Reviews For Weekly Free-Writes
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Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 06:42 Title: Family

Right I'm posting this additional review to discuss all my thoughts and feelings about all these various stories and ficlets.

Firstly you have created this amazing world full of new aliens, really detailed and all and with great insights into the Jem'Hadar, Founders and the Vorta.

Eris and Liska are two characters who you have made into your own! They are though two different women. Eris is slightly shier and not as aggressively confident as Liska is, though Eris is still ruthless though! While Liska comes from this privileged background so she has this taste in the finer things: arts and all of that. But the romance, the romance is so good! It is almost perverse in a way that you start to admire these characters because of their relationship! They have killed thousands and if not more through their orders. They can be disturbingly immoral and evil as they blindly follow the Founder's orders and yet they have this sensitive side to, and their childhood's, especially Liska's were rough and one would not expect our two Vorta girls to rise so far!

I also like how you create scenes by tailoring them from certain movie scenes. I have not seen all the war movies you have, and I can tell you are obsessed with war movies as much as Star Trek (in fact I think you may have watched DS9 purely because of the war, I dunno)! And I think in one of your ficlets, there was a scene that half reminded me of Downfall (a German movie about the lasts days of the German Reich and Hitler) where Eris is stuck with the last few remaining Dominion troops facing the advancing Federation on Xindi Prime or somewhere. It is really moving stuff and you write war scenes, action scenes and intrigue really well.

Next are the Vorta. You add so much to them! You explain about their culture, you explain about the cloning, you explained about that cool limbo process when Vorta die and are waiting for their next clone to be activated. But you make a clear distinction between cloned Vorta and noncloned Vorta. I think this is really important because in DS9 the Vorta were not that too defined as a race. Their homeworld was a mystery, hell only in season 7 did Weyoun explain about their evolution and how the Founders came to them and evolved them as gratitude for the proto-Vorta saving a changeling. You've given a whole ton of urban grit to Kurill Prime, the Vorta homeworld, and I always imagined it to be a green leafy place still even after ten thousands years have passed and all! But I think your interpretation is better: big cities, industry encroaching on the forests which were once home to the primitive Vorta. It is a fascinating backstory with all sorts of details and these ficlets do a great job giving it to the reader in pieces.

Next are the Vorta themselves. They are so varied it is incredible! You have the high flyers like Liska and Weyoun (yet even they have different styles: Liska is really aggressive and overly confident (though she has had a string of victories lasting many dozens of years; until the Dominion war came), while Weyoun is more cautious and seeks to conquer (or carry out the Founder's plans) for more diplomatic and covert means).

You have lowly scumbags like Keevan who, even after cloning, still are cowards and will save their own skins. So you examine the problems with Vorta cloning and how even Vorta cloning can't be enough to solve a clone who is constantly defective.

There is the Dominion war. All of the scenes are from the perspective of the Vorta usually in these ficlets but they do an awful lot. Like all the stories about the Dominion occupying Xindus and all of that. All of this would be ripe for a massive Dominion war story featuring all sorts man! All sorts!

Author's Response: I haven't incorporated this yet, but I have determined the true distinction between cloned and noncloned Vorta: cloned Vorta only have violet eyes, noncloned Vorta eyes range from blue to green to gray.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 06:27 Title: Family

So Liska is this student or something I take it and it seems like she has been slaving and toiling away for a long time. But the institute appears to be her salvation.

But Liska is in danger of throwing all of that away because she has an attraction to the opposite sex, and her father is really brutal here. All this stuff about 'One child must be produced per cloned couple, as an example of the superior nature of their being.' has really gone to Liska's father's head. To the point where I think he would kill his daughter if she had not tried to return to her father's good graces. So no wonder Liska hates her father and has all these bad memories.

But I have always been intrigued by Liska's desire to sleep with other women regardless of the consequences. It makes me wonder, what does she see in Eris? What makes those two so special?

But at last Liska can free herself of her father's oppressive grasp by going to the institute. So it is a really tough life being the son or daughter of cloned Vorta parents. Though I love the reference to 'The Gods', I take it is sort of like the Vorta's holy bible or something?

