Date: 28 Sep 2013 10:19 Title: Act 6
Good to see Captain Harrison’s re-prime Mayfield for going to piece at the end of the rescue and needing a hostage to nerve pinch him.
The end of a secret relationship and him look less than compentant to his Captain now.
The Vulcan naming ceremony for the baby girl was handle well especially the seeking permission from the Andorian lover as was the whirlwind of thoughts going through Mayfield head.
Brian poor state back in his cabin does feel right, the fact that Sh’Aleen voice torments him still and that his only escape is to focus on his duty tasks. The line I did my job, I did it do yours. Seems right.
Date: 28 Sep 2013 10:09 Title: Act 5
The counter raid to rescue the Vulcans what drama, what twist and turns, I like how the Orions have fit the Neurolytic restraints. To stop any escape or slow rescue, show they no fools.
Then there is the scene where they banter under fire feels a little strange to me but I suspect you know what you’re writing about here better than me for experience marines on operations.
Then sh’Aleen sacrifice to save the pregnant Vulcan woman despite all her early words show she might be Andorian but she is still A Starfleet officer. It was a brilliant idea and well executed. Poor Mayfield we feel his pain at her lost.
Date: 28 Sep 2013 08:57 Title: Act 4
Now things go pear shape, Made sense that the Orions would target the Vulcans and use a small local jammer ship to allow them to use their computer virus and grab some Vulcans for slaves.
Glad you’ve kept sh’Aleen and Brian still having leftover issues from the previous chapters and it feel good for Brian to point out he is her boss.
I surprise the Captain trust Hadley to sort out the Horizon, when he previously demote her for stupid antics.
I was shook at the Whiston torpedo hit and crippling the Horizon warp drive nacelle, and yet in battle that sort of thing sadly happens so I found it a realistic error, but Mayfield will be doing some extra tactical training in the near future.
What an awkward position for the Captain, chase the raiders to rescue 23 Vulcans or protect the Horizon other 327 Vulcans from a future further raids. I trust he going to point out to Captain Mayweather he doesn’t take orders from the ECS.
Date: 28 Sep 2013 08:39 Title: Act 3
Now this is an interesting follow up, and a nicely work scene with Brian and sh’Aleen and focus on the Andorians past feelings towards the Vulcans. As we all know that old history rivals can still be under the surface even now they all part of the Federation. So I’m glad you choose to show that the past is there even in Starfleet.
Thought I might play devil advocate and say if the Federation is a federal union as seems to be apply by Federation (i.e. a federal group of states) then the old borders might be the state borders inside the Federation.
I like that Mayweather seem to be more realistic about the risk from Orion Raiders and not prepare to turn off systems for an upgrade.
Odd status about Rebecca Hadley, I can’t imagine any officer who did a stunt like that not been removed from Starfleet and put in prison. If it couldn’t be actually proven then maybe it was nothing to do with her, then her demote to L.C. might have create resentment and the need to prove herself or not been place in a positions where she can be blame or fitted up for something going wrong again.
Date: 28 Sep 2013 07:57 Title: Act 2
Well played with the drop out of warp scene, I did like that the sub-space radio silence was due to the ECS Horizon not having a modern another communication set.
Did like that someone had the smarts to fit transport inhibitors to make raids harder.
I felt the ECS/Starfleet and refugees mayor Talak first introduction did felt well balance. I did like that Doctor De la Reina was more concern with treating the injury than attending the briefing.
Also like that the ECS crews are still slightly adverse to calling Starfleet for helping, despite the old family links. I bet it bad on cargo ship with that many people/Vulcans, I feel the idea that the Nero/Romulans target the large refugee ships also feels right.
Date: 18 Jul 2013 19:38 Title: Act 1
I love how you started this! The levity between roommates, and being rudely awakened by the other occupant. After all, we've all been there at one point or another. ;-)
I like stories that take the time to set the scene and introduce us to the characters, instead of just charging off willy-nilly into space battles and such.
Brian Mayfield seems a real, believable, and likeable character. The setting of the Briefing Room was ideal to introduce more of your characters, and also the event/incident that is sure to be the main theme of this story.
I also like that you're delving into areas left in the dark by the first AOS movie. Something tells me this is gonna be a fun, yet heartbreaking ride.
Date: 15 Jul 2013 14:03 Title: Act 6
Aw, that was a nice ending and it had a Trek episode feel to it to with the resolution to it at the end with the naming of the child in honour of sh'Aleen and perhaps a message of hope for the future. And indeed the birth of another Vulcan child also hints at hope for the future.
