Reviews for Cosmic Strife Saga: Alpha Squadron Trilogy
Coment9 chapter 2 . 3/7
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Shinigami RULES chapter 51 . 11/11/2009
I just finished with Alpha Squardron and i have to say it is an amazing masterpiece. IF you could make this into a movie or a television show im sure everybody would watch it. Im also sure it way better than Gundam Wing or Metal Gear Solid ever were and im a huge fan of both. I've learned a lot of things in reading this, one of those being how to be a better writer. There are few people in the world who can truly write an epic story but you have accomplished that in spades. If my writing is half as good as yours is i would be lucky.
firemounrain chapter 45 . 1/2/2009
Nice pilot jargon. :)

...Wow, it's long.
Numbers 31 chapter 11 . 7/25/2008
Looking at the title of this chapter I can see why you took the time to mention Blue Delphinus's flightpath as well as the Space Rogues' new job. Back then it seemed rather pointless. Now it still seems pointless, but at least it foreshadowed this chapter (and by foreshadow I mean it shined a huge spotlight on it).

The aptly named Space Rogues have a capital ship named the Crossbone. I swear, you make the bad guys pretty obvious.

I'm tempted to just skip this chapter. I'm three paragraphs in and I already know how it'll end. I don't know, however, if Alpha Squadron will simply save the day with tons of awesome or if Alpha Squadron will save the day with tons of win. I suppose I'll finish reading it just to figure that out.

I love how Ensign Cloudkicker (must be from the same place as the Skywalker family) slammed on the brakes of the Senator's ship. Space brakes. What will the scientists of the future think of next?

Captain Stack of the Space Rogues ship Crossbone has a goatee. Oh, he must be evil! And just like all evil doers, his last words are something along the lines of "Your fighters are no match for us!"

In your universe, do interdiction fields mess up faster-than-light communications the way it messes up FTL travel? Because it would take a distress signal from Blue Delphinus years to make it from their battle with the Space Rogues to the Oakland Cluster, light years away. I'm guessing that there is some sort of advanced technology that allows for instant real-time communication between any two points in the galaxy. I guess New Era scientists spent all their time working on communication systems instead of on rifles that don't use bullets, space breaks, and hovertanks that can't be blown up by a single guy with a plasma gun on his back.

You get specific with the names of the spacecraft, such as the Z-41B Tigershark. But when it comes to munitions, you call them "space bombs" right here. They should have a name, too. Otherwise they stick out a bit.

By the way, this chapter is just a repeat of the chapter called "Rules of Engagement". Instead of Captain Antreya and the doomed Skyline we've got Captain Ollie and the doomed Blue Delphinus. There is no way they can survive the powerful attacks by the OZ ships/Space Rogues ships. They're going to die but they're going to some of those bastards with them! But, wait! It's Alpha Squadron to save them. There is hope after all!

Captain Ollie is a bad captain. He ordered the evacuation of the ship over the ship's internal PA system. Then the Senator (he's on a first name basis with her, too) tells him to cancel the order. He doesn't. He just talks to Alpha Squadron while, supposedly, his crew is jumping into escape pods. As he's ordering Cloudkicker to take the ship to Destrega Prime the escape pods are probably already jettisoned into space.

Even if he did cancel the order (which he didn't), what kind of crew would respect him later? He orders the crew to abandon ship then says "oops, my bad, forget about that last thing I said." Just as Cyrrin Lanceville's family was Lancer Squadron, the crew of Blue Delphinus thinks their ship is their home and their crewmates are family. The man on the command deck tells them to leave their home to pirates but then says, "no, wait a minute"? He's not showing a great deal of leadership, in my opinion.

Oh, great, here's a bit of information that applies to the earlier battle over Skyline. Capital ships (and it is capital with an "a" not an "o") are poor platforms for fighting against tiny fighters. If that's the case then why did OZ forces send their frigates close enough to Skyline Station to be fired upon by Exped? The OZ fleet commander should have sent in his squadrons and let them attack (while leaving a few squadrons in reserve in case of a fighter counterattack). Then, after the fighters disabled the Exped (which is a poor platform for fighting OZ fighters) the capital ships could have come in and made off with their booty. Instead what happened was the OZ capital ships moved in as close to Skyline and Exped as possible and in the processes got their asses handed to them.

But maybe the Destrega system just does not make intelligent leaders on either side of their civil war. Maybe all the good leaders are dead.

You write:

"It was about time they were introduced to justice."

What you mean is that it is about time that the Space Rogues were killed. I doubt Alpha Squadron will be able to arrest the pirates and bring them to a court somewhere. Also, who says this? It isn't clear who's point of view this is. Is it Antes? Izzy?

In this epic battle between a huge capital ship and a single squadron... did any ships in Alpha Squadron get destroyed? Did any of the good guys so much as break a nail? No, but they did fight to the death. There can be no peace, it seems. That's a theme for this story. One side demands the total surrender of the other (whether it be Alpha Squadron versus the Space Rogues, the GSA versus the Dominion, or the Destrega government versus OZ) and if it can't have total surrender then it will totally destroy the opponent.

