Reviews for Best of Strangers
Photogirl1890 chapter 1 . 8/17/2013
I thought this was a great little piece. I could believe it happening, Chakotay's complaint that she never listened to him was a pretty justified one. Some great lines: "he almost took the words back. But that was foolish. He'd been taking them back for years—seven years—and he couldn't do it anymore." and "There was a bitterness towards the Voyagers that no one cared to mention" - it really would be just plain awkward after seven years, as well as happy to get back. I think you stuck to canon and character very well. This is a very valid interpretation of what might have happened on Voyager's return.
bobbirice chapter 1 . 6/21/2012
I loved this. I thought if flowed very well, almost poetic. It was deep in all the right places and stayed true to the real heart of the characters.
Constant Comment Tea chapter 1 . 6/10/2012
I liked it! I've always been a J/C-er (since I started watching the show at 8 years old), and I appreciate the dynamic you put into this piece. Simple they-get-together stories are so boring. Thanks for actually thinking about their relationship as something deeper than that. :-)
AlphaFlyer chapter 1 . 6/9/2012
Using the anonymous feature here not to prevent or discourage a reply by the author, but because I already submitted a signed review (FFN only allows one such per account, per chapter of a story). My regular account is under the same name as that used here.

I read Voyager Fan's (anonymously submitted) review with interest. Clearly, character relationships are a matter of great interest and - at times - debate and difference of opinion. Mine was already provided in my signed review and I wont' repeat it. But I can't resist making a couple of comments.

(1) FFN does not distinguish between J & C and J/C, as other sites do. The approach taken by most writers, as far as I can see, is to have their choice of "characters A and B" reflect the primary relationship within a given story. People relate to one another in many ways, romance being only one. I've written a Chakotay/Paris which is about as far removed from romance as you can get, but the central tension is as between them; my current piece is "Janeway/Paris", albeit with the Paris-Torres marriage very much intact. Simply put, there was nothing misleading in Dax's characterization of this story as being about the Janeway/Chakotay relationship. It was.

(2) OOC. Whether a statement, language, sentiment or observation is in character has very little to do with whether it was ever referenced in canon. That's what fan fiction is about - creating additional "facts", stories and events. The question is always whether a given utterance or event sounds like something the character might have said/done, based on what else we've seen of this person in canon. (A/Us can be in character - or not, depending on the writer's ability to capture a voice appropriately.) Dax' story is perfectly in character, including Janeway's (non-canonical) observations about the C/7 romance - given I don't EVER recall Janeway commenting on other people's personal/romantic relationships. On the other hand, J & C have had many adversarial, even bitter exchanges (Equinox, anyone?), and the one presented here sounds utterly plausible.

(3) I don't recall many instances where Janeway actually took Chakotay's advice. Consultation and acceptance of advice are quite different matters, and the way I read the story was his (quite legitimate) complaint that she ultimately always chose her own way.

So - to sum up. People may (and will) disagree about whether to accept the premise of the story, and I know there are a legion of J/Cers out there who would prefer seeing a (completely non-canonical, it has to be said) romance between the two characters. In my respectful opinion, VoyagerFan confuses perspective with desideratum.

it would be great if FFN allowed debates on these issues - alas, the limited forum of reviews is the best we can do.
Voyager fan chapter 1 . 6/9/2012
The clever title and the fact that it was (supposedly) a J/C story caught my eye-which it is not. It is not a "pairing" of J/C and should probably be listed as J and C friendship (if we can call it that, even).

The writing is solid grammatically, no complaints, and I found the first half of the story pretty interesting. However, I disagree with your assertion that Janeway and Chakotay are in character. In fact, I thought they were very much OOC in the dialogue part. I can't see them being this angry in public, I suppose, and much of what they brought up is probably long past worrying about between them.

Specifics? Gladly.

We’ll start with Janeway. First, this comment that she makes: "I thought you'd learned how to make it in Starfleet." A moment. "I guess I was wrong." I don’t think she would have forgotten his successful twenty year career in SF before he resigned and joined the Maquis. In fact, she expected him to use his experience to help the Maquis adjust to Voyager’s “SF ways.” Second, this comment about his dalliance with Seven: "I guess you should have thought about that before you took advantage of her heart." There is nothing in canon that suggests that Janeway thought Chakotay took advantage of Seven or even that she disapproved of their relationship. She did not make a comment about Kellin at the time he was involved with her (of course, their memories have gone), so why would we think she would in this case? Third, in their discussion of her mistakes, you have Janeway say: "Because I wasn't wrong, Chakotay! I was right!" If anything, Janeway is more aware of how often she was wrong than anyone else is, as shown in “Night” when she blames herself for stranding them and at the end of “Unimatrix Zero” when she admits that she crossed a line. And finally, the fight about Seven doesn’t work for these two, especially this: “Why Seven? What drew you to her? Did she remind you of someone? Riley, perhaps?" There is no evidence that Janeway is aware of an “intimate” connection between Riley and Chakotay beyond the “healing” that he underwent, so why would she say this?

