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Key to the Stars

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Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from Inoeth
Review:
Another brilliant chapter to this story. I absolutely love how you've built up this entirely original side story that, if you removed/changed the buffy/stargate stuff it could be a scifi story all on it's own- and it really is just that.

I'm very curious as to just how far the Khrricks will fall and if perhaps, it may just break out into civil war, as has happened in the past to civilizations that lose wars. The nasty plot to nuke and whatever else Talluran cities will be very intriguing to follow- and one wonders just how successful the Ch'hanis will be... and what the reaction will be by the Tallurans- regardless of how many (if any) are set off...

Finally, the ending to this chapter with the aliens popping up... it's rather tough to have such a cliffhanger when I know it'll be at least a month and probably a couple of months before this is updated once again...

I assume that the next update will the back on Earth and dealing with Glory, among other issues that Buffy and co. have?

Great stuff and I look forward to more.
Comments from author:
I'm not saying how far the Khkerrikk will fall at this point, but it's a reasonable assumption that they'll be up for a change of leadership...

If the Khkerrikk successfully hit even one or two Talluran cities? The consequences are likely to be somewhat severe.

The aliens popping up? May be aggressive, or may just be curious. Maybe even just a spontaneously growing alien plant... ;-)

I'm likely to post another chapter of FLP before another of Key.

Thanks for the review - glad you're enjoying it.
Review By [Inoeth] • Date [14 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from maxthehobbit
Review:
Dawn, Faith and Dyanna having a memorable night at the concert and the town, but Logan will be lucky to survive his situation and Joyce may be in for trouble on that planet with unknown 'blobs' surrounding her and the group she's with, at least Faith is with her. Not to mention that the Talluran Empire is facing Jugrub's possible use of biological attack on behalf of the lizards they are currently at war with. Next chapter should be filled with adventure and dangerous situations.
I love your writing and your stories, never can guess what you're going to come up with.
Maybe the next Battle ship will be named after Faith, boy would that boggle her mind.
Comments from author:
Logan may or may not survive - not saying at this point... As for Joyce? Not everything alien has to be hostile. It might be, or it might just be inquisitive...
Jugrub's bio-attack? Potentially lethal to a large number of Tallurans and it may get very nasty, but not nearly as nasty as it would be for the Khkerrikk when Drayana channels her inner nasty ancestor...

Thanks for the review - glad you enjoyed it.
Review By [maxthehobbit] • Date [11 Jan 14] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from grd
Review:
While Buffy and Cordy are having their own adventurers, Joyce and Dawn have their own too. Hope they stay awhile as after exposure to the tech and life of Talluran's may make them feel very strange on Earth. Like moving from urban to rural life. I hope Joyce's paramour survives and becomes "Dad". Your chapters are like a great meal. Savored and enjoyed to the last word. Thank you for another chapter if this grand adventure.
Comments from author:
Joyce and Dawn won't stay for long after Glory's scheduled portal-opening (assuming there's an Earth still around). They'll want to make sure Buffy and Cordy have survived, for one thing. Returning to Earth will be a shock, however, after living amongst advanced technology and a palace lifestyle. Still, there might be a more regular link with the Tallurans in future, who knows...? Logan's future? You'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for the kind review - glad you're enjoying the story so much.
Review By [grd] • Date [10 Jan 14] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from OtteryLexa
Review:
On the subject of Khkerrikk vs. Ch'Hanis. I'm reminded that in the era of Big Game Hunters, the most deadly prey (other than Man, natch) were considered the large herbivores. Rhinoceroces, Elephants, Hippopotami. The top spot was claimed by the Cape Buffalo - essentially a fricking cow.
Comments from author:
In this case, it's a scary reptilian carnivore, which eats anything, versus an even scarier mammalian one.
Review By [OtteryLexa] • Date [7 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Old City, New Friends, New Enemies." from Rich
Review:
Just another vote for "Starship Troopers". The book is a Classic. The film was an insult.
Review By [Rich] • Date [6 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from (Current Donor)Sulien
Review:
If physically capable of doing so, I would have done cartwheels and handsprings when I saw the notification of an update for this story in my email! As it was, I just satisfied myself with bouncing in my chair with a face splitting grin and made myself finish going through my inbox before I treated myself to a good read. As always, this chapter was wonderful, even if you did leave us with a cliffhanger. That's okay though, because I almost always go back and reread the previous chapter to refresh my memory before reading the new one, so I'm ready for the break when I finish. :)