Finally, Izzy. What's up with this guy? Hell's Phoenix? Did I miss something in an earlier chapter? Maybe there is a part of his background that I missed. Still, he's very young (not old enough to be out of high school, let alone a combat ace who just took down a pirate capital ship) so when did he become Hell's Phoenix? I might find out in the future. Lots of chapters left to read.

Well, shucks. I just took a look at your profile here on Fictionpress. You've made an entirely new draft of this story. And here I am wasting my time reading this one. I don't know whether I should just quit now or take a break and start on the other draft.
Numbers 31 chapter 10 . 7/25/2008
The government of the Io system is Shia? Since religion hasn't been mentioned once in this entire story I'm going to guess that Io isn't a Muslim planet with Shi'ite leaders. Still, I think that would be pretty cool. I wonder what kind of religions would develop on the many systems of the Alliance in the 2180 years after the Old Era ended.

General Nizn is, it seems, in charge of making alliances for his government. Is the Alliance ruled by the military or the Senate? I would guess that the Alliance is ruled by the military because the general here is able to order Senator Vincent to the Destrega system to forge an alliance (three Terran days after Skyline fell).

Also, what reason does Nizn have that the Confederation will invade the Destrega system? OZ attacked the station, not the Dominion. There is no reason for the Dominion to invade as of this point. OZ rebels attacked an illegal Alliance base in a neutral system. That's it. But if the Alliance teams up with Septem's government then Destrega is no longer neutral. It'd be part of the Alliance. Senator Vincent's mission of peace will be what brings invasion to the Destrega system by destroying its neutrality and making it a legitimate target!

We learn here that Destrega is at least three days spaceflight from Terra. I don't know how this is important, just yet, but I'm tucking that bit of learnin' away for a while.

The Senator's personal ship is the Blue Delphinus. I would love to have seen her ride in something like the Yellow Fever or the Unending Scream. Having a ship named after a dolphin constellation is kinda, I dunno, weak. But I guess not everybody can be as cool as the Sledgehammers. Rock on!

You write:

"This was the first time ever that a trainee squadron entered a live engagement against superior numbers and come back in tact."

In spite of the typo, I love that last part: "and came back intact." So there were other cadet (not trainee) squadrons entering into live engagements against superior numbers in the past? They just didn't come back intact. I suppose no one was lost in Alpha Squadron during the battle five days ago, then. Well, good for the noobs. And Izzy made ace! All before his 18th birthday. His mother would be proud.

They're doing hand-to-hand combat training, these cadets. But I'm confused (aren't I always!). One paragraph says Michan Rolance was, hands down, the best fighter in the Squadron. Then the next paragraph says Indelli Eslos was the most skilled fighter. So does most skilled not equal the best? The gun-kata fighting style... I'll admit, I like it. Sure, not realistic at all. But it's damn cool to look at. Did you have to mention that it came from an Old Era movie, though? At least you didn't say "Equilibrium" the way you mentioned "Top Gun". Anyway, I'll just pretend it is as real as Mobile Suits. But I won't pretend to ignore that Indelli, with her super-awesome gun-kata skills, was knocked out of the training exercise against the drones a few chapters ago. She's a match for anyone, man or woman, just not mindless drones.

As an aside, what was Antes doing growing up while his sister learned gun-kata? Did Septem not want to teach his son to be a living weapon of awesome, too?

Major Roper, a new character, is introduced. It would have been much better, from a storyteller's point of view, to have dropped his name once or twice a few chapters ago. Instead of Izzy and Antes calling each other names from Top Gun they could have borrowed Major Roper's callsign. That way his introduction here wouldn't be a complete surprise, we'd understand the hero-worship of the cadets a bit more, and the setting would be that much richer.

You start talking about the Royal Flush. Pure exposition and not needed. I don't need to know the names, skills, birthdays, and favorite foods of the elite of the Confederate elite. What started as a bunch of cadets seeing their hero has turned into a talk about some guy we've never heard of carrying around a plasma gun on his back. All I got from this is the the poorly named Royal Flush is a group of supermen and that Major Roper is a super-duperman for being able to survive an encounter with them. I'll bet that Izzy or Antes (or maybe Indelli with her gun-kata) defeats them in a climactic battle. Mobile Suits might be involved.

You write:

"The rest of the cadets were stunned. Without ever taking the offensive, Roper disabled Antes effortlessly in less than twenty seconds." and "What you've just seen was a form of Tai-Chi. While I never took the offensive, I still managed to disable Antes here."

You've done this several times. You say something, such as Roper not "taking the offensive" and then in the next paragraph you repeat yourself. We get it. Roper never took the offensive. There is no need to drill these facts into the reader like this.

