Portrait of a Character – Eriecho
Eriecho comes from a place I did not expect.
I originally didn’t want to write Vulcans. I had had a lot of trouble making T’Pol more than a cardboard character with comments about logic or fascination. Vulcans were, to me, a difficult species to flesh out.
But then the challenge: write about the JJ Abrams Universe. But all you need to care about are three things:
- The destruction of Vulcan.
- There is no more USS Kelvin.
- The destruction of Romulus .
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.
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 on screen. 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 she was 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 get their release from Cannamar, but they’re on their way to Mars.
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. someone who was redeemable, despite her background, and lovable, despite her history. The idea of Personal Best (which is a film about a lesbian athlete) is not a statement about Eriecho’s sexuality.
“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.
At the end of Star Trek XI (Star Trek 2009), Vulcans’ lives have been diminished considerably. But for Eriecho, her life has been expanded and enriched in ways she could not have dreamed.