Date: 06/07/2011 12:50 am Title: Performance
I loved seeing Tony go toe-to-toe with Vance over his teammate's performance evals. His description of his approach to the job seemed perfectly in-character, and as a man of action he would try to do something to make things fairer for Tim and Ziva.
But there was no need for him to tell Vance about the hacking, so the fact that he confessed voluntarily, giving Vance the opportunity to change the scores back, says interesting things about Tony's integrity. He did his revision but now it's in Vance's court, to change it or to let it stand.
Date: 06/07/2011 12:38 am Title: Back at Work
Interesting conflict here about the performance reviews. My sympathies are with Gibbs and Our Team, of course, but you do a good job of explaining Vance's thinking, too. It seems unfair to penalize an employee for lost productivity due to an injury in the line of duty . . . but I can also see why an excellent employee who worked every day would feel that he deserved to be ranked over someone who missed two months, even if the absence was recovery from a wound incurred at work. I guess there aren't any extra points awarded for heroism.
Abby and Leslie? I'm mulling that over. They do have a love of cupcakes in common. :)
Date: 06/07/2011 12:28 am Title: I Love a Man in Uniform
Leon gets to work another crime scene! Sort of. The killing at the Navy Yard was intriguing--I could easily see it as a full-fledged case file on its own. And Ms. "I Love a Man in Uniform" was hilarious!
The analysis of the flaws in the intern program sounded like it was written by an expert.
Date: 06/07/2011 12:20 am Title: The Start of Autumn
Poor Tim! It's hard to hear him talk like this, even though it's 100% logical that he'd be thinking about a safer line of work after what he's been through.
Convalescents do get depressed, though. Hopefully he will get the outpouring of attention and affection that he needs.
I enjoyed the conversation between Tim and Vance. They have an interesting relationship.
Date: 05/30/2011 01:37 am Title: Audit
Tim and Ziva have had to spend a considerable amount of the year off-duty--Tim got injured, Ziva got furloughed, and now they both got shot. Yikes! That's a lot of stress.
And there are dangers still out there.
I'm really enjoying the story--all the various aspects of what Vance has to deal with, the unrelenting pressure, is very realistically done.
I'm glad Fornell has the team's back. It's good to see him in the story.
Tim and Ziva's troubles aren't over yet...as you;ll see in coming chapters.
I like using Fornell. He has his own agency to think of, of course, but he'll mostly do what he can to help out NCIS.
I'm glad you're liking it! I can only guess at Vance's pressure. I'm glad it seems realistic.
Date: 05/30/2011 01:27 am Title: Danger Within
Aack! Poor McGee and Ziva. I can see her whacking the intern with the two-hole punch, though.
Those interns are a problem, aren't they? Two down . . . maybe more to go?
And the bomber is still out there.
Author's Response: I admit, I have a weakness for younger, inexperienced people talking the old pharts down. Or maybe just because it's not supposed to happen. Yes, Ziva is resourceful...more so that way than Tim would be.
Date: 05/30/2011 01:15 am Title: Interns
Aha--there was an extra intern! And one with a shady past.
But why do I think the threat isn't really over?
I'm wondering about the pipe bombs, too. The socialite's daughter and boyfriend were also hit by a pipe bomb--at Quantico, if I recall? Or nearby? So maybe there's a link there and we have a mad bomber on the loose.
It's good to see the team working and cracking a case.
Author's Response: I admit I didn;t make the threat as deep as I could have. I was rushing to get the final half of the year covered. But there was a little guesswork.
Date: 05/30/2011 01:08 am Title: A Flight and Youngsters
Great heroics with the helicopter. I could picture that like it was in an episode. Glad they were able to save all the people and the equipment.
Loved the dialogue with Vance and Fornell. Very funny!
Also loved the idea of Vance trying to postpone as much of the busywork as possible until his secretary returns. Yup, that's the way it goes.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the interns contribute or detract from the work at NCIS. When the extra person showed up, I wondered if it might be the person with a grudge against Gibbs' team, sneaking in to wreak havoc. I have a very suspicious mind.
A suspicious mind can be useful. "See something, say something" has become the government's watchword.
Date: 05/30/2011 12:57 am Title: Tour de Vance
Charming! I really enjoyed the Tour de Vance and the description of the race. Heroic Palmer is always welcome. Vance (canon Vance) always seems a bit befuddled by Jimmy--doesn't see the potential agent side of him. But maybe that is changing here.
Author's Response: My guess is that Vance feels Jimmy might amount to something, but he'd have to stop acting like a buffoon...but now you've given me an idea for a story. Thank you!
Date: 05/30/2011 12:47 am Title: May Flowers
So there is going to be an actual Tour de Vance! Excellent!
The threat against the MCRT is worrying me. Just as poor McGee gets back in one piece, he's going to have to duck for cover, I guess. If Gibbs is worried, I'm worried, too.
Maybe those new SIGs will get a workout soon.
Yes, do worry. There are some tough times ahead. And poor Tim gets the worst of it...
The Tour de Vance bike race was the first thing that occurred to me when I started writing. But I knew I had to set it in nice weather, so I had a lot of chapters to write to get there.
