Date: 01 Aug 2014 20:31 Title: Chapter 4
Wow. That was a fiery encounter in the mess. Things aboard the Rafale are very tense and acromonious. This does not bode well. The crew needs to work together. As Dossau says, they are all Starfleet officers and need to be able to step up to the plate. However, there's lots of pain aboard and the Merv replacements make it hard for the Rafale old guard and vice versa. Perhaps they'd best focus on the fact they survived and honour those that died by being the best they can be. But that's an inspiring speech that's going to have to come at some point otherwise hard lessons are going to teach them that. But given that they can blame the others and feel grief and loss it is no wonder this is going to be a hard task to bring the crew together.
Yet the challenges ahead as they arrive at the Bassen Rift are clear. Not so apparent to our heroes are the other threats just waiting for them in there where they will have no one else for support but themselves. Ohh shivers. I love set ups like this. Fantastic.
Date: 01 Aug 2014 20:19 Title: Chapter 3
It was never going to be easy and it was never going to be nice but I have to say, I did not expect Elaina to be as harsh, wicked and unprofessional as that. That was downright insubordinate. She needs to be slapped down hard. She's served in Starfleet enough to understand the protocols and the chain of command and that regardless of rank, Jessica as the commanding officer is CAPTAIN on the ship. God that is galling.
And again, as much as Elaina is at fault here, St. Peter hardly redeems herself or covers her command in flowers. She reacts to Elaina and takes the verbal abuse and fails to stamp her authority on the situation or on Elaina. This of course can only leads to dire complications later. Although Elaina at least will not put the ship in harm's way - who is to say she will not do a Jessica and act over her head as she did in the belief she's doing the right thing? Cross purposes on the one side can be more deadly than the enemies' agenda.
When it then comes to the enemy here, the Hirogen are in for a frightful discovery. It would be easy to remark, the hunters become the hunted but that certainly seems to be the way things are panning out. And it seems this foe is a considerable one. Will St Peter and the Rafale have to cooperate with the Hirogen to find answers? Or will things be too late? Very interersting developments all round.
Date: 01 Aug 2014 20:05 Title: Chapter 2
Ok, so we've just had our first staff meeting. And boys wasn't it a doozy. Not for what was said, because essentially it was standard Trek fare. Assemble everyone and tell them the mission in a line or two (Really in an age of visual communication, there surely could be more efficient means of conducting such a meeting - I digress).
As I say, the real meat is in the undercurrents between the senior staff. Particularly, how we see them as filtered through the eyes of Wirstowx. Of all the senior staff, he seems the most adjusted, most loyal to the chain of command and respectful of the captain. He clearly is a tactican given how he observes and analyses the various crewmembers and their interactions to decipher the powerplays and bases within the ship. It's a little thing but it adds to his character and lends to his tactical role. It is also a very useful tool for the reader too as we get a feel for the various characters with a mini run down on them. It's a terrific way of catching readers up to speed without it being info dump or exposition.
The approach shows again the fluid and efficient style of your writing. You get to the thrust of things but we get so many broad brush strokes to fill in most of the picture that we are not left wondering what is going on or who is who. Nicely done.
What we learn from the briefing is quite telling. There are a few problems among the senior staff and alarmingly her chief engineer and operations chief seem to totally disregard St. Peter. These are key areas and linked areas at that. The two of them have the ability to cloud the judgements of those working in their departments and almost run a banana republic between them onboard. And if fault lies with Sinclair and with Elaina for their attitudes, I do think Jessica has part of the blame to share for giving leeway to disrespect her.
Of course, she's in a difficult position and new to the command post so it is hard for her to adjust never mind the likes of Sinclair and Elaina. Without command experience how can she navigate such politics? This mission I feel will test that greatly but hopefully will serve up lessons for Jessica about command - hopefully just not costly lessons.
Date: 01 Aug 2014 19:44 Title: Chapter 1
Oh spooky proceedings here with the ominous opener. I return to complete the story and refresh myself on the opening chapter. I like how efficient you are in your writing. I commented before about the three parts to the chapter
1) the mysterious opener, which on re-read I figure to be the flash of radiation on the lifeless Miranda class but its eerie and mysterious begging lots of questions and so provides a terrific hook into the story.
2) the introduction of the Hirogen hunt. Firstly, they are here in the Aplha Quadrant! Eek. And in alliance with Empress Sela. Sometimes I wonder if the Star Trek Online storylines are crazy or just a bit inspired. It's wonderful way to tie in lots of facets of the Trekverse and of course offer the gamers an opportunity to explore them all. However, here we see that it adds a deeper threat to the Hirogen presence and bgs the qquestion what is Sela up to - well no good obviously. And on personal grounds - why would you do that to a Miranda!!!!
3) we turn to Jessica, hovering over the command chair, unwilling to sit in it, haunted by the ghost of her former commander. It's a neat nod to the title of course but again I return to the opening visitor and speculate they'll have a part to play in the ghost story aspect. Who is this ghost? I'm betting on Jessica having to discover that and running into the Hirogen. Cutting her teeth for a first mission? I've a feeling that it is going to be more than that. And Jessica will sorely have to face sitting in that chair - and coming to terms with it and coming to own it and belong there because we know she has her detractors onboard who'd sooner see her out of the chair.
Date: 03 Jun 2014 18:01 Title: Chapter 1
And the opening chapter commences. Jessica is still unsettled about her getting command and certainly deserves to feel that. The Hirogen are operating inside the Bloom and have sumbled upon a Federation starship ... a mystery is certainly here.
Date: 31 May 2013 02:23 Title: Chapter 15
Another good feature-length story from your Rafale series! This was just as good as your Blood Red Dawn book and you made great use of the Hirogen and Devidians! Both hunting species in their own right! So this was a great blend of sci-fi and action!
