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 DS9 path never taken: Kira as Iliana
Nerys Ghemor
 Posted: Jul 13 2015, 11:52 PM
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Hebitian at Heart


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Here's something I've wondered about.

For the episode "Second Skin," Memory Alpha notes that the writers came very close to leaving it unresolved whether or not Kira Nerys was in fact Iliana Ghemor. Although I thought we got a very beautiful, very powerful episode out of it as it was, this is something I have very much wondered about (you might have even guessed that based on my user name).

How do you think it would have affected her character arc if she were unable to know for sure whether she was Nerys or Iliana? What possibilities might that have opened up for the show's writers? Or what possibilities that we actually saw in the show might have been closed as a result of that choice?

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Amroth Dolak
 Posted: Jul 14 2015, 04:57 PM
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Jagul


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I think in the beginning it will have been a big shock to realise that the life you remember is not the life you have lived and that the race you hate so much is actually your own.

I think it woukd have opened up some options. For one, where would she go? Legate Ghemor would have wanted her to stay on Cardassia, but she would be fighting to go back to DS9. When she gets back to DS9, would Sisko take her back as his second in command? If so, there's a lot of arc potential for them to squabbel and the difficulty in finding a way to work together again. She wouldn't be able to go to Bajor anymore, it will also cause her trouble in dealing with the faith she remembers having and also in having to deal with the Bajoran clergy. She wouldn't be able to go to the temple or meditate anymore. She would become a focus point for the Bajorans and she would become an easily reachable focus point just like Garak. Her relation with Ziyal, Dukat and Garak would be very different and could be re-explored. Her dealings with the Cardassian Empire would change as well.

I presume that some things will find closure as well, but that's a bit harder to come up with.

I'd say that this would have had a lot of potential and a good character arc and story line to work with.
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Nerys Ghemor
 Posted: Jul 17 2015, 12:24 AM
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Hebitian at Heart


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Indeed, it would be a huge shock. I suspect there could be difference in effect depending on how much if any of her memory of being Iliana Ghemor was successfully recovered.

That said, even with full recovery of Iliana's memories, I think this version of Kira also could never think of the Bajorans in the same way again--it's the idea of walking a mile in someone else's shoes. She didn't merely observe...she was, and knew what it was to see and feel what Kira saw and to act on it.

Going to Bajor would surely be difficult once the word got out, I agree. I also expect a crisis of faith would happen. That said, given that Rugal Pa'Dar was allowed to participate in the Bajoran religion and considered it vital, I am not so sure all clergy would turn her away. Tolerant ones similar to Bareil and Opaka, I could see continuing to welcome her if she chose to attend services. Intolerant ones like Winn...I can imagine that would get ugly.

Actually, the relationship with Ziyal would have potential to be quite a bit deeper than what we saw. Their interaction was often very interesting in the proper timeline; I think it would be even more so for a version of Kira who knew what it was to love both cultures and who experienced a similar form of inner turmoil. That could lead to some REALLY good writing.

What I would of course have LOVED to see more of is Kira interacting with Tekeny Ghemor. In the two episodes we saw them together in the proper timeline, the acting was VERY good, and for me, extremely convincing that there was genuine affection between the two characters.

I do wonder about continued service in the Bajoran Militia though, and there are three options I could see there. She could continue, or try to continue, though things would have potential to get ugly with her superiors and for this to be a generally bad situation for Bajor politically. Or she could resign from the military altogether, if the idea of fighting either of her people was too much--or be kicked out by angry Bajorans.

That said, if kicked out of the service involuntarily, I wonder if she could end up being given Starfleet rank like happened towards the end of the series. Though that would probably require her to serve in a different capacity or perhaps even a different duty station, as opposed to first officer of the station, since I suspect the Bajorans would insist on one of their own serving as XO. I note that DS9 had just received the Defiant that year, and Worf had not joined the DS9 crew. With proper training, reassigning Commander Kira as full-time captain of the Defiant (but still relying heavily on her counsel in station matters, too) could be the politically sensitive move that would still allow her to be a full, participating member of the DS9 team...

I'm kind of torn about which of these scenarios would be most likely (Militia vs. Starfleet vs. civilian).

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Marritza
 Posted: Jul 17 2015, 05:30 AM
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Jagul


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I don't think she would of done either of those options. I have a feeling she would have left Cardassia na d moved to the Federation to be with her father. I agree it would not have been a good move to remain anywhere near Bajoran space as a Cardassian and I don't think Star Fleet would of been too welcoming.
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Amroth Dolak
 Posted: Jul 17 2015, 05:45 AM
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Jagul


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Yes, that's going to be the main question for her future, how much of Iliana Ghemor's memories have been succesfully recovered? Only a little? Nothing at all? Everything? Do they recover a little and let nature restore itself by having her brain recollect those memories itself over time? Do they try and recover everything with medical means?

Having Iliana Ghemor retain her memories of her Bajoran life will make things different as well as opposed to deleting those.
In case she keeps those memories, her view of the Bajorans, their culture and religion will never be the same again.
Inn case those memories are deleted, new ones might be implanted with her former dislike for the Bajorans, or she could be taught those things again as well.