Brian is reprimanded too by the captain which is fitting given what happened but the captain also extends sympathy for Brian's loss in the department (albeit perhaps not clued in on their real relationship). But Brian can move on from this and begins to make the steps to do so.
Date: 15 Jul 2013 13:57 Title: Act 5
oh my Gawd! That was a blow at the end there. I hadn't expected that. I thought things were going too smoothly, even with the complications thrown in to challenge Carl, but then that poor ending for sh'Aleen! Damn. Finely played there.
And ow if she has indeed died sacrificing herself for the Vulcan refugees. What a way to go and what a story note. Well, well, done. And of course Brian is hit hard by it and forgets his mission and charge in the sudden grief and loss of the moment. Very well done. And I liked a lot that it seems he was subdued by a Vulcan nerve pinch.
It is also worth noting that in a combat situation you have a great sense of the scene and the players involved to help the reader follow what was going on. Very clear and effective.
Date: 15 Jul 2013 13:46 Title: Act 4
This would be crunch time! Damn! Things went south quickly and badly! You nicely amped up the tension after another casual off duty scene to lull the reader and then the confusion of the raider attack itself. The Orions obviously have sophisticated tech and possibly an inside 'man' given the dormant virus made the ship entirely susceptible and one wonders if the Whitson has herself been made susceptible by the virus. This is also a bad loss for Brian - maybe his firing at the Horizon can be explained by a virus programme - but he's likely to blame himself bad and it may be the captain will too as he doesn't suffer fools gladly from what I've seen.
The Orion threat proved to be very real and now the questions is what cn be done about it. The Orions may have brought on a whole heap of trouble upon themselves methinks.
Points to make here are: I'm not discounting Hadley having some part to play in things; Raal is made of awesome for his command chair line; and that was a neat tense battle scene.
Date: 15 Jul 2013 13:34 Title: Act 3
Oh oh, Hadley might very well be a huge liability given her past form and given her rather confrontational nature here. She's akin to a ticking timebomb and I'm getting bad vibes about her. Which is quite a delicious and rather novel characterization approach that you have taken and yes I love it.
Bad vibes are increased even more when we see that the Orions do indeed pose a major threat and I imagine in this altered universe with a rather weakened Federation that the Orion threat is probably even more serious - especially given the lengths we see the Horizon go to in order to stop beam offs for the slave trade or piracy. Again, interesting details you use to paint the picture and build up this little universe all very effective.
I also like the sense of work and life aboard the ship with Brian working hard to make room for the crew by stacking them into quarters and working out ways to put them together without conflict.
I also like the pluralistic approach to the crew as AOS did indeed show a much more varied crew than TOS (for obvious reasons but I like how you capitalise on it and make things much more colourful and varied). I also greatly appreciate the lengths you have gone to to build upon ENT and to extropolate from it towards AOS building on the Andorian/Vulcan animosity seen there and also prevalent in TOS (as seen in Journey to Babel).
I'm liking this very much. It is AOS with a nice comfortable feel and yet not too comfortable as to be generic enough to be prime universe in setting - it conforms to the altered universe but the sense of crew camraderie works here to ensnare the reader into familiarity.
Date: 15 Jul 2013 13:18 Title: Act 2
Ooh interesting. So they are going to offer aid and assistance to the Vulcan refugees and nothing bad will now happen to them. (yeah right). First, I like the call out to ENT here with the Horizon and Mayweathers. I noted it in the first act but thought perhaps it might be a name drop but no you actually are honouring it which is great. You also gave a good sense of travelling by cargo freighter with the cramped conditions and mention of the zero-grav difficulties running 24/7. Small details like that help to authenticate a story and universe and you do that really well.
The characters all come across quite well here in the second act with them remianing consistent from the first and here we get to see Rick and Tyler acting in tandem. In itself it is a neat trait and it was great that you actually demonstrated it in the casual manner you did to flesh it out and no doubt it is something very valuable in a crisis situation. The other characters remain very interesting but poor ole Brian and his poor choice for a stalker material! That was hilarious but I'm also wondering is this going to lead to strife down the line. And it may be that others have an issue with her given her lack of assistance ot the good ole doc (who although we have only had fleeting opportunity to meet her is my kind of gal and character - I'm thinking she is going to be awesome).
Date: 15 Jul 2013 13:02 Title: Act 1
A nice and gentle casual introduction to the main command crew and cast here via Brian's point of view. It works to give a feel of the people and just some of the dynamics between them at a glance. It was nicely done and allowed you to zoom through to the ending which seems to be the crux of the story.
