Date: 01 Jul 2022 01:50 Title: Part 5 - Infiltration: 1
Yeah... Lif 3.0 and his insurrectionists are pretty much like the vast majority of insurrectionists. Incompetent to the point that they only survive because their oppressers are equally incompetent. Michael should have seen this one coming. Lif.3 has been feeding him a line.
Garla is magnificent as usual - and probably their main hope for getting out of this as Maya is unlikely to come to the rescue and Taz bedeviled by borg. It would be fun if Frobisher were to pull a rabbit out of his hat...
Author's Response: The Lif Culsten's of the quantum-verse don't appear to be the most reliable individuals, do they? Glad Garla's still doing it for you. She's a lot of fun to write. A real action anti-heroine. As always, thanks for commenting.
Date: 21 Jun 2022 23:05 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 7
And here come the alt-borg. But these borg are a bit wierd compared to borg prime. They seem a bit more emotional and they like to play with their prey. But then, they've probably assimilated everything interesting to them, so they have to be after something else.
And of course there's Eli and Xylion playing out a classic Spock/McCoy dance.
Nice badguy dance with Tyrantus looming over the Eagle's crew - again a classic. The less screen time he has, the more presence he has in the story. Kind of like the Operative in Serenity. Or Darth Sideous in the 2nd prequel.
Author's Response: There's probably a lot of Borg back story we're missing in this universe. But a lot of their MO should seem familiar, certainly their tenaciousness, and obsession with 010 that was mostly established in a Voyager episode, of course. It was also a central theme in my other story The God Particle (shameless plug).
Date: 21 Jun 2022 22:55 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 6
"Just give it a few good whacks..." Great scifi standard for wonky equipment on a boat held together with bailing wire and prayer beads.
Love Garla and Maya sparking off each other and Michael (not the most charming man in any universe) having to make peace between them. Which is about as safe as separating two tomcats in a territorial dispute.
And then again having to try to foster some sort of peace between his not brother and their not father. There is an understated humor running through this chapter.
Author's Response: The difference between Garla and Ownes is that Garla simply isn't a team player. She adores Lif but she doesn't play well with others, especially other Alphas like Owens and Amaya. It creates a lot of, hopefully, entertaining tension. And yeah, Owens has quite a few balls to juggle here. Interesting observation about him not being very charming. I guess, that's true. He certainly isn't a Kirk or maybe even a Riker and falls closer on the Picard side of the spectrum.
Date: 09 Jun 2022 17:01 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 5
Shades of Picard's dream in First Contact.. Sweet borgmare.
Bridge, we have a new problem: BORG! Clever little bugs not doing anything except tracking and recording your every move.
I like the idea that their presence would be enough to spark nightmares. And since we didn't see Tyrantus die - well - never count a mortal enemy dead until you break the spine off the skull casing with your own hands.
And then don't be too sure... Oh, and more Katanga, please...
Author's Response: Borg are about the perfect nightmare stuff, aren't they? And you gotta feel bad for Taz. First it was drug-induced fever dreams and now she's got the Borg fueling her nightmares. Girl can't get a break. Glad you enjoyed the First Contact call back, which for these characters is still a relatively recent event.
Date: 04 Jun 2022 01:35 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 4
I actually like that Michael has rage issues - an Achilles tendon that makes him an interesting character and well explored in his various doppelgangers. A dysfunctional family is an interesting one.
I also appreciate the humor in this episode - implicit in Michael's frustration with his bizarre, cobbled not-exactly-prime family and explicit in Garla's pithy, gritty humor.
She is an excellent frenemy.
Author's Response: Thanks. I always try to keep Owens as human as possible. Sure, he's an all-pro starship captain, but he's got his flaws, too, as we've seen, and particularly when it comes to his family. He's made some poor decisions and now he's embroiled in the middle of the most bizarre family drama one can imagine. And, oh yeah, all of reality might get wiped out. I'm also glad you like the dynamic between him and Garla. These two are both very similar as well as very different from each other. An explosive mix, for sure.
Date: 04 Jun 2022 01:31 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 3
I do love me some high-tech gadgetry. Holo-masks are far more convenient and maleable than prosthetic surgery. Speaking of toys - sweet gadget design and accompanying technobabble for the ECHO.
And So'Dan made a good command decision. Take a prisoner when you can...
Author's Response: Plus you get to do the cool Mission Impossible thing where you dramatically pull off the mask. Although, I don't think I've actually written that here. The ECHO is shamelessly stolen from very similar concepts. But I think it's a cool tool. It's certainly a great visual. You made a good point over at the TrekBBS. It's a bit gadgety, and one of those things that shows up once and then is never used again. Hopefully, I can find other uses for it in the future.
