Deborah Haddon was first something of a Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction red shirt character. But she grew on me, so she became more.
While writing Reversal, I needed a female Security crewman who could handle both erotic scenes and provide muscle. Hence Deb was born.
Deborah is tough and tough-minded, but has a softer side. So Katee Sackhoff was a logical choice. I particularly like her no-nonsense look, plus of course she has serious sci-fi cred, having been in Battlestar Galactica.
She also needed to be someone who could clean up well and, at times, appear very vulnerable and feminine.
The look is, to me, believable.
Deborah spends much of her time standing guard, so her mind wanders. In our universe, this means her thoughts direct, more and more often to Captain Archer, on whom she develops a raging crush, described in both Together and in the alternate timeline story, The Black Widow.
This brings out some of her vulnerability and longing. As a person who mainly stands in the back and watches the rest of the crew working, she longs to be a part of things.
Once her wrong-headed pairing in Together ends, Deb is approached by someone she might not have expected to show an interest, Chip Masterson. This relationship continues through to Fortune. I reveal it has resulted in a marriage and a child, Kenneth. Her descendants eventually include Richard and Eleanor Daniels and their mother, Chloe Masterson Daniels.
She ends up with Chip during the E2 stories as well.
Deb dies like a redshirt in the mirror universe, succumbing during Reversal, after a short fling with Aidan MacKenzie.
“Security. I’m wily like a cat.”
Smart and tough, Deborah Haddon can defeat most opponents with guile or strength or both. Call her Debbie at your peril.
In order to “sour the milk”, the energy signatures are changed to a different background radiation band. It is revealed that the band for our prime universe is twenty-one centimeters. This comes from a very real concept known as the Hydrogen Line.
In Parallels, Worf steps through several quantum realities (e. g. several universes), but eventually a quantum signature is matched and he can be returned to his correct universe. I have taken the ideas and combined them.
Here, There and Everywhere
If we are a twenty-one centimeter background radiation band universe, then surely there must be a twenty, a twenty-two, and so on. For my fanfiction, the twenty centimeter band universe is the mirror. The twenty-two, as is revealed by Eleanor Daniels in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, is a place where, on Earth, the dinosaurs never died out. Hence a mirror-type situation could not develop there.
Radiation bands are inherited, and a cross-bred child will split the difference.
Hence the children of Doug and Lili and Doug and Melissa have a twenty and one-half centimeter band, reflecting his twenty and the women’s twenty-one centimeter bands. Per Eleanor, until crossovers became more common, a radiation band of anything below twenty-one was a sure sign that someone was one of Doug’s descendants.
Calafans, who can easily shuttle back and forth, and who have origins that are readily determined by the color of their skin (silver for here, copper for the mirror), are not tested, as there is no need.
Testing is accomplished in a few ways. During Temper, on the mirror side of things, the testers are table-top devices with wands. Eleanor is in possession of one (she is a docent at the Temporal Museum, with a specialty in the Terran Empire) and she demonstrates its use during Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain. The image shown is actually a bar code scanner. Imagine it plugged into some sort of a tabletop device, possibly something appearing to be a lot like a personal computer or the like.
For our side of the pond, the scanner is a pendant worn around the neck, but devoid of any charm or decoration. The pendant is worn and then placed against a person, much like the mirror universe’s wand, so that a determination can be made as to which universe is the origination point for a particular person. The image at right is actually a UV tester. Imagine it attached to a longer cord and worn around the neck, although with the shorter cord it could conceivably be worn around the wrist.
While the eventual future of these testers is as a curio, their history is far from pleasant for, during the war between the universes in Temper, anyone with the wrong band, on either side of the pond, is often shot on sight, with no questions asked. This shameful heritage is meant to drive home more of the horror of the Mirror Universe.
Ethan Shapiro grew out of, in part, a desire to show Jewish crew members on the NX-01. But along the way, he became a lot more. I really like this Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction character.
For The Light, I wanted a character who was facing a circumstance where he would need a minyan. That is, a quorum of Jews for the express purpose of prayers. Having to say Kaddish, due to a death in the family, was the ideal scenario. Ethan was created to be the bereaved crew member.
As is true with a lot of the more ethnically obvious characters, I wanted an actor who would also be a member of that ethnic group. Therefore, I chose Jesse Eisenberg. Ethan isn’t meant to be the greatest-looking guy ever. He isn’t meant to be nebbishy either. This is not Woody Allen on the NX-01. Rather, the idea was to have someone who is not only convincingly Jewish but also is someone who, to be loved, maybe the girl needs to go beyond looks and see what’s really inside.
