Date: 05 Oct 2013 00:37 Title: Finale- All Fall Down, 1970
A fine, fine ending to an incredible piece, and an oh-so-believable account of how the Terran Empire must have started.
When reading fanfiction, there are always a handful of stories that stick with one, for numerous reasons, and for me, this piece is surely one of them. I'll never be able to see 'Mirror, Mirror' again without thinking of this origin piece for the MU.
I've watched you grow and mature as an author over the last two years, and this definitely ranks not only as one of your best stories, but one of the best pieces I have read anywhere in fandom.
As terrific as this was as a short, it could so easily be fleshed out into novel length. More background on Kennedy and his family, more focus on the moon mission project, and of the origins of the Eugenics Project and Khan and his followers. I truly hope you write that someday, for it is a novel I'd definitely read, and recommend to any who would listen. You've outdone yourself on this one, sir. Bravo!
Author's Response: You do me a disservice, I'm humbled by your praise. I do wish I could it feature length (Giant Novel as it were). God knows how I'll pad it out. My thanks to you in every way.
Date: 05 Oct 2013 00:19 Title: Part Five: Hades 11, 1967
This chapter choked me up. You managed to capture the excitement, nail-biting angst and sheer awe of that iconic event from history. I'm with Grissom here--totally forgot that it was for the Empire, but got lost in the moment.
I like, too that the focus of this chapter was squarely on Mission Control and the astronauts. You could've so easily turned this into a political moment--one to be exploited by Khan and his followers or even Jack and the opposition, but you let it ride as it was meant to be--a monumental achievement for Mankind, no matter the universe.
Author's Response: This was of course the original prompt (with changes) and I think it was best to keep it with this viewpoint. I think that even in the MU the awe of landing might've been something. Or maybe a TEAM AMERICA kind of cheer: "**** Yeah!"
Date: 04 Oct 2013 23:57 Title: Part 4: From Hell's Heart, 1966
There were so, so many things I liked about this chapter. The line about ribbons on a turd was sheer genius and made me laugh out loud.
The reemergence of Nixon--seems Dick is tricky, no matter the universe.
Kennedy's concern about all-out war with Russia conjured up images of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Khan flinging our Jack's words about 'what can you do for your country?' back at him was just heartbreaking. One gets the feeling that Jack would like to take action, but without a power base behind him doesn't know where or how to begin.
This was perhaps the most heart-wrenching chapter of all, as we can feel Jack's helplessness and despair, made all the more poignant by the fact that we know where the Terran Empire is headed. This is truly an inspired piece of writing, and surely one of your best to date.
Date: 04 Oct 2013 23:22 Title: Part 3: Of Minutemen and Astronauts, 1965
I loved the addition of Khan here - this ties our history, that of the MU and TOS Trek into one neat bundle. I'm still quite impressed by how seamlessly you wove these three threads into one strong, quite believable tale. This is a real page-turner. Almost hate to interrupt the flow of the story by pausing to leave reviews. ;-)
Calling Khan and his followers The Minutemen was sheer genius. Whether referring to those elite soldiers who were instrumental in America's fight for independence, or as a nod to The Minuteman missiles--ICBM's which were the first to use MIRV's and are capable of wiping out an entire country--it speaks to the dark and powerful nature of those individuals who sprang from the Eugenics Project.
As your beta reader I do have inside information on where things go from here, and while I won't divulge any spoilers I will say that it only gets better from here. :-)
And just a note for the fangril ine me--amidst all these names from history, all these intrepid and pioneering astronauts, it was the mention of Gene Kranz that made me grin with stupid, silly, reckless abandon. God, I'm such a nerd...;-)
Author's Response: my blushing thanks. Kranz is a bit of a legend and I like to think I've dug beyond in my reading that the film Apollo 13 did. I confess I more thought of the Minutement from the Revolutionary War but it works both ways as you point out.
