Date: 12 Apr 2013 19:15 Title: The Long Road
Wow! That was a thought-provoking chapter. It seems that throughout history military men have been faced with the dilemma of sacrificing some civilians to save countless others, both soldiers and civilians. As unpleasant as it is - as Nellit, who serves as the moral compass in this vignette pointed out - sometimes that's the choice military leaders are faced with making. A hard choice for Pava, and one it's easy for those removed from the situation to disagree with, but cut and dried for the subahdar, who feels his first responsibility is to the men under his immediate command, the 507th at large, and to the Hekosian Empire. Doing evil to serve the greater good - it's an interesting concept...
Date: 12 Apr 2013 17:27 Title: The Long Road
Response to the Miranda Fave/Lil black dog read and review challenge
Hi Gibraltar. I promised to read some of your work a few years ago, but never got around to it. Thanks to MF for pointing me in the direction of this piece. Don't know anything about El-Aurians or specific details for the series outside of TOS, but I'm already intrigued by this - it starts off with a young man with something to prove; hints at his background are given, and I already want to know more. Something tells me I'm gonna like this Lar'ragos fellow.
Date: 10 Feb 2013 15:48 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
This story continues to be be absolutely excellent.
And now we actually get a little bit of quiet time while everyone adjusts to recent changes.
Sandhurst picking Pava as his XO is a big gamble, for sure. Let's see how that plays out.
Date: 27 Jan 2013 22:08 Title: The Chains of Error
wow. Just wow. That was an incredible story guys. Very well done, very engrossing, very depressing to the point of feeling sick...just wow. My heart was wrenching for Pava there at the end...I can see what you guys were talking about in that chat a few months ago.
I'm excited to get into reading the Vanguard stories now, and the FSA series. Amazing work guys...I wish I was half the writer y'all are.
Thank you so much for the kind words, I'm pleased you enjoyed the story so much.
And yes, Pava is a bit of an attention whore, even when he doesn't want to be. ;-)
Date: 27 Jan 2013 11:37 Title: Geometries of Chance
For some reason Lar'ragos steals every scene, even when he's dreaming, though I wonder if what he is dreaming bears any relation to this threat (in the real world) or the development of the story, or if it is a chance to throw in some character development?
Date: 19 Jan 2013 13:59 Title: Treacherous Waters
Very well done guys. Loved this story, and it looks like I'll have to start reading galen4's stories once I finish with Gibraltar. Very sad about the losses; I loved Ramirez and Tark (Tark's death reminded me of a cutscene in Halo Reach...such a senseless, out-of-nowhere death...ugh), and I still say Sandhurst is an idiot for letting Pell go. Looking forward to the next one!
Date: 30 Dec 2012 05:15 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
It has to be said. One of the most heinous and brutal attacks on a starship ever put to 'paper'. Difficult to read but without doubt, absolutely perfectly executed, it gave me chills.
And then there is Sandhurst's Story. The man is clearly changed from what he has once been, evidenced by his latest actions. The questions that remains: Changed for better or worse?
Date: 01 Dec 2012 14:44 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for both Sandhurst and Ramirez, but I have a nasty feeling things are going to get much worse for both of them before they get better. If they get better at all.
Every chapter, every scene brings new information. I've absolutely no idea how any of this is going to end.
Date: 22 Nov 2012 00:54 Title: Treacherous Waters
It always amazes me and...disturbs me, the ease with which you as an author snuff out thousands of lives. I think I got sick to my stomach reading that last paragraph of the superweapon attack. And go figure, The Rock had to drop out of warp right THEN.
I think Ashok knows more than he lets on. :P
Uh... thank you, I think? ;-) This seems to be a time when Gibraltar's run of bad luck worked out in their favor. Knowing them, I wouldn't expect that to continue...
Date: 04 Nov 2012 18:32 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part II: Scorched Earths
A lot of fascinating things are a foot here. Pava being a jerk (what's new?), evil Ramirez sleeping with the enemy and the great Amon perhaps not so great after all.
The epic tale continues!