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:59 Title: Chores

Ho ho! Kazon and Talaxians! Is there no end to the Dominion's expansion! I mean the Dominion have made in roads in almost every part of the galaxy, or have scouted huge chunks of the galaxy.

And the news... Sounds like today you know, banking scandals and all of that. And the Wadi! They can't play sports but they devise all these games for the Dominion oh the irony!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:55 Title: Lies

Chat shows? You just keep on adding magnitudes to the Vorta! You have some crazy ideas about the state of the Dominion but the most telling was the propaganda.

"Jathan paused for a moment. Amid the bright lights, he was able to make out how how anxious the audience was. They needed to hear a piece of good news, to know that the Dominion was going through all channels.

“I honestly believe...that we will have another decade of peace.” To that, the audience cheered.

This bit was the most telling and it means the Dominion is almost brainwashing its citizens. The Dominion claims it is peaceful to its citizens, it claims it is restrained in its violence, and it claims it citizens are free. But really the Dominion, and more precisely the Vorta, have a strangle-hold on the media. Much like today with Western governments actually!

So while Jathan promises peace and all of that, really the Dominion is going to wipe out this Hallican Alliance. So the Council truly has no democratic accountability, and how could it? The Founders control the show, they tell the Vorta what to do.

So the Dominion citizens are like sheeple, believing the media lies and the whitewashing of the truth. But that's all shattered when the Jem'Hadar come!

Author's Response: The Dominion partly runs on a carefully managed distribution of bread and circuses. Also, this is a talk show, where people are more allowed to lie to the people. Dominion news doesn't tolerate bias.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:37 Title: Momentous Moments

I never realised the extent of Vorta culture. I always imagined it to be primitive and underdeveloped if Weyoun from DS9 was anything to go by. But no these Vorta gamble, they have sports, they even have singers and I thought the Vorta could not carry a tune?

So either you are going against canon or you are very clever in your interpretations of all that DS9 told us about the Vorta!

"Citizens of Kurill Prime, we stand today, on our most important of holidays, thankful for our deliverance. The gods saw fit to elevate us to sentience so that we may bring order to a chaotic galaxy."

The Founders sure did bring deliverance, buts it interesting that both the Vorta and the Founders share the same goal of bringing order to a chaotic galaxy. Of course this goal could have been instilled into the Vorta when the Founders were evolving them through advanced genetic engineering. So the Founders had a plan all along.

But, how do the Founders know so much about genetic engineering? Are these skills still retained from the time when they were solids? And I know changelings have photographic memories and are like computer databases, they never forget anything!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:32 Title: Sink or Swim

Quite the desperate situation, and Eris is as always resourceful in the face of such dire straits. But if they send out a transmission won't Eris and Kilana be unable to transfer into their clones?

Sink or swim indeed!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:30 Title: Seasons

So Kurill Prime is the Vorta's homeworld and it seems one amazing place what with all the scenery, the mountains, the amazing sunrises and the seasons. You do have an active imagination when it comes to all things Vorta related! And of course either Eris or Liska or both of them have to be in the scene! But those two are quite the couple even if they have done some despicable things, committed various atrocities and so forth.

I wonder, if they love each other so much, why can't they recognise that other humanoid beings have such love, but of course they (Eris and Liska) are always following the Founders. And after what the Founders did to the Vorta and to Kurill Prime you can see why. Truly evolved indeed!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:26 Title: Altered States

The Dominion vs the Borg! This has always been a much contested point of debate for Star Trek nerds everywhere. I find it fascinating when you say that the Borg can't adapt to the Dominion's polaron weaponry. After all those years the Borg still have not found a countermeasure to it? Yet the Federation did with some shield modifications? How does that work out?

You would think the Borg would easily adapt by finding the correct shield frequency, but no they are well and truly stumped when it comes to fighting the Dominion.

The bit;

The drone is merely a cell, the cubes are the appendages, and the Collective is the mind. They don’t need anyone to reason or speak on their behalf. They just keep coming. They keep assimilating. They keep consuming. They will never stop.

