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Old November 4 2008, 08:39 AM   #31
Gibraltar
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

SLWatson wrote: View Post
Gibraltar wrote: View Post
^I rather figured that might be the case. I wouldn't have asked otherwise.
http://slwatson.livejournal.com/151584.html

Here's part of it. ::smirks:: Can you tell I've been down this road?

...

(Believe it or not, I do have a life.)

But I'll add more to it if you want. I wanted to pimp-slap most of the NG crew in that episode.
Amen, sister! Don't mince words... how do you really feel?!

Ashok gives that two thumbs up!
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Old November 4 2008, 08:42 AM   #32
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Amen, sister! Don't mince words... how do you really feel?!

Ashok gives that two thumbs up!
::coughs:: No, I don't mince words. I'm mostly politely midwestern, but am not really afraid to go all exorcist sometimes. But usually, I wait until I'm around a forum for awhile before I show that side -- don't wanna scare people.
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Old November 4 2008, 04:40 PM   #33
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

SLWatson wrote: View Post
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Wait was nicely done... an improbable meeting of our crew decades before they would serve together. It was handled so well that it was perfectly believable. And very nice insights into the people they would later become.
My friend Danie asked me to tackle a story along those lines, and that was what I had managed to come up with. It's probably not the strongest in the series, but I think it adds more than takes away from it.

Thanks so much for the comment!
Yeah, I particularly enjoyed the one with McCoy, Spock, and Scotty all meeting. I especially loved the way you worked with McCoy--that definitely seemed like the kind of kid he would've been!

One of the most interesting things about the Junkyard Dog story was that you could hear the local speech coming through in the narration as well as the dialogue, but without being obnoxious. I'm curious, have you spent a lot of time in Scotland or something?
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Old November 4 2008, 05:15 PM   #34
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

SLWatson wrote: View Post
Gibraltar wrote: View Post
^I rather figured that might be the case. I wouldn't have asked otherwise.
http://slwatson.livejournal.com/151584.html

Here's part of it. ::smirks:: Can you tell I've been down this road?
You mention that Scotty would probably relate only to Spock. But it also occurs to me he'd have something in common with the crew of the Bozeman as well.
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Old November 4 2008, 06:18 PM   #35
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Yeah, I particularly enjoyed the one with McCoy, Spock, and Scotty all meeting. I especially loved the way you worked with McCoy--that definitely seemed like the kind of kid he would've been!
Thank you! McCoy's not my "main" character, but I really am continually intrigued by his backstory -- it's really compelling for a lot of reasons.

One of the most interesting things about the Junkyard Dog story was that you could hear the local speech coming through in the narration as well as the dialogue, but without being obnoxious. I'm curious, have you spent a lot of time in Scotland or something?
No, I've never been to Scotland. ::chuckles:: Actually, I've only even been out of the US once, and that was just over the Canadian border when I was a child. But I much appreciate the comment -- one of the peeves I have is when authors (Vonda McIntyre, I'm looking at you) go and write this massively overblown accent for Scotty. Heck, his is really fricken tame, though that seems to prompt yet more people to complain about it. As to how I wrote it, I tried to stay pretty true to the regional accent of Aberdeen, and hear it in my head, and not go to any particular extremes with it. Thank you!

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
You mention that Scotty would probably relate only to Spock. But it also occurs to me he'd have something in common with the crew of the Bozeman as well.
I did? ::blinks:: I might have somewhere... Actually, I dunno even how well he would relate to Spock and McCoy (and they're both people he holds some extra-measure loyalty to, though for different reasons), after they lived seventy-five years he didn't; that would take some mental acrobatics to come to grips with. Still, out of anyone in the 24th century, he'd relate most quickly to them for obvious reasons -- shared experiences, events, being a part of the same crew for many many years, and sometimes even through life and death.