The concert part of this chapter made me wonder if Dawn or some member of the SGC party would be introducing the Tallurans to Rap and Hip-Hop (both of which are right down there with twangy Country on my Music Best Avoided list), as well as other types of music from Earth. And not to sound my age, but I think I'm with Vesarian in regards to the Death Metal and the volumes at which it is usually enjoyed, though there are one or two Death Metal bands who have truly excellent music (Maglor for certain), despite the screamed lyrics. I'm glad you decided to put this bit in, as it was great fun to see Drayana be able to cut loose for a bit.

Again, I have to say how amazing your world building is with the Tallurans and the other inhabitants of the Vedda Galaxy and their technology. Please keep up the exceptional work! *settling in to wait patiently for the next update*

ETA: I had to edit this to add a resounding YES! to the suggestion that you read Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" and that you do your best to wipe that horrid excuse for a movie with the same name from your mind. Along with "The Lord of the Rings", "Starship Troopers" should be required reading in schools everywhere, as well as literature from other cultures.
Comments from author:
A 12-year-old Dawn in 2001 seemed more like the sort that would be into insipid boy bands. I'm with you on the rap and hip-hop by the way, as 'music' to avoid. I like rock and metal, but Death Metal is a bit extreme for my tastes (also sounding my age). Drayana needed a chance to let her hair down at this point.

Thanks for the review - glad you're still enjoying it.
Review By [(Current Donor)Sulien] • Date [6 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from HMaxMarius
Review:
All I could think of after the christening ceremony for the two battleships was what the Talluran reaction would be if Logan (or even Faith) were to give them a copy of Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers'... (Somehow, I hear a variation of the Rodger Young's song coming from the orchestra and choir... ;) )

And then I read further down with Logan running through his smart armor's status =D Here's hoping he gets out of this intact!

EEEP! First Contact situation!!! and in the midst of a war to boot! Might be a reason those records are so sketchy... ;)


Edit: I was //NOT// referring to that Paul Verhoven celluloid dreck that shares the title of Heinlein's masterpiece. I was referring to the written novel, with the power armor capable of launching mortar sized nukes, where a single shipload of Mobile Infantry can subdue a planet (so long as the inhabitants don't breed like an ant colony). The Starship Troopers MI power armor still makes some of the later anime power-armor look wimpy... and Heinlein was there LONG before John117 and his fellow Spartans!!!

2nd Edit: Definitely read it! I think you will really like it! Besides, it's only a couple hundred pages. =D Definitely smaller than FLPT and some of your stories here. :P
Comments from author:
'Starship Troopers'? Pah! This lot would eat them for breakfast.... I presume you're referring to the bug splatting song at the end.

Logan's ammunition isn't the immediate concern, compared to the artillery barrage outside and the building collapsing around their heads.

Might be a first contact, might just be the local equivalent of moles, or might be something about to eat their heads. Or all three... No particular reason the records are so sketchy - maybe they didn't find anything worth noting last time.

Thanks for the review.

Ed: Sorry for the confusion - I've never actually read the book, but maybe I should add it to the list.
Review By [HMaxMarius] • Date [5 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from RevDorothyL
Review:
Loved this chapter, but now I'm on tenterhooks about the survival of Logan after the explosion and of Diana and Joyce on the planet of underground nasties (I'm assuming they're nasty, given the way these things seem to go), not to mention I SERIOUSLY want someone to pull a more successful 'Valkyrie' and assassinate that mad Emperor before he kills all of his own people as well as a bunch of Tallurans and others as well.

Aagh! I can't stand the suspense! :)
Comments from author:
As I said to another reviewer - "might be a first contact, might just be the local equivalent of moles, or might be something about to eat their heads. Or all three..."

Someone might just pull a coup, but not before Kharrillion screws up big style and just about causes Drayana to start imitating her nasty ancestor.

Logan? You'll just have to wait and see.

Why have one cliffy when you can have three, after all?

Thanks for the review.
Review By [RevDorothyL] • Date [5 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from (Current Donor)Ironbear
Review:
Coolness. Seems like just the other day I was mentioning I'd like to see some more of this one. ;)

ETA: Cool. I have "A Sunnydale Summer"'s last update sitting in my queue waiting for me to get to it. I think I have most of these tracked.
Comments from author:
I'm now working on another chapter of Fate's Little Plaything.