Date: 04 Oct 2013 22:27 Title: Part One: The Fall, 1961
Again, the way this parallels our own history, but not quite, is just mesmerizing. I'm with Jack here--this is gonna go balls up as the Emperor and his second have effectively been removed from the picture. Why do I get the feeling that someone much worse, not better, will ultimately win the power struggle that has been created by this vacuum at the pinnacle of the 'government'?
I, too am loving the name dropping, and as someone who has been fascinated by the space program for years, the squee factor was in full effect for me in this chapter, despite the grimness of it. I love the name choice for the rockets and program as well--Hades as opposed to Apollo. Kinda sums up this darker, more terrifying universe that is so familiar, and yet not...
Date: 04 Oct 2013 22:03 Title: Part One: The Fall, 1961
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! A darker, grittier take on the history we know, complete with persons and events from that history, but pushed into unfamiliar roles and different locations.
This is a great beginning as to how the MU got started, and the events depicted are so easily believable--if just a few things had played out differently, this could very well be our version of history.
This is a really thought-provoking piece that is off to a fantastic start!
Date: 25 Sep 2013 00:28 Title: Finale- All Fall Down, 1970
So this is how your story ends with Khan purge of the senate and those who believe that freedom will rise again, it quite sadly knowing the future history of the MU that good idea does seem a false hope. However you’ve got the scene right and it a well executed written execution of the senate and the final confirmation of Khan power as Emperor.
I’ve got to say you’ve done a wonderful job with this story it been as much a roller coaster as Trek Prime Moon landing sequence. Yet at no point does it feel like fantasy, it just feels like learning how the MU History went on this crucial endeavor and how it was a springboard for the MU Khan.
Author's Response: My thanks indeed FB. It was a bit rushed I supposed, cramming it into a few thousand words but I'm glad it's worked. Brilliant how people see the tone after I worry over it so much. The only way now for the MU is down. Thanks once more :)
Date: 25 Sep 2013 00:20 Title: Part Five: Hades 11, 1967
So Hades 11 arrives and the change in those famous words and Khan message to the future are re-worded quite right for the MU. I note that in the MU had no consideration of the two astronauts sleeping before claiming the moon for their Emperor. Still it was nice to see some Buzz similarity creep through and show Khan might be winning minds if nor hearts by his actions.
Date: 25 Sep 2013 00:13 Title: Part 4: From Hell's Heart, 1966
So Khan takes power in America and set the ball moving from American Empire to Terran Empire. I can only imagine the fear and broken ness those normal pilots on the Hades project feel and worse how after other MU events American can be talked into following Khan,
That was a nice scene with Jack trying to keep his composure and his bottle in front of Khan and his principals, while Nixon is prepare to play the Prime minister route, I suspect for later opportunities.
So Khan had no problem in annexing the German program and one does wonder what his secret plan for Russia is.
Author's Response: I figured that maybe Kennedy would've kept his cool with Khan should he be confronted with him. Though with Khruschev he was at first all over the place. Khan doesn't care about it all, nothing can stand in his way and he'll just do it.
Date: 25 Sep 2013 00:03 Title: Part 3: Of Minutemen and Astronauts, 1965
So we see the Mirror Khan and his minutemen back-ups, I think you’ve given him the right menace and Grissom getting taught a lesion and how true to MU that his crew mates disappeared when he need some help.
Interest choice of scene to backdrop the anti-minutemen senators approaching Lyndon Johnston, the key Hades 7 orbit detach and reattached trial creates a second tension in this scene other than the politics.
Well the Imperial Senate potential backstabbing, takes shape, and we see that while the Empire chases the moon landing, the home problems are getting worst, Jack does seem to be try to maneuver himself into the position of next leader of MU America.
Date: 24 Sep 2013 23:52 Title: Part Two: Three First Steps Forward, One Giant Leap Back (1963)
Not sure what happen to your formatting here? I think the Mirror Section 31 is trying to cover up it tracks maybe? But that is a very minor issue to an otherwise good chapter.
