Date: 08 Feb 2010 00:05 Title: Chapter 45
What a great chapter! I loved the conversation between Julian and Adele, the two work really well together, and it was nice to see Adele gaining an ally against the Admiral. I get the feeling she may need it!
I also like the backstory to Julian, discovering his continual links to the section. However the fact that they have links to this mission cannot be good, for anyone concerned.
Great job and can't wait to see what Icheb has to say!
Thanks so much for the review and the stars! I'm so glad you liked this chapter. You're sort of the reigning king of spy intrigue around here, so if you approve, that definitely means a lot!
Date: 07 Feb 2010 11:46 Title: Chapter 45
Love Bashir the Man from Uncle. It seems that he has his own personal agenda and mission working within S31. It is hard to believe that it will come to any good. It does seem like a very S31 thing to do though - place operatives on a mission into the DQ. Especially in light of the technological advances made via Seven and Icheb's Borg knowledge. It seems S31 has dark ambitions and/or motivations about this mission. Intriguing question now is who is the other operative....
Loved how Bashir reasoned on the different heroes and their possible involvement in S31. From Adele to Icheb he has some genuinely good reasons to suspect them. It even made me wonder for a moment. I like too that he used his medical skills and knowledge and applies them to his spying activities.
Adele finally gets a chance to relax and her observation about reacting to circumstances rings true and shows her to be a real captain. She wants to command situations. So far though, much of that has been out of her hands. Though with Icheb's call at the end she may now find the ball in her court. Dear oh dear.
Lastly, icheb is communicating - how has he survived, has he been manipulated, what does he know, and what does this mean for the Tesseract? Questions, questions and more questions.
Re: Julian -- Yes, he's definitely got an agenda. So does S31. The question is, are these agendas compatible? And how many operatives are there?
You wondered for a moment about Adele and Icheb? Oh, ye of little faith. Hehe. I'll take it as a compliment if I could make you suspect either of them for a moment, though, after forty-four previous chapters of liking them well enough.
Re: Adele -- She's a captain. A particularly feeling, empathic one, maybe, but still a captain. She's grown used to calling the shots over the last six years. Today, everything was out of her hands. The only one who got to make any real decisions today was Maren (well, and Icheb, but Adele doesn't know anything about that yet). However, as you noted, that all may be about to change. The ball may be back in her court.
Re: Icheb -- Wait and see! ;-)
As usual, thanks for the thoughtful review and the reassurance on this chapter.
Date: 07 Feb 2010 09:43 Title: Chapter 45
I’m glad to see Adele has found a confidant in Julian, seeing as it’s becoming harder and harder to trust anyone on this mission, and they’re a week or so out of port.
Though it’s always possible Beckley is a Section 31 operative, his ties to Starfleet Intelligence make him just a bit too obvious a plant. My guess is that whoever the other operative is, that person might be more like the last individual we’d ever suspect. Someone like Maren, for instance.
It will doubtless prove fascinating to see how Adele and Maren handle the advisory board.
Adele needed a confidant pretty badly, that's for sure. Of course, we know Julian is more than just a CMO now. Too bad everyone Adele works with seems to be hiding something. Including him.
Maren? S31? Interesting thought. Certainly that would put her relationship with Icheb in a much more sinister light, wouldn't it? I'm not confirming or denying anything, just because it's more fun that way ... but seriously ... Maren? The kitten in a den of wolves, I believe you called her? She would certainly be the last person I'd suspect ... but then, you write Olivia Juneau. So I can see where your mind would go there first.
We'll see what happens as things unfold! Thanks for the review!
Date: 01 Feb 2010 09:30 Title: Chapter 44
First of all... Yay! Good to see this posted, since I know how you struggled with it. Double yay to you! :)
I really enjoyed this, nice to see John trying to work everything out with Maren as much as he can, and good to see him turning to counselling for help. I think he has some major issues he needs to talk out, and this may be just the thing to get him to finally take the plunge and get it over with (telling Maren how he feels, I mean)
As usual, you manage to make us care about the 'lower decks' characters in a few short brush strokes, one of your greatest strengths in characterisation, so well done.
Look forward to seeing this conversation between Bashir and Adele.
Good work, well done, great stuff!!!
Thanks for the commentary, Joel! John definitely has some issues. Whether he'll lay it all out for Maren remains to be seen. I'm glad you liked the Ten Forward scene. We'll see what happens with Julian and Adele. Thanks again!
Date: 31 Jan 2010 07:33 Title: Chapter 44
I’m glad John finally unburdened himself to a professional. It’s good to see a Starfleet officer for once who’s willing to take advantage of the mental health resources that have been put in place for them.
Maren, on the other hand, is worrying me with her daydreaming near-encounter with the Borg drone in Sickbay. She’s clearly straddling a very thin line between holding it together and coming apart at the seams emotionally. Given all that’s transpired, I wonder if Icheb being rescued or returned from his captors will cause more problems than it solves in respect to the triumverate relationship going on here.
Thanks for the comment, Gibraltar!
John may feel better for having gotten it off his chest (for now, anyway), but the problem isn't actually solved. Baby steps, though. Now that Taran knows more or less what's going on, hopefully she can help.