A part of me wonders what Major Roper was doing in a Dominion prison. Why did he ever face the Royal Flush? After all, he's Destrega, not Alliance. I hope this little thread isn't left dangling later on.

Major Roper talks about atrocities being committed in this war (we can ignore his comment about fighting today being less about hand-to-hand and more about pushing buttons; this is the future and they've been pushing buttons for centuries). It is a civil war so one can only assume that (as in every civil war) atrocities have been committed by both sides. I bet he isn't talking about the atrocities performed by his own government in his tangent, though.

Also, these are cadets. They aren't out of school, yet. How can they have a mission? One doesn't take sophomores out of Annapolis Naval Academy and send them to Iraq before they graduate. They aren't even officers, yet! How'd they get a mission?
Numbers 31 chapter 9 . 7/25/2008
We're introduced to the Senate back on Terra (where it seems as if it is also March 20, same as way out in the Destrega system). Since I don't know anything about these characters I have no real comment on their actions here. Are they in character? Are they serious moves or pointless? I just don't know. But I will tuck this information away for later use.

Is there faster-than-light communication? Within three hours of Skyline's destruction the people on Terra knew about it. I'd say, what with the fast travel and faster communication, that the universe is more cozy than I originally thought. It is a small galaxy, after all.

The war between Destrega and OZ has been going on for at least 19 years. I wonder how long Septem has been in power. Is he a monarch or is he elected?

You write:

"I know why you left active-duty and requested a demotion to Commander and a position at Aloyo and our lack of correspondence, what's the problem?"

This doesn't sound right, at all. Would you say this to your good friend who called you out of the blue? Besides, the word "and" appears three times!

Septem is saying "Hello, friend. Here are three things I know: I know why you left active duty, I know why you requested a demotion (thanks for reminding him of that!), and I know our lack of correspondence." What does that last part even mean? And why is the president/king/ruler of Destrega System getting a phone call from a school teacher about the destruction of a massive Alliance space station in Destrega space? Does he not have intelligence officers? Did Warren not think to tell his CO about the battle, and then that CO tells his CO, and so on until the highest ranking officers in the government find out. Then those officers put together a briefing and present it to Septem? I guess that's not how they roll on Destrega Prime.

You write:

"Damn OZ, they're nothing more than space-thugs."

I'm still not sure what the Organization of Zeon is. It can't be an underground terrorist organization because, hey, they've got frigates and fighters. Are they really space-thugs, as Septem calls them? Are they just pirates out looking for loot? If that were the case then why would there be a 19 year-long war against them? Pirates and space-thugs would be just a bloody nuisance to be mopped up by the Destregan space police.

I get the impression that OZ is actually a rebel movement. Starbuck is a popular leader that is unhappy with Septem's rule. After all, how long has Septem been in charge? Is Septem a dictator or life-long monarch? Is Starbuck's problem with Septem or with the Destrega government in general? If he is able to maintain the loyalty of entire fleets of ships (and the thousands and thousands of civilians necessary to maintain those fleets) then he must have a sizable base of support. No rebel movement can survive against the government without popular support. It is obvious that the Confederation hasn't been involved in the Destrega System (which you've described as being in the middle of a civil war) so Starbuck must have the backing of (at least some) normal people.

Which changes the whole dynamic of the story. This isn't about a benevolent government putting down space-thugs that threaten peace and harmony. It's about two different political entities battling for power. I don't know, from a moral standpoint, whether or not Septem is any better than Starbuck.

Also, the massive Alliance space station working on a top secret weapons project (defended by deserters from the Alliance's main enemy) that no one in Destrega knew about was in between Aloyo Military Academy and it's flight training zone. I picture the Nazis building a rocket research lab in between West Point Military Academy and its nearby combat obstacle course while defending that lab with elite ex-French soldiers. And nobody knew about it.

You write:

"Septem, this isn't good"

This is Commander Warren talking. I'm sure the ruler of the entire Destrega solar system appreciates Warren giving him a lecture on galactic politics.

Ah, you bring back Stenson, with her sexy legs and heels. She brings up a list of OZ squadrons. Destrega has names like Titan while OZ has Sledgehammer and Axeblade. I like the contrast. I wonder if OZ is trying to appear hardcore. Is that what Starbuck's people want? Do they think Septem and the rest of Destrega as a bunch of wusses and that they need a stronger, tougher ruler? Starbuck could be playing that part up. Hell, even his ships are Nitro and Sabre. It practically screams American Gladiator-esque toughness.

I wonder how Starbuck could have remained in command of the rebel group OZ for more than nineteen years and yet still be portrayed as someone who can't see obvious perils in the future.

Speaking of names, the Confederates have tough names, too. Daemon Squadron. I suppose that is more intimidating than the Alliance's Lancer and Defiant Squadrons. It seems obvious that you, the writer, have certain good guys in mind, the "Defiants", and certain bad guys in mind, like the "Sledgehammers" and "Daemons". I can't wait to see the Alliance ship USS Everything Good and Just go into battle against the OZ u-boat Pain to Civilians.

