Part of USS Odyssey: Into The Jaws of Death, Into The Mouth of Hell and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Diplomacy On All Levels

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Gradin Belt, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 77835.45
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Gazing out of the window, William Duncan-Court was mesmerised by the different swirls of red and orange that currently engulfed the Odyssey. This patch of space was filled with so many anomalies every day since their arrival he was sure he saw something different compared to the day before. 

“William?” Counsellor Horin called out for him. 

Snapping out of his staring, the teenager turned on his heel and looked at the Betazoid counsellor. “Sorry, counsellor, I wasn’t paying attention. What did you ask?”

Horin smiled from the sofa she currently sat on. “You were talking about how school was going well and I asked what you think was making it go so well?” 

“Oh right, yeah,” William said as he walked back to the other sofa he had initially been sitting on. His current weekly session with Counsellor Horin was like almost every other one he had attended since he arrived on the ship nearly ten months ago. “I like the class, and the teachers are nice.”

“And what about your classmates?” Horin quizzed.

“They’re nice too.” He answered.

“William,” She said with an almost irritated tone, “we’ve been speaking about this in your last few sessions about getting to know a few of them.”

“I have,” William replied, “they’re nice.”

Sighing softly, the trained and seasoned counsellor moved on, knowing she was fighting a battle that she would have to attack from another angle at a later stage. “Very well. Is there anything else you want to discuss today?”

Remembering something he did want to share, the teenager tried to appear helpful to the counsellor in his response. “Actually, yeah, going back to school. The other day in one of my sports lessons, Henri McCallister called me Will.”

“Oh?” Horin said, wondering if her patient was going to share anymore. “Are you and Henri playing sports outside of school?”

He shook his head, “No, that’s not it. It was just weird to hear him call me Will.”

“Why?” Horin asked. Deep down, she could sense it was on the tip of his tongue, and she could hear him almost screaming that he wanted to talk about it but was holding it all so close to him. “When did he say it to you? What were you doing?” 

“We were playing a game,” William answered as he paused, “I think it was soccer, and he wanted to pass the ball to me. I’ve never had anyone call me Will before.”

“How did it make you feel?”

“It was okay; I’ve just never had my name shortened before,” William answered.

Continuing to smile sweetly at him, Horin wondered where her patient was going with this revelation. “Well, shortening someone’s name, especially in a team game, can be seen as a sign of endearment. Henri was probably making a connection with you; how did you respond?”

Unsure of how to answer that, William shrugged his shoulders. “I got the ball from him after he passed it to him, and I scored a goal.”

“And what happened after that?” Horin interrogated further.

“Well, he cheered, ran over to me, picked me up, and then kissed me on the cheek before screaming more. Everyone on our team then came over and did the same thing. Henri then picked me up and put me on his shoulders.” William replied. “He kept cheering and screaming, and then the game finished, and he carried on carrying me until we got back to the changing rooms. Henri kept on complimenting me on getting the final goal.”

Chuckling at hearing that, Horin leant forward as she picked up her mug of hot chocolate. “Sounds like you made his day.”

“Does Henri have feelings for me then?” William asked in a deadpan but concerned tone.

Almost coughing up her drink from his expression, Horin placed her hand across her face as she took out a serviette and wiped her face carefully. She shook her head, “Without asking him outright, I don’t want to speak for him and say no outright, but from the sounds of it, he was being a true teammate and was expressing how happy your actions made him feel from that game. It must have been important to him.”

“He ended up following me around the cafeteria at lunch, then sat with me for the rest of our classes that day. Every so often, he kept hugging me and laughing at anything I said.” William said, sounding a bit uneasy about it all. 

Intrigued by his further comment, Horin relaxed in her chair and sipped on her mug before he said anything else. “You seem uncomfortable with that; why is that, William?”  

