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Tony, aka Kells

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Posts posted by Tony, aka Kells

  1. (( Personal Quarters, USS Garuda))
    ::The plants were gone.
    ::This was, in the great scheme of things, probably something she should be grateful for. The clean-up of the overgrown flora would have been a mammoth job, and not one she would have had the inclination -- or in her present condition, the stamina -- for. Whichever team had swept through her quarters had left them pristine.
    ::Almost pristine. There were traces, here and there. A small shard of pottery from a pot here, a sliver of glass from a terrarium there. They might as well have been splinters of her heart, the homes of the botanical sign-posts of her life, the living memories that she had cared for and cultivated for years.
    ::The bougainvillea bonsai she had picked up on Earth to celebrate her graduation from the Academy.
    ::The peace lily from Asterospolis, acquired shortly after her promotion to Chief Engineer aboard the Triumphant.
    ::The Martian rose that David had given her at the beginning of their doomed romance on the Independence.
    ::The fern from Romulus -- priceless, now that the planet was destroyed -- that she had convinced a botanical importer on Starbase 118 to bring in for her.
    ::The moon flower that Walter had awkwardly presented her with, after the Eagle had visited Risa in time for the lunar festival of Lohlunat.
    ::The rare orchid she had come by on Vulcan, after her first mission in command of the Drake.
    ::There were more. And they were all them, gone.
    ::She was lost, unaware until now of how much her collection had anchored her. Without their colours and scents, it felt like a stranger's room, foreign and sterile.
    ::A step away from burying herself under the blankets of her bed to mope, panic seized her. With the grace of a beached whale, she dropped to her hands and knees, scrambling underneath for a case she had never yet opened.
    ::A light film of dust covered the rigid black leather, smeared and wiped clean in winding trails where vines had crept over its surface. A deep crack stretched across its width, almost cleaving the case in half. The clasps were stubborn, a combination of her shaking hands and lack of use, and the lid split cleanly into two as she pushed it open.
    ::But there it was. Perfectly intact, the warm, rich tones of varnished maple shone in the light. The viola was the work of a craftsman, as beautiful as the music it made.
    ::She knelt there, staring at it, the ghostly echoes of duets and quartets it had played ringing in her ears. She played her piano on her own these days, and as much as she missed making music with others, it felt like a betrayal to even consider doing so.::
    REYNOLDS: ::Quietly,:: I miss you.
    ::She heaved a sigh, bringing the two halves of the lid down to seal the case again. She'd have to replicate a new one for now, but perhaps she could see if one of the merchants on Deep Space Ten could import a replacement, hand-crafted one. It was the least she could do.
    ::Heaving herself to her feet, she reverently placed the broken case on the bed, and dragged herself toward the shower, hoping to wash away some of her gloom -- and with a hand on her swollen stomach, that she was done with loss and loneliness, at least for the immediate future.::
    Captain Quinn Reynolds
    Director of Intelligence
    USS Garuda
    • Like 3
  2. ::King wondered how his face must look to the others as he sat there in what he called his ‘nothing face’ pose. He used it in the Academy to give his instructors the appearance that he was in deep thought, considering their every word but was in fact waiting for someone else to produce the solution. He had especially found it useful during his quantum physics classes.::

    As a college instructor, I can say that I know (and have used myself!) this face. Great description! :)

    • Like 2
  3. Greetings, everyone!

    Want to read the entries from the final Writing Challenge, but don't have time to sit down at your computer? Need a way to take them with you on your tablet or mobile device? Now you have it! Please enjoy this full compilation of the "Love & Betrayal" Writing Challenge from November and December of 2014, our last regular Writing Challenge, available with all the entrants' stories and judges' comments. This is a PDF document with interior hyperlinks to each story for your ease of navigation, so do please read at your leisure.

    My great thanks to Captain Nugra for putting together this collection while I was unable to access my desktop!

    Please get yours here!

    • Like 2
  4. Hello, everyone -- entrants and readers and judges alike,

    It's with a heavy heart that I announce that the November & December 2014 round of the Writing Challenge will be the last regular Writing Challenge of the contest as we know it. Going forward, we will hold Writing Challenges only during special events -- for example, during our yearly Writing Improvement Month -- and we will be working to incorporate much of what kept the Writing Challenges going for so long into the Top Sims Contest. The decision to end the Writing Challenges wasn't easy and involved a lot of discussion on the Executive Council, but it's our hope that by ending the Challenge now, we will be able to improve the many forum contests (Top Sims, Featured Bio, and Graphics) that also exist.

    I know that many of you will be disappointed by this announcement, so I encourage you to remember the Challenges here -- a favorite story or theme, perhaps, if you're a regular writer, or something you learned or enjoyed writing as a result of the Challenge. I look forward to reading your remembrances, and I'll start off with one of my own: In August of 2005, I was a cadet and was just poking around the forums for the first time when I noticed the Writing Challenge that was going on at the time. The theme, "Devil in the Dark," seemed to be encouraging a lot of grimdark, gritty entries, so I decided to write something lighthearted about a Q who went by X. That story, "X Factors," was named the Challenge's winner when I was barely an ensign, and it established my interest in and association with the Writing Challenges from the very first.

    I look forward to reading about your memories! Help me celebrate the end of this great contest in style!

    • Like 1
  5. Thank you to each of our many entrants in this round! The judges were extremely pleased with your efforts, and though we had five judges for ten entries(!), that didn't make deciding upon a winner any easier. But, a few days after the new year, I'm pleased to bring you the results of the last Writing Challenge of 2014, "Love and Betrayal"!

    Our winner, with his story "The Ties That Bind," is the writer behind Sinda Essen, and our runner-up is "Chocolate," from the writer behind Maxwell Traenor. Congratulations to these writers and to the rest of our fine entrants!

    I'd like to recognize my fellow judges for this round: the writers behinds Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Lieutenant Commander Sal Taybrim, Lieutenant Ren Rennyn, and special guest Captain Della Vetri. Each of them worked hard to make sure that their reviews were thoughtful and detailed and that their rankings were especially well-considered, given the number of stories. My thanks to them!

    Unfortunately, I won't have access to my home computer until mid-January and so I won't be able to create the normal story collection in PDF format until then. Please let me know if you would like a collection!