Maren is definitely right on the edge of losing it. All at once, she's had a trial by fire as chief engineer of the biggest mission in Starfleet, been thrown back in constant contact with someone she loves but thought she'd never see alive again (and is very angry at), gotten drunk and kissed their mutual best friend, had the one she loves kidnapped and held hostage, come in very close contact with the Borg (about whom she has extremely mixed feelings, to say the least), been seriously injured, gotten yelled at by her best friend and the captain, and maybe lost her job. That's a lot for one person to handle at one time. Bad dreams and walking around in a daze are pretty understandable.
I'm very curious how you think Icheb's potential return will make her situation worse, though.
Thanks again for the review and for reading!
Date: 30 Jan 2010 20:18 Title: Chapter 44
Oh genius and wonderful. John and Taren worked really well - with John playing off the mind-reading thing but at the same time opting to open up to the counsellor. He had to give at some point and this is the best safety valve way for him to do so without saying so to Maren or Icheb. He has to feel a little shitty feeling this way about one of his best friends and felling that way about his friend's almost wife. He is at least a true friend, but one in quite a bind. Poor John.
Poor Maren. A freakish and scary nightmare. Her impluse to investigate is something that likely to land her in trouble. I wonder about the ethics of the Borg drone cortical implant transplant? A possible sticky point.
This came off really well balanced and no where near mushy territory you were worried about. A great oversight of different pieces in play. As well as continuing to hide Icheb away somewhere. We're left wondering what is happening with him. Not to mention the Admiral.
Just loved the ten forward scene with Telek, Alex, Iden and T'Pring. Again, T'Pring brings the funny and I've already advocated that I think Iden and T'Pring have the potential to be a great comedy act.
Bashir is going to talk to the Captain - yeah! Can't wait for that. Looking forwards to more of the same. Great job kes.
Thanks, and thanks for your help trying to sort these scenes out. It was just what I needed!
John definitely feels more than a little shitty. He knows Maren was/is like this little ray of happiness in Icheb's otherwise incredibly messed up life. Stealing that from his best friend, even after Icheb walked away from her, was never going to be an easy thing for John to do ... but now that he knows the real reason Icheb left, he feels even worse.
Maren has had that stupid recurring nightmare since almost the beginning of her relationship with Icheb. She doesn't allow herself to even look at the things that subconsciously scare her about his past, so it's like her mind finding a way to let it out somehow. As for her dark thoughts about a cortical node switch ... it has to be tempting, but I doubt even she would actually do something like that. She might indulge in a quick daydream about it, but that's about it. She's pretty ethical and idealistic.
Iden and T'Pring are fun because they are such polar opposites. Comedy act ... hmm, maybe after Awards Night, we should do a Talent Show round robin! Hehe.
And of course, we'll have a Bashir and Adele chat, coming up pretty soon. :)
Thanks for the review and all the help.
Date: 29 Jan 2010 20:39 Title: Prologue
Oh man, the Tesseract keeps getting better and better the more I read. Can't wait for the next update.
Wow, thanks! Always nice to hear from a new reader ... thanks for the review, more to come soon, I promise (working on it right now)!
Date: 18 Jan 2010 20:12 Title: Chapter 43
Woah. What a chapter. The face off between Maren and Adele was due a few chapters now, how and ever, I hadn't been expecting the John and Maren face off. Oh my gawd! That was rather intense. Poor John feels like the biggest fool, the biggest loser and completely betrayed by his friends for not trusting in him. Not to mention knowing this he can better understand what happened to Icheb and Maren's relationship which can only put further hampers with his secret desire for Maren. She now seems even more unattainable.
Then after that we have Adele stride in to take lumps off Maren. Oh dear. In fairness, Adele was extremely nice and lenient towards Maren in light of what she could have done. I guess the memories of her own loss and soul mate tempers the case against Maren as she knows to lose someone is a pain worse than death but at the same time to know that they risked his life too by their lies. Not to mention putting the crew in danger because of her actions. So much dialogue going on and it all zipped by such that I soaked it all up. Just top stuff. I want to say heaps more but it is just gushing and rambling. But terrific stuff should suffice.
MF, thanks for the review! Feel free to gush and ramble anytime you like, too! I certainly don't mind.
You summed up John's feelings pretty well, I think. He's really angry. I didn't include the scene where Maren laid it all out for Julian and Adele, but John was close enough to overhear almost everything. Talk about a WTF moment. We'll see how it shakes out between the three of them ... right now they're all scared and feeling truly alone for the first time since they all met at the Academy.
Adele was a lot more lenient than she could have been. And yes, a lot of that is due to her own memories and feelings. She's no stranger to the emotions she's sensing in her chief engineer, and she already knows how Icheb feels about Maren. She's also mindful of the fact that Maren has her entire career in front of her, and anything she does to her now will follow her for a lifetime. And in some ways, her hands are a bit tied, too ... any disciplinary action she takes could open a whole can of worms if the Board thinks it's not tough enough. She may essentially be facing the choice between doing nothing (at least not publicly) to Maren and hoping for the best ... or making an example of her.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it!
