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[2005: JUN-JUL] Feedback

Rocar Drawoh

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Honour - Honour is an ephemeral thing. The word means one thing to some (Klingons) and something completely different to others (Ferengi). Show us a form of honour that we may not have seen before, or give us a fresh perspective on a form of honour we're familiar with. Try and stretch yourself by writing something you would have never tried before. Use images you wouldn't consider in SIM. Wow us!

In this months writing task, Honour is described as “ephemeral” -a markedly short-lived thing. As such I was looking for a story that would offer a new perspective of honour through the eyes of a chosen race or character and I also expected a brief examination of how such honour could be lasting for a markedly brief time ie. Appropriate to the timeframe covered by the story.

The importance of the word

By Lt. Kalin Terpes (Kodiak)

This is a good attempt at a story set during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor and features the concept of collaborators betraying their own people’s freedom fighters. I liked the idea behind the story and could easily picture the setting and characters involved. Although not a bad effort, the story is weakened by certain grammatical errors. Areas the writer may wish to revise if he wishes to improve his writing in English would be construction of the pluperfect tense (i.e. “have come” not “have came”) conjugation of irregular verbs such as “to do” and the distinction between these and those. Whilst stories should be the entrants own work without co-authoring, I do not see any harm in foreign players asking someone to check their writing for grammatical or spelling errors (providing no content is changed.) A trusting Bajoran in this time setting was a little questionable, though on the other hand it was nice to see the concept of “family guilt” which is a long established narrative tradition dating back to the Oedipus cycle and Cain and Abel. In terms of writing style, I would suggest including more descriptions of the surrounding environment and other characters in between the dialogue –perhaps descriptions of the different characters reactions to what is being said. This would make it easier to follow which line of direct speech belonged to which character and improve the piece considerably.

At What Cost, Honor? The neo-purist attack on Trill

By Lt. Sakorra Jefferson Reed (Kodiak) / Ensign Kiarna Taiven Currently assigned to Trill homeworld.

Telling the tale of a neo-purist attack on a joined trill, this story was very high powered throughout. What struck me most about this piece was the excellent and realistic depiction of family life. Very quickly we had a good feel, not just for the protagonist but also a clear idea of each character’s own traits. The style of writing read smoothly in almost flawless language though the writer should watch out for the very occasional colloquialisms e.g. “in the past years since she’d first went into Starfleet”

Set around the story of a young Starfleet officer returning home, her situation and the families reaction to her is a sensation known to all who stay away too long, adding an air of realism. In terms of the Star Treksci-fi setting I enjoyed the writer’s nice attention to details, for example the technology announcing the children but also the personal side of the character, for example why people chose names for their kids.

For non-trill experts such as myself, this story includes a good and concisely clear explanation of neo-purism on the trill homeworld. The setting (both planet and political situation,) was similar to a recent winning piece sometime ago and makes for an intriguing setting.

Whilst the narrative and the characters already made for an excellent piece, it also picked up many points for the honour contained within the story –entwining the topic of honour in a greater variety of different ways to the other contenders. We see how the honour of being joined prevails despite dissident public opinion (and perhaps a hint of how the public view of it as an honour is short-lived.) Whilst our protagonist is Ensign Kiarna Taiven; it is in her sister Jandra Zak that the reader sees honour depicted as an ephemeral thing: She has the honour of hosting Zak and yet is caused to reject the symbiot before her time –the honourable experience has been short lived and the Zak worm is removed so that the smbiont survives at the cost of the hosts life. Jandra and Kiarna both act with traditional honour for the greater good of the symbiont worm and allow this removal to happen, yet this acting on traditional honour is also ephemeral as Jandra changes her opinion shortly after Zak’s removal. Finally with a subtle narrative twist, the writer suggest that the Neo-terrorists might have been slaughtering their own for the: “honor and glory of Trill” yet all the while the trill hosts felt the honour of being joined and Kiarna feels honoured to have had a sister Taiven.

Not only to we get an insight to a canon star trek race’s definition of honour but we also see how the honour can be shortlived and we see honour in terms of different individuals definitions of honour. A thoroughly successful piece that lives up to all criteria of this month’s challenge, is well written and yet it does two further things that are a feature of successful short stories: it leaves the ending open slightly and the reader wondering what happens next on trill/to the family but it also succeeds in feeling like an entire epic novel in under 3000 words of a text. A first class effort and beautiful piece of writing.

"Honour his Memory"

By Lt Deran Beq (Steadfast)

A well written piece with a good topic and excellent choice of setting, this piece would have been a strong contender but for the fact that it over-stepped the word limit by nearly half! The judge have been strict about this in the past and thus we ought to be again, as stated I’ve in previous competitions feedback: in all walks of RL, when submitting a piece of writing the upper word limit needs to be observed –to write over limit in a formal examination or essay assessment in college or university would been heavily penalised regardless of the contents merit. Lt Beq’s story, albeit a little too long, certainly had some strong points and originality.

