Category Archives: Portrait

Portrait of a Character – Doug Beckett

A lot about Doug Beckett is, truly,  Reversal spoilers. Avert your eyes if you haven’t read Reversal and want to maintain the mystery of the first couple of chapters.

Origins

For me, Doug was, in part, every guy who’s ever been romantic around me. This includes my husband. But he’s also a typical resident of the Mirror Universe. So that means that there’s violence in his past, and ambitions and twisted behaviors. But I wanted him to be a person who could, eventually and with help, rise above it.

Symbolism

Doug’s name was a particularly serendipitous find. Douglas means dark stranger, and that is precisely what he is. For Lili, who meets him in a pitch-black dream, he is the ultimate stranger. But he’s also what she needs. He shakes up her world.

His surname is changed when he comes to our side of the pond. Much like an immigrant, he wants to leave his old life behind him, and become the man that Lili wants and needs – the man she can see is lurking under the surface. The surname Beckett is a shout out to Quantum Leap.

Doug is also, in many ways, the opposite side of her coin. She’s somewhat distant with people. He is, too, but it’s not because he truly wants to be. It’s more that the Mirror has made him that way (see his origins story, Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions), due to its insistence that weakness be rooted out and punished or excised or, at least, well-hidden.

Doug is also action and movement – he is something of an air element. As Leonora is communication, Lili is fire, Malcolm is water and Melissa is the earth, Doug is the air.

Portrayal

Steven Culp
Steven Culp

Because (eek, spoilers!) Doug is Major Jay Hayes‘s Mirror Universe counterpart, he is of course portrayed by Steven Culp. Culp is a consummate actor, perfect for the role. I have read a number of interviews with him, and he has said that he treated Hayes as almost a David Mamet character. That is, he was more action than talk. Notice, too, that in the series, Jay Hayes rarely smiles. Instead, he is all business.

The name Jay is not canon. Culp has said he thought the character was named Jay or Jeremiah. There are also trading cards showing the name as being Joss. I have used all three names, giving Jeremiah as the name of both Doug’s father and his first-born son (nicknamed Joss), with Jay as being the name of the canon character and Doug’s own middle name. Jay worked out perfectly in this way, as it works as both a first and a middle name in a way that Jeremiah would not have.

Personality

Much like canon character Jay Hayes, Doug is not much of a talker. In Reversal, he has few ways of complimenting Lili, mainly calling her beautiful rather than use synonyms that he is either uncomfortable with or, perhaps, doesn’t even know. That book has a ton of hesitation speech. Doug is nervous in the mirror, in particular around the Empress, although that’s to be expected. With Lili, he’s also nervous, because he’s a bit tongue-tied. And he wants, desperately, for her to like him. He often doesn’t know what to say, but he always seems to know what to do.

Once they are together in our universe, Doug’s demeanor softens considerably. He tries very hard to please Lili and make their life together as good as it can possibly be. Their early life together is in A Kind of Blue, Friday Visit, Pacing and The Gift.

When his relationship with Lili is tested in Together, Doug has few communications strategies at his disposal. When they argue, he very quickly hits below the belt. This, I feel, makes some sense, as Doug hasn’t really learned to be sensitive to others’ feelings. He knows that he loves her, and he wants for everything to work itself out, but he can’t really see the pathway to that.

Action and Maturity

In Temper, he even refers to himself as “the action guy”. Hence he is the one chosen for the mission by Daniels (also because of his twenty centimeter radiation band), for he will get things done. Malcolm has to stay behind because his place is to step in and lead.

By the time Fortune has come around, Doug has been hiding his past rather effectively. Lili knows some of it. She is well aware that he has committed some monstrous deeds in the Mirror Universe. But she wants to believe that he will never do such things again. She’s in some denial herself, in that she’d rather not hear about things. It isn’t until she pushes and asks about his crimes does Doug finally come clean. Furthermore, for Doug, who is inarticulate at best, having him handle a hostage situation by talking instead of shooting was, to me, a fitting full circle behavior. Life here is, after all, very different from the mirror.

Their later life together is documented in The Facts and his death and its aftermath is shown in Equinox.

Doug Beckett in the Mirror Universe

Since Doug is a counterpart character, his life begins in the Mirror. He is the only child of Jeremiah and Lena Hayes, and lives with them on Ganymede. Because of a late birth date (December third, same as Steven Culp’s), his parents force him into schooling at too young an age. Doug’s education is such that anyone in authority pushes him to become a bully and a fighter.

After his eventual graduation, he goes to Cambodia for basic training, and then to freighter defense and other small assignments, essentially acting as a mercenary. He spends time on Andoria, the Klingon home world and other locales, fighting and working as a soldier, molding himself from an untrained, arrogant lummox until, eventually, a disciplined fighting man.

