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Old November 1 2009, 02:56 AM   #1
Count Zero
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October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

Scary Monsters

by _r_ & Count Zero


“Today, Praetor Shalin expressed his confidence that the Romulan people will exceed the quota of verithium output devised earlier this year. The Praetor said he expected an exceed of at least 2%. Verithium is a rare resource needed by the Defense Force to manufacture new weapons which will keep the barbarian hordes of Earth in check.
In response, Marik Chal, the Governor of Kratak, one of the Empire's most reliable sources of verithium, vowed to exceed the output quota by at least 5%.

The Statistics Commission released their annual report...”



Governor Shelbeth switched off the news, feeling anger surge up inside him. Of course, Chal had to go and make that vow, just to be on the Praetor's good side. Where did that leave him? His world, a peaceful and insignificant agricultural colony until recently, had been picked to become the Empire's main source of verithium. Chal's imprudent vow bound him, too. They would have to up their output considerably. If only he knew how.
Sighing, he got out of his chair and walked over to the window, which offered a splendid view over the outskirts of town and the lovely surrounding countryside. They weren't yet visible – and they might never be from his window – but from the reports he received and his own tours all over the planet Shelbeth knew what effects the mining and processing of verithium were having on his planet.
In a patriotic fervour, many farmers had left their fields to 'do their share for the Empire' by working in the mines, while the hastily set up processing stations were operated with little regard for the environment, poisoning fields and pastures beyond recovery. He dared not think about it, but deep in his heart he knew that all this would end badly. Chal's vow and the verithium quota were really the least of his worries. Something had to happen or people would start dying, soon, starving on a planet once considered the region's bread basket.
The Governor walked over to a small cabinet on one of the walls and took out a bottle of Romulan Ale which promised a special kind of oblivion. When the prospectors had first told him of the planet's richness in verithium, he had felt elated. He downed a quarter of the bottle's content in one go, not even bothering with a glass. All the possibilities. It had sounded so good.

***

Shelbeth couldn't quite decide how to feel. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he had finally come up with a plan, like a true Romulan, which filled him with modest pride. The plan was simple, really, but the details not yet worked out did little to abete his anxiety. Hearing footsteps in the corridor, he tried to compose himself as much as he could. This is it. Time to look your very best. Gods, this was so much easier when this was just a boring backwater planet.

A tall, brown-haired man entered the Governor's office, his footstep so elastic it almost inspired Shelbeth to smile. The elegantly clad man greeted him cheerily before taking his seat in the cushy chair in front of the Governor's desk.

“Jolan tru, Mr. Debure. Well, it seems you have quite the reputation concerning your skills as a trader. I've heard it said you could obtain a bottle of water in the middle of the Sari desert.”

The middle-aged trader grinned. “I like that. It is a gross exaggeration, though.”

“A drink, maybe?”

At his nod, Shelbeth got up and fetched the half-empty bottle of Ale and two glasses. As he poured the drinks, he noticed his hands were trembling. But Debure smiled politely, either not having noticed or pretending he hadn't.

Back in his seat, Shelbeth continued, “I require your services in a rather delicate matter. You see, the Commission for Economic Planning wants us to stock up on our food reserves. I know it sounds absurd, I told them myself it wasn't necessary. Apparently, it's a part of their emergency response system.”

“I'm sure it's a prudent decision.”

Unable to tell whether Debure meant it or whether it was just a phrase, the Governor carried on, “As you can imagine, this is a matter that requires the utmost discretion. If word got out, the people might start to worry and believe we have a food shortage on our hands.”

The best way to hide the truth is in plain sight. He had read that somewhere.

“I understand.” Debure replied, simply.

Did he? Shelbeth wondered. His doubtful look must have registered with the trader, who added, “Don't worry, Governor. I'll be discreet. I have just the idea where to acquire what you need. But the trading post lies beyond our borders.” Smirking, he added, “For now.”

Shelbeth let out a nervous laugh. “I have the permit here, of course.”

He made a show of getting the unwieldy laminated paper from one of his desk drawers and putting it on the desk. The various holograms printed on it for verification shimmered in the colours of the rainbow.

“What do you think you'll need as payment for the goods?” he asked. Now came the hard part. Surely, this free trading post Debure mentioned only dealt in precious resources. And he didn't have much to offer besides rotting grain and verithium he needed himself.

The trader thought about it for a moment. “The easiest way would be latinum, of course.”

“Mmh. I can't provide that, I'm afraid. Let me think about what we've been allocated.”

