Date: 29 Sep 2014 00:23 Title: Embers of the Fire
I really like the view that I've gotten of your world from this story. I love the darker, grittier view of Starfleet. I love the multitude of higher forces that are at play. I love how none of your characters are perfect, and none of them have the magic "I win" bottom on their console. I love how you've allowed your crew to essentially fail this mission. I can't wait to get started on your other stories, because I'm sure that all of the actions that were taken in this story will have rippling repercussions, not only on the political landscapes, but also on the interpersonal relationships and inner strife of the characters.
Date: 29 Sep 2014 00:08 Title: Embers of the Fire
As this story continues, the parallels between Sandhurst and Ramirez are becoming more and more apparent. Ramirez's empathy has surprised me a lot more than Sandhurst's. She initially came off as the type who would take the Cardassian's actions more personally, and who would be more accepting of the Klingon's interrogation.
I've always believed that despite what the TV show presented, enemy races would have delineations in their "gray areas." That Klingons, for example, who were more likely to encounter Starfleet personnel were normally the more "even keel," open-minded sort. K'Vada seems to shake this belief; though presumably the "bad seeds" wouldn't be entirely relegated to the "far side" of the Empire. And of course, he surrounds himself with similarly-inclined ruffians.
Date: 28 Sep 2014 23:51 Title: Embers of the Fire
There is something about Ramirez that is decidedly adorable in this chapter. I also like how this shows sides of Pava that stand in start contrast: the listener, and the warrior. His handling of M'Sharv was hilarious.
Date: 28 Sep 2014 23:34 Title: Embers of the Fire
This chapter really shows a good deal about Sandhurst's character. It's one thing for a Starfleet Captain to simply refuse to do harm to enemy forces and civilians. It's another entirely for him to feel such concern about what non-Federation forces will do to them. The Cardassians captured by the Kang likely took action that lead to the death (or viral illness) of Phoenix crew. There's no reason for Sandhurst to feel such empathy for them, yet still he does.
Date: 28 Sep 2014 22:53 Title: Embers of the Fire
Oh, the unenviable clean up process. Still, it seems as though through all this, Ramirez and Sandhurst have reached somewhat of an improved-- albeit tenuously so-- relationship.
At least, they have until Ramirez comes across the red shirt he has with her name embroidered upon it.
Date: 28 Sep 2014 22:25 Title: Embers of the Fire
I'm hoping the shared frustrations between Sandhurst and Ramirez leads to a higher level of appreciation from both parties. Also, I feel bad for Sandhurst. Commanding one ship was a new enough experience, and now he's acting as a Fleet Captain. Fortunately, Cardassian greed and superiority has driven Panor to make a very unwise set of decisions.
Perhaps now Salk will be more interested in providing Starfleet assistance!
Date: 28 Sep 2014 16:52 Title: Embers of the Fire
Oooh, interesting little mystery we have here, and also a crescendo of activity that all seems to be moving towards the Crolsa sector. If he manages to work through all of this, I suspect Sandhurst will have a tremendous amount of paperwork awaiting him.
Date: 28 Sep 2014 16:30 Title: Embers of the Fire
I really admire your ability to still include a lot of detail without detracting from the "urgency" of the story. I also enjoy the fact that there is chaos from every angle: on the planet, on the Phoenix, in Sickbay, and among the engineers. Clearly Sandhurst is getting a baptism by fire.
It looks like Ramirez is the next to end up in that boat. I can only imagine the expression on her face right about now.
Date: 27 Sep 2014 00:47 Title: Embers of the Fire
I like this Jonin character. It's interesting to see other ship's crew looking down on Sandhurst... you wouldn't see any Lieutenant say no to a Kirk, Picard, or even a Sisko or Janeway.
I really enjoyed the glimpse insidge Sandhurst's head on the bridge. Doubt, trepidation, fear... these are things we rarely see in Captains. But even those with the longest of legacies is human at heart!
Can't wait to see how everyone works their ways out of this one!
