Date: 24 Dec 2013 11:43 Title: Chapter 9
Now that’s a cliffhanger, who the mole? Where are they and why do they want to stop the Pearl from getting to New Haven?
Still it was good to see Hank stand his ground when he need to, plus nice to see that the Pearl pass her first real battle with minimal damage and loss of life.
Still I think I realize before Hank that it wasn’t a simulation, which I think is credit to your writing style and clever hints. Still you did a good job with the writing the fight/battle scene between the two-ship s and that did add to the realism.
Nice to see inter-ship bickering affecting the Cardassian Gul’s as well as the federation officers.
Still typical Romulans any excuse to throw spanner in the works.
Date: 24 Dec 2013 11:30 Title: Chapter 8
Seems Mark is going to need to earn his division respect and show them why he was appoint their head.
Chris is clearly a maverick and I do feel sorry for the engineers under him who are expose to classic rock. Could see that be a flash point further down the line.
Still only Hank could gets his officer around for a game of “Putt Putt Golf”, still nice to see Bethany can get away with assaulting her captain, I expect Mark to have said something still the fun atmosphere is only add to by Hank explain why not to call him Henry. ;-)
Date: 24 Dec 2013 11:17 Title: Chapter 7
The wonderful whirlwind of joy that is Bethany nearly overshadows the wonderful nervous transport operator Carrie Humphrey, that play well it clear like many on the ship she not used to so informal a commander and does quite know how to responded to the invite.
Still the main event, you introduce us to Bethany and quickly and efficiently show how close she was to Hank and the key parts of her personality, from drag hank on a ship tour, to mentally redecorating her quarters as soon as she see them and them there the infamous Cheeseburger and fries with Andorian ale snack.
Date: 24 Dec 2013 11:05 Title: Chapter 6
Now that was a very good introduction to the good Doctor’s Paul and T’Kel.
You handle their personal interaction in a way that felt realistic and yet did a great job to show more than tell how close their working relationship has been.
I look forward to seeing more of the pair of them in future chapters.
Still Paul reaction to the Captain offer and his inner conflict about what Hank will think if he doesn’t turn up, and Hank subtle attempts to convince him, that the senior officers need to play together to be a better team, is a great idea.
Date: 24 Dec 2013 10:41 Title: Chapter 5
Was good to show Hank is still trying to learn his new crew names and that he the sort of captain that not knowing that bothers him.
I did find your flashback scene a very Interesting scene for Hank with his former captain, does explain a lot about Hank influences and views on command.
Interesting to see how Hank’s Senior Officers responded to the mission briefing and how hank let Nick do the discipline action when they get out of line.
Still good to see Hank know how to show his bridge crew that he has a sense of humor and wants his officers to be part by asking for choice of music, I do wonder what the junior officers make of him after launching to Flirtin’ with Disaster though.
Excellent chapter as usual for you.
Date: 01 Dec 2013 22:33 Title: Chapter 9
I've paused here for now, but...wow. Awesome, bud. I am enjoying this story very much, and it's shaping up to be a great introduction to this series. I've got a limited experience with Bethany and Hank, so seeing them here at the start of this story is awesome.
I really did get the same feeling that the Pearl is shaping up to be the island of misfit toys. Everyone has some chip on their shoulder, some skeleton in their closet. So many Treks look to gradually showcase those failings and fears as series go forward, but you do this in a unique way to show that everyone - including Bethany - is human. But it also makes the revelation in THIS chapter that much more unsettling. It reminds me of an NCIS episode, where they were hunting for a mole in NCIS. I won't give away everything, but the team that winds up being brought together is similar in that they were all misfits, all had their quirks...and they were all at the top of the list of being traitors. It has to be unnerving for Hank, especially when he already doesn't feel up to the task of being captain of this new ship and crew, and when he picked most of these people.
And hooray for Bethany. I loved seeing their reunion, and the descriptions of her definitely went beyond what I had imagined working with you/her in the RR earlier this year.
I'm really enjoying this story so far! This is fun!
Date: 28 Oct 2013 17:37 Title: Chapter 4
Well we get to meet Nick and see why Hank want him as his X/O hardworking but prepare to give the Hank the honest truth about the crew and Hank himself.
Still you do a good job of rounding out the crew and showing the friendship that links the two men. As Hank has realize he does seem to have a odd crew collection all of them. Still good of Nick to point out there are all good people in need of a second chance, a bit like the ambassador class itself.
Still I wonder what Nick forgot to tell Hank.