Come to think of it, I like those names. It would be pretty cool to have a navy with ships with such awesome names!

Ha, the audio message (which you take care to mention twice in two sentences just to make sure the reader knows that it is voice-only) had a distorted voice. It was distorted so that someone who broke the encryption wouldn't be able to know who was talking. Then the speaker signs off with his name. "Jasqun out". Brilliant.

Reece Lawson, a Confederate Colonel and another best pilot in the galaxy, knew about Project Genesis, it seems. And he knew that OZ took it. It seems that the only people who didn't know that there was a top secret research station in the Destrega System was the Destrega government. Maybe Starbuck is right when he claims that Septem shouldn't be ruler. He doesn't know things about his system that Dominion colonels in the Pegasus system do! Maybe Commander Warren should give Septem lessons on galactic politics, now that I think about it.

You write:

"Captain, no thanks are necessary. You would have done the same thing were the roles reversed."

Really? The Destrega people helped the GSA people because OZ was their enemy. In the two-decade civil war in the Destrega system how many times did Gonzo and Defiant Squadron come to Destrega's aid? Would Defiant Squadron even have the authority to get involved in the civil war, and if so then would they automatically be on the government's side? As far as I can tell, the GSA is only against OZ at this point because OZ attacked Skyline. If Septem discovered the GSA space station in his solar system and decided to seize it then the Alliance would have joined up with OZ. I mean, what does the great and powerful Galactic Space Alliance, in the middle of a genocidal war of conquest with the Confederation, care about the political goings on of the Destrega system?

You write:

"Captains Uptac and Antreya, it's a shame we have to meet under such dire circumstances. I'd appreciate it if you followed me. We have a lot to discuss."

Yes, there is a lot to discuss. Like why the two of them are even in Destrega space without permission building superweapons of mass destruction. Oops, I mean, how Septem can somehow form an alliance with the Alliance. Am I right?

You write:

"It's classified."

And then Captain Antreya spills his classified guts out to Septem. Worst. Officer. Ever. But Septem gave a good response to the Captain when he says that he's part of a project designed to build spaceships that fight hand-to-hand. "Interesting." I bet it was all he could do to keep from busting out laughing.

Okay, I've made it clear, I think, that the idea of a Mobile Suit seems ridiculous. So I'm not going to press the issue any more. I'm going to sink into this fictional world you've created and assume that, hey, Mobile Suits are the next best thing. I can't suspend some of my disbelief. We'll see where it goes.

You write:

"Bullshit, General. You know more than you're letting on, and I'm demanding answers." and "No, General. You don't understand. You sit behind your desk issuing orders, far away from all the death and despair while we're out there"

Woah! Captain, please. This is a general you're talking to. Calm down. Find you're center. Be at peace. Take a breath. Howrad did the right thing in ordering Defiant Squadron back to Terra. If he wanted to get personal (the way Gonzo did) then he could have said that Antreya sits on Destrega Prime, far away from the despair and death of the 700,0 civilians he murdered. Why does Gonzo have such a cushy job defending a research lab when he should be tried and executed for bombing a city into the stone age?

Oh, I forgot, his war crimes are just angst fuel. He's supposed to be a good guy and is thus forgiven for his sins.
Numbers 31 chapter 8 . 7/25/2008
In history, battleships used to slug it out between each other. Then came along aircraft carriers. With their planes they could attack enemy fleets so far away that they didn't risk getting shot up. Two fleets, each beyond the horizon of the other, would send planes to fight an air battle somewhere in between. The winner then is able to continue flying to the enemy fleet an bomb them.

With that as a reference, I don't get what's going on in your space battles. If there are space fighters out there then why risk damage to the capital ships that carry them? Big ships have difficulty shooting down fighters so wouldn't the OZ Interceptors worry more about the Hammerheads than whatever defenses Skyline or Exped have? I dunno. I'm going to go ahead and shut up about the combat and just go with it. I'm sure it'll get crazier later on when the Antes puts on a Mobile Suit and swordfights the other spaceships.

Is OZ at war with the Galactic Space Alliance? They are attacking that outpost. If they are not at war then this is a good reason for the GSA to declare it. If they were at war already then why hasn't the GSA been giving more help to Destrega system?

You write:

"Captain, what's your status?"

Who's talking? At this moment we're in Gonzo's point of view so I'm assuming he's talking. But who is the captain he's talking to? Captain Uptac? Why would Captain Antreya talk directly with the Exped's skipper? Is there no chain of command? Is there no Air Boss to coordinate Defiant Squadron. After all, Captain Uptac has more to do on Exped (what with damage control, enemy fire, injured crew) than have a one-on-one with Defiant One.

OZ fighters outnumber Defiant Squadron four-to-one. I suppose the Confederacy trains the best pilots in the galaxy, then, 'cause Gonzo is able to kick some but. I wonder how OZ has managed to survive so long with such poor equipment and training. Good intelligence? Support of the people?

