Category Archives: Portrait

Portrait of a Character – Chandler (Chip) Masterson

Portrait of a Character – Chandler (Chip) Masterson
Actor Jason Bateman

Chip Masterson’s name was, perhaps, the easiest part of him to come up with. He’s homage to Star Trek Deep Space Nine actress Chase Masterson.

It wasn’t until Together that I established that he real first name is Chandler and, yes, that’s a connection to the show Friends.

However, I didn’t see Matthew Perry in the role. Instead, I see Jason Bateman, mainly because of his work on Arrested Development, where he is the level-headed person amidst all the crazies.

Chip, in my fanfiction, is sometimes level-headed, but also willingly joins in with the silliness, often as a partner in crime with Aidan MacKenzie. Chip definitely has a silly side and, in Together, he even dreams of doing stand-up in a little club on Risa.

On the NX-01

Chip starts off in Tactical, which is where he gets to know Aidan. However, by the time of Together, he has transferred over to Communications, acknowledging that he is a natural gabber and better suited at connecting people as opposed to blowing stuff up. Like Aidan, he’s an Ensign.

Movie Night

As the person with probably the best appreciation of the arts on the Enterprise, Chip picks the movies. He has eclectic taste, serving up everything from Stalag 17 to Dirty Dancing. In Broken Seal, he and Aidan, who acts as the projectionist, are even blamed for the problems with The Seventh Seal.

He also conducts a little discussion afterwards. Attendance is spotty at best.  In Intolerance, for Dirty Dancing, he talks about the soundtrack, which is a mix of 1960s and 1980s music, and has the attendees try to guess which decade a particular song came from.

Relationships

Chip and Aidan are not only friends, they are also roommates. Chip also appreciates Hoshi Sato as his boss. In the E2 stories I am currently writing, he also helps to train and accommodate the newest member of the Communications team, Crewman Maryam Haroun. Because Maryam is a Muslim and needs to pray several times per day, Chip’s night shift sometimes starts early or can end late, so that he can cover when Maryam is praying.

In Together, he helps Deborah Haddon pick up the pieces and they begin dating. By the time of Temper, she’s proposed to him, and they are married by the time of Fortune. During the initial celebration of the first child born to a crew member becoming a parent, he begins to thank the captain who corrects him and instead tells him that the celebration is for Malcolm.

Quote

“So this Klingon, an Andorian and a Vulcan walk into a bar. And the Klingon’s a male, super-tall. And he’s completely buck naked, except for a strategically placed piece of string to which there’s attached this note. So the bartender gets curious and he reads the note, which says …”

I’ve never finished the joke. Have at it in the Comments section if you’d like to write a punch line for Chip’s joke.

Mirror Universe

Chip in the MU has a lot more on his mind, and has no time for antics. He never switches over to Communications, and instead is promoted to run Tactical at the end of Reversal (his start in Tactical is shown in Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions). He also runs Game Night, intended to be the counterpart to Movie Night. He takes bets like a bookie (betting in the MU is canon) and collects like a loan shark.

Because Deborah is taken away from him, he ends up, eventually, as one of the Empress’s conquests, fathering her twins, Takara (the only girl) and Takeo. All of the Empress’s children have meaningful names. Takara means treasure while Takeo means warrior. These are her fourth and fifth eldest of the six total children, and are being raised to be as bratty as the others, as is shown in Coveted Commodity. In Temper, with its three separate alternative timelines, Chip’s fate differs. The only constants are Science Officer Lucy Stone, and his two children with the Empress. Fortune follows Chip to his later life, and He Stays a Stranger to a much later time in his life. As one of the only halfway decent people in the Mirror Universe, Chip represents a bit of hope in that wasted landscape.

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Chandler (Chip) Masterson
Jason Bateman (mirror Chip)

Traveling the stars is serious business, and the Xindi and Romulan Wars were no laughing matter, but the crew always needed a release from unrelenting problems.  Without someone like Chip, life on the NX-01 would be so much tougher. Even the crew of the Enterprise needs a little whimsy in their lives, and for that, Chip’s your man.

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

Crystal is the kind of person who is often underestimated in the world. Her education is fairly limited, but she knows more than a lot of people probably think.