He grabbed a random padd on his desk and stared at its screen, thinking hard. What could he come up with that wouldn't be missed and at the same time wouldn't raise any suspicions with Debure about the legitimacy of his mission? Suddenly, it hit him.

“How about two containers of dilithium?”

He saw the trader's face light up. The stray containers had been sitting in a hangar outside town for months. No one would miss them, but apparently, many primitive nations needed them for their ship's engines. He really should have remembered that earlier. Maybe he wasn't such a good Romulan, after all. Well, that much is obvious, isn't it?

“That will do, too.” Debure said.

“Good.” Shelbeth said matter-of-factly, as he filled out the forms that would allow Debure to take the dilithium. First forgery, now theft and fraud, and all in a day's work.

“Are you sure this will work?” he couldn't help asking, though it probably sounded suspicious. After all, his life depended on it.

Debure replied evenly, “I promise you I'll get the food.”

***

A certain restlessness had taken hold of him, the reason of which Debure couldn't quite discover. Was it the job at hand? Earlier, he had inspected the dilithium and found it to be of low quality, which would make his job considerably harder. However, he was confident it would work out, so that couldn't be it.
His conversation with the Governor still lingered in his head. For a Governor, he had been uncharacteristically nervous. And to some degree, this deal seemed odd, though it was nothing obvious. Debure got up from the bed in his apartment and walked the few steps to his desk to once again examine the permit and papers he'd received. They were perfectly legitimate.
The Governor's story might not quite add up but he decided he didn't need to know whatever was happening in the background. In fact, it was better not to. Life was much simpler that way. He had the permits and that was all that mattered.
That settled, he realised what really had him worried – the Commission ordering food reserves to be stocked up, more precisely what this order implied. They expected something bad to happen. Maybe a war? Lately, the news were full of subtle hints. Probably the Earthers again. Why couldn't they just leave the Empire alone? As if they hadn't already done enough damage.
Debure thought about his father, that confident, maybe slightly too happy man he had hardly known, murdered at Cheron. Slaughtered like the rest of the fleet by Archer. At least, that barbarian had received his own serving of ironic justice, killed by gangrene. Served those humans right for rejecting science and progress.
No one even knew what they looked like, only that they despised everything the Empire stood for so much they were hellbent on destroying it anyway they could, despite their primitivity. When he had been younger, he had imagined them as hideous monsters, half-beasts even. But what if they looked just like us? The idea made him shudder. They could be among us everyday.
He sighed. These scenarios were silly. He should just concentrate on his mission, leave these worries to the military and the politicians. Should the Empire call upon him in case of war, he'd be ready to do his duty.

***

“Ki'Balan, you're cleared for landing. You're assigned to docking bay C 2. Please follow the instructions of flight control at all times.”

The metallic voice of the station's translation software sounded like music to Debure's pointy ears. After losing a lot of time at the border check point, he was eager to get this transaction over with as soon as possible. As usual, the travel and trade permit was only valid for a short period of time, leaving little margin for unforeseen incidents. Fondly, he remembered that one time where he'd needed to make the route to Draken and back in an impossible four days after a lengthy engine repair.
He was still reminiscing about his travels when he stepped out of the airlock. The corridors leading to the core of the station were tight and low, filled with the smell of food and the effects of wildly differing views on personal hygiene. As soon as he left the crampy corridor, he was surrounded by a bunch of brawny Bolians.

“Hey, Mr. Pointy Ears, have some fun with us.” One of them yelled.

Debure refrained from making any remarks about head bulges and blue skin after sizing them up and determining he wasn't a match for them.

Another one lay his arm around the trader's shoulders, saying in a softer voice, “Yeah, come party with us. We've just made the deal of our lifetimes.”

Debure decided it would be easier to go with the flow for now and slip out of the party later. Any resistance now might be met with rash actions on the side of the Bolians, judging from their breaths reeking of alcohol.

“What kind of deal?” he asked politely.

“Ah, you know, we're miners...”

“Were!” the first Bolian interjected, grinning wildly and lifting the bottle in his hand.

“On Crucis IV no less!” a third miner mumbled from behind.

“Yeah, it's a horrible place, fucking cold and you have to wear a breathing mask whenever you go outside because of the damned storms.” the Bolian with his arm around Debure said, almost in a wistful tone.

They arrived at several benches and tables outside a bar, apparently the Bolians' destination. He was gently pushed on one of the benches while one of the miners went to get their drinks.

