If I could do it all over again . . .

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by TheLoneRedshirt, May 15, 2014.

  1. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Preface: I haven't given up on writing. Unfortunately, writing seems to have given up on me. I'm wandering in the wilderness without a muse or a compass, so forgive me for my on-going absence. However, I have pondered what I would do differently were I able to go back in time 7 years and start the Bluefin saga afresh and anew . . .

    1. I would stick mostly to short stories. It's obvious that I have trouble maintaining momentum and enthusiasm for long tales. :(

    2. My stories would focus on missions appropriate for the Border Service. I think I have drifted much too far into Starfleet-level tasks using a small ship and crew. "Cascade Effect" was probably the one story that did not suffer from some degree of mission drift. :shrug:

    3. Fewer officers / more NCOs. Bluefin's crew of 120 has WAY too many officers (high-ranking officers, at that). Consider: Joseph Akinola is a full captain, Inga Strauss a full commander, ditto T'Ser (before she transferred), then you have Delta Simms, Gralt and Dr. Castille all lieutenant commanders, a bevy of senior lieutenants - Nigel Bane, Fralk, Sarnek, and more than a few jay-gees and ensigns. Now if Bluefin were a Galaxy-class ship, that would make sense. But on a cutter that size, the C.O. would probably be a commander, perhaps only a lt. commander, with a couple of lieutenants, a jay-gee or two and an ensign. The rest would be non-coms and enlisted personnel. This has really begun to bother me in recent years, but aside from a full reboot, there's not much I can do at this point.:brickwall:

    4. I wish I had stuck more with Bluefin and not strayed into other story-lines (Endurance/Yeager, Excalibur/McAfee, Merlin/Parker, Pamlico/Nor'Huren, Sargasso/Porter, etc.) I think I'm a bit ADD when it comes to story-line discipline. I admire those of you who can stick with a single ship and crew. Apparently, I cannot. A character flaw, I suppose. :rolleyes:

    5. FINISH THE #@&*! STORY before starting to post, whether on the TrekBBS, Ad Astra, TOT11F or some random brick wall in an alley. :scream:

    6. I'm rethinking the whole concept of Star Stations as separate from Starbases. If the Border Service is relegated to using old, worn-out ships for their primary mission of rescue and interdiction, how the heck did they get a dozen huge state-of-the-art stations dedicated to Border Service use? I would keep the names (Echo, Freedom, India, etc.) but designate them as Starbases and operated under the authority of Star Fleet. The Border Service squadrons would share space with the varsity.

    7. The cutters would have fewer armaments and defenses as compared to Starfleet vessels. Border cutters would depend on speed and superior sensor capabilities with perhaps a single phaser bank/strip or single torpedo tube (small yield, no quantum torpedoes or Alpha weapons). If you compare the largest present-day Coast Guard cutter against the smallest Navy frigate, there is no contest. The Coastie boat would be toast. Different missions, different hardware. Starfleet = long-range exploration and defense. Border Service = short-range rescue and interdiction (law enforcement).

    Am I right?
  2. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

    Mar 19, 2005
    European Union
    I liked your other stories (especially the TOS era one) too much to say you're right. ;) I don't think that limiting yourself to one ship at one time is necessarily a good thing. As for the technical stuff I don't think your readers were actually bothered by that. And wouldn't officers kind of accumulate naturally over time thanks to service years?

    I hope you'll find your muse again.
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Dude, it's fan fiction. It's all about what you want to do with your stories and how you want to tell them. So if, looking back, you wish you could change things, that's perfectly fine and who knows, someday you might get the chance.

    I will say though that none of the above points have ever bothered me when reading your stories and I can't think of any significant feedback you've received over the years that took you to task for any of this. In fact I think it is safe to say that Bluefin as well as your offshoots rank among the best and most popular original character Trek fan fics.

    If I had one wish however, I'd wish for you to finish your incomplete work, starting with Bluefin, Excalibur, et al. I know, I know, if wishes were horses ...
  4. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    1. It always amazed me actually TLR how well able you were able to spin an amazingly engaging tale with so much action and adventure and compelling characters in such a short space. Perhaps it is a case that your strength lies there. Truthfully, telling a short story takes great skill. I would add, no matter how short or how long your stories, I was always engaged and of course, always eager for more.