It seems like an amazing coincidence that Alpha Squadron dropped out of hyperspace during the battle around Skyline. Way back in the prologue, didn't Cyrric do some random hyperspace jumping and get sick from it? Wouldn't the pilots in Alpha Squadron get a bit loopy from unexpected hyperspace transfers like this? Anyway, a bit of a stretch for them to appear like this but, hey, strangers things have happened in the real world. I can buy it. What I don't buy is Commander Warren ordering Cadets to engage in battle when they A) don't have any hours flying this new craft and B) were on their way to do simulated fights against drones and probably have simulated weapons (like those EMP bullets that are to robots what bullets are to people; makes for good anti-drone warfare but what about against a real enemy?).

Commander Warren cries a single tear for the lives lost when Skyline was destroyed. I'm assuming that Skyline was pretty massive (and if so then why was it such a shock that this massive Alliance space station was in the Destrega system? How did it go unnoticed?) for him to feel so bad about its destruction. And Warren was in Titan Squadron? That was the same Squadron that saw action in the prologue. A connection, maybe?
Numbers 31 chapter 7 . 7/25/2008
Back at the Aloyo Military Academy (did I mention that I liked the name? I do.) the cadets are given a history lession. I don't know why. There isn't a moral to the story that teaches teamwork or some other value. It's just a way for the author to tell the reader what the Old Era is. Assuming that the New Era Calendar started at year 1, what Commander Warren is talking about happened twenty-two centuries ago in a star system billions of miles away. These cadets probably don't know what "the 21st Century of the Old Era" means any more than I know what year 2937 of the Jewish calendar means (for the record, I'm not Jewish). It would be better, I think, to find another way to tell this history of your setting.

Michlan Rolance is an orphan, like Cerina Keyes. So far we've got two orphans and two kids with important parents (Izzy with his dad Cyrrin, Antes with his dad). I wonder who the normal kids with average parents are. Probably not worth mentioning, am I right?

Nikoman thinks Jenson is cute. Like, oh my god! And it turns out that Karina and Jenson are siblings. There are only twelve people left (out of the entire solar system) in that graduating class as the Academy and you've got two sets of siblings (so far, that I know of). There's no mention that they're twins so I wonder how the older siblings is in the same year at the Academy as the younger siblings. Are the younger ones hot shots like Izzy, able to join the Academy at a young age (and maybe making their older sibling jealous of their natural skill)? Or did the older ones take a year or two off after graduating high school to travel before enrolling in the Academy (thus wasting months and months of good flying and training time) allowing the younger ones to graduate and catch up with them?

We're getting to the point where everyone's telling their crushes and everyone thinks everyone else is cute. It's a little hard to keep the names straight, I'll admit, and even harder to tell their genders. I don't know if I'm slipping into slash territory here or not. But after reading (and rereading it) I'm guessing that there are four women walking together (probably giggling like a bunch of Japanese schoolgirls) with two men walking behind them. One woman says that boy is cute. Another woman says the other boy is cute. One woman is so bold to say that dreamy Antes is hot stuff. But they're all wet for Izzy. Izzy's been at the Academy for sixteen days. I wonder who he's already slept with (considering all the girls love him and he knows it).

Then Izzy and Antes, hot stuff that they are, thought it would be nice to knock over their teammates, their friends, their (what Cyrrin calls) family. Sure, Kavlyn and Jenson were angry and embarrassed. But as soon as Antes started laughing they joined in. After all, being humiliated in front of close friends (and possible girlfriends?) is okay when the Captain of the Football Team does it to you.

The story switches back to Skyline, where Gonzo Antreya is having nightmares about spaceship design. Now he starts talking about a Mobile Suit. I'm not a fan of anime but one can't be a sci-fi reader on the internet without at least hearing about Mobile Suit Gundam. So hearing about your Mobile Suit made me do a quick Wikipedia check just to figure out what that means. Are you saying that the new experimental space fighter design is an airplane that turns into a transformer? And this craft that the Alliance built is so powerful, so advanced, that no one can operate it? So advanced that the one time it was operated it not only destroyed all of its drone enemies but also drove the test pilot mad! And there are two of them, Alpha and Omega?

Hmm, two ultra-advanced space craft (belonging, I might add, to the Galactic Space Alliance and not the Destrega Space Corps) and two hot shot young pilots.

I wonder where this is going.

You write:

"He arrived to the command deck where the commanding officer of Skyline, General Byron Elanger of Alliance Intelligence and the Exped's Rashku Uptac were waiting for him. The Colonel gave him a condescending glance."

Captain Antreya arrives on the command deck where there is a general and Uptac. Since we know Antreya's rank and the general's rank then that means "the Colonel" is Uptac. So Uptac looks at Antreya condescendingly?

EDIT: It turns out that Rashku Uptac holds a captain's rank. So who is the Colonel and who is he (or she) giving condescending glances to?