Date: 25 Sep 2014 22:23 Title: Embers of the Fire
Oooh, so many things that I like in here. I like the difficulties that a smaller, older ship are going to cause. I like that this isn't a "Starfleet's finest" sort of situation, but rather a "this is who we could throw together with limited time and resources." I love the resentment and conflict between CO and XO.
Something tells me smooth sailing isn't in Gibraltar's future... at least no time soon.
I am struck, however, with an urge to sneak on the bridge, set up a bunch of holoemitters and make it look like it's 23rd century incarnation.
Date: 21 Sep 2014 15:53 Title: Between The Rock and a Hard Case
I love seeing Captains as more humanized, more "less than perfect." I particularly like that this wasn't something that happened while on duty, but rather in a bar. It adds a tremendous amount of character to Sandhurst.
Much obliged for the review!
Date: 21 Sep 2014 05:41 Title: Embers of the Fire
I love any story that starts out with Cardassia :-D
One thing that I think canonical Star Trek downplays is just how much these sweeping galactic conflicts have rippling aftereffects, which may actually be worse than the conflict they stem from. I cringe at post-Dominion War tales of happiness and love, etc. All sides suffered losses; the most grievous of these were the losses to Cardassia. And not because of number dead, or the state of their homeworld... no. They had a mindset that had been ingrained for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
They will not go gently into that good night.
Think about it. You do the same thing over and over for centuries, and despite some small hiccups (which are to be expected), you succeed. The one time you really make a close alliance with another kind, and let down your xenophobic guard... it all sorts of goes to hell.
So sure, you'll take a bit of help, but you're going to start planning your exit strategy.
I'm really excited to read more of this story because you seem to have captured that exact sentiment and mindset extremely well. I also really enjoy your ability to paint the scene for the reader, but without going so far as to make it overly wordy or contrived.
Thank you for the detailed feedback, it's much appreciated! You've very accurately summed up Cardassia's position in this whole, unfortunate mess left over from the Dominion War.
Date: 10 Sep 2014 23:37 Title: Taking Leave
One of my favorite things to see is when writers swap the places of the good and evil forces. Obviously, all Cardassians aren't bad; in fact, most of them are likely just doing bad things because that's what one does to survive in Cardassia.
Contrariwise, there are unfortunately bad humans, even in Starfleet. And what better place to find them than Cardassia. What jerks. I hope they spend a lot time in a penal colony... and not one of the nicer ones either.
I also loved the twist that the human was the one doing the lying (although ultimately to a good end.)
I'm pleased you enjoyed the story, thank you for the review! Yes, good and evil exist in all species in the Trekverse, and in this one instance, justice was finally served.
Date: 18 Jul 2014 05:41 Title: Embers of the Fire
Good way to start your series Gibraltar. Opening with Point Station Epsilon in the Allied-Occupied Cardassian Territory was pure genius. I really liked how you described the station Epsilon in great detail, telling how it wasn’t the best built station and that it wasn’t completely planned out like the other better built stations by the Starfleet Corps of Engineers. Then you go on to describe the planet of Lakesh. How it was attacked and that the crew was helping with water purification. This story fascinates me. Now I’m ready to move onto chapter 2 to see what happens next. I cannot wait to see where you take this and how it ends. Thanks for sharing this and keep writing.
Thank you for the review. :) I'm pleased you're enjoying the tale.
Date: 26 May 2014 22:48 Title: Taking Leave
I must admit, I'm only peripherally familiar with your OC Sandhurst, so for me 'Michael's' identity wasn't readily apparent. Initially I was thinking that he was a convict, on a work-release program or something, due to the lines about getting to work with his hands, which he didn't get to do now, and the fact that his time here, assisting Taflim with such important work, was limited.
In many ways, that made the story all the more poignant for me for here I was, imagining a felon of some type who still had the moral fiber and moral compass to be incensed by what the Starfleet marines were doing. That increased my estimation of 'Michael' immesurably.
But when I learned his true identity, and the fact that he was spending his shore leave incognito, in an effort to provide help where it was sorely needed, using the replicators aboard his ship to make parts for the harvesters they couldn't get anywhere else, I immediately loved the man - gave him a virtual hug and everything. :)
The really sad part is that there are some (not many, thankfully) soldiers like Chabs-Wret, who once they've tasted glory in battle can't go back to the 'mudane, day-to-day' duties of a peace-keeping force. Most soldiers recognize battle for what it is - a necessary evil to be carried out only when conditions dictate it is necessary - and are more than happy to assist a defeated civilian population, especially since in most cases, the civilians had nothing to do with the decisions made by their government.