Well you’ve done a good job of mirroring the events of Trek Prime failed Apollo 1 test. The assassination of The Emperor can’t be a big surprise, or Johnston lucky escape. However it seems so true to the Mirror universe that the assassination of a tyrant might just makes things worst.
Why do I suspect Jack and Mary might be about to do a power play of their own in the near future for the shake of the country?
Author's Response: I only noticed the formatting went for a burton. Should be alright now. Seems to do that every so often. As for Jack and Mary, you never know with the Kennedys.
Date: 24 Sep 2013 17:16 Title: Finale- All Fall Down, 1970
So this is how the world ends...
The first image I had when JFK was talking initially was from the Star Wars prequels...kinda mirrored what Padme said when the Emperor took control. Anyway, that got thrown aside and burned (much like the desks and documents here) because those movies were rubbish. This is a very incredible ending to what had been a very incredible and inspiring - if very dark - tale. Still very, very pleased with the idea of Khan being the first emperor of the Terran Empire, and him being the cause of the mindset of everyone in that universe.
Like I had said before, this was a very well written historical account, that very easily could have been over flooded with "facts." You kept true to the story-telling and the characters, and turned a very short little clip of a mirror moon landing into a very enjoyable story. Good job bud.
Author's Response: Funnily I watched Logan's Run last night and the image of that ruined Senate comes to mind now. I imagine JFK et al met as usual only to be betrayed. Much more visual way than how the Nazis wiped out the Reichstag. I'm glad the story went down well and blush at the comments all the way through. It seems it worked out better than I can have imagined :) My thanks.
Date: 24 Sep 2013 17:07 Title: Part Five: Hades 11, 1967
Ah, the WFW in the fleshed-out flesh. lol
This is actually, imo, a very good touch-up and redoing of the free-write. I like this one a lot more, so good job on refining it. His first words on the moon were very natural sounding, and full of the excitement and wonder that I would have expected. Also interesting to see the beginnings of the Terran Empire "system" in play here; failure being met with death and dissent being met with...well, death as well. And not a bad way to depict what was only a short, maybe second-long (two seconds max) visual of the moon landing in the "In a Mirror, Darkly" opening credits from ENT. Very well done all around.
Author's Response: Rewriting it made sense as opposed to my original idea of just touching it up. Originally the WFW didn't have Khan of course and all the rest. I had no idea what first words could've been so had to play fast and loose. It worked in the end.
Date: 24 Sep 2013 16:29 Title: Part 4: From Hell's Heart, 1966
I sense the beginnings of the Eugenics Wars of the Mirror Universe, perhaps a few years (or maybe even decades) before they happened in the real universe. Not completely surprising that Khan would overthrow the American Empire and begin to establish a Terran Empire, either. That actually makes a LOT of sense.
Very startling, to see JFK's famous "what can you do for your country" turned back on him by Khan. That sent a few chills down my back to read.
And, for any one else who reads this...did anyone else read JFK's "Khan...Khan" as if he was screaming his name like Kirk? lol
Author's Response: Sort of happened by accident the "what can you do for your country?" bit. Montalban could've done wonders with it. I think the "Khan, Khan" thing was Kirk definitely. I think him screaming it out loud would've been a bit much :)
Date: 24 Sep 2013 16:15 Title: Part 3: Of Minutemen and Astronauts, 1965
Ha! I knew the moment you mentioned the Eugenics we'd see Khan in this. So very wonderful to see his place in this universe with his superior intellect.
And a good job showing the hazards not just of space travel, but an ambitious and haphazard one run by a ruthless, "get the job done no matter what" empire. This is really very entertaining to read, and I'm enjoying all the name drops.
Author's Response: I'd figure the Empire would go all out even after the fire unlike in our timeline where NASA hesitated and took some time after Apollo 1. Khan was a tricky choice and by appearing here it differs to 'our' timeline.