    "Out There"
    Writer's Character: Irina Pavlova
    Judge's Character: Sal Taybrim
    I like how you are exploring and fleshing out your character with every successive story. Focusing on Irina’s Terran past is a great way to make a more believable and empathetic character.
    I found this was a clean, well written story, but it was a bit underdeveloped. When I read “Stargazer” I though that instead of two companion stories, you could have combined them both to make one story that was better than the sum of its parts. Both stories taken as separate pieces were interesting little tidbits, but left the reader wanting more. If you blend these stories in a dramatic fashion (think of your favorite movie tricks – like split screening or flashbacks or scenes that ‘ping pong’ between two related characters in different situations) you can come up with a cohesive whole that really tells the story of love from both perspectives at once.
    This feels like an often told tale – one that you have thought about so much that it seems ingrained. The trap of an often told tale is that it can seem stale with multiple retellings. But the opportunity in an often told tale is to the ability to really play around with literary devices and experiment. As I mentioned before, draw from your favorite narrative tricks from the movies and see what happens. What if you wrote a story that flashed between Irina in the future and Dmitri in the past, melding the story so each one’s thoughts and actions seemed to play off the other one’s even though they were decades and light years apart. Or try different focuses. What would the story sound like it written strictly from Katya’s perspective? Or if told from the perspective of Dmitri as a ghost watching Irina and Katya finally come home? Exercises like these will not only help you grow as a writer, but will help you develop an even better understanding of your characters and how they react to things.
    "A Vulcan Scorned"
    Writer's Character: Sivah
    Judge's Character: Toni Turner
    "A Vulcan Scorned" is a provocative, but short, story dwelving into the age old question sparked by "He loves me, he loves me not." Only in this case the one scorned, ended up asking, "Why did you not want me?” While it is true that Ensign Sivah painted a perfect picture of Seltuur's arrogance, and the unreasonable demands he wanted to force upon her, he was willing to honor their betrothal, if she so willed it.
    Both clearly loved someone else, but Seltuur paid the price for his betrayal, especially since Sivah contrived such a vicious fate for him and his true love, while she was set free to marry Angelica.
    I liked the story because it was different, but in places it seemed a bit choppy and words forced. However, in it's entirety, the composition was quite understandable and well-developed. I like to see new members enter the challenges as they bring new ideas to the front. Well done, Ensign Sivah.


    Writer's Character: Talia Kaji
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    Oh, wow, does this story have a gift for scene-setting! I could easily see the frantic pace and the quick rotation through memory and scene being disruptive and off-putting, but "Birthdays" presents that movement very well. Each flashback begins with an evocative, vivid description to place its reader, always before any dialogue, and each of those descriptions is awash with color, shape, and sensory information. I would've followed this story into another ten scenes if it asked me to -- it was that deft with its movements. Of course, including more scenes would mean risking the story's overall structure, which I wouldn't advise -- but "Birthdays," as written, never does that. Each flashback returns to Marianette in the present, and the repetition of "it was her birthday" never lets the reader forget why.
    "Birthdays" is ambitious with its descriptions and the overarching story it tells, but it's even more ambitious with the range of emotions it asks its readers to feel -- and that's where it faltered a bit for me. Each of the flashbacks was to such a pivotal, life-changing moment, and each happened so quickly, that I never really felt strongly invested in any of them. I felt more connected to the Marianette in the present, and I think that this may have been the goal: This present Marianette has (albeit only on her birthday!) reviewed these memories so often that she's become a little deadened to them. If that is the case, then I would've liked to have felt a little more of that, because it seemed that every memory was, for her, still sharp and painful. It may be that they were! But if so, then many such memories may have been too much for one short story. My advice for this writer, then, would be to let such emotionally charged flashbacks breathe a little. Give them more space, use your wonderful abilities to illustrate them with sensory information, and trust your readers to feel along with your characters.
    All things considered, this was a wonderful, strong story from a first-time entrant, and I fully expect to see more of your great writing in the future!


    Writer's Character: Maxwell Traenor
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    I struggled to find the best word to encapsulate this story, but after another read-through, I think that "delightful" is the way to go. It's as stilted and awkward as I'd expect a first contact between a physicist and an alien over food and drinks to be. What really makes that atmosphere work, though, is that it revels in its minutiae -- the untranslatable "cuisine" and "dessert," the description and delight involved when Maxwell eats that desert. In my experience, it's very difficult to write an awkward story that isn't constantly tripping over itself to prove its awkwardness, but "Chocolate" pulls it off: We've already seen, by the time the dessert arrives, how uncomfortable Maxwell is feeling, so that provides a whole different perspective with which to view his sudden obsession with the dessert. Also, the phrase "bloat with joy" is definitely one I'll be using again. The twist, such as it is, is both funny and oddly touching, as Maxwell's companion protests ignorance and Maxwell himself doesn't ever want to stop eating. "Delightful," in retrospect, is definitely the right word to describe "Chocolate."
    I'm quite happy with the story as presented, but if I had some advice for its writer, it would be to think more deeply about what's going beyond the first layer of the story. As above, I read here an essential awkwardness that may not have been intended to be present throughout the story, but which I found quite pleasingly present in all of what I read. Could there have been more, though? Perhaps, in the midst of the humor, some subtle comments about the terror of food allergies and unconscious body reactions, or perhaps something about unintended addiction (if Maxwell really couldn't stop eating)? I've found that comedy is often the best medium to express both the terrible and the terrifying, and given what had been built up by the story's end, I would have absolutely followed it into some darker territory. Not every story needs a dozen layers, of course, but given that this story was so strong on its surface, I'd challenge the writer to try for more!
    All in all, this was an excellent story from a first-time entrant who has some real chops to show off with vivid description and some nice humor. I'll be looking for more great writing from this writer in the future!
    "Betrayal of Love"
    Writer's Character: Nugra
    Judge's Character: Ren Rennyn
    Nugra's tale of love and betrayal proves that every theme has an unpredictable amount of variations. The story kept me guessing as to how it would fulfill the contest's theme, but in the end, the overall effect was spot on in making its point. To save Iria from being the monster he has made her, Nugra has to become a monster himself by betraying her.
    Details that seemed minor at first later proved important. The picturesque monastery was revealed to be part of Nugra's plan. The reason he knew which berries were safe illustrated his premeditated intentions. I enjoyed the teasing out of information about Iria, how the damage done to her by her father becomes more clear as the story progresses. The way this is revealed piece by piece in both images of Iria's actions and information in Nugra's thoughts, makes the story enticing all the way through.
    The action sequence showing that Iria was at her father's side in battle was told in exciting language that made it fun to read. This part of the story might have been improved by showing Iria's participation in battle, illustrating what is described about her battle tactics in the next section. The imagery of Iria gleefully taking down enemies would be interesting to see in more detail.
    A number of minor grammatical and spelling errors disrupt the flow of the story, and these could be easily fixed. Nugra's story illustrates that betrayal can be one of the strongest forms of love, if as difficult for the betrayer as for the betrayed.
    "Can I help you?"
    Writer's Character: Avaris Torrin
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    The conceit of this story was absolutely fascinating: True to the Challenge guidelines, the story doesn't focus upon canon characters, but Benjamin Sisko and his actions during DS9's series run are integral to "Can I help you?" It's an approach I haven't seen often in the Challenges and was a welcome take on the theme, as it accomplished what, for example, the TNG episode "Lower Decks" did so well: We often see what becomes of the great leaders and their officers, but what about the normal people? There's something quite subversive in the thematic approach of this story, as expressed (or, rather, oppositely expressed) by the bereaved Aelya -- is it inflammatory to care about those who died under great leaders, and to question those qualities that seem to make the leaders great?
    I did find "Can I help you?" to work better as a story of themes and large concepts, however, and it broke down a little bit when I considered its scenes and individual lines. At that small level, it didn't seem to be a Star Trek story, really, which are characterized for me as both thoughtful and thought-provoking (and I do think there is a difference!), and I would have liked to see more thinking on the page. For example, phrases like "the ultimate sacrifice, doing what was right" are very much in twenty-first century political vogue, but "Can I help you?" doesn't appear to update them or think about what they mean, and that follows for a lot of its rhetoric, too. I found myself frequently distracted by errors in spelling, grammar, and usage -- and while I usually tend to read past such things, misspellings and incorrect grammar kept me from understanding what the story was trying to say in a few places. I would certainly encourage this author to use checkers for spelling and grammar in the future, as well as to think deeply about what makes a Star Trek story -- and why such stories are still important to tell. Overall, though, I did appreciate the large ideas contained herein, and I'd like to see more of this type of thinking in the future!


