Date: 25 May 2015 14:41 Title: When Gods Smile
Wow, I love this story. First of all, I've always felt the Prime Directive was a good, solid idea in terms of its meaning, but its applications were genuinely awful at times, even in canon. So seeing someone who has the common sense to understand that it's not always that easy, even if he needed a nudge to do it, makes me grin like a total dope. Owens stole my heart here, just now. And I love, love, love how you brought him to his realization; that somewhere five hundred years ago, someone else took a chance and that's the only reason he's there to pay it forward.
I don't know HOW he did it, except perhaps by a touch of grace; of God or perhaps some other enlightened species far in advance who could see the potential and the short sightedness of letting that potential die. But anyway, what an absolutely wonderful story. I'm sure I've read it before, but didn't review; glad to remedy that now. Great work, CeJay. This made me smile.
Author's Response: Hey, thank you very much for the great review. I'm glad you enjoyed this story. Happy endings aren't my forte, so I'm happy to know that the few times I've tried to aim for one, it worked out okay.
Date: 12 Jul 2014 11:02 Title: When Gods Smile
This is an absolutely beautiful story. I just loved it. Makes no sense to me that Starfleet would send a crew to observe an extinction event and expect them to do nothing. Not when the solution to averting tragedy is so simple as firing a single torpedo. Bravo to Captain Owens, and bravo to you, CeJay.
Now, I just have to wonder about that trip back in time...
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, I'm glad you liked this story. I suppose sending a ship to observe such an event is basically asking for somebody to defy the Prime Directive, huh. As for the time travel event, perhaps it was all just a dream, perhaps it was Q or maybe some higher power ...
Date: 25 May 2014 19:30 Title: When Gods Smile
This was fantastic, CeJay, and really calls the Prime Directive into question, at least in cases like this.
Who wouldn't want to save a burgeoning society from extinction, but do we have the wisdom to do so? This is such a feel-good moment, and much like the Nibiru, you just can't help but root for those primitive people, feel that, as a superior society armed with the technology that could help them, we have a moral obligation to step in.
But consider, what if this civilization were to develop into one like the Borg perhaps, in half a million years. A society that could then threaten and lay waste to a vast number of sentient species in the galaxy? A slippery slope to be sure.
I like the idea though, that from what Owens saw, and according to the historical documents he checked, the same fate awaited Earth in 1846. Some superior, sentient race stepped in and prevented that catastrophe, providing Mankind with the chance to grow, and thrive, and reach for the stars.
A double-edged sword to be sure, and a question that can't always be answered correctly by doing what is morally right - or can it? Definitely food for thought, and I love pieces that get me thinking, and questioning that which seems so straightforward at the time. Nice work!
Author's Response: Hey thanks, for the review. And I agree, the dilemma this raises is quite fascinating. And then of course there is the question as to where to draw the line if you accept the premise that you have the moral obligation to help a less advanced civilization. At which point do you say, that's as far as we'll go? A dilemma for sure. I'm glad you liked the story.
Date: 11 Dec 2013 16:25 Title: When Gods Smile
Did you once post this on TBBS? I feel like I've read it before. But I was glad to revisit it. I absolutely love this story. Believable, insightful dialogue, and a perfect exploration of both the Prime Directive and the meaning of Christmas. Awesome stuff.
Author's Response: Guilty. Yes, this is an old TrekBBS story which I keep digging out because it is one of the very few "feel-good" stories I've ever written. Thanks for the kind comments.
Date: 18 Sep 2013 15:13 Title: When Gods Smile
OMG, CeJay. My mouth is still hanging open from that one. A truly gripping and fascinating tale about morality versus following rules and regulations.
Good on Owens for making the right, moral choice, even if it flew in the face of protocol. And yet, while this is definitely a feel-good moment, is there logic behind the indiscriminate PD? How are we to know that this civilization was not meant to be destroyed, slated for extermination by something bigger than ourselves? What if in several millennia this civilization grows into something akin to the Klingons, or the Borg? Or what if it had the potential to be one of the most benevolent species in the galaxy? To provide technology that would benefit all beings in the future?
Perhaps that's why the PD is there in the first place, although the idea of allowing a civilization to be destroyed without the chance to prove itself, ignoring technology that can be used to serve the greater good, setting aside the beliefs and tenets of the Federation that all races have worth and deserve a chance at life is anathema to me.
A truly thought-provoking piece, and the kind of story I so love to read. Well done, and I'm with everyone else here - the PD be damned! I'm thrilled with how things turned out in the end.
