Date: 26 May 2013 11:00 Title: Starbase 12
Those were seven rather interesting moments in Maren O'Conner's life. And again, in the style of some of the other ficlets I have read, a great introduction to this character.
Though I think it would be great if you were to do a story detailing how exactly Icheb left Maren, on the eve of their wedding. Such a story would have serious potential!
Rating; five stars!
Date: 26 May 2013 10:52 Title: Confession
This is an interesting deduction into what was really going on in Icheb's mind between the Borg ship (he was captured on) being wiped out of all drones and that time when Icheb was freed. I always thought that Icheb and the others didn't have their individualities because they were still connected to each other, albeit cut off from the Borg.
The way I see it, there is ambiguity over whether Icheb was still just a Borg drone or an individual who did not know any better due to being assimilated by the Borg and then cut off from the collective.
But I can see why Icheb believes he is a murderer, though it could be more simply survivor's guilt and Icheb believes he could have done things differently with hindsight whilst overlooking the extent to which he was fully in control of his personality at that time.
Date: 26 May 2013 10:45 Title: How I Met Your 'Mother,' Part 3
Hooray! So Seven approves and it's also ballsy of Maren not giving a damn what her fellow cadets think of her (Maren) relationship with Icheb.
And so this love story -- one of the greatest I've read on this site between two characters -- continues on.
Date: 26 May 2013 10:43 Title: How I Met Your 'Mother', Part 2
Alright! Maybe lump the scenes chronologically closest to each other in the correct order? Maybe?
Coming back to this mini-chapter, I'm glad Seven is quite reasonable with Maren, because from what I've seen in VOY episodes. Seven tended to be a little bit too overbearing, motherly and protective of Icheb and I would imagine even more so if Icheb were dating someone.
One question I would like to ask is this; does your Seven of Nine still wear those catsuits?
Date: 26 May 2013 10:38 Title: Gifted
Woah! Woah! Big time shift here -- and I was so looking forward to Seven meeting Maren for the first time -- oh well. But I do like that story about Maren tinkering with the anti-grav bouncer, a sign of her mechanical abilities and also a classic response from the teachers who don't know how to handle such a gifted pupil.
Being someone who has drifted in and out of schools from an early age, and also having been homeschooled when I was younger. I can understand both Maren's perspective and her parent's perspective to. It's tricky because you want to nurture that talent but also give such a gifted child a sense of a challenge, because without a challenge those abilities will go to waste.
So I liked how you touched upon more unorthodox ways of teaching children, in particular gifted children.
Date: 26 May 2013 10:32 Title: How I Met Your 'Mother'
Looking forward to this! I wonder what sharp and impeccable words Seven will have for Maren. And it's also cool that you are one of the few authors who do Voyager characters some justice in the post season seven period.
Date: 26 May 2013 10:29 Title: Starbase 12
And the favor is returned. What I knew of Maren and Icheb I learned from the free writes, but this has put a whole new dynamic on the pair for me. So you see, you've given me a wondrous gift, too. Thank you so much for sharing this - it really was beautiful.
Date: 26 May 2013 10:24 Title: The Truth Hurts
This was a powerful look at the transformative power of love. Yes, Icheb did some horrific things in the past. At the time, he may or may not have been aware that they were wrong, but now he does, and is being consumed by guilt.
I love how Maren is essentially saying that person you were no longer exists; I realize that, Harry realizes that and indirectly Starfleet realizes that since they have allowed you to attend the Academy and pursue a career. She loves the person he is now, and the potential for the person he can become, the past notwithstanding. That's what true love is, and what true love does. You captured that in a way that made my heart ache - in the best possible way, of course.
Date: 26 May 2013 04:04 Title: Starbase 12
Hello Risa! Surely she should have twigged there was only one reason why he would contemplate goinng to Risa - he's not exactly the sun tan type now is he? But then she probably figured he would be doing it for her. A nice follow up to the tale of the aborted proposal and holiday. Even though the timing is perhaps off and the setting not exactly flattering it seems more honest to their relationship than any Risean sunrise setting - he proposes when death has almost claimed him, hooked up to machines, stripped down to almost the hardwires of his cybernetic past, Maren gripping on, hopeful and horrified and worried for him. In the midst of all that could - should even - be ugly they find the moment with one another. Nothing else matters. And of course, I am just thankful knowing the answer. The real painful part is though that I am even more pained by the fact we know just how long and torturous their path is going to be.
Date: 26 May 2013 03:59 Title: The Truth Hurts
You have a future Icheb - and as much as this moment is a moment of realisation for Maren, that she truly loves him, this surely is a moment of realisation for Icheb - that the dreamed for future he has is not limited solely to a great career in Starfleet, that he can have a love, a life, a family perhaps even - a future more than an ambition, a future where he can maybe learn to forgive himself, where he can repay the pain and horror of his actions not by atonement alone serving in Starfleet but by having a life with love, hope and happiness.
Funny how when you write this pair I often find myself thinking in the shoes or terms of the other. For example this piece is a Maren centric POV and yet I begin by focusing on Icheb. Likewise in the previous it was Icheb's POV and revelation but I found myself thinking as much about Maren. It shows or stands testament to these pair, this couple, of how connected they are how they are indeed a mini collective not just because of their shared mindset and intelligience but because they feel for one another, impact one another's life, have an almost co-dependency type thing in terms of their emotional lives.
