Reviews For First Command
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Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Jul 2013 23:48 Title: First Command

Ah, a good little amusing stinger at the end!

I had to read Memory Alpha to recall what had happened. I have seen the episode but it was years ago.

So - we have a dangerous situation and a desperate landing on an unknown planet. Already, things are dicey. One thing I would argue against was leaving anyone alone, particularly after the first death. Not that they had a lot of people to spare, but it did seem clear that isolating one person was a disaster waiting to happen. Otherwise, though, there was not a lot that could have been done differently.

Interestingly enough, a little homage is paid to this episode with the ENT Shuttlepod One episode where, as happened here, fuel was ignited in a desperation measure. And it makes perfect sense to sort of retrofit that. Spock of course has read everything about previous missions. If the record is available, then he has not only devoured it, he has memorized it. Hence knowing what to do at the end, that ends up being more or less a given.

It is the earlier actions and decisions that are much more of an issue. For McCoy to refuse to conduct the services - or even for the services to be conducted at all - is downright lunacy. Considering it from a 2013 remove, it just seems ludicrous to be pushing for burials and rituals while in such peril. Boma, perhaps, was a bit off the deep end. It might be a good idea for him to get some grief counseling, mixed in with more traditional psychological counseling. Someone needs to understand why that would end up being so much more important to him than survival and escape. 

Your story is a good, reasonable aftermath to the episode. It makes sense to have had an informal look into the mission and into disciplining its various participants. Except for Scotty, truly, no one comes off well. Mears, etc, are really insubordinate, McCoy and Boma a kind of loopy, and Spock is insensitive and certainly naive in thinking that just a few warning shots would work and that the creatures would follow everything according to Hoyle. But it is in debacles like these that leaders are made. If everything had always gone perfectly correctly, Spock would have never learned, truly, how to handle commanding humans. And he would not have really been able to step up when it really counted. This happened with a crew of less than ten, so far fewer people were risked for his learning curve. But it is a pity that Gaetano and Latimer ended up paying with their lives.

Thought-provoking and well-done.

Author's Response:

Thank you, Jespah! Your comments are always insightful and valuable to me. You're exactly right, of course, that no leader, especially a military one, can truly become great without making some serious mistakes and then learning from them. I think Spock's bigest mistake was in trying to prove that logic speaks for itself and requires no explanation--and having to face the idea that it might not be worth the cost to try to prove the point!  Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review!

Reviewer: FalseBill Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Jul 2013 18:33 Title: First Command

Spot on follow up to the Galileo 7, Everybody felt in character and I think Kirk re-action was what I expected, did like Scotty and McCoy report recommendations.

Author's Response:

Thank you so much. I'm glad everyone was in character, and that Scotty's and McCoy's reports were believable. I really appreciate the review!

Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 15 Jul 2013 02:39 Title: First Command

I only recently saw Galileo Seven a few weeks ago as part of the ReWatch chat. It was quite the epsiode. A lot of different facets and dynamics were in play but most striking of course was the fact that McCoy, Boma and the others were so flagrant in their disregard towards Spock. In many ways, the episode demonstrated humans having the conflict with Vulcans that the later ENT series actually explored some. Perhaps this episode is symptomatic of those previous ill-feelings and suspicions about the Vulcans - but in TOS terms it was a very striking and frankly disturbing trait to see displayed. So it is truly terrific to see an author take on the consequences of the episode and explore them some. You did a wonderful job of doing so with a very deft handling of the character stuff.

This is seen in the end with the differing reports offering up an account of what happened. Scotty praising Spock but making no account of his own heroics. McCoy only slightly bashing Spock but justifying Spock's actions in the end and putting forth his own failings. Spock of course, attributes the blame to himself. The three reports are telling in their differences and telling in your skill with writing and getting into the heads of these characters.

I like how it is MCCoy via drink that brings the topic matter up - no doubt for all his fire on the planet especially in the beginning with the cold and logical Vulcan McCoy saw the fault of his own behaviour and questioning afterwards. A guilty conscience makes him tell Kirk knowing Kirk will do somethng about it - for the sake of discipline and for Spock's sake too.

