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Reviewer: Strider Signed [Report This]
Date: 10 Mar 2017 21:04 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

I love the seeds of his character that you plant here--wanting to fight his way out, even when it's not advisable, for example. It does feel more like a beginning than a completed story--I hope we get to read the rest some day!

Reviewer: Strider Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 Dec 2014 01:07 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

This passage is kind of a it's interesting to hear that you're working on a larger story. It almost reads more like a summary than a complete narrative...but then you put in stark and compelling details, and it's definitely a story that the reader is living with young Jim. Good job making us experience the moment, yet at the same time step outside of it to see it in the larger perspective of Jim's life. It's not easy to do both of those things at once!

Reviewer: M C Pehrson Signed [Report This]
Date: 31 Jul 2014 15:37 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

So this is the finished version. I like the additional information that you wove into the story, and as before, young Jimmy's reactions are very powerful. But toward the end, one question leaped out at me. Why would a visiting thirteen year old be considered a "more valued member of the community"? Because he's young? He is not an adult, a valued professional, or even a permanent member of the colony. So that is one thing I would like to ask Captain Kirk. Why him? Why was he saved? 

This piece, like all your others, is very well written. Just that one haunting question lingers in my mind...

Author's Response:

Thanks, glad it read well.  As for the question, in the novel I'm working on Jimmy went there to visit his aunt and cousin.  When things went south, Kodos had little time to make his selections.  As a juvenile, it would be in Jimmy's file that his father is an officer in Starfleet.  While he wouldn't be valuable as a colony member, he might provide leverage later on with Starfleet and the Federation when what Kodos did was finally revealed.  Since his aunt was married and divorced, she and his cousin wouldn't shar the Kirk surname.  It wouldn't necessarily have to be in the file that Jimmy was staying with his aunt - Kodos and/or his staff could have thought he was just staying with a sponsor or family friends.  Since Aunt Martha and Emma weren't instrumental figures in terms of the colony, and since their connection to Jimmy went undiscovered in the hastily-made decision as to who would live or die, they were executed.  At least that's what I was thinking...

Reviewer: FalseBill Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jul 2014 14:01 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

Ouch that is a very touch and dark scene to read, touching on the dark corner of TOS Kirk soul. I can imagine that took a lot of character strength to write and keep the focus on Jim and not the horrific crimes going on in the background.

Author's Response:

Sorry I didn't respond sooner - July was a trying month for me in many ways.  Thanks for reading and reviewing.

Reviewer: zeusfluff Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jul 2014 18:47 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

Wow. You put so much into this, it was very hard to read. I enjoyed the tragic emotion you injected into this fic. Stirringly haunting piece. Thanks for sharing this and I look forward to reading your Tarsus novel when you finish writing it. Wonderful add-on. Keep writing. 

Author's Response:

This was as hard to write as it was to read.  What happened on Tarsus was truly tragic and horrific.  I was trying to capture that surreal instant of comprehension when the survivors first realized what was going on.  Hoping to get more done on the novel for unblock the block.  Thanks for the vote of confidence. :D

Reviewer: Enterprise1981 Signed [Report This]
Date: 18 Jun 2014 15:19 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

Wow. This had to have been terrifying experience for anyone. Young Jimmy's just taking a trip offworld and visting family, and the next, the colonial government is ordering the execution of half the population. This is definitely innocence lost. It's not quite idealistic universe he had envisioned and a sobering reminder that it's "easy to be a saint in paradise."

Oh, and nice job finding that pic of a young William Shatner.

Author's Response:

Sorry I didn't get back to this sooner.  Thank goodness this didn't sour Kirk on space forever.  It could have, but to my mind this was the solidifying factor for his view on the no-win scenario.  As for the pic, just googled Shatner and there it was. ;-)

Reviewer: Gatekeeper Signed [Report This]
Date: 29 May 2014 16:23 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

I think I owe you an apology. Maybe because we talked about this during the beta, I had it in my mind that I had already reviewed it. ::embarrassed blush::

The Conscience of the King was one of my favorite episodes, not only because of its nods to Shakespeare, which I love, but also because of the mysterious plot, which itself, reads like a Shakespearean play. One of the things you do, which I always enjoy, is fill in the blanks of a scene. There were so many things that Star Trek, especially, TOS, left us to figure out on our own, and filling in those blanks with a plausible story line, is something you do very well. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Tarsus novel as you finish it.

Reviewer: Mackenzie Calhoun Signed [Report This]
Date: 04 May 2014 19:14 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

job done LBD, it has gelled. I think of my own foray into Tarsus and in this one short chapter you have captured the horrors of it all. Like the Holocaust, this fictional one no less mechanised, cold and matter of fact. The elimination of 4000 people...
...well, it also shows how Jimmy Kirk became James Tiberius Kirk. Tarsus made Kirk.
Superb effort.