Date: 18 Jan 2010 19:44 Title: Chapter 43
This conversation between Adele and Maren has been coming for awhile now. Adele is taking a very risky tack with the young engineer, especially since her suspicious about Maren’s motivations vis-à-vis the Borg were confirmed by the lieutenant herself.
Part of me hopes Maren can somehow manage to come out of this with her department head status intact, but the leader in me also thinks her taking a back seat to Telek or someone else for a few years of seasoning might do her some good.
And the thought of Maren facing the combined experience and insight of the advisory board is downright chilling. The two captains’ decades of experience, Beckley’s razor-keen mind and interview/interrogation skills, the abilities of a fully telepathic Betazoid counselor, and the reasoning acumen of a top-notch lawyer… yeah, it’s going to be like throwing a kitten into a den of wolves.
Really wonderful character development material here as you drive the emotional core of the story forward.
Thanks so much, Gibraltar!
Yes, Adele's concerns about Maren had been building, and to have Maren confirm them was probably both a disappointment and a relief -- after all, Adele, though she can't read minds, is something of a human polygraph and she would have known if Maren was trying to lie to her. So, finally, Maren is just spilling everything. Deep down, she's an honest person. She never wanted to lie, never would have lied had she not been so head-over-heels in love with someone who was begging her to do it. We'll see if Adele's risktaking pays off with her. Adele's got pretty good instincts, but she's got so much flying at her face right now it's anyone's guess how she's really doing underneath the calm exterior. In a day, she's met the Borg face to face for the first time in years, lost her Number One to mystery aliens, nearly lost her ship and chief engineer to the Borg, got some drones left for her to deal with, and found out Number One and the chief engineer are not only much closer than she realized, but have been lying to Starfleet. It sucks to be Adele today. So, either her risktaking will work and Maren will succeed with the drones and please the Adv. Board, or it will fail and I'll be adding her to your "Captain's Prerogative" thread. Stay tuned.
We'll also see what happens with Maren's job ... she may be more technically proficient than everyone else when it comes to engineering, but she's certainly proved Adele's point as far as her youth and accompanying lack of perspective.
As far as the Adv. Board ... kitten in a den of wolves? Something like that, though if she has to talk to them, she may surprise you. She soldiered through an awful lot of abuse at the Academy when she was dating Icheb, and testified in front of fairly hostile disciplinary panels a few times when that mess was being straightened out, and she was a lot younger then ('a lot' being relative at her age, obviously). If the universe would give her an hour to really think things through, she might be able to pull herself together. But the universe has not been on her side lately. (Or is that the author? *evil smirk*)
Thanks again for reading, and the great review.
Date: 15 Jan 2010 13:38 Title: Chapter 42
Good thing Adele got some training blocking out her own fears and misgivings or Taran woud have scared herself silly with just how close they came to having a REALLY bad day. Although her own misgivings about the Admiral are disconcerting. I get the distinct feeling that the Admiral might be hiding something -- duh -- perhaps he knew what the Tessie was going to encounter?
As for Eleanor, I almost pity her. She is so out of her league aboard this ship. She just lacks the explorer gene I guess. Overall, I think the ship would be just fine if she were to sleepwalk her way out of an airlock.
Still, that boardroom should reallly just get renamed "The Viper Pit" there are a lot of snakes slithering around Adele's feet in there.
Oh, one other thought, I dont envy the copious amount of paperwork she's gonna have to file on her command staff.
Minor quibble, I don't think officers get "fired," well maybe they do, but it doesn't seem like quite the right word. "Relieved of duty" might work better. I don't know why, but that word choice jarred me a bit.
We'll see about the Admiral! It's much more fun just not to answer any questions about him.
Yeah, Eleanor is in over her head. The Delta Quadrant sounded like a good idea at the time ...
The Viper Pit ... well, only when the advisory board is in there. She uses it for staff meetings, too. Her crew has som issues, but they're not very viper-like. (Well, at least not that we know of.)
You're probably right about the word "fired." Demoted? Discharged? Depends on what she decides to do, I guess. Maybe I'll edit it here. Too late on TBBS.
Thanks for the great reviews!
Date: 15 Jan 2010 03:29 Title: Chapter 41
For a interlude this scene had a lot going for it.
First being the appearance of Bashir again, the way you describe him works pretty well with the original source material. He's grown up alot since the early days of DS9, shedding many of his naive tendencies. But just like in the later seasons of DS9, we can still see trace elements of those habits. After all, his naivety and his idealism weren't destroyed, they were just ... painted over by the events around him. You do an excellent job portraying him.
Second, what the hell, between this and the challenge entry, I've pretty much decided you are the undisputed queen of the soft, gentle moments. I mean, there's fine line between soft and overly mushy, but this hospital scene toes that line perfectly. We can feel the anxiety, guilt, anger and shame that John is feeling, and the concerned, yet ready-to-kick-her-ass mentality of Adele as well.
As to the scene on the resistance ship, it's hard to give a full analysis yet of this section because you left such a nice little cliffhanger there. But, these guys are intriguing. They clearly still posses Borg tendencies, but I love seeing them grappling with thier now-unrestrained emotional levels.
