Date: 15 Jan 2021 14:34 Title: Semper Fidelis
Star was only slightly more adroit. Really the only way to handle a journalist is to be as open as possible and explain why certain material is classified. Journalists have a native suspicion that information may be classified for political reasons or personal embarrassment instead of security reasons. And they're not always wrong.
It looks like she may have missed her best chance to manage the situation through diplomacy. But most people are as suspicious of journalists as journalists are suspicous of them. Sometimes for good reason. Interesting story brewing...
Date: 14 Jan 2021 16:35 Title: Semper Fidelis
Gul Belore makes a good first impression. This looks like a fun and perhaps cross cast character.
And while I know Leva returns to the Eagle, it looks like he's in for some rather nefarious adventure of his own.
Date: 13 Jan 2021 16:08 Title: Semper Fidelis
A little levity with the lieutenant general - and I have a suspicious Lam isn't going to turn out to have remained the general that Wasco and Nora recall. The set up is just too classic...
Really nice character development with Nora and Star. And more than a little Spock/McCoy banter in this episode.
Date: 12 Jan 2021 15:24 Title: Semper Fidelis
Nice callback to the clown and the ferengi in the gorilla suit - ST Generations if I recall correctly... And a half romulan pulling off a classic Airplane joke - dry... Could we call that Levaty?
Having been a television journalist, I'm fairly confident Nora did exactly the opposite of what she had intended. Reporters can be negotiated with, but not buffaloed, bullied or stonewalled. That's pretty much like waving a red flag in front of a bull and she did all three in the space of a minute. Not advised for non-matadors.
Very interesting story taking shape. Thanks!! rbs
Date: 12 Jan 2021 14:53 Title: Semper Fidelis
Elijah Katanga is like cello. You just can't get too much of him into the mix...
This is a really superb detox sequence. Cool idea of the syndicate using an addictive drug to enforce membership compliance.
I am also intrigued by the ambiguity of the Star symbiant. I have a few rather dicy symbiants in STH Episodes 23-24, so I am always amused when we appear to be exploring some of the same territory.
Date: 11 Jan 2021 15:37 Title: State of Entanglement
I'm still liking the monomaniacal alt-Michael. There's a certain purity about the character.
Very fun development with Eagle prime showing up to save the day for alt-Eagle.
Still eagerly waiting to see how the Stars align - or not. And it will be fun to see alt-Michael dealing with Star prime.
Question: is there an alt-wildcat?
Date: 08 Jan 2021 15:37 Title: Semper Fidelis
Always interesting to see how the press is treated in Star Trek (and futuristic sci-fi in general). Of all of our critical institutions, journalism seems to be evolving at an astoundding rate and it's really difficult to predict what it will look like 300 years hence.
It apears I have jumped over the death of Eddison and to the end of the Dominion war. Interesting to see how the relationships have developed after this time. It seems like Star still hasn't quite won over the crew.
Author's Response: We didn't really get to see much of a press in Trek other than perhaps a bit of Jake Sisko and I seem to remember the press (or something like it) showing up for the Enterprise-B maiden voyage. Not a whole lot seems to have changed in my interpretation of it, however, I'd like to hope it is overall more responsible than it tends to be these days and more focused on journalistic integrity than ratings. As for Atticus West, well he may have his own agenda.
Date: 07 Jan 2021 14:24 Title: Semper Fidelis
Pretty gripping battle sequence - with good banter under fire. Good job of making the reader care not only about the Marines but their enemy as well.
Talk about a jump-start open...
Author's Response: Thanks, glad you're checking out Semper Fidelis. This is one of my favorites of the last few years and yes, I tend to like to open my novels with a bit of a bang, you may have noticed. I won't always be able to sustain that kind of pacing but always good to try and hook the reader from page one.
Date: 06 Jan 2021 14:20 Title: Star Crossed
Well - I quite liked the end of this story. Nothing clean and tidy - very raggedy - which gives it tremendous verisimilitude - which is really tough to pull off in a sci fi format filled with aliens and an alien protagonist, no less.
Lots of things to like about this story - starting with a very flawed protagonist who is not only female, but alien as well and still relatable because she has a conscience. Good people die and snarky people survive. Not quite the sunny side of existentialism. I also like the sense that any personal growth in Star is tentative at best. She's like the alcoholic swearing off the juice but not pouring it out because she knows she'll be jonesing for it in 15 minutes.
I'm neither a fan of overly dark endings or bright and chipper ones (a few dozen are dead, life goes on, cue the upbeat credits music.) Kudos on this story.
Date: 05 Jan 2021 17:10 Title: Star Crossed
Akinola is typical captain (and stunt man, quarterback, etc.) walking back into battle wounded.
