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Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Jul 2014 17:27 Title: After the Storm

Why do I have the feeling one of your upcoming stories or chapters is going to be called 'Losing Hope' or some variation on that?

It's not a nice thing you're doing here by the way, to make it all look like a nice happy ending only to let it all end in a foreboding cliffhanger like that.

This was a fun story though with a colorful crew which still needs to answer a number of questions such as what happened to the ship's previous XO and is Faraday going to get her vengeance? Also is there a traitor on board and how did the pirate boss get killed? Are Mbeke and Hayes going to get a room and will Faraday go ballistic once she finds out? The biggest question for now of course is what happened to Watchtower? I guess we're going to get those answers in that new tale you're already teasing. Just don't let me wait too long.

Terrific story. Well done.

Author's Response:

LOL! Actually, my intention is that any stories featuring Hope Station are indeed going to feature the term Hope or Hopeful or some other play on it. So yeah, 'Losing Hope' might be the give away. After the action of the previous chapter I wanted a sucker punch rather than have a neat resolution to matters. As it happens, my timeline for the various interconnected stories of the Watchtower Universe allowed me to play this card.

Plenty of questions are left to be answered yes - are Mbeke and Hayes going to get a room? LOL! We will be getting answers to these questions in short order. Firstly, as I mentioned on the forum, the previous XO story will be covered in a prequel set just prior to this particular story and said story will be a crossover with the Rhapsody Rabbit Gavilán. As for Watchtower, stay tuned, as we'll get the first instalment of it today.

Meantime, my many, many thanks CeJay for reading the story and all the thoughts and impressions you've shared.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Jul 2014 17:13 Title: Gauntlet Running

Well, this certainly didn't disappointed. I had an inkling they were going to play with gravity because of all the talk about boots. A terrible idea really considering they're being bounced around inside an ion storm, but hey, all's well that ends well.

Loved the fact that we got to see the action from Mercy's perspective even after the hostage crisis had been resolved. Most captain's would have struggled in that situation, being an helpless witness instead of being on the bridge. For Mercy it must have been even worse, having an untested XO in the center seat instead, and one she barely even trusts.

Kudos to her officers around her for correctly pointing out that he's in charge now. And look at that, it seems Fleeters have a few tricks up their sleeve as well. After that Faraday won't have much of a choice but to warm to Hayes, methinks.

Author's Response:

A matter of bad timing and bad luck I guess for the gravity trick. Wanted to try something a little different and I rather imagine that zero gravity situations are perhaps ones the Border Dogs encounter more often than not.

Playing it from Mercy's perspective was a choice that offered me the opportunity to explore exactly that mentality. On the show, they obviously have to cut to the main action but I wanted to play with the not knowing aspect a little of being elsewhere to the bridge. It has to be a fairly disconcerting and scary situation for ordinary crewmembers. Certainly, it was much worse for Mercy having to sit the situation out. Of course she was lucky at least in being to track the events via the tac-mat, which also served to show a little of Hayes' ability too. I tried to write some of his scene from his perspective but it was too dry or too difficult to drum up any tension that way. Playing it from Mercy's point of view allowed me then to explore her own frustrations plus it served as payback for her own choice to take point in the medical bay. She can't have it her own way after all. I think after this she certainly has to extend respect to Hayes because he's definitely proved himself.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Jul 2014 16:48 Title: By the Creed

Oh, yes, things have gotten really bad. Yes, indeed.

Sorry, I'm trying not to sound too excited but this is good stuff. A threat inside and out, Faraday's most experienced officer is down and out for the count and she's forced to trust her XO with her ship in a possible hostile situation while she must lead a rescue mission on her own boat.

Well played, sir, well played.

Author's Response:

Hee, hee. I'm so delighted with this comment CeJay, my thanks for it. I figured with a title running the gauntlet ought to require a bit of tight bind all round so I am glad the threat inside and out played well here for you.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 24 Jul 2014 13:40 Title: Legacies

A nice little bonding session between Hayes and Faraday. I like that she's hands on, doing a bit of shuttle repairs on the side to keep the mind sharp, or perhaps just to have time to think.

