Fear is one of the most important motivators for any person. Furthermore, in this very short story, it is used to get two rather disparate people to connect.
During the E2 timeline and more specifically during the events of The Three of Us, Lili is required to take a shuttle flight test. While the pretense for this is a need for the characters to cross-train, my true motivation was to get Lili alone for a moment and then get her and Jay alone in order to have the Imvari capture them.
As a result, this little scene is necessary. Travis tests Lili on how to fly a shuttle. And she fails. Hence the scene accomplishes its task. But I wanted more, so I made it about Lili’s fears. Furthermore, I was able to make it about Travis and him missing his family.
Coulamine exists because of a back-formation from my own original drug, tricoulamine.
Furthermore, it also exists because I screwed up the start of a round robin story.
First of all, in order to get soldiers to fight (in real life, even!), ordinary people need training and discipline. However, World War III was supposed to be a time period without even those sorts of niceties. Hence, for Multiverse II, the concept changed and the soldiers would be ordinary people with no training. Hence, like opium addicts and the like before them, they had to be hooked on something or other.
As a result, I created coulamine. When Otra turns evil for the story, I accidentally landed her in Maine. However, the action was supposed to take place in Montana. Therefore, I decided that a drug distribution trail would get her from point A to point B. Furthermore, because the other writers were stretching the story out in some ways, this allows for character development and some truly wicked scene settings.
The common people, therefore, would be coulamine addicts, and the drug would be referred to as ‘candy’. And that proved to be a fascinating and horrific idea.
Hence Otra kills a trucker in one of her first acts in the story, and then takes his truck. The truck’s built-in GPS system contains presets to get her to various fueling stations. And as the trip takes her farther and farther west, the food gets scarcer and poorer, the radiation levels climb, the rubble gets worse, and the addicts become more and more desperate.
When Rita finally arrives, she comes across as a tough soldier type, a kind of a survivalist. However, her arms are loaded with track marks. She’s an ex-candy addict.
Coulamine worked so well that it got an even deadlier version: bicoulamine.
Cough? It seems such an unpromising word. Yet there was a call for a drabble with this word as its title. Hence I decided to revisit Penicillin. And my idea was to write a far shorter version of the same story. So this was to get it in front of a different readership.
When Lili sees Jay coughing in the hallway of the NX-01, he quickly covers it up. But she realizes he is sick and so she makes some chicken soup to treat his symptoms.
But there’s just one catch for Jay. Lili wants payment. And her payment isn’t in the form of money. Instead, it’s for him to smile more. While he agrees to do so, there is a slight difference between Cough and Penicillin. Unlike in the longer story, Jay briefly turns out his pockets. I feel it’s a nice little touch which gives him some personality, e. g. that he’s in a bit of a joking mood despite them being at war, and foreshadows the relaxed loving relationship they will have.
Drabbles are tiny and they often suffer because of that. And this one is no exception. So while I love the Penicillin story (and it turned out to be a linchin in the E2 storyline), the drabble version just plain isn’t as good. Therefore, there’s just no chicken meat on those bare bones.
However, the readers did like the story. Hayes is an enigma, even to his creators and to his actor. Hence I feel any insight into his character is generally going to be welcome. Otherwise, he is simply a cipher.
Because Gina and Gabrielle Nolan were alone, and the seven stages of grief were finished, I decided I wanted their lives to go on in a somewhat unexpected manner. As a result, Kittriss and Freela were born. Freela was a linchpin character in the story line. Without her, Gabby and Gina never hear a crying child, and Gina and Kit never meet. So Freela is important to the series.
Freela is played by actress Saoirse Ronan. And this talented Irish-American actress is a two-time Academy Award nominee, as of the writing of this blog post. Much like is the case with Kittriss, I wanted Freela to not be the big, dominating warrior-type Klingon.
When we first meet Freela, she is an artistically talented first grader who commemorates her mother’s death in the Dominion War with an eerily accurate painting. And this eventually leads her (presumably) to drafting and then eventually to study engineering. So this talented and sensitive Klingon will not become a warrior; instead, she will become a builder and a designer.
However, she also expresses some anti-Breen prejudice, even as she fully accepts Gina and Gabby as new members of her family.
Freela has no known relationships.
A Mirror version of Freela is impossible, as the Dominion War does not seem to have happened on the other side of the pond.
“You know, capital buildings and bridges, but also public monuments. There’s, um, there’s a monument to the honored dead from the Breen Attack on Earth. It’s being built on Keto-Enol. We’ve been studying it; it’s a steel and glass structure made to look like thousands of birds flying up into the sky.
The bottom is tall and wide enough for a class to fit underneath. Under it, the names of the honored dead are to be etched, and they can be highlighted either randomly or as the observer wants to see. So, if you wanted to only read human names, you could, or the victims who were in Paris or the like. And the whole thing is to be made of debris from San Francisco and Beijing and even from ships that crashed that day, that sort of thing. Mother’s name will be etched underneath, as will that of Michael Nolan, Gabby’s Dad.”
Although she demonstrates some anti-Breen prejudice in Wider Than the Sargasso Sea, Freela is essentially a decent person. Furthermore, she is the only sister Gabby really has. And the two women love each other as much as biological sisters often do.
Brazen is a kind of odd duck story. It does not really go along with anything I have written.
The idea was a drabble (a drabble is a very short story that has to be exactly one hundred words long) based upon the title word.
Of course, most people do not see the word in any context other than ‘hussy’. Hence I went with that.
Breaking my own fan canon, I told a short tale of Malcolm Reed bringing home a decidedly different girlfriend from Lili. Truth is, this could have been Ruby Brannagh. After all, their ‘relationship’ is a canon one.
