As has been happening for several months (has it been a year already? More? I honestly can’t recall), I did not write too much in the way of Star Trek fan fiction. Rather, I spent October 2016 posting older stories and preparing for this year’s NaNoWriMo.
See the Stats page for individual read and review counts. Reversalmade it to over 100,000 reads, and Together hit over 50,000!
Currently, the only real WIP is The Enigman Cave. I sent it to Roberta for editing early this month and we agreed she would return it around the holidays or so.
I worked on The Real Hub of the Universe! It was a matter of creating greater connections between characters. Furthermore, I tried to eliminate coincidences and pull the plot into more believable directions. And I was able to add it to the NaNoWriMo site very early, so it was good to be done with that. As a result, I feel ready to tackle it this year. More or less.
This Month’s Productivity Killers
Part of it was podcasting, as we finally launched Semantic Shenanigans. In addition, I was undergoing physical rehabilitation for both my knee and my back and hip. Not fun! However, all of this was very necessary.
So a prompt about gift giving took me to a dark place. I had only recently drafted this scene, and knew it would be a while before it would be posted on the Ad Astra Archive. Therefore, I lifted the scene, nearly intact, and presented it as the answer to the prompt.
An endgame comes about for two characters. The scene takes place during Shake Your Body.
It is the last few moments of Boris Yarin and Marisol Castillo‘s lives. Also, she is putting the screws to him, threatening to tell his wife, Darragh Stratton, everything about their affair. Hence he is about to lose his job, his one security. He is part-Klingon, and the anticipated dishonor is far too much to bear. And so he quite literally takes matters into his own hands. Therefore, this little scene punches the members of the Temporal Integrity Commission in the gut. In addition, it moves the overall story arc along well, by pulling the reader from the end of Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain to Shake Your Body to, eventually, the endgame of He Stays a Stranger.
This chilling little story did get people interested in Boris and Marisol, but not enough to really get them reading. Ah, well. The timing was not right. However, it did work out rather well to keep me motivated and writing. There had been several times during writing The Times of the HG Wells where I had not so much lost interest as lost some of the thread of the plot. The series had far too many subplots; this scene ends two of them rather memorably.
For the first-ever game played by The Black Sheep barnstorming team, the idea was that the team would play hockey with a team composed of members of a military unit on Andoria. It was to be the place where, if the O’Day–Beckett marriage had ended at the end of Together, Doug would have ended up. Instead, it’s more like a footnote until this story.
Hobie is played by actor Edward Norton. I had used this actor for the HG Wells series and liked him and wanted to revisit him. But instead of being ADHD-addled Levi Cavendish, he would be a decent military guy.
Affable, a little shy, and very formal, Kent is a divorced guy who rarely goes out. Then he meets Dana MacKenzie, and his interest is piqued as she is more aggressive and sporting than he’s used to. But then things go too far, too fast.
Kent’s estranged wife left while still pregnant with their second daughter. I had nothing on her and she is only mentioned, never seen. The idea is that it was a painful, messy divorce. All Hobie cares about is being able to see Katie and Nichole, his children.
With Dana, there isn’t too much of a relationship. They enjoy each other’s company and communicate a little, but that’s it. Neither of them try very hard as she is hung up on Martin Madden and Kent, regardless of what he says, is still mourning his broken marriage.
In an alternate timeline, MU Kent is attached to Darragh, who is an Augment descendant (and is probably an ancestor of both Darragh Stratton and Rick Daniels’s mother, Chloe Masterson). Is Kent also an Augment descendant? I don’t know.
Seen briefly during an iteration where Rick is still trying to repair the timeline, Kent is a survivalist and stuck on a planet in the old Delphic Expanse.
He is also with Darragh Masterson but, when they are in communications with the Enterprise-E, he checks out Dana, much to Darragh’s chagrin.
“I don’t normally go to bed with women so quickly. You can tell I don’t exactly have the smoothest moves out there. But, um, please don’t get dressed and please don’t leave, okay? ‘Cause I, uh, nobody’s stayed here in, God, she left before Nichole was even born. I swear I won’t touch anything or do anything that you don’t wanna do. I just, I want your company. I hope you want mine a little, too.”