A little self-effacing, but extremely loyal to his friends, Ethan even defers to Andy Miller when, during The Light, Andrew comments that he’s going to ask out the only Jewish woman on the ship, Karin Bernstein. However, in Waiting, it’s revealed that Ethan is kicking himself for having done that, for he wants Karin.
In the E2 stories I am writing as of the posting of this blog entry, Ethan is even more lovesick and upset.
Ethan doesn’t, truly, have a mirror universe counterpart. In Fortune, it’s revealed that his parents’ counterparts delayed relations for a night, and, instead, Erin Shapiro was conceived. However, there is an earlier Ethan, an older relative, who is likely the person who Erin was named for. Doug reveals to Lili, in Reversal, that that is the name of the second man he’s killed. Furthermore, it is our universe’s Ethan who brings forth this confession from Doug.
Ethan’s relationship with Karin drives some of his behind the scenes activities in Reversal and then in Fortune. In the E2 stories, things go differently for Ethan, and he attempts suicide when he cannot have Karin. When he recovers, in the first kick back, he weds an Ikaaran woman named Bithara; in the second kick back, his Ikaaran bride is named Timinka.
“My Great-Aunt Rachel saw a lot in her long life. She went from an Earth where people could barely get it together to seeing us go out here into the unknown. She used to tell me it was a little like wandering in the desert for forty years. You know, you’re not sure where you’re going, but you trust that wherever you get is going to be good. And I think it’s been good. And I’m glad she got a chance to see that. She was like a link to the past. And now it’s time to, to say good-bye and look to the new.”
As Azar Hamidi says in Waiting, things might have to run their course. But then you might just see that Ethan, he just might be the one.
Voracious grew out of a Star Trek fanfiction idea to not only give Lili O’Day a little more backstory and fill in a blank in her life, but also as a response to a prompt about making a good impression.
Chef William Slocum has been charged by Captain Archer to replace three people – a sous-chef, a pastry chef and a saucier. Plus, for his own preferences, Will doesn’t want to be fetching and carrying. He’d rather not be cleaning off tables or serving food. His current steward, Preston Jennings (seen in More, More, More!) had been the replacement for Daniels and has been moved over to Navigation. Furthermore, Will can’t just ask Preston to drop everything and serve food all the time, as the Xindi war has just started.
Will has a free evening on Earth and takes a cab to a new fusion place that had received a good review prior to the attack on Earth. Voracious is in San Mateo. The meal begins with Will asking the server what’s good. She recommends two of Lili’s specialties – the Harvest Salad and the Duck Burger. The Harvest Salad is mentioned in both Reversal and Fortune. The Duck Burger gets a shout-out in Together. Will decides to have both, plus a glass of the house Shiraz.
He ends up loving the salad and its orange vinaigrette dressing (a reference to the later importance of oranges in Reversal and Fortune) and asks to meet the chef. The server arranges it and Will heads to the kitchen.
Lili is tasked with not only cooking, chopping and making sauces, but also cleaning up. She barely notices him as he comes in, and has him put a carton of blueberries away (blueberries will become important in the E2 stories). And so already Will is able to check off two of his requirements – saucier and sous-chef, and probably also table-cleaner. When she offers him some of the New York-style cheesecake she’s made that day – and complains about having to also balance the books on top of everything else she’s had to do – he is sold. At the end of the story, all they have to work out are the details.
I like the way it turned out and I think it provides a decent introduction to In Between Days. For a while there, it was the first story in that series because it fully takes place in 2153, as opposed to Paving Stones, which has a flashback to 2109 but mainly takes place later. I also like how Lili, who is a major character in the series, is barely seen. She’s the ghost of later, seen through the eyes of Chef.
Melissa Madden arose out of an idea I had for Lili, actually. Since Lili was going to have a particular arrangement, there had to be what was essentially a counterpart arrangement. Enter Melissa.
In Intolerance, there are four crew members who are worse off than the others. One of them is Melissa. At the time, I was already thinking about Together and so I wanted the name to be out there, perhaps in the back of the minds of readers. Melissa was also intended as homage to canon character Martin Madden, who is Steven Culp‘s character in Star Trek: Nemesis. The character is only a part of additional footage; the actual scene went to the cutting room floor.
I also wanted Melissa to be a direct expression of a day/night dichotomy. Hence, she is bisexual, and the day is devoted to a female lover, Leonora, whereas the night is devoted to a male lover, Doug. Switching up the dichotomy even more is the fact that, when introduced, she is working the night shift.
