TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters (DONE)

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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby JM1776 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:16 pm

I'll take that as a compliment. 8)
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby KahlessOfVulcan » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:19 pm

AdmiralSirJohn wrote:
As for posting it, I have no objection. I'm sure you wouldn't be the first to call it a piece of crap. ::fd::


I've seen crap. This is NOT crap. :) I'm also looking forward to the denouement.

JM1776 wrote: I just know that certain internet denizens have nothing constructive to say ... and yet never STFU. Some of these enjoy reviewing fan fiction.


Dang, I hate people like that. If you don't have anything nice to say...don't say anything at all. Doesn't anyone get taught that anymore? Sheesh.

Oops, not trying to derail the thread, which is about John's excellent piece of writing. Like I said, I'm looking forward to seeing everything wrapped up. It really has been a great story so far, so keep it up, Admiral!
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby JM1776 » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:26 pm

Well, I'll certainly give my traditional three-word review as a prelude, and hopefully thereby set everyone's mind at ease:

Dudley Moore was once asked about what it was like making love to Susan Anton. His succinct response?

"It doesn't suck."

Neither does this.
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby AdmiralSirJohn » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:34 pm

*Whew!*

And, officially, as of now, I'm opening FOB Gwalior to anyone who wants turn this into another group effort. If you'd like to claim one of the ships being sent to relieve Enterprise, Marshal Martz, Kumari and Espero (the latter may be returning), feel free to post here in this thread or start a new one.

The working title is STAR TREK: CITADEL, but I'm happy to change it if something more appropriate presents itself.
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby captainuniverse » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:49 pm

If you could get me some info on the Espero, I might be willing to come up with something for that ship if you'd like. \Y/
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby AdmiralSirJohn » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:58 pm

She's a standard Defiant, really. Beyond that, you're welcome to run with it, though you'll want to read the next section first.

And I'll be posting the denouement tomorrow or Saturday.
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby AdmiralSirJohn » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:53 am

As promised, the conclusion:

“I have a feeling the Tzenkethi will remain a thorn in our side out there, but they seem true to their word for now,” Mecum remarked. “Well done, all of you.

“Commander Ikar, how bad is your damage?”


The Horrusi answered, “Serious, the damage is, Admiral. Severely compromised, our maneuvering thrusters are, and at 40%, our impulse drive system performs. In spacedock for two months, our chief engineer estimates.”

On the screen, Mecum winced. “I hate to have your ship out of action for that long, but I guess that can’t be helped right now. Make what repairs you can, then head here for the rest. John, you and the Marshal Martz should accompany them. Your work there is done, I think, and there are other things a ship like yours ought to be doing.”

“Understood, Sir. We’ll head your way within 48 hours. The Intarans have a dedication ceremony for the new base planned, and they want all of us here for that.”

“Very well. Jean-Luc, I’m pulling the Enterprise, as well. Like John, you’ve accomplished the mission you were sent to do, and there’s been a discovery at an archaeological dig on Qualon II I think you’ll be interested in. Starfleet is sending more ships, so we’ll need to keep Kumari on station as a command ship. Can you handle that, Ritan?”

“Easily. If we can, I’d like to have Hammersley stay on, as well. Mike and his crew have become celebrities among the Intarans.”

McCune tried his best not to smile.

“Granted. That was the plan, actually. In fact, the Intaran government has asked Starfleet to base Hammersley there permanently. We agreed on a long-term assignment.”

“That’s fine with us, Admiral. We’re starting to like these big folks.”

“Good. Your relief should be there within the week.”

“What about us, Admiral?” Commander M’Rowri asked.

“You’re there until the base is finished, Commander.”

“Understood, Sir.”

“Anything else to report, Jean-Luc?”

“No, Admiral, you seem to have covered it all. Like John said, we’ve been invited to take part in the dedication ceremony for the base. We’ll depart immediately after.”

“Excellent. In that case, I have nothing more, either. Mecum, out.”

As the screen changed to show the standard END TRANSMISSION graphic, Picard turned his seat back to the table and regarded his fellow commanding officers.

“I’d like to echo the Admiral by saying ‘well done’ to all of you. Especially you, John. You accomplished more in a week than I ever could have hoped.”