The teenager took a moment to think, “I suppose…I mean…I just guess….” He paused. “I’m not sure, to be honest.” He lingered a bit more before sharing more of his thoughts. “It’s not as if I didn’t appreciate it, and it’s not as if I don’t think he was being mean. Henri is a nice guy, and he’s always been considerate to me and Jordan since we came aboard. In fact, he and his brothers have always been kind to me and Jordan. I know Jordan spends a lot of time with Alfie, especially since they’re cadets together. I suppose I just wasn’t expecting it.”

“Henri is a good lad, and what I think you experienced is someone who was reaching out and wanting to be your friend at that moment. Have you spent time with Henri or his brothers outside of school?” Horin checked though she had an inkling that she knew the answer already.

“Well, there’s been a few times when our dads have made us meet up with them and their dad for like meals, and we’ve done a couple of visits to the holodeck,” William answered.

“Without your fathers, I meant,” Horin corrected him.

“Then no,” He answered flatly. 

Keeping her smile, Horin gave out more advice to the teenager. “So, why don’t you see if Henri wants to hang out just the two of you as friends?”

“Are you certain he doesn’t fancy me?” William checked. 

Chuckling, Horin shook her head. “Without you asking him outright, I can’t be certain but from the sounds of it I don’t think this is the case.” She paused, “Back to what you said earlier, though. Do you mind Henri calling you Will?”

He considered it for a moment, “I suppose not; it’s easier to say then, William.”

“Well, if you become close friends, you may develop a nickname for him,” Horin suggested. “Now, you mentioned before it all happened while you two were playing soccer. Did you know spectators can enjoy that game?”

“No?”

“Well, it’s like many sports; people from all races and cultures enjoy watching it as much as playing it. Why don’t you suggest to Henri that the two of you watch a match together, say on the holodeck? There’s plenty of options to pick from on the holodeck.” Horin suggested. 

“Yeah, I suppose,” William replied with a couple of nods. 

“Good. Are you going to the diplomatic function tonight?” Horin checked. 

He nodded, “Yeah, my dads are making me go.”

“Excellent, then I know Henri will be there with his father. Ask him there, and then as I am there too, I want you to let me know you’ve organised it before the reception ends.” Horin said, sounding more commanding than supportive. 

“Okay,” William agreed.

Horin made some notes on her PADD and then put it back down on the coffee table before them. “Is there anything else you want to discuss, William?”

Shaking his head, he replied with a simple no. “Are we done for this week?”

“There’s one more thing from last week I want to check in on,” Horin said. “We discussed last week that you want to know something from your past.”

William sighed, “Yeah, well, seeing as that’s never going to happen, why did I bother to bring it up?”

“There’s nothing wrong in bringing it up, William,” Horin assured him, “And I know Doctor Slyvexs has said that the extremely long time you spent in cryostasis has affected your long-term memory,”

“You mean it’s screwed it up and that it’s all pure blankness up there,” William interrupted before pointing to his forehead. 

“Your words, not mine,” Horin corrected him, “and I can sense those same feelings about this topic surfacing again, so I want to know if you did that exercise we spoke about to help you?”

“You mean, write that pretend letter?” William checked after a heavy groan.

“The letter to your mother where you express how you felt about the whole situation, yes,” Horin confirmed. “Did you do it?”

After a second, he knew he couldn’t lie to Horin. “No,” He sighed deeply.

“Why’s that?” 

“It’s a stupid idea.”

Surprised at how caviler he was, Horin leaned on the arm of the sofa. “Why is it stupid?” 

“It’s not as if she’s ever going to hear it,” He replied.

Appreciating the honesty, Horin understood where he was coming from. “Okay, what if you flipped it on its head and write it to your fathers instead?”

“Why?”

“Why not?” Horin encouraged him as she leant forward. “William, this is an essential part of you dealing with what happened. Sharing is vital to come to terms with what we’ve gone through. Now you may not want to write a letter to your mother, but if you put it in words to your fathers, they would be able to relate to you. They spent over two and half months with you, so they will understand on some level. Writing about it will help you see what you’re thinking and feeling. Then it will be up to you to share it with them.”

“Can I do it with you next week if I promise to ask Henri out to see a soccer match before next week’s session?” William tried to negotiate a deal. 