It's almost Data's search for emotions in reverse. Instead of trying to find them, they appear to be trying to learn to control them.
As always, great work, and I wonder... how did sweet ol' Icheb start a war?
Oh yeah, walking, talking, making out with Maren biological weapon...
Thanks for the review.
I'm glad you like Bashir. I always feel like I'm handling a breakable object when I write him, because Niners are such a devoted bunch and I don't want to get him wrong. But you're right, he's grown up a lot (he was 27 during DS9 season one, and he's 44 here), but still retains a fundamental idealism underneath it all.
Re: mushy moments - I do try to toe the line with the emotional scenes. Mostly, I want them to be believeable. I could see John sitting there not knowing what else to do than just be there, but I couldn't see him doing anything crazy like kissing her or making some emotional speech, and I couldn't see him marching off to do his duty unless flat-out ordered to do so, either. My goal is to keep these people in character. Adele, too -- she's compassionate, but she's a starship captain, too, and her chief engineer is acting like she's going to be a liability.
The Borg do have a little bit of the Data-in-reverse thing going. I hadn't thought about it quite that way. We'll be seeing much more of them in upcoming chapters.
Those last two lines of your review made me laugh. Someone needs to make Maren a t-shirt -- "My Boyfriend is the Bomb." (Well, okay, he's not really a BOMB, but you know what I mean. Hehe.)
Date: 13 Jan 2010 10:53 Title: Chapter 42
Another great chapter here, Kes! I hadn't realised how much I had missed the advisory board until I read this. They're all such interesting, intriguing characters, all with their own apparent agendas and yet willing to help Adele in their own ways (apart from Eleanor and the Admiral, obviously!)
I thought Adele handled herself really well in both situations, managing to pull together these disparate groups without losing it despite the stress she must be under. To have all of these secrets flying around must be really difficult (I'm a good one to talk!) and I like how Adele is dealing with all of that.
As for the Admiral - so even a real Betazoid can't read him? That can't be good!
Lovin' it, can't wait for more!
Hey, even Eleanor and the Admiral are helping, sort of. Eleanor's writing a report, and the Admiral dealt with the drones for Adele while she was trying to figure out what happened in engineering. Taran may or may not have an agenda ... the thing that's important to remember about her is that she's Betazoid. Full Betazoid, raised on Betazed, not really Starfleet and not at all human. So her actions and reactions may be different than we're used to, but there's not necessarily anything sinister about that, any more than Lwaxana Troi was a sinister character. Offensive? Pushy? Privacy-invading? Yes, to our sensibilities. But again, she's Betazoid. Not human.
Adele, thanks in part to her own Betazoid bloodlines, is talented with people, particularly humans. She's mostly like them, but her empathic skills tend to give her the upper hand in her interactions. One of the reasons, whether she'd call it like this or not, that the admiral scares her so badly is that she can't effortlessly manipulate him. Not that she's maliciously manipulative, but she does use her heightened awareness to her advantage without really thinking about it, so when she can't ... it's scary. (Oh, and yes, you are one to talk about secrets! This is all child's play for your crew!)
Date: 11 Jan 2010 02:31 Title: Chapter 42
A complex and increasingly dire situation becomes even more problematic as Adele has to go before the advisory board and try to keep them updated with only some of the pertinent facts. Here the mission is barely underway and the captain is already having to withhold information from the advisory board to cover the potentially questionable decision-making of some of her senior staff.
Not a position any commanding officer wants to be in.
And now the revelation that both her XO and Chief Engineer have been keeping important truths about Icheb’s medical condition a secret.
Yeah… headaches like this Adele does not need.
Adele and the terrible, horrible no-good very bad day! The theme continues. If I were Adele, the temptation to leave Icheb to his fate and toss Maren out an airlock for good measure might be kind of strong right about now. Her head must be pounding, indeed. The problematic pair have their reasons for having kept quiet all this time ... possibly not great reasons, but reasons sufficient to have convinced the EMH to assist them in their secret-keeping. We'll see what Maren has to say for herself in an upcoming chapter. She's got a lot to answer for at the moment, and is likely half-wishing she had never met Icheb. Life would be simpler ... Thanks for the review!
Date: 10 Jan 2010 20:25 Title: Chapter 42
Gosh Taran's invasion of her privacy is a little blatant albeit explaining herself. Still, just like Ms Gentry, it is one way to make Adele be put off and mistrustful. However, I like that Taran picks up on just how fascinating and scary the Admiral is. His humour is dark but still I didn't think he was for knock knock jokes.
Adele rocks as I've said to you already. This is because of the way she aprroaches a combustive situation and handles different people - her staff and the Advisory Board. She is very adept at navigating the potential minefield of the various factions and motivations - from the Admiral to the terrible trio and their little love affair. She handles these things with such poise and a calm demeanour. She is truly impressive holding it together and managing the situation given the large number of unknowns.
Still she is facing in to some tough decisions. How to rescue Icheb and what to make of it all when she meets Malik. However, she has some tough decisions to make closer to home. What is she to make of Maren and Icheb's deceit? What is she to make of Maren's actions in engineering? What is she going to do in terms of the captured Borg drones? Continually impressive and intriguing situations here. Well done.