Reviewer: trekfan Signed [Report This]
Date: 28 Apr 2014 19:08 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

Whew, Jimmy Kirk. The Kodos period of his life is one of the richest (and toughest) parts to deal with in describing Kirk. Something like that would have a lasting effect on someone for the rest of their days and I wished we had seen more of this throughout the series, even in the movies really.

The senseless and shocking deaths of all comes across very well here and I look forward to seeing the rest of this.

Author's Response:

Thanks, trekfan.  I agree - this had to make an indelible mark on the man he became.  Just hoping I can do the whole Tarsus story justice someday...

Reviewer: kes7 Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Apr 2014 09:48 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

Sometimes it's impossible not to mix politics with Trek, because they went there, and this was one of those times.  Tarsus IV isn't the story of a madman -- it's the story of a government that controlled too much, made too many promises it couldn't keep and in the end, the government that gives you everything can take it all away in an instant.  That Tarsus IV is a Federation world should make it even more of a cautionary tale, but I don't think the UFP sees it that way.  It's easy to call him "Kodos the Executioner" but he was more than that -- he wasn't a madman, he was a desperate man doing a desperate thing because all he could do was run the numbers and there weren't any solutions that didn't mean people were going to die.  He was wrong, dead wrong to do what he did, but even today people do all sorts of evil that good may come of it -- look at China with its forced abortion and one-child policy.  They're not doing it out of sadism, they're doing it because they don't know what the hell else to do to make sure everyone has enough to eat, because they're the ones who took on the obligation to feed them.

No easy answers at all, and that's what made the story so compelling.  Your take on Jim's reaction strikes as very true, and I'd love to see the Tarsus novel when it's finished.  

Author's Response:

You hit the nail on the head, kes.  I agree, he was more desperate than evil, and in his desperation he made choices that any rational person wouldn't.  Love the parallel to China, for to me, that's exactly what this is.  And it's interesting, because TOS played both sides as well.  There's an episode (Operation:  Annihilate) where Kirk toys with the idea of destorying Deneva and its 1,000,000 inhabitants in order to prevent the spread of the neural parasites throughout the galaxy, which could potentially cost billions of lives.  McCoy has a classic line:  "If killing five people saves ten, it's a bargain.  Is that your simple logic Mister Spock?"

But then in the episode The Immunity Syndrome, it's Spock who gives it to McCoy after 400 Vulcans are killed on the Intrepid: 

I've noticed that about your people.  You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million.
You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours.

No easy answers.  And that's where the Tarsus novel is giving me so much trouble:  how to reconcile the loose ends, plot holes, and areas where the story simply didn't make sense, and find a way to explain all of these issues while adhering to canon.  It's going, but slowly...;-)

Reviewer: RogueJawa Signed [Report This]
Date: 25 Apr 2014 00:55 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

Very powerful entry. The episode about Kodos is one of the few TOS episodes I've seen and this did a much better job of conveying the horror of this holocaust. The fact that I'm not a big TOS fan but I want to read more of this story is a testament to how well it's written.

Author's Response:

Thank you very much.  I have been working on a Tarsus novel in fits and starts for several years now, and I agree - this is something that was glossed over and not explained very well in the series - something I hope to remedy one day.


Reviewer: Miranda Fave Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Apr 2014 12:10 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

I'm still hoping to see the Taurus novel someday. You handle Kirk with a certain deft and with a depth others don't/can't/won't. It makes sense for him to have such wealth to his character since its by virtue of it that McCoy and Spock work so well.

Here you approach a difficult area of Kirk's life and although treatly briefly and in such a short space, you use the brevity to focus on the moment being an indelible moment that shapes who Kirk is later in life. The last line is terrific at telling us as much. With innocence lost Kirk finds the morality compass that steers his life as a Starfleet captain.

As a young boy he's not in a position to suss things out, he's not got the ability to work things out for himself, he can't work a solution. He's powerless. He's a victim, even if he's not one of those selected. However, ever after, Kirk is not going to accept a no-win scenario again. He doesn't want to be powerless, to not have answers. No wonder that in later life Kirk leans on Spock, Scotty or McCoy when the answers are the type to evade his mind and skills - because if he can't work out a solution he wants those around him who can.

Author's Response:

Exactly!  This is Jimmy's *lightbulb moment* when he realizes that he will never be the victim of a no-win scenario again - under any circumstances - and that he will never let people suffer, or die, due to inaction on his part.  We see this in 'A Taste of Armageddon' when he destroys every 'disintegration station' he encounters in order to prevent any further Eminian deaths.

