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Reviewer: jespah Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 21 Aug 2011 00:16 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

Good luck at the utter nastiness and horror of warfare, and how battlefield triage sometimes stimulates impressive creativity. The play on Hephaestic versus Hippocratic was good (e. g. Vulcan, the forge, the heat but also a kind of a perversion of the old "First, do no harm").

Also, a really great means of pulling the reader into the narrative and keeping him/her there. I am very glad that you did not cut away (heh, sorry, bad puns today) to some sterile scene on the Bridge of a starship or the like. You stayed there, and that keeps the pressure up, akin to how pressure needs to be applied to an open wound.

Author's Response:

Thanks for catching the darkest undertones of the title!  These aren't doctors...and they definitely did harm to save a life.  It's as if they swore a different oath that said, "First, do WHATEVER it takes."

It's also good to know that I didn't revolt you to the point that you would've wanted me to cut away.  I definitely worried about crossing that line into gratuitous detail, so that helps to reassure me that didn't happen.

I appreciate your taking the time to review.  I left you a review as well...think you'll be happy. :-)

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 22:17 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

Sorry, I knew I shouldn't have made some of those points as I thought they might be seen as critising. The point of the cell phone was to point out how good you are at description and indeed mood/tone setting. The cell detracted from the great picture you had created but did not ruin it. So I don't see in some great bad light.

And I know he did say about only the profanity of taking the Lord's name would offend him now after all this time, but the highlightling of it and the detailing of how he would not react to it that took me out of the scene. If he doesn't react to it then it would be redundant to mention it.

Worry or fret are perhaps the wrong word choices, especially as he did indeed say screw it, I simply meant that it felt like a foreshadoing of his later concerns in The Thirteenth Order and that took me out of it because his later concerns you can understand why he has them, here not so much and again reduntant and takes me out. But simply my view, sorry if an honest review offended.

Author's Response:

It wasn't the issue of honesty; it is simply the issue that I felt a few things were mis-read.

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 21:45 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

As always an atmosheric piece of writing Nerys, which the story really needed to set the grim scene of trench warfare and for the brutality of what happens to Saan and Folani's treatment for the Vulcan. I liked lots of the little technical aspects to this, from the walking Houndinis to the explanation of how the tricorder could detect shrouded Jem'Hadar. And of course, the main feature of Folani's method of stemming the blood loss. And of course, I generally just like seeing our Bajoran in action anyway! :)

If you'll forgive me, there were several bits that did take me out of the story and the mood you created/were creating. The first was when Spirodopoulos reacted to the curse of one of his fellow officers, considering the degrees of profanity I would have doubted it would have struck him so much. The other was the reference to a 21st century cell, I know it was a way of explaining the tricorder warning but I didn't think your description required the Star Trek tactic of using 20th/21st century to explain things to a viewer. Description is often your forte and you don't need it as a crutch.

The other moment was when they were giving out about Starfleet and the lack of armour. Not because they were making complaints about Starfleet - many valid points are made - but Spirodopoulus worrying that he was betraying Starfleet by having the mere thought took me out. Kind of a foreshadowing of his 'apparent' treason hefrets over in the 13th Order.

I like the whole different approach to battle story telling here. The major fighting has just happened and the rest is mostly restrained to offscreen, the real action is the fight to save Saan's life and the team working together to beat another Dominion weapon with the vampire gun. The focus on that is grim but adds a real dimsension to the story telling and of course made for a truly interesting response to the challenge theme not withstanding being an interesting piece of writing in and of itself.

Author's Response:

Thanks for reading; I'm glad to know the description of the battle and the technical

Your point about the cell phone is well taken...I'm not sure I see it in as badly of a light as you do, but I can understand the thought process behind it.

It looks to me as though you misread or misunderstood a few of the other sections, though, so I would like to take the time to set the record straight.

It is specifically mentioned that he did not react to it as he would have in the past given the extreme situation he was in, rather than the opposite case that you suggest.

As for Spirodopoulos' "worry" about betraying Starfleet, I think you might've missed the fact that he's not fretting over his thoughts--he has a very clear "screw it" mentality ("then so be it!").  It's foreshadowing of The Thirteenth Order, in a way, but he is well past the stage of worry.

