Portrait of a Character – Aidan MacKenzie
Aidan’s origin was to be a not necessarily perfectly bright Tactical guy. He was meant to be the best-looking man on the NX-01. He was meant to be your classic tall, dark and handsome guy. On the way, things changed a bit.
After Reversal, Aidan was, at least in the Mirror Universe, fairly well doomed. But I wanted to redeem him, because I thought the character could have a chance. As for our side of the pond, Aidan was just okay. He was Malcolm Reed‘s essential right-hand man and night shift fill-in, but he didn’t seem to have too much fire – particularly for a Tactical man.
What brought a lot of it together for me was the portrayal. I decided on someone who is tall and dark, but not necessarily what we would, conventionally, think of as handsome. After all, perhaps tastes have changed in the future. This was a way to set out the premise.
Enter Vinny Del Negro. Del Negro is a former NBA player (hence he’s tall, at 6’4″) but was never really stellar, except in free throw shooting. He’s currently a coach in the NBA. He’s generally not seen as the world’s greatest coach, either. To me, he fit the bill as a guy who might have a lot of potential and there are two ways to play that – stunning success or abject failure. Both themes play out in the stories.
Aidan is supremely confident and intelligent. He’s got the looks, he’s got the job and he’s got the ladies. But – there’s always something more to strive for.
In Together, he goes after all three bridesmaids and is turned down by all of them, undoubtedly due to being too arrogant and cocky.
However, he’s loyal and smart, and eventually gets his due. Malcolm even recommends him for a captaincy, in Equinox. This is the capstone of a career path that moves him from an Ensign in Reversal and Together, then to a Lieutenant and even Acting Tactical Officer in Fortune and, finally, to a Commander in Flight of the Bluebird before Malcolm Reed‘s generous recommendation.
In Reversal, it’s established that he likes Jenny Crossman. This is furthered as he goes on a somewhat disastrous date with Lili when he brings along Brian Delacroix to act as a wingman so that he can go for it with Jennifer. However, Jenny’s got other plans.
In Together, he’s still not settled but, by Fortune, he ends up with Susan Cheshire.
The E2 stories are different and he ends up marrying Jennifer in both kick backs in time.
The Mirror Aidan has a much tougher life. In Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, he vies with Doug and Chip Masterson for the Tactical Officer role left vacant at the Mirror Malcolm’s (Ian’s) death.
At the time of Reversal, the Mirror Universe Aidan has established himself as a ladies’ man. However, unlike Doug, he fails to resist Empress Hoshi, and so he is relegated to becoming babysitter for her growing brood of children (and fathers her second son, Kira). This is Aidan’s disgrace.
By the time of First Born and Temper, Aidan’s humiliation is complete, and he is used to accepting abusive orders, all in the name of keeping the peace and also keeping himself out of harm’s way. But he’s also grown as a person, and is the best parent on the ISS Defiant, by far.
He gets his real chance in Temper and again in He Stays a Stranger, when Rick Daniels gets to go to the Mirror, which (according to the events that unfold in First Born) is normally not allowed, as the timeline has been damaged. Aidan and Susan (who is now his wife) are given the chance to finally get out. They take it, and end up on Lafa II.
“I would rather take care of the children.”
For a character who was supposed to be a lummox, almost a redshirt to be toyed with by Empress Hoshi and, on our side, possibly expendable, Aidan grew into a more dynamic character the more I wrote about him. In the end, on both sides of a proverbial pond, he develops some very real values.