Spoilers VAN: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Sho, Mar 19, 2012.

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Rate Storming Heaven.

  1. Outstanding

    64 vote(s)
    70.3%
  2. Above Average

    24 vote(s)
    26.4%
  3. Average

    2 vote(s)
    2.2%
  4. Below Average

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Poor

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  1. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    I have no problem with the Enterprise showing up the first time, helping out with the Sagittarius mission. Spock also got his time with T'Prynn back on the station, bringing their story to a close.

    It's having the Enterprise show up and save everyone that felt wrong. The whole "Gosh, if it weren't for the Enterprise we'd all be dead" moment. Having someone from outside the Vanguard series save everyone at the end just felt wrong to me. It's the final curtain. Let the stars of the show have the spotlight without the better known guest stars upstaging them.

    Reyes let civilians go to a place that he was very sure would prove to lead to their deaths. The only one he seemed concerned about was his ex-wife. If he had told them that the situation was extraordinarily dangerous due to a poorly understood, hostile alien race and they went anyway then it would be on them. He didn't. He denied them the knowledge to make the choice for themselves and let them get slaughtered. And then he didn't face any sort of punishment for his actions. He got court martialed for revealing secrets. Letting him live on with the love of his life on a peaceful planet lets him escape the consequences. Actions, particularly ones that lead to hundreds of deaths, should have consequences and he totally dodged them.

    Another thing I found interesting was that TOS was essentially set during wartime, albeit on a limited scale in the Taurus Reach. The revelation that Kirk was seeking out powerful allies to take on the Shedai was very interesting. Was Starfleet looking to use M-5 controlled ships to combat the Shedai? Did Starfleet have Bailey try to recruit Balok and the First Federation to join the battle? How many episodes can you tie back into the Shedai war, even indirectly?
     
  2. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    I don't think Kirk stole the show in the battle scene. Sure the Enterprise made it possible for them to survive but Khatami and the Deltan captain whose name currently escapes me (sorry) dominated that scene. We have them risking their lives through the entire battle; if not for them, there would have been nothing left when the Enterprise arrived.

    As for Reyes, he didn't KNOW the colonists would be killed he only knew it was a dangerous situation. He had no way to know the situation would escalate to the point it did. Besides, what more could he do? he couldn't legally prevent the colonists from going there and he would have been immediately arrested if he told them why they shouldn't go. Even IF he told them the whole truth, his ex probably wouldn't have listened. it was only after the massacre that he realized that the Shedai were enough of a threat that the truth needed to be known.

    I honestly can't see how Reyes could have handled the situation better, especially when most flag officers in his situation would have kept the Shedai a secret even after the massacre. I think he showed more courage and heart than others would have.

    Besides, part of the series ending is some people got what they deserved and others didn't. Poor Zeke didn't get the ending he deserved. That's just reality.
     
  3. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Well, saying "he may be bad but THOSE guys are worse" is hardly a sterling defence.

    His wife was an esper. If he had told her the truth she would have known it, just like she knew he was holding something back. And he already knew the Shedai were a threat, otherwise why try to warn her off, however obliquely, in the first place?

    The death of an innocent, as happened to Zeke, is a tragedy. Once done, there's nothing that can be done to correct it (time travel notwithstanding).

    Allowing someone to get away with allowing the deaths of hundreds of civilians is a travesty. Unlike the situation with Fischer, Reyes is still around to face up for his crime. Letting him live happily ever after is rewarding criminal behavior.
     
  4. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    I didn't say "he may be bad but those guys are worse", I'm saying he ISN'T bad. I'm saying he did the best he could given the situation he was in. Having a top secret clearance isn't something to be taken lightly. People in those positions don't get to go home and tell their wives what they did at work that day or warn people of a possible upcoming threat. Reyes swore an oath to Starfleet which included following the orders of his superiors. He couldn't divulge information because he was under orders not to like a good soldier.

    I imagine many soldiers who read Vanguard would say Reyes is a bad guy for subsequently leaking information to the press and that he was a model soldier for keeping state secrets secret. He didn't face a court martial for letting innocents die, he faced the justice system for warning people about the truth. At his court martial, Reyes said that lives were more important than secrets which is why he decided to warn people.

    Starfleet chose to lock him up for the rest of his life. They then lowered that sentence to house arrest on a planet in the ass end of space as a result of his help in stealing information from Ganz, which saved lives. I don't think Reyes got off too easy, nor do I think he did wrong by the colonists; he warned them the best he could under law.