    2. Perhaps a valid point, however, that also lent a fish out of water context to things as well as illustrated just how your Border Dogs did the job differently.

    3. That may be a case by comparison to RL navy and coastguard. However, given the sheer number of officers seen in Trek and the oft mentioned Gene Roddenberry thinking that every person in Starfleet was an officer, I'd say it isn't so great a leap of faith as you believe. Also, Akinola was a mustang officer and I'd say by sheer dent of personality that man was never gonna leave his Bluefin no matter how he rose through the ranks. Given his age and experience, it is no wonder he'd have reached captain rank. But likewise, it is not unreasonable to presume that in other cases it is commanders and Lt Commanders in command of a vessel. A full reboot may not be necessary and you can continue to advance and promote characters off the ship. Perhaps given Joseph's experience and mentoring capacity, he was used as a teaching mentor to train and promote promising officers into their further careers - T'Ser and Strauss being good examples.

    4. We all wish for more Bluefin! ;) But seriously, those other stories all had merit and fascination. Obviously, I have a particular fondness for the Eschaton crew but it has to be said, the Excalibur was a terrific piece of story. To deny that read to readers would be awful. Perhaps change perspective. Think of those other stories as sideline projects and say so front up and make the Bluefin your focus and priority. And new ships and characters and desire to make and write them is merely a sign of a creative itch and urge. That's surely a good thing.

    5. This I can agree on. Cos I've sucked and failed at this. Especially so with bigger stories. It's hard and difficult and all too often the desire to publish what's written is just too great. Given the online format of fanfic it lends itself to the WIP story but it perhaps denies the chance to revise and change things you might otherwise wish to. I'm trying to take this one onboard now too.

    6. I like the notion of the worn out stations and hand me downs obviously I do. Whether in ships or stations. Actually, I thought your concept of mission specific stations charged to the border patrol was a novel and inspired concept different to any other Trek fanfic. Also, you had it quite limited in scope as it was - with only what about ten or twelve Star Stations. Not a massive scale really. Perhaps there is more overlap of Federation Starfleet and Border Patrol installations but room for separate installations too, particularly in highly sensitive areas of border contentions.

    7. I agree. Although, I disagree in the sense that again I actually think you wrote it that way anyway in your 'verse. The Rat traps being the Dogs best toy and paling in comparison to Starfleet's quantum torpedoes for example.

    My two pennies worth for what it is worth (may be less than two pennies depending on currency and rates of exchange)
  5. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    Okay, so now you know what you'd do if you could start over again.

    So...start over again. No time travel required.

    This is the Bluefin Reboot. Simply start another Bluefin story and incorporate everything you just detailed in your post (all of which is spot on, BTW, and I'll likely be the only poster to tell you this). Recreate the concept starting with a blank screen. Old Bluefin is done.

    This is a test of how fickle your muse is. If she comes back all sweet and saying, "Hey, TLR...ooh, whatcha doing? Hey, know what I'd do here?" you'll know you're on the right track. Finish that story and continue the series in that canon. If, however, she comes back screaming "YOU BASTARD! I GO AWAY FOR ONE LITTLE HOLIDAY WITH MY GIRFRIENDS AND YOU COMPLETELY ABANDON OUR CHILDREN???" you probably want to stop rebooting and try and find another way to finish the stories you've started. You can always go back to them, and fan fiction should never be written on a timetable. Your loyalest fans will wait, and new postings always attract fresh lookie-loos. (Trust me, that's how i build my readership on ff.net)
  6. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Count Zero - thank you! The TOS Excalibur story may still have a future, assuming you are right about my muse! :) I did enjoy writing Captain McAfee. That story line may survive the cut.

    CeJay - I appreciate the encouraging words. The unfinished stories are my biggest source of frustration. In hindsight (again) I wish I had spent more time finishing works in progress rather than jumping to a new story. I still have a goal of finishing the Bluefin "Refuge Crisis" story and perhaps the Excalibur story. The others, well . . . :roll eyes:

    MirandaFave - thanks for all the kind comments. Looking back, my favorite stories I have written are the short stories (for the most part). But some stories just take longer to tell. As to the rank structure, even Roddenberry wasn't consistent (there were quite a few 'crewmen' on Enterprise, most wearing red shirts :mallory: and having short life-spans). It probably doesn't bug everyone but it's started to bug me. As to Eschaton, I'll probably keep that crew since they are civvies and in a different universe than Bluefin.;) As to the USS Bluefin herself, I made the mistake of allowing her capabilities to grow a bit much over the course of several stories. If memory serves, she even carried quantum torpedoes for a brief time. That would be like a Coast Guard cutter carrying nukes! :eek: Thanks for your 2 cents - it counts for a great deal more.