Due to the connection to Culp, I opted for actress Catherine Bell. I also chose Bell because she has a rather different look from both Lili and Leonora. I also wanted a physical portrayal of someone who would be believable as both a mother and an athlete.
This would be someone with almost a fly-boy (fly-girl, I suppose) swagger, too, reflecting the character’s occupation as a pilot. At the same time, the character needed to be feminine but also not too terribly young. Even though she is a lot younger than Doug, I show enough of her later life that it’s almost more than of her younger years. In fact, I have no writings of her childhood or young adulthood, like I do for the Norri, Lili, and Doug.
Five of the six main characters (everyone but Pamela Hudson) is associated with an element. Melissa is the earth element, even though she’s a pilot. A part of this is her earthiness, another part is her hunting and back to nature behaviors. She’s a lot more comfortable out of doors than either Norri or Lili are. To me, she symbolizes solidity.
Beyond the day/night, two lovers situation, Melissa is a skilled pilot and devoted to her family. She becomes a mother three times (all boys) and imparts her love of Starfleet to Tommy and her split persona to Neil.
Kevin, though, is tragic – she buries him when he is less than a month old. This changes her, making her more pensive in her later years. In her much later years, she develops the canon disease Irumodic Syndrome, which is an analogue to Alzheimer’s. In Fortune, the reader witnesses some of her decline. I follow up on this snippet with The Decision.
For Melissa, relationships follow the day and the night. She is a kind of split personality character. Her whole romantic persona has two sides to it.
They meet cute, when both are on vacation on Ceres. Melissa essentially crooks her finger, and Norri comes running. They originally settle on Ceres.
Melissa and Doug are paired up during Together, and she is a direct reason why Lili and Doug open up their marriage. It’s not just due to her pregnancy; it is also because they truly love each other.
In the Mirror Universe, Andy is the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s boy toy, and Melissa knows that. But she goes after him anyway.
This is never confirmed (I may write it at some point), but at minimum, Melissa and Shelby tease the hell out of the Mirror Travis.
The Mirror Melissa’s life is defined by poor choices and tragedy. Her death is one of the scenes in Fortune, and she is also remembered by her lover, Andrew, in Escape.
Kind and sometimes a little silly, the perceptive peacemaker is a part of the glue holding the main characters in the In Between Days series together. And as a foundational member of the family, her descendants are just as important as Lili’s are.
Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Because my first exposure to Star Trek was watching the original series in its first run, naturally some inspiration comes from the big flashing box in the living room.
Star Trek itself is, of course, an inspiration. And there are a lot of cross-references among the various series, plus the films. I’ll explore that in another blog entry.
QL shows up in all sorts of places. Richard Daniels’s boss is the feminine version of Al – Admiral Carmen Calavicci. The premise of the Times of the HG Wells series is to put back what a faction has meddled with – the reverse of Quantum Leap. Reversal‘s reference to the Defiant‘s database as being so full of holes that it’s like Swiss cheese is a direct reference. Richard’s original girlfriend, Tina, is another reference. So is him being called “Future Man”, a play on the “Future Boy” episode. Even a calla lily in a groom’s lapel is a shout-out to the series.
Culp played Major J. Hayes on Enterprise and so a lot of references swirl around him and his various television roles. References to Desperate Housewives come from E2 characters Bree Tanner and Rex Ryan and Reversal characters Jennifer Crossman and Brian Delacroix are references to Marcia Cross, the actress who played his wife on that show.
There are also some references to JAG, including character Aidan MacKenzie, a shout-out to character Sarah MacKenzie. Both are called “Mac”. In addition, character Melissa Madden is “played” by Catherine Bell, who of course played Sarah MacKenzie.
There’s even a throwaway reference to ER – Culp’s character was named Dave Spencer, which is also the name I’ve given to Tina April’s stepfather.
Malcolm is a major character in the In Between Days series. Therefore, there are a lot of references around him as well. In Intolerance, the character names Blair, Claymore, Nguyen, Owen and Will all have something to do with Keating.
The surname Sloane is a quick shout-out to Cheers. That was Diane Chambers’s boyfriend in the pilot. Chip Masterson‘s real first name, Chandler, is a reference to Friends. So is the throwaway reference to one of Melissa Madden’s sisters – Monica. Her sister Meghan is a reference to The Thorn Birds.
There are more references, and undoubtedly there will be more to come. Can you spot them all?
With Andrew Miller, who was originally part of The Light, I wanted a character who was half-Jewish and half-Christian (Presbyterian). Andy is also something of a foil and a romantic rival to Ethan Shapiro for Karin Bernstein‘s affections, and is a part of Waiting. Then later, in Fortune, as the results of that rivalry are finally shown.