It's true that the Bozeman is another temporal anomaly from a common era, but aside commisseration about the circumstances, not likely enough to overcome this entirely massive (fan ploy) sea-change. There's a lot to the answer, but it still comes back to the same questions: How do you define yourself? What's your purpose, your reason to keep breathing? What do you do, when you've lost everything you love? Most TNG-era authors who use him forget to ask -- they skip any of the rather intense questions that humans ask the universe or God or fate or whatever higher power when things go wrong, and automatically assume that he'd be fine fairly quickly. They don't think to ask what the real effect was of losing the Enterprise (no A), even though it was a willing sacrifice for Spock's sake and a better death for her than a boneyard in his mind, or losing his nephew, and then having the Enterprise-A be decommissioned, or having to break the bad news about Kirk (which either he or Chekov would have) to those who were far closer to the Captain. Nevermind just how different the universe was, from the time of the five-year mission and exploration and innovation, to the time of politics and more politics.

There's a whole lot to the answer, but mostly it lies in asking questions and not trying to skip over them and assume that all will be peachy keen. I know how I see things happening, and eventually I'll write to that point, but I'd probably be thrilled if anyone even really put forth a genuine, thoughtful and compassionate effort that turned out totally different. At least that would be an effort to look at a man, and not the cliches or the cameo potential or the stereotypes, and you can never go wrong with that.

I mean, look at how you got me to see the Cardassians in a completely different light!
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Old November 4 2008, 08:57 PM   #36
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

About the accent, to me it seems Craig Ferguson has a stronger accent than Scotty does.

Oh, I do agree about the questions something like that would entail. I just pointed out the Bozeman because frankly...I think it DOES help not to be alone in one's circumstances.

And thanks for your kind words as well! (Do remember, though, that's just MY take on the Cardassians. A lot about them was left unexplored in official canon. )
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Old November 4 2008, 09:30 PM   #37
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
About the accent, to me it seems Craig Ferguson has a stronger accent than Scotty does.
He does, and a different regional variety. Scott's accent gets lampooned by people, but mostly because they assume that just because he's from Scotland, it has to remain utterly 'pure'. In fact, when casting for the new movie, they wanted a 'flawless' accent.

Are you (general to them) kidding me? I went on about this at one point too -- voices are fluid. People do pick up bits and pieces of other accents and dialects over the course of their lives, and constant exposure to a standard 'midland' accent woulda rubbed off on him. Doohan always had some Irish in his voice, too; he was conceived in Ireland, and I chalk it up to Scotty spending a few years based in Belfast (where Doohan's family came from and likely sounded like while raising him).

So, I kinda wish people would lay off his accent. I, personally, love it. It has a bit of Irish clip, on top of a base Aberdonian, and a definite cadence that's unique to him that, if you want an in canon explanation, evolved over years and was influenced by a lot of things.

Oh, I do agree about the questions something like that would entail. I just pointed out the Bozeman because frankly...I think it DOES help not to be alone in one's circumstances.
I agree! Depending on personality, anyway -- Scott's such an odd case of being rather solitary in a bridge crew that has two definite little groups. The trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and the mostly written grouping of Sulu, Uhura and Chekov, the 'younger' crowd. He's the oldest of the lot, too; McCoy is the closest to his age at five years difference. So, while you do have the potential of not being alone in one's circumstances, you've gotta ask yet another question: Would that make all that big of a difference to a man who was already a bit solitary, even among the crew he spent most of the time with?

And thanks for your kind words as well! (Do remember, though, that's just MY take on the Cardassians. A lot about them was left unexplored in official canon. )
See, I always view canon as being definite on-screen presense, and everything else as being pick-and-choose. When someone writes something that makes sense to me, I have no trouble incorporating it into my own 'personal canon' and considering the author, often a fan-author, as having the definitve vision.

Know what I mean?
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Old November 5 2008, 02:57 AM   #38
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Torn was well written and you easily conveyed Scotty’s sense of emotional freefall and dislocation from his family. Both were as disorienting as they were palpable. This poor kid isn’t comfortable in his own skin, let alone in his family, his country, or likely anywhere on Earth. I’m hoping Starfleet Academy will keep him so busy he won’t have time to fret about the many things tearing at him and demanding his attention.

Your portrayal of young Scotty reminds me of a more focused, more brilliant, and infinitely less doofey version of Reginald Barclay.
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Old November 5 2008, 03:03 AM   #39
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Torn was well written and you easily conveyed Scotty’s sense of emotional freefall and dislocation from his family. Both were as disorienting as they were palpable. This poor kid isn’t comfortable in his own skin, let alone in his family, his country, or likely anywhere on Earth. I’m hoping Starfleet Academy will keep him so busy he won’t have time to fret about the many things tearing at him and demanding his attention.
Excellent catch, Gibralter! I have two (maybe three, if I can write soon) more stories in this set from his Basic Training, where he starts to actually shake off all of these influences that are yanking him in all kinds of directions. I should have posted the two that are done before now, but got caught up in watching the news and dealing with a cold me and my kids have.