I wonder at the risk Sandhurst was taking, though - surely Taflim would have reported his new assistant, and the progress they were now making in restoring the fleet of ancient harvesters to working condition. I'm surprised no higher-ups took note of this and wondered where the human technician had come from, but then again it's easy for things to fall through the cracks in a frontier-type situation.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this piece - more so because I was unable to figure out the identity of the technician beforehand. Well done. :D
Thank you so much for the thoughtful response to this story. I'm glad the ending took you by surprise, and that you enjoyed the tale. Once an engineer, always an engineer...
Date: 05 Sep 2013 12:41 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
When I first found your stories on the UT website i must admit I was not overly enthusiastic about reading them mostly beacouse you were going to use an old Constitution class starship, so I thought you are just another author who cant escape the ST clichesh. But i gave it a try.... and wow I was proven so wrong! By no I can say you are so talented that you can teach Holywood a thing or three about making a good Star Trek story, instead of those... those things they try to shove down our throats.
I agree with some of the other readers, its a pity Doc and Olivia had to die, they were cute and two of my four favorite characters ( Ramirez and TSer being the two others ). But I guess that is what has to happen if one wants to write a dark realistic and at times grosome story.
I do have one small suggestion for the next instalment. As we have seen you dont shy away from showing gore blood and death, so is it possible that if somebody is to be tortured in the next part this character(s) to be female ? Personally I am curios to see how T'Ser or Sub Commander Chalois or both at the same time, will hold up under duress. Though i might sound like the Baron by giving this suggestion, I dont really want them to die infact it will be best if they are saved at the end. You can always use Ramirezes intent to hurt people close to Donald, just to make him suffer, so lets say she captures T'Ser and uses her as bait of her own ?
Well that was just my suggestion, in any case you do an outstanding work, of which I cant wait to read the next part(S) Thank you.
Thank you for the terrific review of the story! There's plenty more danger to be had in Part III, but I can't give away whom it will be that finds themselves in harm's way.
If you're interested in a dramatic story that puts T'Ser through her paces, I'd strongly recommend CeJay's fantastic All The Sinners, Saints, which you can find here: http://www.stareagleadventures.com/stareagleadventures.com/Eagle_4.html
Date: 19 Aug 2013 10:16 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
Wow...I am...in shock. I feel sick to my stomach. I want to hug Pava (total man-to-man, bro hug, cause...yeah...it'd be weird otherwise). I want to curl up into a ball and cry. I need to go to sleep, cause I have to be up in 8ish hours, but I can't sleep now.
I had been waiting this whole story for Ramirez to meet the Europa crew, and of course it happens at the end, and in very wonderful Ramirez/Pava fashion. I didn't expect them to use the Baron the way they did, and killing Doc was just...well, at least it was heroic. But did you have to kill First? And like that? I about stopped right there and said "screw it, I'm done reading this," but I saw I was almost done and...yeah.
I get the feeling this is your last outing for the Gibraltar and her crew. I knew you excelled at killing people in incredible and spectacular fashion but...wow. I need something with rainbows and ponies and candy and singing to cheer me up to normal again.
Beyond all that, this story was very well written and a great continuation of the previous. The hopeless situation so far from home is very well captured, in a sense I feel Voyager seemed to always miss: the ship always seems to be in a state of disrepair, or very nearly repaired. Having the space station there to effect repairs certainly does help, but having it not exactly around the corner is refreshing. The amount of bloodshed (not this last chapter, mind you, I'm talking the first contact scenarios) definitely forces us to look at the situation the Federation has placed themselves in and ask, "Is Vanguard actually doing a service, or are they straddling that morally ambiguous line way too comfortably, or have they completely gone off the edge," doing things that I think would make even...well, nevermind, they'd actually make a Section 31 agent very proud.