First introduced in A Long, Long Time Ago, Crystal is busy cutting Temporal Agent Richard Daniels‘s hair when he asks her if she knows anything about historical fashions and haircuts. Her reply indicates not only knowledge, but interest in the subject matter, so Rick presents her as a candidate for the Quartermaster job opening at the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Look

Crystal Sherwood
Crystal Sherwood

I wanted Crystal to be a bit petite and young, but also very attractive and stylish. I hit upon the idea of Marnette Patterson after seeing her in Charmed.  The look, to me, is a good fit for a woman who is secure in her looks but not necessarily in her training or her intelligence. This is not a slam on the actress; this is just the look that I was seeking.

Tasks

While a computer could, conceivably, put together a look that would be consistent with a particular time period, I wanted for there to still be some room for error. For Crystal, the job is less about matching the obvious to a time period than it is to also match it to a particular effect needed. When Rick goes to a 1970 college campus in Ohio, she doesn’t just give him sideburns, she also makes sure that he looks young enough to be a graduate student, but old enough to be able to exert a little authority if necessary. She makes Sheilagh Bernstein (who also goes on that trip) look more like a typical coed, as Sheilagh is a trainee.

In Spring Thaw, she outfits Rick in a more old-fashioned style, despite the fact that it’s only a few years before the scenario in Ohio, as Rick is going to a Soviet bloc country.

Other Talents and Ideas

In Spring Thaw, she spends time helping with the decryption. It’s a particularly frustrating task for her, but her confidence is buoyed by Deirdre Katzman encouraging her.

By The Point is Probably Moot, she’s actively looking at alternate timeline scenarios.

In Ohio, she’s also busy fending off the attentions of HD Avery.

By the time of He Stays a Stranger, she goes on her first mission, and has an excellent idea of where the team can meet while planning to restore the main timeline.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

There are no impediments to Crystal existing in the Mirror Universe.

But as I write Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, Mirror Universe women are mainly chewed up and spat out. Unfortunately, I see that as her fate on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“After the Second World War ended, people didn’t have a lotta money, so it’s reflected in the fashions. They just didn’t have a lot of details. Look at the fifties – just a decade later – and it’s more youth-oriented, and then fast-forward another decade and it’s even more youth-oriented. There’s suddenly all these patterns.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood
Crystal

Behind that pretty face, there’s a keen mind and a sensitivity and kindness. Book learning isn’t the only thing valued in the thirty-second century.

Underestimate Crystal at your peril.

Portrait of a Character – Charles Tucker III

Portrait of a Character – Charles Tucker III

Portrait of a Character – Charles Tucker III

Why the heck would I want to talk about a Star Trek: Enterprise canon character? After all, doesn’t Memory Alpha do a better job? For canon, yes. No argument here.

But what I am talking about is my own fanfiction. So I’ve got a different take on him.

Portrait of a Character – Charles Tucker III
Tripp Tucker (Conner Trinneer)

Tripp/Trip – What?

First off, I spell it as Tripp, with two P’s. Why? I knew a guy who was a third, and he spelled it that way. To me, one P just looks off. And I am well aware that readers may see the two P’s as being off. So be it. I recognize that this is me being quirky and stubborn, and certainly breaching canon. That cannot be any more than the people who, let’s see, make Tucker gay, make him bi or make him essentially a superhero. Not to mention the folks who insist that he didn’t die in These Are the Voyages.

It’s just a letter, folks.

Marrying Canon to Fanfiction

The writers did a lot to Tripp throughout the course of the show’s four seasons. He got pregnant, he had a relationship with First Officer T’Pol (a Vulcan), he was cloned, he rescued a princess, he lost his sister in the Xindi attack and he met his end, too. In all honesty, I had seen so much of him on screen that I was a bit sick of him when writing my own fiction. He was a major character on the show, but television shows are of a finite size. Therefore, the more screen time for him, the less for other characters.

For me, obliquely referencing him and his exploits often did the trick. In The Reptile Speaks, he’s mentioned in a teenager’s film about sex, as an example of unconventional relations. For the two teenagers talking about him, he’s a source of some amusement.