Furthermore, just like in my fan canon, I made the girlfriend pregnant. Because I like to dicker with Reed and give him a child born out of wedlock. The truth is, I have never given him a fully conventional relationship where marriage comes before children.
However, the story is told from the unnamed woman’s point of view. And she is a bit tearful. Furthermore, the drabble makes it clear that she has at least made an effort. While she has already asked what to do which would impress the Reeds, Malcolm’s silence on the matter does not help.
As any drabble, the story is just plain too short to have any real substance. Furthermore, it does not fit in with any of my fan canon. However, the concept of placing this within the Mirror Universe (and, therefore, Ian Reed rather than Malcolm) could really flip the story. If that is the case, then the woman could be a Mirror Ruby (I have never written her) or even Mirror Universe Liz Cutler. After all, I have already written her. Plus at the time of Ian’s death in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, Beth (AKA Liz in our universe) does Ian a brief, final kindness. Readers have suggested there was a prior relationship there.
Mark Stone is a part of the shenanigans going on during Intolerance. I wanted someone who would be out of the heterosexual romantic sweepstakes. Mark Stone fit the bill nicely. Furthermore, he is the last of the guest characters (except, I believe, for a Vulcan seen in communications only) from that book.
Mark Stone is played by actor Hugh Grant. While I like this seemingly charming, handsome actor, he’s really too old for the role. And I didn’t even necessarily ‘hear’ Mark’s voice with a British accent at first.
Brittle, privileged, and arrogant, Mark has no time for the likes of Pamela Hudson or even Blair Claymore. However, his studious nature does not get him to the top his class; that honor belongs to An Nguyen (this is established in The Cure is Worse than the Disease). Mark is also the son of Emily Stone. Sharp-eyed readers will recognize her from Achieving Peace, where she works as an ambassador, alongside fellow ambassador, the Xindi sloth, Chara Sika. Furthermore, Emily’s assistant is Laura Hayes. However, let’s get back to Mark.
Mark has no known relationships. Because this is a gay character, his options are rather different from heterosexual characters’. Maybe he hooked up with Frank Todd, or Preston Jennings, or Dave Constantine, or Luke Donnelly while he and his class were on board the Enterprise. That’s a pretty good idea and I might pursue it at some point in time.
Mark exists in the Mirror Universe and becomes Empress Hoshi’s Chief Medical Officer, succeeding Cyril Morgan (in the Prime Universe, I don’t follow through on Mark’s career, although he loses out on the Columbia CMO job to An). Because Mark is gay, that shields him from the Empress’s advances – for the most part – and often from her wrath. Since she does not see him as a potential sexual partner, she can remain intrigued with a good-looking man without getting tired of him.
Medical care in the Mirror is primitive at best. Hence Mark ends up handling a far more mundane but absolutely necessary task – helping to rid the Defiant of the mice that have bred since the end of Reversal. As a result, he keeps snakes in cages. During the last few HG Wells stories, the cages are opened, and the ensuant chaos helps Mark, Aidan, Susan, and others assert themselves against the Empress.
“You are not gonna screw up my career.”
When I write these blog posts, I often consider new ways to write characters. And this post and this character are not exceptions. After all, this was essentially the ‘odd man out’ character in Intolerance, and he proved a convenient character for the Wells series. However, he might be strong enough for his own novel.
As a holiday gift, I decided to put together a number of disparate characters. Since these are characters of my own invention, I could and did have them say nearly anything. The idea would be to act as a kind of helpful team but with the same quirkiness a reader might have come to expect.
Six characters land in some odd place. And for sharp-eyed readers, they might recognize a similarity to The Puzzle. This was deliberate, as I wanted a storyline similar to Travis‘s. Furthermore, I have far better writing skills than I did then. Hence I felt this would be a better story, and I believe that to be the case.
When Jay and Lili (in the prime timeline), Dratha, Eriecho, Levi, and Branch land, they have no idea what is in store for them. Because this takes place more or less right after Penicillin, Jay is still rather gruff but he’s trying. For Levi and Branch, this is later in their timelines. Eriecho is already on Mars. And Dratha’s husband, Arnis, is already incarcerated.
The characters then proceed to help out ten characters created by others. The first is kes7’s John Quigley, who gets help (sort of) in his love triangle. Then Bethany Reeves (trekfan’s character) is up, and the characters talk to her about her parents separating in one of the few serious vignettes. The next caller is Jessica St. Peter (Templar Sora’s character), and the so-called experts kind of, sort of, help her with asserting authority.
Not So Serious Help
For Andrew Corrigan (SLWalker’s character), it’s all about how to spend his first date with Abby (I managed to get in a sushi as bait joke). Aurellan Markalis (Enterprise1981’s character) also has a problem with a date but it was probably, the advisers agree, for the best that it ended early. Srena (CeJay’s character) comes up next. She is told how to create a calming ritual to help her get to sleep at night.
Then Jasto Dax (CaptainSarine’s character) calls. While most of the group doesn’t even know what a Trill is, Dratha provides good information about how to essentially pick your battles. She tells him not to answer every single summons. The next caller is Dr. Veronica West (thebluesman’s character); she learns she should become more creative. Then Spock calls (while this is a canon character, the gift was for littleblackdog) about a canon situation, the end of the TOS episode, Requiem for Methuselah. The last caller is Emmylou Galyaski (FalseBill’s character). She talks about mourning her late husband and, in their own odd ways, the so-called experts help, at least a bit.
Then it’s time to leave. Dratha volunteers to go first as it looks dangerous. Eriecho leaves next. Jay and Lili leave together and she touches his arm. Then Branch and Levi depart, and the following graffiti is shown:
As the last of the reluctant travelers/advisors departs, the room disappears and is swallowed into the vast vacuum of space, leaving but one final thought.
Happy holidays across all galaxies, all timelines, all universes and all realities.