Date: 15 Jul 2014 09:48 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: VII
“Do you think I am esthetically pleasing, Xylion?” LOL
And the lines from Leva about dry spells. Loving the humour of this whilst maintaining the mystery and a lingering sense of malovence around the planet's inhabitants. Seems the crew are going to have no option about staying (or in Xylion's case, getting married).
Author's Response: She's laying it on thick, ain't she? Glad you enjoyed the humor here even if Deen and co are probably not as amused about the Vulcans' plans.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 09:43 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: VI
Love it. Waiting for some CSI type stuff and Katanga shows up with the goods. I love the science trek babble behind everything here - the dust and dust mites and the ship being swept by beams, etc. All good nods to continuity and fanon but the details as told by Katanga make it colourful and interesting. Hee, hee, the Doc is fun, colourful and interesting addition to proceedings. And now a new little twist. (Is Rosenthal blonde?)
Author's Response: You gotta have a bit of forensics in a murder investigation, right? Okay, it ain't CSI: Outer Space but I'm glad it all made sense to you. I also liked the opportunity to for once an for all explain why Starfleet ships are so damned clean all the time. I mean seriously, it's like they have a whole team going through the ship with dusters 24/7. I think my explanations makes a little bit more sense. (No, Rosenthal is not blonde).
Date: 15 Jul 2014 09:37 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: V
I'm calling it a The Cage type scenario here, me thinks cos this is all just a bit too weird. And as Deen's conversation went, the rogue planet astronomical chances of oh so just about perfect conditions for life are too odd. That said, it remains plausible and I do like the scientific reasoning behind a lot of it, adding a nice TOS/sci fi feel to things it has to be said. But hunting screaming Vulcans who eat Buffalo? Huh? Some thing is up. Great stuff.
Author's Response: Well, they certainly aren't your garden variety Vulcans. That much is for sure.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 09:30 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: IV
I liked Colcord for this myself. I hadn't quite suspected a personal motivation. Again though Nora is remiss in dismissing any enquiry into Hopkins. It's sad but she's loosing face here for me. Which is great because I believe characters should rise and fall to a reader's eye because it shows their story isn't linear and that they are more than a two-dimensional figure. And again, it stands to reason that she should falter somewhat in this duty as she's not trained for it specifically and not best suited for the task - however much it may gall to hear that.
Also, Nora has a habit of showing her hand too much. She pins Colcord with the charge of being prime suspect. Never seems to be a smart move by the coppers on the small screen. But I do like that she uses some of her strengths, knowing the strengths of ships and their abilities to pin an investigative lead into Colcord's call for a different ship to take the mission. It's a manner of redeeming her some in this investigation.
Author's Response: Yeah, Nora is most definitely wearing blinders here and Clancy is very much aware of this. It of course all comes back to her inexperience, as does her tactic of confronting Colcord with all the evidence she has straight away. Clearly not a move she had previously discussed with her investigative partner. But it's not really just inexperience, I think loyalty plays a big role here as well. She has served with people like Hopkins for a long time, has lived with her for years at the Academy, and generally has a big sister complex, where she feels like she needs to protect those who seem weaker than her (so basically everyone) from those seeking to do them harm. Even if it is the truth.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 09:18 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: III
What the heck!!! Well things have certainly taken a different turn. Lif seemed under the control of some force. The Nebula? The Vulcans? Definitely something very screwy going on here. Damned intriguing it is too.
Love Star. She's so perfectly flawed. From petty little actions and behaviours. To trying to pick a fight over niggly little matters to letting others slide like Aliris' dresscode because it sorta gets back at the captain. Huh. Petty, petty, petty. And she knows it too. However, I love it. Plus, she shows a certain loyalty to Katanga by sticking up for him by letting Aliris infringement of the dresscode slide. And she gives Owens credit for the way he handled her even if peeved at the end result and his lacking of trust. And that's the rub for her really. It seems she wants to be this better person and to be a better officer, heck her concern is a spy on board the ship overriding everything, but when things don't pan out she resorts to some of her less flattering attributes and traits.
Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoy Star here. I think she may be one of the most human characters I've ever written. Yeah, I know she ain't human but, well, you know what I mean. As you point out, she's flawed. Not just in her actions but also, sometimes, the way she thinks about certain things. If we are totally honest with ourselves, we sometimes think just like that, I believe. Sometimes we do little petty things not because we're evil or mean but because we can, or because they seem to make a certain sense to us, even if it is in a twisted kinda way.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 09:07 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: II
Hee, hee. Ok, I ended up loving this chapter. At the start, I wasn't sure. It was beginning to feel like a recap moment (although I suppose that's no bad thing) and in fairness it fits with the genre style. But it quickly became more interesting when we started seeing something of the interaction between Nora and Clancy.
“Could there be a softer core underneath that tough shell of yours?”
She shook her head. “No, just more toughness.”
Hee, hee. And there were a good few other quotable quotes too. Then, onto the scene steps Star and at what an opportune moment (one wonders did she stand outside waiting to see if she'd get mentioned as a suspect). Made for some very sparky moments with Star and Nora, and then back to more Clancy wittisms.
Of note to the investigation however is the fact that Nora isn't willing to investigate those closest and nearest to her. That's a bit of a lapse on her part. And although she professes to knowing Hopkins, to my mind, Hopkins always tended to keep herself secreted away and a low profile. So how much does one really know about her. Hmmm...
Author's Response: You can't have a murder investigation without people looking at a board with suspects. That's crime procedural 101 and I obviously and shamefully lifted out of about a gazillion TV shows. But I also understood early on that a good crime story needs a compelling investigative team. And what's more compelling that two very different kind of people trying to work together? But what's with those sinister views you attribute to poor Hopkins? She's just a nice quiet and shy woman who means nobody no harm. Just ask Nora, she'll tell ya straight.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 08:44 Title: Day Five: Presumed Innocent: I
Intriguing! Xylion's date oh and the little hippy farm Vulcan settlement thing too. Actually, really liked the details about the settlement. They were scant but enough to imbue a feel for the place and to get us hooked into how life must have panned out for these colonists over the last 21 years. All assuming of course that this is true and not some mirage, trick or all in the mind of one of the shuttle crew (which would be such a cruel thing to do to your readers). It is mightily interesting and I really don't know where you are headed with this.
Author's Response: Could it all be in Xylion's head? Maybe he got knocked out when the shuttle crashed and this is his fantasy dream. Hmm, there's an idea for story right there.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 07:55 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: VI
The other thing I should mention and it clearly came up again in this chapter is how you lend the appropriate feel to a starship the size of a Nebula class. There's no pretense at everyone knowing everyone else. Nora is seen checking up on the padd for details. Sierra has to recognised as Miranda in the play. The fact that the rumour mill hasn't quite gotten around to Sierra and her learning about Geda's death. It all lends to the feel of a massive starship with a crew of nearly a thousand. I like that sense of realism. Sometimes in fanfics that is not taken into account on larger crewed ships and it seems as if everybody knows everyone else.
Author's Response: Thanks. I always liked the idea of a starship acting almost like a city in space. In Eagle's case it's probably more accurate to call it a village. The size in turn allows me to write stories like this murder mystery which probably wouldn't work very well on a small escort or frigate. Don't get me wrong, I very much appreciate Trek stories set on smaller ships, like yours and TLR's excellent Border Service tales but if you go for scale, you better take it to its logical conclusion.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 07:49 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: VI
Damn! Did that girl go and put some blame on Wenera!? Sorry, I took that with some umbrage but hey my Wenera has gone through a bloody enough of recent. Gees. But man, Geda is a player and it only adds to the list of suspects. Perhaps this really is some sort of domestic passionate affair type deal. I really figure it for something more political but you might just be pulling a right fool on me.