He gets onto the ISS Enterprise by knifing Geming Sulu. His elevation to Lieutenant Commander, to replace the deceased Mirror Universe Malcolm Reed (called Ian Reed in my fanfiction), is part of Paving Stones. While on the Defiant, he meets Lili.

Relationships

His times with Lili and Melissa are the most important for him. However, prior to the crossing over, he did have some relationships. His first main girlfriend (if you can call her that) in the Mirror was Darareaksmey Preap. She was a Cambodian bar girl who he plied with gifts and false “I love yous” until he was able to lose his virginity to her.

Another Mirror relationship – if you could say that – was with Christine Chalmers. The name is a shout out to canon character Christine Chapel. Chalmers is a cheap girl who he, at the time, thought was very hot. One of the crimes that Doug commits was to be with her, and his guilt about that consumes him.

Getting More Serious

His first true relationship is with alcoholic schoolteacher Susan Cheshire. Susan is an important person to him, although he insists to Lili that he didn’t love her. But he’s certainly memorable to her – she recognizes him during Temper.

Doug also has an on-again, off-again thing with Shelby Pike who, in the Mirror, is a pilot who used to be a hooker. Once he knew Shelby, he would cheat on other girlfriends with her.

Doug’s final relationship in the Mirror, which ends after he’s known Lili for less than a week, is with Jennifer Crossman. Jenn is a poor choice for a girlfriend, mainly there for her looks rather than any sort of compatibility. While they’re breaking up, she claims that he can’t live alone. Doug refuses to admit it, but she’s right about that.

Music

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Steven Culp as Douglas Jay Hayes/Doug Beckett (image is for educational purposes only)
Steven Culp as Douglas Jay Hayes/Doug Beckett (image is for educational purposes only)

Doug has various theme songs.

He begins with Robbie Williams’s Feel and then segues to Snow Patrol’s Shut Your Eyes, and shares John Legend’s Ordinary People with Lili and the Cure’s Let’s Go to Bed with Melissa.

For Temper, his music is Dog’s Eye View’s Everything Falls Apart.

His final music is Billy Joel’s Honesty.

Quote

There are all sorts of quotes I could place here. For a guy who’s not too terribly articulate, I suppose I’ve given him a lot of memorable things to say. Here’s one.

“I thought I could leave it all behind me. Achieve, maybe, some measure of forgiveness. But that’s not the main reason. I came here because of you.”

Upshot

Doug is one of my most complex and complete characters. I am immensely proud of this character.

Portrait of a Character – Jennifer Crossman

Portrait of a Character – Jennifer Crossman

Aside from canon characters, Jennifer was the first character specifically written for Star Trek fan fiction who I could truly visualize.

Origins

In Reversal, Lili needed a roommate for a few purposes. One of these was to bounce ideas off. The other was to be an ear-witness to Lili talking in her sleep. Plus roommates are canon in Star Trek: Enterprise for lower-level personnel. I wanted Jennifer and Lili to have little in common, too.

Symbolism

Jenny has any number of symbolic elements to her. Her name has two derivations. The full surname is actually the name of a street near where I grew up. But the Cross part was also to pay homage to Marcia Cross. Both have fiery red hair, too.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Jennifer Crossman
Bryce Dallas Howard

I immediately saw Bryce Dallas Howard when I first thought up Jennifer. There is a look of youth and vitality but also some mystery – I suppose it’s a bit of the overall mystique that some redheads seem to possess.

Jenny also needs to be believable in the Mirror Universe as a lot of the portrayal, in particular in Reversal, is on the other side of the pond as well. Unlike other characters who might just have a one-shot bit in the mirror, Jenn is shown there almost as much as she is shown here.

Personality

Jenny is the second-in-command engineer on both the USS Enterprise and the ISS Defiant when Reversal begins. In our universe, she is somewhat unaware or is perhaps in denial about her own obvious beauty. She doesn’t even know that the men refer to her as the Redheaded Bombshell until Travis tells her in Together.

Relationships

Frank Ramirez

In our universe, this long-distance relationship with a planetary geologist has been going on for a while during Reversal. She tells Travis that she and Frank met on a blind date, a fact that Travis barely believes. Why would someone so gorgeous need a blind date? Yet that was what happened. Frank proposes when, one morning, he sees Saturn’s rings in the sky (he’s on Enceladus) and realizes he wants to give her a ring, too. Their relationship (like other relationships) is put to the test in Together, where her theme is The Cult’s Fire Woman.

Aidan MacKenzie

In the E2 stories, Frank isn’t on board (and she has not yet met him), so she ends up going in a different direction, and marries Aidan during both kick backs in time.