Date: 19 Oct 2013 16:38 Title: Chapter 3
Smiling again after reading another chapter of Hank, Well been Hank this is a good introduction for those who still not learn that Hank will say the truth and not compare about the how only the outcome. The walker brothers are a great pair of characters and having close but not to close brothers in the command structure will bound to give you some unique opportunities to reviews events on the USS Pearl.
Do like the description of the Bridge, does sound like someone with taste or common sense has re-design the sovereign bridge.
Had to love the line your “I’m of the opinion that he’s too rigid even for a stiff.”
Date: 06 Oct 2013 12:15 Title: Chapter 2
So now we get our first look at Hank next command the USS Pearl, Interesting thinking by Starfleet to upgrade the ambassador class design and build a new series in gleaming white as a symbol to all.
Was good to see Admiral bickering clearly upset about the sabotage of the Enterprise and the Maxwell mystery. Typical Admiral bureaucracies you can’t have your first choice and how dare you stand up to us.
Well I’m glad Hank got the walker brothers but the nature of this briefing does suggest Starfleet admiralty knows more than it briefing Hank on.
Still we know for all his faults he is the man for the Job.
Date: 06 Oct 2013 12:05 Title: Chapter 1
Only poor Hank could achieve going from a pleasant drink with his crew to finding an admiral waiting in his quarters with a new briefing and the challenge of a frontline command.
Good to see Hank and the Admiral Jennings have their own strange working relationship, while I do find hard to believe anyone would turn down the opportunity to command a front line ship and yet you give Hank realistic reasons to be reluctance to leave his science ship and crew for the potential bigger things.
However please to see Hank reaction to getting the command was to go and get some shut-eye so he ready for tomorrow briefing.
Good opening scene for the series.
Date: 28 May 2013 11:29 Title: Chapter 30
So here is the mega review...
Firstly I will say that if there were a rating system I would give this story five stars, ten out of ten or A+ or whatever you high ranking you can imagine. While the first part may have had some minor flaws, the second part was so good and so strong any such flaws were either explained away or contributed to the very sombre and powerful ending. Whilst the occasional writing error -- be that a missing word or a slight confusion of a particular sentence -- barely detracted from the whole.
So where to begin... I'm going to start off with the plot and for a story of this scope it could have been so much longer and perhaps convoluted and meandering but nearly every scene had a purpose to it, exposition and dialogue nearly always interwove in a smooth fashion and there were enough twists in the middle, engaging characters from the beginning and powerful drama at the end which propelled the piece forwards. Perhaps the only sections were New Beginnings dragged a bit, and sort of meandered, were between chapters 21 and 24 where you may have extended out the aftermath of the Pearl's attack for a bit longer than was necessary. However I was rewarded with some great insight into the characters and you brought up some psychological aspects of trauma and a desperate situation which were both eye-opening and for the most realistic.
Ironically the bedrock of this plot, the thing which provided the bigger picture to this story, to this universe you have adapted was contained in the middle where you set down the stakes, the cards, the political chips, whatever you want to call it. You tied together a lot of things: the Cardassian bodies being beamed onto New Haven, the sabotage of the Enterprise E, both the Romulans and the Cardassians breaking away from the treaty negotiations, the lingering after-effects of the Dominion war, that weird alien which Riker found in TNG, and the Pearl's situation in two scenes and that was an impressive tying together of separate goings-on which would be worthy of any story arc from DS9. It was near flawless though the bit about Benjamin Maxwell escaping seemed to me like a dead end and a perhaps forgotten plot point, though I have not read your second and third Chronicle books so it is too early to tell. So it was a stellar plot.
Now we come to the characters and the big three were clearly Hank, Nick and Bethany, while the story of Daren (and too my embarrassment his last name escapes my mind but this is a first read through) was also one of the most interesting from the main characters, and perhaps out of all of them Daren developed the most having confronted his disgust of Starfleet, facing the loss of his home and going straight back to the hellish situation he swore to avoid when he resigned from Starfleet. So that was a very clever full circle for this character.
Hank's method of captaincy is probably the biggest factor of them which moulded the characters as the story progressed. What started out as a perhaps unprofessional and rarely inappropriate (take for instance Hank's reaction during the time when the Pearl was first attacked and his somewhat despondent mood afterwards) style of captaincy started to pay off in droves and it felt plausible to, it was not just you -- the author -- pulling the strings and making Hank into something you wanted him to be, it felt like a natural evolution and that paid dividends towards the end when Nick said that no could replace Hank or replicate the loyalty he inspired from his crew. This was something which struck true so that is something I can attribute to either a well thought-out character or good people understand or both.
