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Old August 19 2009, 02:27 PM   #106
mirandafave
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

As posted over on Ad Astra:

I loved this chapter kes7. The interaction and dialogue between JQ and Maren was fun and illuminating. They said a lot about the other's character and traits. Obviously knowing each other so well means that they have a good read on one another. His concern to fill in her tactical training is touching but I think he also knew that she needed and opportunity to blow off steam and to be hitting something. I loved to how she was embarrassed about hitting Icheb but decided she was liking hitting John as the training progressed. There were lots of other funny lines and moments peppered throughout their conversation.

Likewise, I was impressed at Maren's recollections of youth and her aspirations to go out into the stars. It was related in a very clear and simple way but bespoke a lot of her character and dreams. It was very well put together chapter encompassing quite a lot, with different little scenes but devoted to characterisation. A real strength to your writing plus it gives the reader a happy contented feeling. Well done and I like the time out to explore the characters more. Hopefully this transit to the DQ will afford some more pieces like this. But that's just me being greedy.
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Old August 19 2009, 05:37 PM   #107
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Great slice of life / character development! Always such a pleasure! Maybe you're selling yourself too cheaply here - Clark & Palmieri won't pay you when we get it for free - lucky us!
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Old August 19 2009, 05:51 PM   #108
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
Great slice of life / character development! Always such a pleasure! Maybe you're selling yourself too cheaply here - Clark & Palmieri won't pay you when we get it for free - lucky us!
Well, if this story didn't violate their rules of submission about five different ways, I might have tried to sell it to them! But I'm having fun telling it anyway. Considering this is the first time I've done anything like this, I could probably use the practice.

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I was nervous about posting this chapter because of the lack of plot development, but there's simply not much going on yet on the long trip to the DQ. (Operative word being yet. Insert foreboding, maniacal laughter here.) Now is the time to get to know some people a bit better.
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Old August 19 2009, 06:10 PM   #109
RobertScorpio
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

kes7 wrote: View Post
oldstredshrtevr wrote: View Post
Great slice of life / character development! Always such a pleasure! Maybe you're selling yourself too cheaply here - Clark & Palmieri won't pay you when we get it for free - lucky us!
Well, if this story didn't violate their rules of submission about five different ways, I might have tried to sell it to them! But I'm having fun telling it anyway. Considering this is the first time I've done anything like this, I could probably use the practice.

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone. I was nervous about posting this chapter because of the lack of plot development, but there's simply not much going on yet on the long trip to the DQ. (Operative word being yet. Insert foreboding, maniacal laughter here.) Now is the time to get to know some people a bit better.

Well..good. I like good character development so its fine with me. And you do it well..

Rob
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Old August 19 2009, 08:36 PM   #110
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Character development lets you care about fictional characters and give a damn if they are in danger or get hurt or fall in love. It's the difference between Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Great vs pretty good.
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Old August 20 2009, 03:51 AM   #111
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Standing in line at the replimat, Icheb looked out at the post-Alpha shift crowds milling around the recreation deck. He noticed John and Maren walking down the concourse toward the turbolifts, and experienced a small pang of jealousy as he saw John gently put his hand on Maren’s back as if to guide her through the dinnertime crowd while the two friends strolled past the packed replimat, laughing and chatting nonstop. It wasn’t that he suspected John of having any intentions toward Maren, but it hurt a bit to see them so easily picking up their friendship where it had left off, while Icheb and Maren couldn’t be in the same room together without Maren shutting down completely.

He knew he had to figure out what to do about their situation. The first officer and the chief engineer could not go seven years without speaking, that much was obvious. The problem was, he didn’t know how to go about solving the problem. What he wanted, what he was supposed to do, and what was actually likely to happen were three such very different scenarios that he couldn’t begin to calculate probabilities of success.

If he was honest with himself, he had to admit that he wanted everything to go back to the way it had been back on Earth, before The Doctor had given him the worst news of his already remarkably difficult life and he had stupidly reacted by running away from the best thing that had ever happened to him. Until he had come face-to-face with her on the bridge of the Tesseract, he hadn’t truly realized how much he had missed Maren. She was one of the very few people he’d met since his arrival in the Alpha Quadrant who actually saw him for who he was -- not an ex-drone, not a biological weapon, not a genius, not a curiosity, not a liability or an asset. To Maren, he had somehow always just been Icheb, and to his amazement, she had loved him for it. When he thought of how rashly he had made the decision to leave her, and how stubborn he’d been in adhering to it, he wished he could bend time somehow and start over again -- or, failing that, just put the ring back on Maren’s finger and pretend the last two years had never happened. Obviously, that was a fantasy that could not and would not come true.