Now, Chakotay. There is this statement (admittedly said in anger): "You're the one who told her she was going to die and take me with her!" I don’t believe that he would have confused the Admiral for the Captain, nor is their anything in canon that says Seven “takes him with her.” Then you have him say this: "Starfleet isn't for me. It never was." Really? Is that why he only stuck around for twenty years before leaving for the Maquis? And then this: "You never listened to me, Kathryn. Every time I tried to give you my opinion, you arched your brow and gave me two words—Captain's call. And when I tried to talk to you about it, you left. Walked out of the room. As if I were worthless to you. Just a puppet to fill the seat beside yours." We never heard Janeway say "captain's call" that I remember, nor did she walk out on him in mid conversation, so he's just ranting here. In fact, there were many times when she DID listen to him (Unimatrix Zero, The Omega Directive, and others) and she always let him have his say, even if she didn't take his advice.

I could delve into the entire New Earth part of the conversation, but most of it comes from fanfiction romantic interpretation of the Angry Warrior speech rather than canon. So, I guess, for the most part, the story is pretty much a stretch for me to take in. I think they would have talked most of these issues through years earlier and in a much more adult, calm manner. I can see them being indifferent toward each other and parting ways better than I can imagine them having this bitter OOC conversation.
jcat30 chapter 1 . 6/4/2012
Following canon for a while is fine and I think you characterized them both great, but I always think that most of us die hard J/Cers are romantics at heart and see the best in people. That is why this relationship touches so many people is that even through mistakes and adversity they come back together at least in fanfiction world. That the idea of a soulmate still exists, and it is not about the "perfection" of the Borg or former Borg. Do all the guys I date have to want Jeri Ryan like bodies? I'm not against having agnst in a story, I love it just so my favorite couple ends up together in the end.
PinkAngel17 chapter 1 . 6/3/2012
It's heartbreakingly sad, but it is definitely a possiblilty between these two. I could see it happening, though I also see a small ray of hope in there that it's not completely over yet. They always seem to gravitate back eventually. It was very well written, especially the tension between them. Of course, I wanted to slap Chakotay (or hoped Janeway would, lol) once or twice, but I almost always have that urge.

I especially liked the beginning of this. The emotion behind it and the picture that leaving Voyager presented was just about perfect.

Like I said, it was very sad, but very nicely done and quite possible! Now I may have to go read an overly sappy story, just to make myself feel better. ;)
JamieRobs chapter 1 . 6/3/2012
WOW! I am a die hard J/C'r and I have a love/hate relationship with this story. I certainly couldn't say it better than Laura W did for I agree with every single word she said!

This was wondefully written and very in cannon, but in truth it breaks my little J/C heart to read them this way. Although, I could see it happening, this could have been a post-endgame episode...Season 8 opener with the promise of more, the promise of them.

I disagree with those who think they didn't or couldn't belong together. I think, and this is corny, that they were soulmates. He loved her powerfully, she was in his soul, she brought him peace, he said so and I believed him! He steadied her, when all was crumbling brought her back to herself. She cried at his words, she was conflicted, independent & stubborn. The perfect yin & yang if you ask me...They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other.
lizzy74656 chapter 1 . 6/3/2012
I like this Dax's10thHost and I quite agree with you. I'm not a J/Cer as I also could not see these two getting it together. Friends perhaps, but anything closer just would not have worked.

I have written my own view on that also. "Jay Seers" I've headed a parody as I feel the idea of these two strong people are like the title of your story says 'Starngers'.

Thank you for writing and making me feel I'm not alone.
Rascal207 chapter 1 . 6/3/2012
I read this story twice, for I had so many split feeling after reading it, except one, this is perfectly written! The span of emotions you stirred in me while I read this was much like a wild roller coaster ride. I like the story that leaves me thinking, stunned, shocked or in awe. Those R the ones I will remember. Yours is one of them. I'm a J/C'r, but, I like this a lot, for it's realistic as what might have happen, how it might have ended.
Laura W chapter 1 . 6/2/2012
Ah, so the die-hard non-J/Cer joins the fray. :-)

This is exceptionally well written, as always. It...sizzles. The characters sound like themselves and this is something I could easily see happening, post-Endgame, post-debriefing, post-Seven. Does it break my J/C heart just a little bit? Of course. But I love that you left the door ajar so that I can begin to wonder about what happens next. Because there's always a "next." Lives don't end where stories do, and even though there might not be a "happily ever after" there is always another "once upon a time."

And isn't that why we write fanfiction in the first place? Because we sense, instinctively, that there's more to the story?