“I presume you found something of value, then.” Debure said, after their drinks had arrived. Out of the corner of his eyes he noticed he had been served Vulcan brandy, which was mildly disconcerting.

“You can say that out loud.”

The miner who had urged him here leaned over to him and whispered in a confidential tone, “I'll show you what we found.”

He held out his hand in a fist, then opened it. Debure gasped. A dilithium crystal of a quality he had never seen before.

“I kept that one as a souvenir.” the Bolian said. “We've mined 20 tals of it.”

Debure blanched. His possible deal had just evaporated.

***

The Roz Havash was probably the seediest bar on the whole station. But that didn't matter to Debure anymore. There was no way he could make it anywhere else to trade the dilithium in time. Stuck in a dead end. After all these years, it had finally happened to him. Failure.
What's worse, he had given his word to the Governor. What a disgrace. He could imagine all too well what his father would have said, the disappointed look on his face. He would bring shame to his family, to his name. The prospect of returning home – something he always looked forward to – now seemed horrible to him, something he couldn't bear to face.
The bartender just dumped a grimy brown bottle in front of him, its content smelling like the detergent he sometimes used on his ship. Oh well, what does it matter, now?
After having downed the bottle, he got another, then another. He thought of getting yet another, but he felt as if his intestines were slowly dissolving.

“Rough day, huh?” a bald, red-skinned alien suddenly popping up next to him asked. Debure just stared at it, bewildered.

“And not much of a talker. I see. You know, I don't want to say anything against this fine establishment, but you really should reconsider your choice of drinks.”

It looked at him expectantly, but he still had no idea how to react properly. The alien sighed, turned to the bartender and said something in an incomprehensible language. After a few moments, the bartender came back with two big glasses filled with a sparkling, thick, red liquid.

“There you go.” the alien said.

He nodded and managed a polite smile, while he desperately tried to figure out what insidious designs the alien could have. The golden-eyed being lifted its glass in his direction before drinking from it. Still confused, Debure chose to mimick the gesture. The bubbling beverage, despite its exotic appearance, tasted pleasantly and somewhat familiar, like alal juice mixed with something else he couldn't place - and alcohol, of course.

“So, what's your story?” the alien asked. When he hesitated, it went on, “I'm the only one of my kind here. You can imagine how boring and lonely that can be. So I couldn't help noticing you. There isn't anyone else like you on the station, that's fascinating. So I'm just curious, I guess. My name's Krk'khana, by the way.” After a few moments, she added, “You do understand me, do you?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Thank God, this would have been pretty embarrassing otherwise.”

They both laughed.

“Krk'khana,” he struggled with the pronunciation. “Is that a female name?”

“Yes.” the alien answered, smiling brightly.

“We have these enemies, bent on destroying us,” he heard himself say, unable to stop himself. “And I promised to buy food here but no one wants to trade for my dilithium and now I don't know what to do.”

He chastised himself for being so foolish, but Krk'khana just smiled gently at him.

“Can't you go somewhere else to get the food?” she asked sincerely.

“No, I... it's complicated, I have to be back soon.”

She sighed. “What's this galaxy coming to? People start giving their stuff away for free, no wonder it's destroying the market.”

He blinked at her, confused. “What do you mean?”

“There's this new organisation, called 'United Planets' or something, they passed through here a few days ago, and they just gave away food, blankets, tents and stuff to the people on Rebiko.”

“Why?”

“Because the Rebiko...ans, Rebikans, the Rebiko guys asked them for help. I mean, it's a regular hellhole, but still... They said they don't use money and only work to better themselves and the rest of society. Which means they're probably crazy.”

She grinned but was met by Debure's stare, who was struck by an unexpected surge of hope. If he could reach those people they might be able to help him.

“How exactly were they called? When did they pass through here and where did they plan to go next?” he asked urgently.

“Um...” she was obviously thinking hard. “It was a pretty silly name, mmh, something with 'Federation'... Ah! United Federation of Planets. They left here the day before yesterday, in the evening. As far as I know, they were headed home, but I have no idea where that is.”

Debure sprang up from his bar stool, thanked her effusively, even hugged her and was out the door before she could say anything.

Turning back to the bar, Krk'khana shook her head and muttered, “You're welcome.”