My vision for Andy was of a somewhat tall, dark-haired Jewish guy, and so I hit upon the idea of Adrien Brody. I also liked the idea of Brody, given the very ethnic nose he’s got. So Andrew, even though he’s half and half, shows his Jewish roots rather plainly in his looks. I also liked the idea of him having something of a hangdog, mournful look to him. Andy, while a generally fun guy and a good friend, is perhaps a bit sad in his life.
While his actions in the The Light and Waiting show him as being the romantic partner of Karin Bernstein, things turn out somewhat differently for Andy. In Take Back the Night, he is dating Lucy Stone, the new Science Officer after T’Pol‘s departure. And in Fortune, he is still with her – and she is more of a true match for him. In the E2 stories I am writing as of the posting of this blog entry, Lucy is not on the ship, so he instead ends up with Shelby Pike.
“You know we’ll stand with you, man.”
Andrew’s life in the mirror is far tougher. In Temper, in both the primary timeline and in one of the alternates, he ends up with the Empress Hoshi Sato, and not necessarily fully willfully. In Fortune, Escape and The Point is Probably Moot, the consequences of a different romantic choice come to the fore. Here, he fathers Melissa Madden‘s son. Andy’s life does not end well in the mirror, but at least it’s on his own terms.
As a mid-level Science Crewman, who eventually becomes an Ensign, Andrew works in the Biology Lab, a position somewhat similar to canon character Ethan Novakovich. In the E2 stories, because they need an additional doctor, Andy trains to be a medic. His duties include delivering babies.
Well-liked and upstanding, but a bit bratty at times, Andrew rises to the occasion when he must and, overall, does the right thing, in both universes.
Paving Stones was one of those stories that emerged nearly fully-formed in one quick session.
One thing that didn’t go so smoothly was the choice of a title. It evolved as follows – The first title was Paving Stones Made of Bad Intentions, as it is a Mirror Universe story. However, I didn’t like the idea of going with a straightforward opposite. Instead, I wanted for it to be a lot clearer that the centerpiece scene was an act of love, albeit somewhat misguided love.
The second iteration was Paving Stones Made of Good Intentions, which corrected the idiom and better evoked the undercurrent of it being the road to hell. But I didn’t love how it flowed.
The final title was Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. This title brings together not only the fact that the centerpiece scene is happening because people mean well but also because this is the road to hell. Furthermore, the title effectively denotes that the road to hell is actually deliberately and actively fashioned from these good intentions. This is rather than them being somewhat more passively made of them. A subtle difference, to be sure. But the idea was that the intentions are somewhat more refined. There are good intentions but they are perverted and shaped into the paving stones. This is opposed to just laying them down in the roadbed.
When I wrote Reversal, one of the things I had Doug describe was his early childhood and how he was sent off to boarding school. But I didn’t go into a lot of detail. Hence I wanted a little more about that. In addition, this is Doug’s first real meeting with Lili. So, while he doesn’t necessarily sugarcoat things, he doesn’t go into a lot of excruciating detail. Plus, for Doug at the time, his going away to school occurred over four and half decades previously. Hence some detail or another may have been forgotten.
In Reversal, Doug also briefly mentions that he received his promotion to run Tactical in a manner where he did not have to murder his superior officer. It was important to me, given the way that the overall story arc was to go, that he not be the killer of Ian Reed, Malcolm‘s mirror counterpart. And so Doug had to be put in charge of Tactical on the Defiant, somehow.
Furthermore, the story was written as a response to Ad Astra’s January 2012 Pathways challenge, wherein the writers were challenged to come up with stories about formative stages or scenes in an older character’s life. I had originally considered writing about Lili O’Day and the house fire that had killed her parents, but I was thinking about that and suddenly one word hit me, and it wouldn’t let go. And that word was indoctrination. Once the word grabbed me, writing the story was a lot like taking dictation. I made very few changes, apart from minor cosmetic ones, after completing the first draft.
The Five Signs of Weakness
I wanted a kind of distorted version of the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule. Over time, I had already written several mirror universe stories, so there was already a framework. And in Reversal, Doug acknowledges that there are signs of weakness and that he cannot show them, for that’s a confession of vulnerability that could cost him his life. The signs, at that point in the progress of my writing, were somewhat underdeveloped but they did include not acknowledging an injury and not admitting to love. Doug himself sees the development of his nascent conscience as probably being what the mirror would think of as the ultimate sign of weakness. After all, in the mirror, how can you act if you’re tripped up by guilt?
