Reviews For A Matter of Faith
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Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 17 Nov 2021 01:25 Title: Chapter 11

One of those satisfying non-ending endings. Because life is messy... It will be interesting to see if Zadra or the Zadra Zealots make a reappearance.

Lots of things to like about this story - including getting through it without major fireworks.

I particularly liked the several chapters that went counter to tired Trek tropes that were overused in the series.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response:

I'm pleased you enjoyed it! There were no easy answers or happy endings to this scenario, only imperfect, frightened people trying to do the right thing (or the wrong thing) for the right reasons. Some of Sandhurst's assumptions and proclamations here will come back to haunt him... sooner than he realizes.

Thank you again for the fantastic reviews!

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 15 Nov 2021 23:34 Title: Chapter 10

Zadra Atreides...

STH borrows heavily from Dune (e.g.: the quotes from imaginary books written by series characters that introduce each episode, not to mention the constant harping on characters playing God...)

Quite liking this echo of Paul's vision - desparately trying to stop an imaginary jihad (and, if I recall correctly, the only way he saw was to greet Baron Harkonnen, say "Hello, Grandfather," and initiate an even worse timeline)...

Ah, the folly of youth, when everything is so significant and the whole universe revolves around you. I've found this story particularly enjoyable for quite a few different reasons. It's fun to see Paul's dilemma from a 3rd person POV. Maybe instead of fanatical followers, Paul could have used a Sandhurst.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 14 Nov 2021 21:35 Title: Chapter 9

Seems like the bajorans who are not followers are essentially victims at this point. Zadra's calculus is reminiscent of Julian Bashir's in Statistical Probabilities. Logic, prophesy - not optimal guides to ethical behavior when not grounded in consequentialist ethics. Zadra's ethics are utilitarian (a flaw she shares with Bashir and Section 31 (a.k.a. - the vulcans.))

To put it in Dolphin-speak: “The science of ethics seeks to tame both extremes by emphasizing corporate responsibility for human welfare equivalently with the individual’s responsibility for the consequences of their actions. It is in this tension between these polarizing ethical ideologies that humanity can find freedom from the tyrannies of corruption and authoritarianism.”

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response:

Well said! Yes, the vision of a prophet melded with the impulse control (or lack thereof) of a teenager. Not a recipe for well-grounded decisions.

Thanks for your continued patronage!

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 12 Nov 2021 22:34 Title: Chapter 8

I'm always a fan of cross casting - Gul Voret is an interesting character. Hopefully as he presents himself. 

So it looks like Sandhurst is probably not getting out of this without a fight.

Thanks!! rbs

Author's Response:

Yes, some Cardassians are no more eager to resume fighting than their Federation counterparts. Fortunately, one of those is leading this capture squadron.

Thanks for the reviews!

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 10 Nov 2021 21:35 Title: Chapter 7

Really liking the moral aspects of this story. Looks like Zadra has some abilities. Very interesting thread about the Dominion dominance leading to less death and suffering - what price freedom? 

The part that is most enjoyable is the Prime Directive materials. Sometimes the hardest thing is to not act.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 09 Nov 2021 22:08 Title: Chapter 6

Quite liking this storyline - as Sandhurst gets the support he needs - late because he did not trust his leadership to make good decisions. Something he may well end up paying for.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 08 Nov 2021 22:09 Title: Chapter 5

This is one of my favorite chapters in the FanTrekVerse that I've encountered so far. The franchise made a weary trope of cowboy captains bucking high command. While allowing on-the-ground commanders broad latitude to carry out their orders is one of the keys to American military success, failure to provide critical information back up the chain of command is one of the worst things a field commander can do. 

Excellent discussion between Sandhurst and Rameriz.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 07 Nov 2021 14:46 Title: Chapter 4

So the Dominion was supposed to win - but for the intercession of the Prophets? Interesting twist. Very interesting character - she doesn't seem overly concerned with her own fate or that of her followers. Perhaps she already knows. 

But if that were the case, perhaps she might already have known Sandhurst's motives? 

Nice mystyery building here - Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 05 Nov 2021 21:32 Title: Chapter 3

Very good cautionary by Lar'rogs with the bajoran prophet. I'm guessing that the Yelnar are a UT creation. 