He had been tasked with ensuring their professional interaction. So far, he had failed. He had crossed the line that night in Maren’s quarters by kissing her, and since then, he had only come face to face with her twice, once at a senior staff meeting and once by accident. The first time, she had studiously avoided looking at anything but her PADD for the entire hour-long meeting, and the second time, she had left the area so quickly that if it hadn’t been for his cybernetically-enhanced memory, he might have believed he had imagined her presence.

As for the likely outcome, Icheb wasn’t certain. It had only been less than a week since he and Maren had both arrived on the Tesseract. A lot had happened since then, but not much time had passed, and it was obvious Maren needed some more time to process her emotions before he could expect her to really talk to him. Unfortunately, time was something he didn’t feel he had a lot of these days -- not that he had ever been a very patient person to begin with. It was torture waiting to see if she would come around, and seeing her so seemingly happy as she walked with John was like rubbing salt in the wound. He was glad to see her smiling again, but he couldn’t help but wish it was at him.

As he reached the front of the line for the replicators, Icheb ordered a liquid nutritional supplement and sat down with a stack of PADDs. He had several department reports to read through. He chose a seat in a relatively quiet corner and sat down to review the reports, sipping the thick white drink through a straw as he read.

Ten minutes later, Adele Oyugo walked into the replimat, inadvertently creating a panic. “Captain on the deck!” someone shouted, and the smarter two-thirds of the officers and crewmen snapped to attention while the slower one-third and the handful of civilians present merely gawked. It was the first time the captain had made it down to the recreation deck, and she realized with a start what she had done.

“At ease!” she said loudly, putting her hand up as if to beg them to stop. “As you were,” she emphasized, when they failed to immediately resume their activities. Gradually, the officers and crewmen settled down, but many of the lower-ranked personnel spoke in hushed tones and nervously glanced the captain’s way every so often. Adele ignored this and looked around until she located the person the ship’s computer had told her she would find here. She was somehow unsurprised to see him sitting alone, working. She strode casually over to his otherwise empty table.

“Commander, is this seat taken?” Adele asked.

Icheb looked up in surprise. “No, Captain,” he said. “Please sit down.”

“We’re off-duty, please call me Adele,” she said, settling into the chair across from her first officer.

“Then you call me Icheb,” he replied reasonably, setting down the PADD he had been reading.

“I’ll do that. I was hoping, Icheb, that you and I could talk a bit about the advisory board, among other things. Are you busy?”

Icheb shook his head and pushed the PADDs aside. “I was just reviewing these department reports. It won’t take me long to finish, it can wait.”

“Anything exciting happening?”

“Astrometrics found a wormhole. It’s highly unstable. We’ve been urged to steer clear. Sickbay reports an outbreak of Levodian flu. Three cases so far, all quarantined in sickbay until the risk of contagion is over. The Engineering crew is working with remarkable efficiency. I’m not sure what Mar -- Lieutenant O’Connor -- did, but --”

“Icheb, I’m aware you’re on a first-name basis with the chief engineer,” Adele interrupted. “Please don’t feel like you have to hide it from me.” Icheb looked at the captain in surprise.

“Respectfully, Captain -- I mean, Adele -- what are you saying?”

“I’m saying you can call her Maren in front of me, and anything else is your business as long as you keep it your business.”

“Clarify,” Icheb requested cautiously.

Adele sighed. “Due to John Quigley’s behavior on the away mission, I spent an inordinate amount of time the other day looking through his personnel file, which inevitably led me to dig a little deeper into yours and Maren’s. The transcripts from Lieutenant Quigley’s Academy disciplinary hearings paint a pretty vivid picture. Miss O’Connor must have been very fond of you to stick by you through all that,” she said sympathetically. “It sounds like she took some significant abuse from other cadets over her relationship with you. I’m terribly sorry you both had to experience that.”

Icheb stared at Adele and said nothing, caught off guard by the sudden intimacy of the conversation.

“Listen to me, Icheb,” continued Adele. “If you want to pursue a friendship or romantic relationship with Maren O’Connor, I am not going to interfere as long as it doesn’t spill over into either of your duties or become a shipwide scandal. You’re both remarkable young officers and I believe you’re capable of handling something like this with discretion.”

“We’re not involved anymore,” said Icheb.

