All stone, no ripple - a test story

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by GarbanzoCatamaran, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. GarbanzoCatamaran

    GarbanzoCatamaran Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2017
    For the record, this first post is entirely out-of-character, hence the italics. The actual story starts below this post, if you wanna skip to that. Two things inspired me to try to write my first fanfic: The lack of coverage the Romulan war gets, and the lack of coverage the lower-profile starfleet ships get (when they're not being taken over by anomalies, easily preventable diseases, aliens, etc). So I made up a small science vessel named after the most obscure english word the BBC would tell me, similar in role to the Oberth class. At the start of the Romulan war, more than a couple of Starfleet ships got jumped and shot up, and this one is no different - the only difference is that this ship is inhabited by soon-to-be-named characters, which gives them enough plot armour for a fighting chance. Unfortunately, it's an unimportant science vessel, so their maximum theoretical plot armour effectiveness is just as dismal as their defensive systems. This is my first Star Trek fanfic, even my first time using TrekBBS, so problems are inevitable, but I'll have to hope caring about what I do is enough.
     
  2. GarbanzoCatamaran

    GarbanzoCatamaran Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2017
    Chapter 1 - A Time to Scarper

    A crewman bobbed and floated through the cramped bridge, desperation and sweat on everyone’s faces as three Romulan ships gave chase. The back of the barely-lit almost-industrial room led to a slit doorway, the communications & navigation control room directly adjacent. Four of the six crewmembers on the bridge were securely seated by seatbelt, monitoring a semi-circular ring of control panels that formed the room’s outer perimeter. The other two were floating next to a removed wall panel, with one operating some sort of circular welder, and his crewmate guiding him as he attempted to patch some wiring. All wore those blue jumpsuits reminiscent of astronauts from an earlier day. Their uniforms were marked with blue or red lines around the shoulders - science & operations. The only one bearing gold command piping was an Andorian man seated on the right, with enough lines on his forehead to accurately depict a mountain range. He stared at the stars ahead through the viewscreen, as if he expected them to tell him the solution to his many troubles. No reply. They just appeared to hurry busily buy, streaks of light like headlights on a highway. The ship somewhat resembled the spaceplanes of the late 21st century: A porpoise-like dark-grey fuselage, two short, conical warp nacelles at the edges of the thick wings, swept back and blended into the fuselage, but stopping just short of the nose and tail. The rear impulse engine, thrusters, radiators, weapons, sensors, lights, and small windows all dotted the Dowsabel, but what stood out most was the damage. Blackened, twisted, molten tears dotted the ship, the thinnest of patches holding back the worst. But she was far from debris, proven by the glow of the nacelles, and the light from the stars & dust bent into disfigured streaks by the warp field.

    On the left, the dulled rainbow-haired tactical officer’s eyes snapped to her screen by reflex, wasting no time. “Romulan capital ship decloaking, dead ahead, range 1.92 terameters, coming at us a high warp. They’ll be on us in about 30 seconds!” The commander barked out orders as the officer talked, and the vulcan pilot started to follow said orders before they were even given. “New course, bearing 65, inclination same!” The surprisingly braid-adorned pilot had the decency to shout for the two repair people to grab onto something before the ship rapidly turned and dove. The warp field and direction twisted with the ship, feeling pretty much like g-forces to the two engineers who were all but thrown against the wall. The ship groaned and the engines whined like a swarm of bugs assigned to janitorial duty, but it turned. The Romulan ship, visible through the viewscreen as a disc shape with two flat wings and nacelles attached, was nimble too. For the briefest moment, it’s own dive brought it close enough to fire a plasma torpedo, until the range was extended again and it fell behind. The tactical officer broke the news again, the weapon chasing them was a score of seconds away from merging with their warp field. The commander, driven almost to rage by stress, scratched at his antennae, realising he had to act now but not having a plan. His hands shaking, he realised that saying anything would help at this point. “Helm, activate tactical serpentine maneuvre! Systems, throw anything that could serve as a decoy at it!” The pilot nodded without a second of pondering. “Aye sir, zigzagging.” So did the relatively large-girthed systems operator, who began releasing probes and comm buoys with the rapidity of torpedoes. The probes unceremoniously tumbled out of warp, a few crumpling or exploding, and gave chase to the mothership that was by then far far away, succeeding in neither blocking nor distracting the reasonably competent torpedo. The comm buoys were not effective - could a naval destroyer stop a missile by throwing doves at it?