If she is allowed to keep the memories of her past Bajoran life and considering it was Kira Nerys, a member of the famed Shakaar resistance cell, she might get some leeway with her new appearance. Although there will always be others that can't get over the fact that she will have been a Caardassian all along, or so they will think. And although Rugal Pa'dar got leeway, that was due to the fact that he was supposedly orphaned and left behind by the Cardassians because, as an orphan, he wouldn't fit in their society anymore. I don't know if this will be the case for Iliana Ghemor, she was a Cardassiian by birth, altered to look Bajoran, infiltrate the militia, find out information on all resitance cells and in the end was supposed to terminate all resistance cell. After all of this, she was to be altered to her regular Cardassian self and take her rightfull place in Cardassian society again. I think the feelings from the Bajorans to this kind of circumstance would be different then to the circumstance Rugal Pa'dar found himself in. And although there will be Bajorans with only good intentions, like Bareill and Opaka, others will follow Winn Adami in a heartbeath just as easily.

Her relationship with Ziyal and Tekeny Ghemor could be explored some more and on a deeper level, showing the inner turmoil Iliana would be experiencing. Ziyal could advice her from the hybrid point of view, while Tekeny Ghemor can re-educate her into the Cardassian ways, his patience in this matter would come in very handy.

Her being of the Shakaar resistance cell might give her some leeway, Shaakaar himself might vouch for her, or might as well be very shocked by the matter. Coming to terms with your second being a Cardassian all of a sudden and actually always has been, even if she never knew this herself, seems very hard to take. Although this could be aa great story line as well, them having to ccome to terms with the fact that Kira Nerys has always been Iliana Ghemor. Whatever the circumstances, there are always going to be angry Bajorans, in the resisitance, in the temple, amongst the clergy, in the goverment, the regular goverment.

Her having to work together with Worf could have great potential as well, I can already hear Worf say: "Cardassians are without honor" and then have Iliana respond in kind.

Well, it could all become closing issues and then have her find aa job elsewhere, either on Bajor, on Cardassia or on DS9 itself as a merchant.
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Amroth Dolak
 Posted: Jul 17 2015, 05:50 AM
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Jagul


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Or she could have met up with him when he got asylum with the Mathenites and live there for a while. The Federation might have been an option, but Starfleet would have been a reaally bad choice, yes.
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Nerys Ghemor
 Posted: Jul 19 2015, 01:04 AM
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Considering how deeply invested she became in her Resistance role, and then later in her post-Occupation role on DS9, I have a hard time imagining Kira letting anyone delete those memories without a fight.

Additionally, the degree to which her Cardassian memories could be recovered would probably have an effect on how much of the Bajoran memories could be deleted without seriously destabilizing her if not completely removing her ability to function. Particularly if none or not that many Cardassian memories return, I would suspect the safest thing would be to leave the Bajoran memories fully intact.

Watching the relationship with Tekeny Ghemor deepen would have been, in my opinion, a real privilege, and one I wish we had had. Those two characters, and their actors, were excellent onscreen with each other--there were so many beautiful (or sad) moments that moved me to tears. To me, I think he exemplified what the Cardassian virtue of family was really supposed to be. Actually, I think he exemplifies what any virtue of family should be.

And indeed, challenging Worf to work civilly with a Cardassian would be quite something, given the extent to which he despises certain species. That said, I suspect he'd at least fare better than if he were paired with a Romulan, considering the Romulans were the ones who attacked Khitomer, and the Cardassians were not.

It would be an interesting question how, if she were found to be a Cardassian, she could still continue on the show if not permitted to remain in either the Bajoran Militia or Starfleet. That would likely be a challenge to the writing department.

Of course, a lot of the speculation above in my post suggests that it is known she's Cardassian.

What about if results are inconclusive and there is no way to know for sure whether she is Bajoran or Cardassian? I wonder how the effects of that would be different than knowing for sure.

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Amroth Dolak
 Posted: Jul 19 2015, 04:10 AM
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Jagul


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Yes, as Kira Nerys, she really lived life to the fullest and made an effort to change things in her role as a resistance fighter. She's indeed going to give it hell to have those memories deleted. If she keeps her Bajoran memory, that part is going to cause the biggest of trouble to her new situation.

If any off her Caardassian memory is retrieved or returns, they are sure to cause trouble with the present set of Bajoran memories. Perhaps even to the point where it might cause mental difficulties and make it hard on her to function adequately, whatever function she might hold on that moment. If no Cardassian memories are retrieved or return naturally, having her hold her Bajoran memories is one option. But knowing the Cardassians, they might as well have deleted those memories completly and retrained her according to Cardassian schooling/methods.

Tekeny Ghemor could have been used more often in the series, yes, and her working with Worf could have been used as a sort of comic relief at times. Or as a chance to debate more serious issues for which Star Trek is known throughout its history.

Keeping her on the show as a Cardassian would have indeed posed a real challenge for the writers department, yes. But I think it would have been well worth it for many reasons, many of those reasons being discussed in this thread.

Well, Iliana Ghemor was never found again by the Obsidian Order, so nobody really knows what happened to her. Did she die? Did she get killed? What was the reason for her death? Did she get uncovered as a Cardassian agent? Did she live out her days as a Bajoran? Does anybody knows she's a Cardassian? Or does everybody believe her Bajoran cover? There is no way of knowing for sure for us the fans.
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