Date: 18 May 2022 23:06 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 2
Tazla's showing some leadership chops that Xylion has yet to develop. Typical vulcan - follow the rules and logic be damned...
Really liking the drive in this chapter - it pulls the reader along through Tazla's POV. Definitely an agressive, take-charge character. Not easily kept down.
Author's Response: The mark of a good leader is that they don't like when they are sidelined, forced to watch as others take action. Although there may be some other reasons for Tazla's anxiety here as well.
Date: 13 May 2022 02:55 Title: Part 4 - Roundabout Route: 1
Garla just keeps calling it. A great frenemy - as both Maya and Fro are also proving to be. I'm a huge fan of well-written frenemies.
Lif seems to be VIP in every universe but his own. No doubt Lif Prime is a happier man than his various counterparts. As, apparently, is Michael - as much as the term happy could ever apply to him.
Really enjoying the Amagosa station - it's a setting that is a story character in and of itself. Particularly its rather grim and hopeless host and design.
And yet another CeJay cliffhanger...
Author's Response: We'll have to see how having come face-to-face with other versions of himself is going to affect Lif. It's certainly not something he was prepared for. Of course, who would be? The theme of "what I could have been" is a big part of this trilogy.
Date: 05 May 2022 20:08 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 12
More Katanga please... I think I asked that before. He definitely delivers the goods in this chapter. “Perhaps the universe is really coming to an end after all.” I was waiting for him to add - "Too soon?"
So Michael isn't really a very good borgeyman - he's just not really borg material. But did the destruction of his cube spell his demise? Sic Semper Tyrantus?
Interesting clue in Tazla's dream - is she actually still picking up borg fm 101? Really gripping dream sequence - I was thinking, wait - is Tyrantus actually a changeling?
Author's Response: I agree that Katanga has not had enough to do in QD since the first novel. A shame, that. As for Tyrantus' demise, it was implied in this chapter that he was merely a holographic projection. So we may not have seen the last of him.
Date: 25 Apr 2022 20:48 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 11
Really liking these shorter, more focused chapters - particularly for action/impact. It really draws a line under the main point.
And this one is custom made to set up a throughline with my favorite of your characters - the cantankerous Katanga. I can't help but see veteran Brock Peters in that role - fighting fire with fire.
Really interested to see how Tazla morphs through this sequence...
Author's Response: Mixing it up with a little bit of action. I always liked the scene of Picard gunning down Borg with a tommy gun in the holodeck like some sort of bizarre sci-fi movie meets gangster flick. Hence Nora and the 49ers making use of projectile weapon hybrids. And Katanga gets another chance to show off his genius. Win-win. Thanks for the nice words.
Date: 25 Apr 2022 20:42 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 10
So he knew Ledbelly but not the windjammer? I thought Michael had some some sailing... Well - it is a rather specific term. His guess about its meaning is quite amusing (some sort of sax?)
Far more amusing that Michael is starting to find Fro more likeable than this version of his own brother. A rich irony considering his many efforts to save the bro and thwart the Fro.
They do seem to keep running into themselves in each alt they visit.
Author's Response: Yeah, Owens may have been at least half-right here, since a windjammer is another name of the accordian-like instrument Leadbelly favored. Donners may have chosen to name her crew for both the sailing ship reference as well as the connection to Leadbelly, but obviously she has no interest admitting that much to him.
Date: 11 Apr 2022 00:35 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 9
There has been a meme running about fandom about the borg farming humanity for ideas and only pressuring the species enough to drive technological and cultural growth.
These alt-borg seem to have a similar aesthetic - TyMike is similar to LocJeanLuc, suggesting these borg are willing to alter their MO when it serves their advantage. But given Michael's personality traits, that may not be as advantageous - his emotions are always really close to the surface.
So Tazla's getting nanited... maybe there is a Swiss Army Arm in her future...
Author's Response: Or one could argue that Locutus was always part of the Borg's standard MO, we just haven't seen it since on the screen. It makes a certain amount of sense when trying to assimilate a new race, particularly one has persistent as those pesky humans and their allies.
Date: 11 Apr 2022 00:28 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 8
They're in Lead Belly and there isn't a 12-string in sight?
It's tremendously fun in this episode to see Michael liking Frobisher - the man he wanted to strangle for killing his brother - than this version of his own brother. And this at the same time he's coming to realize (thanks to alt-dad) how much each individual shares in personality with his various doppelgangers. His realization that Fro is part of his family is probably the most cogent message so far in the series.