I can't wait till part 3 is finished. Until then, I need to go find something less depressing, lol. As always, a fine piece of work!
Thank you for reading and commenting! Yes, the Vanguard mission is straining the moral principles of the Federation to the breaking point, and the cost in both blood and treasure is already terribly high.
Date: 13 Aug 2013 03:30 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
You and your insane ways of killing people...uggh...
And if it's bad enough to make even Pava lose his lunch...this is just awful. I can't believe how far Liana has fallen. I keep hoping that, somehow, eventually, the crew rescues her and brings her back to her senses...but then there is this growing part of me that wants to go "no, she's the enemy now, she's the villain. She's turning into someone even colder and more ruthless and merciless than The Baron! There's no coming back from that now!"
Also good to see Sandhurst back in the mix and ready to step back up. I like T'Ser and she was definitely doing an awesome job; I almost wanted to see her keep Europa and Donald go to the Valiant, but this works, too.
The idea of sparking an Amon civil war is interesting, though I think when you introduced the "rogue" faction, I kinda saw it coming. It'd be interesting to see just how he plans on doing it, and what it will mean to his invitation to stay with them.
Date: 03 Aug 2013 16:10 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
well yeah, he survived, but holy crap!
Heart wrenching to go through this scene again. Even with the knowledge that she managed to survive, I think it's even more depressing now knowing that, at the end of the last part she was bat-scat crazy! Killing characters-beloved characters - is bad enough, but to bring them back as villains just twists the knife even deeper. *sigh*
Date: 28 May 2013 15:15 Title: Prophets and Loss
Wow, hard to believe that it has been almost 3 years since I last read and reviewed a chapter of this story! How time flies!
And how great to get back into the adventures of the Gibraltar and her crew, especially Ramirez and Pava. I have missed them, a lot. It is just as much fun to get back to these characters as to any of the characters in canon Trek or the expanded universe of the novels, testament to your wild skills G-man! :)
Some fantastic moments in this chapter: Pava's crack about there being worse things than the Borg in the DQ (do I hear Hirogen bells a-ringing?), Picard knocking back N'saba, Data turning off his emotion chip and freaking everybody out... You have a good grasp of all these characters, those you invented and those you are just borrowing.
Underscoring all of this, obviously, is the worsening situation in the Patch. T'Adgi and her ship survive with the skin of their teeth and little else, letting Enterprise know how bad things are getting. And back on the planet there is one hell of a confrontation brewing.
This reminded me why I loved these stories so much and why I so need to get back to them now. Thanks!
Thank you for the high praise, CS! I'm pleased you're enjoying the story as you delve back into it.
Date: 27 May 2013 21:48 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
Outstanding work, start to finish, there wasn't a dull moment in this tale of revenge, loss and, in best Gibraltar fashion, going up against the odds.
Ramirez's return was a shocker early on but not the only one as we were forced to say goodbye to some familiar faces which we had grown fond of over the years.
If this is going to be a trilogy, then Scorched Earths was The Empire Strikes Back. A lot of pain and suffering here with a palpable mood of defeat towards the end.
Now to look forward to the next installment and hope that, just like in my analogy, the good guys come out on top. Considering the complexities in this twisted adventure, nothing can be taken for granted.
I'm pleased the story resonated with you, CeJay. I'm hoping to take that momentum in to Part III.
Much obliged for the review!
Date: 27 May 2013 12:47 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
You have GOT to be kidding me! What an ending! This was an awesome story, definitely up with Geometries as one of my favorites of your series. The new crew seems to be coming together nicely, and it was good to see Ashok a little more confident in his abilities and position. Losing Gibraltar, though...that's just tough. I hope we get to see the tough little ship again, but if not, Europa is definitely living up to her crew's reputation. Looking forward to reading the second part of this, seeing if Donald does leave and what he'll do about the Baron and his..."lover."
But dammit, that revelation at the end really made me angry. I can't believe that happened...taking a well liked character and doing THAT to them is just brutal. Which is probably why it shouldn't surprise me that you did it, but still. Uggh...
I'm very glad you enjoyed the story, and I hope Part II meets your expectations! Thank you for the review.