    Admiral2 - Actually, starting over is a viable option and one I have seriously considered. A complete reboot is an intriguing idea, regardless of what my vacationing muse might think. If I follow this path, I anticipate the changes to be extensive. But I promise - no lens flare. :lol:
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    So glad to hear you haven’t given up on writing TLR, muses be a fickle thing—I know mine is on a prolonged holiday, making progress difficult. However you would’ve written Bluefin, you would’ve still given us compelling characters, thrilling stories and a unique view on the Trek universe.

    1. As with many other things in life, its about quality not quantity. Condensing tales into smaller stories makes them all the more fun to read though it does mean readers get through them too quickly ;)

    2. I’ve always enjoyed the diversity of your stories, looking at how even Border Dogs get wrapped up in the big events of the quadrant and the part they have to play.

    3. Given Akinola’s wealth of experience and years of service, I don’t grudge the man his fourth pip—in fact thinking of him as just “Commander Akinola” sounds wrong to me :lol:. He is also a man that draws others to him, people who would want to stick by his side through thick and thin—even as a reader, I know I always will :). You wouldn’t have to do a full reboot to change that, you could do what the SCE ebooks did in ‘Wildfire’ and have a major incident that killed off dozens and shook up the crew roster—of course that would mean having to sacrifice many beloved characters, never an easy thing to consider, let alone execute.

    4. I know what you mean. I keep thinking of other story ideas and characters that I’d love to play about with, but they never get much further than conception stage.

    5. I find that its good to get feedback as you’re writing, as some comments open up whole new ideas that you’d never considered.

    6. The Star Station question is an interesting one. I like the idea of the old and out-dated stations being towed to new locations for the Border Dogs to use, though having them share with Fleeters would add some interesting dynamics whenever they were in dock. Would these joint stations still have a member of the Service brass onboard as Squadron CO, or would this be covered by a Fleet admiral?

    7. The strength of cutters has always seemed more than sufficient to me. Having a ship with better weapons and defences than the typical raider or pirate could see most interdiction operations being concluded without needing to fire a shot—only those ne’er-do-wells with a screw loose would take on a fight that they knew they had no chance of winning, especially when the crew being those phasers were all experienced men, women and others of the Border Service :bolian:

    But whatever you decided to do with them, I would continue to read.
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Bry - thank you for your feedback and kind words. Glad to hear from fellow "Border Dogs" such as you and MirandaFave - both of you have taken Border Service stories to a new level. :bolian:

    You make some excellent points re the Star Stations and the deterrent effect of the cutters. Perhaps Echo and other stations are also older, "hand-me-down" stations passed along to Border Service control after Starfleet constructed larger, more opulent star bases. And granted, a cutter should be able to have greater firepower than a raider, but I don't see a cutter facing off against a Galor-class ship or a Klingon battle cruiser. Perhaps there would be an even fight between a cutter and Bird-of-Prey.

    I am digesting all the comments and suggestions made. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and ideas - I am both humbled and grateful for your contributions.

    Based on this, my initial idea is to do the following:
    1. Keep the United Trek version of the USS Bluefin more-or-less as is. Finish the Refuge Crisis story (first priority) then decide on the fate of the other incomplete Bluefin works-in-progress.

    2. Write "The Last Bluefin Tale," set about 7 years down the road from the RC/Vanguard time frame to wrap up the series but allow me the option of continuing to write stories in the years between. These characters need closure and I'd like to give them a decent send-off to new assignments (or otherwise).

