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.
Date: 25 May 2013 04:56 Title: The Long Road
Poet! Pava! Damn, the instructor left no room for any sort of defense Pava could offer. He baited him, owned him, and then told him he might have a shot at becoming the badass we all know he will. You painted this scene very well, the atmosphere leaping off the page, and the back and forth between the troops and the instructor was very believable.
I'll have to reread this and leave all the reviews I neglected to leave before. Forgive me!
But don't kill me yet. Wait till I'm done with the story :)
No worries, TF, better late than never! :D Thanks for the review!
Date: 25 May 2013 04:54 Title: The Long Road
God, I hate the Borg. Poor Pava. This sergeant major knows exactly what buttons to push. Which, of course, is his job, but it doesn't make me wince any less for this poor man who lost his whole world.
Yeah, it's one of the first steps to the hardening of Pava's heart, which as we know will continue to haunt him for centuries to come.
Thanks for the review!
Date: 12 Apr 2013 23:15 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...
It is indeed an intersting subject, but it seems even Pava may not be entirely comfortable with the ethical gymnastics necessary to justify this act.
Thanks for commenting!
Date: 12 Apr 2013 21:27 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.
I certainly hope you'll check out some of his other adventures.
Thanks for the feedback, it's greatly appreciated.
Date: 10 Feb 2013 20:48 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.
C'mon, you *know* there's gonna be tears, right? ;-)
Date: 28 Jan 2013 03:08 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 16:37 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 18:59 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 10:15 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 19:44 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 05:54 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 23:32 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 07:57 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 12:26 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 07:09 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.