Again featuring a strong family motive, we get a good insight into the characters love for her husband and child. Her ordeal in face of the Borg attack on the El-aurians would indeed be truly horrific and what is good is the contrast featured in Beq’s life before, during and after the confrontation with the Borg.

Whilst first part sets pre-borg friend and family life, I found the section a little over detailed and once in the shopping mall verging in being almost tedious in description. Despite this, the piece picked up point with good details –for example mentioning Lasers rather than phasers so as to capture the Captain Pike era time frame for when and feels a little like a film such as independence day. The writer skilfully changes the mood from everyday life and “girly shopping” to “run for your life action.”

In terms of written English (presumably Canadians I would guess from the spellings?!) the very occasional grammatical error crept in to weaken the story, for example “drug” instead of “dragged” and more commonly “your” often slipping in to the text instead of “you are” or “you’re” and general confusion between when to use “its” and when to use “it’s.” Despite these discrepancies, this was a Good story and offered a well written analysis of loss and insight to both character background and El-aurian history. In terms of honour, the writer offers an interesting conundrum and fresh perspective from the other stories: that of honouring a lost one. I liked the contrast between what others on the shuttle epected Beq to do and what she felt she could do -this indeed would have been a very strong contender if it had not failed because of its length


By Lt.Jg Ethan Brice (Independence)

What stood out in this story was that the writer was either very well versed with fine details of Star Trek Romulan facts or else had done his research well (both of which are highly commendable.) Never actually naming the planet Romulus in the piece, I have seen Ch’rihan named as the Romulan’s capital city and this features prominently in double brackets at the start. As such from the onset we can expect a tale of Romulan intrigue and honour clad deeds –we are not disappointed. Lt.Jg Brice’s attention to Romulan detail continues as we come across phrases such as “you fool” written in the Romulan (Rhiannsu?) language. This really adds nice authenticity, shows great research efforts by the writer (as I’m presuming he’s not fluent in the Romulan tongue,) and really helps make the stories setting. –It is this kind of Star Trek research before writing a sim or entry to the writing challenge that can really make your writing go a long way.

The writer offers an excellent narrative description of character, situation and setting. He has a wide range of high vocabulary and makes no spelling or grammatical errors what so ever [well except No spelling for counselled which has two Ls in British English {which the piece is written in} …but we’ll let him off ;o) ] Flawless in language use, the writer certainly has a flawless and elegant writing style.

With the first part of the story being a “Nightmare memory” we get a good feel for the narrative point that really adds to the stories content. With the title adoption, we are left wondering how the high drama disappearance of the protagonist’s children will lead to a form of adoption. As with Reed and Beq submissions, piece is Family based again (almost making “family” this month’s secondary leitmotiv,) and once again succeeds well with its description –we get a strong sense for Galan’s feelings towards his wife and the effect of his children’s disappearance.

Throughout the build-up is really excellent and yet the ending somewhat unpredictable –causing the reader to read on with intrigue. Our eagerness to find out how the mystery will end grows and grows as we find out the two young romulans have been found dead and the story finally concludes with an excellent ending that is left open to the reader for interpretation. Galan returns with a baby which he and is wife will adopt –presumably the ultimate honourable act after the romulan father acts on his parental honour and looks for his missing children. The question is as he stolen this baby, as he found it…or indeed has be brought back a child that his own children ran away to have together? The hint for this interpretation comes with the line: “They knew better then to venture from their rooms at night, not alone but together.” Though if this is the case then I feel the writer could have made the link a little clearer.

This piece is a beautifully written story –clever in its build-up, intrigue and readability and flawless in its use of language; however, I personally feel it could have made more of the theme of “honour” and explained its role in the story. Well written but not overly clear on honour, I think it is thus weaker than Reed’s entry which is also well written and I feel makes more of this completion’s honour theme and is a stronger contender for winner.

All That Has Been

By Lt.Jg Creed (Embassy)

This is a good tale of intrigue –who is this prisoner and what as he done? As the story starts out the prisoner is not like an individual but rather described as a possession (or bargaining tool). The writer cleverly describes the prisoner exchange up until we have two very different men sat in a shuttlecraft together with one clearly unwilling to talk the other not going to miss his last few hours of “free” -speech. And so gradually we find out more about the character and his background. We find out he is accused of terrorist bombs on the Kligon homeworld and yet as the story develops it is suggested that the man may be being falsely accused simply because he was a criminal in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps a topical RL theme for the writer to address through the medium of a Star Trek story, he slowly builds up descriptions of the prisoner until he stops being a possession and exists as one of the stories two key characters.

