Date: 15 Jul 2014 19:13 Title: 'But It's a Miranda Class!'
Seems that Cutler isn't too excited about being on a Miranda-class starship. I wonder what kind of adventures and new worlds they'll discover aboard the Kestrel? Another nicely written and engaging chapter. The more I read this fic, the more I’m finding your original characters fascinating. Each has their own distinct way of acting emotionally as well as physically. I like the descriptions of both Cutler and Jex. Jex seems like she appreciates older class starships. She takes in everything as if its new. She likes the idea of exploring things through ‘fresh eyes.’ I think Cutler just needs a chance to settle in on the Kestrel. He probably just feels a little uneasy being on an older class ship. I’m really enjoying reading this fic and I’m going to keep reading to see what kinds of adventures they go on. Thanks for another fine chapter, and now onto chapter 3 to see what happens next.
Date: 15 Jul 2014 18:47 Title: 'He's an Hawsehole!'
Well MF, I have to say I’m really enjoying this story and the awesomeness of it so far. I can see the character of Molly Cartwright and how stubborn she is. She seems to be a very strong character. Strong and self-assured. I liked how you set up the scene and beginning of the story here with an engaging cast of characters. I find it interesting how you chose to end this first chapter with Vardros and T-Hos breaking into a secure high security facility of Starbase 49 and that they have some sort of spy working for them aboard the Kestrel. What’s going to happen next I wonder? Again, great way to set up a wonderful read so far. The emotions of all the characters are very clear and it adds to the depth of this complex and engaging fic. The originality of it is amazing. I feel as if I’m watching an episode you created, and it were to be seen on screen. Now, onto the second chapter to see what’s next. I’m really enjoying this so far. Thanks for sharing this.
Date: 27 Aug 2013 15:33 Title: 'Problems in Engineering'
Oof, this captain is very...abrasive? I think that works. Very odd, too. I almost imagine he's either really drunk, or he just puts on the show to keep people from getting too close to him. I'm no longer sure he believes anything that he says, after the parting few paragraphs for this chapter. And it's also very apparent that he's leading by example, with his senior officers kind of mirroring the man's attitude in their respective sections (like Gardner in engineering). Interesting so far...
Date: 18 Aug 2013 02:01 Title: 'Second Chances'
Two weeks, six days and twenty-two hours earlier...
"Again?" Gardner asked, eying the cut on Molly's face. "What'd you do to piss him off this time?"
"That is none of your business," Molly answered, thumbing across the now-scabbed over mark. She knew full well she should have just gone and had it sealed up, but she had other things to attend to first.
Namely speaking, unless something was done to stop it, the next time Gregory McGregor threw a glass at her, she was going to shove the broken shards where the sun wouldn't shine. And all the better if they were still brandy soaked when it happened.
She might have been guilty, but this was the last time that man was ever throwing something at her.
"Then why are you here?" Eddie asked, wiping his hands off and looking at her bemused.
Molly's eyes flashed, and a blade of a grin crossed her face. It was not in humor. "I have a plan. I need your help."
After all of the crawling he had to do recently, Eddie Gardner was more than onboard when she detailed out what it was.
"Romulan ale? Why Eddie, you had this and you didn't offer to share with the class? Stricken, I am. Betrayed. Wounded, heartbroken, and terribly thirsty."
Eddie looked over the rim of his tumbler at his captain, whose pale eyes were narrowed in mirth and a not-very-well-concealed rebuke for not sharing the good stuff. To sweeten it, he pulled the tumbler back to his own chest in an emphatic denial. "And what have you done for me lately, Captain? Besides drive me half mad with your reckless disregard of ship's systems."
"I've entertained you, haven't I? Face it, you would have us dance no other dance. Give us a glass, would you?"
Eddie did not actually like Romulan ale; his tastes tended to range towards warmer colors in the spectrum. And this was not exactly standard Romulan ale. It was a very special brew, the sort sought after across the quadrant; the makers were renowned as the finest their species had to offer. It was smooth, it went down with just the right amount of heat, it gave a hell of a nice buzz and just when you thought you were buzzing to the right frequency -- the frequency where most Romulan ales would stop -- it then kicked you in the head and knocked your ass into a drunken stupor that was only marginally more preferable than the hangover you had the next day. For Romulans, it was lauded as the perfect drink.
For humans, it was an asskicking in a bottle.
Eddie took the biggest swig he could and turned away.
"Think big, overgrown, scruffy toddler," Molly had said, still stoked to a low boil; the cut was long gone, but her grudge about the pitched glass was far from. She handed him the bottle -- worth more than a month's paycheck, more than a little illegal and who knew where she got it -- and some advice that Eddie, admittedly, already knew. "The more you tell him no, the more he's going to want it."
Eddie didn't actually want the hangover he'd have. But for the good of ship and crew...