Author's Response: Hey, thank you very much indeed. I assume the pros and cons of the Prime Directive have been argued endlessly over the years. And some of your points make perfect sense to me. For example, I very much doubt Starfleet would have the resources to go out and save every civilization out there. And once you go down that route, where do you draw the line? For now, I suppose, for better or worse it is what it is and from a story-telling perspective it is an awesome thing to have and play with.
Date: 12 Sep 2013 08:34 Title: When Gods Smile
I'm glad no one felt the need to dunk the ship into a nearby ocean. ;)
It seems you have a kind of in-galaxy 'pay it forward' system in place. Not for small things, but for very, very large ones. Will the primitives on the surface ever realize that they have been saved by benevolent beings? And how will they take it if they find that out? Are we worshiped as gods? Are we rejected because we are imperfect?
A lovely and sweet happy ending - and I love happy endings, please don't get me wrong - but it also seems rather pat in the end. And up yours to the Prime Directive, which is meant to make us not fall in love with what could be, and rescue everyone and everything (something that a lot of fans dislike about Jonathan Archer in the first two seasons of ENT).
A galactic Boy Scout's work is never done.
And, maybe as importantly, it makes it hard to find time to get anything else done. Then again, maybe this is the most important thing.
Author's Response: Damn, I should have re-written this story in light of the latest movie. At least I should have added lens flares. I like your pay it forward theory for this story. This may be indeed what's going on here. As for the somewhat sappy ending, this story was intended to be a feel good X-mas tale when I first wrote it which is quite a departure for me as I tend to specialize in darker, or at least more ambiguous endings to my stories. But I had fun exploring the other end of the spectrum here. As to the PD, personally, I can see both arguments and don't fully blame either Starfleet for giving such orders nor Owens for having a change of heart about them.
Date: 12 Sep 2013 03:55 Title: When Gods Smile
OK, you blew this one. It should have stormed the beaches at Christmas time-and won any contests you might have entered it in. Instead, you'll have to settle for a consolation prize-massive kudos from the Mighty Mistral! Seriously, I love what you did-creating a miracle from a "mistake". What will those people talk about in 500 years? And will they ever get the chance to learn what really happened? Good tale!
Author's Response: You're absolutely correct. And I would have much preferred to introduce this story during the holidays as it was intended. Other factors played a role in making me decide to roll it out now. But hey, that's not a bad consolation prize. I'll take it, thanks.
Date: 10 Sep 2013 04:32 Title: When Gods Smile
The Prime Directive, if for no other reason, exists to be broken. Even Picard broke it. What good is having all this technology and knowledge if we can't use it for good. Granted...what is good? I find it so funny, that we pour so much time and words and money into saving the rainforests and endangered species in one instance...and then go and watch National Geographic specials where the "observers" do nothing to help the little lion cub from starving to death. It's a classic problem that I think you tackled pretty well; having this great power, and having the wisdom to know when not to use it. As depressing as it was to see play out, I enjoyed that Owen's first decision was to obey orders, despite what everyone - including him - thought about the situation.
The dream was an interesting little journey. I'm not familiar with the Eagle universe...is this a common occurrence for him? If not, we seem to have a second mystery on our hands. First, who sent him back in time to observe the destruction of a similar comet (which, I'm assuming, a Starship destroyed that one) and second...
Who let the captain near the weapons controls? That's never a good idea. :)
Really enjoyed the little miracle. That was fun.
Author's Response: No, definatley not common for Michael Owens to find himself in the past. He's time traveled before but that was an entirely unrelated event. So yes, that's certainly another mystery to which we won't get an answer soon. Was it Q, some temporal anomaly, too much cheese late at night? We might never now. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Date: 09 Sep 2013 16:08 Title: When Gods Smile
I’m smiling at that one CeJay, as much as the Gods. It was nice to have a short story to read of the USS Eagle. I think you open this well with the good doctor standing next to excited locals, who don’t understand what they’ve seeing really means.
The briefing room scene sober mood at a level two extinction event and the doctor arguing for the prime directive to go hang it self and the rest trying to stay professional. (It why I prefer TOS Prime Directive to the TNG Prime Directive, Kirk was allowed to try and save civilizations from stellar objects extinctions (The Paradise Syndrome). Still I like the mysterious dream that makes Owen review his own positions, and the training accident that somehow destroys the meteor and save the civilization and Christmas as well.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review, glad it made you smile. That was really the point of this story. I agree that the Prime Directive seemed more compassionate in Kirk's days but you can't argue with the dramatic value of the hands-off at any cost policy.