Thanks for the review - glad you're still enjoying it.
Review By [(Current Donor)Ironbear] • Date [5 Jan 14] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - The Home Front" from Rich
Review:
Another chapter in what can only be called an epic saga. This is better than a lot of what passes for professional science fiction these days.
Comments from author:
Thanks for the kind words - glad you're still enjoying this.
Review By [Rich] • Date [4 Jan 14] • Rating [9 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - Part Two" from lunalurker
Review:
Another terrific chapter of one of my favorite ongoing stories, and I'm eagerly looking forward to more of this series in the future.
Thanks very much for writing, and may free time to write become easier to come by for you. :)
Comments from author:
Thanks for your review - more free time would be very nice indeed... I'm in the proces of finishing the latest chapter of FLP. Hopefully another of these towards the middle of next month.
Review By [lunalurker] • Date [13 Nov 13] • Rating [10 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - Part Two" from LegacyWeapon
Review:
Wow. Just wow. Thank you so, so very much for continuing this series with such dedication and with consistent high quality writing. I can find only one thing to nag about, and it only seems so strange because the story is just so incredibly awesome. Within a single scene, you can sometimes switch between the points of view of two or more characters without a proper paragraph break. It can sometimes seem abrupt when the POV shifts. Also, I sometimes think that the good guys are maybe succeeding a bit too easily, but the quality with which the characters are written makes it feel as though victory is much farther away than it tends to be. I very much like that Drayana took notice of this and pointed it out to her Admiral.

And now, a more personal note...

I am an on-and-off player of the MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. I made a Chiss female Jedi Consular character, and I named her Drayana. I also wrote a crossover fanfic on Twisting the Hellmouth in which I gave one of my characters the first name of Shar, although in this case the similarity to the Centurion is purely coincidental. With regards to my Jedi character, I do recall one other player taking notice of the name and proclaiming how 'Drayana will save us' in the mission we were doing together. I truly hope that he or she was a fellow fan of your story.

Again, So Many Thanks for keeping up the quality writing, and I will continue to look forward to more. ^_^
Comments from author:
Thanks for the enthusiastic review. The good are succeeding relatively easily in this case, but historically wars are often very one-sided. In a very high-tempo, short duration space war, an absolute advantage in technology and better strategy and tactics would, at least in my view, have a rapid and decisive impact. Sill, the bad guys might have one or two surprises up their sleeves...

I'm not sure where I plucked the name Drayana. Definitely not from Star Wars (I'm old enough that I've only ever been keen on the 3 originals). The name Shar I took from an old CS Lewis children's book, the Horse and His Boy, where the name is used once for an Archenland nobleman. Finding names for people in fanfic is a pain in the neck. It's bad enough for my Earth-based fic, but I find it much harder for the space stuff. I chose those two in the early days of writing Key, when I hoped to use some Latin-sounding names, but also a range of others. As it's grown, I've rather lazily taken the easy option and used variations on ancient Roman names.

Glad you're still enjoying it and thanks again.
Review By [LegacyWeapon] • Date [1 Oct 13] • Rating [9 out of 10]
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - Part Two" from Inoeth
Review:
A truly fantastic and fitting part 2 of this war. Given how insane their enemy emperor is- I fully expect things to get far worse before it gets better, and for the conflict to be exacerbated to the point where it's not unlike that he'll be removed by his own species... Before that happens, I do wonder about 'terrorist' nuclear bombs, chemical and biological warfare. I also wonder, given shield technology- why they aren't using anti-matter. with shields to contain and separate the anti-matter- combined with other metals and Naqudah- I could easily see explosions in the hundreds of gigatons, even teratons. (Mind you, even the SGC tried 'and failed- at least early on' using low gigaton naqudah nuclear missiles- so given Tallura's tech...

anyways, story wise, it is excellent as always- doing a good job of presenting all the canon characters as I've always seen them, tho this chapter felt a little light on them as compared to the story of the war- which frankly, given whats going on in the story, is not a bad thing. Honestly, the only thing i found a little 'tiresome' for lack of a better word, was our Empress' fight against execution. Beyond that tho, If found the way you portrayed her actions and thoughts to be very good and realistic.

