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The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 5

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:17 am    Post subject: The Gap into Conflict: The Real Story - Chpt 5 Reply with quote

When we last saw Angus he's strapped Morn down and gone to sleep. He awakens to something unusual for him:

the air in Bright Beauty was so fresh that he could smell himself stink.

Again, none of that typical Donaldsonian language; Angus just stinks.

But regardless, Angus is in a good mood (although I suspect his good moods are a bit different than yours or mine). And as Wayfriend said at the end of the previous dissection, he feels totally in control; he has no idea where the chain of events he's just started will lead.

We've read about Morn in the first two chapters... or rather we've read what other people, those who don't know the real story, think or surmise about her. It was obvious from the first that she's going to be an important character. Gotta say, Donaldson writes some pretty interesting female leads. No FR comments please! Wink

Morn appears again in Ch 4 but we still know nothing about her. Now, even though the story is still about Angus, we get our first real glimpse of Morn...

Angus visits a terrified Morn in his sickbay. She stinks too. She doesn't understand what's going on but she's able to try to be defiant in the face of Angus' threats. She doesn't want to tell him who she is, or why Starmaster was destroyed.

But then, instead of hitting her,

he did something out of character. Without realizing it - entirely without realizing it - he took another small step along the course of his doom. He tried to explain himself.

Angus has never before felt the need to justify himself to anyone. Yet for some strange reason, he does here, and doesn't even realize it. He even treats her "almost gently."

So, what is this doom that keeps being hinted about? What's going to happen to him? We already know he ends the story in lockup. But is that all? Is this the real story?

Somehow his "gentleness" reaches Morn, and she tells him what she's done. Though she doesn't realize it yet, she has Gap-sickness, caused by exposure to heavy G forces. Chasing Angus through the asteroid belt is the first time she's been under heavy G since crossing the Gap. Her particular sickness makes her intiate self-destruct even though there was no danger.

As she comes to realize this, her fear of what Angus might do to her turns to true despair - she's just killed her whole family, everyone she loves, for no reason.

At another time and place I suspect Angus would get an immense amount of pleasure out of this whole scenario. It's something Lord Foul would absolutely relish... "done? I? naught..." But because there's already some kind of connection between them -- because he needs a crew and now realizes she's a walking timebomb -- because somehow Morn touches him in ways he doesn't even realize yet, Angus is completely furious.

Morn, however, shows us that she has reserves (whether of strength or despair it's not clear)...

It's not too late. You can still kill me. No one will ever know.

I'm not sure what the spoiler rules are for this dissection... but I assume we should use them just in case people are just reading through (Bloodguard Bob?)
How would Warden have played his strategy against Holt if either a) Morn doesn't cripple the ship and they capture Angus, or b) Angus kills Morn ... ?? As it turns out, Warden needed Morn (and Nick) in so many ways. If she was dead, or if she was still an active UMCP ensign, none of the rest of the story could play out as it did...

Angus is obviously no stranger to taking prisoners and using them as he needs. He already knows what he's going to do as he programs the sickbay computer. Give Morn a zone implant.

While the sickbay does it's work, Angus moves Bright Beauty to another asteroid where he will be safe and undetected. When he returns to sickbay, Morn is awake. Though terrified, she's still able to confront him. She even foreshadows the end of The Real Story when she says

I'm UMCP. I'm going to leave you rotting in lockup if it's the last thing I do.

He shows her the zone implant control. She's as appalled as Angus could've wanted, but she still has the will to attack him. Of course, Angus can just shut her down. When he tells her again to go clean up, there's nothing she can do but obey.

It's so hard to even imagine what that level of powerlessness would feel like. We all have had situations where we felt there was nothing we could do, but to have it enforced by a device implanted in our brains... to have to totally submit your entire being to someone so corrupt... <shudder>

But somehow, again, Angus is unexpectedly touched by her reaction. Without meaning to or trying, without knowing, she's found a way past his defenses. Once he has a chance to notice his behavior though, he becomes furious...

He was a coward; and when he did things he didn't understand, things that weren't what he intended... he scared himself. And when he was scared, he took action.

He was being weak. He should have forced her to live in that fouled suit in order to humiliate her properly, teach her what his power meant. What was he doing? Was he feeling sorry for her?

When she comes out from cleaning up, her beauty is visible again, as is a hint of her true strength...

And she showed a kind of courage simply by leaving the san; she had the capacity to face her fate. Her eyes shone with a heart-wrenching combination of fright and defiance, with a dread of what he could do to her mixed with a refusal to be cowed.