***

(continued below)
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Last edited by Count Zero; November 1 2009 at 05:10 PM.
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Old November 1 2009, 03:01 AM   #2
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

It had been easy to get the relevant information out of the station personnel, by just appearing threatening enough. He wouldn't be able to go back there for a while, but that was irrelevant now. He'd been following the Federation ship's direction at maximum velocity for hours, while broadcasting a message asking them for help.
Waiting had never come easy to him. In the situation he found himself in at the moment it was almost unbearable. The mix of hope, anxiety and nervousness hadn't allowed him one second of rest.
He stared at the chronometer on the dashboard, watched the seconds melting away. Time was running out.

The ship's comm device beeped and made his heart skip a beat. With a trembling hand, he hit the receive switch.

“Ki'Balan, this is the Ti'Laren, we're representing the United Federation of Planets. Please respond.”

“Oh, thank the gods. My name is Vrelek Debure and I need your help.” Begging wasn't the Romulan way, but he really didn't have a choice.

The cold, emotionless voice on the other side of the line was replaced by that of a man, sounding strangely familiar.

“What kind of help do you need?”

“I heard about how you helped the people of Rebiko. I was sent to stock up our food reserves, I'm running out of time and I was unable to find a trading partner for the dilithium I have. We have relentless enemies who threaten us, it's urgent.”

He wasn't sure whether mentioning the war threat was a good idea in terms of the Empire's security but he thought it would make them more inclined to help.

“Mr. Debure, are you Romulan?”

He didn't like the sound of that. As a rule, his people tried to stay as anonymous as possible, to avoid detection by the humans. And the voice..., the way the man had said the word Romulan, Debure was sure he had heard it before. Only now it occurred to him to call up 'additional information' on the screen that displayed the translation.

That man spoke in the language of Earth.

The terrible truth dawned on him. He had begged the enemy for help! Fooled by a simple name change! They had probably annexed several planets in the meantime, whose peoples were inferior to the Romulan race and therefore didn't put up as much resistance.
Angry with himself and the universe, he decided to make the best of his situation, put a data stick into the slot on the dashboard and pressed the 'record' button. Maybe he could at least gather some information.

“Are you still there?”

Now it made sense. Of course, he had heard the voice before, hundreds of times. All Romulans had. Normally filled with arrogance, it was the voice of the man that had dictated the terms of the humiliating peace treaty after Cheron. But it couldn't be...

“Yes and yes. And who are you?” Debure answered in a demanding voice. It was a stupid question, but he had to know.

“My name's Jonathan Archer. Please don't cut the channel, Vrelek – can I call you Vrelek? - it's important that...”

“No , you can't!” Debure yelled into the comm. “Don't you dare! You murdered my father.”

Several seconds passed in silence.

“How so?”

He slammed his fist on the dashboard.

“Don't play innocent. You know exactly what I'm talking about. My father was the Commander of the Audure at Cheron.”

“I'm sorry.”

He was surprised by the gentleness of the voice and taken back by the simple apology.

“I wish there had been another way, but there was a war on. I lost many of my friends, too.”

Debure felt a certain satisfaction as he heard the last sentence.

“It really is you, then. But how is that possible? We were told you died of gangrene.”

He heard a slight chuckle over the comm.

“Seems like no one told me. I don't know about the state of medicine in the Empire, but here, nobody dies of gangrene these days.”

“So you're telling me my government has been lying to me?”

“Well, I'm here, talking to you.”

“What did you really do to the people of Rebiko?”

“We supplied them with food, blankets and emergency shelters. You can check for yourself.”

“Why? Did they agree to fight for you?”

“No. They asked for help, so we did what we could. That's what the Federation is all about. To make this part of the universe a better place.”

“Like you tried to force us to become a better place? By fighting progress, enlightenment and science?”

“That's not what happened. We were only defending ourselves. We're not a threat to you and we never were. I know you'll find it hard to believe but I used to be an explorer, not a soldier. I never thought I'd have to fight a war.”

It almost sounded convincing. How was that possible? This man didn't sound at all like the monster he had always imagined him to be.

“This may sound silly, but what do you look like?”

“You know, I could ask you the same question. What races close to Earth do you know? It's simpler if I just describe the differences.”

“Vulcans.” It was a risk revealing that he knew how they looked, but he was sure that Archer wasn't sophisticated enough to pick up on it.

“We look almost like them. Our ears aren't pointy, but round. We have more variations in hair and eye colour and our eyebrows are round, too.”

Debure was stunned to find his suspicion that humans might look like Romulans turn out to be close to the truth. No monsters, then.

“If you're as peaceful as you claim to be, why are you moving against us?”

“We aren't. We're happy to stay on our side of the Neutral Zone so long as you stay on yours.”

“That's a lie!”

