Date: 27 May 2013 08:47 Title: Chapter 8
You have GOT to be kidding me! What an ending! This was an awesome story, definitely up with Geometries as one of my favorites of your series. The new crew seems to be coming together nicely, and it was good to see Ashok a little more confident in his abilities and position. Losing Gibraltar, though...that's just tough. I hope we get to see the tough little ship again, but if not, Europa is definitely living up to her crew's reputation. Looking forward to reading the second part of this, seeing if Donald does leave and what he'll do about the Baron and his..."lover."
But dammit, that revelation at the end really made me angry. I can't believe that happened...taking a well liked character and doing THAT to them is just brutal. Which is probably why it shouldn't surprise me that you did it, but still. Uggh...
I'm very glad you enjoyed the story, and I hope Part II meets your expectations! Thank you for the review.
Date: 01 Aug 2012 08:26 Title: Chapter 8
A true blockbuster chapter filled with surprises.
Sub-commander Chalois is not nearly as naive and perhaps amenable as previously believed. Pava is after the temporary XO position, not trusting Pell to be able to press the button if it comes down to it. Donald just may decide to embrace his new 'destiny' and join the Amon. In the meantime the Baron is still after Sandhurst's blood and not above killing off scores of a peaceful alien race in the process, and the real kicker, Liana Ramirez is back among the living, in a twisted and corrupted mirror version-like incarnation of her former self. Let's hope that's what it is, as nobody wants to see this former Starfleet hero turned into an evil ally of the Baron. Of course crazier things have happened.
Can't wait for the next part.
Date: 30 Jul 2012 03:09 Title: Chapter 8
I wanted to wait until I reached the end of the entire book to offer up a review of the story. So, here I am and here it is:
Clearly intended to leave us hanging on what's going to happen with Donald and the Amon, the method of his return... and now the Baron somehow either rescuing Lia at the last minute or perhaps doing something else to bring her back (or maybe perverting her memory by creating some other construct) definitely drive a bit of a knife into the back of the reader as they close the back cover on this story.
It's written with the usual flair we've come to expect from you.
I loved the story, the character conflicts, the dialogue and the inner monologues of the various characters through words and actions, I feel that this is the most exciting story yet. I really liked the tie-in with the other UT series, and the mentions of the backing that Sandhurst had from other captains and admirals gave it that feel of being more than just one ship and one crew. I liked how you handled Jellico and Glover a great deal, though the latter's treatment of Donald was a bit perplexing to me. Glad Pava was there to explain it all away. T'Ser is really coming along as a deeper character within her new environment on Gibraltar/Europa, and I'm really happy to see her pushing her personal envelope toward the end with her dealings as a Captain with the Vexam's acting CO. I thought it was very spot-on for my involvement in getting to know her during Chains.
Now that I've lavished a lot of praise on you, let me proceed to deflate you a bit :)
I felt very strongly like the whole of the story might've been a bit unbalanced given the buildup; the cliffhanger ending should've been more of a chapter break than the end of the first story. When I got to the end on my eReader, I literally said to myself, "That's it?!" There's way too much left hanging up in the air for this to be a proper novel completion, to me... I had hoped to find out the method of Sandhurst's return to Europa in this novel rather than waiting for the next one, so at least we had some closure to the immediate arc. But now with Ojana's insecurities, the arrival of Pava, the promotion of T'Ser, Vexam's role in the mission, and so on and so forth... I dunno. This is a huge break from your other stories so far, but I wonder if it's a bridge too far in asking for this level of suspence until the next story.
Regardless of the above abrupt ending, I'm very eager to read what comes next, so you got me there. :) I sincerely hope you're already producing the next one, because you cannot leave us hanging like this for long. So hop to it!
Mike, thank you as always for the well considered feedback.
I’m glad you enjoyed the story, and although I realize that I did end this tale abruptly, it was my intention to create a cliffhanger-like situation that would compel (and hopefully propel) readers into the next story in the series.
