Reviews For Lower Deck Tales
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Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 02 Sep 2020 16:24 Title: Celestial Fire

Interesting decision. I'm not sure how the psychological toll is on analysts. But drone pilots experience much higher rates of both psychological stress and physical injury than fighter pilots.

Logically, a space war is most likely to be a drone war. But a sufficiently technologically advanced adversary can easily counter that - as the old sayings goes - two can play that game.

Nice short and nice tight focus.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I agree. I also think that one thing that Trek probably didn't get right is going to be the dependence of drones and AI in the future of space exploration. But then again, 300 years is a long time to get over the use of drones and return to manned space flight (and space war). Thanks for reading this one. Hope you enjoyed it.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 02 Sep 2020 16:10 Title: Celestial Fire

Nice exploration from the other side of the argument. Reminds of a movie I saw that took place in the control room for a drone strike. 2 hours of flight officers agonizing over the decision to take out a terrorist and waiting for a little girl who was selling bread nearby to get out of the way.

I don't recall the name of the movie, but Alan Rickman was in it - one of his last movies. The operators were British. Tweed sounds a lot like their American advisors.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Absolutely remember that movie. I think it had Helen Mirren in it as well as a female general, which was pretty novel in a military movie. It was pretty interesting and may have helped inspire this tale to some degree. Although, of course, the focus here is not on the operators so much as it is on the people working on the intelligence behind the scenes. The short-lived AMC series Rubicon was an inspiration as well.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 02 Sep 2020 15:51 Title: Celestial Fire

One of the stories least explored is the toll of morally questionable acts on the actors. ST tends to come off a bit preachy on these. Good exploration of this impact so far.

Very timely as we are quite complacent about the collateral damage of our increasing drone program.

I also appreciate any glimpses of future Earth and particularly future Africa. 

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Oh yeah, this story is all about the impact of your actions. I tried hard to avoid the soap box dilemma in this tale. It's for the reader to decide who is wrong or right. Or maybe its not even that binary at all.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 31 Aug 2020 16:15 Title: Celestial Fire

Very timely considering how much we now rely on drones. Of course the danger of such machines is that they are far easier to corrupt and turn back on their manufactuerer than vessles that respond to human commands.

Probably the hardest thing to predict about a putative ST future is what the media would look like and how it would interact with Star Fleet and the Federation - a question I largely sidestepped.

I appreciate the GW quote at the beginning. I have moved my opening quotes so that they do not always appear at the beginning of each episode but are closer to the scene that they provide introductory information for.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I tend to like to use contemporary themes in my Trek stories to explore them from a slightly different and yet very familiar perspective. As for the depiction of the media, I admit I didn't veer away much from familiar territory here. One would hope, the media is a little more responsible and less sensational in the future.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 23 Jul 2020 13:48 Title: The Longest Day

Superb little story and in the best Trek tradition of stories like Lower Decks and stories about Worf getting used to being a Commander on DS9.

A very nice and unexpected twist on the Kobasyahi Maru. I finished writing STH in March, but this story (and the Horizon Protocol) give me a few ideas of some stories I can add to take place between Episodes 26 and 27 to develop Napoleon's leadership profile.

Thanks for the inspiration!! rbs

Author's Response: Glad you enjoyed this one and that it's giving you ideas for more Hunter. I started writing the lower decks stories because I always though the concept was fun and I really liked the freedom it provides while staying in my little corner of the universe. Very eager to see what they are doing with the Lower Decks animated show. It looks like that could be a lot of fun.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 21 Jul 2020 18:58 Title: The Longest Day

Nice chapter-ending cliff-hanger. Andorians are always fun to write as you can express their emotions with their antennae. 

Interesting that the science officer did not defer to the pilot when she probably knew her roomate had better instincts. 

Looking foward to part 2 - Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Yeah, I love Andorians and I'd love to see more of them on the screen. I get we got a lot of Andorians on Enterprise, but considering that they are co-founders of the Federation, I'd love to see more of them in Starfleet.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Jul 2020 15:49 Title: Horizon Protocol

And a fun wrap. The clues were right there from the start, but played low enough that they weren't obvious. Agatha Christie would be proud.

Also really enjoyed the Prime Directive discussion at the end as well as the ensign's take on things. Just another Tuesday at the office..

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Thanks for the reviews. It's always nice if you can come full circle on a story and I was happy with how this one turned out. That's not always the case.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Jul 2020 15:43 Title: Horizon Protocol

Great ending - "And the crowd went wild..." Has to be one of my favorite ending lines.

And the Prime Directive was... well... not really a player at all after all.

A fun romp of a story. Good characterization on the bolian crew member and the confusion over human aphorisms is always good for a laugh.

Being from Oklahoma, the line "you're not from around here, er ya?" (previous chapter) rang true for me. Just part of our warm southern hostility.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I don't thinks went exactly the way they had intended. Again really glad the humor worked for you here. Appreciate some of it can be hit or miss.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Jul 2020 15:23 Title: Horizon Protocol

Okay - this chapter was just a seriously fun romp. Always nice to have the Jim Kirk effect - "There are five of us...." "So go get some more guys and it will be an even fight..."