“I didn’t say anything you wouldn’t have, Jean-Luc. The Intarans just needed to hear it from someone they could see themselves in. Which reminds me, you two,” he said, pointing at the captains of Kumari and Hammersley, “will be getting replicator patterns for the Fauxbar. Trust me, you will need them.”

“You can say that again,” M’Rowri added. “I don’t know how many times some Intaran offered me some sort of snack…”

Picard chuckled. “An occupational hazard for anyone assigned here, I’m sure. The dedication ceremony should be starting in a few hours, so I suggest you all return to your ships and make yourselves ready.”



VIPs packed the reviewing stand, and billions watched around the planet as a ceremony unlike any the planet Intar had seen before began with a cloud of mist.

“Out of the mists of time, it comes…
“Older then the oldest rhyme, it comes…
“Coursing through our veins, it comes;
“Pulsing in our brains, it comes…
“Crashing like a thunder roll;
“Echoing in our very soul.
“Listen for it as it comes:
“The pure and primal sound of drums.”


Kodo, seated next to Picard, leaned over and murmured, “An interesting beginning. General Rentoshi told me he’d arranged something different, and it seems he wasn’t joking.”

“Indeed. I wonder where John went. He was supposed to be here with us.”

As the mist cleared, five men were revealed. Three were Intaran, dressed in the traditional formalwear of the Talkai continent, which resembled the business suits worn in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. But instead of trousers, they wore kilts in the color of the jackets.

The other two were not Intaran, though one of them could easily have been mistaken for one. It was the white uniform of a Starfleet captain that gave him away. The other wore a black uniform, marking him as Federation Marine.

The song they sang sounded familiar to Picard, though he was sure he’d never heard it before. It took him a moment to realize that part of the song was not in the English that was taught as Federation standard, but in Gaelic. Irish Gaelic, to be precise.

As the applause rose, all except Harris left the parade field.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the planet Intar,” he began, “welcome to Forward Operating Base Gwalior. What you have just heard is a folk song from Ireland, the island where I grew up on the planet Earth. Over the next three hours, we’ll be performing a number of pieces from around the Federation.

“But first, a message from the President of the United Federation of Planets.”

On screens around the planet, the face of Rafti min-Shonraleur appeared.

“On behalf of the government of the United Federation of Planets and all of the members and affiliated worlds thereof, I commend you, the people of Intar, for your gallantry in resisting the Tzenkethi. Over the last days, all of the Federation has learned of your plight and, as I speak, Federation starships, as well as cargo ships from many Federation worlds are bound for Intar, each of them bearing supplies to assist in the rebuilding of your defenses and orbital infrastructure.

“This base, jointly administered by both Starfleet and your military, represents a new friendship between our peoples. It is one I hope to see deepen into an abiding one. And so I call upon the leader of your government, Prime Councilor Aram Kodo, to give the order to raise both our flags to fly above this ancient citadel.”

Next to Picard, Kodo stood and pulled a small PADD from his pocket.

“I thank the President for her kind words, and I add my hopes that the friendship that this base represents will deepen into the abiding relationship of her hopes. Indeed, my hope is that, when we are ready, we might join the Federation. Until that day, I call upon both the Intaran Defense Force and Starfleet Command to raise the colors.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand for the anthems of the Unified World of Intar and the United Federation of Planets.”

Following ancient flag etiquette, the Intaran flag was raised first, as the planet’s anthem was sung by a military chorus.

As the blue and white flag of the Federation was raised, the Federation Anthem was sung. As per tradition, it was actually sung twice: once in Federation Standard English and again in the local language.

Here do we stand forever free
Living in harmony, living in peace
Strong in the hope of continuing life
For my Federation forever.



The ceremony concluded with the personnel, both Federation and Intaran, who would be the first assigned to the base, passing in review before the stands. As they did so, squadrons of fighters, bombers and even the Stardancers flew over. But instead of filling the center of the parade ground as was the standard procedure for such reviews, the passing soldiers, sailors and Starfleet stayed on the periphery.

As the marching band, the last group to pass in review, ended their march, an uneasy silence fell over the citadel.