    3. Develop a reboot of the Bluefin and crew - different ship class (newer but smaller with a crew of 88), different universe, different rules. Most of the main characters will remain but will be different (Think BSG rather than ST reboot). I envision a younger, sterner Commander Akinola who carries a visceral hatred of Orions, Lt. Commander Inga Strauss (XO) as a former fighter jock who is cocky as hell and aggressive, Lt. (j.g.) T'Ser - brilliant but troubled Ops officer, Lt. Bill Nightcloud - 2nd Officer/Tactical and Akinola's closest (only?) friend, CPO Gralt - Engineer, SCPO Hyrkanus’met Solaraud-Brin (Solly) the red Orion senior NCO - scarier and less personable than the UT Solly Brin. He shares Akinola's hatred of the Orions (at least, the green ones). Lt. (j.g.) Delta Simms and Ensign Nigel Bane will serve as Rescue Boarders - co-leaders of an elite team of highly trained Border Dogs that board other vessels under extreme conditions involving rescue/interdiction missions. Both are adrenalin junkies. Bane is cross-trained as a pilot, Simms as a paramedic. Haven't decided whether or not to add a CMO on a small cutter. Most other characters will be enlisted or NCOs and will be fleshed out later.

    4. Finish the TOS Excalibur story with Captain Grace McAfee. I have actually made good progress on it and I'd like to conclude the story. If I catch the TOS bug again, this will be my go-to ship and crew.

    5. I'll keep my civilian freighter crews (Rock Jockeys and Eschaton) from the old 11th Fleet Universe, if nothing more than to make cameo appearances in other stories. :)

    6. As to other orphan stories: Starbase 66, Elvis Upp, The Endurance of Jesse Yeager, Captain Porter and the Eschaton, and Starship Grenada, I have no immediate plans for any of them. Maybe I'll revisit them one day, maybe I won't. I'm not going to worry about it. ;)

  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Sounds like a good plan. I'm particularly excited about seeing you finish your incomplete Bluefin story and Excalibur.

    The reboot is a fun idea but I remain a fan of your characters the way they are now. That doesn't mean of course I won't warm to your retooled crew over time. It's the Spider-Man syndrome. Sure Andrew Garfield is fun but for me the original Peter Parker is Tobey Magurie.
  10. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    CeJay -

    Thanks - I'm having to re-read "Trajectory" to get caught up with the story so I can proceed. :alienblush: It's embarrassing, but I had nearly forgotten the story line. Once I get caught up and my mind back in gear, I'll try to crank something out a word, a sentence and a paragraph at a time. From what I have read thus far, I introduced WAY too many characters and WAY too many plot threads. I'm thinking accidental warp-core breach to clear the field somewhat and get to a manageable number of players. :scream:

    I'll always have a soft spot for the original, UT version of Akinola and Co. That's why I will allow enough wiggle room to write original Bluefin stories. But I'm more intrigued with the possibilities of a reboot and correcting some of the deficiencies I see from the current Bluefin tales. But first, I need to finish "Trajectory!" :)
  11. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    Some notes for when you get to the reboot step:

    By "different universe", do you mean different ship and crew but still in the canon TNG era or everything changed? If it's the latter :techman::techman:, but even if it's just the former that's still a good start, but the distinction will be important.

    This only makes sense dramatically if the ship will be stationed where they'll encounter Orions a lot. They'll have to be your principal adversary. Making him an Orion-hater and only exposing him to the one likable Orion in his crew is a waste of a good prejudice.

    And here's where the distinction is important, because in canon TNG Trek there just aren't that many fighters and the ones that exist don't have that much to do, so I don't see how you'd get to produce a "cocky as hell and aggressive" fighter pilot.

    A Vulcan with emotions is already different enough. Making her "troubled" is like spiking the ball. Just transfer T'Ser as is.

    These are fine.

    This is another one you should transfer as is. there's nothing more awesome than a nice guy who can still command a room and kick slacker ass when necessary.

    Cliche. They don't have to get off on action to be good at their job.


    A crew of 88 doesn't need a full-fledged doctor. You just need a good corpsman with an NCO rate, say PO1.
  12. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    It is the latter. While still a Star Trek universe set in the late 24th century, it is not the canon TNG version or even the United Trek version. The Dominion War is over but the cold war with the Klingons continues. There is no lasting Federation/Klingon alliance in this 'verse. UFSPA handles exploration while Star Fleet handles defense. The Border Service handles rescue, border interdiction, law enforcement and special ops during times of war. Each branch uses appropriate types of ship classes for their respective missions and uniforms differ in color and service patches (Class A for Star Fleet is black, Border Service is Lark Gray and UFSPA is Sky Blue). Marines are attached to most Star Fleet vessels but not UFSPA or Border Service.