You write:

"Just think, Captain, if the Genesis project is successful it will be the end of the Confederacy."

The Galactic Space Alliance (or General Elanger, at least) doesn't care about ending the war. They want to end the Confederacy. This is a war of genocide. Or a war of conquest, at least. A part of me wonders, though. Does the war with the Confederacy have anything to do with OZ and the Destrega system? Probably not.

You write:

"You mean to tell me that you knew about the danger in piloting that thing and still asked me to do it?"

Gonzo says this. Gonzo, it seems, didn't know about the dangers inherent in being a test pilot in space for advanced transformer suits. It must have been his first day on the job as a test pilot.

Oh, brilliant! Defiant Squadron is an elite unit from the Confederacy that happened to defect to the GSA. Who put them in charge of guarding Project Genesis? This is the same Squadron that killed 700,0 innocent civilians! It would be similar to the US finding the Japanese soldiers who bombed Pearl Harbor and then hiring them to guard the Manhattan Project. Why is General Elanger letting Captain Antreya "speak freely"? Maybe he likes someone who personally killed more than half a million Confederates.

Gonzo seems to me to be throwing away his career for refusing to pilot the Alpha. He's refusing a direct order from an officer (a general, no less!). I bet he gets out of it, though. So far there haven't been any consequences for any action in this story. Maybe it's too early for consequences.

It looks as if the next chapter will have some space fighting action. Great! But something comes to mind as I read that last part. Does the Confederacy have the same technology level as the GSA? What about language and culture? When Defiant Squadron defected they brought along their fighters, I'm sure. I'll bet GSA was happy about that. But did they speak the same language? Maybe they learned the GSA language (is there more than one?) but kept their Confederation language for when they talk to each other. I picture Russian defectors to Britain during the Cold War (given command of a fighter wing) who speak English to their superiors but Russian to each other on their downtime.
Numbers 31 chapter 6 . 7/25/2008
I'm a fan of mundane sci-fi and hard sci-fi. Space Opera and Space Fantasy usually aren't my cup of tea. I feel as if I should through out all my biases on the table. I'm going into your story with a critical eye, an eye for details that you may have ignored on purpose. But you're going to have readers out there like me so why not give you some honest reviews that they might agree with? Anyway, on with the review:

I find it amusing that the journal entry that starts this chapter is labeled 812.3. Point three? The character writing this journal likes to get really specific with his journal-numbering. Also, the last line says "Commander Warren rose from his desk and retired to bed". You need to make it clear that this is not, in fact, what is being written in the journal entry 812.3. I've noticed you have a problem switching viewpoints. Here, we go from the journal to the narrator without any indication of a switch.

Top Gun was required for all cadets? Are you serious? Do they all speak English? Are there TVs? Will they still understand the cultural references from a movie hundreds (maybe thousands, I'm not sure of the timeline just yet) of years old? Have there been no entertaining aviation videos made since Top Gun? Here is a chance for you to get creative in your own world, to make the setting come alive by referencing older Destrega Space Force pilots who once graced the halls of Aloyo Military Academy or Destrega Man, the superhero who kicked OZ ass in holovids Antes watched as a boy. But you talk about Top Gun instead, as if American pop culture will last like that.

I don't know, maybe you were trying to make Tom Cruise like Gilgamesh or Rama or Beowulf, a figure from ancient heroic epics that stands the test of time.

You wrapped up the Izzy/Antes rivalry very quickly and neatly. Almost too quickly. And now we've got the teenage best friends angle going. I wonder if they'll ever fight over a girl. I'm not even sure if either of them are in a relationship or not. Since nothing is mentioned I'm going to guess they are not. I certainly hope that the first person they hook up with won't be their true love. "Cute" hot shot aces who know they're hot stuff scream "party boys" to me.
Numbers 31 chapter 5 . 7/25/2008
It's February 9. We have a date! If you're writing chronologically then the previous chapter on Antilla must have happened in January (or early February). One wonders if every planet has the standard twelve months/365 days per year, 24 hours per day, and seven days per week. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they do.

Alright, the villain is introduced as a viewpoint character. Points to you. I have to admit, though, that I'm currently in the middle of a Battlestar Galactica marathon so the name Starbuck conjures up an image of a really bad ass female pilot. I'll have to work hard to get it right in your story.

Miss Stenson is introduced. Of course, she is described as attractive (and wearing fashionable heels on a mining asteroid). Four named female characters (there were two female cadets, if I remember correctly) and two of them have been described as attractive. I don't think any of the men have been described that way, so far, though there have been a few mentioned with speaking roles (Lanceville, the Commander, Antes, Starbuck, and some cadets).

Oops, I'm going to have to deduct points. Not your fault, though. I thought that this chapter was from Starbuck's point of view but it looks as if it was from Stenson's. I like that she made the same observations about her commander as I did. I wonder, though, why Starbuck thinks an Alliance-Destrega alliance would be surprising considering he's willing to attack a (I'm guessing) neutral Alliance base Arveria. Will the Alliance not seek to ally with Destrega in order to team up against the raider/destroyer of its weapon-developing outpost?

