Progress Report – April 2012

April 2012 Posted Works

April 2012 was another busy month.

I continued spinning out Reversal on Star Trek Logs. Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | April 2012

I added Broken Seal to Trek United, as I hadn’t put anything out there in a while.  Also, I updated There’s Something About Hoshi and posted it to Star Trek Logs. In addition, I started spinning out Together on Trek BBS and Ohio on Ad Astra. I also created The Facts on Ad Astra and The Rite on Star Trek Logs as a response to its first-ever prompt (I am running the prompts there, at least for now). Both of the latter two were ficlets brought about in order to flesh out some of the scenes in Fortune.

WIP Corner

I keep writing the E2 stories. And I continue to find points to stress or loose ends to tie up and some of those will end up in the fourth book, rather than the third one in that series. I think this will make it a better and more balanced series overall.

Plus I worked a lot on a Daranaean story called Flight of the Bluebird. I didn’t have as coherent a plan for it as I should have, but Kirok of L’Stok wants to put the Daranaean stories onto Issuu. Hence I had to get cracking, so the E2 stories were set aside in favor of finishing up Bluebird.

At this point, I also have my response to the Ad Astra prompt about sacrifices. The title is Equinox. It covers several scenes left out of Fortune.

Prep Work

I spent a lot of time making the website a lot more coherent and getting more of the In Between Days stories into correct chronological order.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Looking for work continues to cramp my writing style, which I suppose is amusing but is also a tad serious. It can be difficult to get inspiration if you’re worried about continuing income.

Ad Astra’s forums were also down for a bit. That’s generally better for productivity for me, but I do miss the interactions, not to mention the prompts.

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Origin

I originally didn’t want to write Vulcans. I had had a lot of trouble making T’Pol more than a cardboard character who commented about logic or fascination. Vulcans were, to me, a difficult species to flesh out.

But then the gauntlet was thrown down – write about the JJ Abrams Universe. But all you need to care about are three things:

  1. Vulcan has been destroyed.
  2. The USS Kelvin is gone.
  3. Romulus has been destroyed.

After that, it didn’t matter. And so I chose the first piece as the focus for my story. And so Eriecho – a name I had originally thought I would use for a Klingon woman – began to take shape.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Born on a transport to Cannamar Prison, Eriecho starts out, in Release, as a person who has never known freedom.  I wanted her to be tough, too, as she would have to have been. There is nothing soft about Cannamar, a location that is canon but never actually seen. My descriptions of Cannamar are similar to those of a Tandaran prison.

As a tough prison broad, Eriecho has survived by her wits. But the only Vulcan she has ever known, Saddik, who isn’t even related to her, has not taught her emotional suppression. Hence she was an emotional Vulcan, and I found her a lot easier to write. The sole mother figure in her life is the only other female in Cannamar, the Suliban, H’Shema. When Release begins, H’Shema is already dead. And Saddik and Eriecho are being released from Cannamar, but they’re on their way to Mars.

Portrayal

For Eriecho, I wanted a tough woman who was not unattractive. I hit upon Mariel Hemingway in Personal Best. Hemingway just struck me as being a good mix of tough but vulnerable, and also pretty, e. g. someon

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

e who was redeemable, despite her background, and lovable, despite her history. The idea of Personal Best (which is a film about a lesbian athlete) should not be taken as a statement about Eriecho’s sexuality.

Quote

I have never had free time, unrestricted and unfettered before. I am afraid I will not know what to do with myself.”

Life After Prison

Release is, of course, about their release from prison. But after getting out, what happens? This is partly explored at the end of Release but also in the sequel, Double Helix. For Eriecho, who is a Vulcan without actually being too Vulcanesque, the answer lies with the Suliban.

Upshot

At the end of Star Trek XI (Star Trek 2009), the lives of Vulcans have been diminished considerably. But for Eriecho, her life has been expanded and enriched in ways she could not have dreamed.

Spotlight on Original Plant Species – Olowa

Spotlight on Original Plant Species – Olowa

Aliens have to eat, and they don’t just eat meat, at least, not my aliens.

The Calafans needed something to chow down on. But what?