Was a great description of the Borg. There have been many great descriptions of the Borg's power and seemingly invincibility. But this description is just as good!

Finally it seems the Vorta have developed a rather crude measure to destroying nanoprobes, which is incredibly dangerous to the patient. But it's that or forever losing the patient.

There is one more question and you know more about the Dominion, changelings, Vorta and the Jem'Hadar than anyone else on this site. Can the Borg assimilate a changeling? Is it possible?

And if not, could a changeling or more of them cripple a Borg ship?

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:18 Title: Making a Good Impression

Grim times, grim times indeed. To see Starfleet reduced to this state shows how very close they came to being completely defeated by the Dominion. I take it Monroe managed to make a stand in Al-Jamal which stopped the Dominion coming any closer to the core worlds of the Federation?

Great mood by the way. I know you are basing it off of a scene from a film, but I have never seen Patton, and you do descriptive writing rather well and you are great at conveying the mood with some spot on dialogue and pace. Hell, I think you have a real knack for dialogue and I have never read a story of yours where I winced at bad dialogue!

Good job!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:14 Title: Politics

So that's how Dukat got the Dominion on his side, and even then the Council discussed disarming the Cardassians after hostilities were over. So Dukat must have known that! He must have known that the Dominion would merely use the Cardassians for their own purposes until the Federation and the Klingon Empire was conquered. Yet Dukat took that gamble anyway!

And the Supreme Council is a fascinating concept! I say that because it gives the illusion of democracy, so that the masses feel they are accountable when really it is all controlled by the Jem'Hadar and the Founders. Those two races will always have the upper hand over the peoples of the Dominion. So just how democratic is the Dominion? Aside from tribute and demands, just how much self-determination and leeway do Dominion worlds have?

Finally wouldn't there be at least a few Founders on the Supreme Council to guide the Council's decisions? Or do the Founders really let the Vorta fully run ALL the political processes and administrative work? But I do think the occasional Founder will arrive -- and cue mass reverence from all the Vorta in the Supreme Council -- to guide matters or inspect the Council.

So a great concept the Supreme Council, plus it was clever how you examined just how much freedom and democracy there is in the Dominion.

Next I like how Weyoun takes the more cautious approach while Liska takes the aggressive approach. Ironically while Weyoun's approach would have worked, I think Liska's approach would have won the war because then the Federation would not have had the time to mine the wormhole if there had been a surprise attack by the Jem'Hadar.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 05:06 Title: AWOL

Keevan... So he was always a lily-livered coward! A great chase scene and I find it fascinating that is Vorta who track down their kind if they are defective. And defective can have a wide range of meanings. Whether the Vorta is a conscientious objector (think Weyoun 6), is a coward or has just gone plain rogue.

Though I wonder if the Keevan clone should be scrapped entirely. Because reeducation just doesn't seem to work on Keevan. I mean how could they remove Keevan's fear via genetics? Is Keevan more genetically prone to fear and saving his skin? Or can no amount of DNA alteration change the fact that Keevan was always a coward or ran when things got too tough or too dangerous.

So how did he manage to get through that institute in the first place? You know, the institute which trains Vorta and if successful these Vorta are cloned if they die in a mission. How did Keevan pass?

Finally aren't the Dosi those huge muscular people with the weird face paint? If that is so then how did Eris manage to break his arm?

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 04:19 Title: TGIF

That was chilling. I never realised just how close to conquering Earth the Dominion came. Thank God for the minefield otherwise the Federation and Klingons would have had no chance to beat back the Dominion.

To think a few kilos of white stopped Liska from engaging an attack on Earth is rather unnerving. Having said that Earth would have some serious planetary defences, plus hundreds of Starfleet ships and other defences. So I think several thousand Jem'Hadar would have been grossly inadequate for the conquest of Earth and the Sol System. That is of course unless Liska was planning a raiding mission which briefly struck Earth but did little damage. Though the damage to moral would be severe.