Always fun to explore alien religions - even more to see if there's something to it. And a prophetic child in simple clothing raises all kinds of questions. 

Prime Directive looming all over this story...

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 04 Nov 2021 20:48 Title: Chapter 2

Quite enjoying the camaradarie and humor among Gibralter's crew - particularly the banter between Ramirez and Lar'ragos while handling a duplicitious bajoran. 

Also liking their casual, low-key approach with Dever - taking him off guard when he's trying to take them off-guard.

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: Robert Bruce Scott Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 03 Nov 2021 20:41 Title: Chapter 1

Cue Admiral Akbar.... "IT'S A TRAP!!" 

Seems like Gibralter's crew are getting used to getting jumped every time they respond to a call for help. You'd think they would have learned that from the Kobiashi Marou...

Thanks!! rbs

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Dec 2019 23:29 Title: Chapter 11

Hell of an ending, Sam. Really does explore the sticky nuance of free will versus altruism. I like that you don't provide the reader with any easy answers, too; life is messy and this story shows just how messy it can get. As much as I want to know what the future will bring for the catharsis of knowing, it's probably for the better to leave it open-ended so the reader can try to fill in their own speculation.

Anyway, this is a superb shortish story. Perfectly honed sharp and not a word wasted. Great work!

Author's Response:

Thank you very much for the high praise.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Dec 2019 23:24 Title: Chapter 10

Oh man, I would not want to be Zadra right now. Her turn to go to the woodshed for a spanking, apparently! Donald's not entirely wrong, though there's still their prior debate on saving people who don't want it to consider. But then again, that agreement of sorts was predicated on them being mutually honest with one another? Still, you gotta wonder how much he's letting his own heart and moral code get in the way.

“You don’t understand!” she shouted, lunging forward to slam her hands down atop his desk. Says every adolescent everywhere, at some time or another! Like-- my oldest is around her age, roughly, and I sure wouldn't want to put a whole religion on her shoulders!

Their whole interplay is good. You can get why she believes what she does, and why Donald believes what he does. And his words are good ones. And honestly, multiversal theory in play, all possibilities play out somewhere, somewhen. Not that it's any comfort for anyone on this destiny line.

Still magnificent.

Author's Response:

So, what you're saying is that it's obvious I've got teenagers in my house? ;-)

I'm glad this came across as 'realistic' from that vantage point. Zadra is a spiritual leader trapped in a teenager's body. :D

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Dec 2019 23:16 Title: Chapter 9

“Lieutenant,” Sandhurst called to Juneau in mild reproach, “how many people have made the mistake of underestimating us in the past?" PREACH! Also, this line: It was the perfect place for an ambush. Whose ambush remained to be seen. Ugh, this is so good. The short chapters punch it up quite a bit, too; nothing has a chance to slow down and you absolutely hit all the major points of plot and characterization with the minimum required words. No small feat and marks of a hella good author.

“Pava,” Sandhurst jerked a thumb aft-ward. “They’ve been naughty. Spank them.” Here I am, with my head down on my desk, knocking my first gently against the top and going, "Sail on, silver bird." F*&^ing awesome. Just. Awesome.

And like, damn with making this a kinetic battle. We don't see many people using the Z-axis in fic, so it's particularly keysmash worthy how you're doing it. I'm sort of running out of synonyms. Magnificent might have to be the last one, because it really is.

Author's Response:

Thank you! I tried to make the battle a quick-tempo affair, while letting the characters' personalities shine through. I'm pleased it paid off.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Dec 2019 23:09 Title: Chapter 8

More conversational candy. I love the diplomacy and the assumption of good faith throughout Sandhurst's conversation with Voret. And Sandhurst noting the man didn't seem the vain type. It seems both of these men just really want to do the right thing, and the right thing in this case is hard to pin down and sticky as all hell. The whole communications relay was clever, and I really like their sign off, too: Sort of, "Do what you must, and let's hope to avoid the worst of this."

I have scads of faith in the Gibralter crew, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of this play out.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 02 Dec 2019 21:10 Title: Chapter 7

“I wish to know how I might help someone who does not want my assistance?”