Horin relented and agreed with a nod. “Very well, Will.” She emphasised calling him by the shortened name he had spoken about earlier. 

Chuckling a bit, he thanked her for their time and the hot chocolate before standing up as their session ended. Walking him out towards the door, she reassured him that she was proud of how far he had come since she first met him. “You’re doing well, William, and as I’ve said before, take one step at a time.”

“Thank you, Counsellor.” He said with a friendly smile before he pressed the button to open the door. He was startled a bit by the sudden appearance of Commander Hunsen standing by the bulkhead near the doorframe. 

“Oh, oops, sorry,” The chief engineer said with a smile. “Hey, William, how are you doing?”

William looked at the counsellor and then back to Hunsen. “I’m good, thanks, sir.” He then made his way out down the corridor and towards the turbolift.

Hunsen watched the teenager for a bit before turning his focus back to Horin. “Hey,” He said with a smile.

“Hey,” She repeated back before heading back into her office, “you appear to be in a cheerful mood!”

Following her in, Hunsen allowed the door to close behind him before he spoke. “Well, is there a crime for me to be cheerful, Imzadi?”

“No,” Horin said as she went to the coffee table and picked up the empty mugs of hot chocolate before taking them over to the replicator to recycle. “That said, I’ve never seen you pull a double shift in engineering and come out of it appearing so…happy.”

“Well, I’m happy for several reasons,” Hunsen explained as he followed up behind her and placed his arms around her, “For one, the upgrades to the impulse manifolds went without a hitch, two I get to attend a state dinner and three I get to take the most beautiful woman in the galaxy to it.”

“Someone HAS had a good day,” Horin said after pressing the recycle button before turning around in Hunsen’s arms and placing her hands on his shoulders. “And I don’t think it’s a state dinner.”

“What are you talking about?” Hunsen said after Horin let go of him and broke free of his gentle grasp to carry on tidying up her office.

Turning back around as she moved her PADDS, Horin explained what she meant. “I mean, it’s not classed as a state dinner. I believe Craigen referred to it as a diplomatic function.”

“No, I’m sure Max told me it’s a state dinner. We’re having a meal with the head of state. It’s a state dinner.” Hunsen said.

Wincing at his words, Horin shook her head. “Chairperson Adale made it clear this isn’t a state visit; this Brenari colony doesn’t consider themselves the official government of the Brenari people.”

“So, do I still need to wear my dress uniform?” Hunsen checked.

“Yes!” Horin replied, “It’s still a diplomatic function!”

Hunsen sighed. “There are times I regret agreeing to be the third officer.”

“Imzadi, you know that’s a lie. You love it,” She said as he put the final of her things away and pulled on his hand. “Now come on, we need to change, and I’m sure I’ve got to replicate a new dress uniform for this bump!” She said, pointing to her abdomen and where her pregnancy was starting to show. 

“You look perfect to me!” Hunsen said in a charming tone. 

“Thank the four deities; you’re not the first officer; with cheesy lines like that, you would probably start an interstellar incident!” Horin chuckled as they left her office, hand in hand.


“Captain’s log, stardate seven-seven-eight-three-five point four-five. Since our rescue efforts of a Brenari refugee convoy out of chaotic space over a week ago, we have enjoyed learning more about these people. Their colony has become a sanctuary for those who have been able to escape the tyranny of the Devore Imperium. Hidden in a region of space they have called The Gaharey Sanctum, we have been cut off from Starfleet during this time due to the high levels of gaseous anomalies, radiation from supernova remnants and false vacuum fluctuations. There are also high levels of electromagnetic distortions, creating further interference with all long-range communications.  To ensure that Starfleet does not think we have been lost with all hands, I have sent Commander Banfield and Lieutenant Commander T’Rani out on the Telemachus to drop a communications relay on the edge of the Sanctum and send an update that we are currently mapping this area of space. We are not informing them of the Brenari colony until I am satisfied our messages aren’t intercepted by the Devore or any other aggressive neighbouring species. In the meantime, the crew have been invited by Chief Mayor Adale to join the Brenari for a monthly event called the Festival of Honesty.”