Very interesting ... I don't know ... but I could have sworn Sierra was about to reveal something else there. Like that Geda had just been there. Hmmm. Something is off about her behaviour in certain ways.
Meantime, I noted how Nora took more of a backseat in this interview, allowing Clancy to take more of a lead. Is it because she thinks he has a better handle on it because she doesn't trust herself or perhaps she noted that Clancy did seem to have a way of getting this suspect to talk without knocking heads. He seemed to have a deft way of reading Sierra and adjusting to fit the situation to get her to talk. He's beginning to show some of his professional skill sets here in this investigation.
Author's Response: Yeah, I think Nora is realizing that Clancy is a lot better at dealing with people than she ever will. Little surprise there for people who know Nora Laas. I think without him in that room, she wouldn't have gotten much out of Decaux in the first place and she's beginning to see that. I appreciate your loyalty to Wenera. Clearly Decaux doesn't know her half as well as you do.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 07:39 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: V
Hee, hee. That's a first contact right there - on the chin! LOL. What's even funnier is that it is the people person Deen who got it, whilst the more sombre and aloof Xylion is the one to get through to the girl. Perhaps that was inevitable given his shared Vulcan nature. Hey, maybe Xylion figured the girl would lash out and made the calculations based on that! You can never be sure with the ever so logical Xylion.
The sparky wit between them all here, with Leva also tossing a few barbs at Deen getting hit and not usually the one on the receiving end is fun and shows how much this odd coupling up scenario of characters on the shuttle is paying off dividends for your story and the characters. I like too how in a way Deen really is getting out of comfort zone as a character and yet remains who she is too, with still her insatiable enthusiasm at the end to check out this odd village of Vulcans. I really like that and I think this shows just how much Deen can stand on her own two feet as a character and just be in Owens' shadow.
Likewise the other characters shine. Again, it is great to see more Srena. Lastly, the presence of the Vulcan and the others is to quote 'fascinating' and damned curious. What's the deal? Really intriguing. Especially given this is a story with a breadth of other storylines and other author's might have been content to have the weird Vulcan village be the central and only story plot. Instead, you pack it all in into a richly and densely packed story with various plot threads. I don't know yet if any of this ties back into the shipbound plot. I'd not be surprised if it were albeit I couldn't call how. Whether it is or isn't, it's a damned interesting development.
Author's Response: Really like your observations regarding Deen. I had never consciously thought about it but you are right, she very often plays a sidekick role to Michael Owens, being his close friend and all. In this story she gets to stand on her own much more and to interesting effect I believe. Of course people like Owens and now Xylion using her skills to put people at ease is nothing new. As it turns out, it doesn't always work like that. I do like to have more than one iron in the fire at any given time. For me, a proper novel needs to have a number of things going on to keep the story I'm trying to tell fresh and interesting. Hopefully it'll work here as well.
Date: 13 Jul 2014 19:06 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: IV
My oh my, all of the investigators are going around lurching for possible suspects. It makes one worry about crime in the future. But in truth it lends to the fact they are security and tactically minded - they don't specialise in detective work in their line of work. It also lends this very much a traditional who-dunnit flavour yet keeping it in the Trek and modern verse.
And intriguing parallels to be found between suspect and Nora. A shame that Nora can't see some of herself in Star or else the two of them might find a way to collaborate and work together. But on a Starship with people trained to kill, especially Marines and in a time of war, it seems there actually won't be a shortage of possible suspects. You are managing really well to make a murder mystery work on a starship when one would think it hard to do so. I imagine it was hard to do but it isn't a hard read. Kudos.
Author's Response: Yeah, I certainly tried to go for the classical who-dunnit theme in this one. Crime, especially such an heinous one as murder, is not very common on Starfleet ships. So the crew isn't exactly trained in dealing with this. If they weren't inside that nebula and could rely on the resources of a starbase for example, things might be different. And Nora seeing some of herself in Star? Sure, right after gre'thor freezes over.