    The commander prepared to drop out of warp, ordering the tactical officer to fire on the torpedo the moment it did the same. The brown-haired, human systems operator, operating in a bigger hurry than a sentient walking tuna fish being chased by a grizzly bear, set the next and last probes to start their engines the very moment of launch. The last few fell out of warp, their engines flaring every which way, just as the Dowsabel reached the zig in it’s zag and turned sharply. This time the torpedo was briefly confused, as it’s simple onboard computer tried to decide which energy signature was the Dowsabel. The torpedo chose correctly, but it hesitated enough that the ship straightened out and got some distance away. The bridge crew could do little but watch as the range opened, then slowly began to close again, as the commander ordered them to prepare to break, 90 degrees left and 90 degrees up. One of the engineers in the back raised concerns about whether the warp drive, their only real chance of survival against the Romulans, could take the strain of another turn, this planned one tighter than any of the last. A valid concern, but that plan still beat out the hope of shooting down the torpedo with phasers. Fortunately, said concerns were never validated, as the torpedo exhausted its fuel supply and exploded. Nobody bothered with a sigh of relief - they were still being tailed by 4 Romulan ships, with more likely to de-cloak as near to their path as possible and give chase. And they were being chased down, away from help.





     
  3. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Firstly, welcome to TrekBBS, I'm sure you'll enjoy your time here.

    Secondly, given this is your first piece of fanfic, what sort of comments/critiques are you looking for? Just to have an idea at what level to pitch feedback.
     
  4. GarbanzoCatamaran

    GarbanzoCatamaran Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2017
    Not entirely sure. Pacing, characters, sticking with canon?
     
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Ok then.

    I would say that main thing you'd need to look at is the point of view. As it stands it's an omnipresent overview, with no real focus, you'd be best to get into the head of a character and tell it from their perspective (maybe best for it to be your main character for the opening, so we can get to know how they think). Given the situation (a damaged ship on the run, chased down by superior vessels) then it would cut down some extraneous information (e.g. we don't need to have uniforms described right now, most readers would know what the ENT uniforms look like, or what the ship looks like, that could be saved for when they have a moment to carry out repairs either at a station or crewmembers out in EVA).

    We've already seen that Starfleet ships of the era are equipped with gravity plating so no one would be floating, unless the gravity generator was damaged (if it were that would have to be mentioned in some way, as well as the side effects of crew having to deal with zero-g for longer than most would be comfortable with). Also during the Romulan Wars there wasn't a unified Starfleet, you might get some aliens serving on exchange on Earth ships (and vice versa) but I'd find it unlikely an Andorian would be commanding an Earth ship, unless there was some reasoning behind it. You've not really given much of an introduction to characters to be able to tell (we don't even know what to call them beyond the position they hold). I've done a short story from POV of a Captain and didn't name her until the very end, but did slip in a few hints as to who she was (being an established character fans of DS9 might recognise) and did introduce all those she interacted with in her journey to her new command.

    You'd also need to look at paragraphing, simple things like when different characters talk so that it breaks it up and isn't just huge blocks of text. It'll make it easier to read and help with the flow of the story.

    I like the notion of a story during the Romulan War focusing on an original crew on a ship that wasn't the biggest, most modern, or strongest one in the fleet. Definitely a conflict with a lot of potential for both stories and character development. I wish you luck with it.
     
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  6. GarbanzoCatamaran

    GarbanzoCatamaran Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2017
    Chapter 2 - Equilibrium

    Commander Sajel Rysab never necessarily relaxed, especially not when his sense of balance was going every which way, without him even leaving the chair. But something had changed, as his shoulders no longer so square, and his overly confused eyestalks drooped a bit. "Report, are we outrunning them?" he asked Lieutenant Park, his tone now far more level. The tactical officer and bubbly-personality-in-retirement took a moment to study the consoles before replying. "Yes sir, but not by a very meaningful amount. We'll get some wiggle room, but not enough to shake the Romulans." He nodded, then turned to the systems officer, Lieutenant Joaquinn (Junior Grade), asking for an updated damage report.