Picard felt a nudge at his elbow. “Did you notice that McCune beamed out of here a few minutes ago?” th’Nar asked.

“No, I didn’t. I wonder what-- Bloody hell!”

Before Kodo could ask what had prompted the captain’s exclamation, the public address system brought Harris’ voice to them.

“A Federation starship is born in space. Most live their entire lives there, as they are too large to land and return. In recent years, however, a number of starship classes have been built with the ability to land on a planet’s surface.

“Please welcome, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Michael McCune, the Federation Starship U.S.S. Hammersley!”

And as the Defiant class starship touched down in the center of the citadel, an entire planet cheered.

THE END


And thus begins, should anyone wish to pick up the gauntlet, the STAR TREK: CITADEL project...
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby AdmiralSirJohn » Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:33 pm

And a voice cried from heaven, "It is done".
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby JM1776 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:13 pm

[Note that John himself invited this post. Please do not take exception, or pick it apart—unless, of course, your name is John Harris. In other words, don't review the review. If you don't like it or don't agree, I'm sure John would welcome yours, too, as he so graciously did mine.]

As promised, here's a brief review of "Size Matters."

I'll divide my analysis into these nine categories—characterization, proofreading polish, narrative flow, execution of plot, intangibles, plausibility of premise, quality of Treknobabble/Trekspeak, use of language and overall evaluation—and rate each of those on the following scale:

  • Five stars: Superlative, worthy of a literary giant
  • Four-and-a-half stars: Surpassing most published material
  • Four stars: Unquestionably professional-caliber work
  • Three-and-a-half stars: Of publishable quality or very nearly so
  • Three stars: Approaching professional grade material
  • Two-and-a-half stars: Good effort ... somewhat unpolished but nevertheless impressive, especially for fan fiction
  • Two stars: Showing solid potential, but notably flawed in certain aspects
  • One-and-a-half stars: Some good, more bad ... uneven presentation or technique
  • One star: Genuinely weak, but not entirely lacking merit
  • One-half star: Nearly devoid of redeeming qualities
  • Zero stars: "We're returning your deposit"

Proofreading polish: The piece is nearly flawless on this point; Harris certainly does the work necessary to make certain the writing itself shines through unhindered by spelling or punctuation errors. In addition, he adheres quite properly to the established conventions of Trek fiction while so doing. While I found the occasional misstep, all in all, it's an excellent job. Three-and-a-half stars.

Execution of plot: Fairly straightforward, but quite serviceable, allowing for both complications and satisfactory resolution of same. Three stars.

Narrative flow: Harris is not unskilled, and there are occasions where one settles comfortably into reading the story. He does have an unfortunate (and fortunately occasional) tendency, however, to extend scenes with superfluous prose or end them abruptly, thus attentuating the overall impact of the material. In addition, while most stories build towards a climax, this one seems to, if not plod, then trudge along a bit, with a few inappropriate emphases insofar as time devoted to them is concerned. Still, it's readable, and that's ultimately what matters. Two-and-a-half stars.

Characterization: Somewhat hit or miss. Harris does a commendable job creating likeable personalities for his principle players, but doesn't precisely capture those of the Enterprise crew. Picard, for example, is recognizable and adequately conveyed, with occasional forays into perfect focus, but by no means consistently spot on or noteworthy. On the other hand, he's a guest star, as it were, and not as integral to the action, so it's a minor, forgiveable sin. While I like many of Harris' characters, I didn't find them particularly memorable. The man in the center seat is, of course, larger than life, pun intended, and I have a fairly good sense of him, now ... but the rest seem more a supporting cast than I prefer. That, of course, may change as I continue to read his work. Two-and-a-half stars.

Quality of Treknobabble/Trekspeak: On this subject, John Harris is essentially without reproach. I bought everything he sold ... and he sold quality merchandise. Succinctly, he walked the walk about talking the talk. Four stars.

Plausibility of premise: This one's a little tougher, since the author and I have dueled over the propriety and feasibility of a man like the good captain sitting the center seat. On one hand, I presented a nearly irrefutable case as to why someone like John Harris would not command a starship, under customary circumstances. In opposition to that, John has explained—adequately if not excellently, in my opinion—the extraordinary circumstances that have allowed this man to excel. In other words, I can't award top marks ... but neither can I appreciably downgrade.