Your portrayal of young Scotty reminds me of a more focused, more brilliant, and infinitely less doofey version of Reginald Barclay.
::bows:: Thank you! I'm not a huge fan of Barclay (how does a psychological nightmare like him make it into Starfleet?!) -- Scott's a lot more compelling a character, methinks. At least, far more competent.
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Old November 5 2008, 09:03 PM   #40
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Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons - Processing

Title: Processing
Rating: G
Words: 2642
Timeline: June 2240
Disclaimer: If you hadn't noticed in the above disclaimers, he's still Paramount's.
Notes: One of a set of 'Basic Training' stories -- that particular group is not finished and only has two parts, though the second part is probably one of the more important ones. Edited by the Teddog. This is a look at Scott going through processing (and finding it beyond a surreal experience); kind of a darkish comedy of incredulity. Mostly, though, just very surreal, which I imagine it would be after living in one life for so long. Not particularly inspired, but hey.

--

The name 'boot camp' had fallen out of favor centuries before, mostly because it had some mildly negative connotations, versus the much more accurate 'Basic Training.' Some of the misconceptions about said Basic Training had fallen by the wayside too, long since -- at least when it came to Starfleet, recruits were generally picked for their ability to be as much explorer as defender.

Regardless, a lot of rumors still persisted, and the biggest one was that it was a hard, intense experience.

That was an understatement.

The first part was the processing, which took place in Maryland. There, recruits were given their initial paperwork and a thorough physical and dental workup, as well as initial psychological testing. The paperwork was tolerable -- there was a ton of it, but a lot of it was repetition, and getting used to it now was probably wise because there would be even more of it in the near future.

The physical was... less tolerable.




Even if most physical exams were conducted almost entirely with tricorders and scanners, requiring no unnecessary contact or even much proximity, any sight of a doctor tended to make Scott's blood pressure spike. So, finding himself surrounded by other recruits, all of them almost mockingly calm, and likewise surrounded by doctors...

His nerves were somewhat frayed by that point anyway. Leaving a rainy, cool Aberdeen had been an experience in itself, somewhat stilted and filled with trepidation. Then landing in the very warm morning sunlight of summer in Maryland had been a swift and real reminder that he was no where near familiar territory. He didn't have time to really debate on that, though, because immediately he was too busy to think. The good thing, of course, was that... well, he was too busy to think. Coincidentally, the bad thing was just the same.

He had known that it would be like this, maybe even counted on it, but the reality was slightly more jarring than he expected.

Without the time to get a bearing on things, either his surroundings or other people or any of it, he had a hard time feeling... there. Scott needed a certain amount of time to do those things, to assess his exact situation, and mostly he was very good at it. But this far outside of the life he had been living, it was too much to process and no time to do it, leaving him feeling more like he was on auto-pilot than anything else.

On the upside, without time to deal with the feelings, he was at least able to keep his mind focused on the myriad tasks and get through them without balking.

Until the physical.

If it weren't for the fact that he had people behind him, he would have been out of there and probably out of the building before his rational mind overrode his instincts, all of which were screaming for him to be anywhere else.

"You okay, man?" the recruit he'd just knocked backwards into a bit asked, sounding a little startled.

The question at least snapped Scott back to rationality and he realized that he'd backpedaled. After a couple of breaths, he said, "Aye, thanks." And then he fell to fidgeting, not even realizing that he was doing it.

The wait was over quick; the processing staff had this down to a fine science.

"Little anxious?" the doctor asked, casually, consulting the tricorder.

"Aye, sir," Scott replied after a moment, when he realized that he was going to have to get used to actually answering non-engineering questions and responding to non-engineering things out loud. He also finally noticed that he was still fidgeting and promptly clasped his hands behind his back.

"Well, that's normal." The doctor didn't look up, just focused on his readings. "Skip breakfast?"

"I dinna mean to," he said, and after that figured out that another 'aye' would have been a better response.