A Child’s Memory Device
In order to convert these somewhat incoherent ideas into lessons digestible for a child, I created a maxim of five signs of weakness for all mirror children to learn, and have to repeat back to their elders.
I will never show physical weakness.
I will never show weakness in trade.
(and) I will not show mental weakness.
I will not show weakness in my dealings with others.
(and) I will never show weakness when it comes to justice.
During the course of the story, Doug and his parents explain what each of the signs really entails. For example, mental weakness not only involves not knowing how to do something, but also not keeping apprised of rumors and intelligence. They tell Doug to keep his eyes and ears open, and not wait for people to impart lessons. They encourage him to have intellectual curiosity, but it’s not about books or mathematics. Rather, it’s about the various whisperings around an encampment or a barracks or a starship. In many ways, they are telling Doug to eavesdrop, as not knowing certain things could harm his career or even cost him his life.
Jane’s Lowood School and the school in Tom Brown’s School Days serve as models for the Triton Day School. This is where Doug would be, essentially, indoctrinated into the ways of the mirror. He was to forget he softness of his mother, Lena,. Or, if he remembered at all, that would be ridiculed and dismissed with a sneer. I even had a Mister Brocklehurst take Doug to school – a direct reference to Jane Eyre. The school was also portrayed as a place where Doug’s beloved stuffed toy would be taken from him and used to harm him. In Fortune, Doug confirms that gentler children were bullied and harassed. And so in order to survive, he had to become hardened.
Originally a giraffe, the stuffed velociraptor represents childhood innocence, but with a cruel twist. The toy shows up at the beginning. It is Doug’s sole comfort as he listens to his parents argue about his fate. The toy’s banishment from the breakfast table, and Lena’s inability to find it signify that Doug’s innocence is already, irretrievably, lost. Finally, I chose a velociraptor is not only to show menace behind the plush. It also foreshadows his predecessor at Tactical’s fate. That was death after a mauling by a Gorn, who resembles a velociraptor rather closely.
For Doug, running Tactical is a useful promotion. However, he did not originally seek it. If Ian Reed had lived (in canon, there’s an even shot whether Malcolm’s mirror counterpart would survive a Gorn attack), Doug would have remained as CO of the MACOs on the Defiant. Instead, Doug is in direct competition with Aidan MacKenzie and Chip Masterson.
As is true in my fanfiction, the Defiant is a confusing mess, and Doug must figure things out quickly. Hence the flashback to his his parents sending him off to school. That’s because this is where he clearly also had to do a lot of fancy footwork to get up to speed in a hurry.
One thing that Doug learns from Lili is forgiveness, and so, off-screen, he does eventually forgive his parents. By the time of A Kind of Blue, they are already naming their first-born son after Jeremiah (Doug’s father) and Lena.
And by the time of Together, that son, Jeremiah Logan Beckett – who they call Joss – is carrying around a stuffed dinosaur of his own. But in Joss’s case, it’s a much gentler stegosaurus.
I continued spinning out Reversal on Star Trek Logs.
I added Broken Seal to Trek United, as I hadn’t put anything out there in a while. Also, I updated There’s Something About Hoshi and posted it to Star Trek Logs. In addition, I started spinning out Together on Trek BBS and Ohio on Ad Astra. I also created The Facts on Ad Astra and The Rite on Star Trek Logs as a response to its first-ever prompt (I am running the prompts there, at least for now). Both of the latter two were ficlets brought about in order to flesh out some of the scenes in Fortune.
I keep writing the E2 stories. And I continue to find points to stress or loose ends to tie up and some of those will end up in the fourth book, rather than the third one in that series. I think this will make it a better and more balanced series overall.
Plus I worked a lot on a Daranaean story called Flight of the Bluebird. I didn’t have as coherent a plan for it as I should have, but Kirok of L’Stok wants to put the Daranaean stories onto Issuu. Hence I had to get cracking, so the E2 stories were set aside in favor of finishing up Bluebird.
At this point, I also have my response to the Ad Astra prompt about sacrifices. The title is Equinox. It covers several scenes left out of Fortune.
I spent a lot of time making the website a lot more coherent and getting more of the In Between Days stories into correct chronological order.
This Month’s Productivity Killers
Looking for work continues to cramp my writing style, which I suppose is amusing but is also a tad serious. It can be difficult to get inspiration if you’re worried about continuing income.
Ad Astra’s forums were also down for a bit. That’s generally better for productivity for me, but I do miss the interactions, not to mention the prompts.
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.