    Even if his vesper ex could tell if he was telling the truth if he told her the whole truth, would she have listened? She could tell that Reyes was worried and thought what they were doing was dangerous. Would it honestly have helped if she knew of the Shedai? She was going to go even with the real threat of the klingons who would have killed her if the Shedai didn't beat them to the punch.

    In a similar vein, look at Jasmine Chodhury (whose name I just butchered). In Destiny, when she found out the Borg were heading for Deneva where her family was, she called her hushand to warn him to leave BUT she wouldn't tell him WHY was because the Borg were coming. He had the good sense to follow her direction even though his wife couldn't give him specifics.
     
  5. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Actually, the character in Destiny who warned her husband to take the kids and run was Miranda Kadohata, and her family lived on Cestus III, which never came under direct attack by the Borg.

    Jasminder Choudhury is the one who lost her entire family on Deneva. She, however, never broke protocol to warn them (not that she had to, since much of that sector was already in a state of emergency).
     
  6. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Okay, I messed up some major details there. However, am I right that Miranda didn't tell her husband the specifics of why she was telling him to leave?
     
  7. David Mack

    David Mack Writer Commodore

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    ^ Correct, she used suggestions rather than tell him outright to run, though the reason was fairly obvious — the Borg invasion was well under way at that point.
     
  8. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    The difference is that the people in Destiny were already a target and there weren't enough ships to save everyone. In Vanguard, the colonists weren't on the planet yet. They weren't yet in danger. Reyes allowed them to go into a dangerous situation without letting them know that the situation was dangerous. He danced around it but eventually decided that following orders was more important than their lives.

    He used them as human shields only, instead of protecting solders he used them to protect secrets.

    Also, "I was only following orders" hasn't been a proper defense for years. We do not give the military carte blanche to do whatever they like simply because someone up the chain of command gave them an order. A general may order his troops to kill all civilans in a village but they solders are not required to follow it. It must be a lawful, legitimate order.
     
  9. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    I don't understand how Reyes could have taken extra steps to protect the colonists or if he should have.

    For one thing, Reyes couldn't KNOW that either the Shedai or the Klingons would attack the colonists. Should French and British authorities not have allowed their people to establish colonies in the Americas because they feared the Spanish or native populations would kill them?

    Reyes knew there were hostile forces in the area and if the colonists had not refused UFP protectorite status, he would have made sure soldiers and starships were present to protect them. But Reyes couldn't force them to stay off that planet, nor could he force Starfleet protection upon them. If the colonists would have allowed a Starfleet presence, would Reyes have sent soldiers to a likely death to protect civilians? You bet. He would probably have gone to his own certain death to protect his ex if she had allowed him to do so. Had he knew ahead of time the Shedai would in fact attack the colonists, he probably would have broken his oath before they left as opposed to after the massacre.

    Saying he used them as human shields means Reyes intentionally put the colonists in harm's way to protect his secret but he wasn't sure of any immanent danger, only a possible/likely threat. He honestly had no idea what would happen. You can't play Monday morning quarterback and judge him after the fact, you have to judge him based upon the information and options he had at hand at the time the colonists disembarked.

    Reyes didn't sent the civilians to their death because he was ordered to. He allowed them to expose themselves to danger because THEY refused to both accept a non-specific warning and accept military protection.
     
  10. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Finally finished the Vanguard saga and loved it. A little sad the story is over, but found the conclusion very satisfying. Thank you to *everyone* who contributed to one of the most enjoyable Star Trek stories to date, your efforts were very much appreciated by this fan.
     
  11. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    The French or British would not have hidden the fact that there were potentially hostile forces.

    Imagine that you're imploding one of the hotels in Vegas. Let's say, in this case, the charges are on a random timer. They could go off any time in the next week. Do you keep your doors open and simply post a non-specific sign at the door? Or do you tell people that the building is wired with explosives and that there's a good chance that they will go off while they are inside?

    And let's not forget that Starfleet was already on the planet. They were assisting the construction of the colony. And let's not forget that they had established a secret base within the colony. If Jeanne Vinueza knew that Starfleet had established a covert base on an independent planet she could have had all of the Federation personnel arrested as spies.

    Starfleet was not simply checking to see if there was Shedai presence, they strongly believed that there was.