Super brawl description - to the point, but with enough graphic detail to make it cinematic. 

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Thanks for the compliment. I actually don't much care for fight scenes. Don't get me wrong, they are awesome in the filmed medium but I always felt they are a bit tedious to write (and sometimes to read). But then again, it's hard to write an adventure story with not at least a bit of fisticuffs action.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Jul 2020 15:09 Title: Horizon Protocol

And why do I get the idea the Litus-Ait might not be entirely trustworthy?

Replicated currency... Evidently these folk haven't discovered latinum yet...

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 15 Jul 2020 15:07 Title: Horizon Protocol

Okay - I love the second truck dialogue - I've had to bark that way on occasion - adds a touch of humor and verisimilitude in one go. And a bolian too nice to insist on being paid attention to.

Good aculturation too with the references to Tia and Brothers - giving a sense of a unique local mythos.

Also, quick resolves from the two questions leftover from the opening chapter - what is Horizon Protocol and why couldn't they just scan for the phasers. Critically important to make sure such potential plot-holes are neatly resolved.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Really glad you enjoyed the tone of this story, which is a bit of shift from my usual fare. As they say: Drama is easy, comedy is hard. I found that to be very true when trying man hand at it.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 15 Jul 2020 14:56 Title: Horizon Protocol

Another great 007 jump start into the story! The reader can pick up the details along the way, but evidently dealing with a culture/technology analagous to late 20th Century Earth, complete with mysteriously named terrorist groups. 

Nice choice to start the action at an airport (not a spaceport), which quickly cues the reader about what sort of culture might be involved - and evidently one of those mind-numbing gray areas for the prime directive if they're that concerned about a couple of phaser rifles.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: The opening of this story is an almost word-for-word copy of a chapter in "All The Sinners, Saints" which is available at That story deals heavily with terrorism and fundamentalism in a world not terribly unlike ours. That one was a bit of a beast of a novel and I thought it was interesting to explore some of the consequences of that story. Albeit in a much more light-hearted manner.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 10 Jul 2020 02:45 Title: Ship of the Dead

Nice creepy ending... nosebleeds are always bad news in a zombie story. And a little of the man in black to finish it off.

This was a particularly fun read. Lots of classic zombie tropes neatly polished - I might be able to talk the wife into reading this one. She's a huge zombie story fan.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Can't have a zombie story with an ominous ending. Glad you enjoyed it and if the wife ever gets a chance to read it, make sure to ask her what she thought of it. It's always interesting to get a non-Trek perspective.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 10 Jul 2020 02:33 Title: Ship of the Dead

Yep... I knew an infected klingon beamed himself onto the runabout. Nice foreshadowing. One picky detail.. klingon blood is the color of pepto bismal. I'm not certain they didn't simply photograph some of the stff for Star Trek VI.

Nice chapter length and breakpoints, leaving a cliffhanger on each page.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: I think they may have changed the color of Klingon blood a few times. I actually hadn't even remembered the oddly-colored blood in that movie which was clearly done so it didn't seem too gruesome and the movie could still be considered somewhat family-friendly.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 08 Jul 2020 18:49 Title: Ship of the Dead

Yeah, that arm needs to come off... Klingon Zombies!! Nice call out to klingon mythology and a good body count getting started...

The only good thing about a zombie attack on a klingon ship - plenty of bladed weapons about for removing zombie heads. The bad thing? Klingons have really thick skulls and spinal columns....

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Yeah, this isn't quite the Walking Dead. I always wondered how easy it seems on that show to kill a zombie. Their skulls and bones seem brittle enough that you could take them out with a plastic spork. It won't be quite that easy for these guys.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 08 Jul 2020 18:35 Title: Ship of the Dead

Nice creepy klingon ghost/zombie story, complete with flickering lights, mysterious banging noises and klingons doing weird things. And no doubt things are about to go from bad to worse... 

Spooky, frightened, incoherent, dying klingons - what's not to love? Great visuals!

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Heavily influence by the horror/zombie genre of course. I always thought Trek lends itself well to that genre and there have been some episodes who've gone done that road. Although, I don't think there's ever been a proper zombie Trek story. This is my attempt at correct that oversight.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 07 Jul 2020 20:03 Title: Ship of the Dead

A risian character... interesting.. Good start and alwyas creepy for junior officers to encounter klingons for the first time. 

Isn't there a ferengi aphorism about a klingon in need?

Nice character descriptions and only mildly disfunctional characters.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: The beauty of writing junior officers is that you can get away with them behaving in ways that more experienced officers wouldn't. And that, of course, will inevitably lead to trouble.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 07 Jul 2020 19:35 Title: Beyond Acheron

First rattle out of the box - as soon as I saw the BOC lyrics, I got distracted and had to pick up the guitar and run through Don't Fear the Reaper and Burning for You.. Buck Dharma is one of the most influential guiarists for me and learning those songs kind of taught me how to play and write leads.

Took me awhile to get back to the story.. I like the way you decribe characters on the fly - a detail here and there.

Favorite line - the art of killing subordinates with a single look... We're both working with Bajoran resistance survivers (Dr. Jazz in STH). They are fun characters to explore.