For a character I wa originally going to quickly kill off or at least dismiss, Hobie ended up with a fairly complicated and interesting life, I feel.
So this story was written as a small crossover gift to kes7. As a result, I wanted to turn a pair of her characters into a couple so important to the timeline that the Temporal Integrity Commission would do everything it could in order to assure their first meeting would go smoothly. Therefore, there would be a mission to make certain that it happens and all goes according to Hoyle. Kind of.
While Tom is on his honeymoon; HD and Sheilagh are on vacation together; and Polly and Rick are on assignments, Carmen sends Crystal on a special mission. And the department’s Quartermaster, while not a professional time traveler, is still a rather resourceful gal all the same. She gets the job done with flair.
Crystal finds Icheb, a former Borg drone, and gives him a bit of a makeover by growing his hair slightly longer, replicating him some hair gel, making him a new shirt, and getting him to loosen up a little bit. Crystal, being perhaps a little silly, even gets a tad emotional and hugs him before sending him off to meet Maren O’Connor and his destiny. In addition, this was about when I realized Crystal should sound like she is from Queens, New York. Er, Noo Yawk.
So I really liked this cute little story, which managed to showcase Crystal rather neatly and also put a smile on kes7’s face. Plus a sometimes overlooked character got some time in the spotlight, and was able to really shine. Finally, the sometimes overly serious relationship at the heart of this short story got a blast of comic relief. Mission accomplished!
But it’s still something that has happened to me. It can still, in a backhanded way, be inspiring.
The Specifics of Creation
For character injuries, Star Trek always used to go beyond believability and hit a weird Twilight Zone, where everything was magically, mystically cured, with the patient suffering no or nearly no pain.
That’s not how the real world works, and I am so glad Enterprise made it a point of showing cures being neither instantaneous nor perfect.
Well, sometimes. At least , when Malcolm was injured in Minefield, he was still injured in Dead Stop and, in fact, Phlox had the automated repair station cure Malcolm’s broken leg.
For my own work, I have used it as a jumping off point. It is so easy in fiction to make people into super people, and make it so injuries don’t really affect them. This is deus ex machina-style unreality at its worst. Sprains hurt. Breaks make you limp or make your arm hang useless. An allergy (not exactly an injury but certainly a medical condition) can make you stop breathing.
Perhaps the worst injury I’ve gotten is a set of three (hey, if you’re going to do something, go all the way, eh?) meniscus tears in my right knee. While this has not yet informed my fanfiction writing, it has affected my wholly original work. In The Enigman Cave, there is a character with that exact same injury.
In fanfiction, I took the fight from Harbinger and reworked it twice, both times involving Malcolm. Once was with Doug, in Together. The other was in The Three of Us, with Jay (as a reprise of the fight, and Lili even laments that it might be a ‘second harbinger’). In both of my versions of the fight, similar injuries are inflicted on the men, as an homage to the canon scene. There are eye and kidney injuries, just as in the original. However, the addition of Lili to the dynamic means there is a witness and the aftermath is far more problematic. In Together, Lili is pregnant with Marie Patrice and keels over, overcome by intense kicking. Pamela ends up taking her to the Medical Center nearby in San Francisco, and the upshot is an uneasy truce between the men.
In The Three of Us, Archer finds the two men fighting. He orders the men to sickbay where Phlox begins to treat them, but they both continue posturing and refuse treatment. Lili is called in and is alarmed at their conditions. Going beyond the original, in this version of the fight, Jay suffers from a lung injury which results in him coughing, a reference directly back to Penicillin. It’s a fitting internal bit of consistency which also foreshadows that short story’s significance in Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.
Battered and bruised characters should not heal immediately and automatically, I feel. Even with advanced medical technology, it just seems as if that would be too much of a cop-out and would severely impair storytelling.
Souvenirs of time travel can really do a number on Rick Daniels.