"Mm," was the reply, confirming that thought.

It was quiet after that. Lots of scanning, but nothing worse, and he didn't have to sit down, lie down or anything, which made it far easier to live with. It was the closest Scott had gotten to being able to think for a few minutes and try to grasp at everything that he was doing half-automatically. The sunlight was still very bright coming in through the windows, and the fact that the clock on the wall showed it was only now coming up on noon was kind of a shock. It felt like it should at least be into the afternoon, if not evening.

He was able to tune out the number of doctors for awhile until the one that had been doing his workup came back.

"Absent a few mild vitamin deficiencies, you're in good shape," the doctor said, handing over a card. "That's a lunch voucher; don't skip it."




His arm was still a little sore from where he got the vitamin booster, but Scott didn't have time to really think about that, either. Lunch could have theoretically provided a period of recuperation from everything, but it didn't -- the cafeteria was packed, and even though he'd gotten a bit better about being around crowds at university, he still didn't like that much non-mechanical noise and movement. It was a bit like sensory overload; even when he was in university, he'd pack his own lunch and find somewhere quiet to eat.

It was almost too loud to think -- staff and recruits everywhere and all of them talking. Not the steady harmonics of machines, but the much more chaotic patterns of living interaction. Snippets of conversation speculating on the Academy, strangers swapping names and stories with one another, a couple of them taking the chance to call home on the public comms, knowing that they wouldn't get the opportunity here soon.

He didn't waste much time there; didn't have much to waste anyway. After the lines, crowds and actually sitting down to eat, he barely had time to return the tray and silverware before he had to go and do the next round of paperwork.

Equipment requisition forms, transcript sign offs, background check sign offs...

That took another hour or so, but at least the knot left from the shot had gone away.

The psychology evaluation was next. Scott had been dreading it; the idea of some shrink poking around in his mind, diving right into his soul-stuff was really unnerving. He knew he had to go through it, though, because Starfleet wouldn't accept any nutjobs.

Right?




It was multiple choice.

The psych evaluation was a multiple choice test. About two hundred questions, with four options to answer. Conducted in a large room with probably fifty other recruits. No shrinks. No mind-poking.

He almost couldn't believe it.

Scott wasn't sure if he was relieved by the fact that he wouldn't have to go through any mindgames a shrink would put him through, or if he was deeply disturbed that this was all the psychological screening that would be required to get into Starfleet. Even less sure because about half of the answers had no option that he felt would be appropriate, leaving him to pick the best out of what he thought were inappropriate choices.

His head was buzzing some when he finished that, a kind of annoying sort of dizziness. He chalked it up to the heat -- it was probably getting close to eighty-five degrees out, something Aberdeen never saw, and the walks between the buildings were incessant.

The last thing he had to go through before he could pick up his transfer orders, travel voucher, hotel voucher and food vouchers was the dental appointment.

The physical had gone far better than he actually expected, given just how actively he disliked doctors. And the psych eval had been absurdly simple. And while he'd never actually been to a dentist, at least that he could remember, he figured that this would be the easiest part of the day.




"Well, I needed a vacation," the dentist, a younger guy probably about thirty, said. He was cradling his wrist, but he sounded surprisingly nonchalant about it. "Maybe Bermuda this time."

The dentist was a member of Starfleet, as evidenced by his blue uniform shirt. Over that, he wore a sort of pale blue lab coat. On first look, he was an entirely normal individual, utterly professional.

Until he turned his back to get his profession-modified tricorder.

Airbrushed on the back of his labcoat was a woman barely in a bikini, posed in the tropics and in the midst of dumping what appeared to be cold water on herself, with the string on the back of the bikini just come loose. If it were a sequential picture... well, it wasn't hard to tell what would come next, but it wasn't a bad exercise for the imagination regardless.

If it weren't for the fact that he'd been so shocked by the fact that this guy could get away with wearing such a thing in uniform, Scott might have spent more time debating on frames two, three, four and five to go after the nicely painted frame one.

The dentist must have noticed that look, but he didn't offer any explanations -- just chattered on about how many recruits he had already seen today, how good breakfast was at that restaurant off-campus, that kind of thing. Took time out in his recounting of his day to inform Scott that his mouth was in good shape, nothing needed filled, replaced or otherwise, but he'd probably have to have his wisdom teeth pulled when they came in, or they'd crowd the bottom teeth. Suggested a professional cleaning, though, since he'd never had one.