Boma's conversation with Kirk is telling too - it tells us that Kirk is very protective of Spcok and it points out that Boma had faults given that he was willing to follow Spcok's command on ship in the science department. Kirk is harder on him I think because the issue involves Spock and you convey that sense without spelling it out. But similarly I think you also portray Kirk as trying to be as patient as he can with the officer under the circumstances.

Then it comes to Spock and Kirk and you explore their dynamic very well. It makes for compelling reading and that's a real sign of tight writing when a talky piece can be so. You explore Spock's alien nature here and also the combat with his human heritage too. You walk that tight rope with Spock and you show the likes of McCoy and Kirk realising the effort and the cost to Spock to try and walk it too or his failures when he doesn't account for his human side. Very effectively played. Especially the focus (first from McCoy and then from Spock himself) on Spock's troubled nature because logic failed him in this occasion and he tries to grapple with that difficulty and fails to find a neat solution other than to recommend that he not have command of any party.

Author's Response:

What a thorough and thoughtful review! Thank you so much for taking the time to write it! I really appreciate your connection to the tensions between Vulcans and Humans that is explored more in ENT--and we do see other instances of lingering prejudice by Humans against Vulcans and vice-versa. It's too bad that after so long there's still those deeply buried feelings and that they come out at the wrong times. Anyhow, I didn't think Kirk would stand for the insubordination, or the insult to Spock, as you said. Thank you for seeing so much in my story, and thank you for taking the time to write it!

Reviewer: the bluesman Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Aug 2012 15:21 Title: First Command

I was in the military, and you nailed it. The reports from Scotty and McCoy seemed very authentic and even the conversation between Spock and Kirk discussing the mission were very well written. I can tell you researched this.

I can see where Spock would be the episode Spock told McCoy he followed procedure and logic to the letter and yet two men died under his command. I can see where that would get to a guy. And later in in the films Spock tells Saavik that logic is the beginning of wisdom not the end...seems Spock matured a bit since the Galileo mission.

Author's Response: I agree...and Spock's character progression is one of the things that fascinates me most about the whole TOS history. I kind of wonder if maybe Spock felt he had something to prove (that could be a whole 'nother fic!). I'm so glad the military aspect was authentic--I often imagine this crew on ships (the ocean kind) and I am sure order would be a little tighter. It certainly should have been in this case! Thank you for your thoughts!

Reviewer: the bluesman Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Aug 2012 07:48 Title: First Command

Great follow up to the Galileo 7. I was impressed by your depiction of military protocols, very accurate. Spock should know that the possibility of losing people under your command is there, but this is a nice exploration how it effected him. Very nicely done.

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I don't think it was the fact of losing people, but that logical decisions lead to it as much as intuitive ones do that bothered Spock. And thank you for the note on the military protocol--I had a little help on that, because I wanted it to be realistic. I really appreciate the review!

Reviewer: Lil black dog Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Aug 2012 19:50 Title: First Command

This is another fine addition to your work, and the subtle changes you have added since I first read it only served to strengthen the piece.  You have a gift for understanding the relationship between these three, but especially between the two, and it shows in your delicate yet deft handling of a difficult and trying moment for Spock.

Even when I saw this episode for the first time as a child, I found the immediate breakdown of discipline and petty squabbling from the junior officers most troubling.  It is something that would simply not be tolerated in today's military, but I like the angle you took, attributing it to cultural misunderstandings, as well as having personnel who were primarily shipboard scientists find themselves in a gravely dangerous situation.  When viewed through those glasses, it makes more sense, even if the criticism was unjust and unwarranted.

There's a great video on youtube that shows how 'The Galileo Seven' was the episode that changed the crew's perspective of their enigmatic first officer, and how from that point on he seemed to be more accepted by those around him.  I think you've done that with this piece, and neatly and deftly sewed up so many of the loose ends left in the wake of the episode.  Bravo, madam!

Author's Response: I find the breakdown in military discipline very frustrating, and I imagined Kirk would, too...but Kirk is also willing to consider extenuating circumstances--to a point. I'd love to see that video if you can find it. I really appreciate you reviewing; it means a lot to know I got across what I was attempting to convey! Thank you so much for the review and the help that preceded it!

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