“That may be true. But I’m an empath, Icheb. I know you two have feelings for each other. So all I’m saying is, if this is something you choose to pursue, I’m not going to be the one to stop you, unless you let it interfere with your work. I lost someone I loved dearly when I was about your age, and as a result, I’m not in the business of keeping people apart. Life’s too short.” Icheb winced at the specific poignancy of that particular Earth cliché. If Adele noticed his discomfort, she didn’t let on.

“You said you wanted me to keep things professional,” he said, looking puzzled.

“Professionalism doesn’t preclude romantic relationships, pursued in your off hours, with proper boundaries between work and play. Professionalism does preclude intentional avoidance, the silent treatment, and angst-filled stares, all of which you two have been indulging in to a ridiculous degree since you both arrived on board. Please, get a handle on it,” Adele replied with a hint of exasperation. Icheb blushed and nodded.

“Good. Now that that’s out of the way, can we discuss the advisory board?” she asked.

“Certainly,” Icheb answered, cheeks and ears still tinged red with embarrassment.

“Excellent,” replied Adele. “I want to know what you think of them.”

“What I think of them,” repeated Icheb.

“Yes, what is your assessment of the advisory board? Do you think their advice is sound? Do you think they have a strong understanding of the nature of this mission? If not, do you think there’s anything we can do to help foster that? We’re stuck with them for seven years, Icheb, we need to present a unified front and get a handle on our interactions with them now. I wasn’t happy with the way that meeting went after the launch ceremony.”

Icheb recalled the meeting. It had been rambling and all over the place, and much of it had consisted of a blonde lawyer named Eleanor Gentry peppering him with loaded questions about his Borg implants while the flag officer, Admiral Shane Beckley, sat in a corner smirking at either her questions or Icheb’s answers -- he hadn’t been able to tell which. The two retired Captains had sat quietly for the most part, and the Betazoid counselor had spent the entire time tapping intently at a PADD, seemingly lost in another dimension. No, Icheb had not liked the way the meeting had gone, either, and he told Adele so.

“So what would you suggest we do?” asked Adele. Icheb thought a moment.

“First of all, I’d call as few of those meetings as possible. They’re inefficient and a waste of time.” Icheb was completely serious, but Adele laughed as if he had said something very funny.

“I agree completely. What next?” she asked.

“I would prepare specific questions targeted to the area of expertise of each board member, in advance.”

“Excellent. From now on, that’s your job,” said Adele. “What else?”

“Maybe we should have some sort of formal guidelines for their questions, some kind of structure or procedural rules. Eleanor Gentry was completely inappropriate in her questioning of me at that meeting. I almost yelled at her,” Icheb admitted.

Adele looked surprised at this. She had been so busy trying to get a read on the silent Admiral that she hadn’t paid much attention to how Icheb was feeling during Eleanor Gentry’s courtroom-style grilling. Eleanor had indeed made the interrogation almost personal, displaying an obvious bias against the very idea of an ex-drone serving on a Federation starship. It made sense that Icheb would have felt attacked, and she knew she herself would not have been nearly as polite as he had been under the attorney’s aggressive scrutiny. She made a note to pay better attention next time so as to intervene before things progressed to the point of hurt feelings. The last thing she wanted was for Icheb to break his calm demeanor and give the advisory board something else to worry about.

“Okay, these are all good suggestions,” Adele said, taking out her own small PADD and making some notes. “Anything else?”

Icheb thought for a moment and slowly shook his head. “I can’t think of anything else right now, but if I come up with something, I’ll let you know,” he replied. “What about you?” he asked. “What do you think of the board?”

“I think it’s a disaster waiting to happen and a total pain in my ass,” Adele replied honestly. “I think Eleanor Gentry is obnoxious and Admiral Beckley scares the hell out of me. But I’m glad they’re there if we need them. There are some decisions I wouldn’t want to have to make alone.”

“Such as?” asked Icheb, curious.

Adele hesitated. She had been thinking mostly of decisions Admiral Janeway had been forced to make during her time in the Delta Quadrant with regard to the Borg, not the least of which included the time she had been forced to decide whether to use a weaponized deadly pathogen on a group of immature drones. Icheb had been one of them; in fact, Adele had seen the file from the incident, which contained a holographic image of a very young Icheb as he had looked as a Borg drone -- nightmare fodder, as far as she was concerned. Adele was not certain that in the same position, she would have made the same decision Janeway had, a decision that had saved Icheb’s life and liberated him from the Collective. She absolutely could not tell him that.