Date: 26 Jul 2012 11:39 Title: Chapter 8
No... no...!! Liana Ramirez was/is just about my favorite character, right after Sandhurst. And to bring her back, like this...
You do such horrible things to your characters. I love it!
Let's just say that the Baron has been watching Sandhurst for quite some time, and he *knows* precisely what will hurt him most.
Date: 21 Jul 2012 18:13 Title: Chapter 1
I'm enjoying the epic scope of this story! The Task Force Vanguard context is interesting on its own, but add in the wonderful character work and the multiple nightmare scenarios (The Baron, the Amon, T'Ser's promotion, Sandhurst's kidnapping, etc.) and you have a United Trek tale for the ages. My only regret is seeing the USS Gibraltar sail away and out of the story. I hope we see "The Rock" again, in some future story.
Date: 16 Jul 2012 04:06 Title: Chapter 7
The Amon are one of the most interesting races you've created, both in their outlook and philosophy (eating dead souls) to their restraint and power. And now Sandhurst is their involuntary guest with his destiny seemingly inexplicably linked to theirs.
T'Ser's battlefield commission was unexpected but it gives her interesting common ground with the young Romulan commander who clearly has already noticed the similarities herself. Could this be the beginning of a Europa/Romulan joint venture. If so, T’Ser better remember the old saying, never to turn your back on a Romulan.
This remains one of the most riveting stories I'm currently following.
Thank you for the kind words, CeJay. We've barely uncovered the tip of the iceberg with this first installment of TFV, and the crew is poised to become embroiled in circumstances they might scarcely believe. As for who will lead them into (and hopefully through) these challenges, whether it be T'Ser or Sandhurst... remains to be seen.
Date: 15 Jul 2012 09:21 Title: Chapter 1
I've been a fan of the Gibraltar series from the very first chapter of 'Embers of the Fire' on.
There are many reasons why I kept coming back for more (which is a small miracle in itself, since I generally don't like Trek fanfiction (no disrespect for the work of all those other authors intended)).
I often thought: if Star Trek were real, it would be much like the Gibraltar series.
The way these characters interact with each other is realistic, intense and very well written. Conflict between the 'regulars', the senior staffmembers, was hardly ever touched by TOS and TNG and often not very well handled by ENT and VOY. And even in comparison with DS9, Gibraltar does not pale in that aspect.
Another thing I very much appreciated was the fact that this crew was clearly not the best of the best. This was reflected by their ship: an old, almost obsolete vessel.
Now, those things have changed much. In a realistic setting like the Gibraltar series things SHOULD change. Riker being a first officer for 15 years might be acceptable on TNG but not here - and that's a good thing.
On the other hand, I'm worried that things might have changed a bit too much.
The crew got itself a new status, that of a good and capabel crew, and a new, advanced ship that reflects that new reputation. That's only a logical step after the successes they've had. But I'm a bit worried that by improving the crew's performance you've been taking one of the most essential parts of Gibraltar away.
Also, much of the classic and dramatic interactions between the various staffmembers are gone.
T'Ser is an OK character but, as Sandhurst himself once noted, Ramirez always had this cloud of trouble in her wake. For a CO, I can understand a preference for T'Ser. But for us readers Ramirez was a bit more interesting - especially because she was more than 'just trouble'.
Juneau is becoming a much better officer - but again her being inept was more interesting.
When Verrik came aboard, it was apparent, to us and Sandhurst, that he was an adequate officer but he didn't add any creativity or imagination to the crew. That could've been a problem in a security or tactical crisis but nothing has been done with it. I understand that, from a writer's perspective, it's near impossible to replace someone like Lar'ragos with an equally appealing character. But from his first appearance on Verrik has just been bland. Then again, Pava Lar'ragos is not gone from these pages...
Ashok's greatest asset (as a character, that is)was always that he was NOT a miracle worker. He too has become much more proficient and even confident - thereby losing much of his uniqueness.
Taiee and Pell are still solid characters - although Pell's conflict with Sandhurst seems to be a non-issue now, although noting has been resolved.