    "Blunt Forces 2: Debriefing"
    Writer's Character: Clayas Vell
    Judge's Character: Della Vetri
    This story was something that we tend not to see all that often: a dip into looking at what happens *after* all the big action that tends to be many writers' focus. It was made especially interesting since the main character of this story, Ellen, is a long way from as experienced as she might wish she was. Indeed, that forms a sizeable part of what is explored during the story, as well as her thoughts and feelings about what she has endured.
    Whilst it might help to have read what went before, the important details are not only recapped in this one, but it's done in a way that makes them important elements of the story itself instead of simply a quick info dump. In fact, I actually found myself drawn to go read the preceding story just to give this one the extra context - not that it needed it, but it did help.
    I did find it perhaps a little cumbersome in terms of structure, however, with sentences needing to be broken up a bit more to help the flow. That said, it was still quite readable and engaging, and I had no problem following things. Overall, I can comfortably say I look forward to seeing more of Cadet Cain's adventures in the future.

    "You will not take this, too"
    Writer's Character: Akeelah D'Sena
    Judge's Character: Della Vetri
    An interesting tale of the conflict between family expectation and personal desire, and how the two can come into rather serious conflict. One thing that definitely came across to me was a sense of inevitability, with the ultimate outcome not really in any sort of doubt - but just how we *get* there is the interesting bit.
    The writer made good use of some very evocative language, doing a great job of setting the scene. This gives the reader a solid basis to build their mental image of what is going on, and also gives them a bit more of a handle on the characters themselves. It's also very easy to get behind the main character of the story, Jalana, and be on her side throughout it all... though that is also, in part, due to how utterly unsympathetic her father comes across.
    If I have any real issue with how the characters and such are portrayed, it is how black and white things are portrayed. Given the limits of how long these works can be, however, that is quite understandable, and I'd be surprised if more room to work in didn't lead to much more nuanced characterisations.
    That said, there is no mistaking the agendas of the characters, and that clarity serves the story well. I also liked the little touches here and there, details that hint to the history behind what is going on. For example, the whole deal with the collar shines a quick light on what is obviously a routine the two characters had fallen into a long time before.
    All in all, a good piece of work, and an interesting read. I'd be happy to see more!
    Writer's Character: Irina Pavlova
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    In a round of such a large, operatic theme, many of the stories seemed to be like-minded -- and maybe that's why I appreciated "Stargazer" so much. As with many of this author's entries, "Stargazer" was a quiet, personal story. Many times, these entries have felt like one serialized story about Irina Pavlova's background, unfolded and expounded in different ways depending upon the specific Challenge theme, and given that Irina's story is literally one of love across time and space, I was pleased to see that this story focused most intently upon those moments of quiet reflection. In many ways, this story is a call back to the first golden age of science fiction: It's a story that could only be told with such a backdrop, and I appreciate it all the more for the history -- both personal and with respect to the genre -- that "Stargazer" appears to hold closely.
    I'm very pleased with the story's length, too; any longer and it would have ruined the meditative quality that this entry possesses. However, I would've encouraged some mixing of structural elements for this one: All of the dialogue in this story comes in its second half, which is not incidentally the here and now of the story, and all of the history/reflection/description comes earlier in the story. Given that I think Irina's conversation with Katya follows well from what came earlier, I wouldn't have advocated mixing the two halves necessarily. Rather, I would've liked to see Irina's reflections after that conversation, after they were aboard the shuttle. Would the style that followed be similar to the first half? Would it have been even more personal? I'm not sure, but I would've liked to see?
    All in all, though, this was a strong entry from this year's Data Artistic Award winner, and I am, as always, glad to read more of Irina's ongoing story!
    "The Ties that Bind"
    Writer's Character: Sinda Essen
    Judge's Character: Sal Taybrim
    Let me start off by saying that this is a well thought out story. I think the plot and the twist was well developed and delivered. The whole idea behind the piece was one of the best of the round. I particularly liked how you sprung the Klingon attack with very little preamble. Marsha was surprised, the audience was surprised, it pushed the action forward in a big burst – a very nice effect!
    One thing that struck me was that this story looks so polished. The title with the quote is a nice opening. But within the first few paragraphs there are some spacing problems and some sentences that do not read smoothly. I found this was a jarring transition and I had to go back and keep re-reading parts to see if they were grammatically incorrect or just rough to read. I will note that I am a big fan of a ‘well groomed’ story, visually as well as proof-reading wise. I read pauses, breaks and emphasis into the spacing and layout of the page. At the very beginning it looks like there should be more spacing in the second paragraph, but instead it gets all lumped together like a run-on paragraph.
    Another thing I struggled with in this story was the strength of the plot vs. the strength of the characters. The conversation at the end of the story is well written and powerful, but it did not grip me as it should have. And I realized on a second (and third) read though that was because I had very little reason to care about the characters. Marsha strikes me as a human rebel every-woman, with a father who cares more for his wife than his daughter… why? I know you touched upon this with the whole ‘she’s the one who keeps me sane’ but I didn’t really get to see enough of the father character to feel for either one of them. I wanted you as an author to dig into that mindset and really let me know how a man could be driven to betray his daughter.
    I am wondering how this story would have read if it was written from the POV of the father. Or, delving into Marsha’s family and past would have also brought a stronger sense of connection. Maybe starting the story with a flashback of their happy family, or giving some personal details to the main characters. Zill gets a stronger personality in the opening scene than Marsha does, so it is difficult to connect with Marsha when it flashes over to such a personal scene in the second half.
    I think more background – in both characters and setting would have really made this story shine. I found myself wondering things like ‘when is this in the Alliance timeline?’ and on the first read though I stopped and went ‘wait, did I read that right? We’re in the mirror universe?’ I felt like I was just thrown willy-nilly in to a point of time just before the action starts, making it hard for me to ‘get into’ this story and the characters. That is a shame since the plot is very solid and the ending dialogue is a great piece of interaction! The whole story would benefit from more set-up.
    I think this was well written; it had good language and a great idea that just needed a bit of extra polish to really stand out. I’m glad to be able to read one of your stories!
  6. These lines made me laugh. You never know! Maybe the whole thing is a prank.