“Let’s just say your former Captain had to make a lot of hard choices in the Delta Quadrant all on her own, and I’m grateful I won’t be as solely responsible as she was if we’re forced to make those kinds of choices, too,” she said. She added sincerely, “For one thing, I’m glad I have you here with me to help.” Icheb smiled at this, and Adele was glad she had made the effort to locate him after hours and come talk to him in a more relaxed setting. She felt a bit more connected to her first officer, far less wary and distrustful. “Is that all you’re eating?” she asked, pointing to the empty glass that had held Icheb’s nutritional supplement. “I know a place where we can grab some dinner,” she joked, pointing to the wall of replicators behind her.

Icheb had other plans. “Actually, if you don’t mind, I think I’m going to go catch up with a friend.”

Adele gave him a knowing look. “Just remember to be discreet, Number One,” she reminded him. Icheb reacted with surprise at the traditional nickname for a first officer, which he had, of course, never heard used in reference to him before. He found he liked it, despite, or maybe even because of its odd similarity to a Borg designation. He smiled appreciatively at Adele.

“Thank you, Captain,” he said. He grabbed his stack of PADDs and walked out of the replimat with a sudden abundance of nervous energy, trying to formulate the words he would say to Maren, if he could possibly get her to listen.

Last edited by kes7; August 20 2009 at 05:40 AM. Reason: cleanup on aisle typo
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Old August 20 2009, 06:21 AM   #112
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

KES 7!!!!! That was pitch perfect, the interaction between the Captain and Icheb. I love getting to read these chapters for free, but if certain someones decide to pay you for your work, I will be first in line at the register.

I find myself trying to cast the characters. Perhaps some of your army of fans have ideas.

By the way, the second my mind registered the words "Number One," I felt a swelling in my chest, and a connection stretching from Adele and Icheb, through Picard and Riker, all the way back to Pike and the original "No. 1." Come to think of it, Icheb and the original No. 1 share certain personality traits: precision, clarity, forthrightness, manifold superlative technical proficiency, and an endearing, emotionally ergonomic interpersonal awkwardness.

Thanks again, Kes, and again, and again, and again, for as many times as you keep making my days with these chapters. Great stuff.
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Old August 20 2009, 06:22 AM   #113
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

That was a very nice, very laid back captain and first officer moment. For all his intelligence, knowledge of the Delta Quadrant, and Borg-savvy, Icheb is emotionally very young (as his interactions with Maren have underscored). I appreciated that Adele is able to use her own personal history to encourage appropriate relationships among her senior staff, rather than freezing any possibility of a reunion between those two for seven long years.

As she herself realizes, she's going to have to trust in him, in his loyalty and his judgment, or this mission doesn't have a chance at success.

And as much as I worry about Adele's being able to stand strong against a unified advisory board, what happens the first time the captain is abducted or incapacitated, and Icheb has to take a stand against them? Will they usurp his authority? And part of me wonders if the attorney wasn't directed by the admiral to savage Icheb while he observed, probing for weaknesses.

Wonderful material here with very strong characterizations filling in the gaps in our knowledge of these very real characters.
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Old August 20 2009, 12:53 PM   #114
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Diogenes, thank you for the extremely kind comments. I'm so glad you're liking the story, and I love your comparison of Number One and Icheb -- very perceptive on your part, I hadn't really thought about their similarities.

Gibraltar, I love how you assume Adele's abduction and/or incapacitation (multiple instances, as indicated by your use of "the first time") is a foregone conclusion. You must have heard the nasty rumors about the DQ not being such a great neighborhood.
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Old August 20 2009, 05:09 PM   #115
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Loved the "number One" thing too. Although, unbidden, it made me wonder if poor Mr. Quigly is #2?

A wonderful installment - the more you show us of both Icheb and Adele the more I like them.
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Old August 20 2009, 05:53 PM   #116
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

kes7 wrote: View Post
Diogenes, thank you for the extremely kind comments. I'm so glad you're liking the story, and I love your comparison of Number One and Icheb -- very perceptive on your part, I hadn't really thought about their similarities.

Gibraltar, I love how you assume Adele's abduction and/or incapacitation (multiple instances, as indicated by your use of "the first time") is a foregone conclusion. You must have heard the nasty rumors about the DQ not being such a great neighborhood.
I'm merely using the last mission to the Delta Quadrant as a statistical baseline.
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Old August 20 2009, 09:35 PM   #117
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Over the passed two days I've finally caught up with the latest chapter and I have to say this has been an excellent read. I like all the characters so far; and having Bashir and Icheb as part of the crew was a pleasant surprise, they are two characters I didn't dislike from their respective series, and wondered how things would be down the road for them. Good job.