That crux being the fate of the Vulcan refugees in trouble and danger. Seems there is a lot at stake here - those Vulcans should have chosen more wisely than a century at least old ECS vessel but it probably points to their newfound hard luck status in the universe that they have to resort to such transport. It is interesting too to see the follow up to the events of the first AOS film (especially since the second didn't) as it seems here you are going to do by exploring the status and the stakes that remain for the Vulcans who survive. It is fantastic to see this being addressed and followed up and this is a promising start to that exploration.
Date: 14 Jul 2013 21:46 Title: Act 6
And an excellent ending. You don't make him brush off the loss or the pain of it, but there's still the ray of hope at the end. And I think that it was a good honor to give sh’Aleen, for her sacrifice. Heartbreaking, over all, to lose her. But well done; this is an excellent, straight-up Star Trek tale, with a good crew and engaging characters. Hard to believe it's your first, it's that good!
Date: 14 Jul 2013 21:42 Title: Act 5
Oh, oh. Oh. Wow. You didn't kill her! But you did! AH! Ouch. Very well done. I love the world-building you did here, and the explanations for how the Vulcans were being kept, as well as the scene itself. I liked Carl's airsickness, which was a nice touch of realism. But man, does that ending give a kick in the teeth. Let's see if poor Brian makes it out alive.
Date: 14 Jul 2013 21:34 Title: Act 4
Oh, crap! Everything just hit the fan! You do a terrific job ratcheting up the tension here, too. And yeah, in a world where Vulcan was decimated, it's a pretty big deal when twenty-three of them go missing. Holy crap. Well played!
Date: 14 Jul 2013 20:52 Title: Act 3
The look at an Andorian's hatred for Vulcans, and the history there, is really good. I love how you've painted in the political history of Enterprise, and made it work here. And that they sort of work it out, her and Brian, even though not entirely.
But it's the second part that makes my eyebrows go up. Man, those last few paragraphs? Nothing scarier than an engineer with a grudge. Now I'm starting to see a potential tragedy shaping up.
Date: 14 Jul 2013 19:27 Title: Act 2
I love the Mayweather connection. And I like the care with which you paint the details. The use of an original crew is never easy, yet you continue to paint a very likeable, understandable one that seems real and established, even though I'm coming to this story cold. I like that the Whiston isn't shiny new and I like that the Horizon is an old-school freighter, and its backstory.
Date: 14 Jul 2013 19:11 Title: Act 1
I love this as a start. Brian's annoyance waking up is so much like my own, lord. I love his back and forth with his roommate, too, and the way you managed to capture the atmosphere of the ship and the personality of these two guys without using too many words to do it.
The overall view of the ship was also good. I don't care so much for that universe, but you immediately draw a likable and diverse crew here. And the mission at the end, especially in the context of the loss of Vulcan, is a heck of a good opening act. It nails home the urgency of the situation.
Date: 01 Nov 2011 20:01 Title: Act 6
First, welcome to Ad Astra, and thank you so much for participating!
One of the first things I always look at when I see a new author (who is a native English speaker), and that largely determines whether I am going to continue reading new works from that author or not, is technical soundness. You've got that down pat; I didn't feel like I was being hit over the head with bad spelling and grammar, and it's clear that you take your time in writing and editing. Always the first "plus" an author gets in my book. :-)
I also think you did a very good job with the plot; that the Orion slavers would treat Vulcans as a hot commodity. And as jespah says, I think the way you wove ENT into this continuity was very well done. You got all of those references in there without making it look gratuitous. Personally, it makes a lot of sense to me that we would see a lot of "atavisms" in a version of the Federation that was as hard-hit as the Trek XI universe was at such an early time in its formation. One gets the idea that the treacly-sweet Pollyanna Federation of TNG is not going to happen in that continuity, and that we will see more of a debt to the feistier, less-refined Coalition of Planets from ENT. So well done on that. :-)
I'd like to give you a few pieces of feedback to consider, but please remember before I do that, that I am glad you participated and I want to see you do more. :-)
First, I think you might want to consider greater ethnic diversity among your human characters unless there is a compelling reason in your world's history that this wouldn't be the case. Most of your characters had either Anglo-Saxon or Germanic names (even your ship). Unfortunately, none of the five Star Trek series set a good example in this regard, and I suspect it's because the suits decided that names like "Spirodopoulos" aren't good TV in the US. In writing, though, you have the opportunity to overcome that.
The other area where I couldn't really find a reason that made sense was the fact that the officer who pulled a phaser on his roommate wasn't hauled straight to the brig. In a military, lack of weapons discipline is completely unacceptable, and if someone did that for real, with an actual weapon, they would be in deep doo for it. That is someone who is potentially unstable, or at the least, dangerously undisciplined. The rest of the banter in that scene was great, and made me laugh--but the phaser bit just did not work for me at all.