History and Use in Plots

I first put olowa – and it didn’t have a name yet – into a dining table scene of Calafans, in Reversal. The idea was not to showcase the food (it was just referred to as a large purple vegetable) but, rather, to showcase that the Calafans were familiar with knives and forks. This is to counter an earlier scene, where Treve and Chawev are asked to dinner on the NX-01. In an earlier scene, Treve expresses an unfamiliarity with forks, so Lili shows him how to use one. Yet in the later scene, his younger sister, Yimar, is shown using a knife and fork to cut up the aforementioned vegetable for her younger brother, Chelben.

It isn’t until Together that olowa is actually tasted by humans and referred to by name. Olowa (pronounced: OH-luh-wah or OH-luh-wuh) grows in the Lafa System. Lili describes it as follows –

Spotlight on Original Plant Species – Olowa
This slightly underripe eggplant is how I envision a spicy-tasting olowa would look

That is an olowa. Or, rather, it’s bits of a bunch of them. It’s a vegetable that grows on Lafa IV. Now, the interesting thing about olowa is, as it matures, it petrifies and turns to stone. It also lightens from deep purple to, eventually, kind of an ash grey. You can’t eat it then; you’ll break a tooth. So what you’ve got here is a salad made from olowa at different stages of maturity. If anything feels too hard, all I can say is, don’t eat it. I won’t be offended.”

The olowa goes through various flavors as it changes in color, from a sweet pear-like flavor, to a spicy flavor, then eventually to a fatty texture and flavor somewhat like peanuts.

In Temper, it’s revealed that perrazin will eat olowa and, while hunting, Melissa climbs an olowa tree in order to escape a herd of charging perrazin. To distract them from going after Doug, she plucks an olowa and throws it as far away from him as possible, and a few of the animals run that way.

Olowa is even served in the Mirror Universe, to the Empress Hoshi Sato and her family.

In another scene, a very young child, beginning to be introduced to solid foods, gets a little sweet immature olowa mixed in with other soft foods.

In Fortune, olowa are mentioned in a lot of off-handed ways. Olowa paste is sent aboard Malcolm‘s ship as a treat, to be used by the Chef in pies. Declan also paints and draws olowa as a part of still life studies for his art classes. At Lili and Doug’s home, there is a spreading olowa tree, and it’s comfortable to sit under there and nap during a warm afternoon.

Olowa even crossed over to my first story taking place in the JJ Abrams universe. In Release, Eriecho and Saddik are tempted by the Commandant with pieces of olowa, but Saddik notices that it’s been artificially ripened. Still, it’s better than what they’ve been given for years, so he practically swallows his portion whole. Their olowa is going spicy in flavor.

Upshot

Someday, when we have made friends with other species, we’ll find ourselves eating their local foods. Plants will probably be a lot easier for us to take than meats. A vegetable like olowa would be particularly pleasant – so long as it wasn’t petrified.

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix

Brian was born as a foil for Doug, but also to be a friend to Lili.

Background

For most wars, there are often underaged volunteers who somehow sneak in and break the rules. This was the kind of person who I wanted Brian to be. And then, I found, I wanted him to be a bit more than that.

Personality and Personal History

Brian doesn’t have too much of a history as I’ve written him. He doesn’t have a planet or country of origin or anything like that. He’s just an underage Security crewman.

Because he’s young and short and babyfaced, he’s got a lot to prove, particularly as a member of Security, so he can be somewhat Napoleonic in his behaviors.

When he gets a chance, in Reversal, to do something else, he rises to the occasion and shows that he has some talent. This eventually becomes his new profession, and he leaves Security. In Together, he helps Yimar and gets a sweet reward for his efforts. In Fortune, the culmination of his education is shown, and we see his granddaughter, Susan, who we learn is attending a High School for the Gifted.

Actor Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix
David Faustino

I hit upon the idea of David Faustino as he’s a short guy who has been acting since a rather early age. He also is relatively muscular, which would be a requirement for someone so small to be even considered for Security work.

Within Brian, there is a bit of a loose cannon underneath. You should be just a little bit worried that something might happen if this guy snaps. He goes down a different path, and it ends up being the best thing for him, but the reader should consider that things could have worked out far differently for him.

Mirror Universe Counterpart

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix

Things go differently – that is to say, horribly wrong – for Brian’s counterpart. In the Mirror, of course, you only move up when you assassinate your superior officer(s). In Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, he is seen guarding the Emperor and then, after the Emperor is assassinated, about to lose his virginity to Empress Hoshi.

In Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, the first time we see Brian, he is just itching to throw Chip Masterson and Aidan MacKenzie into the agony booth. For him, getting rid of those two means that not only can he move up, but he also has, perhaps, a bit of a shot with some of the women.

However, by the time we get to Reversal, Brian has become little more than a mindless drone of a soldier. His gambit to move up goes horribly wrong.

Quote

“Well, whose morality applies to us? I mean, aren’t there species that still have child brides? Do we go by their rules, or ours?”

Upshot

For every underaged soldier, a hope for a better future or a highly developed sense of patriotism can cause them to leave home early, lie to their Recruitment Office and hurl themselves at enemy fire. Brian is one such soldier but, at least on our side of the pond, he makes it through to the other side and gets more out of life than just learning how to wield a weapon.

Review – The Light

Review – The Light

The Elevator Pitch

I have been working in the corporate world, in some capacity or another since 1986. Frankly, it was even before that, as I would temp as a college and Law School student in order to make some summer spending money.

Review – The Light
The Light

One of the things I have perfected over the years is what’s called an Elevator Pitch. The gist of an elevator pitch is that you have the time of an elevator ride (e. g. thirty seconds to two minutes, tops) to make your pitch to a prospect employer who you, presumably, meet serendipitously in an elevator.

This means  that you need to strip your resumé and work history down to bare bones. A doctor, for example, can’t go into the details of some operation she performed last year. Instead, she says something like, “I’m an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. The Boston Celtics call on me when their medical staff is stumped.” In a very short amount of time, you get a very good idea of what this woman can do, and how trusted she is in the medical establishment.

For Star Trek fanfiction writing, I think there is a need for what is essentially the equivalent of an elevator pitch. That is, it should be a short piece which accurately gives the reader a taste of your universe, your ideas and what you can do. The Light is one such story.

History of the Story

This Star Trek:Enterprise fanfiction story did not set out to be that way. Instead, I was in the middle of spinning out Reversal (pretty close to the end) when in late 2010 I was asked to provide a story for a project called the Trek Twelve Days of Christmas. The only catch was that the story had to be fairly short – that is, it could not be a full-fledged book like Reversal.

I hit upon an idea. There would be some characters from Reversal, but really only minor ones, and the story would revolve around them. It ended up being just one of the minor characters from that story. And, the kicker, because you can find scads of Star Trek holiday stories about Christmas, this one would, instead, be about Chanukah.

Spirituality

Review – The Light
Position in which a Jewish kohen places his ha…

I am, as they say, a nice Jewish gal. And people like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, but also Armin Shimerman, are connected to Star Trek and are Jewish. Plus there are things like the Vulcan salute, and various space episodes centering around World War II, such as TOS’s Patterns of Force. Judaism is a part of Star Trek. But how to add it in, particularly without being overly preachy?

I hit upon the idea of Jews who are somewhat religious but not so much that they cannot function on a starship. That is, they had to, for example, be able to travel on the Sabbath. This meant that Orthodox Jews were out of the question. But Conservative Jews (which is how I was brought up; this references a sect and not a political affiliation) would work just fine for my purposes.

Chanukah was a natural introduction as a lot of people are familiar with it. The celebration, a festival of lights, also includes foods made with oil, such as potato latkes (pancakes), spinning a top called a dreidel and exchanging presents. The candelabra is called a menorah.

In order to add a little emotional heft to the story, and to explain why Captain Archer and the senior staff would be interested in the Jewish contingent on the ship, the story begins with a death. This link to the past also links us, the people of the present day, to the people on the NX-01.

The Plot

The story begins with an Admiral telling Captain Archer than Crewman Ethan Shapiro‘s great-aunt, Rachel Orenstein, has died. Jonathan wonders why the crewman’s family wouldn’t just tell him and is informed – they won’t communicate during the Sabbath. Jonathan presses the matter, still not convinced that he’s the best man for the job when he is told that he must act quickly, as this is a major news story. Why? Because Rachel lived for one hundred and twenty-seven years (which places her birth in 2029). She broke all previous records and, therefore, the press is interested in her family.

