You are as your namesake, Kes: Brilliant.
I've seen every episode of Voyager
multiple times, and really liked Icheb's character. What you've done with him is terrific--it feels so very right. The same goes for your expanded characterization of Bashir, which builds on what we already know of him from DS9. The interaction between Bashir and Icheb was so well done, I could feel
Julian's typically empathetic yet analytical response to Icheb. And Icheb's (and Maren's) agony is a palpable thing in your narrative. (In fact, how apt--or problematic?--that Tesseract's Captain is an empath, for this starfleet ship throbs with sentiment. Even Beckley's seeming paucity of emotion is evocatively conspicuous.)
And Lakwa... I just met her, and already I am invested in her welfare. I processed the conscious thought, "Well done, Kes," after it occurred to me that my own reaction to Lakwa mirrors that of Adele's: a nigh immediate fondness and trust. I do believe you have as firm a command on my attention and my "buttons" as you have on your story.
I should point out that I am in the middle of the latest Trek book to be published, the Titan
novel "Seize the Fire." The Trek books have been a fraction of their number last year, so I consume each page of this new book as if it were my last meal. And still (!) when I saw that you'd posted a new chapter, I did not hesitate to set aside "official" Trek for STAR TREK: Tesseract
! And there are times when I have to remember to separate your evolving history of Icheb from what is "canon." That's how compelling, nay--how GRAVITIC I find your writing.
So, from a reader who, perhaps, takes folk like you and Captain Sarine a smidgen for granted (madness!), thank you for what you do, and for doing it so well.
P.S.: I hope you had a terrific Thanksgiving.