Date: 24 Sep 2013 16:02 Title: Part Two: Three First Steps Forward, One Giant Leap Back (1963)
From the launchpad fire, to the assassination of Kennedy, what a warped and twisted telling of history this is from our own. It's easier to read this thinking "these people are fiction; they didn't exist in real life" rather than thinking "these are alternate versions of people we knew."
This is turning into something like a documentary almost, or a biopic even, versus a history book, which is great. You throw in "facts" here and there, but they never over power the story and the characters.
Kennedy at the window at the end...the only thing I can picture is him standing in much the same way as that very iconic picture of him in the Oval Office. I wonder where he stands in the line of succession, if at all, in this twisted world?
Author's Response: I didn't think of that image of him in the Oval Office but I could see that, with the Cape before him. Most kind of the comments. I guess it is like a documentary or biopic.
Date: 24 Sep 2013 15:42 Title: Part One: The Fall, 1961
Ooooo...bit of a history lesson in this one! I like it!
A CRAZY skewing of history in this one. I liked how you altered WW2 so that it was Japan first, THEN Germany...the attack on the US, as the war continued would certainly throw everything for a loop. I'd love to see where, exactly, you figured the two universes split from one another.
And JFK the freedom fighter! This is looking to be a very interesting story all around.
Date: 23 Sep 2013 03:29 Title: Part One: The Fall, 1961
This is a really good use of the MU the likes of which we don't really see in Trek canon itself. I get a real V for Vendetta flavor (the actual Alan Moore GN) on the political side, and I loved seeing Khan appear in this way.
The look into how the space program might have developed under such circumstances is a reminder of where Trek's roots really lay, and brings to mind Stross' short story A Colder War. As with this use of the Cold War, the familiar setting of the US space program's history becomes a much different thing, and still seems so real.
Author's Response: Thank you. I wasn't too keen on it as I started as it's largely something that needs a novel approach rather than 10,000 words. A mirror to our faces in a sense.
Date: 23 Sep 2013 00:21 Title: Finale- All Fall Down, 1970
And there he goes, likely to perdition's flames.
The best MU stories are the ones that aren't campy, where the totalitarian state is in full evidence, and the greasepaint and the skimpy outfits are pulled aside to reveal the yoke.
It is all too reasonable how this could happen, and all too frightening.
Disturbing and well done.
Author's Response: My thanks for your comments. I'm not exactly thinking this is how the MU started (it could be argued it was that way all the way through and diverged bit by bit. A darker, more horrific version of our own from the outset. Khan was LBD's idea initially and one I wove in after a while. As for the Nazis and Russia, I figured that after D-Day it was a stalemate. The civil war happens after America pulls out and the two remain uneasy neighbours until Khan battles them.
Date: 22 Sep 2013 23:58 Title: Part Two: Three First Steps Forward, One Giant Leap Back (1963)
I love the little nods to history, the quickie name dropping. Of course Powers (Francis Gary, I'm sure). Interesting how the space program goes, the naming conventions and of course who lives, and who does not.
Date: 22 Sep 2013 23:47 Title: Part One: The Fall, 1961
Ah I do so love alt-history! Of course this is the MU and it does make sense in terms of the degrees of divergence. It also works well in terms of counterparts - the later the divergence occurs, the more reasonable it is to see perfect counterparts.
It's little things, too, stuff like a missed battle or a bad decision, and those things snowball.
Intrigued to see where this is going.
Date: 22 Sep 2013 23:35 Title: Part One: The Fall, 1961
Well MacKenzie this could be a very interesting story, you’ve clearly set the scene for how a Mirror Universe space race could be very different. I think you thought hard about your characters choice for these historic scenes re-imagine and how the Republic becomes an empire. The difference of your MU World War II and the strange effect of the aftermath on Mirror America.
I like how you’ve given the young brother a conscious from seeing a protester beaten into a coma by his farther security guards.
The closing line is very nice and evoking.
I do look forward to reading the other chapters and seeing what happens but I can’t think from the story title the Russians are going to get their first.