Reviewer: Samuel Pengraff Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 17:43 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

Trying to capture the essence of this wonderfully executed piece in just a few words is something I’ll leave to more descriptive writers than I. Perhaps the word Genius is as good a starting point as any.

Characterized by consistently radiant, inventive narrative, The Hephaestic Oath (Hephaestus, the Greek name for ‘Vulcan’, was the Greek and Roman god of fire and iron-working) takes us to that dark place within us all where battles like The Siege of AR-558 truly take place.

The story lays our fears and uncertainties bare, where even we can see them, and asks us how well we would soldier on against a relentless enemy like the Jem’Hadar, if we would have what it takes to field-cauterize a wound, and if we would have even a modicum of the control and courage demonstrated by Commander Saan.

Not detracting from the story in any way, Folani’s choice of iron piping for the cauter would probably require her to use a glove. Iron has a high thermal conductivity and if you heat one end the other end would also rise in temperature very rapidly. While there may be something symbolic or courageous about Folani burning her hand twice in one day, I suspect she would sooner just wrap some cloth around the end she was holding.

A truly inspired work, Nerys, straight from Hephaestus’s forge.

Author's Response:

Thank you so much for reading.  I really appreciate your review. :-)

Regarding the iron...I deliberately left the length and thickness of the rod vague since I wasn't sure exactly how fast it would heat up from end to end.

Reviewer: Lil black dog Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 02:00 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

Wow!  That was a gripping, gritty tale, Nerys.  Your style is wonderful; I felt like a silent crewmember, there with the others, watching this first hand.  Never having seen this episode, your solution was the one that came to mind for me, too - horrible as it is.

It's only a quick fix, though - as I'm sure Spirodopoulos, Saan and the others are aware.  The tiniest bump or scratch - to anywhere, not just the wound in question - will start the process all over again, and that adds greatly to the horror of this weapon.  I can't blame any of them for their anger at Starfleet for not committing to finding a defense, or cure, for this truly insidious weapon.

Author's Response:

Indeed...that's exactly why Saan said that he couldn't be moved again, after doing this.  For it to work, he has to be transported to a proper sickbay, and I would say it needs to be a direct transport.  Or somehow he has to wait motionless for the poison to break down in the body, which will take days.

Thank you so much for reading!

Reviewer: Jean-Luc Picard Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 20 Aug 2011 00:15 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

Very nice story, Nerys. You really do capture the feelings of soldiers partaking in a siege, one of the nightmares of warfare.

I also liked your comment on the lack of armor among infantry. Personally, I think that with energy weapons, any useful armor would be more of a hindrance than a help (cumbersome BDUs, bulky personal shields, etc.). Still, nice to see the soldiers complaining about how they think Command views them.

Author's Response:

Thanks for reading.  :-)

If you're thinking modern materials for armor, I would completely agree with you, that it's cumbersome and difficult for soldiers to have to deal with.  However, if you haven't read The Thirteenth Order, you probably haven't seen the description of the material used by the Cardassians (according to my personal canon).  While I've seen some people say that it is armor, something heavy and maybe even metallic, I decided to take its flexibility "literally," not just as a side effect of a limited TV budget.  Cardassian armor in Sigils is made of a type of memory material.  It's much lighter than you would expect, if you were to wear it.  It does not block all energy weapons shots (I don't know if you read "Flash," but you may notice Berat still got shot despite his armor), but can reduce the intensity of the shot to make it more livable.  It does also block shrapnel.  Worn over the chest and back areas, such a cuirass can at least reduce the chance of fatal injury.

Reviewer: Gul Rejal Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 15 Aug 2011 06:36 Title: The Hephaestic Oath

Oh, boy...The cruelty of a battle; fear, death and anger. And then a fight for survival follows. A desperate fight, a fight that many lost before and a horrible solution--but isn't a life the most important thing and worth protecting and saving at all cost?

"Vampire gun"--a terrible name for a terrible effect of the Jem'Hadar weapon. The Founders don't just want their Jem'Hadar to kill their enemies, the want them to kill slowly and painfully, then want victims to wait for their inevitable deaths with no hope for saving.

Folani's solution is crude and painful and resembles a torture more than a salvation, but it did stop the bleeding and I hope that it saved Saan's life.

Author's Response:

As the saying goes..."War is hell." :-(

It doesn't help that no official solution was offered to the soldiers for this, either.

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