Date: 13 Jul 2014 18:41 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: III
mmm, has Star really revealled a saboteur or is her thirst to prove ahead of Nora's investigation and her own reckless thought process making her jump to conclusions? I'm inclined to believe she has. Of course, it could be a neat way to play us all for a fool. However, despite opportunity it does not seem that Kate has much motivation to carry out such an action.
Who does have such a motivation. It does feel like the murder and the EPS damage are connected and both are designed to undermine or cause the array to fail. One suspects an outside influence - a shapeshifter perhaps? Or is there something else at work here? Is it perhaps a case that the nebula has something more about it?
The mystery continues and you manage still to propel things onward. With a mystery of this size I could easily imagine myself spinning wheels with it. So far, things are being kept taut. Good job CeJay.
Author's Response: Star, jumping to conclusions? Trying to prove herself and beat Nora? How can you have such a low opinion of this woman? Just because she's a drug addict, and is keeping secrets from her captain, and used to be involved in shadowy intelligence activity, and once ran guns for .... alright, I get it. Not the best track record. We shall see how right she is and how and if things are as connected as you suspect.
Date: 07 May 2014 19:40 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: II
Good grief there are quite a few discrepancies in these accounts causing for further probing. My oh my. Adding up to quite a mystery but where is the motive? My money lies on e fact the array people are the most suss. Did gendarmes figure out a problem or sinister under purpose for the array.
P.S. noticed in this chapter a few spelling or word choice errors that a spellcheck would not catch
Author's Response: Looks like not everyone was feeling the same way about our poor victim. Imagine that. But who had the most to gain from his death? A question Clancy and Nora will have to find an answer to soon.
Date: 07 May 2014 19:28 Title: Day Four: The Woman in White: I
The mystery planet was always going robe mysterious but this is quite the enigma discovered. There is obviously something about the nebula or planet and one wonders if there is some sort of sentient being behind all this. Until such answers may be revealed we have a host of intriguing mysteries.
Author's Response: I know, I know, a lot of questions. There'll be answers eventually. I promise.
Date: 04 May 2014 19:04 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: VII
Damn that woman is one brave SOB. Mad too. Insubordinate might be another description. However, it makes for an exciting sequence. However, me thinks the real excitement is not the fire scene itself but how exactly this fire started. Obviously, it has to be some form of sabotage. But why? And is there more to the theory of a spy operating on the vessel than first appears.
I noted a few spelling errors in this chapter by the way. Worth checking it out. Otherwise, another neat instalment to this mystery that adds to character intereactions and development as well as the mysteries.
Author's Response: Add yet another mystery to this already enigmatic (one would hope) story. Sorry about the spelling mistakes, hopefully I caught them all in the ebook version (probably not) but I haven't had the chance yet to come back here and fix them as well.
Date: 04 May 2014 18:57 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: VI
Yeah for more Katanga. Hee, hee, Loved the autopsy scene. Very much in the mould of buddy cop TV/movies. Indeed, it is interesting seeing the dynamic here from the start between Clancy and Nora. Every murder investigation needs its crime fighting duo. Liking the introduction of Clancy and I loved the vernacular he was using that went way over Nora's head. Fun stuff. Additionaly, it leaves the future ahead as quite open. Will Clancy be of assistance or a cumbersome weight around Nora's neck?
Author's Response: I figured I can't have a murder investigation without a buddy cop vibe. This is my version of Fox and Scully, Starsky & Hutch, Tango & Cash.
Date: 04 May 2014 18:47 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: V
Wow. Wow. I did not expect Owens to say that - admit to that. That's ... wow. The man is not sure about trusting Star, yet despite that, he opens to her in a manner to reveal this weakness he has probably even only admitted to himself. It's quite telling of the character of Owens yet for that I did not expect it. He's clearly learning and growing himself. Between the war, the loss of his XO and knowing the pain Nora has and given the other significant changes that have/are happening, Owens is unsure yet solid and commanding. However, we also see he's disturbed by the events, the lack of sleep and the growing fissure between Laas and Star. The scene in his ready room was quite combustive. No one exactly showered themselves with glory in this instance.