As to the story premise itself, I find it at once believable and a bit facile. It serves as a vehicle for the author's purpose here ... but the purpose itself seems a little too aggressively "IDIC" for my taste. And speaking of vehicles ... I've no real problem with two of Starfleet's finest vessels teaming up ... but three such impressive ships in one location?

John? Perhaps adding the second Sovereign-class was overkill?

More below in Intangibles.

Still, I'll grudgingly grant the benefit of the doubt here: Two-and-a-half stars.

Use of language: Harris possesses an impressive vocabulary and puts it to good use in "Size Matters." While his turn of phrase isn't precisely poetic, it's at times quite eloquent, and definitely readable. There are a few tendencies towards the dreaded "said bookisms" and more than a bit of "burly detective syndrome," though; these aren't particularly onerous, but they do distract ... and detract. Still ... a pleasure to read, often enough. Two-and-a-half stars.

Intangibles: Hmm.

Hmm.

I've never liked being preached to, unless I'm at Mass ... or the author manages it in an extremely oblique, almost Sufi-like fashion ... and John, despite some good work, doesn't even remotely achieve that. It's one thing to be unapologetic about an agenda; it's quite another to beat someone over the head and shoulders with it. I, frankly, still have bruises.

This story was fairly interesting ... but not for even an instant truly exciting. The Tzenkethi were given tremendously short shrift as an enemy: I felt no sense of menace, nor even an iota of concern for the crews of these Starfleet vessels. The battles read like police actions, or even mop-up operations. Now that may well have been Harris' intent—an attempt to show elite starships and their crews at their best—and if so, he accomplished it ... but it would have been far more interesting to see these officers and vessels really pushed by the Tzenkethi ... or at the least given pause. Instead of that, a species we know dared to war against Starfleet convey little or nothing at all of their ferocity and formidability. Instead of Godzilla vs. Mothra, or even Megalon, we got Godzilla vs. Bambi ... or, more precisely, Simba.

One thing I didn't appreciate in the least was seeing two Sovereign-class starships. This diminishes them in my opinion, making them a little too commonplace, while implying that Harris' vessel is rarer and superior. I can't, and for that matter don't want to, buy into that. The Sovereign-class is just that—the queen of the fleet. She should be portrayed as such. I didn't get that sense herein.

"Size Matters" read at times like early-season Star Trek: The Next Generation—with all that entails, both good and bad. One-and-a-half stars.

Overall: It boils down to this, in my mind: Would I read this guy's stuff again? Did he do enough to warrant that?

It's not even close. Indeed, yes. I wasn't overwhelmed, or even impressed ... but I was certainly intrigued. John Harris earns my respect with "Size Matters." Both he and Captain Harris are bigger men than for which I gave them credit.

Let me qualify my final grade with the comment that I very seriously considered a half-star higher, but ultimately couldn't justify it. I do, however, stand firmly by my final determination.

I rate "Size Matters" at two-and-a-half stars.

Nice work, John. Hope you'll take this review in the spirit I wrote it.
Last edited by JM1776 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby AdmiralSirJohn » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:36 pm

All valid points, and I agree with most of them.

Really, the only one I would argue is characterization. I tend to write my version of Trek on the TOS model, focusing on the captain and his exploits, rather than the more ensemble feel of later iterations. Of course, this style is not everyone's cup of tea, so you are certainly entitled to your opinion on the subject.

As for the pacing, this is something that I tend to struggle with in all my writings. I tend to write in "spurts", and it shows.

On the subject of Sovereign vs. Nottingham, I tried to convey the difference between the two classes' purpose. Apparently, it fell a bit flat.

All in all, though, an accurate review, and I find myself gratified at its conclusions.
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Re: TALES OF THE MARSHAL MARTZ: Episode 12 - Size Matters

Postby JM1776 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:39 pm

AdmiralSirJohn wrote:I tend to write my version of Trek on the TOS model, focusing on the captain and his exploits, rather than the more ensemble feel of later iterations.


I'll certainly note that if I have occasion to provide another review. Thanks for the clarification.
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