Still trying to grasp at how that labcoat came into existence, and how this guy could get away with wearing it (and starting to speculate on the next scene that should logically come after the one already painted), Scott agreed.

And that's when it became an incident.

The first problem was that he had no idea that you actually have to lay down for a cleaning. Any speculation on the buxom beauty fled instantly when he was told to. At that point, he could have probably outright said no -- in retrospect, he should have -- but there were a million reasons why he didn't and none of them that could ever be explained in coherent words. So, he did as he was told.

That alone was enough to make him jumpy. It was one thing to be on your back under a piece of equipment, working, but it was a whole other thing anywhere else. Especially if there was someone standing over you. There was never any good that could come from that kind of position, ever. It was the kind of thing that was so deeply, primally avoided that it wasn't even remotely conscious.

Part out of willpower and part out of fear, Scott managed to hold still for all of fifteen seconds. Then the dentist reached over him to get the sonic cleaner, and the next thing Scott knew, he was across the room with his back to the wall, the dentist was holding a wrist and he had no clue how he got there.

It was silent for about a minute, a tense silence at least in half of the room, a somewhat baffled one in the other half.

It was broken when the dentist declared that he needed a vacation.

"All right... the horror stories aren't true," he continued. "We don't use drills, we don't yank teeth unless there's a very good reason and then we replace all the important ones with lab-grown matches. We don't happy-gas people or poke them with needles full of novocaine anymore, we never use pliers and root canals are a thing of the very distant past."

Still practically shaking from the adrenaline rush, Scott had to blink at that a few times. It was only after about ten more seconds of trying to comprehend what was being said that he realized that the dentist was trying to address a more common fear. But he just nodded, a bit dumbfounded.

"You'd think our reputation would have gotten better after, oh, centuries." The dentist tried carefully flexing his wrist, then winced. "You must've heard some real doozies."

There was no reply to that -- Scott hadn't, actually. As far as he'd figured, you only went to a dentist when you had a real problem.

"So, the sonic cleaner is absolutely painless, it takes about a minute and a half overall, and you could always just tell me to knock it off if it bothers you." The dentist grinned, kind of wryly. "As opposed to making me."

"Sorry," Scott finally said, more automatically. He didn't quite remember what he'd done, but it was pretty easy to piece together. "There goes my career," he thought. "Assault on a superior officer. Dinna even sign the final paperwork, yet."

"Still want your teeth cleaned?" the dentist asked, jarring Scott out of his rather fatalistic notions of careericide.

In the end, the answer to the labcoat was apparent when the buxom beauty depicted on it came in to take over; on her coat was the dentist, in a considerably less compelling if not similarly depicted scene. Turned out they were a husband and wife team.

And it also turned out that it was far, far easier to hold still when the wife's finer assets were a close distraction. Who'd have thought?

"Sprained wrist," the dentist had said to her, with a shrug. "Perfect time to go to Bermuda, honey. Put in the paperwork."




The day ended with Scott picking up the rest of his paperwork, including directions to one of the hotels where recruits were put up before being sent on to San Francisco. By then, he was practically reeling; still kind of dizzy and now queasy too, but mostly reeling because it had been... well, the oddest day of his entire life to date. In about twelve hours, he had left Aberdeen, arrived in Maryland, filled out uncountable forms, took three different screening tests, managed to have lunch somewhere in there...

He still hadn't honestly processed most of it. It was almost like it was happening to someone else and he was just along for the ride. Not just the actual events of the day, but even the hot weather and the clear sunlight and... none of it seemed all that real.

For something that didn't seem real, it also seemed like it had been more like a year than it had been only hours.

He unlocked the door to his hotel room, setting his luggage next to it, then locked it when it slid closed behind him. Leaned back against it to catch his breath; it really was hot out, compared to what he was used to. And he still wasn't exactly feeling well.

The room was nice, though. Lots of pastels, but clean and comfortable. There wasn't more than a bed and a bathroom, and a screen to watch the news on, but it was...

It took him a moment to actually realize that rush he felt. And to figure out why it was a good kind of rush.