“Hey, dad, is this smart enough?” Henri asked as he stopped in the open doorway of his father’s bedroom. 

Looking away from the mirror he was using to dress himself in, Captain James McCallister turned around to see his son standing there looking extremely smart in an almost shiny dark blue suit with an open-collar black shirt. “Handsome, very handsome, Henri,” He replied as he finished doing up his dress uniform jacket. Noticing from his reflection in the mirror he hadn’t put his pips on, he turned to Henri and asked him to help him with it. 

Agreeing, Henri entered his father’s room and started to help place the pips on the jacket. “I would have thought the captain of the Odyssey would be used to dressing himself for this type of occasion.”

“Now behave,” James countered back to his son with a cheeky wink, “you’re starting to sound like your mother.”

“She used to moan about helping you put your pips on every time you wore this outfit,” Henri replied as he put the third one on. “And she’s right, you know?”

“About what?” James asked as he smoothed his jacket out. 

“You never think to put these on before you put the jacket on!” Henri chuckled as he put the last pip on. “Isn’t this your twelfth diplomatic function in the past four months?”

“Fifteenth, actually,” James corrected his son as he checked himself out in the mirror, ensuring the pips were in a straight line. Satisfied that his son had done a great job, he turned to him. “And who knows how many more before the end of this year! It’s a good thing I’ve got you to help me out with these,” He said, pointing to the four silver pips on his uniform. 

Henri just shook his head. “Well, at least this one might be fun.”

“Diplomatic functions aren’t meant to be fun, Henri. They’re meant to be informative and provide both parties with a chance to share in a social event that allows them to develop bridges of understanding.” James replied as he sat on the edge of his bed and started pulling his black, shiny, polished boots on. 

“I don’t see how us listening to an opera that no one could understand was beneficial to diplomatic efforts,” Henri stated bluntly.

“The Qomar’s musical development is something…different,” James admitted, referring to their visit to the Qomar Planetary Alliance several weeks ago. “Nevertheless, they’ve seen outsiders as inferior for a long time. Our return to the Delta Quadrant has meant they’ve been able to share their creative flare with those who exposed it to them in the first place. This is progress!

“Dad, their version of opera made Klingon Opera appear…calm,” Henri said, wincing at remembering the experience. “Now will this Festival of Truth-”

“Honesty,” James corrected his son as he put on the other boot.

“Yeah, Honesty, will it involve us having to listen to any singing?” Henri asked. 

Shrugging his shoulders, the captain answered his son honestly. “I don’t know; all I know is it’s something they’ve celebrated every month since they settled here.”

Rolling his eyes, Henri begged his father not to allow him to endure a repeat of what happened on the Qomar homeworld. “Please, dad, I don’t think I could cope.”

“Hey, I don’t often ask you and your brothers to join me for many things; lately, it’d be nice for us to spend the evening together putting the Federation’s best foot forward.” James returned. 

Groaning again, Henri placed his hands on his hips. “Dad, you’ve made us attend every single diplomatic function since Starfleet sent you on this goodwill tour of the Delta Quadrant,”      

“Oh, I’m so sorry for disturbing your precious social life fifteen times!” James stated after standing up from his bed. “How do I look?”

Henri looked at his dad and smiled. “Looking good, dad,” He said after calming his tone down. “The Federation President would approve.”

“I hope so,” James said with a smirk before checking himself out one more time in the mirror. “Come on, let’s see if your brothers are ready.”

Captain McCallister put his arm around his son’s shoulders as they walked out of his room together. They headed down the stairs to see if Alfie and Theo were ready for another round of diplomatic dialogue with the Delta Quadrant.


The door chime to his quarters went off, and Lieutenant Commander Flemen responded with a simple ‘come in’ in an annoyed tone. Wrestling his dress suit jacket, the diplomatic officer tried to pin his pips on but was struggling to get them to look straight as per expected regulations. 