    Sampson: =/\= Some of the plants are… acting up sir. =/\=

    :: With a sigh, Evan grabbed his temples with a thumb and forefinger. ::

    Delano: =/\= Is this some kind of prank? I know I haven’t been chief for very long, but-- =/\=

    • Like 1
  7. (( Menthar Memories ))

    DELANO: Why come to me with this?

    :: The human on the other side of the table was leaning forward, his hands clasped in front of him. Andrew Davenport. Journalist and, apparently, troublemaker. Something about the man had made Evan suspicious of the man the moment he’d sat down at the table. ::

    :: At Davenport’s request, Evan had come in inconspicuous civilian clothing - a simple button up shirt and dark slacks - to conceal his Starfleet affiliation. Davenport himself wore a dark hooded shirt that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a few days.

    :: As the reporter talked, Evan watched for any tell that might betray a lie. ::

    DAVENPORT: Because you’re the closest thing to a cop I’m willing to trust right now. (lowering his voice) Someone tried to kill me - or have me killed - and I don’t think it was one of these Maquis Reborn.

    :: Evan looked the man over. He’d done a little digging into the journalist’s background before agreeing to meet with him. The man was not well-liked within Starfleet, and though he did have a following among some political ideologues on Earth, he was virtually unknown outside of the Sol system. In fact, Evan had learned, the man hadn’t so much as left the system in at least seven years. Until he abruptly decided to move to the frontier. He also happened to arrive on DSX the day before a terrorist organization had attacked the station. ::

    :: Andrew Davenport wasn’t just suspicious. It was clear he was hiding something. Something that Evan intended to know before this conversation was over. Whatever it was, Davenport seemed to think it was dangerous. ::

    DELANO: What’s wrong with Glinn Zorkal?

    :: The human looked surprised.::

    DAVENPORT: Besides the fact that he’d probably arrest me as a suspected Maquis sympathizer?

    :: Evan narrowed his eyes. ::

    DELANO: What makes you think I won’t?

    DAVENPORT: Because you’re Vulcan. Or at least half-Vulcan. Zorkal seems like a good man, but he’s also the Cardassian chief of security on a station that just lost its Cardassian CO to a terrorist attack. A terrorist attack with Federation - and more importantly, anti-Cardassian roots. I think you’re more likely to be able to see past that and help me figure out what’s going on.

    :: Evan sighed and picked up his drink. He’d barely touched it. He liked black russians, but he wanted to keep his mind clear. A very large part of him wanted to simply get up and walk away from the table. Maybe send a message to Zorkal, or Calderan, or even Egan Manno. But he could see the logic in the journalist’s explanation. The Cardassian justice system was inconsistent at best. If higher ups were calling for arrests, Evan wasn’t sure he’d put his trust in a Cardassian security officer either. ::

    :: On the Starfleet side of things, Evan, a lieutenant, could be more discreet than a higher ranking officer like Calderan. Besides, if Davenport’s would-be assassin wasn’t part of the Maquis Reborn, there was a good chance he - or she - was a Federation citizen. Davenport’s background didn’t seem to account for enemies from other jurisdictions. ::

    :: Evan set his glass down without so much as a sip. ::

    DELANO: Alright. I can probably look into this. But I’ll still need to talk to Zorkal.

    :: Davenport looked like he wanted to object, but he held his tongue. That earned him a few points, Evan thought. ::

    DELANO: I don’t know if the captain will go for it, but I may be able to get you quarters on Garuda. That would put you in our jurisdiction and give me at least some legal authority to start poking around.

    :: Davenport nodded and remained quiet for a moment. He looked around the bar, then returned his focus to Evan. ::

    DAVENPORT: I always hated space travel.

    :: Evan raised an eyebrow. ::

    DELANO: You’ve come an awfully long way, then.

    :: The journalist shrugged and downed the last of his own drink. Something orange and with a vague floral scent. He thought it might be Risian, but Evan couldn’t identify it with any certainty. ::

    DAVENPORT: I have a good reason. I was… I thought it would make for a good story, but after this…

    :: The human averted his eyes and focused on the single ice cube at the bottom of his glass. ::

    DELANO: (harshly) I’m through with vagueries, Mr. Davenport. If you want my help, you need to tell me what this is about. Why would someone want you dead?

    :: Davenport swallowed, once, then looked him in the eye. ::

    DAVENPORT: (voice low) How closely do you follow Council politics?

    :: Council? As in the Federation Council? What the hell was this about? ::

    DELANO: I vote. I read up on the candidates when I do. That’s about it.

    DAVENPORT: Did you know that they heavily influenced the decision to share this station with the Cardassians?

    DELANO: And?

    DAVENPORT: None of that debate was public. I only know about it because… (break) Ugh, that’s not important. Don’t you think it’s a little strange that the Federation Council is making backroom deals with the Cardassian government?

    DELANO: Not really. We’ve been working with them for decades. Ever since the war, really.

    DAVENPORT: Exactly! But that cooperation has always been transparent and open. Why keep it behind closed doors now? Why not tell the Starfleet officers in the region until the deal was done?