Another oops. I don't think you're staying in any one character's head. That makes it hard to follow the story in some places because the shift between points of view isn't made clear. At one point I'm in Stenson's head calling Starbuck incompetent and then at the next point I'm in Starbuck's head thinking Stenson has nice legs. It was a sudden shift with no warning; for a moment I thought Stenson was admiring Starbuck's legs (all the more confusing because Battlestar Starbuck does have nice legs!).

Nine Earth days later (how many Destrega Prime days or Antilla days?) we get a sneak peek at the Skyline space station orbiting Arveria. This is pure exposition and I'm glad you've cut it down to two paragraphs. All the mystery about what the "Alliance Superweapon" could be is dashed when you just come right out and say it. I don't really see the need for this part at all.

The scene switches to Golden Chariot where the captain, the highest ranking officer on the ship, the King, the God, the Man, personally invites lowly Cadet Lanceville to the bridge to hand him a message. On a disk (probably a floppy). Why a communications officer couldn't do it is beyond me. Why didn't he get it with the rest of his fellow soldiers when the mailman comes around the bunks yelling "Kawalskie! Lanceville! Gump!" and tossing around letters and disks is beyond me.

Izzy Lanceville, says his disk message, seems to be Cyrrin Lanceville's son. I'll give you three guesses who his mother is but you'll only need one. Not only that, but lieutenant Lanceville of the Galactic Space Alliance managed to get the rank of general in nineteen years (general in what military, GSA or the Destrega Space Force/Corps, I don't know) after defecting to the Destrega government. I wonder if he ever figured out who ambushed him and Lancer Squadron so many years ago. I bet he didn't.

After young Izzy (who is probably almost 17 years old, given a year for Cyrrin to knock someone up after the prologue ended and nine months to gestate in a womb somewhere) lands on Antilla and we are told that he's got a semi-cocky grin and blond unkempt hair (Space Corps regs must be lenient on personal grooming).

And finally a male character is described as cute. By the female characters, of course, not the writer. He is also a good pilot, too, it seems. Almost an ace. I wonder how long he's been flying? Since he was sixteen, fifteen, maybe? The civil war with OZ must be going pretty badly if they're putting kids in fighter planes. I wonder if the Destrega government is using child soldiers with little futuristic AK-47s (since no one has invented rifles that don't use bullets, yet) in their ground campaigns against OZ.
Numbers 31 chapter 4 . 7/25/2008
This chapter takes place 19 years after the prologue. Cadet Antes Eslos wants to join the Destrega Space Corps. I can only assume that a bit of legislative action some time in the last 19 years changed the name of the Destrega Space Force into the Destrega Space Corps. But that's okay because it kept the important name: Destrega.

This chapter is mostly action and action doesn't usually have too many plot problems. There are just a few minor things, such as why an advanced civilization like the one you've created would still use rifles that fired bullets or why two children of the solar system's leader would be training at the same time at the same facility. Is there only one academy in the entire system?

Yippie! We've got a second named female character, Indelli Eslos. I can't tell you why, but I like her name. I also like how she hasn't been described as beautiful and that she kicked some drone butt (though eventually she is "killed" in the mock battle).

The point of view switches suddenly between Antes and the Commander towards the middle when the Commander is looking at the monitors in front of him. Since the point of view hasn't switched before in the entire story it makes this a bit jarring. I don't think it should be here. But what do I know?

Finally, I don't get the impression that this is taking place on another planet. Is Antilla supposed to be different from Destrega Prime? Do they both have skies of blue and clouds of white? You didn't really give me a feel for these settings. They don't come alive. Not only that, but they are almost exactly like 20th Century America but taking place in space. Are they in Aloyo or West Point? Cadets getting chewed out by their drill instructor while crawling through an obstacle course? Yeah, that's every war movie ever made.

Laser tag and cake walks are mentioned. It would make the setting a lot richer if you included local (and fictional) things that the cadets could compare the exercise to. (Sort of like how Luke Skywalker said blowing up the Death Star would be like he "used to shoot womprats with my T16 back home" instead of saying it would "be a cake walk".)

This chapter had some stuff going for it. We've got some new characters who might be interesting later on. I wonder if I'm supposed to connect with any of these people (so that later on my guts are torn asunder when my favorite one is killed by the villain!). I didn't connect, though.
Numbers 31 chapter 3 . 7/25/2008
As you may have noticed in my other review I can be a bit snarky, maybe a bit blunt. Some might say harsh. But you can rest assured that I will read what I review and that I give nothing but my honest opinion. I'll do my best to pick up plot holes, inconsistencies, confusing parts, and all that nonsense so that you can (if you want) fix them up. You can't ask for more than that, no? I'm going to write my thoughts and comments down as I read. Here we go!

