I'm really glad I posted this bit. I'm not going to make a habit of posting fragments like this, but this section is so separate, story-wise, from the second half of the chapter that it could have been its own chapter if not for the shorter length ... and it had been a while. I hate keeping people waiting. Anyway, I'm glad I posted because your feedback, as always, gets my brain working again. Thanks so much! CeJay - I'm glad you liked the opening. I agree with your assessment of the situation on the other ship. I also love how you're so in JQ's corner. A lot of people would take issue with his telling T'Pring off and refusing to go along with her wishes, but you're all for it. Bold. We'll see if it works out for him. Thanks for reading and commenting! tau136 -- No, I've never heard of that series, but I looked it up on Wikipedia and saw the character listed. Seems like a weird name for him. But the series has a weird name, really! As for the posting snippets thing, here's the deal -- to the extent that I do it, it will only be through this month, and then only CLEARLY separate bits that can stand on their own as scenes. Actually, I'm hoping not to have to resort to this again at all. I much prefer posting complete, coherent chapters. But I felt like it was better to give you this scene than to make you wait until I complete another scene that isn't at all related to this one. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, it's a very temporary thing if it happens again at all. I'll be back to normal posting speed in early November. I hope you'll stick with it! Diogenes - YAY, YOU'RE BACK! You have no idea how huge my smile was upon seeing your name! I'd honestly been worried about you! That was quite some commentary, and I am so grateful for it. Thank you. If I lifted your mood at all, and made you think of hope, well, I think that's much, much more than any writer can reasonably ask for and I'm really, really happy about that. Did you get to read all of part one when you came back? It ended up being like 52 chapters, yikes. Anyway, welcome back and I'm so glad you're enjoying part two. Thanks so much for the wonderful review. Gibraltar -- Thank you for the very kind comments. Gritty? Who knew? Last year's soap opera is this year's CSI? Kidding. Just not used to hearing my stuff referenced that way. I really appreciate the compliment, and yeah ... John is learning some serious lessons here, with more to come. Thanks again.