Author's Response: I actually based this on a real event from the Battle of Moscow, with a few lines from Patton. A Wehrmacht engineer patrol made it to the town of Khimki, just eight kilometers outside of Moscow. It was the closest the Germans ever got to the Russian capital.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 04:14 Title: Playing Hurt

Ooh! Aren't the Jem'Hadar vindictive!

It is so typical of the Vorta to be overly-confident and Cerrein deserves all the pain for being complicit in the torture of all those prisoners, and everything else. It is also quite unnerving to see such spirit remaining in Berkeley after being tortured for so long.

Perhaps the Jem'Hadar planted the idea in Berkeley's head to stab Cerrein to death? Or maybe that Jem'Hadar dropped the piece of glass on his last visit of Berkeley so that the next time Berkeley was visited, and by Cerrein, Berkeley would have a weapon to attack Cerrein with.

As for Cerrein's condescending manner... It is so despicable and makes me want to strangle the neck of this miserable little Vorta!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 04:09 Title: Escape

These weekly free-writes are revealing so much about Eris and Liska! So where did you get the idea of a lesbian Vorta couple from? Because I totally feel their love and passion, and it is quite the romance and relationship!

As for this story, it must be really hard for Eris to live on Earth, this truly alien world, and be away from everything which she is familiar with. She knows she won't be accepted, she knows there will be stares and grudges against her. She knows this will be tough for Prilla, but Eris is one tough cooky and after the Dominion war (and after realising the extent of the Dominion's atrocities and really feeling her guilt) I think Eris is going to be looking forward to a simpler and quieter life. Albeit without Liska.

I take it Liska is serving a much longer prison sentence because she had a higher rank and thus perpetrated more crimes against humanity and more atrocities?

Author's Response: I got the Dominion War Sourcebook by Steven S. Long for the now-defunct Star Trek Last Unicorn RPG. Among it were stats for a Vorta named Liska, who was described as "short and delicate, but the Jem'Hadar were afraid of her," along with Eris. At the time, I was working on an RP campaign which never materialized, but in my materials for it, I had the idea "Alright, lesbian Vorta. Go with it." My work then evolved from that.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 04:04 Title: Pest Control II

“Arjagul, I would enslave the entire quadrant to protect her.”

Great line!

No wonder Liska and Eris are such effective commanders and tacticians. They will do anything to ensure they are ace at their jobs just so they can find as much time as possible to get their romantic moments and their kicks!

Another good addition scene which is very appropriate to the first Dominion war story arc when DS9 was captured. And as for Quark, trust him to sweet-talk one of the most powerful Vorta woman in the sector! And Liska handled him pretty well. First fooling Quark by arousing him and then giving his just reward for his cheek!

Though her threat of “If you ever touch a Vorta woman like that again, I will lead an invasion force and burn your planet to cinders.” was very chilling because she would probably do that. She would ask permission for a strike force on Ferenginar and say goodbye to the Ferengi.

So Liska is a bit of a murdering tyrant in her own way!

Author's Response: She was caught up in the war effort. Other Vorta like Weyoun would probably recognize that the Ferengi can be a powerful economic ally.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 03:58 Title: Pest Control

Ho ho! So it was Liska who was on board one of the Jem'Hadar fighters which attacked the galaxy class starship in the DS9 episode "Jem'Hadar"!

The best bit was;

The starship had a most unusual design. The top was a saucer and the nacelles were completely exposed. Liska was perplexed as to why the “Starfleet” would design a ship like this.

Classic first contact and first impressions stuff! Except this is a very deadly first contact and that ship did not stand a chance. Finally it was Liska who must have ordered that fighter to go on that kamikaze run into that Starfleet ship.

A great addition to the final battle scene of the "Jem'Hadar" episode.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 03:54 Title: Letters from Home

Wow! So that explains how the Dominion let Eris and Liska become a couple. Eris' mother gave her all to ensure Eris successfully completed whatever programs the Institute gave. I guess Eris never knew her mother's sacrifice and how it was the only reason why Eris enjoys the love for Liska and their relationship.