I think it must be difficult for full Betazoids in a situation like that -- the usual protocol on Betazed and among Betazoids is to share everything, no such concept as privacy whatsoever, and so for Taran to encounter a partially Betazoid captain who has some of the abilities of a Betazoid, but doesn't use them the same way, might be a bit strange to her. From her perspective, there's no invasion of privacy involved, but she knows others disagree, and the rules are clear. So while she wasn't reading Adele's mind, she couldn't help but be aware of some things. And being honest to a fault herself, she called Adele on it. Keep in mind, Taran is not even a little bit human, while Adele is 3/4.
I'm glad you appreciate Adele's skill with people. It's the main reason she was chosen for the mission, after all.
And yes, she has many decisions to make. We'll see how she does!
Thanks for the review and the suggestions regarding this chapter. I appreciate it!
Date: 04 Jan 2010 08:57 Title: Chapter 41
Adele is justly angry with Maren, not so much for what she did, but why. Their upcoming confrontation isn’t a conversation any captain should have to have with their chief engineer, a member of their senior staff.
Then again, I can also see Maren’s side of the equation. She’s in love with an ex-Borg drone, so she knows that there could still be real people trapped within those Collective controlled bodies. And as she’s too young to have served in the Dominion War and hasn’t had to develop the innate responses to uber-threats like those officers and personnel who had to fight such threats as the Jem’Hadar doubtless have… such as shoot first and leave your questions to the forensic pathologists to answer.
Again, the captain’s having to play camp counselor in order to keep her security chief in line, because he’s too busy agonizing over his unrequited love for Maren from her bedside when he should be at his post. Don’t get me wrong, I love your characters, but it must sometimes feel to Adele like she’s been sent into the Delta Quadrant with the cast of 90210 (the original, thank you… and yes, I’m dating myself).
Forgive me for saying so, but I want to take Icheb, Maren, and John back in time ten years and post them to Gibraltar for a month to get a taste of stress-based decision making.
And now we know… the Resistance… some kind of former-Borg renegade group perhaps stemming from the future-Janeway’s anti-cyber weaponry and destruction of the Borg Hub? They’re obviously blaming the Federation for their war, and Voyager’s the only Federation vessel that’s been out this far.
As always, compelling, intriguing, and addictive are the adjectives I’d choose to affix to your work.
I like your summary of the Adele/Maren situation -- pretty accurate, I'd say. Her upcoming discussion with Adele should be interesting (at least, I hope you will think so!).
Oh, and luckily for everyone, John is NOT the security chief. He's only a very promising (promising, that is, if he could detach himself from his friends a little like he was able to on the Titan due to their not being there) lieutenant JG in the security department. He gets to order ensigns and enlisted around, but he's not in charge of everything. (And hey, I watched the orignal 90210, too, so if you're old, so am I! And Adele probably does feel that way at times.)
I cannot begin to imagine the field day that your senior staff would have with those three (especially if we're talking Pava and Liana!). Something tells me they'd be whipped into shape in no time. Though, in their defense, I should point out that they were all separated for the last two years and functioning quite competently before they were assigned here, and before that, there wasn't all the angst ... Icheb was with Maren, and John was completely used to that. So all the interpersonal drama is fairly new to them.
Re: the Resistance ... I hope this will prove interesting. This is not a neat and clean war by any stretch. That trial by fire you wanted to send Icheb, Maren and John to on the Gibraltar? Oh, yeah, it's coming.
Thanks so much for the great review and nice comments!
Date: 03 Jan 2010 00:04 Title: Chapter 41
I love how Adele rocks up in this scene and how Maren's actions have in part angered her, with Adele calling her a slip of a girl and contemplating throwing her into the brig for her stunt. And in fairness, she would be within her rights. And it has to be said, she may need to do so if the Advisory Board get wind of the true motivations behind Maren's actions. It really could mean the end of her career. Which would pose a bit of an issue if she was drumrolled out of the fleet - as stranded away from the Alpha Quadrant what would she do? Walk about the Tesseract corridors bitching about the new Engineering chief? Hmmm. Anyway, sidetracked.
Love how Adele though keeps herself very composed. Her part Betazoid nature comes in handy for helping her deal with a whole flux of emotions. Having tto deal with the Borg has to be troubling nevermind having actual Borg drones onboard at her majesty's pleasure. This cannot be an easy thing to contend with but Adele comports herself admirably. Speaking of Admirals, wonder what he is going to do with the Borg drones? Sidetracked again. But she also uses her Betazoid heritage to her advantage with John. She can sorta read him and apart from picking up all *that* going on with him, she senses his evasion of the truth. Of course the mystery behind that means she could call John's bluff if he himself didn't think he'd been rumbled.
Now as to John. I mentioned how he is the Poster Boy of Starfleet - not just in terms of his easy likeable personality and skills but because even when being flippant and sarcastic about the perils of Starfleet he actually believes in the mantra he spills out.
