Portrait of a Character – Jennifer Crossman
Aside from canon characters, Jennifer was the first character specifically written for Star Trek fan fiction who I could truly visualize.
In Reversal, Lili needed a roommate for a few purposes. One of these was to bounce ideas off. The other was to be an ear-witness to Lili talking in her sleep. Plus roommates are canon in Star Trek: Enterprise for lower-level personnel. I wanted Jennifer and Lili to have little in common, too.
Jenny has any number of symbolic elements to her. Her name has two derivations. The full surname is actually the name of a street near where I grew up. But the Cross part was also to pay homage to Marcia Cross. Both have fiery red hair, too.
I immediately saw Bryce Dallas Howard when I first thought up Jennifer. There is a look of youth and vitality but also some mystery – I suppose it’s a bit of the overall mystique that some redheads seem to possess.
Jenny also needs to be believable in the Mirror Universe as a lot of the portrayal, in particular in Reversal, is on the other side of the pond as well. Unlike other characters who might just have a one-shot bit in the mirror, Jenn is shown there almost as much as she is shown here.
Jenny is the second-in-command engineer on both the USS Enterprise and the ISS Defiant when Reversal begins. In our universe, she is somewhat unaware or is perhaps in denial about her own obvious beauty. She doesn’t even know that the men refer to her as the Redheaded Bombshell until Travis tells her in Together.
In our universe, this long-distance relationship with a planetary geologist has been going on for a while during Reversal. She tells Travis that she and Frank met on a blind date, a fact that Travis barely believes. Why would someone so gorgeous need a blind date? Yet that was what happened. Frank proposes when, one morning, he sees Saturn’s rings in the sky (he’s on Enceladus) and realizes he wants to give her a ring, too. Their relationship (like other relationships) is put to the test in Together, where her theme is The Cult’s Fire Woman.
In the E2 stories, Frank isn’t on board (and she has not yet met him), so she ends up going in a different direction, and marries Aidan during both kick backs in time.
Jenn is a darker figure in the mirror, as are most people. Spoiled and nasty, and rather sluttish, Jenn is more interested in a good time than in almost anything else – yet she is still intelligent and is still the second engineer.
Her relationship with Doug is strained at best. For her, it’s a power move to be associated with the fourth in command. For him, she’s a hot girl who will live with him as he dislikes living alone. But neither of them are happy and, once Doug meets Lili, he’s done with Jennifer.
She ends up with Treve, a Calafan, and they remain together until his death. Their long-term relationship is shown in, among other stories, He Stays a Stranger.
“I know why you fell so hard, and so fast. It’s ’cause, you just know.”
Initially intended to be dizzy, bratty and a foil for Lili, they become friends. This smart engineer is more than just a pretty face.