    :: Egan Manno had asked him about this very thing while he’d still been Garuda’s Strategic Operations head. He’d never managed to find her a good answer. ::

    DELANO: I still don’t understand what you’re getting at.

    :: Davenport leaned even closer. Deep brown eyes locked on his. ::

    DAVENPORT: Something big - something very big - is about to happen between the Federation and the Cardassian governments. Something that a lot of people aren’t going to like. Something that could even lead to things like… say the rebirth of an anti-Cardassian terrorist group.

    :: Evan immediately thought of the sabotage he’d found in Ambassador Prianna’s shuttle during Garuda’s encounter with the Kubarey. Of the strange rumblings out of Zeta Equulei regarding the end of the Myr Luuk/Community conflict. Harrison Ross’ not-quite-explained treason. Could there be a common thread? ::

    :: Now it was Evan’s turn to whisper. ::

    DELANO: Are you saying that factions within the Federation are actively conspiring against the Council?

    :: The reporter’s eyes lit up and a mirthless smile curled his lip. ::

    DAVENPORT: I don’t know for sure, but I can see it in your eyes. It would explain a lot of what’s been going on around here, wouldn’t it?

    DELANO: Yes, but…

    :: For centuries now, the Federation believed itself to have moved beyond this kind of petty politics. Yes, the occasional official was removed from office for scandals, but this was way beyond that. It bordered on sedition. The memory of the Dominion War was still fresh for many of its survivors. Yes, the Cardassians had ultimately paid a heavy price for their role in escalating to war, but there were those who had called for greater reparations. Sanctions. Some had even advocated for the complete annexation of Cardassian space. A few of those people were still sitting members of the Council. ::

    DAVENPORT: You understand, right? The Council is sitting on an old fashioned powder keg. They’ve started the ball rolling towards… something. Only now they’ve realized that some of us - Cardassian and Federation - aren’t ready. So both governments are trying to find a way to resolve this without having it blow up in their faces.

    DELANO: And you think someone would kill you to keep you from… what, telling others what you know?

    :: The reporter shook his head. ::

    DAVENPORT: Probably not for that. But… I know I seem suspicious, and when tensions are high, it isn’t hard to force a connection between one suspicion and another. Maybe some Cardassian gul thought I was an agent for the Council - some kind of shadow representative, perhaps. Maybe some other government caught wind of the deal and is trying to stop it. Who knows. That’s what I need you to find out.

    DELANO: And what’s in it for you?

    :: Davenport shrugged, finally leaning back and folding his arms across his chest. ::

    DAVENPORT: It’ll still make one hell of a story when it’s all over.

    :: Evan resisted the urge to roll his eyes.::

    DELANO: Unless someone kills you first.

    :: The journalist’s expression quickly soured as Evan stood up to leave. ::

    DELANO: Don’t worry, I’m not going to let that happen. If I can help it, anyway. I suggest you return to your quarters until I have a chance to talk to the captain about bringing you on board.

    DAVENPORT: And what should I do in the meantime?

    :: Now it was Evan’s turn to smile. ::

    DELANO: Write. Or whatever it is you normally do. You just witnessed the rebirth of one of the most infamous terrorist organizations in the history of the quadrant. Isn’t that enough to keep you busy for a few days?

    :: The other man nodded, though he seemed reluctant. ::

    DAVENPORT: You're right, I suppose.

    :: The reporter sighed and started getting to his feet. ::

    DAVENPORT: Lieutenant, I really appreciate you helping me out with this.,

    DELANO: Don’t thank me yet. Something tells me this is going to get a lot messier before we're done.


    Lieutenant Evan Delano

    Chief of Security/Tactical

    USS Garuda

    Andrew Davenport

    Freelance Journalist

    • Like 2
  8. What better way to end 2014 than by showcasing a little of the best a character can be -- and a little of the worst?


    For our final Challenge of the year, the writer behind Nathaniel Wilmer and our previous Challenge's winner asks you to consider a theme as old as writing itself. With clear roots back to the first recorded epics, including The Epic of Gilgamesh -- so famously used by Jean-Luc Picard in the TNG episode "Darmok" -- there's no more mythic or archetypal way to close out 2014!

    Is what ways will your characters access this theme? Will they be the lovers or the beloved, love unrequitedly or reciprocally, love from far or near; or will they be the betrayer or the betrayed, the watcher or the enactor or the friend? There are endless ways to interpret this theme, and the judges look forward to seeing what your take on it might be.

    As of today, Sunday, November 2nd, this Challenge is open! We'll ask that all of your submissions come in by Friday, December 26th -- enough time for the judges to convene and to bring you your final winner of 2014 before the new year!
    As always, please remember:
    *Your work must be completely original.
    *You must be the sole author of the work.
    *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters.
    *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship. Your story need not concern any of your characters (PC or NPC), and your story's style can be anything you might like (and does not need to conform to simming standards).
    *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words.
    For any questions you might have, remember that you can always post questions to this thread or visit the Writing Challenge website. Please also take a look at our new wiki page! And don't forget to get your copy of our mobile collection of the September & October Challenge!
    Good luck!
    • Like 1
  9. Greetings, everyone!

    Want to read the Challenge entries, but don't have time to sit down at your computer? Need a way to take them with you on your tablet or mobile device? Now you have it! Please enjoy this full compilation of the "Run Shivers Down My Spine" Writing Challenge, available with all the entrants' stories and judges' comments. This is a PDF document with interior hyperlinks to each story for your ease of navigation, so do please read at your leisure.

    Let me know if you enjoyed this easy way to read! Also, if you would prefer to have this as an ePub or .mobi file for your Nook or Kindle, let me know by replying below! The conversation is easy, and I'll do it and post new versions if anyone would like.

    Thanks for reading! Get yours here!