Date: 26 Aug 2012 03:57 Title: Prophets and Loss
Wow...first off, note to self: don't piss off Shelby.
Overall, this was a fun story (yes, very depressing killing the colony and then the random ship exploding). It'll be interesting to see the repercussions of the new Bajorans when they show up on Bajor's doorstep.
Pava still rules.
Though Shelby might have gone up a few pegs close to him.
Date: 01 Aug 2012 08:26 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
A true blockbuster chapter filled with surprises.
Sub-commander Chalois is not nearly as naive and perhaps amenable as previously believed. Pava is after the temporary XO position, not trusting Pell to be able to press the button if it comes down to it. Donald just may decide to embrace his new 'destiny' and join the Amon. In the meantime the Baron is still after Sandhurst's blood and not above killing off scores of a peaceful alien race in the process, and the real kicker, Liana Ramirez is back among the living, in a twisted and corrupted mirror version-like incarnation of her former self. Let's hope that's what it is, as nobody wants to see this former Starfleet hero turned into an evil ally of the Baron. Of course crazier things have happened.
Can't wait for the next part.
Date: 30 Jul 2012 03:09 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
I wanted to wait until I reached the end of the entire book to offer up a review of the story. So, here I am and here it is:
Clearly intended to leave us hanging on what's going to happen with Donald and the Amon, the method of his return... and now the Baron somehow either rescuing Lia at the last minute or perhaps doing something else to bring her back (or maybe perverting her memory by creating some other construct) definitely drive a bit of a knife into the back of the reader as they close the back cover on this story.
It's written with the usual flair we've come to expect from you.
I loved the story, the character conflicts, the dialogue and the inner monologues of the various characters through words and actions, I feel that this is the most exciting story yet. I really liked the tie-in with the other UT series, and the mentions of the backing that Sandhurst had from other captains and admirals gave it that feel of being more than just one ship and one crew. I liked how you handled Jellico and Glover a great deal, though the latter's treatment of Donald was a bit perplexing to me. Glad Pava was there to explain it all away. T'Ser is really coming along as a deeper character within her new environment on Gibraltar/Europa, and I'm really happy to see her pushing her personal envelope toward the end with her dealings as a Captain with the Vexam's acting CO. I thought it was very spot-on for my involvement in getting to know her during Chains.
Now that I've lavished a lot of praise on you, let me proceed to deflate you a bit :)
I felt very strongly like the whole of the story might've been a bit unbalanced given the buildup; the cliffhanger ending should've been more of a chapter break than the end of the first story. When I got to the end on my eReader, I literally said to myself, "That's it?!" There's way too much left hanging up in the air for this to be a proper novel completion, to me... I had hoped to find out the method of Sandhurst's return to Europa in this novel rather than waiting for the next one, so at least we had some closure to the immediate arc. But now with Ojana's insecurities, the arrival of Pava, the promotion of T'Ser, Vexam's role in the mission, and so on and so forth... I dunno. This is a huge break from your other stories so far, but I wonder if it's a bridge too far in asking for this level of suspence until the next story.
Regardless of the above abrupt ending, I'm very eager to read what comes next, so you got me there. :) I sincerely hope you're already producing the next one, because you cannot leave us hanging like this for long. So hop to it!
Mike, thank you as always for the well considered feedback.
I’m glad you enjoyed the story, and although I realize that I did end this tale abruptly, it was my intention to create a cliffhanger-like situation that would compel (and hopefully propel) readers into the next story in the series.
Date: 26 Jul 2012 11:39 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
No... no...!! Liana Ramirez was/is just about my favorite character, right after Sandhurst. And to bring her back, like this...
You do such horrible things to your characters. I love it!
Let's just say that the Baron has been watching Sandhurst for quite some time, and he *knows* precisely what will hurt him most.
Date: 21 Jul 2012 18:13 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
I'm enjoying the epic scope of this story! The Task Force Vanguard context is interesting on its own, but add in the wonderful character work and the multiple nightmare scenarios (The Baron, the Amon, T'Ser's promotion, Sandhurst's kidnapping, etc.) and you have a United Trek tale for the ages. My only regret is seeing the USS Gibraltar sail away and out of the story. I hope we see "The Rock" again, in some future story.