Shanti and Lightner are still all right as minor support characters although nothing much was ever done with them.
Sandhurst himself is still terrific. He has so many facets.
I'm still eagerly awaiting every next chapter of Gibraltar. So although I have some doubts about the steps the series have taken lately, I'm sure as heck not giving up on it. There are still many things that make this series really very, very good.
What's the point of this piece of writing, then? I guess I'm only asking you to consider the points I've been trying to make (and I hope I was clear enough, because English is not my native language).
Like I said, I'll still be here, enthusiastically following the exploits of Sandhurst and friends. Write long and prosper!
Coot, thank you for the in-depth critique, as well as for your continued readership of my series.
I would agree that the series and characters have indeed changed over time. Owing to the dangerous and dramatic situations the crew has been involved with, their skills have improved out of necessity. They were originally scraped together as something of a band of misfits, castoffs from other commands thrown onto an aged ship to try to plug one of the countless holes in Starfleet’s ranks of operational starships.
Now they’ve grown and changed, many of them for the better. Ashok has become more confident and less self-critical, though he still possesses some of those traits beneath the surface. Juneau was being held in check by the Operative persona she unknowingly carried with her in mind, and as the Operative has since departed for ‘greener pastures’ Juneau has finally been allowed to come into her own.
T’Ser, as you pointed out, is not Ramirez. Liana was driven (and haunted) in ways that T’Ser is not, and it is precisely for this reason Sandhurst recruited her as his XO. The same goes for Verrik. Far from being bland, Verrik is very candid and opinionated for one of his species, but he’s no Lar’ragos… and again, that’s exactly what Sandhurst was looking for.
I would agree that due to the nature of this latest story, and the narrative work necessary to properly paint the scope of ambitious operation, the main characters have been given less attention than usual. Such is the burden of introductory stories, and as the Task Force Vanguard mini-series continues, I plan to look more closely at the individual characters and how the mission and circumstances have impacted and changed them.
Again, thank you for reading, and especially for commenting. Your feedback is very welcome and valued.
Date: 24 Jun 2012 09:51 Title: Chapter 6
You''ll have to wonder if T'Ser is not starting to wonder if she may have made a monumental mistake signing up with this crew. Who could have known that Sandhurst and company could have made such powerful enemies in the relatively short time they've been out there?
Q comes to mind when considering this Baron character. With all the power but none of the charm or playfulness. In fact this guy makes up for it with pure cruelty and violence.
Not that Europa doesn't have enough problems already. The plan of observing an invasion from afar without getting involved was flawed to begin with. Now, thanks to the Romulans, it's gone out the nearest airlock.
Absolutely terrific stuff.
Thanks for the comments, CeJay!
No plan ever survives contact with the enemy... or in Sandhurst's case... the Romulans. ;-)
Date: 30 Apr 2012 17:00 Title: Chapter 4
Tempted to say, best chapter yet but that wouldn't do justice to what has come before.
The tragic fate of the Habertaem is one of those few instances that make genocide almost forgivable.
And now enter the Romulans! Awesomeness!
Date: 30 Apr 2012 16:58 Title: Chapter 3
Old faces with new baggage and old faces with different baggage and new faces tasked with dealing with all that baggage. Yep, Europa is picking up just were the good ol' Gibraltar left off. With plenty of drama.
And then of course there is the little matter of unstoppable killing machines heading towards the Federation.
Hell of a story.
Date: 30 Apr 2012 16:54 Title: Chapter 2
By getting a new ship, that's how.
Wow, it's the end of era, truly, as Sandhurst and co. say good bye to a ship that has mostly brought them bad fortune. But you know what they say. You never forget your first starship. Or something to that effect.
How fitting that the new and improved Gibraltar/Europa has its own, significant issues.
When, if ever, is Sandhurst going to get a break, I wonder.
Date: 30 Apr 2012 16:50 Title: Chapter 1
This feels like the beginning of an epic new story which will have serious retroactions throughout the Federation and certain for Starfleet.
But how, exactly, is little, underpowered Gibraltar going to make a difference here?