“Craigen, where are you?” Lieutenant Commander Tomaz called out as he entered his friend’s quarters with his son S’Tem riding on his back. Tomaz was not alone. Walking behind him was Counsellor Samris. “Where is he?” Tomaz asked his friend.

Samris shrugged before they both heard a loud, aggravated groan from the bedroom. 

Entering the bedroom, they both found Flemen standing in his dress uniform, attempting to place his pips on while staring at his reflection but getting increasingly flustered with each try. His reactions made S’Tem laugh. 

“Why aren’t you ready yet?” Samris asked as he walked over to where Flemen stood and gestured an offer to help him. 

“I had to update the memo to everyone who was going tonight as, for some reason, some senior staff members thought it was a state dinner,” Flemen said as he winced at trying to get comfortable in his dress uniform jacket, “And I can never get this jacket done up properly.”

“Hold still,” Samris said as he helped his friend. “I told you the last time you should replicate a new dress uniform. This one does not fit you.”

“My dress uniform size has not changed since my days at the academy.” Flemen lightly protested.

Samris chuckled as he helped zip his friend up into his uniform, “Of course, it hasn’t, Craigen,” He said sarcastically. “Those extra workouts you’ve been doing lately have nothing to do with it.”

“Tomaz will back me up that having a strict workout regiment is important for success with the Command Program,” Flemen replied and looked over his shoulder for support from his other friend.

Tomaz shook his head, showing he wasn’t having any of that. “Nope, don’t try and get me involved with this one. You’ve been trying to keep up with Commander Lenjir in the gym, especially since that incident on the Pendari homeworld left you in that…awkward position. I told you before, that guy is a beefcake; you’ll never have the same physique as our chief security and tactical officer.”

“Hey, I can be a beefcake if I want to!” Flemen opposed with a smirk.

“More like chocolate cake,” Samris replied as he fixed the last pip onto Flemen’s collar. 

S’Tem laughed at Samris’ comment.

Flemen heard S’Tem’s reaction and threw his hands up for help towards the boy. “Hey, S’Tem, my little buddy, you’re meant to be on my side, not daddy’s side and especially not Uncle Samris!”

“I like chocolate cake, Uncle Craigen,” S’Tem said as he extended his hands out to be carried by the diplomatic officer. 

“Me too, unfortunately,” Flemen admitted as he took the young Romulan boy in his arms. Now ready for their diplomatic function, the three men made their way out of his quarters and towards the transporter room. 


“As ever, my dear, you look beautiful,” Mettex said as he walked arm-in-arm with his wife. 

“Always the charmer, Mettex,” Doctor Slyvexs replied with a smile in appreciation. “If only Starfleet made their dress uniforms to be a bit more flattering.”

“I think I preferred the older version, the first one you had after graduating from the academy. It showed your legs off well,” Mettex remarked with a wide grin. 

Chuckling at her husband, Slyvexs ignored that comment. “I hope you promise to be on your best behaviour this time, Mettex.” 

“I always am, my dear,” He replied. “I don’t know what you mean by that. Are you insinuating something?”

“I don’t think the captain appreciated having to defend why you added spices to your meal in front of the Kadi leader,” Slyvex reminded him as they turned a junction. 

“Kadi food was very bland, and I’m pretty certain Supreme Abbott Tomin agreed with me,” Mettex rebuttal. 

“It was meant to be bland, Mettex; the Kadi don’t believe in overpowering the senses,” Slyvexs said, rolling her eyes. “Anyway, remember the Brenari are an open culture, but that doesn’t mean you share everything with them.”

Realising his wife was warning him not to show her up in front of the rest of the crew, Mettex went along with it. “I won’t, my dear; anything else?”

“Just don’t ask that question you asked the captain the other day to any of them,” Slyvexs asked.

“I think it’s a legitimate question, Slyvexs,” Mettex objected, “who names a region of space after a word used by their oppressors which means ‘alien’.”

“I think the more appropriate definition is ‘outsider’,” Slyvexs replied, “the Brenari may have a sick sense of humour by using the term gaharey.”