There are slight language errors, most of this could have been caught with a through proof read eg “Added the Chief with far too much enthusiasm than Commander Hart would have liked” rather than “Added the Chief with much more enthusiasm than…” or “you was too far ahead” rather than “you were too far ahead.” This weakened an otherwise well written story which really came into its element when it depicted the conversation between Captor and prisoner.

The ending brings in a good twists –the reader utterly convinced that the Starfleet officer is about to shoot the prisoner, but instead he lets him go. Both characters’ backstory is thus cleverly built up gradually until we have a full picture. We see the lack of Klingon honour (something they proudly claim to have,) in charging and innocent. We see the honour of a prisoner saving his captor rather than leaving him die and this echoes the honour with which he acted on Cardassia in the past (when he rescued people from a fire.) Then there’s the honour of letting an innocent man go because of what you owe him. The story has a good examination of honour and the writer is very skilful in how much he reveals about each character and at which point in the story he is going to reveal it. Thus well built up with cunning twists and cleverly constructed moments of suspense, Lt.Jg Creed succeeds in surprising the reader with his characters suddenly acting different to what you would presume at that point in the story.

One Knight

By Lt.Cmdr.Daydan Taboo (Independence)

Another very strong entry which as with Deran Beq’s entry I am presuming is designed to offer an insight into a primary character’s background story? These always may for exciting and insightful reads and Lt.Cmdr Taboo does not disappoint as he dishes up a very strong contender to be the winning piece.

I liked the way the story had a clear introduction followed by a flashback to what had happened to Lt.Cmdr Taboo on the Romulan Border. This was done well and the rest of the story is well written with hardly any errors. However despite being well written, the actual story line seems to be overly narcisstic with its focus on protagonist being the strongest of the story’s characters and having an ability to solve all the problems in their path. Of course, he is acting with honour and this style of story-focus always worked well enough for stories about Captain Kirk!

The writer is very skilled in mixing creativity with Star Trek knowledge –for example by mentioning the Kendra class bajoran ship… to my knowledge this class of ship is entirely made up by the writer and yet the name Kendra is taken from the canon name of a mountain range/ valley on Bajor. This gives the finer details of the writing an air of Star Trek believability even though they are entirely created by the writer and not strictly canon and is a nice technique to have included.

The story is about “The Guild “ being hired to rescue a single terran from a Romulan penal colony. What is missing is a brief explanation as to what “The Guild “ is and their motivation. I reader not in the know read on in suspense and yet its never satisfactorily explained. What is clear is that this mysterious Guild are not Starfleet in their approaches, particularly in the telepaths use of his ability to torture his captor in a way that shocks the unsuspecting reader nearly as much as it would the Romulan woman. Perhaps difficult for some readers to stomach, I’m not sure how much the explicit scene either adds or detracts from the main storyline. In contrast I found the descriptions of the Brig and the prisoner under his rags very well done and adding a certain believable element to the story. A beaten man in a cell joined by a kind hearted new prisoner baring chocoloate and acting with honour as he defends the weaker man from his captors.

As with Lt.Jg Brice’s piece, Taboo uses a little research to find out some Romulan language [though I suspect you used different online dictionaries ;o) ] and add a bit of authenticity. This attention to smaller detail add a great deal to the piece, although I’m afraid I couldn’t actually translate the entire romulan sentence :(

Once again, this piece offers up a different kind of honour to what we expect; described in the authors own words as: “honour far older than the Federation...Going back in time almost two thousand years. To always protect the weak and to honour courage.” Although this piece could have made more of the secondary characters, it is nicely written and addresses this months task well.

House Before Self

By Lt Nathan Baker (Steadfast)

Telling the tale of the IKS G’tag’s pre-empted attack on an enemy base in search of earning honour, this piece succeeded well at being very Klingon in style. However, I found the entry a little short, which was a shame as there were a few areas where it could have been expanded slightly. On the other hand, the Klingons are the Star Trek race automatically associated with concepts of honour and it was nice to see a writer tackle this association. Set during the Dominion war, this was certainly a setting known to many of us and the Klingons actions, albeit ill considered were certainly understandable and in keeping with that race’s tendencies.

Overall, The story was well written though had occasional errors in language –eg. “sitting” instead of “citing,” and perhaps a little too concise in length. Despite this, particularly nice were the klingon-like descriptions of the crew Bat’leth fighting in the messhall and the Klingon Captain drumming up enthusiasm and support from the crew before going into battle. A believable story of Klingon warriors in search of honour and nicely written.

Edited by Rocar Drawoh
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