These two still have a way to go before they completely trust each other, I think. The most interesting revelation here was about the fate of Hayes' predecessor. She betrayed Starfleet and her crew? Was she a Maquis and she pull off an Eddington or was it something else? I'm curious to find out. And there's nothing better than a bit of a personal vendetta, so it be fun to see Faraday going after her former XO.

First they have to survive their current predicament though. It's bad enough when somebody calls out a brace for impact warning, but if you don't even get to finish saying it ... ouch, this is going to be painful.

Author's Response:

Yup stuff happened with the predecessor. There will be a story that will fill in this blank of course. But we can see in a way just how much harder it is then for Faraday to trust a newcomer as her XO when a past first officer she considered a friend and did trust stabbed (shot) her in the back.

And yes, things have taken a turn for the worse with that call. Never a good sign when you can't finish the warning.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Jul 2014 18:29 Title: The Bigger Picture

Will you look at that? The Border Service has gone all high tech. Osprey is showing that they aren't really Starfleet's ugly duckling after all, these guys have all the cool toys.

And one of their coolest just might help Hayes find answers to his question. Because it looks more and more as the Orions might have compromised the BS somehow. Not good.

Author's Response:

Yup lots of cool toys here. The Osprey is of course perhaps among the very top tier ships serving in the Border Service Fleet it does have to be said and one of only a very few. But when they splash out, the BS splash out in a big way! It helped also to differentiate the ship from say the likes of the Kestrel and other Border Dogs out there. But the Osprey is very much a frontline vessel for any and every Border Cutter duty.

However, as you've sussed, the Orions seem not just to have an inside man they appear to have compromised the Border Service some how. And the mention of Shepherd's Reach hints to that wider corruption and this particular storyline that will weave through some of the Watchtower Universe stories. And no, not good. Not good at all.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Jul 2014 13:49 Title: Questions of Trust

Hmm, so they think he may have had help from someone in the crew? Well now, that's certainly an interesting new angle. Could there be a spy on board the ship? Thinking about it, that could be quite a feat for the Orions to have an inside man within the Border Service.

And now we're going to have not one but two investigations into this? Mbeke seems easy going enough, not to mention a real pro at investigations (so no Nora Laas), same can not be said about Duncannon apparently who hasn't really warmed up to the new XO yet. I blame Faraday for that. He takes his cues from her and if she don't trust him, neither will he.

But it be a real good thing for him if Hayes could uncover some wrong doing on Osprey. So it may not win him any love from the crew but I'm sure Faraday would see him in a new light.

Author's Response:

There's certainly a question of it being a possibility. Certainly to Hayes there's a distinct possibility. Maybe he's just a naturally suspicious person. It would indeed be a coup for the Orions to have an inside man within the Border Service. 

Yes, Duncannon takes his cues mostly from Mercy. He'll take sense into Faraday when needed but at other times he too is more partial to sitting back and having a person earn his respect and trust. Time will tell.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jul 2014 09:02 Title: Dead to Rights

So much for the interrogation. And too bad because I really wanted to see the boss at work, too. He must have taken something hidden on his body to go out like a coward.

I wonder if they are able to get anything useful out of his gang of miscreants. Me thinks not.

And am I detecting a little bit of an attraction between Hayes and the shapely Mbeke? Relationships between first officers and security chiefs tend to be a bad idea, trust me, I speak from experience. And of course Mercy won't have any of that kinda foolishness on her ship.

Author's Response:

Oh you definitely know about the fall out from XO and security chiefs (of course that might be preferable to the current status quo with Star and Nora!). As to an attraction, maybe, maybe not, but Mbeke is certainly warmer to Hayes than most others have been. And I doubt very much Mercy would tolerate such complications to a smooth running ship.

 

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Jul 2014 18:13 Title: Acts of Mercy

Acts of mercy indeed. Clever chapter title here.

Faraday did quite a bit to make her seem like a truly caring individual. Her concern and willingness to entertain the child, showing off her maternal instincts, as well as giving a speech to the injuried and terrifyed patients and former slaves. I like how she doesn't mince words much. She tells'em straight. It ain't over till it's over.

Good to see Hayes standing up for himself and turning the tables a bit on Faraday who has to begrudgingly admit that perhaps she hasn't done such a great job with him since he has joined the crew. I'm not sure if I'm buying that whole thing of how the Border Service is a good place for science officers but it has made me curious as to why Hayes is there? There got to be a story there.