His distate for and refusal to be bound by the no-win scenario is legendary, but to my mind was born out of, and due to an immense respect for, the victims of Kodos's decree on Tarsus when he was just thirteen.

Reviewer: jespah Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Apr 2014 11:23 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

I had to look over this story a few times before I felt I could comment.

I'm not really sure how to react. Please recognize that I am coming to this with a Jewish perspective during Passover. And yesterday is the 72nd anniversary of the Nazis entering the Warsaw ghetto. I am trying to not let such things color my perception of this story, and I am failing.

And some of my perception may come from how TV treated Jews in the 60s, and how Star Trek did. They were, I guess the right word is ambivalent. You get Patterns of Force but it's really nowhere near as powerful a story as the Twilight Zone's Death's Head Revisited, which had aired 7 years previously.

The Conscience of the King aired almost a year before Patterns of Force and the background to that story has to, to me, to be the Holocaust. Here you've really put it all together and given the process a selection and a governmental veneer (that veneer is present in Conscience, which is rather like the capturing of escaped Nazis in South America after WWII). 

For Jim and the other survivors, the ones who weren't selected, there has to be some survivor guilt, and perhaps some disbelief. After all, it was early into the crisis. Nobody tried to do anything? This is an era of replicators. ENT shows resequenced protein made into the form of chicken and potatoes. I recognize the order in which the stories were written and aired, but TOS itself showed replicated food.

I would have liked to have seen adults yelling about it being like the Holocaust. I would have liked to have seen them also arguing with their guards, screaming about replicators (a remote colony should have at least one replicator), or about going out and onto the planet in search of what grew there wild, to see if it was edible. Even if all of these statements would have been refuted, I would have liked to have seen them in the piece.

Like I said, I am trying to react to this story without thinking of these other things, and without letting my own personal feelings get into the way, but I'm afraid I just can't. It's well-crafted, as all of your pieces are. But I can't help feeling the way that I do.

Author's Response:

Oh jespah, I am so sorry.  That was not my intention at all.  I wanted to show the *exact moment* when a young Jim Kirk and the other survivors, who had been separated into four groups and locked into separate buildings for two and a half days, with the promise from the government – whom they trusted – that everything would be put right, came crashing down in an excruciatingly painful moment of realization that genocide was the solution their leaders came up with.

And that’s the point of this story – it doesn’t deal with the hours, days or even weeks that followed, but strictly with the *instant* the colonists learned the truth.

Jim Kirk was only thirteen, and unable to wrap his head around, to process at that moment the enormity of what he had just learned.  I do say in the first paragraph that ‘People around him were stunned and incensed—some talking, some shouting, some crying, some utterly speechless, some gesticulating wildly,’ but that these sounds and actions didn’t register in that instant for the boy.  I'm sure that's exactly what they were saying, but he was so caught up in the horror of the moment that he was unable to understand the words.  For him it was just white noise.  Jimmy’s instinct was to rush the guards he was so furious and sickened by what he had just seen and heard.  The man who stopped him was older, wiser, and realized that if they reacted now, in the heat of the moment, they would all wind up dead as well, and would be of no use to anyone else who was slated to die.

This really is Jimmy’s (and the other survivors’) *instant* of understanding – the time period for the story is literally seconds.  Trust me, as I’m working on the whole story there are those people who are willing to risk everything, just as there are those who are complacent, indifferent, because they have not been slated for execution, so to their minds it doesn’t affect them.  And that’s life, that’s reality – in life there will always be those people who are willing to step up and step in in the midst of a moral crisis, and there are those who aren’t.  Doesn’t make it right, but it’s human nature, and the lesson young Jimmy took from this instant in his life was that he never wanted to be complacent, or ambivalent, when something like this was happening.

Please don’t apologize – you can’t help how you feel and I totally understand, and respect that, but also understand that my intention was not to show complacency, or ambivalence, but how an event like this (and the Holocaust) can change one’s perspective on life, and the lives of his fellow men, for the better.


Reviewer: M C Pehrson Signed [Report This]
Date: 20 Apr 2014 10:32 Title: The Ruthless Hand of Man

A narrow escape for young Jim. A summer adventure turns into a horror story that he will never forget. I bet his mom will have a few choice words for his dad. Well written!

Author's Response:

In my world, Winona always has a better handle on what makes her youngest son tick - and how that is likely to spell trouble for him - than George does.  Maybe he'll listen to her more closely now. ;-)

Thanks for reading and reviewing.

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