    She scrambled to get it done, almost as frantic as when they were being shot at. "Sir, grav generators are offline, clearly. Dorsal-port plating on the hull and wing-front is destroyed, the plating around the direct rear and nose are badly damaged, as are the impulse engines themselves. Inertia dampeners are offline. I understand there's also some problem with the nacelles." Rysab nodded, hearing nothing that surprised him. "Tell engineering that their top priority is the warp engines." He turned and stared at the engineers repairing wiring in the back of the bridge, until the second one finally seemed to take a pause, then shouted for a report. "Report" sounded more captainly than admitting he had no idea what they were doing. The resting-tired-face Ensign Zahar half-snorted as he turned around him, annoyed at being interrupted by his commanding officer. "We're trying to restore power to the polarization matrix here!"

    After receiving the insightful order to "carry on", Zahar went back to stopping Ensign Bray from accidentally welding all of the wires into a balled-up mess. Rysab, realizing that leaving the bridge without warning wouldn't do much for morale, announced his intent to assess the situation in the engineering section, not doing Park any favors by temporarily placing her in charge of more things. Before he could unbuckle his seatbelt, though, the helmsman turned to him, with an almost studious look. Lieutenant JG Setyk, also known as "the Vulcan with braids in his hair", was the nightshift pilot, but the other guy was currently in sickbay. "Permission to speak freely, sir?" Rysab contemplated this. At the moment, Setyk shouldn't leave his post to speak in private, and if what he had on his mind was damaging to morale, everyone hearing it might plunge morale out of the toilet, and down towards the bedrock. Besides, the only options for "speaking in privacy" were the crawlspaces and the airlock.

    "Permission granted." Rysab tried to run a tight ship, but the thought of restricting someone from speaking their mind just hit too close to home. He just hoped that the helmsman was going to use his speaking privileges for legitimate concerns everyone shared, instead of the cause of contributing to the general Andorian-Vulcan animosity. "Commander, this is a unique situation. We are headed down when all that is familiar is up, chased by four Romulan vessels which can no doubt sustain warp longer than us. Our ship is damaged, we no longer have a Captain, and several are dead or wounded. We need guidance. Barring that, we may need to consider surrender." Sajel grimaced at the word. "Surrender, Lieutenant? What makes you think that they won't just kill us? Or, if they do imprison us, what if we are never released?" Setyk's expression suggested he didn't disagree. "Nevertheless, sir, if the only other option is death, then we have no options."

    The Commander glanced around at those around him, quickly enough to avoid anyone returning his look. Not only was Setyk right, but Sajel hadn't even a shred of a plan. While he realized that he might be paranoid, it felt like disobedience was rippling just under the surface, and waving his rank around blindly was the worst possible response. So Setyk deserved a reply, one that conveyed an air of authority tempered by understanding. The hesitant half-answer that actually came out far from satisfied those requirements. "Lieutenant, your suggestion is noted... We'll keep our options open, but it is possible your suggestion to attempt surrender... is pre-emptive. You assume that all options are exhausted... but this may not be true." 'We', as if there was some phantom committee watching over it all, a cohesive team that could tackle the worst and come out with a plan. There wasn't. The only people he felt he could trust with the burdens of pretending to have a plan were the late Captain Vasquez, and Doctor Gladwin.
     
  7. Dashiell Mirai

    Dashiell Mirai Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    eyestalks

    eyestalks

    E Y E S T A L K S





    My dude, I believe you mean antennae. The man's an Andorian, not a crab.
     
  8. GarbanzoCatamaran

    GarbanzoCatamaran Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2017
    Yeah, I don't know how that happened. While writing the third chapter, I wrote eyestalks, then caught myself and thought "phew, good thing I didn't upload that!" Whoopsy do. And I take it there's no way to edit previous posts?
     
  9. Dashiell Mirai

    Dashiell Mirai Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Not until you've been on here 14 days and made 14 posts.