McGregor apparently really wanted that ale. He implored. He cajoled. He pestered. He teased. He tried -- and failed utterly -- to pull regulations. Eddie laughed in his face.
Given what they were up against out there in the greater universe, likely the captain saw it as a fun little diversion. Eddie and Molly saw it as a way to get some back on him, and Eddie happily played his part. Had to happen sometimes. Now was one of those times.
Finally, likely driven to it, McGregor showed up with a bottle of Eddie's favorite. "Come now, a wee nip. It's more than a fair trade; in fact, it's highway robbery."
"If you'll stop sniffing around my skirt, fine," Eddie quipped back, earning a brief jump of the eyebrows in appreciation for the wit.
He slid the bottle down the bar and took the one on offer. "One tumbler, Captain. Just one."
"Stingy, Eddie. But fine." McGregor whipped out the biggest tumbler he could find, and filled it to the brim, daring Eddie with his eyes to protest.
Eddie rolled his own and caught the ale bottle when it was slid back to him. "As if you can finish that much."
McGregor raised the tumbler to his lips with a wicked smile. "Watch me."
"I've got better things to do." Eddie took his newly procured -- and unexpected! -- prize and left with the remainder of the Romulan ale.
Captain Gregory McGregor was sprawled on the floor of the Den, drifting in a sea of drunk-beyond-all-possible-cognition. Eddie Gardner was proud of his handiwork.
Molly Cartwright was entirely pleased herself. She kicked McGregor's boot, which earned a little groan. "Very, very nice. I owe you, Gardner."
"Provided we pull this off, I'll keep the two bottles and call it a fair trade," Eddie replied. "Harris dealt with?"
"For the rest of the night, and tomorrow morning." Molly smirked. "Somehow, she came down with a mild, painless but contagious, completely curable rash and had to be quarantined. Just for the next twenty-four hours."
Eddie whistled. "Didn't know you had it in you."
"The devil is in the details," she murmured, then stepped forward to grab one of McGregor's arms. "Come on, McGregor."
"Molls." He managed to rally himself enough to open his eyes, peering up at her completely unfocused. "I thinnnnnk... thinkssss... somethink."
"So I noticed. Eddie?"
Eddie got the captain's other arm, and together they managed to lever him upright with not a little difficulty. Then, one on one side, one on the other, they dragged McGregor off for his quarters.
The thing about McGregor was that he was clever. Cagey. A whole lot smarter than people gave him credit for, too.
And paranoid. Very paranoid.
Getting into his quarters was not a guarantee when he was there, and breaking into them was out of the question when he wasn't: He would know.
Unless you had an in, and what better in than the man himself?
He managed to get them through the door, head lolling, too messed up to do much more than that. They practically had to carry him, and when they dropped him on his bed, he just made a little noise and didn't move.
They went to work.
The very first thing they did, before anything else, was make sure that any surveillance devices he might (probably) have planted were scrambled. If there were, he'd know they were up to something, but he sure wouldn't know what it was.
Every single glass. Every single one. Every one was replaced with something that looked and felt like glass, but wouldn't shatter upon impact with anything. The next time McGregor lost his temper and started pitching glasses at walls and fellow officers, he'd quickly find that it was a lost cause.
That, however, was not the crowning piece of their layer cake. Because once they finished with the glasses, it came time to cajole the override codes for the replicators out of him.
This might have proven more difficult, if not for the fact that the pleasant aspects of the drunken stupor were rapidly becoming quite unpleasant, and he was far too drunk to do anything more about it than suffer. And suffer he did.
Molly didn't coddle him any; doing so would be a dead giveaway. "I can't replicate an antidote to Romulan ale," she said, just the right amount of brusque overlaying a concern that was not insincere. "It's one of the no-no items on the replicator, McGregor. I'm sorry."
"Nnnn," was his answer, as he tried to curl his arms around his head. He cut a hell of a pathetic picture, and even as pissed off as she was at him, Molly felt for him.
"Judy?" he asked, or more mumbled.
"She's busy. There's been a rash outbreak. How much did you drink, anyway?"
For a moment, Molly did think about calling Monroe. Ending McGregor's misery. And then she remembered, he threw a glass at her head, and decided that no. No, he had earned this, and he was going to have to live with it. "I wish I could help you. But the replicator keeps denying me."
McGregor put it together all by himself -- no mean feat, given his state -- and managed to stumble his way through the voice-printed override codes he'd put in on the replicators. And then he promptly threw up in the bucket they'd made sure to have handy beside his bed.
Eddie was fast as he uploaded the new permission files, buried under McGregor's custom coding, hidden and slick. From here on out, McGregor would not be able to replicate real glass, only the substitute, on every replicator on the ship; if he wanted real glass, he'd have to buy it somewhere. Which, he doubtless would eventually. If he ever found out. But until then, this was a feasible workaround.