Kudos for making Faraday religious ... or at least spiritual. We don't get to see that much in humans in Trek and it adds another dimension to the character.

Author's Response:

Oh I like to play with the chapter titles some it has to be said. Yeah, here we get to see a ... softer side to Faraday. Doc Suthy calls her on some of her behaviour and the quiet of the medical bay and the presence of the rescued slaves all serves to help her be a little more circumspect. It doesn't stop her telling it as it is cos that is her way.

There is also the religious side to Faraday, so although she can get heated and sometimes as seen before petty in some regards, she usually comes round. It also helped to differeniate her from my other stable of captains - McGregor is hardly religious unless you make an idol out of him! But it does make for a difference in how she deals with matters some and how I write her. It may mean she's more inclined to view things in black and white, right and wrong. 

I like seeing Hayes stand up to Faraday too. XOs ought to be able to call BS on their captains if needs be in the Trekverse. As for why Hayes is there? That will be revealled in the course of the tale.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Jul 2014 18:38 Title: Weighing Options; Weighing Anchor

That was quite a brilliant way to resolve the dilemma with which we were left hanging in the previous chapter. Both in the way you wrote it and of course the characters coming up with the idea of extending the shields at the last moment. I was surprised Faraday didn't offer at least a couple of words of praise to T'Renna after her saving her bacon like that. Perhaps it's not her style or perhaps she knows it be lost on the Vulcan.

And just when you think the crisis is over, you realize they're not out of it yet. Not by a long shot. That storm is coming after them with a vengeance and they can't outrun it. Bad news.

Now they'll try and ride it out? For some reason images of that Enterprise episode where the crew had to hide out in the nacelle come to mind. I trust it won't be that but from the way Mercy is talking, it certainly won't be pleasant either.

To be totally frank though, I didn't like Faraday a great deal in this chapter. Don't know if it is because she just barely escaped with her life or maybe because she doesn't trust her Fleeter XO, but I felt she came across somewhat arrogant here or at least in love with her own voice, the way she dropped long speeches on people.

Maybe it's just part of her character, she's an old hand veteran at this after all with plenty of wisdom to dish out. And the XO, it seems, makes a good target for now.

Author's Response:

Thank you CeJay. Regards, Faraday, you make lots of valid points because they're all very true. Faraday was peeved with herself and brusque about getting down to business, albeit, that is no excuse really. Even accounting for having just escaped with her life, she also knows her actions out the ship in the position it is. That grates on her and it is all on her. As to her beef with the XO, well stuff on that will come up but again none of it excuses her behaviour or attitude. I always kinda like it when a reader gets a negative impression about the character. Hopefully, it means they've got flaws and faults and some depth. The real trick is whether she can win you back round. Although, her style is mini-lectures so there's going to be more of those. Veteran or not, she is going to have to learn to trust her XO. And yes the storm is coming, whilst not requiring a 'Catwalk' type deal they are going to have to buckle down and hold tight. Thanks again for the terrific thoughtful review.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Jul 2014 18:14 Title: Storm Fronts

Damn, that's some seriously dramatic work there at the end and I honestly don't know how it will play out. I'm guessing your not killing off your protagonist and two kids within the first few chapters of your story but still, this is gonna be a struggle either way.

T'Renna is a Vulcan of course, so she has to make not just the most logical decision but also the only one she can make to save the ship, you simply cannot fault her for that.

What an awesome dilemma. Eagerly anticipating the next chapter.

Author's Response:

Woo hoo! Loved that comment CeJay. Thankies. Glad it came off as being dramatic. Was hoping for the cliffhanger to come off that way but it doesn't always pan out. As to what will happen ... well the next chapter should be telling. As for killing off my main protagonist ... well ...

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Jul 2014 18:32 Title: Incoming Forces

And things are starting to go sideways.

Sure rat-trap torpedoes are great to disable Orion raiders. Except for when they go and make their engines go boom. Then everybody gets screwed. And it wasn't as if the situation isn't bad enough without this complication. There's still an ion storm coming their way.

I'm going on a limb here and bet on Faraday still being okay-ish but that will change in a heartbeat if they can't get her off that doomed vessel pronto. Time for somebody to play the hero.