    Reyes, and by extension Starfleet and the Federation, were willing to sacrifice the lives of civilians in order to keep the existence of the Shedai a secret. If Reyes' ex-wife had not been a member of the colony would he have even attempted the minimal warnings that he gave her? Let's not forget that she was an esper. She knew that he was hiding something. She knew that he was opposed to their refusing protectorate status. For all she knew he was lying to her just to keep them from becoming independent.

    Lies built upon lies and paid for with the blood of innocents.

    This is the same Starfleet that ordered the capture and, essentially, torture of the Shedai. That removed civilian oversight of the Shedai project on Vanguard. Starfleet, as the de facto military wether it's called that or not, exists to serve the Federation, a civilian government. Not the other way around.

    And let's not forget how Starfleet also violated the Orion ship, killed it's crew members and later destroyed the ship itself. The same ship that was operating under the rules set forth by Reyes under the power of Starfleet.

    And for all that, Nogura got promoted, presumably to CinC. These are not nice people.
     
  12. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    ^ First of all, I don't think the Vegas illustration works. Starfleet was open to the colony of the dangers on the frontier. Just because they didn't tell of the Shedai, which they didn't fully understand at that point, they were brutally honest about the dangers from the tholians and Klingons which should have been enough to convince a sensible person.

    As to Starfleet invading the Omari Ekon and torturing the Shedai, I agree, those actions were flat out wrong. i defiinetly didn't support the admiralty in those actions. A lot of innocent people paid for those decisions while the people who authorized them got to grow old and die in their beds. No doubt that is part of the reason why Starfleet buried the records, to cover up their sins.
     
  13. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    The Klingons were on the planet for the same (unofficial) reason as Starfleet. They were looking for signs of the Shedai. The Tholians on the other hand were looking to prevent people from discovering or using the Shedai tech. Without the Shedai presence the danger to the colonists from either of these forces was much, much less. By not telling them about the Shedai Starfleet was making them a target for all three races.

    Using my Vegas analogy, it's like telling people that your hotel is undergoing major renovations (Klingons & Tholians) when the real danger is that you have a very good idea it's going to be imploded (Shedai).

    reyes get's to grow old in his bed with the woman he loves at his side and yet he allowed hundred of people to go into a situation that he knew was much more dangerous than they thought it was. He witheld information that could have led to them changing their minds. Why should Nogura be condemned for his actions when Reyes isn't? Wrong is wrong.

    Don't get me wrong. I like that this version of Trek is showing some people to be nasty, petty and all around awful at times. I just like to see justice done. Nogura and Reyes escaped that.
     
  14. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    There is some of that. But the story was illustrating that sometimes hard choices have to be made in a tough universe that could care less about your black and white principles.

    Because there were sigificant downsides to the opposite positions on all those decisions. And none of those decisions were made because those making them were bad people, delusional or cognizant of the facts. Sometimes bad decisions are made out of that, but that was NOT the case in this case.

    They faced very tough situations with very tough consequences, whatever was chosen.

    Nogura was a man put in a tough position. And he dealt with it the best he could, I daresay better than most.

    Same with Reyes, who DID pay for his choices, including the ones some here would call the "right decision".

    No, being a defender of your society out there on the ragged edge does not always allow you to be "nice". As wonderful as the TrekU is, it is also a place of danger, horror and death. Starfleet exists to put itself in harm's way, to stand on that wall and say, "They will not come for you. Not tonight. Not on my watch."

    Nice doesn't always accomplish that job. Sometimes you have to be hard, and to make hard choices. If you can't do that...that's not the job for you.

    Now, in those situations, there is the danger of going over the line. The intel Admiral ordering Quinn's assassination? I see no way to defend it, nor in any way that would be honoring the letter or the spirit of what Starfleet is all about. But again, I think the point of the Vanguard story was to show the DS9 way of looking at things. This ISN'T a utopia. As good as it is, the beings who run it and defend it CAN make mistakes, can make the wrong decisions. There is no point, or will there ever be a point, where the perfect society and the perfect people are "donë". It is always a work in progress.
     
  15. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Yes, there were hard choices to be made and, in my opinion, Reyes made the wrong one. Instead of saying "They will not come for you." instead he said "We will let them come for those people over there instead of you". Was it simply because they were forming an independent colony and not a Federation protectorate? Would he have decided differently if they had stayed in the Federation?