Date: 16 Jul 2012 04:06 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
The Amon are one of the most interesting races you've created, both in their outlook and philosophy (eating dead souls) to their restraint and power. And now Sandhurst is their involuntary guest with his destiny seemingly inexplicably linked to theirs.
T'Ser's battlefield commission was unexpected but it gives her interesting common ground with the young Romulan commander who clearly has already noticed the similarities herself. Could this be the beginning of a Europa/Romulan joint venture. If so, T’Ser better remember the old saying, never to turn your back on a Romulan.
This remains one of the most riveting stories I'm currently following.
Thank you for the kind words, CeJay. We've barely uncovered the tip of the iceberg with this first installment of TFV, and the crew is poised to become embroiled in circumstances they might scarcely believe. As for who will lead them into (and hopefully through) these challenges, whether it be T'Ser or Sandhurst... remains to be seen.
Date: 15 Jul 2012 09:21 Title: UT: Task Force Vanguard, Part I: At the Gates
I've been a fan of the Gibraltar series from the very first chapter of 'Embers of the Fire' on.
There are many reasons why I kept coming back for more (which is a small miracle in itself, since I generally don't like Trek fanfiction (no disrespect for the work of all those other authors intended)).
I often thought: if Star Trek were real, it would be much like the Gibraltar series.
The way these characters interact with each other is realistic, intense and very well written. Conflict between the 'regulars', the senior staffmembers, was hardly ever touched by TOS and TNG and often not very well handled by ENT and VOY. And even in comparison with DS9, Gibraltar does not pale in that aspect.
Another thing I very much appreciated was the fact that this crew was clearly not the best of the best. This was reflected by their ship: an old, almost obsolete vessel.
Now, those things have changed much. In a realistic setting like the Gibraltar series things SHOULD change. Riker being a first officer for 15 years might be acceptable on TNG but not here - and that's a good thing.
On the other hand, I'm worried that things might have changed a bit too much.
The crew got itself a new status, that of a good and capabel crew, and a new, advanced ship that reflects that new reputation. That's only a logical step after the successes they've had. But I'm a bit worried that by improving the crew's performance you've been taking one of the most essential parts of Gibraltar away.
Also, much of the classic and dramatic interactions between the various staffmembers are gone.
T'Ser is an OK character but, as Sandhurst himself once noted, Ramirez always had this cloud of trouble in her wake. For a CO, I can understand a preference for T'Ser. But for us readers Ramirez was a bit more interesting - especially because she was more than 'just trouble'.
Juneau is becoming a much better officer - but again her being inept was more interesting.
When Verrik came aboard, it was apparent, to us and Sandhurst, that he was an adequate officer but he didn't add any creativity or imagination to the crew. That could've been a problem in a security or tactical crisis but nothing has been done with it. I understand that, from a writer's perspective, it's near impossible to replace someone like Lar'ragos with an equally appealing character. But from his first appearance on Verrik has just been bland. Then again, Pava Lar'ragos is not gone from these pages...
Ashok's greatest asset (as a character, that is)was always that he was NOT a miracle worker. He too has become much more proficient and even confident - thereby losing much of his uniqueness.
Taiee and Pell are still solid characters - although Pell's conflict with Sandhurst seems to be a non-issue now, although noting has been resolved.
Shanti and Lightner are still all right as minor support characters although nothing much was ever done with them.
Sandhurst himself is still terrific. He has so many facets.
I'm still eagerly awaiting every next chapter of Gibraltar. So although I have some doubts about the steps the series have taken lately, I'm sure as heck not giving up on it. There are still many things that make this series really very, very good.
What's the point of this piece of writing, then? I guess I'm only asking you to consider the points I've been trying to make (and I hope I was clear enough, because English is not my native language).
Like I said, I'll still be here, enthusiastically following the exploits of Sandhurst and friends. Write long and prosper!
Coot, thank you for the in-depth critique, as well as for your continued readership of my series.