...it was his. This room was his.

Just for the night, admittedly. And he knew that he'd be stuck living with far too many other people when Basic Training started, because everyone lived in barracks where quiet and privacy were coveted commodities. He wasn't really looking forward to that.

But... this room was his. Even if it was just for the night, it didn't belong to his family. It was his. By all accounts, the first place he would ever rest his head that was.

At that realization, he smiled.
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Old November 5 2008, 09:05 PM   #41
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Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons - Distant Horizons

Title: Distant Horizons
Rating: G
Words: 1527
Timeline: August 2240
Disclaimer: Paramount's, not mine. Alas.
Notes: The second 'Basic Training' tale; two months in, Scott starts figuring out a few things. Like what freedom is, when you've earned it rather than gained it by apathy, and what it is to be just a little bit defiant against what was demanded or expected of you. Edited by Teddog. Best read here. Last one currently in this set; there are probably a few more stories yet to be written that fit in here, but this one is a good enough note to leave it on.

--

It struck him as somehow ironic that he could look at a piece of equipment and often figure out how it worked within a matter of minutes, but it took him over two months to figure out that the purpose of Basic Training's first phase was conditioning. And not just physical conditioning.

Scott wasn't a big fan of jogging; before now, he'd never really engaged in it for the sole purpose of exercise. It wasn't that he didn't jog ever, but it was always with a firm destination in mind. The physical training in Basic was pretty rigorous, but he'd had a rather easy time of it, at least compared to a lot of other cadets -- in Aberdeen, walking had been his primary mode of transportation, seconded by the public transit. So, despite it being a work-out for him, he wasn't dropping in a heap when it was over like some of the others.

He still wasn't a big fan of jogging as exercise, but he was becoming a very big fan of the freedom it afforded.

San Francisco was temperate; at night, if the fog came in, it was downright cold, but the days were tolerable and even with the sunlight it still wasn't too bad. He didn't know the city very well -- in fact, he hadn't even seen beyond Academy grounds those first two months -- but the climate was all right.

The trail he was on was more than all right.

The sun had just come up a bit ago; he'd started jogging before it was even showing light. Stopped off briefly at a small place across the Golden Gate Bridge for breakfast, then headed back out again just as the sky was vaguely starting to lighten, walking for awhile until he felt like picking up pace again. The cadets started getting Sundays off three weeks ago; before that, the days were scheduled twenty-four hours for all seven days in the week. They had to be back in the barracks by 2000 hours on Sundays, but it still seemed like more than a fair deal after two months where there was no freedom whatsoever.

It was when Scott realized that he really wanted to put some distance between himself and the Academy that he also realized the past two months had been all about the conditioning. Not because he had suddenly turned into an exercise nut, but because when he was actually given some freedom, he felt the overpowering urge to take it and run with it for awhile.

At the moment, he was jogging on a well-packed dirt path, running shoes making a good steady beat against the ground, breathing a rhythm that fell in line with his footfalls.

This path was more than all right. Scott wasn't exactly what anyone would call a nature buff, but he'd spent his single digits wandering the woods and trails around the family's home, and had spent an absurd amount of time making himself hideouts there. When he got older and more bold, then he'd gravitated to the city where he could sometimes find discarded mechanical things. But he still ended up taking them back to his hideouts for a couple years more until he realized that no one really noticed all that much where he was or what he was doing, even if he was all over Aberdeen.

This was nothing like the woods he'd grown up in.

Aberdeen was an overcast city, which wasn't bad if it was all you knew, and it had its fine days as well. But the area around San Francisco was different -- the sun was shining, still rather golden, and the dew was all over the grasses by the trail. Flowers were starting to open, bright bits of color. There were a few deer, who looked up when he went by but didn't bolt, just watched rather placidly.

It had been all about the conditioning, so far. By the end of the first week, he couldn't care less how packed the barracks were -- he was so tired at night that he'd drop like a rock into his bunk and hit terminal oblivion, sometimes before he even had a chance to get all that comfortable. He'd learned to sleep through all kinds of people-driven noise, either talking or snoring or what-have-you, mostly because he was just too tired not to.