“Look, all those things you told me about what we're supposedly like, they don't really add up. If we're so backwards, how were we able to defeat you?”

“By sheer ruthlessness and barbarism.”

He heard Archer sigh. “And how did we get out here in the first place? How did we manage to build ships?”

“I don't know.” he said weakly.

“You said you heard about the Federation. Do you think the stories you heard are lies?”

It was highly unlikely Krk'khana had lied to him. And theoretically, he could check up on Rebiko to verify the story, if he had more time.

“You don't have to go back, you know.”

“Oh yes, I do. I made a promise.”

The least he could do was to face the consequences of not keeping it.

“I see. We might be able to help you with your problem.”

What? Debure couldn't believe the audacity. Did Archer think he was stupid? What better way to harm them than with poisoned food?

“I know you don't trust us but we don't have to stay enemies. Vulcans and Andorians used to be. And so did Tellarites and Andorians. Now they're all part of the Federation. All it takes is someone to make the first step and some courage. No tricks, you have my word. And you can always scan it if you don't believe me.”

For what seemed like a long time, he just stared straight ahead, paralyzed. Should he accept the offer? The prospect of being able to fulfill his promise to the Governor was tempting. But it was unthinkable to accept anything by them. He thought about Archer's words. Some courage. Easy for him to say. It would be the greatest risk he had ever taken. But then again, what did he have to lose?

“Ok.” he replied, simply.

***

On the way back to the Empire's border he had been as restless as on his chase after the Federation ship. He didn't know what to think, what to believe anymore.
So far, all of the Federation promises were holding up. They had beamed the food into his cargo hold – emergency ration bars with their labels meticulously peeled off. This could be explained away easily enough with the shadiness of the trading post and the low quality of the dilithium he had dumped along the way. Extensive scans hadn't revealed anything out of the ordinary about the bars.
All this should have filled him with joy or contentment at least. Only it didn't. Because it heavily suggested Archer had been truthful to him. While his own government hadn't. He might have been able to file Archer's alleged death away under bad intel – such things did happen – but now a lot of what he'd been told about the war didn't make sense anymore. He realised that he really didn't know anything about the war, not for sure, anyway.
If his government had been less than truthful about the Earthers and the war, what else wasn't true? Was everything he ever believed in a lie?

“Ki'Balan, this is border checkpoint 15. Proceed to inspection on pad 4.”

The commanding voice took him out of his thoughts. Not again. The last inspection had taken hours, and after all he'd been through on this trip, he didn't have the nerve for it. All he wanted was to deliver his cargo to Shelbeth and take a long time off afterwards.
After landing smoothly on the pad, he stepped from his ship, his papers ready, and found himself facing a squad of soldiers pointing their disruptors at him.
A woman dressed in the darker uniform of the Tal 'Shiar stepped forward.

“Vrelek Debure, you are under arrest for conspiracy and treason.”

“What?” he stuttered. “I assure you I can explain everything.”

“I highly doubt that.” the woman replied coldly as he was led away by the soldiers.

***

By the time he was brought to his last abode in this life, tired, bruised, his clothes crumpled, he had figured it all out. They didn't even know about his conversation with Archer and they didn't care where he'd gotten the ration bars.
The guards pushed him into a grey, dirty cell, where Shelbeth was already waiting for him, standing up and looking sheepishly at him, as much as that was possible with a face as swollen and bruised as his. The Tal'Shiar hadn't been kind to him. Debure noticed the bloodied bandages around the former Governor's right hand. Apparently, they had cut off a few of his fingers. No wonder he'd been so talkative.
After all that had happened to him, Debure had landed here only because of the forged permits Shelbeth had given him. It would have been funny if it didn't mean his death.

“I'm sorry.” Shelbeth said sadly.

“Don't. I don't want to hear it.” he retorted angrily. What good was any apology to him, now?

“But... I only did it because...”

“Oh, spare me the explanations! It doesn't make any damned difference!”

Shelbeth sat down, resigned. For a while they sat in silence.

“It almost worked, too.” Shelbeth said softly.

***

Ereleth supposed there were better jobs out there, more prestigious ones certainly. But he was happy with what he did. Repairing space ships was his boyhood's dream come true. The only thing he despised about it was the paperwork that sometimes came with the job. At the moment, he was working his way through all the forms needing to be filled out before the confiscated cargo ship they were supposed to overhaul could be returned instead of working on the ship itself, like Rakitha.

“Hey, Ereleth.”

Speak of the devil.

