Date: 30 Jun 2013 03:29 Title: Chapter 3
This is a particularly masterful line on John's part: “You know you’re going to have to talk to him, Maren. The both of you can’t spend the next seven years pretending the last seven didn’t happen.” The phrasing takes it from a mundane statement to something approaching elegance.
I don't actually know why Icheb and Maren fell out, exactly, but it seems I'm going to. I can't imagine that she didn't have a jolt of shock and dismay at seeing him standing there, but brave enough to go in and talk to him anyway.
Date: 30 Jun 2013 03:21 Title: Chapter 2
Ohhhhh, and there comes the heartbreak and bitterness. Even though Maren had to know, I imagine it probably would be a shock. Poor Adele has no idea what's going on there under her nose.
I don't know how I feel about the Tesseract as a ship, but then again, I tend to have a very fixed view on starships. I can't imagine someone that young having that level of responsibility, for either Icheb or Maren, but it should be fascinating to see how that works out.
Date: 30 Jun 2013 03:10 Title: Chapter 1
Irina, you are so barking up the wrong tree. However, I do find her really refreshing. She's bold, she's clearly not looking for anything other than a good time, and that's really admirable and a great touch in the future, that she can be. The writing style, too, deserves particular mention as being really fricken well-done. It's smooth, it's neat, it doesn't waste time on any frivolous details... but it's also not so spare that you don't get a feel for the environments, either.
It should be interesting to see if this flirtation goes any further. Knowing what I know, though, I can only imagine that it so doesn't.
Date: 30 Jun 2013 02:57 Title: Prologue
As an opener, it's definitely solid. It tells everything the reader needs to know about the mission, about Adele's position in it, and it sets up Icheb as her XO, which is a bolt move by Starfleet, even accounting for his brilliance. I like Adele's dry sort of wryness in her opening log, especially; if she keeps that up, I have a feeling I shall enjoy her immensely. It's good to see Janeway and good to see her passing the metaphorical flag to the Delta Quadrant, as it were, too.
Overall, definitely a solid opener.
Date: 11 Jun 2012 14:59 Title: Chapter 52
The end of the story! So here comes the monster review:
Many of the chapters were rather gripping and the interpersonal stuff was spot on. Take the Maren/Icheb part of the story and I like how they slowly evolved to overcome their differences. In terms of the characters I would guess that the big five are Beckley, Adele, Icheb, Maren and John. They seemed to receive the most amount of story and development, while everyone else merely augmented them (with the possible exception of Bashir who I think will play a far more prominent role in the next story).
You take an interesting style of focusing a lot on the characters and less so about the general plot. In fact I'm amazed the story was so gripping given throughout most of the story, the plot developments were minimal: Aris 4 incident and those destroyed cubes, the Tyndorans, Icheb being captured, and the Borg Resistance. They were probably the biggest features which drove the plot forwards. What you seemed to have done is instead lay down the groundwork for your universe, the ship and the characters. That's no bad thing either, because stories either develop the plot substantially and focus less so on the characters or do the opposite (like in this story).
You've obviously left the really hard tasks of explaining the Borg Resistance, how Icheb is involved in all this, how the Borg survived, and what the Borg intend to do for the next story. That strategy has paid off in this story, but it sets the tone for the second story in that it will probably be more heavily biased towards plot development and so forth.
Another important thing I noticed is that you have created a solid premise. We have this Starfleet ship, a mixture of Borg and Starfleet technology, and despite the sometimes minimalist description, it conjured up some very vivid images in my mind.
Another intriguing feature of this story is how its pace varied wildly. The mood of the story usually determines the pace. Sometimes the more emotive/drama scenes were more slow thoughtful pieces, while at other times they were heavily dialogue driven. Some of the more descriptive/exposition scenes tended to lull me into a certain pace of reading and then something really important or serious happened. You're good at controlling the stories tempo and getting the exposition/descriptive/dialogue balance right where the plot and the character development called for it.
Going back to the big five I thought Beckley and Adele were to very different, separate characters while Icheb, Maren and John were all like compliments of each other. Icheb and John being polar opposites (except both have feelings for Maren), while Maren is somewhere inbetween the two. A lot of the drama in this story was very heavily dependent on the Icheb, Maren and John triangle and the three character's development sort of fed off each other. Aside from Icheb, I think the most intriguing character is Beckley, using only exposition you've created a very sinister and at times strange character. As for Adele she always came off very emotive for a captain (even more so than Janeway), and at times she was surprisingly caring and considerate but could lay down her authority rather effectively...
Next up I would like to address one plot holes. This is more minor and not so much a plot hole but more a continuity thing, in that towards the later chapters it seems to be that at least two weeks have passed by since the start of the Tesseract mission. But in the last scene of the story, Janeway said three months have past? Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to the chronology of events in this story, but it just struck me odd this discrepancy.
To sum up, giving the intriguing mysteries, the big five characters, interesting premise, engaging drama, Bashir, the Icheb/Maren/John triangle, some cool concepts and technologies, references and scenes with some of the VOY crew, the Borg and the Resistance Borg. I give this story 4 and half stars.
Looking forward to the second story!