Overall, fantastic job once again - especially given that you're making all this up. Frankly, I hope that you go into writing your own science fiction - i know a couple of fanfiction authors who have done so.

I look forward to the next chapter in this story and of course the story back on Earth with Cordy and all.

Keep up the good work.
Comments from author:
Indeed the Khkerrikk Emperor hasn't finished, but it won't end well for him. Maybe not his people either, if he isn't careful...

Anti-matter technology? Wrong universe - I don't recall any of the major SGC space powers using such weapons. The Tallurans are roughly at Goa'uld levels of technology, with Plasma Cannon and Neutral Particle Cannon. They also know how to deploy a combination of multiple nuclear blasts and very powerful broad-frequency Electro-Magnetic Pulses to bring down shields. It always vaguely annoys me the way script writers trot out terms like gigaton and terraton, then show a little spark impacting on a shield. There's little appreciation of the power involved. Even a 50Mt blast (one twentieth of a gigaton and the largest ever set off on Earth - created a fireball and shockwave so large that some of the energy was actually wasted by being vented out of the atmosphere. The whole Goa'uld shield thing was a variable plot-bally - they supposedly deflected those Naquadah-enhanced warheads, yet time and again we later see shields being weakened or collapsed by simple plasma discharges.

This chapter - and possibly the next - are, as you say, heavy on the war and slightly light on the main characters. The Empress is young and idealistic and feels that a treason law dating from thousands of years previously has no place in modern Talluran society. Her beliefs might be tested at times, but she's likely to hang onto her principles.

I'm currently writing another chapter of A Sunnydale Summer, then I'll complete the next Fate's Little Plaything chapter.

Thanks for the review - glad you enjoyed it.
Review By [Inoeth] • Date [27 Sep 13] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - Part Two" from Alkeni
Review:
Very good chapter. Although Boudica's revolt and the subsequent crack down was not some standout moment for Rome - and not behaving as it had would have been somewhere between stupid and suicidal.
Comments from author:
I agree, the Romans simply used their normal means of suppressing a revolt. It isn't however their perspective that matters here. The Ancients visiting Earth at that point were suitably appalled that one of the peoples they'd helped to nurture had turned into a rapacious imperial power.

Thanks for the review - glad you enjoyed it.
Review By [Alkeni] • Date [23 Sep 13] • Not Rated
Review of chapter "Diplomacy and the Dogs of War - Part Two" from (Current Donor)Sulien
Review:
Every time I read a part of "Key to the Stars", I can't help but wish that you could just change the names of main characters and change references to concepts inherent in both series and publish this baby as a book or series of books. It's that damned good! In fact, you're fast approaching two of my favorite sci-fi authors: CJ Cherryh and Tanya Huff. Brilliant job on the Khkerrikk war and the battles, as well as all of the characterizations of different minor characters!

Seriously, if a piece of dren porntastic Twilight fanfic can get published as a book, "Key to the Stars" should absolutely have a great shot. I'm sure I've said this before, but I can't help but think it every time you post an update to this story. Sorry, I've just been badly disappointed at the books I've read that were published in the past handful of years or so and honestly believe something this good deserves publication and recognition. *sigh*

Updates on this story may be infrequent but it is obvious that you take the time to research and think about what you're writing, so each one is well worth the wait. Thank you for this one!

Edited to add: if you've read any good sci-fi novels lately that can come even reasonably close to comparing with "Key to the Stars", I would love a few recommendations, if you have the time and inclination.
Comments from author:
Thanks for your enthusiastic review! I'm actually not familiar with either of the authors you mention, but I should maybe try them. Glad you like my battles and minor character characterisation. The Khkerrikk War took a little bit of planning (also a bit of thought about why the Tallurans should end up being much more powerful than they themselves believed). Anyhow, this was how I thought a battle between a cloak-capable power and a less-advanced one might look.

I'm afraid I haven't read any recent sci-fi of late. I'm somewhat partial to John Scalzi and some of the older Star Trek: TNG novels (the latest re-imagining of the Trek verse is dire, in my opinion). I've been considering starting Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series, but I'm not sure if it's worth it. Probably my single biggest sci-fi influence has been Babylon 5.

This update took even longer by my current glacial standards. I'm hoping to speed up the process a little in the coming months.
Review By [(Current Donor)Sulien] • Date [23 Sep 13] • Rating [10 out of 10]
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