“What is it?”

“Look what I've found in that confiscated ship!” she said excitedly and held up a data stick.

Ereleth looked around carefully, but they were alone.

“Uh, Rakitha, this could be evidence.”

“I know. How exciting. Right?”

He couldn't help but smile warmly at her.

“Don't you want to know what's on it, Eri?”

He sighed. Whenever she used his nick name, he found himself unable to refuse her anything.

“Ok, put it in.”

She did and pressed 'play' in a dramatic fashion. The old speakers on Ereleth's desk came to life.

“Are you still there?”

“Yes and yes. And who are you?”

“My name's Jonathan Archer...”
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Last edited by Count Zero; November 1 2009 at 03:48 AM.
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Old November 2 2009, 02:43 AM   #3
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

I think I may have been hampered in getting the full significance of the story by an overall lack of familiarity with Enterprise, but I found it a very entertaining read nonetheless. The pacing was great. As Debure discovered more and more, I felt as though I was watching a mystery unfold. The arrest at the end took me by surprise, and I found myself sympathetic to the plights of both men who had been placed in difficult situations by things beyond their control. Well done on working together!
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Old November 2 2009, 03:19 AM   #4
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

Hey, our first comment! Hooray!

Thanks for the kind words. I don't think much familiarity with Enterprise is required to grasp the full significance, at least it wasn't intended that way. Nothing about the Romulan War was established in ENT, sadly, due to its early cancellation. We just assumed that Archer had played a significant role in the battle of Cheron and the subsequent peace negotiations (after all, he's kinda depicted as one of the Federation's founding fathers in the series, so it follows he'd be involved in diplomacy and politics before that) and thus became the poster child for evil humanity in the Empire.
I also feel sorry for Debure and Shelbeth, I felt like an evil overlord when writing that scene. It's certainly a cruel fate, but this version of the Empire isn't a just and happy place.
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Old November 2 2009, 05:17 AM   #5
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

You're welcome. I liked it so much y'all got my vote. Yes, it was a sad ending, but it was also a realistic ending given the set-up. I've never been one who wants a happy ending just for the sake of it, particularly if it doesn't fit the story.

Also, I'm not sure how y'all divided the writing, but it didn't feel piecemeal at all. It was quite seamless.
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Old November 2 2009, 08:35 AM   #6
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

I agree with PSGarak.This was a well thought out story with a dark twist at the end.
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Old November 2 2009, 09:59 AM   #7
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

Enabran Tainted wrote: View Post
You're welcome. I liked it so much y'all got my vote. Yes, it was a sad ending, but it was also a realistic ending given the set-up. I've never been one who wants a happy ending just for the sake of it, particularly if it doesn't fit the story.
Thanks! Concerning the ending, one could hold the opinion that it ends on a sort of hopeful note. Due to Debure, people at least get to listen to the conversation and the truth, even if it's just by accident.
Who knows what will happen next, what the two engineers will do with their knowledge?


Loki Dukat wrote: View Post
I agree with PSGarak.This was a well thought out story with a dark twist at the end.
Thanks, Thor.
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Old November 2 2009, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

I liked it a whole lot, too - and I also have very little knowledge of Enterprise, so I think the fact that I still found it enjoyable and engrossing says a lot about the quality of the story. Loved the suspense!

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Old November 2 2009, 09:16 PM   #9
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

Thanks, Kate, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I'm (unhealthily) obsessed with ENT, its era and Archer in particular. I think my stories therefore sometimes suffer from the show's unpopularity.
It's understandable, I normally don't read Voyager fan fics, either. (I always read all the the challenge entries before I vote, though.) Once you've made up your mind about what a show and its universe is like, it's pretty hard to overcome that preconception.
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Old November 2 2009, 09:32 PM   #10
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

I enjoyed this thoroughly. I'm just sorry your protagonist bites the dust. Seamless, smooth and well-developed. Excellent job.
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Old November 2 2009, 09:46 PM   #11
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

Thanks, Mistral. I wish there had been a way to save him and Shelbeth, but some stories just don't have happy endings. It's like a film by Fritz Murnau or a neorealismo film...
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Old November 3 2009, 01:25 AM   #12
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Re: October challenge entry - Scary Monsters

I agree with everyone else - it is a shame that two good men who were only doing their best for their people end up in jail and probably executed, but I like that there is hope at the end.

A very well-written, enjoyable tale. I'm equally unfamiliar with the later stages of Enterprise - but the Archer you wrote sounded real to me.
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