It wasn't that he'd decided to like being in a crowd, but when your day consists of getting up, getting cleaned up, squaring away the barracks, doing PT, having breakfast, then various classes, lunch, drill and ceremony, more classes, dinner, more classes, more PT, shower, bed... you quickly and genuinely stop giving a damn about how many people are around you. He had to absorb and become proficient at so many things in those first weeks that there were times when he was just surviving it in ten minute blocks. There sure wasn't time to actually talk himself into any kind of self-doubt.

The valley he was in was far, far quieter than the barracks, and the quiet was something he didn't take for granted. According to one of the guys in his squad, who grew up in this area, it was a great trail -- Scott had to agree.

He slowed down a little, falling into a walk. Could feel a bit of the burn from jogging, but he'd paced himself well and it wasn't real fatigue. The path had gotten a bit narrower, and sometimes some overgrown grass would tickle his legs. This path would end at the Pacific; months in San Francisco and spitting distance from the ocean, and he hadn't been to the water's edge yet. Closest so far was going over the bridge.

He'd figured out that he had the potential to be a worryingly good soldier, too. Maybe too good. While Starfleet drill instructors weren't nearly so harsh as military drill sergeants in the past, Scott still reacted instantly to the tones they used, and followed orders in that same instant just so that they wouldn't go barking at him. So far, it had certainly worked out -- while he wasn't the shining star of his group, he wasn't reprimanded once yet, either.

Logically, he knew that the ability to follow orders swiftly was pretty important, especially in a crisis situation. There was a reason that Basic started with drilling and ceremony and repetition and strict routines -- while Starfleet didn't want robots or people who couldn't do their own thinking, they needed people who could follow the chain of command. Later, they would learn to think more independently; for now, they were expected to jump when told and not quibble.

Scott was a worryingly good soldier, and a fairly good marksman, too. Above average with a phaser rifle, and not shabby with a hand phaser. It had kind of hit him, while he was taking out the targets with relative ease, that he could someday have to do this with living beings. That was where the 'too good' part came in. Despite reacting instantly to orders, including orders to fire on targets that were a wee bit too humanoid, he held some part in reserve that refused to like it, or seek approval for it, or want it.

Engineering didn't often require that sort of thing.

Command School, on the other hand...

He'd dutifully filed the application, and prayed quietly in the back of his mind that it would be rejected. Filed it because his Mum wanted him to, because he said he would; there had been a long moment, though, staring at the papers that he had nearly decided not to. Where something tickled in the back of his mind that said this was his life, his decision.

But the patterns of a lifetime held in the end; he signed the application with a resigned heart.

Now, he took his freedom, freedom he'd genuinely earned maybe for the first time in his life, and ran. Maybe in some silent hope that if he ran far enough, he would know how to change things. To buck off the expectations, to get away from the disapproval enough that he was no longer willing to do anything to avoid it.

He only stopped walking when he saw the end of the world.

No San Francisco Bay. No North Sea. The Pacific proper; it was a blue he'd never seen before, broken only by the whitecaps rolling in, thunder pounding against the rock formations on either side of the secluded little beach at the end of the trail.

That much eternity demanded reverence. Something too big for man to tackle without the aid of mechanics; something one person could never hope to conquer without some artificial help. It demanded a quiet respect, this unsoundable amount of water.

He stood for long moments, breath falling automatically in line with the distant thunder of the waves.

Eternity demanded reverence.

He answered defiance.

Without a thought about the cold water, the fierce waves, the long trip back to the Academy, his shoes or anything else, he ran headlong into the end of the world.
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Old November 5 2008, 09:30 PM   #42
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons - Distant Horizons

Wow. Scotty decked the dentist? And didn't get in trouble for it? Again: wow.

Don't take this the wrong way, but the more I see--the more I start to think your version of him is quite the messed-up individual.
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Old November 5 2008, 10:23 PM   #43
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons - Distant Horizons

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
Wow. Scotty decked the dentist? And didn't get in trouble for it? Again: wow.

Don't take this the wrong way, but the more I see--the more I start to think your version of him is quite the messed-up individual.
Nah, why would I take it the wrong way? He is screwed up at this age. Not in any 'evil, crazy' ways, but just has a whole slew of half-wild instincts and not a whole lot of more normal, well-adjusted coping mechanisms. Though, he didn't deck the dentist. ;-) At worst, he probably snagged the guys wrist in self-defense (not because the guy was a real threat, but because instinct took over) and accidentally twisted it while he was bolting. It does make sense in broad context, though it takes a very long time before a full portrait of the hows, whys and 'what happeneds?' comes together.