As Jonathan informs Ethan of the death, Ethan asks for leave for the unveiling of the head stone, explaining that the funeral will be too quick for him to ever get back to Earth in time. He also asks to be connected to the Starfleet Rabbi, Leah Benson.

He returns to his quarters and waits for his friends. Lieutenant Reed comes by briefly, in order to offer his condolences as he is Ethan’s boss. The other three Jewish crew members arrive – Josh Rosen, who is in Engineering; Karin Bernstein, who works with Ethan in the Tactical Department; and Andrew Miller, who works in the Biology Lab and is half-Jewish. Andy is perhaps a year older than the others.

When they speak with the Rabbi, they ask how they are ever going to get a minyan together. In order to say Kaddish (the prayer over the dead), ten Jews must be present. Karin’s presence counts (that wasn’t the case when I was a child), but then what? There are only four Jews on the ship. The Rabbi tells them that they can temporarily deputize some non-Jewish friends.

When the time comes for mourning, Captain Archer brings along some friends to help. These include Hoshi who, when asked if she can read Hebrew jokes, “I’ll muddle through”, Malcolm, Phlox, T’Pol and a Security Crewman, Azar Hamidi. Azar notes that Hebrew can’t be too far off from Arabic. The prayers are said.

Review – The Light
Dreidel

Ethan’s mother – who tells him to talk to that nice girl Karin a bit – has insisted that he celebrate Chanukah, so he invites all of the attendees at the service to a little party, to be held on the next night. The party is held in the Observation Lounge. Like all good parties, there’s a little dancing, a gift is given, good food is eaten and there’s a little bit of romance.

Story Postings

Review – The Light

 

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

For the most part, I like how it turned out. There is a bit of shtick, though, particularly when Ethan and his mother talk. I could have probably trimmed that a bit, as Linda Shapiro comes across as a bit of a stereotype. But I do like using this story – which only contains a little over 3200 words – as one possible elevator pitch when people ask me how they can get an inkling of how I write. For a positive, K-rated peek at my world, read The Light.

And what happens to Ethan, Karin, Andy, Josh and Azar? To find out about them, and even about their Mirror Universe counterparts, there’s more in the In Between Days series, and even a little bit in the Times of the HG Wells series.

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson

Pamela was originally a plot device. I was told – get a crew member to loosen up. Really loosen up.

But Pamela had other plans.

Theme Music

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson
Amy Winehouse performing in Berlin in 2007

I was out walking, thinking over Intolerance and how to write it, when Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good came on the iPod. And that was it.

I listened to the song, over and over again, and Doctor Pamela Hudson was born.

Personality and Personal History

Controlling but out of control, with a healer’s profession but a selfish streak, Pamela was meant to be a femme fatale from the very beginning. In Intolerance, she is first introduced when Travis has figured out that there are female medical students coming to the NX-01 for an Immunology rotation. The assumption is that the women are single, and so he and Tripp Tucker and Malcolm Reed decide to compete for the women. When Pamela walks by, she’s wearing a not-too-revealing outfit, but her lips and nails are painted dark purple, and her hair is back and threatening to tumble down. So she puts her left hand up, and they see that she’s got a leather bracelet on and no rings on that hand. Wordlessly, she has communicated to them – I’m available.

She’s also communicated to them – I might be more than you bargained for.

Pamela is a child of privilege, and brilliant to boot (she went to Harvard Medical School), but her family carries a dark secret – ever since she was five years old, her father sexually abused her, while her mother watched. Her sister, Lisa, was unaffected.

She’s also (in conversations with fellow student Blair Claymore) established as being quite sexually liberated, to the point of worrying Blair. Blair, in contrast, is shown as the good girl. Both are attractive, but it’s Pamela who really turns heads.

In Together, her feelings are hurt when she is rejected – a rather unfamiliar scenario for her. In Temper, her Mirror counterpart is seen. In Fortune, she finds a soulmate in an unexpected place. And in Remembrance, her grand-nephew presents her eulogy.

