Date: 24 Dec 2013 02:00 Title: San Francisco, December 2257
I really enjoyed this Trek version of 'A Christmas Carol,' true to the original Dickensian story, but not quite. Understanding more of the difficult backstory for this AU Gary went a long way to explaining why he's a lifeguard and not in Starfleet. I can see where the anger he harbored about his past could crop up, resulting in the actions that got him expelled from the Academy.
The 'present' portion was particularly compelling. I could definitely see the dialogue unfolding just as you described. Carol does like Gary in her own way, and while he does get on her nerves sometimes, she does consider him a friend, warts and all. I liked seeing that aspect come to fruition at the end, for I feel that he'll wind up being a surrogate uncle to David once the lad finally makes his appearance.
And choosing the future to be what we know of the canon version of Gary was chilling, not only for the reader but for this AU Mitchell. After all, who wants to find out that he's destined to become a heartless murderer, without morals or compassion?
I must confess, I did think that bringing Charlotte back would be tied to the fate of the canon Gary. I figured that since it was he who died, Charlotte would survive in that 'AU' version of their lives.
Might be interesting to have the 'mystery woman' at the end turn out to be a long lost love of AU Gary's. The Tellarite did seem distracted; perhaps he steered Gary in the right direction under false pretenses. This woman could then give Tonia a run for her money; make her rethink her relationship with Gary, for I found it particularly distressing that given his past, Tonia didn't see fit to invite him home with her for the holidays.
Good that the ending is ambiguous though. It opens things up to all kinds of speculation on the part of the reader, not just the scenario I've proposed.
All in all a good read, and one that fit so well with the season and Dickens' storied tale. Excellent work. :D
Author's Response: thank you most kindly with profuse blushing and thanks. I was in one definite thought over the mystery woman at the end until reading this review. I'm at a crossroads dilemma wise and indeed, this has affected both books 3 & 4 which have both gotten a few pages done. Ah, progress. My thanks once again :)