And it is nice and refreshing to see a character genuinely believe that and be proud of that aspect. Nice too that Adele sees some of that Starfleet ethos and attitude is what influenced the rather naive Maren when she decided tro spare the drones. Contrast this to Icheb's friends pointing the finger squarely at the Federation.
What's his beef then? Why are the Federation so blamed by him? And why is it so necessary to win their support? Lots of mystery surrounding their motivation. They appear to be the good guys - acting as a Resistance to the Borg. So what's that all about?
I like Icheb trying to stay in Icheb mode, even when captured, quoting Starfleet regulations and trying to reason with his captures whilst not cooperating. He continues to be a fascinating character that I forget at times he didn't get that much air time on Voyager. Also the troubling notion Icheb hints at regards their need to retunr him. What danger is he hinting at if not just supremely confident in the crew rescuing him? A little troubling.
Oh and the whole John bit was just ... well for a tough ole guy he's emoting a lot of feelings and is one mixed up and conflicted guy as his emotions for Maren butt with his loyalties and friendship to Icheb. It is one very tricky and heartbreaking situation he finds himself in not to mention that upon waking, Maren asks almost immediately after Icheb. Talk about sticking it in the ribs.
Adele is not thrilled about the situation, that's for sure, but she sees her crew as HER crew, even the ones she had doubts about from day one due to youth, Borg-ness, or both (*cough*Maren-and-Icheb*cough*). As far as she's concerned, if anyone is going to ruin Maren's career, it will be her, and not the creepy admiral or the obnoxious lawyer from the advisory board. So she'll protect Maren until she can talk to her and find out what really happened in engineering and where Maren's mind is in regard to their mission.
John is totally a Starfleet poster boy in many ways. Deep down, he's very idealistic, even though he likes to pretend he's not. And his situation with regard to his friends IS difficult for him ... mixed up and conflicted pretty much sums it up.
As for Icheb's "friends," they are resisting. But the situation is a lot more complex than it was when Janeway was cruising the DQ. You'll see in the coming chapters why they've got issues with the Federation, while also needing their help.
And then there's Icheb ... yeah, we all know I think he was criminally underused on VOY. Then again, if he'd been used much more, it would probably be harder to write this story, so I guess I should be glad. As for why he's so insistent he has to get off that ship ... remember what he was bred for.
Thanks for the awesome review!
Date: 20 Dec 2009 11:57 Title: Chapter 40
This chapter gives us a brief respite between the previous action and whatever waits in store for the crew when they finally meet Icheb’s captors. John has a chance to catch his breath, but soon discovers that Icheb has been abducted right on the heels of Maren’s injuries. I’m sure this will turn his guilt over the kiss with Maren into a tangled ball of angst and regret as he contemplates what might transpire if they are unable to retrieve Icheb.
Adele is unfortunate enough to have Beckley nipping at her heels, and takes her first opportunity to ditch him in the brig. Whatever his reasons for being there, Beckley’s presence is disruptive to the smooth operation of the senior staff (as I’m sure he knows) as various personnel are constantly looking over their shoulders and second-guessing themselves when he’s around. Not to mention that he just plain gives Captain Oyugo the creeps.
These were some terrific character moments right in the placid eye of the storm. Soon, the other eye-wall will threaten to sweep them right back into the chaos.
Thanks for the review and the stars, Gibraltar! I appreciate it!
I don't think there's much breath-catching going on for poor John. More like breath-holding as he waits to find out more about what's become of his friend and also waits to see how Maren will react to the whole thing. He's not much for sitting around in a crisis, either, so the fact that he's just sitting there next to Maren is kind of a sign of how important she is to him and how badly he thinks she might react to the news of Icheb's kidnapping.
Beckley is definitely disruptive, but he's also SI. The chance to analyze drones fresh from the Collective is a rare opportunity, one that he's not about to pass up if he can help it, whether that's "officially" his job or not. And yes, he gives Adele the creeps.
The eye wall is coming, but I'm glad you liked the small breather to see the characters reacting to what's happening.
Date: 20 Dec 2009 00:05 Title: Chapter 40
Well words sorta fail me as this chapter kicks up the gurgling excitement in my gut as to whaat this is leading up to. And if the Admiral is at a loss as to what is going on then I am certainly at a loss. This is one terrific piece of story-telling.
Here we have emotion and changing scenes zipping pass at breakneck speeds and the urgency and immediacy of the chapter jsut hooks you in. I don't know why it all feels so urgent ... but it does! And that makes me nervous for some reason.
You reveal and hold back things and it is EXTREMELY effective at keeping the reader on tenderhooks. I swear this tale comes with a secret supply if ketrecel white to get us addicted. Super stuff kes7.
Thanks for the kind review, MF! I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if you're "at a loss" and "words fail" you! Hehe.
Date: 19 Dec 2009 20:36 Title: Chapter 40
Oh, Tesseract and the horrible, terrible, no good very bad day. Great work here, especially the scene involving John's arrival in the brig. Given the perspective through the eyes of a junior officer was a nice touch, and helped remind us of the mysteriousness of the Borg -- particularly to this new generation of officers that don't remember the horror of Wolf 359 and Sector 001.