Mirror Universe Counterpart

The Mirror Pamela has things even tougher than the one in the Prime Universe. In Temper, she is little more than one of José Torres‘s playthings (as are Blair and Karin Bernstein) in one of the alternate timelines. In Fortune and in He Stays a Stranger, she’s shown as a pinup girl. It’s unclear, at least in Temper, whether she’s a lab assistant or a doctor, and in the other Mirror Universe stories, she may be little more than a prostitute, if that.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson
Kaley Cuoco

I struggled a bit with figuring out who should “play” Pamela. I wanted someone who would be beautiful and sexy and smart, but also could evoke a certain amount of world-weary ennui. To my mind, Kaley Cuoco fit the bill rather well. Not only does she have serious geek cred, she also has some drama cred. I also felt she would be the kind of woman who Tripp would joke about as, “Please, you’re talking about the future Mrs. Tucker.”

Quote

“Never arrive to a party early or on time. No one should. It’s like the old Steady State theory of the universe. No beginning and no end. Or maybe it’s just turtles all the way down.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson

For a character who was originally supposed to be a one-off, Pamela graduated to In Between Days main character status. However, as something of an outsider, she doesn’t fit the profile of the other In Between Days main characters like Lili O’Day or Doug Beckett.

Pure id, but with a heart underneath all that leather and langor, Pamela is, ultimately, a femme fatale motivated by good.

Inspiration – Education

Background

I actually have a bit of training in creative writing, and I like to call upon it as I write, in particular when I write longer pieces.

My two sources of creative writing education were my 12th grade AP English teacher, Kitty Lindsay and the poet George Starbuck, who I studied under while I was a student at

Myles Standish Hall at Boston University in Bo...
Myles Standish Hall at Boston University in Boston, MA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boston University. My undergraduate degree is in Philosophy – I did not take more than the one creative writing class although I do wish I had.

But let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?

I’ll start with Kitty’s biggest and best mantra for writing, which was, simply, characters-conflict-crisis-change.

What does it all mean?

Characters

I don’t think you’ll find anyone who disputes the need for good, solid, memorable characters. However, there are those who would rather see (mainly) Star Trek canon characters in fanfiction stories. I disagree but do not, of course, begrudge these people their opinions.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the canon characters in pretty much all of the series (I am even okay with Wesley). But this does not mean that other characters and other situations don’t appeal.

For example, the Reversal storyline hinges, to a large extent, upon the fact that Lili and Doug are pretty much down to their last chances. I needed for Lili to be an original character, as there was no one else aboard the NX-01 who would have fit the bill. The character had to be human (so T’Pol was out), had to be older (so Hoshi was out) and had to be someone who would normally be underestimated (so Erika Hernandez and Amanda Cole were out).

Character creation is an ongoing process. Generally, for me, a character springs up but then changes as more back story is added. Shelby Pike, for example, arose as a former ballerina but she didn’t originally have some issues with confidence. Declan Reed wasn’t originally an artist. And Aidan MacKenzie was originally just a pretty face. He didn’t get any depth until later.

Travis Mayweather
Travis Mayweather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For canon characters, I don’t change anything that’s already been defined. Hence Captain Archer is still Scott Bakula, Charles Tucker still has a Florida accent and Travis Mayweather remains a space boomer. But there are all sorts of other things that I was able to add and define and then refine.

For example, as I write Malcolm Reed, he has a knack for giving exceptionally good presents, for children and adults. The Travis I write is not interested in parenthood, although his Mirror Universe counterpart is. The Phlox that I write tells bad jokes that often backfire.

Without characters, stories aren’t worth reading.

Conflict

For longer works, conflict is key (for very short slices of life, it can be skipped). Otherwise, stories meander and seem to have little point. In Reversal, the conflict between the Enterprise (in our universe) and the Defiant (in the Mirror) with the Calafans is a big driver of the piece. Without these conflicts, the story is mainly a bunch of dreams, and so is (I hope) interesting but, ultimately, somewhat soulless.

Crisis

Also known as climax, this is what the story is moving toward. In Reversal, I actually played on the synonym and then that led me (because my mind is in the gutter) to the idea of physical climax. And so I decided that, instead of one large climax (which would be male), I would go with a number of small climaxes, which is more female in nature. The smaller climaxes included the rescue, the movement of personnel off the Defiant and the aftermath of getting to the Enterprise.

Change

Characters and situations that do not change leave a reader, when a work is finished, with a feeling of “what was the point of all that?” I agree – and I despise when that happens. In Reversal, Lili ends up with a boatload of changes, but one of the biggest ones is that she begins the story essentially alone in the dark and ends it, again in the dark or at least semi-darkness, but she is no longer alone.