Also Jessica is coming on, she is maturing and she still seems a little emotional but she kept her head during battle. So I think with more missions under her belt and a couple of years she could be a pretty good captain.
Date: 31 May 2013 02:00 Title: Chapter 12
Hirogen man... You save their lives and that's not good enough to prevent from hunting you once more. Those ungrateful gits! But at least you perfectly captured the psyche of the Hirogen of VOY for what is exactly what they would do! Resume the hunt of a lesser lifeform once a more superior one had been vanquished.
Date: 31 May 2013 01:43 Title: Chapter 10
Ah! So that explains the mystery behind these creatures! They are those murderous phased beings from TNG's Time's Arrow and it seems like either the Enterprise D did not destroy them or there are other planets which these creatures occupy.
Date: 31 May 2013 01:26 Title: Chapter 8
Hirogen and creatures which feast on triolic energy? This away team seems doomed!
Also, having reached the half-way point, this a very gripping story with a great plot concerning these creatures which feast on neuro energy plus including the Hirogen is a great additional!
On top of that you're making Jessica's road through captaincy a rocky one, and this sure is a mission to 'cut ones teeth into' while some of the senior staff and crew are not so happy about Jessica being captain so I sense a mutiny in the wind if the Rafale falls into serious dire straits.
Date: 31 May 2013 01:16 Title: Chapter 7
How long will it be until Jessica makes the connection between spikes in triolic energy and crewmembers whose neurogenic energy is completely gone? At least this is half a science problem and here's hoping Jessica can keep her wits about her!
Date: 31 May 2013 01:08 Title: Chapter 6
You are absolutely right to give Wirstowx the badass weapons! Hell, you're making him into like this action hero figure and I love it! An action hero with feelings and one you can actually sympathize with. A rarity indeed!
So, the first member of the away team is struck down by this creature. If the away team were smart -- and ignored red shirt behaviour -- they would leave immediately. How can you investigate what you cannot see and barely detect?
Date: 31 May 2013 00:59 Title: Chapter 5
I love how you portray Jessica's imcompetence and lack of experience on both a personal level and an external level to. She is so green at her job and thank God Mal'kon, their former captain, did such a good job with the crew of the Rafale. I'm starting to think that Dossu is going to be the unofficial power behind the throne so to speak, he has all the experience which Jessica lacks and I get a sense of him holding her a hand. Just a little bit but it's there.
However at least luck is with Jessica for the time being. But boy does she have a lot to learn! It's kind of painful -- in a good cringing way -- to see Jessica stumble like this and rely on luck and a crew more experienced than her to get through situations.
Date: 30 May 2013 18:57 Title: Chapter 4
Dossu is absolutely right to pray here! Although I thought -- and perhaps I have not been paying attention -- that Wirstowx was the chief tactical officer and chief of security? Or have those two positions been differentiated?
In fact, it makes me wonder what Starfleet were thinking merging the two crews together... I guess the top brass in Starfleet still like to make stupid decisions!
Date: 30 May 2013 18:32 Title: Chapter 3
Good God! That must be one powerful creature to kill an Alpha Hunter so quickly and ruthlessly!
Poor Jessica, and unfortunately she doesn't really have any verbal clout giving how she is not so familiar with the ship and she and the Rafale are partaking in their first mission with Jessica in charge. If I were Jessica I would spend half as much time understanding the ship as I would getting used to interacting with the crew. Hopefully she has Dossu for help...
Date: 30 May 2013 18:20 Title: Chapter 2
Wirstowx is ironically the one senior officer who is the most level-headed, disciplined and experienced of them all. I get the feeling that Jessica's only true allies at this point -- amongst the senior staff -- are Dossu and Wirstowx. You definitely give a sense of a very green senior staff and I rather shudder to imagine how they are going to cope with the Hirogen. Finally Elaina is a real prat! She wasn't so confident when the Rafale was in extreme danger and with a first officer or captain. So it will be very interesting to see how Jessica is going to manage Elaina.
Finally I would love to see Wirstowx take on a Hirogen though!
Date: 30 May 2013 18:08 Title: Chapter 1
Oh my God! I cannot believe I overlooked this story! It has the Hirogen in it! And there appearance in the Alpha Quadrant does seem rather plausible giving how they drifted across the Delta Quadrant. I've gotta say, this universe you have fashioned around the basic plot or premise of this Star Trek Online game is rather intriguing and a nice refreshing change from other types of Star Trek universes! It feels like it has possibilities and such!
I do like Jessica's apprehension and fear of properly using the former Rafale captain's ready room and living quarters, it just shows how big a gulf Jessica must traverse to truly become the commander of this vessel.
And finally, the Hirogen... You have said in the story description! As I will read any story which adds more depth to some of VOY's most notable aliens!
Date: 12 Apr 2013 12:16 Title: Chapter 15
Finally had time to finish this today. Really well done, TS. Thank goodness for Memory Alpha; gave me the background I needed on the 'aliens' to figure out what was yours and what was canon, and to understand the mechanics behind their presence in the Bassen Rift.
I found this last chapter particularly satisfying; seems the blended crew of the Rafale will indeed come to realize it's not us against them, but us against them. I enjoyed seeing the cooperation between the Away Team and their Hirogen prisoner, but felt some sadness at how the final battle on the Warwick played out.
There was a nice mix of action and quiet desperation as scenes shifted between the bridge of the Rafale and the Away Team. Glad to see how this new tried and untested command team rose to the occasion. They are growing into their new roles, and each test they endure will further cement them into those new positions.
All in all an excellent piece.