For a prompt about remembrances, I wanted to clarify a bit of time travel lore that I had been rather vague about. In A Long, Long Time Ago, I refer to temporal tourists who take various souvenirs. Helen Walker grabs the quarter flipped right before the plane takes off on February 3, 1959, resulting in the deaths of the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly.
Therefore, it made sense to me that Rick would take similar souvenirs from each of his honeys. Hence I had him steal a pair of quarters from Windy, plus he had a photograph of Milena that Noemy had taken, but nothing else.
So the story is about how Temporal Agent Richard Daniels remembers his conquests.
Note: this story breaks later fan fiction.
However, the main reason it breaks it is because of a slight confusion in the dates, nothing more.
And in a way, it leads right up to The Stranger. Richard Daniels has a lot on his plate, and he meets a lot of women. But he also has to allow any number of good people to die. I believe that this would horribly mess with just about anyone’s head. I feel even in the deep future we would not have quite gotten over the guilt many people would feel at having to sit back and watch innocents suffer. Hence he comforts himself by bedding women in time. But Milena Chelenska is different from all the rest.
For Mack MacKenzie‘s pilot, I wanted a character who could not only strongly or subtly suggest emotions or maybe just sense them, I wanted that character to also be able to manipulate them. Enter Daniya, who is part-Orion and part-Betazoid.
Daniya is played by actress Diora Baird, who was briefly seen as an Orion in the 2009 JJ Abrams film.
I don’t see it as a big stretch to see her a hybrid, particularly with the curly red hair.
Outgoing and friendly, Daniya is a good pilot but also a bit of a flirt.
Daniya is desired by many (the guy who sells the Cookie to Dana leers right at her, ignoring Dana and Crita), but I have not yet written any relationships for her.
There are no impediments to Daniya existing in the Mirror. The image is of course of the actress out of makeup, so the reader is encouraged to use some imagination.
Like any halfway-decent-looking Mirror Universe female, Daniya would have to live and die by her looks.
Would she be a pilot? Possibly, as the MU Shelby Pike certainly is. But she might end up supplementing her income the same way Shelby does, by hooking.
“Pilot talk says it’s no good for maintaining your license. It’s too strange. Not like regular shuttle or freighter runs, where you stay in practice with standard Federation designs. But all the same, I like the idea of something different. Regular freighter runs can be pretty run of the mill. Don’t get me wrong; I like to make a few credits as much as anyone else. But the standard fare isn’t too challenging. That ship, though, I bet it would pose a challenge.”
This character has potential, but I know I haven’t done enough with her. In particular, she doesn’t even show up in the alternate timeline, a sure sign that I am a bit stumped as to how to feature her properly.
Across the Universe starts off as a way to push the Kelvin timeline along but also to bring in a weird character from left field.
In order to continue the saga of Eriecho and Sollastek (and Saddik and Valeris), I decided to bring a canon character into the JJ Abrams timeline. At the very least, Spock Prime had to have been wondering about this. Did Sybok exist? I decided that he would, and he would be a difficult person but not as far gone as in the canon prime timeline. Hence, he would be redeemable.
Eriecho’s relationship with Sollastek is tested when an emotional Vulcan is brought to the sanctuary, a man who rattles everyone he meets.
Eriecho is getting tired of trying to get along with the other Vulcans and suppress her emotions. Sollastek has not been asking her to, but she has been doing this anyway, thinking that this is the kind of wife he will want.
For Sybok, a far more carefree Vulcan, the rigidity of Vulcan sanctuary life feels oppressive. Yet he sees something in the undisciplined ex-con, and seems to feel a bit of a kinship with her. Eriecho, to be sure, is a lot more like Sybok than Spock is in any timeline.
The story is filled with Beatles music, culminating in the song of the title.
This doesn’t quite wrap up the Eriecho series, as she and Sollastek still have to wed. Plus I might do something more with Jack Shaw and Juliet Parker. And Sybok! I’m sure there are a few more stories lurking within him.