“I’m not sure it’s appropriate to be ironic in such ways,” Mettex stated.

“Well, either way, just don’t ask why!” Slyvexs begged him.

“Okay, okay, I won’t ask it, but if they read my mind and I’m thinking it, then I can’t help it, my dear!” Mettex said as he held up his hands in surrender.

“Just don’t think about it then!” Slyvexs told him in a firmer tone as they reached the transporter room doors. She shook her head, hoping that she wasn’t about to walk into another diplomatic incident with her husband. 


“Now remember, Lukiz, keep us in a low orbit, make sure the upgrades to the impulse manifolds don’t come out of alignment and ensure our low warp profile is maintained,” Commander Duncan said as he walked down the corridor with Lieutenant Commander Jen beside him while his family was behind them.

“Max, I’m pretty certain Lukiz can command the vessel without us for a few hours,” Court said, showing his support for the operations officer before getting a smirk from Jordan. William was keeping to himself.  

Shooting his husband a look, Duncan then looked back at the joined Trill. “I know you can, Lukiz, and I know you’ve done it like a million times, but I know the captain is keen to ensure that our presence isn’t detected to avoid us having to set up a permanent defence grid here or help relocate the Brenari.”

Jen laughed before replying, “It’s okay, sir; I promise you we will keep everything in line while you’re having some fun at the Brenari. Lieutenant Marova is holding a steady hand at the helm, Lieutenant Jines is monitoring the manifolds, and Lieutenant Tierra is keeping an eye on the warp drive.” Noticing that the first officer was about to say something else, Jen jumped in before his superior had the chance for another word to come out of his mouth. “Before you say it, sir, Lieutenant Abbej is gleefully guarding over the sensors to ensure what we can see in this area is…well seen.”

Duncan gave out a sigh of relief. “I appreciate it, Lukiz; I really do.”

As they approached the transporter room, it was becoming quite busy, with a large crowd ready to beam down.

Captain McCallister stood in the centre; he turned to face the latest arrivals after hearing the doors hiss open. “All set and ready to go, Number One?” He asked Duncan. 

Duncan looked at Jen and nodded. “Commander Jen has everything in hand, sir.”

Lenjir interrupted them as he stepped forward from the corner he was hanging around by, “Sir, sorry to interrupt, but Lieutenant Jisaraa reports that the beam-in site is secure.”

McCallister sighed. “Cline, do we really need to have a protection detail with us?”

The tall, broad-shouldered Tiburonian looked at his commanding officer, “Sir, do I need to remind you about your altercation with the Lokirrim envoy? Or when Prelate Vinkar attempted to steal Penelope’s program from our database while we orbited Qomar? Or could I mention the Benkaran group that tried to mug Doctor Slyvexs? Or perhaps our favourite diplomatic mission when the Pendarian delegation kidnapped Lieutenant Commander Flemen and wanted to mate with him as they believed he was their messiah?”

Realising that Lenjir had a point, McCallister relented and gave up on his protest. “Very well, commander, but I’d like to point out that in every one of those situations, we were able to resolve them and in some way, they helped with our goodwill tour of the Delta Quadrant.”

“Craigen’s diplomatic overtures certainly helped our corner with the Pendari,” Court remarked with a chuckle.

“If memory serves me correctly when the Hazard Team rescued Craigen, I believe Lieutenant Keli’s words were that Craigen had no issues with the number of naked women and men that were trying to serve him,” Tomaz said with a cheeky smirk.

“As I said, his diplomatic overtures did help us.” Court stated with an extra chuckle. 

“Hey, I was considering the needs of the many!” Flemen said in his defence. 

“I thought you said it was more like infinitive diversity in infinite combinations?” Slyvexs asked, joining in with the banter. 

Hunsen then spoke up. “No, I think that was Lieutenant Keli’s report; she definitely said the Pendari were all in an infinite number of combinations when it came to the positions they found them in when Craigen was tied up to that sacred pole topless.”