When I was about halfway through the story I said to you that I thought Bethany was more interesting than Nick, both whom come second to Hank in terms of my interest as their being characters. But after seeing Nick go through hell and keep the crew together, not the Pearl because it was wrecked almost beyond repair, he is command material as he kept his nerve until the very end. Until at last when it was all said and done, when he could afford himself that one private moment, he let it all out and it made such sense and I really felt for the guy.
As for Bethany she didn't really go anywhere which was a mild disappointment as I have heard much about the romance between Bethany and Hank, and how people really like it, so I thought there would be some spark or even some realization from one of the two. But there was not, save for it being vaguely alluded to in that scene where Bethany is rather messed up and she doesn't really know why but we all know it is because of perhaps a secret love or desire for Hank. I don't recall Hank -- either in dialogue or in exposition -- expressing his love or feelings for Bethany. So perhaps the second or third book will commence this romance.
The Walker brothers had their moments as did Tony Parks who matured, which was much needed and much called for, so that did the story well. The CMO, Paul, was a bit hit and miss and if anything he seemed at his best when T'Kel was around whom you sparingly used. A couple of times you had some character scenes which really went nowhere and could have been removed from the story without any loss to its integrity or quality. Take Tony messing around with the holodeck with that Leo fellow (you see I've already half-forgotten his name), Charle's spontaneous breakdown and even T'Kel's divorce did not -- in the greater scheme of things -- add up to anything. Chris Walker's romantic interest did work and it was a moving scene where he went into quite a state after Madison Gate's injury. There was only one scene with her actually speaking but it conveyed enough that when she became severely injured, it greatly added to Chris' consternation and stress as he fought to keep the Pearl running. The point is it was a brief scene but you made something of it.
By last comment on the characters have to be the cameo appearances of Morn, Chief O'Brien and Doctor Beverly Crusher (or should that be admiral Beverly Crusher). They weren't cameos for the sake of cameos but it was a nice little addition to the story!
One thing which constantly bugged me throughout though was why the Pearl was left alone by that Romulan ship. If getting the main Alpha Quadrant powers to war was the goal of this alien race, why did they let the Pearl go when the Pearl had clear evidence of this alien race's existence and evidence of their trying to frame the Federation of murdering hundreds of Cardassians (let's not forget the dead alien, in the form of a Cardassian, who they have lying in Sickbay)? Won't leaving the Pearl derail their plans for the conquest of the Alpha Quadrant? I know you couldn't destroy the Pearl because then you would scuttle your entire series, but this seems like a rather large gaping plot hole if the second and third books do not adequately address this. So I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here even if it is niggling away at me.
So to sum up this was an excellent start to your series and you delivered with the characters, the mysteries, the intrigue, the plot, the dialogue, the exposition and other goodies to (Morn!!!). Not once did New Beginnings ever feel like it was going off course or losing focus, and this story already feels like part of something much more larger and far more epic.
And with that I am most certainly looking forward to your second Chronicles book!
Date: 28 May 2013 10:44 Title: Chapter 2
You have got to love the first glimpse of a brand new ship and that love at first sight reaction from her new captain. I recently watched The Motion Picture with my wife and no matter the faults some people find with that movie, you have to admit that the scene where Scotty flies Kirk around the refitted Enterprise captures this feeling perfectly. And you have managed to do that as well here as Hank discovers the Pearl. I love the Enterprise C design and think it is great that you have decided to resurrect her here in your story.
From that moment of beauty, though, we find ourselves in a much less pleasant situation. The attack on the Enterprise was nicely revealed and a great way of ramping up the tension. That is only increased as we see these two admirals going at it like two alpha males in a pack.
You nicely set up the complications that Hank is going to be facing, while also developping his character by showing us that he is not scared of going up against an admiral or two to get what he thinks he needs. Still, it looks like he is going to have to put up with some interference, even if it comes from those admirals who seem to be on his side.
A nice follow up to the last chapter, look forward to some more.
Date: 28 May 2013 10:31 Title: Chapter 1
An interesting beginning you have here trekfan. An... unconventional Captain to say the least! :)
Harrison seems like a man with a past, someone who has been catalogued, categorised and put out to pasture by the brass, only to be given an extra chance here with this mission. Makes me wonder how much he is being set up for a fall? And what exactly happened a few months before for him to suddenly be back on Starfleet's radar?