    • Like 2
  10. "The Last Night on Lookout"
    Writer's Character: Leland Bishop
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    Though its style is strong and it's exactly as long as it needs to be -- those qualities by which I usually form my first judgments regarding a story -- "The Last Night on Lookout" refuses to be so relegated. The morbid images, crafted so subtly by the author, are what stuck with me: Whether it's the final sentence of the opening paragraph that so wonderfully plays with language and image ("choking ... on Lookout") or it's the final line ("How sad it was that the poor man beneath him hadn't had time to shave"), this story refuses to sit down quietly and instead forces the reader to consider it head-on. That's really a fancy way of saying that I was hooked, so kudos there!
    I expected this Challenge to be ripe with grit and horror, "The Last Night on Lookout" puts an especially terrible spin on things by showing them through the POV of a young Leland Bishop. There's a loss-of-innocence quality to the story, directly addressed within ("...he would never be called Lee again..."), though I don't think that's the story's primary throughline. Rather, this is a story about bearing witness: How does one see the truly awful and ever come away from it? It's a wonderful area to explore via writing, and given that this event is part of Leland's past, I would be very interested to see how he develops, both through sims and, hopefully, in future Writing Challenges! Show us, here and again (and again and again), how his life has been shaped by these events and the sort of daily witness he brings to bear upon his current life, and I think the result will be quite satisfying.
    I would caution the author to dig more deeply into the story's statements of large, ephemeral concepts like "pain," "dark," and "forever." They're such absolute terms that they can often (though not always, of course) be hard to qualify, and I think this story is done a disservice by relying upon lines like "It was rewarded. With pain." I know -- I know, because the story has demonstrated it already! -- that it's capable of more, and while this particular instance of pain won't stick with me, that image of the unshaven man certainly will. Show me the specifics and I'll be with you all the way!
    In the end, I'd call this a strong story that fixed its gaze on a terrible memory and refused to look away. Great, great work from someone who promises to be a new talent in the Writing Challenges!
    "Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius"
    Writer's Character: Idril Mar
    Judge's Character: Sal Taybrim
    This was a moody little piece; full of great imagery and a neat little folk tale tie in. I like the language in the piece. It had a nice, readable cadence and the easygoing style of a folk tale or a ghost story told around the campfire. Full of little details like the union jack on the uniforms, this was a fun piece that I enjoyed reading.
    In the end I found myself wanting this story to be longer. While it was a solid entry, it did not put shivers down my spine because it didn’t have much suspense or build up. As a folk tale it works well, but as a scary story it needs to slow down and indulge in the fear of a massive battle against a vicious enemy. I also think this story could use more characterization. We know enough about the main character to like him – the little details draw us in and make him seem realistic. But he needs to face more conflict, get pushed to the edge of fear and still persevere. Make your reader’s heart pound a little, make them wonder if the protagonist will survive before the tale wraps up.
    Again, a nicely readable little piece that could be expanded with just a little effort into an excellent stand alone tale. This one has a lot of potential and strength!
    "Dawn’s Early Light"
    Writer's Character: Hannibal Parker
    Judge's Character: Sal Taybrim
    This story is highly evocative in its scenic portrayal of war. The description is tight and the story flows smoothly. The writer displays a solid command of military knowledge and it reads like watching a documentary of a historical battle.
    Unfortunately the greatest strength of this story also reveals its greatest weakness. The ‘documentary’ feeling allows an excellent overview of a battle, and a strong plotline, but along the way we develop no empathy for any of the characters. Usually the death of a struggling young Ensign would be a minor tragedy, and the heroic wishes of an up and coming Sergeant would be a building character draw. But both of these feel like footnotes to a history book rather than character revelations that draw a reader in.
    This story displays a common problem with posts-submitted-as-stories: the reader is not given enough reason to care about the characters. I understand that players in sims care deeply about the characters they sim with because they have had months, sometimes years to form bonds with those characters. But as a stand alone story your characters are what will drive your readers’ interest. You must build empathy for your characters or you will quickly lose the reader’s interest no matter how evocative your settings are or how well constructed the plot is.
    Strong characterization builds suspense and desire to keep reading – that feeling that the reader ‘has to keep turning the page.’ I found myself wanting a reason to root for the marines, other than the fact that ‘they were humans.’
    This was cleanly written and the language was easy to read. I can see how it would make a strong game post for readers who were already deeply committed to the main character, but as a stand alone piece you need to reveal the thoughts, feelings, goals, desires and narrative of your main character so the audience has a reason to really be invested in whether or not he lives or dies.

    "A smile is full of teeth"