“It was a holy totem, actually!” Flemen corrected the chief engineer.  

“Okay, okay, people, let’s stop tormenting Commander Flemen’s recent diplomatic…exchanges,” McCallister said as he considered the last word carefully (which resulted in further laughter from the group) before he looked back at Lenjir. “Point taken though, Cline.”

“Thank you, sir,” Lenjir said with a smirk. 

“Right then, Lieutenant Commander Jen, the ship is yours. Everyone else on the transporter pad,” McCallister ordered, “And let’s put the Federation’s best foot forward with the Brenari.”

“And try to keep it in your pants, Craigen!” Tomaz remarked with a further grin at his friend just as the captain said ‘energise’ to the transporter chief. The chuckles were suppressed by the transporter beam effect engulfing them all. 

Comments

  • I really like the fact that the Brenari refuge has named itself the "Gaharey Sanctum", hilarious to see such a giant F U to the Devore. The irony was not lost on the crew once I kept reading! The Odyssey gives out such a family vibe, very much like original concepts of the Galaxy-class; a giant floating city in space. It's very interesting to see childrens' perspectives being written about in this context. It feels accurate to me, too. They go about their lives doing normal kid stuff, unconcerned that they are in one of the most dangerous areas of the galaxy! It feels appropriate that the Odyssey is on diplomatic duty, and it's clear the crew being put through their paces by opera that puts the Klingons to shame. This makes for a very comprehensive introduction to the crew for readers joining the Odyssey story, and the little hints of past events that might have ended ignominiously paint a lively picture of a tight-knit starship that's very much a home for its crew. Definitely gives me warm fuzzy blanket feelings!

    November 2, 2022
  • Right off the bat: you win the award for the best Blood Dilithium mission title. Period dot. And I can say so OFFICIALLY, speaking for Task Force 17. As a kick-off chapter, you've captured my attention from the jump. I thoroughly enjoyed the whirlwind tour of the crew and as Mek described so insightfully, I looooooove the idea of a "Gaharey Sanctum"! The discussion of "William" being shortened to "Will" truly had me on the edge of my seat. I had to read the scene twice. At first glance, it seems like such an innocuous moment, but I can remember little things like that being so impactful as a teenager, and you did a truly magical job of teasing it out and exploring what it all means so naturally through the dialogue between them. I think I need counselor like Horin; she handled his flurry of mixed emotions so gracefully.

    November 3, 2022
  • Big chuckles at William throwing even Horin with his childish bluntness. I'm also enjoying his gentle, maladjusted alien-ness - his utter bewilderment at the casual socialising of teenagers. Horin and Hunsen are coming along nicely as a couple! I'm sure nothing horrid will happen to them. The montage of characters making ready for the dinner is very sweet; some firm relationships being shored up/reinforced/re-established as-necessary is effective. And I'm enjoying the references to hijinks over the past few months, it's working well. Looking forward to how this all goes horribly wrong at the Gaharey Sanctum (I'm with Mettex on this, and also, I love Mettex, he's the perfect level of adult who doesn't have to care about Starfleet shenanigans). Good stuff!

    November 3, 2022
  • This has that classic Act 1 series of snapshots to establish 'just another day' right at the start before the first whispers of something wrong and I enjoyed it! Glimpses into the lives of so many aboard Odyssey, recaps and hints of recent events showing that shenanigans aren't just a lower decks thing, but across the gamut of ranks too! Now with an average day established, we're gearing up for the pre-intro disaster right? Can't wait!

    November 3, 2022
  • I liked the interaction going on between William and the counselor, and how he is still learning. His confusion about if Henri 'likes' him more than a friend. I also enjoyed each scene of the crew getting ready for the diplomatic function, especially how Henri was moaning about being dragged along and how he said his father couldn't put his ranks on his uniform still. That cracked me up, I also enjoyed the end where they are waiting to beam down and the banter going on about the pervious missions and all the hijinks that happened was a nice touch. I am looking forward to seeing if this will go any better for them than the others.

    November 7, 2022