Maya's closing comment sums up the entire theme, making this easily my favorite scene in the entire STEA - although it did take the entirety of the series to earn it.
Author's Response: Yeah, the emtions Michael is going through here are a somewhat complex and complicated. Then there is the matter of Amaya running around like a cut-throat mercenary. And, oh yeah, the little thing of trying to save an entire universe. Tough day. Thanks for the high praise. It's a fun chapter.
Date: 07 Apr 2022 02:07 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 7
You will comply or you will be assimilated... That's a unique bargaining position with the borg. Quite fun that this universe's Michael is a borg. It just gets worse and worse for the alt-Mikes.
Really liking the failed borg - that's an opportunity the franchise kind of missed out on (although they had something similar during the Lore/Borg episode.)
I'm still hoping somewhere in the distant future Tazla will pop out an extra borg gadget in her arm - a legacy from this universe's borg. Although if this universe blips out, the device might blip out too...
Author's Response: Swiss Army Knife Tazla. I kinda like it. I'm pretty sure, however, she'd rather forget about this encounter, instead of keeping any mementos. Let's see if she'll get the opportunity.
Date: 24 Mar 2022 02:46 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 6
<The situation was beyond bizarre in a time and a place where bizarre had become the new normal.> Great line.
I'm loving Michael wrestling with finding that he almost likes Fro 3.0 after a lifetime of hating the other versions - and not liking Matt 3.0, not trusting Jon 2.0 and being floored yet again by Maya... well I've lost count of how many versions of her have appeared.
But he's figured out the right song to sing for this version of Maya.
Author's Response: Thanks. We've heard a lot about the strange times we live in and how bizarre all our lives have become. But I have to say, as a writer of science fiction I find that things can always be a lot stranger than you think. Living through a pandemic and multiple lockdowns was one thing, dealing with alternate versions of yourself and people you know and love, now that's a trip.
Date: 24 Mar 2022 02:40 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 5
I'm really liking the shift in focus so that we stick with one branch of the Eagle gang for the entire scene. It really allows the scene to breathe - even with fast, action-packed sequences.
It also makes those CJ cliffhangers pop more.
There's a fun undercurrent with Star being taken by the borg as she already has a mechanical arm. Are they going to replace her prosthetic with another prosthetic? Or just soup up the one she already has...
That would be fun - Tazla not only packing an enhanced prosthetic punch, but a few little borg goodies as well. A Swiss Army arm.
Author's Response: I certainly haven't invited it, but chapters that alternate between A/B plots and characters is a bit of a hallmark of the series by now. I always thought it worked well for the pace and as you say it allows us to really focus on various characters.
Date: 24 Mar 2022 02:35 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 4
I'm a serious fan of these many versions of Frobisher. We first met him as a villain and this Fro seems more like a world saver. We've met an evil alt-Michael and Michael prime is beginning to realize he's currently dealing with a rather unsavory version of his brother and a probably dangerously unhinged version of his father.
There's some sort of quantum entanglement playing out with all these people - they keep encountering different versions of one another in one doomed universe after another. Einstein would have called it insanely spooky action at a distance...
By now Michael should by used to this trend of pretty much every Maya punching him or pointing weapons at him...
Author's Response: There is no suprise that people love playing with alternate universes in fiction. There are so many fun story options to explore. It's even better when you can do it with a set of established characters that come with certain expectations. Very glad you are enjoying this and that you've been able to previously read some of the stories where many of these characters first appeared. And yeah, Maya punching (or kissing) someone is clearly a theme in this trilogy. Lastly, fun fact, I'm pretty sure Quantum Entanglment was an early working title for the trilogy.
Date: 05 Mar 2022 09:16 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 3
I could drone on about the danger of putting nuclear weapons on drones... As always Katanga is a delight and is able to give the everyman perspective on the story.
Somehow I suspect the loss of the alt Dominion shipping could bring more complications, but I have to wonder what the alt borg are up to. Maybe in this universe they're good guys?
Yeah... somehow I don't think so...
Author's Response: Drone on about drones while being pursued by drones. You know what? I didn't even make that connection when writing this.
Date: 05 Mar 2022 09:09 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 2
I'm sure there's nothing more galling to Michael than going with a harebrained Frobisher scheme. It's really fun to see him having to rely on his alt-arch-nemesis. This Fro may not have killed Matt (yet), but he is just as prone to make insanely dangerous choices.