“You don’t,” she answered. “If your offer is rejected, you must accept that and move on. Our scripture teaches us that to force your viewpoint or beliefs on others is a transgression of the first order.”

That is such a good exchange. I love how Sandhurst approached her, and I love her answer there, too. Because it's true, you can't force anyone to accept help. Often, that just leads to resentment and disaster. On the other hand, it's awfully hard for people to stand by while others self-destruct, too. Any which way, I love how you wrote this.

This whole conversation is really, really good. Sheesh. You manage to make both of them wholly understandable and sympathetic, even when they're not one hundred percent agreeing on things. And unless Zadra turns into some kind of sleeper monster, she's a pretty amazing character, too. I like how she gave him stuff to really consider and think over. Terrific work, this chapter. (Hell, this story, but this chapter too!)

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2019 03:42 Title: Chapter 6

Oh man. Poor Donald gets taken to the woodshed for his spanking. Good on him for taking it with good grace, though. “You’ve a proven knack for beating the odds.” Truer words were never spoken. Like yes, your ship is old and half your staff probably needs some kind of serious sitdown therapy, but what awesome people anyway.

Oh geez. Send backup, but it's way the hell too far away. What are they gonna do, collect Gibralter's black box long after the shooting is over? Sheesh!

Pava's defense strategy is first rate and I highly approve. Like-- yes. Damn. With the tactics and the badass some more. Not only the mines, but also the sensor echo; that's some truly brilliant stuff there. And Donald apologizing! I love it. What a guy. And, of course, him and Pava again just being terrific with their dialogue. This is such a great little story.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Dec 2019 03:32 Title: Chapter 5

Sandhurst raised an appraising eyebrow. “This can’t be good.” Oh, Donald. Don't you know better than to say things like that?

I really like him telling Liana to just cut through the red tape, as it were. You can tell that you love these people just in how you write them; reading them is like reading a favorite book with new chapters. LOL! And this: "We’re in the shit up to here, Captain." is a masterstroke. LMAO! Made me giggle, I gotta admit. That entire fricken speech is fantastic.

I like that Liana provides a foil there, too. Like, I'm probably more on Sandhurst's side, but that's an emotional argument rather than a logical one. And I like that she shows some enlightened self-interest there, too! We don't often get to see that in Trek, honestly. Or even in fan writing of Trek. So I definitely approve of that inclusion.

Nicely done!

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 30 Nov 2019 17:18 Title: Chapter 4

Thoughts as I read:

I like the almost submarine feel you've given the Rushaan here. Very evocative atmospheric work. Puts you right in the scene and keeps you there.

OMG, Pava. I can kind of take a shot that the reason why they might prefer the non-tangible gods is because imagination can fill in the spaces where real life gods have flaws. I mean-- when you know who they are, what they can do, etc., there comes a point where the mysticism can wear off and the point of religion often isn't reality? If that makes sense. Anyway, Pava and Donald could totally go into the stand-up business; their bickering alone would sell the crowd.

Damn, Sandhurst. Cutting right through the bull there. I love that little speech; he just lays his cards right out on the table.

“Yes. The death-eater, and the death-bringer. I’ve been expecting you.” Well, she ain't wrong!

That is one hell of an interesting chapter close, too. (And that whole sweatshirt thing made me smile.)

Author's Response:

Although Donald *can* be diplomatic, he simply doesn't have the time. Plus, he's a bit cranky that this mess has landed in his lap. I'm pleased you're enjoying Pava and Donald playing off each other.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 30 Nov 2019 16:40 Title: Chapter 3

Thoughts as I read:

“This might just be a smuggling operation, but I’ve got that itch in the back of my skull again. Something’s just not right here.” Spoken like someone who can't help but know that, Liana. LOL! Also, I've always loved Pava's-- loyalty? Professionalism? The man's just so on the ball.

The scene between Liana and Ojana is sweet and gets the point across without needing a ton of exposition there. Also, so wait! Dever wasn't holding them captive then, they'd actually snuck onboard? Or-- “And that’s why Dever fears more Yelnar ships may be coming?” -- he actually was smuggling them, but not in the bad kinda way? I adore how this is as much a detective story as anything else. LOL!