Edit It. Cut that story until it bleeds!

That is the other mantra that Kitty had for me (and my fellow classmates). What it means, simply, is – don’t waste the readers’ time and good faith.

I have seen plenty of stories out there that seem to have extra stuffing in them. And one of the issues with Reversal is that, toward the end, I had some trouble letting it go. It wasn’t until I began to seriously think of a sequel that I was able to finally wrap things up. But if I were writing the story today, I would likely trim some of the chapters. As it is, between its initial posting on Trek United, then its addition to Issuu and then to its archiving on Ad Astra, the story has undergone some changes. Most are fairly cosmetic in nature, but I have attempted to tighten up the prose, which I feel makes for a better story.

Whimsy

Professor Starbuck was a different teacher and so he had different ideas of what made for good creative writing. I well recall a number of exercises – one was to write about a far older relative and then to write about that person as a fourteen-year-old. Plus we wrote quite a bit of poetry.

One of the main things I learned from him was an appreciation for whimsy. There are plenty of ways to not take things quite so seriously, even when they are incredibly serious.

The Time Traveler's Wife (film)

In the Times of the HG Wells series, I made it a point to give the time ships silly names. They are all named after something to do with time travel pop culture, such as the Flux Capacitor and the Audrey Niffenegger (she wrote The Time Traveler’s Wife). There is even whimsy on top of whimsy, as there is one outlier. One of the time ships is a successor vessel to the original Audrey Niffenegger and is simply called Audrey II, after the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors.

Sports are another occasion for whimsy. A MACO is named Rex Ryan, after the current coach of the New York Jets. Gina Nolan‘s maiden name is Righetti, and she confirms to Kittris (who was named after Kitty Lindsay) that she is a descendant of 1981 American League Rookie of the Year Dave Righetti. Baseball player Ty Janeway has a fairly obvious origin, as do Mirror Universe baseball announcers Ted Trinneer and Jeff Blalock. Mirror Universe baseball is one big joke, with twelve team members instead of nine, twin pitchers and catchers and four bases. Even in a highly charged romantic moment, Doug dons one of Lili’s baseball caps and says, “Hey, I could play fourth base.”

Word Choice

Another thing I learned from George was the importance of word choice. For the story Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, the title was changed twice. It evolved as follows:

  • The first title was Paving Stones Made of Bad Intentions, as it is a Mirror Universe story. However, I didn’t like the idea of going with a straightforward opposite. Instead, I wanted for it to be a lot clearer that the centerpiece scene was an act of love, albeit somewhat misguided love.
  • The second iteration was Paving Stones Made of Good Intentions, which corrected the idiom and better evoked the undercurrent of it being the road to hell. But I didn’t love how it flowed.
  • The final title was Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. This title brings together not only the fact that the centerpiece scene is happening because people mean well but also because this is the road to hell. Furthermore, I wanted the title to effectively denote that the road to hell is actually deliberately and actively fashioned from these good intentions, rather than somewhat more passively made of them. A subtle difference, to be sure, but the idea was that the intentions are in a somewhat more refined form. It is – there are good intentions but they are perverted and shaped into the paving stones, as opposed to just laid down in the roadbed.

Upshot

In particular, when stories appear to be winding around a bit too much, or seem to be getting too wordy, I try to remember these lessons. I hope I’m doing my two teachers proud.

Thanks, Kitty and George.

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Portrait of a Character – Jun Daniels Sato

Portrait of a Character – Jun Daniels Sato

When I wrote Reversal, one of the things I wanted was for Empress Hoshi to have a child. This was a somewhat quick decision but, the more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea for Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction. The intention was, essentially, that Empress Hoshi, like Livia from Suetonius, would be a viper of a mother, breeding as much as possible (and with as many different men as possible) so as to assure the succession. For Hoshi, it’s also a matter of personal survival.

The Plan

Hoshi knows that the way that anyone moves up in the Mirror Universe is via assassination. She’s got an enormous target painted on her back. So she needs protection.

At the same time, she’s one hot little number. And, in my fanfiction, about three-quarters of all of the children born in the MU are male, which is reflected in things like starship crew manifests. Hence it’s a combination of lots of men plus a sexy young Empress looking for protection. So she hits on a plan.