There are so many nuggets I love about this piece and the previous. From the obvious Remember that time you tried to kill me? line to the line where Maren assures him that Harry forgives him and that she loves him.
Date: 26 May 2013 03:00 Title: Starbase 12
As always, some great dialogue, I especially loved this:
“Do you know how many painkillers you’re on right now?"
Very nice. :) Great to see Marin and Icheb at a point in time when they were still together. If I'm not mistaken, we had already seen the run up to this in the Tesseract story? Nice to see the denouement and through Maren's own eyes no less. A great wrap up to this intriguing look into Maren's life.
Date: 25 May 2013 20:23 Title: Confession
You just keep nailing the big moments, hammering home the raw truth of Icheb's nature. There's no running away from it (and for Maren there's no running away from it now that she has heard his confession), no sweeping it under the rug. Alas VOY did do that and yet the wealth of story material they squandered by not revisiting these matters with Icheb. It's galling really, especailly as they did return and return again to Borg story of the week episodes but the crux of so much character material was not touched upon.
Thrilling though to see you treat it so effectively and of course it is also a pivotal moment for their relationship and a huge, huge, huge step for Icheb to lower his defences to trust Maren with this knowledge knowing that it could drive her away.
Poor Icheb. There's ugly truth to what he is saying and yet he was but a child soldier like those drugged and addicted in our world today to become child soldiers in war and perpetrate horrible acts of violence and brutality. His guilt is his and yet is he not rightfully expunged of those crimes. Yet as he said they had free will. A very amoral grey area, shades that colour our hero.
And yet, Maren despite everything accepts him. Accepts this weapon as a man she loves. Bravery all round here.
VOY totally did that, which is what inspired this entire brain-eating obsession of mine. I could not let such a terrifically conceived character with so much opportunity for great storytelling go to waste. Icheb is totally a gray character. He's so young and unassuming that people forget he's a living weapon with a seriously messed up past. He has almost no good memories. Just betrayal by those who should have loved him most, a sense of failure at having not done the one thing he was created to do the second time he was sent to do it, and yet a sense of guilt at having done it (and survived) the first time. Add that to his memories of murder ... he's a bit of a mess. He's lucked out with Voyager rescuing him and having met and fallen in love with Maren, but still ... he has a whole closet full of skeletons. Like I said in response to another review ... this is the moment Maren realizes she doesn't love him because of what he is (genius, attractive, interesting, kind), but because of WHO he is. She believes in his goodness to her core. Not even this horrible revelation can shake that. Thanks so much for the review. <3
VOY totally did that, which is what inspired this entire brain-eating obsession of mine. I could not let such a terrifically conceived character with so much opportunity for great storytelling go to waste.
Icheb is totally a gray character. He's so young and unassuming that people forget he's a living weapon with a seriously messed up past. He has almost no good memories. Just betrayal by those who should have loved him most, a sense of failure at having not done the one thing he was created to do the second time he was sent to do it, and yet a sense of guilt at having done it (and survived) the first time. Add that to his memories of murder ... he's a bit of a mess. He's lucked out with Voyager rescuing him and having met and fallen in love with Maren, but still ... he has a whole closet full of skeletons.
Like I said in response to another review ... this is the moment Maren realizes she doesn't love him because of what he is (genius, attractive, interesting, kind), but because of WHO he is. She believes in his goodness to her core. Not even this horrible revelation can shake that.
Thanks so much for the review. <3
Date: 25 May 2013 19:59 Title: Starbase 12
Fantastic, Kes. Touching, emotive and the rest from start to end. Icheb has blossomed in my eyes from a slight player of the Voyager ensemble to much more. Very well done.
Thank you so much, Mac! I try my best to do right by him. I thought he was a fantastically conceived character with so much potential, and then the writers of VOY just wasted it. I'm glad you enjoy my attempt to fix that!
Date: 25 May 2013 12:01 Title: The Truth Hurts
Maren's a sweetheart. And I think we can all identify with her, in some way, when we've come to accept our partners no matter what.
That moment when you realize you don't love a person because of *what* he (or she) is ... you love him because of *who* he is.
Date: 25 May 2013 05:19 Title: Confession
Ugh. Damn... I'd forgotten about that. That's not really a conversation a college student's life experience prepares them for.
Yeah. Poor Icheb's been in well over his head from the moment he was created. Thanks for the review!
Date: 25 May 2013 05:14 Title: How I Met Your 'Mother', Part 2
This has to be incredibly awkward for Seven to act and feel maternally towards Icheb, given that they were both drones of the same slave mind. And now Seven has to play the role of cautious, supportive mother, without the emotional tools necessary for the task.
Looks like she'll have to make it up as she goes along...
Yes, Seven is winging it, with a little help from The Doctor's ongoing 'training' (God help her, as we all know he was probably the last person who should have been giving lessons on human interaction). She's trying hard do do right by Icheb.
Date: 25 May 2013 05:10 Title: Gifted
Oh, Dear God! How did her parents cope? Unbridled genius without the constraints of adult wisdom.
Well, really, how is that much different from Maren at 26? The biggest difference is now it's Adele's problem. ;-)