    Writer's Character: Marcus Dickens

    Judge's Character: Toni Turner

    "A smile is full of teeth" is a fast paced, well-written story chronicling the study of a new reptilian species as it teaches its offspring the finer points of survival. (I'm putting that very mildly.)
    Marcus draws the reader in on the premis that his Captain Rashuu is taking a team to make a diplomatic call on the species, but when he fails to introduce his security officer as such, he tips the reader off that something is amiss. And with that now firmly in mind the reader is reminded of the theme and anticipates the "chill" that they are suppose to feel when the punch line is delivered. For impact on the punch line, it may have been better to make the readers forget the theme, than to remind them.
    As the team separates, the doctor and security officer go to view the offspring. The descriptions of the bloodthirsty varmints were vivid enough, and some what frightening. At least enough to make the medical officer heave the contents of his stomach onto the floor, and graphic enough to believe the host cleaned it up to study their guests which was another tip off to their fate.
    When Marcus cut back to the Captain and the science officer who had gone with their hosts for refreshment, chills didn't run up my spine, but rather I had an overwhelming urge to burst into laughter.
    Well done, Marcus! Very... um ... very entertaining story.
    "Blunt Forces"
    Writer's Character: Atherton Grix
    Judge's Character: Akeelah D'Sena
    This story evolving around Cadet Ellen Cain is something most Starfleet Officers have been through: the question if one is ready for this 'real world' out there on a ship or not. The doubt and struggle with the things that still have to be learned is easy to identify with. In addition, also picturing a scene that everyone, be it officer or not, will have to face: an obstacle that feels impossible to overcome and having no choice but face it.
    Atherton Grix has done a good job trying to bring the main character of Ellen closer to the reader and sympathize with the cadet when she fights the overpowering enemy, gets thrown into duty to find a solution, while she is not sure she is ready for the task and to overcome her fears and set habits of action.
    Commander Herodion on the other hand is more of a supporting actor. We do not hear much of her back-story other than she is an ex Marine Captain who constantly seems to save Ellen from being killed. It would have been nice to see a little more characterization of this character, to make her appear less like a holodeck character that only is there to give the story a frame.
    I did enjoy the flashback in between to give us a little more background about what happened in the first part of the story, and will happen in the third. It gives the story a little more depths and gave Atherton the chance to describe the character, thoughts and feelings of Ellen a little more than it would have been possible in the action scenes.
    I did have to read several parts a few times, because of very long sentences and very little punctuations. That made it difficult for me to really get into the story, because I had to think about the meaning of things depending on where I'd put a (missing) comma. Also the one or other word seemed to not be fitting, though could be guessed in context. Maybe with a little more experience in both of these areas it will be much easier to read and to follow without interruptions, which will make the story flow better.
    While the story was set in a scenario every one of us might experience in either Roleplay or in the figurative sense in Real Life, it was more of an action and experience piece to me, than a chill causing one. But for the felt genre it has been a good story, that would make me curious what became of Ellen after she has jumped head on into her new experience. Especially the open end of the possible dangers still luring in the dark invites a second part to be written.
    I have finished the piece with a smile, reading the little bantering between cadet and commander, showing that even in the fearful atmosphere we can find something to smile about.
    "Her Greatest Fear"
    Writer's Character: Rune Jolara
    Judge's Character: Ren Rennyn
    Rune Jolara's flashback to a horrible experience of her youth is a feast of horror for the senses.
    The story makes no attempt to define its character or present location at the beginning. That became an asset. The language of the opening speech sets up the coming flashback and gives just a glimpse of how Rune feels about what she is remembering. The sense of dread felt by her 16-year-old self was obviously still felt years later, and as a reader, I felt it too.
    That feeling continued to grow as Rune was subjected to shockingly extreme treatment. Every sense was engaged. As she felt, saw, heard and even tasted one awful thing after another, I felt it too. The entire experience of the attendants' attempt to break Rune down, to numb her, was described in one sensory image after another. It is beautifully described, and leaves a tangible impression of what she went through.
    "Her vision exploded into a kaleidescope of colors and confusion." - That phrase in particular jumped off the page at me.
    The reasons for Rune's rough treatment at the Attitude Readjustment Center become apparent when, at the end, we learn where she is in the present, and to whom she is relating this disturbing memory. This was a perfect bookend to the suspense of not knowing who she was talking to at the beginning of the story.
    As a self-contained unit, the story might have been improved by spending a little more time describing the reason for Rune's "adjustment," how she feels about it now, and perhaps giving a little more explanation of Rune's relationship with Dura Refa, and Refa's motivations for turning on Rune.
    As a feast for the senses, the story touched on every nerve, and succeeded admirably in conveying the feelings of pain, panic and more.
    "The touch of the Sleeper"
    Writer's Character: Della Vetri
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    This is a solid story, a double-braid that considers two archaeotechnology specialists on the one hand and their subject on the other. Perhaps it's the theme or the time of year, but I saw this as a nice riff on Frankenstein's basic territory, and it was a pleasant little riff! There's a good escalation of tension throughout the piece, and it's handled well: I felt the sort of full-body realization of my heartbeat that means that what I'm reading is doing a good job of scaring me -- or at least signaling to me that it's about to do so. The exposition was handled well, and the proportions of the braids seemed appropriate: It was much easier for me to get into the heads of Helena and Yuri than to connect with their subject (who I shall call, as in the title, "the Sleeper"), though I also applaud the choice of the braid, as knowing the Sleeper intimately was something I was privileged to know as a reader and it helped round out a story that might otherwise have otherwise revolved around the scans of the two scientists. By the end, I'm ready for the Sleeper's revelation in the final section, and I was pleased with that end.
    My major quibble with this story is that it didn't end there! The last part of that final line -- "...but there was no hint of anything but almost mindless dedication to the task at hand and a total disregard of the fact that simply fulfilling their assigned role was going to leave almost the entire population extinct" -- is the sort of existentially terrifying (literally!) line that I thought this story was going to end with, but then we came back to Yuri and Helena one more time. In my mind, the story really belonged to the Sleeper; Yuri and Helena were really devices by which the story explored it, and even though we spent less time in the POV of the Sleeper (which, as above, is a choice I applaud), I was certain that this story was going to end me with the Sleeper. For future stories, I'd challenge this author to consider what the story's accomplishment and focus would like to be by its end. If, here, those were answered by the story of Yuri and Helena and the Sleeper was secondary, then the return to their braid was a good choice -- but if the Sleeper was the stronger presence and its awakening was more central, then I would abstract that into a general guideline to end with the strongest character.
    One more small note: Yikes! Science fiction racism! I'm always a little uncomfortable when Federation members (especially leading Daystrom scientists!) begin speaking in this way (with regard to the Ferengi), as it strikes me as something that would have been left far behind us. My advice here: Don't do it.
    Again, I thought this was a really solid story with some excellent tension, a strong choice for its structure, and a compelling throughline that kept me fully present in its world. Excellent work, and I look forward to reading more!
    "Horrifying Flashback"
    Writer's Character: Gwen Gardener
    Judge's Character: Cassandra Egan Manno
    This story is a good example of flash fiction, which some might define (rigidly) as a story of less than 300 words. Though "Horrifying Flashback" clocks in at just over that (343 words), I'd still call its intent that of a piece of flash fiction: It's attempting to tell a full story in a very limited space. It succeeds there, because it packs a whole lot of time, action, and events into its 343 words. However, in this case, I would have recommended a longer story to give this narrative the space it would seem to deserve.
    "Flashback," as a term, does connote something brief, perhaps instantaneous, and I congratulate the author for extending that idea into the story's brevity. I wasn't convinced that there was anything more flashback-like about the story, though, and I would challenge the author to especially consider the senses: What did Aurora see? What could she touch? What did she hear, taste, smell? Then, move beyond that: Does she remember a particular flash of a pain (and if so, describe that moment!), or perhaps a scent that seems incongruous given her incarceration and reminds her of something beyond the cage (and if so, what is it? What does it remind her of?). Put me more in those moments, and the experience of the story will ultimately be more gratifying.
    The good news for "Horrifying Flashback" is that, as it's presented, it's a good summary or outline for the true story. Expanding upon what's here, engaging the senses, and really capturing the reader on a visceral, emotional level will be what really make things work here -- and I think that a retelling of these events, greatly expanded in those ways, would be a fine entrant in a future Writing Challenge!
    "Heritage of the Lost"
    Writer's Character: Nathaniel Wilmer
    Judge's Character: Toni Turner
    Mr. Wilmer's story was one full of sentences that kept the reader anticipating what would be in the next. Dropping the descriptions of Charlotte Farnsworth's life in between the the status of the antiquated house played well throughout the story, and made the reader want to know more about her, and of her mad grandfather.
    Wilmer's strong command of the English language, grabbed this reader's attention and never failed to deliver the unwritten promise of the drama and suspense of Charlotte's heritage, and when the end came, all he had written came to life all over again. “Trelane.” Charlotte choked on the name. “Your name… is… Trelane….” And there was no question (or question mark) or doubt as to the identity of the specter who dwell within the pistol.
    Very well played! An excellent read.
    "Dressed to Kill...Part Two"
    Writer's Character: Hannibal Parker
    Judge's Character: Akeelah D'Sena
    This story reminded me of a female version of a bigger and badder version of James Bond, from the get go. Kamela is sexy, confident, focused on her job and deadly. She has a plan set in mind, and did not bat an eye to go through with it, after all it was her job.
    It was an easy read and did flow from start to end. The choice of words and structure made it easy enough to follow the story and dive in without the need to stop and wonder or sort out things oneself.
    Hannibal did a great job with describing the scene, locations and atmosphere. I could see it all in my mind, imagine the details, the loud music and lights, even the ugly pig like face of Treudeau, who is the archetype of the disgusting dealer, from his attire, over the women surrounding him to the bad breath and his believe he gets whatever he wants, because he has the money to buy it. The story succeeded to activate the mind-cinema and pull me along the story-line.
    That being said, I did not have any chills reading the story, apart from the thought of being in that cold water in the night. To me this story reads more like an action flick. The perfect secret agent movie with a little twist of a rarely seen female action hero.
    I would have wished to see a big longer part about Kamela finishing her actual job, which to me looked more like a side note than the highlight of her task. Though just when I thought that this had been too easy, and that she was being too sure of herself with too little problems in the execution of her plan, Hanniball threw a curveball, and the well laid out plan of escape was destroyed.
    I did enjoy the twist, when Kamela suddenly had to cope on her own fearing for her life. I would have enjoyed feeling a bit more of her fears, though. She obviously had those, but were a little too superficial for my taste. Exploring on those a little more through the whole story would have helped to be pulled into the story a little more.
    "Dust in the Wind"
    Writer's Character: Irina Pavlova
    Judge's Character: Ren Rennyn
    I always thought I wanted to go to Ba'ku. This story may have changed my mind.
    Pleasantly disturbing imagery runs through this tale of dashed hopes and spoiled plans. The descriptions - those descriptions! - of Irina's body decaying around her certainly Ran Shivers Down My Spine. This month's contest theme was certainly exemplified in this story.
    Body horror is the use of graphic images to describe anatomical decay. The idea is to make the audience imagine what it would be like if that happened to them. This story succeeds by showing the destruction of Irina's body from her perspective, right down to the bones. Instead of watching this process from an external vantage point, the reader is part of Irina's terrible experience.
    Another benefit of this story is its setting. This horrifying event takes place in a well-known paradise. The inclusion of Irina's young daughter as a witness clinches the terror. The story was chilling.
    There are a few typographical errors that could have been corrected before submission. These are minor. The story itself is a strong example of using an established character to tell a stand-alone story. All elements of Irina's past that needed to be understood for context were explained within the story.
    The science fiction elements at work here really cemented this as a Star Trek story, much to my delight. The events of Irina's life are inextricable from the universe we write in, and the story derives from elements - transporters, Ba'ku - that are unique to Star Trek. This is a strength I would look forward to seeing more of in future entries.
    I will add that I leave this story with a slight fear that the cones in my eyes will be fused by radiation. That is another shiver down my spine. Well done!
  11. Thank you to each of our many entrants in this round! The judges were extremely pleased with your efforts, and though we had five judges for eleven entries(!), that didn't make deciding upon a winner any easier. But, just in time for Halloween, I'm proud to bring you the results of the "Run Shivers Down My Spine" Writing Challenge for September and October 2014!