And then Molly finally replicated the antidote.
Or, more precisely, about half the antidote. Enough to spare him some of the misery. Not quite all. Some lessons required a firmer hand.
Eddie slipped out, and Molly shot it into his neck, and was even kind enough to pull his boots off before tucking him in.
By then, he was still a drunken mess, but at least not a puking drunken mess. He slurred out, "Tanks, Molls."
"Don't thank me," she said, still brusque and concerned. She just sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over until she was speaking right into his ear. "And don't you ever throw anything at me again."
With that, and a pat on the shoulder that was affectionate even in her ire, she got up and left him to it, disabling their scrambling device on the way out the door.
Best review ever! Will now have to find a way to make that fit into canon.
Date: 26 Jul 2013 02:15 Title: Executive Decisions
This is a terrible place to leave a reader, I'll have you know. So, I expect that next chapter. Within a week.
All that being said, it's an engaging story. The whole thing, from beginning to end; once you have some grasp of the characters, the rest is like candy. Every one of them comes across as real and realistic, with varying levels of talents and damage, and a very real sense of community and family. The new ensigns settled in so slowly and yet so smoothly that you hardly realized they were part of the crew until they were. You showed us McGregor in varying states of insane, flippant and heartfelt. Molly's a winner, damage and all, and my heart aches for T'Vel.
The whole crew, really. All of them. They are miscreants compared to Starfleet, but not compared to a cross section of the real world we live in. Which is why I've said it's like you're flipping a giant bird (see what I did there?) at the canon materials. Because you make it real, and traumatic, and breathtaking. Detailed. The millions of little details are awe inspiring.
So, Kev, why this Hell is this story sitting here? Get to work, man. Show me where this goes.
Date: 26 Jul 2013 01:59 Title: A.A.R.
Wow, more plot twists. The AAR was wicked cool. I continue to enjoy the little details of your universe and all of its myriad bits and bobs and traditions and protocols. Totally makes my life, and also makes that inferiority complex all nice and active, too. Then you go and throw in a possible plot twist here at the end. I can't help but think you've led Dexter and Harris just so you can spring someone totally out of the left field on me. Because you're about as sly as McGregor when you want to be.
And by the way, I'm gonna be royally torqued off after I finish reading what's here if you don't have another chapter ready by the end of the week. Just as a heads up.
Date: 26 Jul 2013 00:44 Title: After Care
The various POVs here are a treat. I love all of the bonding moments. The hints to backstory with Eddie and McGregor. It drives me nuts that I don't have more pieces, but you expertly doll them out to keep the reader chugging on.
The talk between Jex and Molly was excellent, and Jex leaning on the worm's experience to get away with it. It pleases me that Dexter got a tune up because he had it coming. And I do believe we might be zeroing in on the mole. At least, I hope.
Date: 26 Jul 2013 00:29 Title: Dissenting Voices
Dexter kind of needs kicked off the ship. Or off the mortal coil. I mean, it's one thing to have security concerns and of course she presents them, but the total lack of empathy isn't exactly what you want on your senior staff.
The struggle here was well played out and both Molly and Jex really had the opportunity to shine. I also love the unstated but nearly tangible feeling of the new kids slipping into the fold and becoming a real part of the crew.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 23:43 Title: 'Diffusing the Situation'
Holy crow. And this situation just keeps getting hairier and hairier! Brave Jex. T'Vel in possessed mode is a terrifying sight to behold, make no bones about it. Her shooting poor Keran sucks. Her tormenting Jex does too. Here's hoping they get her back not too terribly traumatized.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 23:12 Title: Bodily Complications
The horror and trauma of seeing the slaves was really well played here. And good on Molls for standing up for T'Vel like that. I kind of agree with her lecture to McGregor, but only time will tell just how much method there is to this madness.