The scene also gives a sense that Matt was always an active, willing participant in his own demise. A really nice exploration of a character who has been living in Michael's head as St. Matthew for many years. The real thing is much harder to bargain with.
Author's Response: Enemies make strange bedfellows. With the twist that this animosity is really just one-sided currently, thanks to the machinations of the quantum universe. I like your reexamination of Matthew Owens here. Of course, we don't know all that much about the original article, and yes, most of it comes from Michael's thoughts and recollections which most certainly are biased by the fact that he lost his brother in a tragic manner.
Date: 01 Mar 2022 09:43 Title: Part 3 - The Escape: 1
I've observed before that there is no such thing as too much Katanga. Nice opportunity for Alendra to step forward for some character development.
This is one of those detective story, process chapters - pulling clues together - dependent on dialogue to keep it a light and fun read. Katanga certainly provides that.
Author's Response: Alendra is the most recent addition to this crew and she hasn't had too much to do yet, which is a bit of shame. Hopefully, I'll get to involve her more in future stories.
Date: 16 Feb 2022 23:31 Title: Part 2 - Family of Strangers: 8
A more or less random collection of the Eagle's crew take down a squad of jem'hadar like a well-oiled machine. Speaks to the tremendous pressure the Eagle's crew has been under.
Garla continues to be a delightful character - badass and unpredictable. Lucky to have her along - but she was also part of the problem.
This Matthew might be more Frobisher than this Frobisher. I wonder if Michael is beginning to realize that Frobisher is so entangled with the Owenses that he is as inextricable as family.
Author's Response: Not sure about "well-oiled" but you can't argue with results. Glad you continue to enjoy Garla, she's a fun character to write. Here's a highly skilled woman who is used to be the leader of the pack and has been forced into the role of a follower. She clearly does not care for that at all.
Date: 14 Feb 2022 03:16 Title: Part 2 - Family of Strangers: 7
Jem'hadar - now it's a party! The chapter title - Family of Strangers - is really appropriate. Owens from three different universes - and I'm still not sure if this Fro might be from yet another universe. Much as Michael would hate to admit it, Frobisher is so entangled with his family that he pretty much is family.
Garla remains a tremendously fun character - tough, smart and a serious threat. One of the best frenemies I've seen in fanfiction.
Author's Response: I agree, Frobisher is firmly part of this multi-universal family. For better or for worse. Glad you're still enjoying Garla. She has an interesting arc in QD, I think.
Date: 11 Feb 2022 01:26 Title: Part 2 - Family of Strangers: 6
From infinite villain to expositionist - villains always get that role, but this is a really different spin on it. Looks like you decided to give Douglas Adams a run for his money. In the 5th book of his trilogy, he had aliens going throughout the multiverse destroying all the various Earths.
You've gone straight to destroying all the multiverses. I'd say that has to beat all disaster stories. But the kicker is that whoever is up to it seems to be doing it for liebenshram.
I have to agree with Michael - the creepy clicky aliens don't seem to be the most brilliant.
Author's Response: Yeah, I might have said it before, but I'm not big fan of long expositions, particularly when they are delivered through dialogue. But I guess when you're talking about the death of the entire multi-verse, I suppose you gotta take a moment to step back and ask some questions, maybe even try to answer some. Of course, time is not what they have here. Thanks for the comments, always appreciated.
Date: 02 Feb 2022 03:07 Title: Part 2 - Family of Strangers: 5
So I'm rather interested in this alt-Fro - 3.0 if I'm keeping count right... or maybe version 4. Wondering if this is the version we saw some time ago on the doomed ship with alt-Janeway and alt-LaForge. First blush he seems a bit less despicable than the last two versions.
Also very interested to know how he knows what he knows about the multiverse-ending MOC.
Author's Response: I believe you are referring to "Maximum Entropy" where Frobisher was picked up by the Agamemnon commanded by Amaya Donners. Could this be the same one? Who knows, there are literally countless version of everybody. Although, that Frobisher did know things.
Date: 28 Jan 2022 22:35 Title: Part 2 - Family of Strangers: 4
Yeah - that was a really good fakeout! I had figured some time ago that it was alt-Jarik, but alt-Jon took me totally by surprise. And it shouldn't have.
Very interested in alt-Matt, but it's alt-Fro who's the really interesting. I'm really impressed at how long you waited to spring alt-Jon on us. A long fuse with plenty of clues - but spaced out enough not to set off my alt-detector.
Author's Response: Hey thanks, glad that it came as such a surprise, always nice to see that a twist worked out well. And yes, this new revelation will certainly change the dynamic of things, particularly with these other players who have now entered the picture.