I started to suspect this was a Jacob's Ladder/6th Sense kind of story fairly early on, but in no small part because I'm a fan of Jack London. Well done!

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Well, as long as your first thought wasn't "More Cowbell", it's all good. And yeah, I really like writing Nora Laas for her strength and her flaws. Resistance fighters are inherently interesting for that terrible trauma they went through, particularly Bajorans. That stays with you for the rest of your life, I think. Thanks for the review.

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 07 Jul 2020 16:53 Title: My Everything

I got a chuckle out of this one. It looks like a response to a writing challenge - but you kept it in the mileau you were already writing in. It's always a challenge to write outside of your usual style - in this case using 1st person instead of 3rd. Most of the time I see writers do that, they slip out of it. No such problems here.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response: Yeah, this was definitely an interesting experiment for me. I really quite enjoyed writing from a first person perspective and I always kinda wanted to try my hand at this again. Never materialized. Probably because of the inherent limitations of the format.

Reviewer: CamSPD Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 18:43 Title: Celestial Fire

Wow. This was, overall, an incredibly thought-provoking story. All parties involved had valid points of argument, and it's a hard truth the face for the kid that people like him really are a necessary evil. 

Well done, CeJay. Well done.

Author's Response: I'm glad that you could see both sides of the argument. I wanted to make a conscious effort not to favor one too much over the other and may not have always succeeded. Thanks for reading.

Reviewer: CamSPD Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 18:35 Title: Celestial Fire

Looks like Rhory is learning some hard lessons here. Good, strong stuff.

Author's Response: Lessons which will probably stay with him for a very long time.

Reviewer: CamSPD Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 18:22 Title: Celestial Fire

Oh. Crap. Shoulda known it wouldn't be that easy, eh? Poor Rory.

Author's Response: Definitely not what he expected ...

Reviewer: CamSPD Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 18:11 Title: Celestial Fire

A good start to this story, I like the set up. Looking forward to what's next.

Author's Response: Thanks.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Apr 2014 15:53 Title: Celestial Fire

Wow. I mean, I kinda thought - hoped - that Rhory would decide to pull out of it. That something would trigger in him to make himwalk away from it. But no, you did the brilliant thing story wise to have him remain a part of it. Worse that, he accpets his role and skills that help play the part. He uses his analytical mind to come up with the targets and is encompassing in it. He calculates in the collateral damage and even if he can reason that the collatoral damage would be less now that later it is a horrifying and dark transition of character. Not only that, but Rhory himself accepts, knows and believes this about himself. That's what is scarier still.

A brilliantly political, ethical and disturbing tale CeJay. More than that, it is a great glimpse into a character and a story telling device employed not too often, were you allow the main character to willingly become 'bad' - even if they convince themselves it is for the right reasons they are paying all sorts of wrong prices. Additionally, it is a great expansion of your Eagle universe and the wider United Trek story tale weaved about the Talarian Incursion. UT can always go to the dark places and still have a sense and feeling of being Trek.

As for the character of Rhory, I hope that some day you may return to his story at some later juncture in his life perhaps. In many ways, he is a Talza Star in the making. Someone who will need to find redemption but someone who may not go seeking it or finding it easy to achieve it. Brilliant job.

Author's Response: Thank you very much for the kind words. As for the ending, to me that had never been in doubt even though perhaps his transition happens a little faster than even I liked. But I wanted to keep within the format of the Lower Deck Tales series and not let this become a full blown novel. As for him going 'bad', I'd like to put forth the counter argument that perhaps he's doing the right thing here. Perhaps the Federation needs a few people who are a little darker to keep it safe. No, I'm not talking about Section 31 dark -- even though who knows it may lead to that eventually -- but just people who are willing to make difficult decisions. Of course the idea of this story is for the reader to decide for themselves. I also really liked your comparison to Tazla Star. I didn't consciously think about it but of course just like Rhory she was much in a similar situation once when she had to make a difficult choice with real consequences. It didn't work out to well for her. Here's hoping that it won't be as bad for Rhory. Again, thanks for your awesome and insightful reviews.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Apr 2014 15:39 Title: Celestial Fire

It seemed fitting that the Professor should make such a point in lecture. Was it always on their curriculum or they specifically chose to explore that theme following recent events. I can rather imagine them doing so. They have the mission to teach and instil the values that will make the officers of the future, the ones who will make the calls that perpetuated this crime (little knowing that one of the players is seated in their lecture).

Despite the lecture it seems it only took another Talarian attack to occur and to bring casualties on the Federation scoreboard for many of the cadets to quickly forget their consciences and get mad wanting revenge.

Then we come to Rhory himself. He's struggling with all of this naturally and it is good to see that the others were too. He isn't the only one with guilt and a conscience here but when words start to get whispered into his ear and theirs will they remain so steadfast?

Author's Response: There is always, I suppose, a level of disconnect between that what people teach and what they actually do. Nowhere is this more true than at a school like Starfleet Academy with so many different types and races attending, so many different viewpoints and temperaments merging in one place. Not everyone immediately thinks of revenge but it's certainly part of the spectrum of emotions.

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