I finally finished OaTS yesterday, and overall I quite enjoyed it, especially the overall concept of the planet and its inhabitants (although the name Droplet didn't quite appeal to me) and the characterization in the second half of the book.
Still, in part this book was hard for me to read, to keep my attention from wandering. I don't quite enjoy reading about a meeting where everyone reports what she/he found out filled with lots of technobabble (for sure well founded - but still to me the term technobabble fits most), instead of finding out *with* them. Of course, I realize that this is what exploration is all about, but honestly, after the second or so such meeting, I grew a bit tired of all the facts presented in such a way.
Yeah, maybe it was a little self-indulgent in that respect at times. I tried to make sure that something was going on character-wise during every exposition scene, though. But maybe that wasn't enough. I recently read a good writing tip -- if you have a big infodump, do it while something else is going on. Maybe I could've had the characters playing cards or something (except I already did that in Greater Than the Sum
I'm not so sure about Ree's guardian mode, though. While I appreciate that in the end not everything's resolved yet between Deanna and Ree (the way it seemed in the beginning of this novel), this situation of Ree's kidnapping Deanna is, of course, intolerable. Granted, he acted because of the empathic influence of both Deanna and Tuvok, so he can't be held entirely responsible for his behaviour - on the other hand, shouldn't he (and everyone else on the ship) take precautions that such an influence won't happen? I mean, this won't be the last time Deanna and Tuvok's emotions go overboard (and it wasn't the first time, either), and will Ree now react every time like this when he perceives a threat to Tasha (or any other child)? (The same goes for anyone else on the ship.) A mere slap on the wrist for Ree might be okay - but Riker etc. should also think ahead and perhaps establish some protocols for events like this one.
I don't think there's any cause for concern. As I said above, this was a unique and highly improbable event arising from maybe half a dozen different factors converging simultaneously: Deanna's fear and grief, Tuvok's grief, Deanna's pregnancy hormones intensifying her powers (though I'm not sure how clearly I put that one across), the immediate peril to the ship, Ree's own insecurities, and the unresolved baggage between Ree and Troi. The first two will subside with time (especially now that Deanna has the joy of an actual live baby to offset her grief), the third will no longer be a factor, and the last two have been confronted and are being worked through.
So no, Ree's parenting instincts will not kick in every time someone else's
child is threatened. That's not how it works. Normally, that response would only apply to his own biological offspring. The only reason it happened here is because Deanna's intensified empathic influence made him respond as if Tasha was his own child. And without that unique confluence of factors, that won't happen again. As long as Ree doesn't have his own biological offspring on the ship, there's no chance of a recurrence. And since he's the only Pahkwa-thanh in the crew, there's no chance he's going to become a daddy in the foreseeable future.
Certainly he'll do everything he can to protect Tasha, and Noah, and Totyarguil, just as he's always done. But he'll do so without external mental influence distorting his responses and judgment.