...and Angus is terrified by her beauty. Even though he controls her utterly, he loses control and beats her bloody to try to keep the fear away.

And we're left to wonder, again, what is his doom? And even more, what is it about Angus that somehow this one helpless woman can make him feel and do things that are so out of character? What is it about Morn that she has this power, and what are her true strengths and weaknesses? How does this woman become the one we see in Chapters 1 and 2?
"History is a myth men have agreed upon." - Napoleon

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow. i'm knocked out by these dissections guys!

not only is this one helluva story but your insights and commentary are just totally enhancing this read! its GREAT!!!

it's like getting to talk in the movie theater!!!! Twisted Evil Laughing
you're more advanced than a cockroach, have you ever tried explaining yourself to one of them?
~ alan bates, the mothman prophecies

i've had this with actors before, on the set, where they get upset about the [size of my] trailer, and i'm always like...take my trailer, cause... i'm from kentucky and that's not what we brag about.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Angus feels good. Stinky, well-stocked, and no longer alone. Morn stinks, too.

But the similarities don’t end there! Self-hate and fear are dual forces for her, too. “Apparently the desire to die had been scared out of her.” In a bizarre way, these two are kindred spirits. They share a common ground of self-hate and sustaining fear.

The offer, “Want to get clean?” reaches her when the offer of food or freedom did not. She wants to get clean, to be reborn.

Then she surprises him. Something “like anger” shone through her tears. Morn has something that goes beyond hate and fear, something he can’t recognize. Something alien he’s starting to glimpse within himself. A capacity for nobility or self-respect.

But he crushes that nobility with his hate; reminds her of her guilt. Hurts her with her own self-incrimination.

But her “crime” is more than a weapon to use against her; it is a common link they share. He recognizes this common ground, and surprises himself, too. As his next small step out of himself, he explains himself instead of hitting her. And this works; it gets her to admit her “crime.” She killed everyone she ever loved. The universe told her the Truth: you are evil, flawed, killer.

When her vision is over, the lie is the truth. She really is a flawed, evil killer. I think we’re supposed to infer that this is another area of common ground; Angus’s evil is also a lie that becomes truth. It was a flaw in his make-up that made him evil. Spoiler:
The crib.
This is something he can rise above because he’s not inherently evil; it was something done to him. In this sense, gap sickness could be viewed as a metaphor for the fundamental imperfection of all humans. Everyone has “their personal vulnerability, their peculiar flaw,” just waiting for the right circumstances to trigger it. Any one of us could be Angus. [Okay, I recognize the truth in that without entirely buying it.]

Morn's flaw makes Angus think he should have left her to die. She surprises him by agreeing. “It’s not too late. You can still kill me.” Her recognition of her own unworth shocks him. The fact that someone so beautiful could feel so much self-hate moved Angus in a way he had never felt. “He wasn’t accustomed to the way he felt: happy; eager. She might turn out to be exactly what he needed.”

Then enters the zone implant, the ultimate union of Angus and Morn. She becomes literally an extension of his will. His hate and fear. His fantasies. A play thing of mind and body.

Her period of slavery begins in an illusion of freedom. Her arms are now free, but she is utterly controlled. When he shows her the implant control, this piece of electronic equipment is just as magical and potent as any white gold ring.

But this magic requires her input. Putting her into catatonia wasn’t rewarding to him. He needed to be connected to her through their combined, interacting fear and hate. He frees her mind, allows it to again control her body. Her resultant tears found a chink in his character. He treats her gently. He feels vulnerable to her, violent and angry. But doesn’t hit her.

The inexplicable inconsistency of his actions make him savage. The coward in him returns. He couldn’t stand feeling weak. When she came out of the shower, her beauty made him lose control. He was too powerless to it. Vulnerable.

At the end of this chapter, we see the paradoxical nature of his cowardice. He blames his cowardice for his gentleness to her; it is weakness. But at the same time, his fear of being vulnerable to her drives him into action. He realizes that his cowardice is being redefined, combined with her own, and he resists this transformation. At last, he beats her. He mars her beauty so that it doesn’t scare him so bad. At this point of transition for his character, his cowardice is responsible for both his gentleness and his violence. But things are about to change forever. Angus is on a new course.
Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was the chapter where I just about put the book down and walked away. A lot of this first book is hard to take, with the ongoing victimization of Morn.
The Celebration of Spring

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