I have to admit, even in the middle of the dramatic sequence in sickbay, I kinda chuckled at John's answer to "How did you get in here" By walking! Nice, apparently he's not really in the mood for bullshit questions today.
And, I hate to say it, I kinda agree with Admiral's perspective here. It's hard to accept giving aid and comfort to such a deadly enemy, and well ... the idea of a unknown race with this advanced tech is pretty damned terrifying. I would be hard pressed not to remind the Captain that all personnel aboard a ship are at times expendable. Including the first officer.
Yes, the crappiness continues. Adele and her poor crew. The Borg are a curiosity to the younger officers, for sure. Even Icheb is interesting to them. They've grown up hearing about the horrors of the Collective, but they've never really seen it firsthand. And there's nothing remotely similar to compare them to.
John is not in the mood for bullshit questions nor emotional interrogation by nosy, gossipy doctors. He's part of the "having a very bad day" club.
We'll see what the Admiral suggests. We'll also see what Adele thinks of Maren's choices ...
Thanks for the great review!
Date: 14 Dec 2009 19:56 Title: Chapter 39
And just when you think things can't get worse - the Admiral shows up! Hee hee. Mind the Admiral might just be of help and afterall he wants to preserve his own ass too. So I'll try and think the better of him. Adele should to - or at least give him a chance to see what value he turns out to be. I guess with Berkley it is all dependent upon his own agenda.
John showing deeping concern and Maren tries her best non-chalant stance but I think she might understand the headache she has caused for the captain down the line. It remains interesting to see how that all pans out.
In addition, Icheb's condition and prognosis are somewaht confirmed. He is in a bad place in more ways than one. Maybe the ship's saviours might prove to be the good smaratian they purport. I doubt it somehow. There's bound to be more to it. But Icheb's stubborness knows just when to kick in - namely at the end of the chapter so we can't discover more. Grrr.
We'll see how the admiral handles this. He probably does have the same healthy sense of self-preservation as everyone else!
If you think John is a wreck now, wait until he finds out his best friend went missing while he was down in engineering worrying over Maren. As far as Maren goes, yeah, she has an idea this could be problematic ....
As far as Icheb's situation, I could possibly rename this story Icheb and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and it would work. Except it's gone on way longer than a day. (Actually, you could insert Adele's or Maren's name there, too, and it would still work.) Icheb's "new friends" may be able to help him, but at what price?
Oh, and I have to laugh at the comment about Icheb's stubbornness knowing when to kick in ... his motto is pretty much, "You can't make me," isn't it? He's compliant and helpful as long as it's his choice, but you can't really force him to do much, as Seven found out repeatedly on VOY. Surprise, the stubborn kid turned into a stubborn adult.
Date: 14 Dec 2009 05:20 Title: Chapter 39
Maren takes the prize here for a gutsy play that put the ship’s safety before her own life. Yeah, she’s likely to catch hell from Captain Oyugo, but it was the right call under the circumstances. Her tactics enabled them to incapacitate the Borg drones onboard and render them prisoners, which should help significantly with intelligence on the current Borg situation throughout the Delta Quadrant and beyond.
John kept his head together and acted professionally, despite his personal motivations and the deep regard he carries within him for Maren’s safety. However, I foresee that this incident will only do more to bring his strong emotions for Maren to the surface, and make it more difficult to keep his love for her under wraps.
These Borg Separatists seem suitably cold-blooded and calculating types. If anything can harden a person’s soul, being zombie-fied by the Collective could certainly do it. Now, however, it appears they have a new game plan, and they’re willing to play hardball both with Icheb and Tesseract.
And oh, now the good admiral’s gone and got himself involved. Great. Just greaaaaaat.
Wonderful stuff and continued excellence!
Oh, Gibraltar, if only Maren had been thinking that way ... she's going to have to start thinking that way (or at least pretend to start thinking that way) pretty quickly, but I guarantee you some badass notion of taking prisoners and gaining intelligence was the furthest thing from her mind in that moment. (Not to mention that without Telek's intervention, she might have just died pointlessly and had her body fried by radiation minutes later.) So I'm not sure she's getting any prizes out of this -- what you are nicely calling gutsy, some might call incredibly foolish. That it somehow worked out is the only saving grace in all of this ....
And yeah, John somehow managed not to get himself demoted to Ensign there ... he's trying hard. Poor guy. I think right about now he's wishing he'd just stayed on the Titan, which offered him plenty of adventure with none of the emotional baggage.
Icheb's "new friends," as we're calling them now at TrekBBS, are definitely ready to play hardball. We'll see what that means ... thanks for the great review!
Date: 07 Dec 2009 00:14 Title: Chapter 38
Damn with your last cliffhanger I thought nothing would top it but this does for it means possible answers and probably a lot more up the garden path stuff too. Brilliantly played with the switches between Bridge and Engineering. Cool thinking on Maren's part though her 'kindness' to the Borg drones may prove her undoing - Icheb might have worked out alright after the collective but she cannot assume the same will be the case for any drones she meets. Not to mention the headache this situation is gonna cause her captain. Dear oh dear. Fascinating and this new character fascinating again. Can't wait to see where this is going!
Wow, thanks, MF! I'm very glad you liked it so much.