    Starfleet may have put themselves in harm's way but it was not in the protection of life but rather in the protection of secrets. Of power. Of something that would give them an edge over people who were different from them. Sadly, that included hundreds of innocent civilians.

    In hindsight I think Reyes would have chosen to break his silence if he had the chance to do things over. Sadly, all those people had to give their lives in order for him to learn that he was on the wrong side of things. However, just because he learned a tough lesson does not excuse his initial mistake in letting civilians go into harms way without all the knowledge of the dangers they faced.

    Nogura on the other hand simply tried to deal with the cards he was dealt and didn't let the consequences change his mind. He seems to be the sort that feels you cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. The crew of the Omari Ekon and the scientists of the Vault just happened to be the eggs in the carton he had. He saw the consequences and he moved on, unmoved. As opposed to Reyes I feel that Nogura would do everything exactly the same way that he did. Right or wrong, he stands by his decisions.

    In a modern setting, Nogura was G.W. Bush or Dick Cheney and Reyes was Colin Powell, although Powell waited until he was out of power to admit he was wrong.
     
  16. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Sometimes, they are one in the same. First...power is a fact of survival in a universe where others seek it as well. It wasn't just a matter of dealing with people who are different from them. The UFP has real enemies. There is nothing made up about that.

    Now, did they approach it wrong? Making the move into the Taurus reach under the guise of colonization? Perhaps. That is a legitimate debate.

    But the original goal of that expedition, to try to explore and uncover the secrets of the Taurus Reach, for all the reasons, INCLUDING the pursuit of power, aren't illegitimate ones for a state entity to take.


    Yes.

    I disagree. I think Nogura was a McCrystal or Patraeus. He didn't make the policy, nor did he necessarily approve of it's architecture. But he was assigned command and he was going to do his best with it.

    It wasn't his policy. As he himself thought about himself at one point in this book, he is a soldier. A commander.

    They don't make the policies. They execute them. And unless they are given an order clearly unlawful, they are duty bound to execute to the best of their ability.
     
  17. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    Nogura wouldn't break the law for conscience reasons like Reyes did. If he felt his orders were wrong, he would still follow them. That is how he made admiral, loyalty to the system and following orders.

    However, Nogura did care for his people. He stayed on Vanguard till the very end helping save lives rather than jump ship at the beginning to save his skin. As for the scientists, he did agree with them and defended their view point to his superiors, even to the point of angering his superior. Once the scientists broke the chain of command, even then Nogura didn't flush them out an airlock like Adama would do or even have them arrested, he sent them where they could continue their work without active Starfleet involvement. They were offended, but in the end, I think he took good care of those scientists, especially when you consider he probably could have arrested them.
     
  18. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    But would not torturing the Shedai constitute unlawful treatment?

    The more I think of it Nogura is Patton. Following orders, even if he disagrees with them. Giving the higher-us his unvarnished opinion but carrying out his orders once they're given regardless of the consequences.

    It's lucky for Quinn that T'Prynn was given the order to terminate him rather than Nogura getting the order to do it personally. T'Prynn had developed a conscience by the end. Norgura was a solder through and through. He might have disagreed with the order to terminate Quinn but in the end Quinn would have been dead, just like the Orions on the Omari Ekon.
     
  19. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    The Orions on the Omari Ekon and Cervantes Quinn were two entirely different cases.

    And the Shedai were clearly enemies whom no barter or parley was possible. Even the one exception was seeking to give us ways to defend against them.
     
  20. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Vanguard: Storming Heaven by David Mack Review Thread (Spoilers!)

    The Orions were killed for what they knew, the same reason T'Prynn was given to terminate Quinn. Nogura followed his orders, T'Prynn did not.

    If there's one exception then there are usually others. What Nogura ordered done with the Shedai was pretty much the same thing that the Shedai did with the captured Tholians. Does that mean that the Shedai were right to do what they did or is that reserved just for humans?

    Starfleet, through Nogura, pushed for the project to proceed faster than it should have in the name of power. Years lated David Marcus even said that the Shedai tech could be perverted into a dreadful weapon. McCoy even saw that as the first consequence of Genesis. No wonder the Klingons were so eager to possess it's secrets. Their neighbors had just developed the planetary level neutron bomb and claimed that it was only for peaceful purposes. "Trust us, we're the Federation".