Date: 11 Jun 2012 02:11 Title: Chapter 49
Nice little chapter building up the tension, while I'm still eager (and waiting) to know for how the Federation started this Borg civil war. I also feel that the Maren and Icheb characters are evolving, they're going in this direction and its almost like they are moving beyond past traumas with respect to the immediate present. So it's clever how you are moulding them into something different...
Date: 11 Jun 2012 02:00 Title: Chapter 48
Why do I get the feeling when push comes to shove, those captured drones on the Tesseract are going to be dissected for their secrets once the Borg up the ante? Eleanor seems a bit useless in that sense because laws, rights and regulations go out of the window in situations like this...
Date: 07 Jun 2012 17:49 Title: Chapter 45
Finally Icheb's problem is explained! Very clever I might add, and you've clearly given this story a lot of thought. I sense the beginnings of some sort of potential power struggle between Beckley and Adele... Intriguing stuff, even more so despite all the revelations of the last five chapters!
Date: 07 Jun 2012 17:39 Title: Chapter 44
Wow Maren is in some serious dire straits! Can the young woman really fool the advisory board? No chance; John already admitted to Taran that he loves Maren, and Maren loves Icheb. So I feel really sorry for Maren because she is going to try and lie, but Taran knows the truth, and Maren's and Adele's attempts to deceive the advisory board are going to fail miserably. Awesome plot by the way; plus I wonder what Julian is up to...
Date: 07 Jun 2012 17:27 Title: Chapter 43
Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally Icheb's secret is revealed (more or less), no wonder Maren is such a nervous wreck giving Icheb's condition. I also get the feeling that later on this story (or the next) some of the VOY characters (Janeway, Seven and the Doctor) will come into prominence. Great story!
Date: 07 Jun 2012 15:26 Title: Chapter 41
The Borg Resistance!!! Awesome! The twists and turns are coming in really fast now and it feels so gratifying. It's all been carefully setup: the characters, the plot elements and the players. Now the interesting bits are coming! I really like how you have developed this story in terms of it plot, and I think Maren is probably your best character. Brilliant but very vulnerable in a way when it comes to Icheb, she's one of those tortured characters; my favourite sort!
Date: 06 Jun 2012 12:19 Title: Chapter 36
Good teaser! The encryption is cracked but something really serious gets in the way of unraveling the mystery regarding the Tyndorans and possibly the Borg. It's really cool to see Beckley kiss-ass to but I personally think his attempts to make allies won't work out. Icheb already smells a rat...
Date: 06 Jun 2012 12:08 Title: Chapter 35
Look's like Icheb's secret may be revealed after Bashir examines him; Bashir is good, almost as good as the doctor plus far more cunning... Nice way of using a party to continue a plot by the way; something that seems trivial (one Ensign's apparent hallucination) may turn out to be rather important.
Date: 05 Jun 2012 17:20 Title: Chapter 34
I'm not sure whether to say 'go John!' or 'naughty John!'. Mind you things look perilously close to forming a love-triangle between Icheb, Maren and John. At least John had some restraint though... I also enjoyed how you made fun of that cliched 'raising an eyebrow' Vulcan response during that party; Maren's thought-process was spot on there.
Date: 05 Jun 2012 17:03 Title: Chapter 33
That was a really funny story of Adele's actually! I have to admit you are pretty versatile at writing dialogue for all sorts of situations: professional stuff, romance, family, meeting people, all sorts. I also liked that little bit about what happened after the Endeavour's encounter with the Borg; and its captain and Adele sharing a heart-felt moment mourning over the loss of their crewmates.
Date: 05 Jun 2012 16:50 Title: Chapter 32
Another cool thing about this story: you make the ordinary interactions between the main characters really interesting, even for simple things like a dinner or a night-out. Tells me these characters are pretty lovable or gripping...
Date: 05 Jun 2012 16:34 Title: Chapter 31
Didn't admiral Beckley go on a tour through engineering and talked to Maren about a dozen chapters ago? I'm certain he did, so why doesn't Maren remember that encounter? Looking forward to this party to, somehow I think John has got his eye on Maren...
Date: 05 Jun 2012 00:13 Title: Chapter 30
Ho ho! Julian is probably up to something, innocent, with Adele, and I sense this may be a precursor to first a friendship and then a relationship? I doubt the latter giving Adele (despite her nice personality) is more curmudgeonly than Picard when it comes to relationships (especially with ones subordinates)... In any case Adele might not be aware of Bashir's cunning or shrewdness...
Date: 04 Jun 2012 23:36 Title: Chapter 27
Question; do Tyndorans have three eyes instead of the usual two? So are the Tyndorans lying about what they know or some of their actions; like damaging subspace and destroying Borg cubes? As for Ordi'te's right-hand man giving Adele that chip... Very strange indeed.
I like this intrigue and mystery, something this story packs in droves!
Date: 04 Jun 2012 23:18 Title: Chapter 26
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s rude to eavesdrop?” nice little humourous touch on Junior's part! It's amazing but with each Icheb/Maren interaction you always manage to reveal something new about them. Like this plan Z. Clearly you have really thought these characters through...