    Oh yes, they are near both Orion and Klingon space (and the Klingons and Orions have been feuding for centuries). Akinola has some specific, personal reasons to hate the green Orions. He's fine with Solly since he's a red Orion who has suffered at the hands of the dominant greens.

    Again, this isn't canon TNG where they fly around in glorified cruise ships. Star Fighters are (relatively) cheap, maneuverable, pack a wallop, and are harder to target, so there were a LOT of them deployed during the war in this universe. They also break easily, which is why fighter pilots who go through combat and survive tend to by cocky and/or suffer from PTSD. With the end of the Dominion War, there will be a decrease in the number of star wings, thus Strauss is trying to find a new path forward that promises a chance for advancement and adventure.

    Well, she will be pretty much "as-is" except in this universe the V'tosh K'tur Vulcans are seen as downright weird and outcasts from other Vulcans (so much for IDIC). Her parents have basically disowned her and she's serving out on the frontier to avoid contact with other Vulcans. She'll tend to hide her emotions more, but they will still come out especially as she gets to know people and trusts them.

    Lt. Bill Nightcloud is a new character - a solid Second Officer. Gralt will be the same, except as a CPO rather than an officer.

    Hmm. You have a good point. Solly will certainly look more fierce, what with the ritual scarring and tattoos from when he was a slave. I guess he can still be a nice guy, at least to his shipmates. :evil:

    While that is true, it doesn't mean they enjoy knitting and collecting depression era glass. They have the most dangerous jobs on the cutter, so they play hard to work off stress.

    Well, cross-training in the Border Service is a must with small crews and multi-mission capabilities.

    Yeah, I'm pretty much decided on that. PO1 Manny "Doc" Castille will be the corpsman with some cross-trained medics to help. The Star Station will have the M.D.s and hospital. The cutter will serve as the ambulance. A small, single room sickbay will handle hang-nails and other boo-boos.

    Thanks for the input! By the way, I have lost the link to your Star Trek stories (with Pike, Jellico and the big E). Can you help a fellow out and point me in the right direction? :)
  13. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    Yayzers! (Yes, i made up a word. I had to.)


    So. TIE fighter pilot. :techman::techman::techman::techman: Awesomeness!

    Very good.

    That's better for Gralt. He gets to yell and swear more.

    In that case i would model him after Teal'c in that episode of SG-1 where he got an apartment in the city. Scarred fomer slave, nice guy, bad-ass.

    Fair enough.


    Gimme a second to edit it in...

    Kay, here's the thread with the last three stories:


    Just click on any one and that gets you to ff.net, and the rest are on my author page there.
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
  14. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Admiral2 - Hey, thanks for the link! Gonna re-read your STMW stories; it's been a while. Have you added any to the saga lately?
  15. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    Nope, unfortunately my muse hangs around saying "ahh that can wait till tomorrow." "Let's watch cartoons." "Forget that one! Start this one." "Ooh! Check out this internet porn!" :shifty:

    Umm...yeah, my muse is kind of a lazy bitch.

    But go ahead and re-read the others if it'll help.
  16. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    I hear you, man!

    After my wife was in a car accident last year, I put writing aside "for a little while" and just can't seem to get back into it. Fortunately, no one was hurt much in the accident. I went to the emergency room, and the nurse said "she might have a dislocated knee cap". I took one look and said "you think? I'm not a doctor and I can tell that's not right!" Her driver had a broken bone in her ankle and actually had a longer recovery time. Everyone is back to normal, but the whole situation did scare the heck out of me for a while. I needed time to think, and now I just can't get back into writing.

    Another thing is I kind of boxed myself in with a story sub-plot, and now I'm stuck with it. I can make it work, but as it's taking me places I wasn't planning to go, I just don't enjoy the story like I did before. I think once I get past this section, it'll get back on track. Just need to sit down and force myself to type.
  17. s543

    s543 Cadet Newbie

    Jan 24, 2014
    TLR - I would put your problems aside.
    I do consider you one of the BEST trekfiction authors - as simple as that.

    The whole thing should be fun for both parties - you writing it, and the readers reading it. I do not see any reason to fight over something... something we the readers enjoy reading as is !

    I did liked all your stories with one exception - I do not like the refugee crisis, but OK it is a common project of many good people, but the result is not good according to me.

    If you would continue with any of your own stories I would appreciate it more. Just my 2c.