Why? Because An Delen Dir had set the Challenge and I had planned my story. Straker and Freeman in Moscow and Straker gets kidnapped. Then I read this story from dragon.
Sigh. So it was back to the drawing board.
And one other thing annoys me about this story – dragon writes in many different fandoms. She writes brilliant, amusing, tragic, exciting, sexy ( Who can forget Skulls!!) stories. Look at her website for details! I can write (well,* some* people would say I can’t write!) in UFO, Thunderbirds (for amusement only) and Captain Scarlet. It takes real effort to change from one fandom to another, but dragon does it with ease, slipping into the world of UFO as if it is her only fandom.
And what makes me even more annoyed is that she does it so well! (laughing here!)
Moonlight and Vodka is yet another example of dragon’s ability to write a thrilling and true to character UFO story. What is so special about this story is that it takes us to a rarely visited era in the UFO world, before SHADO was active. A time when Straker and Freeman are trying to get support from governments in the face of scorn and distrust.
I love the opening to Moonlight. Alec Freeman in a bar, not a drunkard as so many writers portray him to be, but a man who is calculating and uses alcohol as a means to achieve a desired end. THAT is the Alec Freeman I know and love!
Alec Freeman downed another double vodka shot, his smile never reaching his eyes but the drunken Russian soldiers around him seemingly noticed nothing. So very ‘Alec’, and his unspoken concern for Straker is also in character. I utterly adore that little The thought of getting his hands on his commander caused him odd sensations. Dammit. He was not emotionally attached. To anyone. Especially not that gadfly commander of his.
Yeah right Alec, pull the other one.
The way dragon hints at things is very clever, making us think beyond the mere written words. Why, for example, does Alec think ‘ the leaders were warm , too warm’. Why for example does Straker’s shoulders ache with the strain? No clues, apart from the manacles mentioned later. Poor Straker, having to deal with Colonel Ulanskaya.
And as usual, dragon is spot on with her characters. As cold as he was, his heat in defense of Henderson and the dead was surprising. Cold blue eyes, arctic and cutting, met her dark gaze. That’s Ed Straker all right!
The release of Straker is handled with a deft hand. Again, mere hints at what has occurred so far.. those simple sentences: Socks and shoes felt both wonderful and horrible at the same time. He fought a groan at the pressure on his feet. It was a wonder he could walk.
No other details but the reader can visualise it.
The final scene, in the bar, Alec waiting as Straker arrives is glorious. I envy dragon’s ability to say so much in so few words!
He pulled a chair out, ignoring the snoring body that fell out of it. “Having a good time?” A world of emotion in those four spoken words. It’s not the only instance of ‘unspoken’ emotions, of things unsaid. And dragon does it perfectly.
But this is far more than a short story about Straker, Freeman and Colonel Ulanskaya. It’s about the relationship between Straker and Freeman, it’s about the beginnings of SHADO and not an easy beginning either.
A wonderful story. I hope we get to meet Ulanskaya again!