Laas is out of line. Things are obviously boiling over and taking a toll on her. She's tough and fierce but sometimes a time comes when it gets to be too much. I like seeing that in character she reacts with anger and force to compensate because that's been her go to way in the past to resolve past problems.
Star is impressive in terms of trying to do her utmost. The fear here is that she is so fervent in wanting to please, change and amend that if she should fail, be dismissed or anything the set back will be collosal and one dreads what course her life would take then.
Author's Response: Owens does lay himself a bit bare here, doesn't he? And you might be right, he may only just have come to this realization himself that he's somehow trying to protect Nora. Loyalty goes both ways. Owens clearly shares her pain and his might be even worse, having lost not just his friend and first officer but also another person very close to him. I think the fact that he felt comfortable enough to be this honest with Star here shows that he really wants to trust her. He's not there yet. But if, in the meantime, she can work wonders on getting Nora in line, I'm sure he'll take that gladly.
Date: 04 May 2014 18:27 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: IV
Oh nooo. Could that have gone worse. If this is Star's way of trying to be helpful and contribute she badly miscalculated and misjudged Nora Laas. Mind, it might well have been a deliberate undermining tactic. I wouldn't put it past Star. That said, it has a certain ring of being a thing Star might do to appear executive officer material and to show she's made of the right stuff. Sadly, I think any help or assistance from Star is only going to be seen as interference by Nora.
I like how you show the murder has shaken Nora and demonstrate how she is out of her comfort zone. She's tetchy and on edge, and very sharp with her department. Normally, she runs a tight and well oiled department but the situation has gotten to her. Also might whatever be afflicting Owens have some impact on Nora too? Liking the development of the murder investigation and the fact you spend time on the characters and their development.
Author's Response: Okay, I admit it. Nora is one of my favorites, especially in this story. She's so raw and intense and really all heart and emotion. I agree that it may not have been incredibly tactful for Star to simply insert Clancy without telling anyone first. But she may be as blinded by their common hostility as Nora. It's probably wearing off on her.
Date: 06 Apr 2014 07:32 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: III
Nice little nail biter there at the end. A rogue planet amid a dangerous nebula? Nice. Very mysterious and foreboding. Lots of mysteries going on here. I like that you've got mysteries in both plots - on the ship and off. And amid it all some neat character interactions going on. And of course, the hint of Deen's feelings for Owens? All good stuff.
Author's Response: Oh yeah, mysteries abound in this tale. Let's hope the payoff will be worth it. Deen's feelings for Owens have been an ongoing little theme in the series. We'll have to see what will come out of it.
Date: 06 Apr 2014 07:25 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: II
Nora Laas is a fascinating character. It is terrific to pit her against this kind of challenge because she's a born fighter (well life experiences shaped her as a fighter) but that's her stregeth. It's been her mindset in her job - pick a fight and win the fight. Now she is faced with solving the riddle of this mystery. Not exactly her experience or strength. And likewise, she can see she's made mistakes in having such a gap in her own profile and that of her department. It's going to be a tough old challenge for her and she's to be commended for being tenacious and stubborn in her planned pursuit. However, is she being neglectful in lieu of being spiteful of Star? Should she perhaps have given the investigation over to the XO no matter her feelings given her own realisation of ability or suitablity?
Author's Response: I think it may make Nora Laas a little more endearing. The fact that she has such clear weaknesses. But regardless, she's an officer who wants to get the job done at any cost and has the confidence that she will. I can't see a scenario in which she would have simply let Star take over and perhaps her pride will be her downfall.