In Razor, he’s barely referenced, although his identity should be clear to the reader.

A Regular Guy

For me, one of the fun things about writing him is playing on his being, essentially, a regular Joe. In Letters from Home, a riff on the mail distribution scene in the film Stalag 17, he gets a lot of correspondence, but it’s not necessarily of the welcome kind.

In Waiting, he stands in the chow line with below decks characters Shelby Pike, Karin Bernstein, and Andy Miller, among others.

A Romantic Guy

Well, maybe not always heroically romantic. In Intolerance, he eagerly participates in the competition to woo the female medical students, and comments quite a bit on the woman he’s originally assigned to, Pamela Hudson.

In Together, he’s paired with Hoshi who, in the end, realizes that she doesn’t feel about him the way he feels about her.

As of this writing, I am working on a set of E2 stories, and his relationship with T’Pol is covered, including the cultural differences between them. For example, what Tripp sees as a symbol of commitment, T’Pol sees as a religious article – and not of her faith.

A Working Stiff

In Reversal, it is he who does most of the heavy calculations necessary, and he ends up risking his life in order to perform a rescue.

In Temper, he gives his all in service to the Federation, in what feels very much like a lost cause.

Theme Music

Not every character has a theme, but Tripp does, in Together.  The song is Matthew Sweet’s Sick of Myself. I particularly wanted this song for the line, “When I look at you, something is beautiful and true.” That story also has couples’ songs. His (with his partner) is Joe Jackson’s Kinda Kute. I wanted that one for its opening lyric, “You make a guy feel humble.”

The Mirror Universe

At the end of the second canon MU ENT episode, Tripp is about the only one of the main characters who is likely to survive to see another day. Severely scarred, bitter and angry, he epitomizes the skewed life led there.

Portrait of a Character – Charles Tucker III
Mirror Tripp (Conner Trinneer)

Apparently the makeup was intended to evoke the images of Christopher Pike in The Menagerie.

I have written the MU Tripp as being just as angry, but it’s later, so he’s sicker, and realizes he’s dying. He becomes gentler than he normally would be, and seeks solace with an old girlfriend,  Beth Cutler, who accepts him for who he is. In Reversal, the MU Tripp has a lot at stake, and plays off people against each other in an effort to save himself. It is, ultimately, his wish to save others that redeems him, in a way.

In Temper, the MU Tripp again shows a small degree of selflessness, and by doing so he helps to undo the lost cause which threatens the Prime Universe. As I write the MU, everyone is keenly aware of what they owe others, and Tripp is no exception. Since he owes Doug something, he recognizes the debt, and repays it.

In Fortune, the MU Tripp has come full circle but is still a bit wary about strangers. A dynasty is foretold, which shows a major divergence between his fate and that of the Prime Universe Tripp.

Demise

In the Prime Universe, his death is canon, so I don’t mess with that. He is mourned and remembered, and there’s even a charitable foundation named for him, mentioned in Fortune.

Quote

But we’re here to explore and to, to take risks. And I don’t think this is a foolish one.”

Upshot

I enjoy the character but, as I’ve mentioned, I think he was overused, often to the detriment of other characters. But he’s more than just engineering, an accent and a romance. In many ways, his observations are our observations, as an audience and, I hope, as readers.

Tucker is, as in canon, portrayed by actor Connor Trinneer.

Portrait of a Character – Gabrielle Nolan

Portrait of a Character – Gabrielle Nolan

Origins

Gabby started off as almost a plot device. I had been working on a series of ficlets surrounding the Breen attack on Earth, and I was analogizing them to the Five Stages of Grief. The Breen attack also felt a lot like 9/11, so I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of a pregnant widow. Gabrielle is not the widow (Gina is); she’s the daughter. So she doesn’t show up until the sixth stage, which is healing.

While I wanted to move the story beyond grief, I also wrote the healing aspect in order to introduce Gabby. This was done as the response to a weekly free write prompt about art. When I saw the prompt, the first thing I thought of was art therapy, and I immediately got the image of a child’s red-colored rounded scrawl into my head, and that would not go away.

