Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood
Crystal is the kind of person who is often underestimated in the world. Her education is fairly limited, but she knows more than a lot of people probably think.
First introduced in A Long, Long Time Ago, Crystal is busy cutting Temporal Agent Richard Daniels‘s hair when he asks her if she knows anything about historical fashions and haircuts. Her reply indicates not only knowledge, but interest in the subject matter, so Rick presents her as a candidate for the Quartermaster job opening at the Temporal Integrity Commission.
I wanted Crystal to be a bit petite and young, but also very attractive and stylish. I hit upon the idea of Marnette Patterson after seeing her in Charmed. The look, to me, is a good fit for a woman who is secure in her looks but not necessarily in her training or her intelligence. This is not a slam on the actress; this is just the look that I was seeking.
While a computer could, conceivably, put together a look that would be consistent with a particular time period, I wanted for there to still be some room for error. For Crystal, the job is less about matching the obvious to a time period than it is to also match it to a particular effect needed. When Rick goes to a 1970 college campus in Ohio, she doesn’t just give him sideburns, she also makes sure that he looks young enough to be a graduate student, but old enough to be able to exert a little authority if necessary. She makes Sheilagh Bernstein (who also goes on that trip) look more like a typical coed, as Sheilagh is a trainee.
Other Talents and Ideas
In Spring Thaw, she spends time helping with the decryption. It’s a particularly frustrating task for her, but her confidence is buoyed by Deirdre Katzman encouraging her.
In Ohio, she’s also busy fending off the attentions of HD Avery.
By the time of He Stays a Stranger, she goes on her first mission, and has an excellent idea of where the team can meet while planning to restore the main timeline.
There are no impediments to Crystal existing in the Mirror Universe.
But as I write Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, Mirror Universe women are mainly chewed up and spat out. Unfortunately, I see that as her fate on the other side of the pond.
“After the Second World War ended, people didn’t have a lotta money, so it’s reflected in the fashions. They just didn’t have a lot of details. Look at the fifties – just a decade later – and it’s more youth-oriented, and then fast-forward another decade and it’s even more youth-oriented. There’s suddenly all these patterns.”
Behind that pretty face, there’s a keen mind and a sensitivity and kindness. Book learning isn’t the only thing valued in the thirty-second century.
Underestimate Crystal at your peril.