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Reviewer: Nerys Ghemor Signed [Report This]
Date: 05 Sep 2011 21:50 Title: Chapter 2

I can't believe I took so long to read and review this story, given how long it's been featured, but I'm glad I "gave in" now!

I had this bad feeling from the name of the race in this story, every time I saw the description on the main page of the forum, and when I first saw the medieval race at the beginning of this story, I dismissed the possibility of any such connection.  But as I kept going, and saw the premonition of the bees and everything else, that bad feeling was confirmed.

You created a very sympathetic character in Hamarr--but still, one who came across as strong and not at all pathetic, which is a trap that people sometimes fall into, in writing people with disabilities.  I especially loved...though I wish she'd her father said that there was no need for her to be "healed" of her blindness unless that was something she wished to do.

The look at the primitive Borg brought a dark fascination with it; here we see the imperative to assimilate, and the horror of their prosthetics, but there's still an emotional core to them and their identities aren't suppressed to the degree that we see in TNG.  Even as a Borg, subject to the imperatives of the hive mind, Hamarr is clearly freaked out by the bees and I wonder if at this time other Borg respond to emotinal stimuli.

(Interestingly, in your continuity, the way Lore behaved towards the renegade Borg, and his stated objectives for them, make me wonder if Crosis and the others--having become more emotional--were in a way re-enacting this very early history of the Borg.)

Of course, the moment where her mind completely surfaces is the most poignant and tragic of all.  I know there's no way any of the Bor'jun could've escaped, being a pre-industrial culture, and that's what makes the final note of hope you put at the end of the story so tragic in the end, when you really think about it.

There is one major question I had, though.  Are your Bor'jun, even before this incident, transplants from Earth?  Their speech--and even the presence of bees like ours--seemed too human for it to be otherwise, especially the "Old English" sound to their names.  Those names and culture seem a bit much to be coincidence unless there is something in their background to explain it.

Also, with the slingshot maneuver around the sun, did Soong and company also go back in time as well as travel in space?  Given that we know the Borg existed for so long, it seems like that would have to be the case.

Overall, though, good job.

Author's Response:

A good review, Nerys, and I am pleased to receive it. You make a number of interesting and very astute observations.

You wondered if the Borg depicted in this story responded to emotional stimuli and my answer to that is, “yes, at first.” While very busy with prosthetics development, Arik Soong was also in the early stages of developing a prototype of the first Borg vinculum. Although a technological genius, Soong would be writing and testing new algorithms for the vinculum in a hit or miss fashion, then observing the behavioral changes from his rapidly expanding population of drones. It may have taken Soong weeks to complete his first version and until then the hold he could express over his drone’s emotions would be spotty at best.

Regarding the renegade drones from TNG: “Descent”, I think it’s fair to say that what Lore attempted was a similar sort of process – rewriting much of the hive-mind software to Lore’s twisted, or should I say ‘re-twisted’, objectives. This was perhaps not so much a re-enactment as an ‘echo’ of Arik Soong’s earlier work.

You asked if the Bor’jun were transplants from Earth and that is a distinct possibility, although not the one I had in mind when I wrote the story. It was my belief that, in the hands of Arik Soong, a Universal Translator would become a much more powerful device than what we see on Archer’s Enterprise. More than simply providing translation, Soong’s UT would provide deeply nuanced context that included the establishment of naming conventions that heighten comprehension. Towns, objects, naval vessels, etc. would be named in a way that Soong (and Marrik) would understand the easiest, and all of these names would be members of some cultural family. We see a similar thing happening in TNG: “Thine own Self,” when Data visits a pre-industrial village.

Your last question was if Soong traveled back in time as well as space. My second scene header provides an Earth calendar date of 1407 (AD), which is when Anvil accepts his mission to the Isle of Hohn. Since Soong meets Anvil on that mission then he had to have traveled back in time.

Thanks for reading! I hope I’ve answered your questions, but if not post another review or send me a PM.

Reviewer: KayCee Signed [Report This]
Date: 28 Mar 2011 19:49 Title: Chapter 1

I am sooooo late in posting this review!

Since I read the first draft a few months ago, I can say with authority that this is a wonderful and finely honed final version. You have demonstrated not only Soong's lack of conscience but given a viable explanation of how the Borg began their march through the galaxy gobbling up whole cultures.

It is scary to think of the similarities between Dr. Soong's approach and the indoctrinated Hitler youth/aryan breeding programs in the 1930s. (I watched The Third Reich again last night.)

The ending is fair warning for the next 'elephant in the room' we may encounter.

Great job!! (No, this is not the comprehensive review I promised, I am still working on that to do it justice.)

Great Job! - KayCee

Author's Response:

Thank you for the review KayCee, and the generous remarks. The story goes only so far as describing the first few baby steps of the Borg, as I imagined them, and of course by the time we see the Borg in Q Who almost a thousand years later they have morphed into a potent and merciless force completely absent of altruism, justice, compassion or any sense of the moral high ground.

Your comparison of Soong’s Borg to the Third Reich is I think a very valid one, although as you know they are just another member of a long line of conquerors and twisted thinkers who stand proudly beneath their “liberator” banner as they meticulously dilute and downplay individual rights. Hitler himself made a number of eerily Borg-like comments intended to diminish the importance of the individual, with this one perhaps the most telling: “It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the nation, that the position of the individual is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole.”

As long as freedom exists so too will the temptation away from it, and if the number of ‘authoritarian regimes’ in the world today is any indication, then the subject is as relevant today as it ever was. As Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Reviewer: RobertScorpio Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 28 Mar 2011 04:51 Title: Chapter 1

Great start. I think Hamarr is an interesting character and I like the diffrent plot lines you did here. Bravo zulu...

Author's Response: Thanks Robert, I’m glad you liked the plot lines. They are all headed to the same place and Hamarr ends up at the center of the converging storm. She is intelligent and mature, but is beset with a fatal flaw - she believes that harm cannot come from anyone she loves.

Reviewer: Lil black dog Signed Liked [Report This]
Date: 23 Mar 2011 19:48 Title: Chapter 2

A wonderful origin story.  You know I'm a TOS girl, but you've captured my imagination with several non-TOS stories now, and this one was no exception.

Carefully crafted, the three story lines wove and intertwined into one, providing a terrifying glimpse into the mind of Dr. Soong, and the fate of the Bor'jun people.

I like too that the phobia aspect was subtle and understated, but at the end we could feel Hamarr's fear, revulsion and sheer horror at realizing what she had become, her future firmly linked now with her childhood fear of the past.

And it seems to me you've already found your way into my 'secret spice' jar. ;-)  Your narrative was rich and vibrant, captivating me as the words disappeared before my eyes.

All in all, a lovely piece, Sam.

Author's Response:

Thank you, LBD. Such kind flattery, but I think you wear it much better than I ever could. ;-)

It would be more than I could hope for if my story had in some small way stirred the beginnings of an expanded interest in Trek, especially in the other four Trek series. How I envy you for that. There are many among us that would dare to dream of waking up one day to a stack of DVD’s of some new Trek series on our nightstand! There is so much fabulous content in all of them, and so much fertile ground for all our imaginations.

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