Art Therapy

As a part of the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Breen attack, Gabby’s school has its students draw, paint or sculpt their impressions of that day. Gabrielle isn’t the only bereft child, as she learns. For Gabby, it’s a day to make a friend, as it is for her  mother, Gina. A part of healing is, I feel, to go outside yourself, and see that others might be in the same boat as you. Art brings it all together, as Gabby’s piece and another piece bring them close to people with a similar bereavement.

Quote

“It’s a tomato.” (when asked about the red scrawl on her drawing).

Appearance

Gabby is shown as both a child and a teenager. For her time as a small child, I see MacKenzie Foy.

Portrait of a Character – Gabrielle Nolan

As a teenager, I don’t really have a visual for her yet. She’s a child of the twenty-fourth century, and a child of tragedy, much like any of the children of 9/11 victims, whether they were extant or in utero on 9/11/01. As a teenager, she is a lot like a typical human teenager – engrossed in her PADD, bored with slow-moving adult things, and intent on fixing up her friends with each other, a little like Jane Austen’s Emma.

In her eyes, her mother sees her lost father, Michael Nolan, much as I expect 9/11 widows see their husbands in the eyes of their children.

Portrait of a Character – Bron

For Valentines’ Day, here’s a look at a character absolutely motivated by love.

The Unexpected Pairing

On Ad Astra, I swear I was only joking when I suggested a Star Trek fanfiction love story about a shy Gorn reciting poetry to a lovely, blushing Cardassian maiden. And then the gauntlet was thrown down – write it!

My first venture into the Bron-Sophra pairing was The Reptile Speaks. What I wanted to get across was the idea of a very unexpected lover. Currently, for us humans, an unexpectedly romantic person or partner might be someone who is of a different race or religion from us, or someone who we might not see as romantic (the stereotypical jock or soldier, perhaps).

Analogous Mixed Pairings Here on Earth

Back when I was a kid, a mixed marriage was considered, generally, as being between two people of different religions. And, a good hundred-plus years before that, technically, it was an issue for Jews if the one of the two parties to a marriage was Sephardic, and the other Ashkenazi. In that case, even a marriage of two Jews could be seen as “mixed”. And of course now you see a lot of mixed race marriages. A major, landmark case, Loving vs. Virginia (Supreme Court, 1967) declared any legislation outlawing marriage between differing races was unconstitutional.

As a Massachusetts resident, I have seen my share of same-sex marriages as well. I recognize that this is not the norm everwhere, but it is becoming so here. These examples are as close as we can get to the concept of interspecies romance and, perhaps, marriage.

Portrayal

For alien characters requiring a lot of makeup and/or prosthetics, it can be difficult to visualize them. But for me, Bron is a classic romantic lead in a difficult body. I think of Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo DiCapriowho has made himself somewhat less than attractive in a lot of roles, but has also been a romantic lead. Forget the hair. Forget the skin. Concentrate on the eyes, on the voice, on the body shape and size, on the posture, on the mannerisms, and let your imagination wander. Think of what it was like to be a teenager, or shy, or not fitting in. Think of longing, and of missed opportunities, and of insecurity.

Is there not a soul in the sentient reptile? Hath not the Gorn eyes?

Quote

“Um, I just, I don’t know if you would want to be, to be seen with, with a guy like me.”

A Gentle Dragon?

My hope with creating Bron was and is to put forth someone who is out of left field when it comes to romance and gallantry. Bron’s gentle nature is not readily apparent. You have to look past frightening teeth, claws and scales. You need to see what’s inside the person, and uncover the sensitivity within.

When a weekly free write prompt came up about crying, I decided to continue the Bron-Sophra story with Insecurity. I often have trouble writing characters weeping (and for the life of me, I have no idea why), but Bron’s crying, to me, rang true. He is a teenaged character, with a lot of the insecurities and highs and lows that come from being about fifteen or sixteen or so. And like a lot of less than good-looking guys out there, he worries about his chances with girls and is shy because he doesn’t want to be hurt.