Maren knows Icheb AND Seven pretty well, so from her perspective they're two for two with the ex-drones ... but deep down she's just not someone who can kill when there's another available option, and she doesn't see the drones as evil ... more like brainwashed. Time will tell if her decision was the right one, and surely Adele will have a word or two (or two hundred) about this.
We'll see where this is headed ... again, glad you enjoyed and thanks for the review!
Date: 06 Dec 2009 09:03 Title: Chapter 38
Ut oh, Maren's in tttrrroouubbbllleeeee! I'm glad she survived the encounter, though. She's lucky, and I can't see an honorable Andorian doing any less than Telek did. It's a good thing he did, too.
Poor Icheb, in the clutches of who knows who for who knows what purpose. Very taut and tense chapter throughout. It may have hurt your head, but it was a damned fun read!
Glad you liked it, PSGarak. Maren's in trouble in more ways than one. Head injury, and now she's going to have to explain to the captain why she did things the way she did. As far as Telek goes, he's definitely on the badass side for an engineer. Don't underestimate Andorians. Have you ever seen an Andorian Borg drone? I haven't. Doesn't mean they don't exist, but Telek is not one of them, and thanks to him, neither is Maren -- take that, Borg Collective!
Yeah, poor Icheb doesn't even know what's going on yet. He's in for a nasty surprise when he wakes up.
Thanks for the review!
Date: 06 Dec 2009 07:30 Title: Chapter 38
Quick thinking on Maren’s part, and a good job by Telek who apparently knows when to disobey orders for the sake of personal and professional honor.
Adele came close to losing it, apparently, and I have to admit I’m a bit shocked by that. Yes, the situation was bad, but not yet Kobayashi Maru bad. Then again, given her personal history with the Borg, it’s likely a confrontation with them would produce significantly greater stress for her than a similar scenario with a different species.
Whoever’s got Icheb managed to nullify both Tesseract’s defenses as well as those of the Borg cube. That doesn’t bode well for anybody, though the fact that they’re willing to talk engenders a bit of hope.
Looks a bit like they’ve just missed dropping into the frying pan only to tumble instead into the fire…
Yeah, Telek saved the day. That would have gone very differently if he hadn't disobeyed Maren's orders. Her thinking may have been quick, but it wasn't thorough. She's awesome with engineering, systems and theoretical stuff ... the real world occasionally stymies her. "Give me five minutes" sounded like a good idea at the time ...
Any other species, Adele would definitely have been much calmer. It's one thing to convince yourself you've moved on and dealt with your Borg issues when you haven't seen a cube (at least not in one piece) in the better part of two decades. It's another to maintain that conviction in the face of a surprise confrontation with a cube, multiple drones in engineering, and your Borg expert XO passing out and disappearing off the bridge, with no backup within 20,000 light years or so. It was a bit much for her all at once. Now that she's gotten past the shock, though, I think she'll be better if there's a next time. It was a momentary freak out.
Whoever has Icheb is in posession of some seriously kick-ass technology. Yet, they are willing to talk. The Tesseract might have a few things they want, for one thing.
Thanks for the review, Gibraltar!
Date: 06 Dec 2009 06:40 Title: Chapter 38
Ow. A hangover and a concussion? I hope Tesseract has some really top-shelf Excedrin on board, Maren is gonna need it.
I like the touch of showing Adele as highly-trained but still able to be rattled. Great addition, and something I think is often forgotten about ship's captains. All the training in the world can't fully prevent your emotions from almost running wild. The key is keeping the others from seeing it. I think Adele and Nagumo would find they have somewhat similar command styles.
As for mysterious bumpy-forehead guy. Why don't first contacts ever just send a business card? Why do they have to be all "lets talk... particularly since my ship just pimp-slapped a Borg cube." (heh!)
Still, he has the right about of menace and mystery to grab me -- and apparently Icheb too. Oh and look, the missing sensor buoy plotline from before has borne a really intriguing fruit...
Curious who these people are and how much they are going to demand of Adele and her crew. Although, I imagine she could just send Quigley over. The way his days has gone, I bet he'd love to negotiate -- with his fist.
Yeah, I'm thinking Bashir is going to be shaking his head while treating Maren. How does one slightly anal rententive engineer manage to mess herself up that badly in the span of twenty four hours? Oh yeah, alcohol and the Borg.
Adele is normally calmer than we saw her here, but this is the Borg -- the same Borg who took her husband away and tried to destroy her planet, and they took her by surprise, and she just wasn't as emotionally prepared as she thought she was. She's good at hiding it for the sake of her crew, though. I like the idea of her and Nagumo being kindreds. He seems very cool.
Mystery guy is not what he seems, and I'll leave it at that. But yes, his ship did pimp slap a Borg cube. And now he's apparently got Adele's XO. (Gee, I wonder how Maren's headache will be affected when she finds out about THAT development.)
Sending Quigley would be a blessing for him (assuming they could figure out WHERE to send him). I think his day is only going to get crappier there on the Tesseract with one best friend missing, the other injured, and some Borg drones to babysit ... oh, yeah, John's day sucks.
Thanks for the awesome review!