The plan is to have as many kids as possible, but all by different fathers – the members of her senior staff. She knows that there’s been a genetic mutation which not only skews the number of offspring in favor of males, it also skews male behavior in favor of good fatherhood. Therefore, in order to assure the survival of their offspring, these men won’t go after Hoshi (at least not while the kids are small). And then, when the kids are bigger, it’s a lot harder to just kill them off.

But this all comes later. Before the plan is the seduction.

The Seduction

In First Born, we see the aftermath of the first birth. Whether Daniels seduces Hoshi, or it’s the other way around, is tough to say (as of this posting, I haven’t written it yet). In that story, I establish Daniels as already being a womanizer. As for Hoshi, her round heels are canon. So who goes after whom?

Does it really matter?

The product of that first seduction is Jun (pronounced JOON). The problem is, much like John Connor in The Terminator, he’s temporally paradoxical. Because Daniels works for the Temporal Integrity Commission, a lot of fancy footwork must be performed in order for Jun to be able to live. The first requirement is that he not be able to father a child.

Another piece of allowing Jun to live is the condition that Daniels never see his son. By the time of Reversal, Daniels’s death has been faked, and Hoshi is looking for a spare heir – a little brother for Jun. She ends up having a total of five more children. All but one of these are male.

Personality and Personal History

Jun is, like most Mirror persons, a ruthless killer. In First Born, before all of the changes wrought by the Temporal Integrity Commission, it’s revealed that he kills off all of his male siblings in order to consolidate his power. This ends up being another detail that has to be changed in order to assure his survival.

Furthermore, Jun has a bratty and violent streak that all of his half-siblings have. In Coveted Commodity, he’s seen throwing a little knife against a wall – a gift from the Empress that’s referenced in both First Born and Reversal. In Reversal, he won’t come when he’s called and instead is put through conditioning training at an extremely young age.

In Temper (this is an alternate future of 2178), he plays third base on the Empress’s baseball team and battles his next in line brother, Kira, in a sword fight. This fight is over a girl because, in this alternate timeline, Empress Hoshi has skewed the male to female ratio even more. In part this is to oppress women, in part it’s to assure her own survival, and in part it’s to shore up her fading looks.

In The Point is Probably Moot, Jun (in the correct future) is acting as the new Communications Officer, following in his mother’s footsteps in 2192. In Shake Your Body, and then in He Stays a Stranger, Jun is temporarily wiped from existence.

The only person who Jun can, truly, call his “father” is Aidan MacKenzie, the babysitter (Kira’s father), who is not a biological relation at all.

Prime Universe Analogue

While Jun does not have a Prime Universe counterpart, he does have an analogue, in the sense that there is a character who is not a mirror image but is, rather, a similar personality. That person is Joss Beckett, as both of them are the first born children of their respective parents and both have a heightened sense of duty. The pressure is on both of them to take care of things, although Jun is considerably more likely to ignore that duty than Joss is.

Quote

“Someone’s got to be the court jester.”

Portrayal

When I think of Jun,  I think of a part-Asian, part-Caucasian man with a bit of a nasty streak. I hit upon the idea of Survivor winner Yul Kwon.

Portrait of a Character – Jun Daniels Sato
Yul Kwon

Kwon works, partly because of his overall look as a bit of a toughened guy, but also the beard evokes the classic Mirror Universe image.

I’m also thrilled with the fact that he is Korean (as is the actress playing Hoshi, Linda Park, even though that character is actually Japanese) and is an intelligent guy, a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, even.

Theme Music

Jun’s theme is from an alternate timeline. It’s Edwyn Collins‘s A Girl Like You. I wanted to not only evoke a part of the plot of Temper, but I also feel that the distortion in the song evokes the distortion in the Mirror Universe.

Upshot

Because Hoshi is a former linguist, all of her children’s names are meaningful. Jun means truthful – an absurdity, considering all of the lies that need to be told in order to ensure his survival.

Angry, evil genius Jun only exists because of a choice that isn’t really much of a choice, and a mistake and a bunch of Temporal Integrity Commission thumbs on the scale of history. But he makes the most of his life, passing on his ideas and his passions if not his genes. In every scenario, he and Kira succeed Hoshi and rule the Terran Empire. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t supposed to exist in the first place.