As for this final point, I thought about it and I wonder if perhaps the point I'm going to raise is something you did on purpose to make the reader think exactly what I'm thinking now. Basically, I wasn't impressed with the Andorian's "reasoning" about her hate for the Vulcans. "I can't help it; I was raised that way"? Give me a break. That is a really spineless comment to make.
But I suspect that was exactly what you were trying to show: just how lame the excuses for prejudice really are. When you get down to it, that really is how stupid most bigots sound when we are unfortunate enough to have to hear from them. And the human speaking to her rightly nailed her on the ridiculousness of her line of thought.
The other reason I realized this had to be an intentional choice is because it makes her later act of courage all the more surprising and striking, because the reader is "lulled" into thinking that she doesn't have that in her. Yet you rip the rug right out from under us and prove that perhaps we, the readers, were making assumptions too.
Overall, I think this is a good debut work and you have a lot to build on for your future works. :-)
Author's Response: Thank you for the critique!! As for the ethnic diversity, yeah, I totally get that. I tend to draw names from either people around me or names that just come to me. Unfortunately, as a native english-speaker, most of the names that just come to me...tend to be on the American side. I'll work on that for the next time the Whiston shows up (or any other ship with a very human crew). As for the phaser drawing episode, I wrote it because it came out that way, and I honestly didn't think "hmm...this could get him in a lot of trouble, despite him being the chief of security." I'll try to find a way to get it to make sense and have him not be completely mental, but thank you for the sanity check. And, yes, sh'Aleen's arguements were intentionally weak and stupid. I hope I didn't make it TOO obvious when I wrote it that way. lol
Date: 27 Oct 2011 07:48 Title: Act 6
Well done, TemplarSora! Very nice, engaging piece for your first story here (a helluva lot better than my first, I might add ;)).
I actually liked the wide variety of characters, although I'll admit that reading jespah's review first sparked me to concentrate fully on who was who, where they were assigned, and what their job was. It felt very much like a pilot episode to me - you are introduced to a number of characters, some more memorable to you as an individual than others, but with time they all emerge as an important part of the whole.
Interesting premise, too - I'll bet Vulcans would be worth their weight in gold (or dilithium, maybe) to slave traders now. But I must admit, my favorite concept was how you dealt with individual prejudice, and how centuries of ingrained and irrational hatred could be overcome when one considered their professional responsibility.
Overall, well-characterized, well-plotted, well-paced; nice mix of action and everyday life. Can't wait to read more about this crew.
Date: 20 Oct 2011 16:07 Title: Act 6
Your first story! Your first challenge! Your first review! W00t!
This was very well told. I am an ENT fan (there are so few of us) and I greatly appreciated the shoutout to Travis and family and Paul of course from the Horizon episode. Nice touch, as was the pilot (?) named Crusher. Great use of names to bridge the distance between ENT and TNG. Also, very reasonable to give the Andorian character a hatred of Vulcans (oh, and you even mentioned P'Jem. You definitely did your homework on this one).
The crew were interesting and had strong personalities. I think (this is, I hope, a constructive comment) that at times there were a few too many characters, though. Particularly in the slave market scene. I realize you needed to have a serious fighting unit go in, plus you needed for there to not be enough room on the shuttle. Requiring the beam outs was a part of the plot of course. But the large number of characters (I am thinking of Tomas - maybe I am just quibbling about one person) did add what was perhaps a little too much of a layer of complexity for the first introduction to your world.
For me, I want to keep track of the characters, and to my mind that was, maybe, one too many (I am sure plenty of other people would disagree but that was the impression that I got). I am sure this is where the whole redshirt concept comes from in the first place - there are just some people who are "crewman number five" in the credits. Nothing wrong with that - it's more that the reader or viewer can concentrate on the others. I hope that is not unclear as it is a minor issue and probably just me being odd. ;)
You have started things off with a bang. I would love to see where you take these characters next.
Author's Response: Thanks for the critique! I realize I had a lot of one-shot names that might have gotten confusing; my issue was not wanting to write "another security officer" or "random crewmember 5" over and over. "Ships have crews, crews have names...ok, cool, I'll give random people random names." Sorry if it got a little confusing. Don't worry; you didn't miss much not knowing who the people were. Glad you got a lot of the references to ENT and TNG; I put em in for fun. Horizon was originally supposed to be Fortunate, but then I did my research and realized what the correct ship name was, lol. Oh well. 5 bucks if you can get why the ship is called Whiston!