-- Right on both counts! Icheb's finally getting off the fence. He's thought since Part I that he had made a mistake, but he didn't fully realize WHAT the mistake was and what the cost was until now. He wants to fix it for sure. And yes, Lakwa is living with some pretty horrifying memories, and sure enough, those pesky emotions crop up at the worst of times. Thanks so much for reading, and for your comments both here and at Ad Astra.
-- Thanks so much for the really thorough and thoughtful review. They really did love each other once. I'd say they still do. But a tremendous amount of damage has been done at this point, obviously. Interesting that you agree that Icheb does not have the right to show Maren his affection at this point. Do you think Maren herself would agree (you know, if she weren't out cold)? As for Lakwa ... yes, she's insightful. There's a reason her crew is willing to go along with this whole mutiny thing and line up behind her. She's very scarred (not just physically, obviously), but she's come out of her Borg experience with her core personality essentially intact, and it's not a bad one. We'll learn more about her and Malik as time goes on, but I'm glad you find her compelling so far. As far as Icheb's homeworld -- yeah. That's going to be interesting, I think, when he finds out. He's got some seriously conflicted feelings about that place to begin with. We'll see what happens. Thanks again for the fantastic review.
-- Wow. ALL I can say is THANK YOU. I am really kind of speechless. Not only did you write some incredibly wonderful things, you specifically hit on things that I have tried so hard to do and worried over extensively, especially continuing Icheb's and Julian's arcs in a natural way. And the fact that you love Treklit so much and still would set that aside to read a chapter of this ... seriously, just thank you. You made my entire day -- maybe my entire month. You are wonderful.
(...and I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, too!)