This brings out a really human side of Eris that you rarely bring forth. Somewhere under that smug, cocky and confident Vorta exterior, is a woman with a heart who still cares for family and love. I think Eris has more of a heart than Liska does, and I also believe it was Eris who was the first of the two to really grasp how barbaric and monstrous the Dominion truly was in the various wars, atrocities and exterminations it carried out.

A short but moving story!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Jun 2013 03:49 Title: Biases

An interesting observation you made about Fleet Admiral Owen Paris, that he was 'too soft', I think you have a point there and he did strike me in Voyager as a more softer and measured admiral. Unlike Nechayev who was always annoying, almost as annoying as Kai Winn!

I really dig Monroe's to-business attitude, yes he has a new position, a really good position in Starfleet. But all he cares about is rebuilding the fleet and his speech was brief and to the point; there is work to be done!

Surprisingly, Monroe is rather less prejudiced than other admirals in particular because he has decided to hire Eris has a civilian consultant. I think it's funny that it is Eris who now has a job and Liska is now the full-time mother and has no position. Because before the war Liska outranked Eris so how things change...

Also I was really surprised when Monroe mentioned about the removed termination implant from Eris. That is a rather surprising act of generosity on the changeling's part during the final few days of the war.

And you raise a good point about how yes Starfleet says its inclusive, but that doesn't meet prejudices linger on and it is going to be a long time before members of Starfleet will view Eris as one of their own, and trust will be something which will take some time to properly foster.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:47 Title: Haiku

You know this could be the shortest story ever if you posted it as an individual story! It would be the record holder for the most shortest story ever on Ad Astra!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:46 Title: Dear Captain... II

Wow! After all that death and destruction, and once they completed these missions to destroy the last of the Federation, Liska and Eris are going to romantically frolic about the ruins of Paris. And they think that's romantic!?!

These two Vorta galls have got serious screws loose!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Jun 2013 19:44 Title: Dear Captain... I

So Commander Michael Berkeley has joined the Maquis? I also take it he tried to persuade Raheesh to join but Raheesh refused, hence the message?

Since I'm more than half way through these weekly prompts I just want to say that while fragmented -- but of course they are weekly prompts so they will be fragmented individual sections of the life of all the characters you created -- they are a great introduction to the many characters you have created for the sole purpose of fleshing out the Dominion war.

So I will be reading some of your other more feature-length stories about all of these characters.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Jun 2013 18:55 Title: All You Need Is Love

So Carmen gets an attraction to Michael after saving his life during what was it? Either an exploding asteroid or mining operations, so that was pretty reckless of Carmen to be doing the Belt Run if there are those sort of obstacles!

Finally I liked the rather spiritual beginning, as if Carmen were waking up in heaven but it is the disorientation of waking up from a long sleep!

Good stuff!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 31 May 2013 09:28 Title: She never saw it coming

"Vorta have a sense of aesthetics. Weyoun was unsure about how to judge Ziyal's paintings, with her father effectively being his boss. Don't want to say anything bad about Dukat's bastard kids."

Really? I thought Weyoun was having serious difficulties making heads or tails of Ziyal's paintings, and I think he even said Vorta have no sense of aesthetics. Well that's what I remember about DS9 anyway! However you are right about Weyoun being diplomatic and not wanting to give Dukat any additional reason to loathe him. Especially since Weyoun accurately gauged Dukat's strong attachment to his daughter and how Ziyal could do no wrong in Dukat's eyes.

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 31 May 2013 02:14 Title: The Longest Wait

Oh Borath fate has been unkind to you! Good job bumping off that sneering Vorta who seemed to always smirk and was more repugnant than Weyoun! Plus Borath seemed to be the only person who liked admiral Nechayev, so he especially deserves to die!

Reviewer: Ln X Signed [Report This]
Date: 31 May 2013 02:09 Title: Stunning Incompetence

So this is where Liska first develops a conscience about how she has become an instrument in waging destruction and death on numerous peoples, races and planets. Also I get the sense that Cerrein is a lily-livered coward who would sacrifice everything but himself to save his miserable little skin.

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