Date: 06 Apr 2014 07:18 Title: Day Three: The Big Sleep: I
Mysteries, secrets, shady characters and motives, war spy apparatus at stake, all the key ingredients are here for a complicated murder mystery. Add to that the demands and deadlines and wider stakes to ensure they complete their mission. AND the fact the top three involved in the case Owns, Star and Laas have mutual problems - trust being the biggest. The only way to best it is to be professional and to do their jobs. Maybe trust will come in time. However, if things get complicated and messy with the investigation, there's going to be all sorts of problems.
Author's Response: Yeah, I'll say this much, there'll be all sorts of problems. Wouldn't be a fun story otherwise. Let's hope that cooler heads prevail in the end and justice is served.
Date: 06 Apr 2014 07:09 Title: Day Two: The Getaway: VI
Srena! Yay. Happy squee to see this character from Longest Day being brought into the fold.She's got plenty of enthusiasm here for the mission and it is interesting that Srena's enthusiasm tempers Deen's and makes Deen a little more introspective about potential pitfalls and the realities of the situation. That said, both women were very keen to divert from the meticulous plan and to explore this new query. Lots of questions. Lots of possibilites. No doubt, lots of trouble.
Meantime, the Deen/Xylion odd ball partnership seems to be working well in terms of character dynamic and was a great choice for the story. It adds a subtle layer of humour and it brings more warmth to the character of Xylion. The comments about bribing with credit on the paper were fititngly in character and fun.
Well bringing the tactical officer on board could be a blessing for the runabout crew given the mysteries to be discovered. Or it could be a curse for the ship left behind. Outfitting a spy array in a nebula seems a perfect spot for potential trouble if you ask me.
Author's Response: Glad you're a fan of Srena, I like her character, too. She's become such a regular guest character since Eagle 3, she might as well be considered a principle by now. The Deen/Xylion pairing is a lot of fun, makes me wonder why I didn't do this sooner.
Date: 06 Apr 2014 06:59 Title: Day Two: The Getaway: V
Deen throws it up starkly for Owens. If he doesn't trust Star he can only blame himself - it's his decision to keep her there. Still, it is bad form of Star and Owens that don't seem to communicate or trust one another. As for Owens' lack of sleep, there's obviously a whole lot more going on.
Author's Response: Yep, something's going on for sure ...
Date: 17 Mar 2014 19:58 Title: Day Two: The Getaway: IV
Damn. I'm so stupid. I didn't even think about her symbiont being the connection to Katanga! D'oh. May not figure out any future mysteries in this story then at this rate.
Given all that has happened to Star and her brash, confident, sometimes aggressive and pushy personality, it is easy to forget that the trailblazer ambitious officer is actually seasoned by her symbiont. And given what we here about her previous host's life changing after the joinging it is clear Star has a huge effect on their host and their drive. Maybe it even explains some of the choices she has made in her time. Either way, it proves the truth of how fascinating a character Star is.
And making it that Katanga is an old friend is inspired. It's a little small universe but it serves the story and character well. It gives Star a shoulder/ear/friend. She probably needs or will need one. A smart move then to have Katanga as a friend. And thankfully a friend she is willing to share her concerns with. A spy, nothing less. Trouble a plenty to come then.
Date: 17 Mar 2014 19:49 Title: Day Two: The Getaway: III
See, this is why I have loved the introduction of Star (is it really an introduction when she's been around seemingly for so long) to the series. She's an unknown factor in things - always. She's smart, capable, dynamic - but a potential security threat and mess up and dangerous element. Given her addiction and her acknowledgement of it, she knows she is courting danger and endangering the ship potentially. Honesty might be the best policy in this regard but it would also be what would see her cashiered out. It's a fascinating dynamic for a character. It adds layers and flaws to her characterisation and the story potential. Especially when measured and balanced against straight as a die Owens. Perhaps the haze of the title is not just in reference to the nebula alone if Star can't handle it and hold out.