    Our winner, with his story "Heritage of the Lost," is the writer behind Nathaniel Wilmer! We have a rare situation with our runner-up: Our judges rankings' resulted in a tie, which means we have two stories and two writers who will share the honor: "The Touch of the Sleeper," by the writer behind Della Vetri, and "The Last Night on Lookout," by the writer behind Leland Bishop. Congratulations to these three writers and to the rest of our fine entrants!

    I'd like to recognize my fellow judges for this round: the writers behinds Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Lieutenant Commander Sal Taybrim, Lieutenant Ren Rennyn, and special guest Lieutenant Commander Akeelah D'Sena. Each of them worked hard to make sure that their reviews were thoughtful and detailed and that their rankings were especially well-considered, given the number of stories, and that they were all submitted prior to Halloween. My thanks to them!

    EDIT: Please also look out for our free, downloadable Writing Challenge collection, coming on Halloween!

  12. I may take a crack at this if I make it out of Acadamy unscathed tomorrow. A quick question? Just standard prose format is OK? Or did we nee to use SIM formatting?

    Standard prose is the norm for the Writing Challenges.

    Most writers do choose to skip sim formatting, but others don't -- take a look at our archives (including this year's!) to see some examples. Oh, and if you're feeling adventurous, feel free to play with formatting and do something wholly unexpected! The only hard-and-fast rules are the ones you see above, so everything else is open and ready to be played with.

  13. Now there are no rules for entering two of them..hmmmmm.......

    True! But there are no rules against entering multiple stories, either, and when the question was asked about a previous Challenge, I decided it'd be better to have more stories. If you want to enter multiple stories, go for it!

  14. Ooooh, this one has my name all over it. I've always enjoyed the darker side of trek and just might have to write two entires here, one for Irina, my current character, and one for something or someone far darker.

    Now...you know I can't just let you do this by yourself...dark is my middle name.....perhaps another early Hannibal exploit, or perhaps Kamela...maybe both.....

    I think I may have to do this one... saying it out loud in public kinda means I have to right?

    I want to read them all!! :w00t:

  15. As we leave summer and move towards the cool fall (for some, at least -- it was still over 100ºF for me today!), I ask you to throw your thoughts toward the future, and in the spirit of the maybe-not-so-distant-now Halloween, consider our newest Writing Challenge:


    Writes Jess, the writer behind Jalana Laxyn and the winner of our previous Challenge, For the next challenge I would like to see something that would run shivers down our spines. Be it something unbelievable, something so touching one gets goosebumps, something so cruel you want to scream, or is it something spooky? What causes shivers for you?

    Surely there are no shortage of things to trigger your fears from Trek, whether you tend toward the bombastic villains of TOS, the body horror and loss of freedom that the Borg bring, or the frightening clash of political ideology in DS9. But what else might you write? What other fears lurk in the shadows of Trek? As Jess asks, what makes you shiver? We look forward to finding out!

    As of today, Wednesday, September 3rd, this Challenge is open! We'll ask that all of your submissions come in by Saturday, October 25th -- enough time for the judges to convene and to reveal our Master of Chills and Shivers on Halloween itself!

    As always, please remember:
    *Your work must be completely original.
    *You must be the sole author of the work.
    *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters.
    *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.
    *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words.
    For any questions you might have, remember that you can always post questions to this thread or visit the Writing Challenge website. Please also take a look at our new wiki page! And don't forget to get your copy of our mobile compendium of the July & August Challenge!
    Good luck!
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