On the other hand, I do still suspect Harris. And love him though I do, there is something kind of skeezy about McGregor going to bed with someone he holds rank over and rescued from slavery.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 22:54 Title: 'Hook, Line and Sinker'
It is still ridiculously fun reading. I am both relieved and not about where the intel came from cause it could be a triple cross. On the other hand, T'Vel had me grinning with her dispassionate assessment of what was going to happen to Thaddeus. I can't wait to see what comes next.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 22:45 Title: 'The Devil's in the Details'
Hot damn but this chapter is filled with all kinds of awesome and genius. From McGregor's brilliant maneuvering to Noah getting some recognition, to Rah being... well, Rah! It seems a particularly well coordinated ballet. And one part cop drama and one part sitcom and one large part awesome action flick, with a grittier flavored Trek. I envy you right now. Lots.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 22:07 Title: 'Cogs in the Machine'
The many balls that you have to juggle -- take how you will -- impresses me. I have never been very good at juggling whole crew scenarios. Perhaps you will help me out there someday. I love the look at each. And Stan's potential date. And Molly bolstering Noah and observing McGregor. There's much to enjoy about it, but I'm also waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Is it odd that when it comes to T'Vel and Stan especially, I feel like I am watching and fretting for old friends I'd like to protect? Such is the legacy of the first RR and no bad one at that.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 21:27 Title: Past Lives - Bad Memories
Rah is a shivery sort of pleasure to watch work. Hidden depths and quite a bit of scary. I like the number of tough, competenr female crew you have. It definitely pleases the feminist in me, because even TNG could be failcakes when it came to that. But here, no such thing. The insight into Leoni and Jex was a pretty neat thing, too.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 21:05 Title: A Den of Thieves
The interplay between Molly and McGregor is so very sweet here. They are practically and old married couple, just absent the wanton sex. (Alas, I could probably ship them. Then again, I could probably ship McGregor with almost anyone. Nor am I sure he would mind.) But I really do love that bit. You play it out well, teasing the reader along and giving them bits and pieces to enjoy without letting us see who is right and who is wrong.
T'Hos seems particularly sinister in that last bit, but perhaps a bit delusional, if he really thinks he can literally get McGregor to beg on bended knee. At least in any sincere way.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 20:51 Title: The Captain's Den
The briefing is more fun to read than any I saw in canon. I love the Den and how it's laid out. I love how worn-in the Kestrel feels, how tried and true she is with all of these details. Of course, Molly is perfectly within her rights to be worried about what McGregor is up to. Anyone with a modicum of sense would be. But we shall see what devil exactly there is there eventually.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 20:33 Title: 'Bing Bong'
Damn but Molly pulls no punches here. I think this is the first time I can maybe see her as cruel, but then again, given what T'Vel did to Ronak, I can also see why some extreme methods might just be necessary. Even so, this is a hard chapter to read for everyone's sake. And Eddie's various rants were awesome. As was McGregor's cleverness in rigging the systems, for good or for ill.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 19:47 Title: 'The Why of Why'
Ah Sebastian. It really isn't fair to ask a grieving little boy to try to handle his sister's grief. Hell, it's not fair for anyone to be put in such a position at any age, but at least adults are better equipped to handle it usually. His anger is understandable -- if a bit speciesist -- and that is yet another thing you portray well that doesn't get a look in on canon Trek.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 19:29 Title: 'Below Par'
McGregor golfing on his own hull is also a hole in one. I got a kick, too, out of the level of description you gave the EV gear. The TOS stuff was awful. And I always liked the Enterprise design myself. As for Sebastian's answer, this should be interesting.
And Eddie getting interrupted is such a trip, especially the how.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 16:31 Title: 'A View to Behold'
I love McGregor's body language in the first part. Just because it's so adorable. (There's that word again.) I love his address to the crew, and their response. Despite the madness, it seems a happy ship, or at least not a hell ship, most of the time. I admit I'm a little concerned for what McGregor's planning, but what else is new?
Stanley is being decidedly creepy, in that sweet and innocent way of his, this chapter. Come to think of it, it makes the first RR almost seem like an emotional reprieve from the possible and potential weight of the universe. Him freaking Noah out was funny, though, when he airlocked himself.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 16:23 Title: 'The Seed of Discord'
Wow. o.O I am not sure there is any coming back from this one. Damn, T'Vel. Damn, Ronak. The dysfunction here is startling. The propensity of people serving on the Kestrel towards winging drinkware at walls and cutting people is almost a tradition at this point. But heavens, this was disturbing to read. That a mother could do that to a son, or a son could do that to a mother. I mean, obviously I know it's possible, but it's still visceral reading, and more than a little unnerving.
The bits of backstory reveal are quite a tease to the reader, too. I know more than most thanks to the first RR, but even then, it grips and compels.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 01:41 Title: 'The Rear Admiral'
Faraday has a point here. McGregor really is cruising for a hurting, though as clever and canny as he is, I'd never try to lay odds on who would win. Even so.
The back (and backside!) and forth was terrific. Dirty and terrific. The man is so irreverent that it's next to impossible not to be delighted by the utter flippancy he deals with... well, almost everything. But especially stuck-up superiors. Admittedly, Faraday seems a rare match to McGregor's wit, if not grit.
Date: 25 Jul 2013 01:35 Title: 'A Vulcan Morning to You'
Holy damn, that is one messed up family. Ronak seems to have more to him than meets the eye, though. (And a crush on Noah, or at least, I kind of hope so.) But whoo, is he the epitome of a pissed off teenage boy. And he sure knows how to get under T'Vel's skin, too.
I can't help but hope they reconcile somehow. For many reasons, some of which you may infer. And I hope that he and Noah don't remain on the outs so much with one another.