NEW 10.16.2009-- For those who don't want to wade through these annotations and go right to the important ones, I'll list the ones I think you should read.

9. Ch 18

13. Ch 32

15. Ch 39

33. Ch 70

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This is meant to supplement my story Observations and clarify anything that I think, or that readers tell me, is obtuse. I'll provide translations to Swahili/Russian/Spanish/other languages, denote any cultural references I make, and attempt to explain all the math I use in the piece.

I will do my best to keep this limited to information, not interpretation. What's the fun of reading and guessing if I tell you everything?

In terms of structure, I think of this piece in phases. I don't know if this is useful to anyone, but I've written down when I think certain phases begin. I don't know how many more phases are coming, and I'll leave it to you to figure out what they mark.

Phase 1— Ch 1

Phase 2— anywhere between Ch 32/38

Phase 3— Ch 70

Phase 4— "The City on the Edge of Forever", from Ch 87 to Ch 101

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General Comments

As you may have guessed, I'll post any general comments about the piece here.

09.28.2009—This was previously in the Author's Note I posted in Observations. I've copied it here verbatim.

For those of you who want to see Spock emotionally compromised, I promise that it's coming. In fact, he's already been emotionally compromised in Ch 15, but he just chooses not to talk about it. This is one of the great things about writing in first person—I get to mislead all of you guys. Spock very smart, but he's not always right. He purports to be objective, and he tries as much as possible to be completely scientific. But that doesn't mean the conclusions he comes to are right. On the other hand, first person makes dropping hints about what's coming much harder, since if Spock doesn't get it, he just doesn't get it.

General rule of thumb—hints come from other characters. Bones picked up way back in Ch 45 that he, Spock and Jim are friends. Yet it took Spock the El Cazador arc to actually call Bones by his first name, and it took him even longer (Ch 70) to reflect on and accept that the three of them have become very deep friends. I think I wrote it so that Spock shifts from 'the captain' to 'Jim' for the first time in the Balance of Terror arc, but Nyota's the one who calls him on it.

There are other moments when Spock's actually more emotionally compromised than he lets on (though, I should have drawn more attention to this, since a lot of people seem to be missing it). I think this is consistent with TOS, especially considering the disastrous Pon Farr situation. I know that Spock talks about his feelings with his father in ST09, but he was already severely compromised.

My take on it is—Spock still hasn't completely come to terms with everything that happened with the Narada. I tried to show (perhaps a better term is not-show...) this in a few ways—he rarely talks about his alternate self, he never talks about his mother, and he doesn't talk that much about Vulcan II. In Ch 46, Spock deliberately glosses over the conversation he had with Sarek: "I only learned of the legacy of Sybok much later, shortly after I learned the real reason why my father married my mother." These are all really emotional topics that Spock still has to deal with. And he will. Just, old habits die hard. He's been taught to suppress his emotions all his life. That combined with rigid Vulcan control makes introspection that includes, rather than deliberately excludes, emotions a rare thing. Also, Spock's got a slew of insecurity issues that are still slowly being resolved.