Adele is a pretty good and competant Captain, I look forward to seeing more of her growth throughout these next seven years.

Maren and J.Q. do show a good chemistry together, makes me curious if a love triangle will ensure between her, J.Q. and Icheb.

What kinds of weapon systems does the Tesseract have anyways? O.o I'm very curious about this too.
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Old August 21 2009, 01:08 AM   #118
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

I have just sat in the past six hours and read all of the installments so far - kudos, you've got me willing to read the rest of the adventures of the crew of the Tesseract.

Only thing I didn't like - in direct contrast to most people - was the Council which seemed, by and large, pointless. If Starfleet was concerned about putting such a relatively inexperienced person in command of the ship, then they ought to have just assigned someone more experienced - and if they were worried about diplomatic issues, assigned someone from the Federation Diplomatic Corps.

One question - we've had a scene set on the Bridge, but what does the Bridge look like?
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Old August 21 2009, 02:15 AM   #119
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

tenmei wrote: View Post
I have just sat in the past six hours and read all of the installments so far - kudos, you've got me willing to read the rest of the adventures of the crew of the Tesseract.
I'm so glad!

Only thing I didn't like - in direct contrast to most people - was the Council which seemed, by and large, pointless. If Starfleet was concerned about putting such a relatively inexperienced person in command of the ship, then they ought to have just assigned someone more experienced - and if they were worried about diplomatic issues, assigned someone from the Federation Diplomatic Corps.
I don't think they're worried so much about Adele commanding the ship, hence the Admiral's supposedly limited role there. Simple diplomacy isn't really the issue, either. I think the advisory board is much more a reaction to the massive impact Janeway had -- for good and for bad -- as a single starship captain in a quadrant we knew little about. From Starfleet's perspective, they have a bunch of adversaries in the DQ now, and only the word of Janeway and her tight-knit crew (including former Maquis and Borg) as to what actually happened there. Adele has the potential to have even more influence, given the size of the ship and crew she's commanding. They wanted someone to be able to override her (the Admiral), someone who was well-versed in Federation law to point out potential ethical and legal violations (the lawyer), someone who could monitor the Captain's emotional well-being under pressure (the counselor) and a couple of extra strategic minds that don't answer directly to Adele in order to help her objectivity. You're not alone in disliking the concept -- Adele and Icheb aren't thrilled with it, either.

One question - we've had a scene set on the Bridge, but what does the Bridge look like?
Honestly, you can imagine it any way that makes you happy. The way I imagine it is "Intrepid class meets nuTrek," only bigger. It's square like the ship, fairly large, and very high tech. More floating holographic displays than screens, significantly upgraded LCARS interfaces. Remember that this is a good fifteen years after Voyager was commissioned and much of the ship has essentially been reverse engineered from advanced alien and future technology -- it's a lot slicker and more complex than the Intrepid class was. Another inspiration for the look I'm imagining is Voyager's Astrometrics lab. Advanced technology, extremely functional, but still kind of pretty.

These are all my imaginings. Your mileage may vary. If slick and shiny turns you off, you can imagine it looks different and it won't affect the story that much. That's the fun of reading as opposed to movies sometimes -- didn't you ever read something and then the movie came out and you were like "THAT'S not what it/he/she looks like!" Same deal.

Last edited by kes7; August 21 2009 at 05:38 AM.
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Old August 21 2009, 02:25 AM   #120
kes7
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Re: Star Trek: Tesseract

Warp Rider wrote: View Post
Over the passed two days I've finally caught up with the latest chapter and I have to say this has been an excellent read. I like all the characters so far; and having Bashir and Icheb as part of the crew was a pleasant surprise, they are two characters I didn't dislike from their respective series, and wondered how things would be down the road for them. Good job.

Adele is a pretty good and competant Captain, I look forward to seeing more of her growth throughout these next seven years.

Maren and J.Q. do show a good chemistry together, makes me curious if a love triangle will ensure between her, J.Q. and Icheb.

What kinds of weapon systems does the Tesseract have anyways? O.o I'm very curious about this too.
I'm really glad you like it. Regarding any speculation regarding romances and character development, I'm keeping my mouth firmly shut so as not to spoil the fun. Regarding weapons systems .... we'll get to that. Suffice it to say for now that they're about as well armed as it gets for Starfleet.
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