But, I figured that the dentist probably had to deal with twitchy people just by virtue of his job, even if it is a much kinder profession in that century, and some eighteen-year-old kid who was visibly spooked would one: Not be a surprise and two: Obviously didn't mean it in any malice. Why ruin a potential career over a mistake?

Thanks for the comment! And, no worries. Scott does start settling down. ;-) It just takes a bit, given how far he started behind the curve.
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Old November 5 2008, 10:28 PM   #44
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Yeah, as you’ve presented him, I almost wonder if Scotty doesn’t have a mild and undiagnosed form of Asperger’s Syndrome or autism? His reaction to new and unfamiliar situations (the dental exam foremost among them) would seem to indicate that he’s wired differently than most others.

Continued excellence in your writing, making this character a joy to read about.
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Old November 5 2008, 10:56 PM   #45
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Re: Arc of the Wolf: Distant Horizons

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Yeah, as you’ve presented him, I almost wonder if Scotty doesn’t have a mild and undiagnosed form of Asperger’s Syndrome or autism? His reaction to new and unfamiliar situations (the dental exam foremost among them) would seem to indicate that he’s wired differently than most others.

Continued excellence in your writing, making this character a joy to read about.
First: That's a wicked awesome observation! Honestly, I'd never even considered that angle! I've written this more with psychology in mind, and that one hadn't crossed my mind, but it's a neat thought.

And now, a discourse on psychology! Time for me to ramble again. Sorry.

I dunno if I'd go so far as to say that he's even mildly autistic, if only because there's a lot more psychology to it than physiology. Think about it: It's already established by now that he was left to fend for himself quite a bit of the time. Neglected, really, though not to a degree where he didn't learn language or that sort of thing. But he definitely wasn't socialized terribly well -- the very first people that babies and children learn about interaction from are their parents and family members. And in order to really start reaching out into the world and not being afraid of things, you have to first have the certainty that you have support behind you and a stable home base to retreat to. Curiosity is innate in children, and he's no different, but if you're constantly wondering if the people who should be caring for you and protecting you are even home, it creates a messy tangle in the supposed-to-be-simple mind of a child.

It's a bit like Maslow's Hierarchy -- the pyramid of survival. Physiological needs always come first, because while you're worrying about those, you can't worry about much else. He got pretty adept at watching his own back fast; one of the things going for him that might not pretain to others being that he's extremely adaptable (a good and bad trait, depending) -- he's a survivor, and by this point it's still a pretty prominent part of how he views the world. What's a threat, what isn't, how to potentially deal with those threats. Except, because he was left to learn all this by the school of hard knocks, he handles it all very primitively. Never was taught that there are better ways to handle a scary situation, or something new, he automatically defaults to instincts and those instincts are feral instincts.

Still, though, he's got a lot going for him, too -- he's very smart. And he's very hard-wired for mechanics, not just in the sense of understanding how things go together and work, but also being able to really get things in a full-sensory way. Pretty much his whole world, he views with all of his senses.

You can see pieces of this early psychology even much later on in TOS canon. One: Scotty's hyper-responsible, which he learned early when his basic survival was pretty much in his own hands. He takes threats to his ship and crew seriously, and is very vocal about it when he thinks his Captain's about to do something ill-advised, regardless of the mission objective. Two: He's not exactly all that good at expressing himself; That Which Survives is a good example of him not being able to find the right words to convey this 'something's not right' feeling to Spock. It's also a good example of instinct, being sensory and being very aware of how all those things come together -- he knows something's wrong, he KNOWS it, even though almost all of the instrumentation disagrees with him, and even though Spock (who has literally heightened senses) can't feel it. And he's right. And he's proven right.

There's a whole lot more there... I could spend hours talking about the psychology of this one character, nevermind any others. If you haven't guessed, I have a pretty keen interest in how nature and nurture works to make people who they are, and fanfic is a great way to explore that.

But for now, I'll spare you more rambling. I've gone on longer than some of my fics are by now. Thanks again for a really interesting notion, as well as commenting and reading!
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