I would agree that the series and characters have indeed changed over time. Owing to the dangerous and dramatic situations the crew has been involved with, their skills have improved out of necessity. They were originally scraped together as something of a band of misfits, castoffs from other commands thrown onto an aged ship to try to plug one of the countless holes in Starfleet’s ranks of operational starships.
Now they’ve grown and changed, many of them for the better. Ashok has become more confident and less self-critical, though he still possesses some of those traits beneath the surface. Juneau was being held in check by the Operative persona she unknowingly carried with her in mind, and as the Operative has since departed for ‘greener pastures’ Juneau has finally been allowed to come into her own.
T’Ser, as you pointed out, is not Ramirez. Liana was driven (and haunted) in ways that T’Ser is not, and it is precisely for this reason Sandhurst recruited her as his XO. The same goes for Verrik. Far from being bland, Verrik is very candid and opinionated for one of his species, but he’s no Lar’ragos… and again, that’s exactly what Sandhurst was looking for.
I would agree that due to the nature of this latest story, and the narrative work necessary to properly paint the scope of ambitious operation, the main characters have been given less attention than usual. Such is the burden of introductory stories, and as the Task Force Vanguard mini-series continues, I plan to look more closely at the individual characters and how the mission and circumstances have impacted and changed them.
Again, thank you for reading, and especially for commenting. Your feedback is very welcome and valued.
Date: 15 Jul 2012 00:07 Title: Geometries of Chance
Ok, just finished it on my way home on a KC-10, and can I just say...everytime you kill off a character, a little piece of me screams "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" Granted, Dunleavy came back, but still, it was one of those "AH! NO!" moments for me, lol. LOVED the image I got of The Rock standing on her end, without her nacelles, floating above the planet surface. And Olivia's alter...and the Q...I'm kinda figuring, but could you clarify, this episode takes place during their "civil war" that we saw a little of in Voyager?
Once again, absolutely incredible, it was difficult to put it down at all. And the timeship (and Pava, at the end) resemblance to another certain show was pretty fun to read. Looking forward to the third one!!
TemplarSora, thank you for the wonderful feedback!
Yes, the conflict between the Q ‘brothers’ was a result of the civil war we saw in Voyager’s ‘The Q and the Grey’ but as I figure the Continuum existed outside the constraints of normal time, the wounded Q was not only thrown into a parallel reality, but was thrown into that alternate reality's distant past as well.
I hope you enjoy Prophets and Loss as much as you enjoyed Geometries. :D
Date: 25 Jun 2012 18:08 Title: Geometries of Chance
"Sandhurst did a full rotation in his chair to assess the condition of the bridge and crew"
For some reason this conjures up to me an image of a man spinning around in his chair and it's so funny! The man goes round, swivels round; I just think it would look so comical!
This plot gets stranger you know, some kind of trapped energy being, that man in the last scene. You definitely have a flair for the surreal, makes a nice change from the almost non-stop action scenes.
The action in the story ebbs and flows, but I like to think that it's surreal throughout! Thanks for the commentary. :)
Date: 25 Jun 2012 17:59 Title: Geometries of Chance
Ashok's in deep doo; the ship only managed warp 8.3...
Nice use of those Son'a subspacial weapons. Plus Kutav is shaping up into a nice little villain, Orion as well... There's something you don't see every day.
Kutav's less a full-fledged villain than an opportunist whose got a strong sense of which way the wind is blowing at any given moment. I'm glad you like the character, as he's always been a favorite of mine.
Date: 25 Jun 2012 17:43 Title: Geometries of Chance
Sandhurst man, I still feeling he is tentatively learning how to be a captain. But a least he did the right thing letting Ramirez sort out Lar'ragos. Though I doubt she will get through to that grizzled, paranoid old wreck...
The parts involving the Temporal Investigations Agency were fun to read, somehow whether in film or book, temporal stuff (related or otherwise) always comes off as interesting to me. Nice little irony with that Past Prologue book; a book of the future about the past...
Lar'ragos has lots of layers, as you'll soon discover... but grizzled, paranoid old wreck is not too far off the mark. ;)