I liked the interplay between him and the Admiral, especially the way you continually referred back to how bad Harrison was feeling. Must be difficult to have such an important conversation while dealing with a throbbing headache! Nice to see that Harrison has at least one person on his side.
I look forward to seeing what ship he is assigned and who he brings together as part of his command staff.
Date: 28 May 2013 10:06 Title: Chapter 28
A terrific recap/explanation of what the Pearl, its crew and its senior staff endured during those six days of limbo. Reading that chapter felt as much of a rollercoaster as events must seem to the crew of the Pearl. That was one hell of a chapter and the Pearl and its characters have come on so far it is unbelievable!
Though many of the senior staff are war weary and are perhaps contemplating a long period of shore leave, reassignment or even resigning their commissions. I wonder how many of them will really leave the Pearl?
Date: 28 May 2013 09:48 Title: Chapter 27
Oh yes I forget, you included Morn in that scene in Quark's bar, (well I assume Quark is still on Deep Space Nine) so that was a very awesome cameo appearance! For some reason I always think Morn is a living legend and a universal constant...
Date: 28 May 2013 09:36 Title: Chapter 26
Finally Hank's fate is revealed! God help the man; trapped by this sadistic and vile woman, though I have a feeling this woman will soon have Hank running solely on his primal and dark instincts. So I expect a lot more kinky stuff!
Though the mystery remains; if this woman's ship is so powerful, why does she and her crew need information about the Pearl if it could be destroyed so easily?
Date: 28 May 2013 08:29 Title: Chapter 25
Not much to say except there is some serious character development going on and it is good stuff. But, and this may sound whiny on my part, are you going to keep leaving us in the dark about Hank? And why doesn't that Romulan vessel commanded by these aliens, the enemy as Mark calls them, finish off the Pearl?
Date: 28 May 2013 08:18 Title: Chapter 24
So the aftermath of what happened to the Pearl continues, but what about Hank? The various perspectives from the main characters on the Pearl is great and all, but for me Hank is where the real interest is.
Also you have a knack for bringing in exposition after some dialogue, and then -- this is the hard part -- effortlessly returning to the present without the reader feeling a jump in continuity. It flows and I like that, it takes some talent and intuition to merge together dialogue and exposition.
Date: 28 May 2013 08:01 Title: Chapter 23
A chapter from the perspective of two messed up people; one of Bethany and Chris. The funny thing is they same the same theme; they face losing a person very dear to him yet Chris knows he loves (though I forget her name) her while Bethany is probably this way because of her hidden love of Hank. So that is a nice contrast there.
Date: 28 May 2013 07:44 Title: Chapter 22
What a state! What a state the Pearl is in, though I am surprised that this alien ship, in the guise of a Romulan vessel, does not just put the Pearl out of its misery. So more mysteries and more things which don't add up, whether in a good or bad way I don't know. But the only reason why the Pearl is still there is because of Hank, these aliens see something in Hank which is beyond me...
Good chapter, and Nick's acknowledging the young ensign's death in the bridge was rather touching.
Date: 28 May 2013 07:29 Title: Chapter 21
Weren't there supposed to be three colonists? But it doesn't really matter now that the colony is obliterated, by what I'm not sure...
And poor Hank, he and his ship got their asses whupped! Though if the gravity was failing why were Hank and the crew suffering from the effects of extreme G-forces? Unless that was the faulty dampeners...
Date: 28 May 2013 07:18 Title: Chapter 20
Looks their gamble has not paid off, and these Romulans or aliens or whoever they are, are a lot more attentive and weary of tricks and ploys then these three men and the Pearl's crew has given them credit for.
One issue I would like to bring up is Charle's breakdown. It didn't really add anything to the story and since these three men are facing certain death, what is the point of developing Charle's character when he is soon going to die? I just feel it was an unnecessary diversion and if anything a bit spontaneous and random. I mean a man the reader hardly knows, and whom the reader has no real idea about his past, suddenly breaks down for unknown reasons? Maybe I'm missing something here but that breakdown scene did not work out.
Date: 28 May 2013 06:55 Title: Chapter 19
Something about this scene doesn't add up. If Hekon and his ship are the aliens, and they have the advantage, why is Hekon even responding to the Pearl's hail? Why doesn't Hekon just destroy the Pearl? Thus guaranteeing a war between the Federation and the Romulans, and this is what the aliens want. So something is not adding up here...