Date: 05/30/2011 12:40 am Title: Furlough Fallout
Ah, poor Vance!
The behavior of the instructors rang true--no preferential treatment. I can see them toeing the line on that, even though the students had no choice about the furlough. One would hope the instructors would help the students make up what they'd lost--hopefully this would be a one-time only event, something like an act of God--but I guess I have my rose-colored glasses on.
You're doing a good job of revealing all the priorities that Vance has to juggle, and how there is no perfect solution. No matter what he chooses to do, some good people are going to get hurt. Hopefully not physically hurt, but still. It's a great weight to carry.
I think that like out in the "real" world, some instructors would go the extra mile to help (unless expressly forbidden to), and others would say, "I'm not being paid to do this." I wanted to present them as a mixed bag; not all saints nor sinners.
Vance does indeed have to carry a lot od weight. There is no way that everyone would come out happy...and he knows that people above him are watching him, even up to the level of Congress.
Date: 04/09/2011 12:44 am Title: Post-Budget
We're seeing different sides of the administration here--Vance and SECNAV playing April Fool's jokes. And Vance bakes to de-stress. That surprised me.
I particularly enjoyed the conversation between Vance and Ducky here. Ducky is so insightful; Vance could learn a lot about his people if he talked to Ducky more. This brought out intriguing qualities in both characters.
Author's Response: I think everyone could learn a lot from Ducky. There might be a tendency to dismiss him as a rambling old man, but as you say, he has so much insight,
Date: 04/09/2011 12:30 am Title: Furlough
Having dealt with layoffs and furloughs myself, I can attest to the accuracy of your portrayal of Vance's dilemma in this chapter. (Our department tried the "spread the furlough days among everyone" measure rather than furloughing individual employees, and it was messy. And we had no lives at stake.)
It's good to have an update on how the loss of Ziva is affecting the team; they are the example we can relate to, the human face of the budget cuts.
And poor McGee will rue the ides of March! And his teammates will worry even more.
And having just gone through the federal furlough thing yesterday, I'll say that a normal work dya is so much better. When I wrote this story I had no idea that I would be experiencing it.
Budget cuts hurt everyonw.
Date: 04/08/2011 01:28 am Title: Families and Budgets
Poor Vance! I enjoyed the insight into his relationship with his children, and the price he pays for sitting in the big chair being not having enough time in his comfortable chair at home.
Ironically I am reviewing this chapter when we are one day away from a government shutdown, due to failure to pass a budget, so Vance having to furlough people seems like a very real issue for any head of agency to face.
I was a bit surprised that he didn't call the DC people into his office, one at a time, to give the news. You explain his reasons, and I accept the explanation . . . and I concede that the NCIS writers often depict Vance as quite a cold individual who would do a mass firing by email.
Talking to people individually would probably take too much of his time, I suppose.
The end of this chapter is a shocker! Even while I was reading the paragraphs leading up to it, I didn't connect the dots and see what was coming.
I figure that there are a couple hundred to a thousand people , easily, working at HQ, so I think that it would have been impossible for Vance to drop the bombshell individually. It would have been nice, though.
Glad I got you with a shocker ending.
Date: 04/08/2011 01:14 am Title: Love is in the Air
You surprised me again!
I enjoyed the Valentine's Day episode a lot. Very warm-hearted, and it shows the warm and caring side of Abby, the side that volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and befriends nuns. Often in fanfic that side of her gets overlooked, so it's pleasant to see her get her due.
I loved the way you showed Vance as confused by Abby, too, and not sure how to respond to her. He's so self-contained, and she's so effusive; they're like oil and water. So it seemed very credible that Vance would have trouble connecting with Abby.
i've long felt that Vance doesn't really get Abby. All he sees in her is energy and flightiness, without a serious or purposeful side. Then again, he doesn't spend a lot of time with her, so his view is somewhat superficial.
I, too, like visiting Abby's positives sides, and she does have a lot of them!
Date: 04/07/2011 07:38 pm Title: The TAD
An interesting development! So Stan feels out-of-place and prefers to work alone. (And Vance did, too. That makes complete sense to me. In a way, he's still working alone, and he can't share even when he needs to.)
I like the way you bring the real-world concern about budgets into the story. Something as simple as replacing the weaponry--I can picture a Congressman saying, "Why do they need new guns? The ones they've got work, don't they?"
Loved Tim's reaction to hearing about the new Sigs, too. Sweet.
Funny that budgets come up now... Stay tuned; there's a whole chapter about the effects of the budget (and what leads up to it, and the aftermath).
I love writing about Stan, but he is still something of an enigma to me.
Date: 04/07/2011 07:30 pm Title: New Year Blues
A very intriguing beginning! I can certainly picture Vance and Gibbs working the day after New Year's. I like the way you sketched their differing attitudes toward the holiday--that seemed very true to Gibbs, to think that all the days are the same. Nice contrast.
I've always found Vance quite an opaque character, someone hard to connect with or understand, so I'm looking forward to your interpretation.
And thumbs up for the surprise guest!
Author's Response: Thanks! I think Gibbs and Vance are vastly different in many ways...and I agree with you that Vance is opaque. I hope you stick around for the ride and see what's in store for Vance (and the rest).