Again, superb action sequence with consequences. Space is a rough business to be in. And apparently the Federation isn't entirely a wonderland of peace and prosperity..
Very enteraining read. Thanks!! rbs
Author's Response: It certainly is not in the far reached of the Federation, far away from the core worlds. Glad you enjoyed this one.
Date: 05 Jan 2021 17:04 Title: Star Crossed
Cliffhanger again! Really good action sequence. And too bad about the Ariolo - he was an interesting character. But space is a rough place to work. So Taz lost her arm? I don't recall an mention of a prosthetic...
Fun - Thanks! rbs
Author's Response: Yep, Star wears a cybernetic arm in future stories. There are hints towards this dropped in from time to time.
Date: 04 Jan 2021 07:26 Title: State of Entanglement
Whatever happened to those ancient Romans...
Interesting exploration of the Garden of Forking Paths - what cultural development would have occurred if they turned right at Cygnus A instead of left...
Also some good character development with Garla. She seems to be asking the right questions. There is something not right with this Lif and evidently she can sense that.
And some Sorrows of Empire reflections. Lots of threads in this chapter to follow.
Author's Response: You are right, there is a lot going on in this trilogy, and the story of Culsten and Garla and the Krellonian Star Alliance forms a part of this. Garla will have to make a decision soon, it seems. Thanks for reading, really enjoying the continued feedback.
Date: 31 Dec 2020 15:36 Title: Star Crossed
And another cliff hanger!
Very entertaining space battle sequence. It's difficult to keep space battles interesting and any serious Trek story is probably going to have a few. Glad to see you rising to the challenge.
I'm assuming the Bluefin characters are the borrowed ones - nicely portrayed.
Author's Response: Yeah, I may have said this before, but space battles are no longer coming easily to me and I do get a bit bored with writing them. If I do, I feel like they need some sort of twist or angle to make them more interesting and stand out from the norm. I may not always succeed in doing that well.
Date: 31 Dec 2020 15:28 Title: Star Crossed
Interesting backstory on Eteron - and equally interesting that Star Fleet finds it useful to allow the place to remain a smoky backwater. I particularly liked the reference to human persistence. It's reminiscent of Tolkien's comments about the end of elvish civilization and the advent of the Age of Man - that humanity fails often but never fails to germinate new culture. Ivonovic says something similar in STH 19.3.
Good tech sequence and some entertaining character-developing throat clearing about Star's conscience in relation to the Ariolo. Missing that character in later stories about her. It makes me wonder if alt-Star has a still-loyal alt-N'ek'too...
And another cliff hanger...
Author's Response: Eteron was a fun place to conceive and based on the rather uninviting Star Wars planets like Tatooine and the like. The planet was actually introduced in Tempus Fugit and I've featured it a few times, including in the prologue of State of Entanglement. As to the Federation's willingness to look the other way, I kind of see it as the Federation's anti-authoritarianism at work. As far as they are concerned, if the people who make Eteron their home are happy to live this way, they're not going to bother. It's not as if anybody is forced to live there.
Date: 30 Dec 2020 15:02 Title: State of Entanglement
Very nice mindscape sequence and really creative use of telepathy in storytelling. An infusion of backstory into the action - kudos!
Still very much looking forward to interaction with the Gary Seven character - hopefully more than just a message.
Author's Response: Quite a bit of backstory here, some of which will make more sense to you know that you had a chance to catch-up with my earlier work. Some is barely explained, which is on purpose to keep up the pace and to attempt to make this trip as disorienting to the reader as it is to the characters. Originally I had planned to extend this chapter with glimpses into Diamond and Ivory's past as well, but ultimately dropped the idea since this chapter is already long enough as it is and I didn't think it would really add much to the story.
Date: 29 Dec 2020 12:58 Title: Star Crossed
Akinola is jumping off the page here. Always enjoyable to see a character pop.
Warp 3? Looks like this ship has some serious problems.
A little additional comeuppance with Mahoney and keeping the Sacajawea sidelined both fun and handy for the storyline.
Author's Response: Yeah, issues abound in this scenario.
Date: 28 Dec 2020 13:15 Title: Star Crossed
Very intriguing character, Ariolo. Since there's a big gap between my reading this chapter and the previous several, I will need to go back a chapter or two to pick up his physical description.
Always handy to have a loyal defender. And yet another shade in Star's rather dark persona to have exploited this facet of his culture.
Author's Response: Glad you liked the Ariolo character. I think they were just a throwaway alien race in Trek, introduced to show the variety of the Federation but never really used. Probably because of the awesome looking but impractical make-up. Since I had forgotten I even used this character, a quick Google search revealed that apparently they are now considered to be a four-legged centaur style species, at least according to ST: Lower Decks. Interesting. Not the direction I went with, obviously.