Author's Response:

I think you said yourself, best laid plans and all that. I liked the notion of their toys having a bit of pay back at times. Can't have it going their way all the time. And yes, there's still a storm coming in. Oh you have to put your heroes into the firing line sometimes. I doubt it's the last time for her or the last time she gets in trouble.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Jul 2014 18:17 Title: Little Dragon

Don't mess with the Little Dragon is, I believe, the takeaway lesson here. This unassuming little dude means business and clearly is not intimidated by any Orion or Nausicaan packing twice his body weight. In my mind's eye Ryuu was moving through that raider like a ballet dancer, dropping bodies wherever he went.

Hayes is learning his lesson on the effectiveness of the Border Service here. This man may have seen plenty of the wonders of the universe as a Starfleet officer but he ain't never seen anything like this.

He needs to show some patience, too. Sure, he wants more responsibilities as befitting his position but it looks as if he will have to prove the worth of his mettle to Faraday first before he can truly move up into her inner circle of trust.

Author's Response:

A ballet dancer would be a good image to fit his lithe movements. Ok no pink tutu but essentially it's something of a dance to him but yeah, it maybe isn't credible to think he could take all those targets out - so he uses his toys and his speed to full advantage. The bigger guys can come in and mop up. But he's ready and willing and able to take on a bigger fight when needs must. But as he says, he won't play fair in such a fight.

Hayes is indeed learning some valuable lessons. I hope too that he can show some Starfleet effectiveness too. Because in the end, they're all made of the right stuff. However, Hayes knowing that and giving Mercy a chance to learn that about him is another matter. He's part right but he's misunderstood Faraday's intentions too. Getting the prisoners off was her number one priority and she gave that task to him. But you've hit the nail on the head, he's a long way outside her circle of trust and will have to earn that. Awesome insights CeJay. Thanking you.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 18:06 Title: The Hunt

This one is as sure handed giving orders on the bridge and while under pressure as she is giving a mission briefing. And yet I appreciated the brief glances into her head, showing us that even the seasoned veteran that she is, she still gets a little anxious in the crucial moments. That makes her human.

So far so good. Now let's see how she and her team handle themselves in enemy territory.

Author's Response:

Mercy is very human. I think she might even be able to recognise some of her own flaws - unlike other Border Dog captains we will not name! I'm glad that I got to convey that there is more to her than the no nonsense sure under pressure appearance. She knows there's a lot at stake here - the lives of her crew and the lives of the slaves.

Glad you're enjoying it CeJay and as always, I appreciate the reading and reviewing, especially your insights. Here's hoping the new instalments prove to interest you. With enemy territory about to be entered, we're going to see a little Border Dog action interdiction style. Stay tuned, updates tomorrow.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 17:55 Title: Welcome to the Dogs

Faraday is clearly a no nonsense, seasoned vet and clearly she knows what she's doing. I hope she also knows that thing people say about plans and first contact with the enemy.

But she seems to have good people around her who know the score and presumably have done this, or something very similar, many times before.

Perhaps the only unknown element here is her new XO. Fresh from the more spit and polish regular fleet where he was likely not used to raiding Orion slave ships, he may end up finding himself in over his head. Or maybe not. Border Dogs may not agree but regular fleeters have their strengths too.

Anyway, now that we know the plan, I'm eager to find out what the execution will look like. Mercy is a hands on kinda captain so she's leading her pack.

Let the good times roll.

Author's Response:

Mercy's definitely no nonsense. But yes, she's a pro at this type of deal. Any different would put her in a real fish out of water context. But that's why she does the job she does. The new XO is an unknown element and add to that the fact that Faraday isn't quite willing to trust him yet. One of Mercy's faults is the fact she doesn't quite give the Fleeters the respect they deserve. It may be a hard lesson she has to learn. Or perhaps Gareth Hayes can prove their worth. 

And absolutely, she's going to lead her pack into the fray. She's that kind of captain.

Reviewer: CeJay Signed [Report This]
Date: 12 Jul 2014 17:29 Title: Title Page

Nice cover art. Elegant and simple and yet also a little quirky thanks to the some of the titles.

Author's Response:

Thanks CeJay. I wanted to play with it a little more but I decided to let my whole bird of prey meme take centre stage. I guess, I must have been inspired by some other ship name by some other author who was among the first I ever read and loved ...

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