You may not want to hug him, still, but I hope you can see beyond the teeth, the claws and the cold-bloodedness. We may very well find that some of our best and closest alien friends look nothing like us. Why, when you next hear a Shakespearean sonnet, it might just be recited by a guy who looks like this. Bron

Enhanced by Zemanta

Portrait of a Character – Leonora (Norri) Digiorno

Portrait of a Character – Leonora (Norri) Digiorno

All characters are me, and I am all characters.

At least, that is, when it comes to the originals. And when it comes to Star Trek canon, there are plenty of things that I add, so those additions are me, too.

Roots

Norri was kicking around for a few years, even before I started writing Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction, which was back in April of 2005. Actually, it was just her first name. She was originally, actually, a kind of foundling, a girl from medieval times who was orphaned by the Black Death and saved (from a bear – hey, I like Shakespeare) by being plucked out for a time travel purpose. I modified the time travel series quite a bit in order to create a series of stories called Times of the HG Wells, but I brought Norri in earlier, for the In Between Days series, although she is seen a little during the Wells series. Confused yet?

I hadn’t originally written her as a lesbian, either, but the idea presented itself because I was looking for a parallel to a day/night concept that I had going on. The In Between Days series gives its main characters active nighttime lives (through the dream state) which are almost as important as their daylight lives. To really bring the point home, I created a bi character, Melissa Madden. But Melissa needed a lesbian lover in order to pull it all off, so Norri emerged.

Symbolism

Portrait of a Character - Leonora (Norri) Digiorno
Alyson Hannigan at a celebration of the 100th …

Norri is the most literary of the main characters in the In Between Days series, starting off as a book editor, eventually getting her PhD and writing a book of her own. At the time I was shaping her, I was working for a book publisher, so she partly evolved from that. Her last name, of course, means “of the day”, so she is not only an embodiment of daytime, she also parallels main character Lili O’Day (who is also “of the day”). Furthermore, five of the six main characters (everyone but Pamela Hudson) are associated with elements. Norri is outside of what we might think of as the four traditional “elements”, and so hers is the Hindu fifth element – communications (sometimes called the ether or the void, which makes sense in space).

Visualization

Portrait of a Character - Leonora (Norri) Digiorno
Alyson Hannigan as a Young Norri

It was important for me to see Norri as being “played” by an actress who has played at least one gay character already. I also wanted her to be young but wise beyond her years, and to be redheaded. This brought me to the idea of Alyson Hannigan.

Background

I also liked the idea of Norri being someone who is somewhat remote. Of all of the main characters in the In Between Days series, you learn the least about her, and that’s by design. Of the five big books in that series, Temper and Fortune have the most information about her, and even then she’s really just a sketch.

She even gets a second nickname which is a misnomer. Malcolm refers to her as “Lioness” or “the Lioness”, when the truth is that her name means “light”. So she’s a kind of double light/daytime character.

Personality

As a person, she is forced to rise to the occasion and commit some forms of self-sacrifice several times, whether it’s to become Neil’s sole caregiver in Temper, or to shepherd children away so that various couples can have their privacy. But she gets her due, and is the final commenter and recordkeeper when it comes to the lives of the principal characters in the In Between Days series.

Her sexuality is rarely at issue. She acknowledges that she was very aware of it certainly by the time she graduated from college, but that her parents were wary of it, and her father hoped she would grow out of it (this is explored in An Announcement). Of course, that doesn’t happen. Her scenes with Melissa are meant to be as intimate as those between the straight couples. Norri also begins her romance more conventionally than most of the others do – she meets Melissa in a bar.

Mirror Universe

Norri is barely seen in the MU, save for her death, which is particularly senseless.

Alyson Hannigan
Alyson Hannigan (Photo credit: Jessica Finson)

Her murder is recalled, somewhat remorsefully, in Bread.

Music

Not every character has a musical theme, but Norri does. As might be expected, it’s Elvis Costello’s “Every Day I Write the Book”.

Quote

“It’s not necessarily unfair. You’d be sleeping. Everybody sleeps. I can’t get into your dreams. All that’s changing now, really, is that I know, more or less, what those dreams are. But you and I, we have the big thing, the big love.”

Upshot

Book smart and funny, Norri is the essence of communication, holding everyone together, and making everything spin.

Portrait of a Character - Leonora (Norri) Digiorno
Norri at the start of the arrangement