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[2005: APR-MAY] Feedback

Rocar Drawoh

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“The Art of Deception" -- LtCmd Jalek Trollin (Jalek)

LtCmd Trollin’s story of a Romulan commander in the fight of his life is compelling, especially since we don’t realize that it is a holodeck simulation. Tromlin deals with writing a tactical space battle brilliantly. The reader can actually picture the events as if it were a Romulan vessel in combat on a TV screen and this is a good achievement as space battles when confined to writing for characters on the Bridge of a vessel are often one of the things that writers find difficult to sim/write descriptions of.

However, is it really a story of deception? Although well written, this story could have made greater use of the “deception” aspect of the writing challenge. As a reader we do not find out that this is a holodeck till the very end and as such the deception is weakened from being the central aspect of the story. Likewise is the Romulan commander’s willingness to sacrifice himself and his ship to destroy his enemy a deception or a tactical maneuver to destroy a superior foe.

"Graduation Day" -- Lt(jg) Ben Walker

Lt. Walker’s story is about the graduation of the son of the Federation ambassador to Romulus from the Tal’Shiar Academy. This is the classic story of a double-cross, a deception within a deception and, in a way that the other stories do not, the deception is the pivotal factor in the plotline. The story is believable, especially the Commandant’s actions to rid himself of a cadet that was obviously forced on him. From the very notion of a Federation citizen at the Tal’Shiar Academy this is full of betrayal and once the reader finds out about both the commandant and the cadet’s actions it becomes clear that the story does not lack in deception either. There is the deception of the idol to deliver, the deception of the cadets trying to stop him, and finally the deception of all of them in Walker’s own double-cross. This deception is echoed perfectly in the writing style which is deliberately tricky and serves to amplify the trickiness and deception on which the story is based. A strong contender for winner, my only concern was that the commandant of the Tal Shiar could be so careless as to make such a foolish mistake in the face of someone trained in deceitfulness … why would the Commandant turn on something from someone he knew he had betrayed and something that he knew had ‘near-lethal’ gas?

"A Romulan Tale" -- Lt. Michael Soul (Devlin)

Lt. Soul’s entry (Devlin) is about a narrowly averted war between the Romulan and Klingon Empires. It has the core of a good spy story. The deception comes in with a faked attack by a Klingon ship upon the main characters’ Romulan vessel. The content of the story is quite good, though there are a few little factors I’m not sure would fit in a star trek setting (for example would a Starfleet Captain allow Romulans and Klingons (or even his own security staff) to bring phasers into a trade conference on his ship? [see start of story]) The deception/betrayal aspect of the short story was clear and the ending nicely showed love prevailing despite betrayal, deception and resulting death, however the suspicion of the Chief Engineer is a little forced and the reader is left wondering why she would send the information that is nothing more than her own suspicion and the computer analysis of Klingon attack patterns on to the fleet headquarters? Likewise they perhaps move to destroy the offenders too quickly? It certainly has a good deception, but these issues are less believable than they might have been with a little more elaboration

It is a shame that a few little typos detract from the story slightly (e.g. Writing “How” instead of “Her” and using “Are” instead of “Our”,) and this could have been avoided with a final proof read. It was nice to see Tomalak being used (a canon Romulan Commander that appeared several times in TNG… and indeed later as having been pro-consul in some star trek novels [though they are not a canon source]) There is much merit in the stories subject matter and it was good to see use of the Romulan race (with attention to detail to their ranks and social structures.) .

"A Betrayal of Faith" -- Cadet Da'Mell Bareil

Cadet Bareil’s entry, like many stories of the Bajoran people, deals with the aftereffects of the Occupation on society and tells of the near-betrayal of a young Cardassian/Bajoran hybrid by a religious mentor.

An excellent submission to the Writing Challenge, especially from a Cadet! Bareil is clearly a strong writer and I hope he’ll enter this competition again having made Ensign! The story was in the familiar setting of post-occupation Bajor and this always makes for an enjoyable read as it is an environment many Star Trek readers are familiar with. Still a Star Trek setting, it has that element of excitement in ruin that allows for all sorts of plots. What Bareil does well it to create a sense of support for his character. Bajor ought to be spelt without an –e on the end, but otherwise the grammar and spelling were good. As in Lt.Cmdr Devar’s story the flash back memories and skips to the present keep the story exciting and Cadet Bareil exercises it well to build up to an unexpected twist at the end –a welcome addition to any story and in this case I twist that I really did not see coming!! Perhaps concentrating more on betrayal than on deceit that is one of the few criticisms that can be made about this submission. A good story and is certainly a turn at the end where it is the Vedek who is the insane one, rather than the upset father.

"Full Moon" -- Lt. Simon Rocket (Rocket)

Lt. Rocket’s Epic-tale really falls because of its length. In all walks of RL, when submitting a piece of writing the upper word limit needs to be observed –to write three times over limit in a formal examination or essay assessment in college or university would been heavily penalised regardless of the contents merit. Rocket’s story, albeit a little too long, certainly had some strong points and originality. Especially impressive from a player whose mother tongue is not English; this piece would have benefited from more narrowing down to exemplify the overall direction of the story as it tends to lack deception at all, except in a very peripheral sense.

"Taia and Kaia" -- LtCmd Alana Devar

LtCmd Devar’s entry deals with identical twins that were separated as children, with one going on to a Starfleet career and the other into the Maquis. Another fine example of the high quality writing that many of us have come to expect from Alana Devar. Following the timeless classic storyline of two twins following different paths, and switched identities. At first it reminded me of a DS9 episode where Thomas Riker poses as William Riker, however Alana certainly makes it her own as she focuses on the emotions of a betrayal rather than the details of how deception is achieved. Such emotional writing really is a pleasure to read. Likewise, the overall structure of the story was particularly neat, rather than following an obvious linear pattern the reader is treated to jumps back and forth through memories to the present, all the while using a nice mix of narrative and dialogue, however the different sections of the story did seem to either be predominantly dialogue or predominantly narrative description.

Although a clear story of betrayal, I’d have to say that the deceit elements could have been explored a little more: The two sisters agreed to switch places for the day because: “Kaia needed to obtain some medicine for the Bajoran people from her husband’s village who were suffering a deadly epidemic brought on by the Cardassians.” However, the reader is perhaps left wondering why the Federation did not offer aid or even why Taia the Starfleet officer did not simply provide medicine for her sister’s village. The deception here is secondary to the plot, which is really about the betrayal of one sister by the other in order to further the aims of the Maquis with access to the technology and medical supplies of Starfleet. Deception comes in as the Maquis sister replaces the other one, finally killing her in a staged escape attempt. However, the story revolves not around the deception but around the betrayal; all of the emotions, which Alana is so good at writing about, are centered on this and not on the deception.

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