd butt heads a lot) and that the way I wrote about the Qowat Milat made sense to you! I admit I wasn't particularly sold on it on ST: Picard either, but while writing I realized that it could represent a good way for Cretak to start over after everything that happened to her, making her start questioning some principles she's held all her life.

      Thank you again so much for reading!! I'll be thinking about your comment for a long time for sure, and I'm so glad you liked this fic, it really means a lot <3

      Last Edited Tue 24 Nov 2020 01:31PM EST

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