Date: 23 Dec 2020 14:55 Title: Star Crossed
Akinola and his crew pop right off the page in this scene, especially the interaction between Akinola and Gralt. Red-skinned orion? That's a new wrinkle...
So it appears Schwarzkopf is a little wet behind the ears as well.
Good technobabble - and you don't have good Trek without good technobabble.
Author's Response: Akinola is a wonderful character and so are the other members of his Bluefin crew. Kudos once more to TheLoneRedshirt who has created these characters and crafted such terrific stories with them.
Date: 22 Dec 2020 14:35 Title: Star Crossed
Very interesting and quick planning - which goes to Star's native strengths and makes her a valuable asset in spite of her obvious weaknesses.
You have set up a very intriguing story here.
Author's Response: Thanks, I'm glad this resonates. Tazla Star is one of my favorite characters I've created as evidenced by the fact that she got a whole novella as an introduction to the series.
Date: 21 Dec 2020 19:50 Title: Star Crossed
Do the ends justify the means... That is one of the best ethical questions to play out in Scifi and a perennial Trek meme. When the ends are personal ambition, it makes the entire question much darker. Which makes Star an increasingly interesting character. One playing out both the fall and redemption narratives in the current work. And what an interesting godfather Altee is...
And nicely played on Mahoney. I just don't feel sorry for him at all.
Author's Response: Mahoney is a dirtbag, and that's probably the nicest thing to say about him. The end justifying the means is just such a fun question. It has become a bit trope-y over the years but you just know it'll never really go away because there's no good answer to it.
Date: 21 Dec 2020 15:28 Title: State of Entanglement
Classic alt-Trek burndown! After TOS, the vaporize function of the phasers was rarely used. And that ends one Jarik - but which one?
I'm quite enjoying the rage-monster Michael. Owens Prime might do with a little vicarious enjoyment of his alternate self - reminds me of good Kirk bad Kirk (not evil alt-Kirk) "I need my pain!" Kirk.
I quite enjoyed the episode where Kirk was split by the transporter and it was revealed that Kirk without his dark side was rather useless.
I'm also looking forward to dancing with the Stars - it would be fun to get them together. And alt-Michael probably wouldn't care ending both of them - not much patience for trying to sort them out.
Very fun setup putting the Michaels together.
Author's Response: I think Michael is far too horrified by all this to take any enjoyment from it. Although that shouldn't stop us as readers to be entertained by it all. I'm certainly glad that you are. More multi-verse shenanigans are coming up.
Date: 18 Dec 2020 15:53 Title: Star Crossed
Quite a relevant story for todays opioid epidemic, but particularly interesting given the hornet's nest of relationships involved with Star's access to this drug.
Looks like some fairly dirty dealings going on in Star Fleet. And a badguy from an angelic looking race is a really nice touch. As is the smarmy doctor.
Very interesting to see just how interested he is in helping Star break her addiction. From the subsequent story I previously read, evidently not successful.
Author's Response: The Opioid Epidemic is an interesting parallel, I hadn't considered. Drugs have always been bad, of course, but I'm pretty sure back when I wrote this opioids weren't as much of a big deal as they have been in recent years. And regarding the crew of the Sacajawea: Not a great bunch.
Date: 17 Dec 2020 15:44 Title: Star Crossed
Well now - a Deltan Godfather.. That's an interesting antagonist. Nice to get some perspective on him as he is being featured in your current venture.
And maybe he wasn't kidding about the addiction. Again, an interesting backstory to be catching up with.
Flawed characters are always the most interesting...
Author's Response: Altee's first appearance I believe. He is very much a background character in the series and only makes a full, in the flesh appearance in QD, albeit as a different version. Glad you're enjoying this little story.
Date: 16 Dec 2020 17:02 Title: Star Crossed
And a good buildup of supsense regarding the mission at hand and particualrly the main antagonist's motives, connections and the allure he presents to Star Fleet. More interesting internecine conflict among the various service branches.
Also an interesting cultural reference in the nephew taking the name of his wife.
The gag about the ice cream and the unfinished ship model were interesting character clues as well.
Author's Response: Border Dogs and Regular Fleet don't always play nice. Nothing too surprising, I guess
Date: 16 Dec 2020 16:49 Title: Star Crossed
Star's level of animosity for a fellow starship captain is probably going to come back to bite her in some way...
Nice character moment with Lt. Bane - and an interesting character both in him and his captain. Always interesting to see the relationships among the various service branches.
Author's Response: Star is probably one of those people who was not quite ready to be a starship captain. This is gonna be a great story to read to get some more background on Tazla Star. Also, quick shoutout to my fellow United Trek author The Lone Redshirt who has created the Bluefin and her characters. You can learn more about TLR's amazing Bluefin stories at UnitedTrek.org