The story starts in the Destrega Star System, on planet Destrega Prime, in Destrega City, at impersonally named Destrega City Primary Space Port, where one might find ships in the Destrega Space Force. Whoever this Destrega person was, so many years ago, he's got a lot of stuff named after him.

There should be a comma after "Squadron" in the second sentence. The third sentence is missing the word "he" in between "thing" and "could". In the future, though, I'm not going to bother with grammar and punctuation. I'm not really good at pointing it out, you see.

We've got two named characters so far, Cyrrin Lanceville and Cerina Keyes. I wonder how you'll treat Keyes. Will you forget about her a few paragraphs from now? Will you reduce her to being nothing more than the love interest of your main character? Considering Lanceville talks about her beauty at least twice in this first chapter (there are no descriptions of any other character's physical attractiveness), my guess is that you will. But I've been wrong before.

You write:

"OZ forces have begun an attack on Destrega City's main spaceport. Man your battle stations, all fighters scramble, we've got to buy time for the cavalry."

This seems like wooden dialogue on Captain Keyes's part. Pretend you're in Washington, DC, (if you're American, which I assume you are) and the enemy is bombing Reagan International. Do you say "Russian forces have begun an attack on Washington's main airport"? You'd probably say something like "Those Russian bastards are bombin' us! All fighters: scramble! Scramble! Scramble! Kick as much ass as you can before the cavalry gets here to take all the glory!" Well, in my opinion, that's what a captain would say.

Besides, we've already established that Destrega City Primary Space Port is the main spaceport in Destrega City (the name says it all) so there would be no need for Captain Keyes to point that out to the reader again.

You write:

"Copy that. And Keyes, when I get back, we need to talk."

Lanceville is a lieutenant in the Galactic Space Alliance. Keyes is a captain in the Destrega Space Force. Different services, sure, but their ranks are still important. There is no reason why a lieutenant should address a superior officer by her last name only. It is disrespectful in the extreme. The narrator can get away with it but not the character.

The battle scene confused me a little bit. Lanceville was floating around in space in a damaged Tigershark fighter after running away from an ambush. He was picked up by a transport ship, the Last Run, and taken back to Destrega City a few days later. (I wonder why a transport ship's skipper also commanded a Destrega Space Force Light Frigate, but that's not part of this battle.) Shortly after Last Run arrived the spaceport came under attack. Now, suddenly,

Lanceville (who is a lieutenant in Lancer Squadron) is fighting in Titan Squadron. His damaged Tigershark (with no propulsion, weapons, shields, or nav systems) somehow out-maneuvers three move advanced Tigershark Mark-IIs. I'll give Lanceville props for being one badass pilot for pulling that off. But, honestly, I don't see how it happened. There must have been some scenes left on the editing room floor, here.

You wrote:

"You don't understand...the Lancers were family to me, the only family I've known. I want to find out what happened, why we were ambushed and then make someone pay. You can't possibly understand!"

This is Lanceville talking (to a superior officer, remember, and one who picked him up from the void of space where he might have otherwise died). Does he think that a fellow military officer can't possibly understand what it is like to lose brothers and sisters in arms? OZ just attacked the spaceport! How many soldiers and civilians just died? How many under Keyes's command have died since the OZ War started? Did Lanceville not think that Keyes may have had to officiate at a dozen funerals over the last few years, funerals to her military family members?

Of course, the only thing Keyes brings up is some old family angst. What do you know, the villains killed her parents. At least she's comfortable enough to share this information with a soldier she found floating in space a few days ago. I'm not sure what kind of authority Keyes has in hiring Lanceville. I'm sure Lanceville's got a commanding officer and an entire chain of command back at Alliance HQ that would, I dunno, love to have their pilot and multi-billion dollar spacefighter back. I'm sure they'd like to know what happened to Lancer Squadron, too.

Overall, a confusing beginning. I would have given much more information on the setting (What did the spaceport and city look like? What was going on in the sky while Lanceville ran from the spaceport back to the Last Run? What was the captain's ready room like?) in order to make the reader feel as if he or she were actually there.
Vanessa Ravencroft chapter 1 . 9/11/2006
Good clean hard hitting Sci Fi in the tradition of Heinlein and Foster. I liked it from befinning to end.
mwegan chapter 3 . 5/15/2006
Kind of a rushed review here, (I'm between classes) so forgive me if it seem rude. Just a couple quick things...

"...ambushed by an unknown task force.." vague - task force can mean almost anything, and if they were unknown, he wouldn't know they were a task force. Should just be ambushed by an unknown groups of starfighters, or whatever it was he was attacked by.

"Copy that. And Keyes, when I get back, we need to talk." He gets a bit familiar here, especially over an open line. He should address her by rank, or better not say anything.

"..engagement for another victim.." I think 'target' or 'enemy', not victim

"Captain Keyes tensed as Cyrrin made his remark. She remembered the death of her parents." omit the second sentence and add the first to the next paragraph.
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