“Fire pit,” Pell corrected excitedly. “The upper regions of a very deep fire pit.” I'll admit it, I laughed out loud. The way you write bantering is such a pleasure.

The whole situation is sticky and complicated and I love it. Lar’ragos observed the exchange silently like a spectator at a tennis match. Mood, Pava. Total mood.

"...Right now all options are on the table, and that’s how I’d prefer to keep it.” Oh Captain. I dunno whether that's brilliant or mad, but it's definitely characteristic.

That whole conversation between Sandhurst and Pava at the end is fabulous. Pava's being straight-forward and Donald not knowing exactly what he's saying anbd kinda taking it hard, and yet the respect comes through there, and the affection and everything else. And again, Pava steals every scene he is in with a single line, sometimes without having to say anything at all. Great stuff.

Author's Response:

This was one of those, 'the captain's doing what now?' moments where the senior officers have to bite their tongues after Sandhurst has heard them out and still decided on his own course of action, however... unwise.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 30 Nov 2019 06:31 Title: Chapter 2

My reactions as I read:

OMG, I'm almost shocked that it wasn't some kind of horrible Starfleet crew eating monster waiting for them. “’Bad’ would be something of an understatement, Captain,” Ramirez replied in a conspiratorial tone. No kidding, Liana.

I like Dever so far. I'm wary about liking him, but I do. His interplay with Liana just makes my day about their purloined weaponry. Like-- I completely agree with him. When you're on the fringes trying to survive, you don't ask too much questions about the ethics of your salvage possibilities.

...of course, then he goes and does something stupid. LOL! Way to ruin a good point, captain. I'm guessing he took them either as slaves or as possible prisoners of war? I'm sure I'll find out more. Anyway, Pava's little smack-back there made me grin like a loon. And then this: “Oops,” Lar’ragos offered. God, this is great.

Author's Response:

Yeah, this isn't the crew's first rodeo, so to speak. Dever and his people are clever, to be sure, but they're dealing with a veteran crew of Starfleet diehards whose paranoia is a learned survival mechanism.

Reviewer: SLWalker Signed [Report This]
Date: 30 Nov 2019 05:25 Title: Chapter 1

The self-replicating nanites attacked bacteria on the surface and plankton-analogues in the world’s oceans, undermining the foundation of all life on the planet.

Wow, Sam, just go right for broke on the whole horror of things. That's so awful I'm almost sorry I didn't think of it.

I hear Liana on convoy duty. I mean, obviously things can and do go wrong, but otherwise it's gotta suck. And oh my god, Sandhurst: He then eased back into the command chair. “See? Wasn’t that easy?” That's awesome, that made me laugh out loud. As did Pava's line about expend-ability.

Actually, every damn line Pava speaks is gold. The sheer dry nonchalance and badassery there. I love the crew interplay and their-- I don't know if I'd strictly call it pessimism, but their whole 'well, now what?' attitude. It's funny and maybe a little sad, considering. But it makes for a great read so far.

Obviously, this can't go down in any way smoothly or neatly, so I'm looking forward to working my way through it and seeing what kind of nightmare you unleash. XD

Author's Response:

Thank you very much for the excellent feedback! Yes, the Dominion came up with some very nasty vengence weapons.

I'm glad you enjoyed the interplay between the characters as much as I did writing it. It was nice to get the old gang back together. :)

Reviewer: CeJay Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 23 Nov 2019 07:53 Title: Chapter 11

Great, hard hitting story with no easy answers in the end. Pretty much just like real life. Here's what I said about it over at the TBBS

Life ain't fair. Man, that may as well be the Gibraltar's official motto.

Quite a story you put together here, and this somewhat open ending which mostly implies things aren't going to go well for the brave young lady is totally on brand. It's not the neat, feel-good ending anyone is hoping for, but then again, this is not that kind of story ... nor is it that kind of series. Most of the time, life gives you lemons and very little sugar, so whatever it is you get in the end, it's gonna taste sour.

Great little throwback story featuring everybody's favorite ship and crew. Hopefully we get to see more like this or some of your other unfinished stories again soon.

Author's Response:

Thank you for the fantastic feedback, CeJay!

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