You raise an interesting point about what you call the "Angry Warrior/Lonely Captain" genre. I've written it myself, unabashedly. I've also written "Angry Chakotay/Oblivious Captain," "Lovesick Chakotay/Rule-Bound Captain," "Irreverent Chakotay/Playful Captain" and "Shoot, Let's Just Call This a Hepburn/Tracy Reboot." Here's the thing about all those sub-genres: They're all true, in their own way. We saw them all over the course of seven seasons. Some of them more than others, of course, but we did see them. "Angry Warrior/Lonely Captain" may not be the way you see the characters, but it's one of the ways they saw themselves. He's the one who told the story, after all. And she's the one who attempted to hook up with holograms. So there's Truth in that sub-genre. The darker relationship you've portrayed is also true. Does it contain more Truth? I guess it depends on your point of view and where you are on your own life's journey.

In the end, could these two characters make a relationship work? I don't know. There aren't any simple answers for them, are there? They are fun together sometimes, flirtatious and playful. But they also fight. She doesn't listen to him when she should. He lets his feelings for her get in the way of his job. She turns professional arguments into personal attacks. They are not easy together. What they are together is extremely human. Flawed and floundering, just like the rest of us. Maybe that's why so many of us are drawn to write J/C fanfic in the first place. We see a relationship that is messy and complicated and paradoxical. Fun and flirty in one minute, fractured and ugly in the next. Even their friendship would take massive work. Endless compassion. Infinite patience. Years of care and worry and anger and gentleness. They would both have to learn to bend, to hold their tongues, to listen to silences. To me, that feels...real. Maybe that's because of where I am on *my* life's journey. But I sense there's more to them than meets the eye, and I love exploring that unknown territory.

And again, isn't that why we write fanfic in the first place?

So massive kudos to you for dipping your toe in the water. And beautifully done. This one will stay with me for a while, and not just because my mind has already wandered into "What happens next?" territory. :-)
American Fantasy chapter 1 . 6/2/2012
Though I am utterly gutted by the ending as a diehard J/Cer, and I believe that their friendship and feelings hadn't died off completely at the end, I thought this was a well written story that to some extent was in canon. Though we have different feelings towards J/C I believe you wrote a refreshingly different approach to the characters that isn't seen a lot on this site.
Ellen K chapter 1 . 6/2/2012
Nice story, pleasure to read :-)

My take on J/C is that they just don't belong together. Now, having stated that it was undeniably palpable that there was some sort of deliberate romantic tension between the characters- very strong in earlier, and more subdued and subtle in later seasons, but always there nonetheless. Now, Chakotay hooking up with somebody else would have satisfied me as long as it was anybody BUT Seven ( any one of his alien lady friends, another female crewmember, hell, even a male crewmember, but NOT Seven of all people). Why? Because it was just wrong in so many ways, one of which being the fact that Janeway and Seven were so close ( whatever one chooses to ascribe this closeness to:a. sexual/romantic, b. mother-daughter, c. mentor-protege...) and somehow such an implied subtextual love triangle seems very toxic, especially the way they decided to "resolve" it by resorting to a cliche narrative of an older man leaving his wife for a half his age barbie doll who, to add salt to the wound, happens to be a close friend of the said wife (even if in this case he didn't have an established relationship with Kathryn it felt like there was something intangible there...)

So as much as I don't like J/C fanfic ( except for those rare well written stories that do not reduce Janeway to a Bridget Jones kind of character)I REALLY can't stand C/7- the pairing is just so ridiculous (since when did Chakotay even like Seven between wanting her off the ship and not trusting her?), so unexpected and unnecessary. So, I usually turn to the alternatives, one of which is J/7 which I actually DO like ;-)

Cheers.
hoppinghamster chapter 1 . 6/2/2012
Hi. I know I am a culprit of writing unbelievable, fluffy, poorly written J/C trash lately but i enjoy it! Well I enjoy writing when I get the time i dont have to read it! But i must say as heartbreaking as this is making me want to ignore canon and what we all know is real in support of unrealistic fluff (sorry! Please dont hate me!) I must say you are a very talented writer and have done great stucking to canon! I truely can see this hapening! Great! :-) x
Alpha Flyer chapter 1 . 6/2/2012
I basically agree with everything Bonesbird said and much of CP7's commentary, except that I could never really see J/C as a couple the way CP and many others can. A brief flash of attraction - targets of opportunity and convenience - yes. A lasting relationship? No.

Even their friendship was stretched far too many times, and you brought out Chakotay's resentment (and Kathryn's obliviousness) beautifully:

"Could she really be this blind? 'You never listened to me, Kathryn. Every time I tried to give you my opinion, you arched your brow and gave me two words—Captain's call. And when I tried to talk to you about it, you left. Walked out of the room. As if I were worthless to you. Just a puppet to fill the seat beside yours.'"

What you gave us was real, not devastatingly real, just ... real. And, as usually, beautifully written.

PS: Thanks for the Captain Proton jacket ... ;-)
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