Mirror Universe

Jenn is a darker figure in the mirror, as are most people. Spoiled and nasty, and rather sluttish, Jenn is more interested in a good time than in almost anything else – yet she is still intelligent and is still the second engineer.

Portrait of a Character – Jennifer Crossman

Her relationship with Doug is strained at best. For her, it’s a power move to be associated with the fourth in command. For him, she’s a hot girl who will live with him as he dislikes living alone. But neither of them are happy and, once Doug meets Lili, he’s done with Jennifer.

She ends up with Treve, a Calafan, and they remain together until his death. Their long-term relationship is shown in, among other stories, He Stays a Stranger.

Quote

“I know why you fell so hard, and so fast. It’s ’cause, you just know.”

Upshot

Initially intended to be dizzy, bratty and a foil for Lili, they become friends. This smart engineer is more than just a pretty face.

Portrait of a Character – An Nguyen

Portrait of a Character – An Nguyen

In order to bring Pamela Hudson on board, she had to have classmates. An Nguyen started off as one such classmate, but then the Daranaeans called and he became a lot more than that.

Origins

An started off as a means of furthering the gender confusion subplot that carries through the first fifth or so of Intolerance. The surname was homage to actor Dominic Keating, as that actor’s fiancée (at the time of the writing the piece; they have since broken up) is named Tam Nguyen. It’s a rather common Vietnamese surname, and is pronounced more or less like “In-win“.

Portrayal

It was important to me for this character to be “played” by someone who actually is Vietnamese.

Portrait of a Character – An Nguyen
Johnny Nguyen

I was pleased to find Johnny Nguyen. He’s acted in films in both Hollywood and Vietnam, and has also worked as a stuntman. I wanted someone with the ethnic look, good looks and also intelligence behind his eyes. He is, after all, a medical student, and is a doctor later.

Education and Career

Portrait of a Character – An Nguyen
English: Vietnamese-American actor Johnny Tri …

An is introduced in Intolerance as a classmate to Will, Blair, Mark, and Pamela. This is an extremely competitive medical school program, so it’s a given that he is wildly intelligent. In The Cure is Worse Than the Disease, it’s revealed that he graduated at the top of his class. His first assignment is as the Chief Medical Officer for Star Trek: Enterprise canon character Erika Hernandez, and he starts off as an idealistic young doctor but is quickly jaded by the treatment of Daranaean women. In Take Back the Night, he is shown even more jaded. His idealism is a victim as much as the Daranaean women are victims.

Relationships

I don’t have much about him except for some half-hearted attempts to court Hoshi during Intolerance.

Mirror Universe

I haven’t decided whether An exists in the mirror. Pamela, Blair and Mark do, so it’s possible that he does as well, but only Mark seems to be an actual doctor, whereas the mirror Pamela is a lab assistant/pinup girl and it’s hard to determine just what Blair does – she might also be some sort of Science crewman.

Quote

“Just because I don’t want to make your teeth rattle does not make me a gay man.”

Upshot

Smarter than just about anyone in the room, An is also a bit brittle. His compassion only really comes out when he’s faced with a Daranaean women’s awful dilemna. He’s a skilled physician, but his bedside manner could use some serious work.

Portrait of a Character – Deborah Haddon

Portrait of a Character – Deborah Haddon

Deborah Haddon was first something of a Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction red shirt character. But she grew on me, so she became more.

Origins

While writing Reversal, I needed a female Security crewman who could handle both erotic scenes and provide muscle. Hence Deb was born.

Portrayal

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Katee Sackoff as Deborah Haddon (image is for educational purposes only)
Katee Sackoff as Deborah Haddon (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Personality

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Katee Sackoff as Deborah Haddon (image is for educational purposes only)
Katee Sackoff as Deborah Haddon (image is for educational purposes only) This beautiful manip is by unusualsuspex – http://stpma.net/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=844 him.

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.

Romance

Barking up the Muse Tree | Jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Katee Sackoff as Deborah Haddon (image is for educational purposes only)
Katee Sackoff as Deborah Haddon (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Mirror Universe

Deb dies like a redshirt in the mirror universe, succumbing during Reversal, after a  short fling with Aidan MacKenzie.

Quote

“Security. I’m wily like a cat.”

Upshot

Smart and tough, Deborah Haddon can defeat most opponents with guile or strength or both. Call her Debbie at your peril.

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Shapiro

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Shapiro

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.

Origins

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.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Shapiro
Jesse Eisenberg as Ethan Shapiro (image is for educational purposes)

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.

Personality

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.

Mirror Universe

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.

Relationships

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.

Quote

“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.”

Upshot

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.

Portrait of a Character – Melissa Madden

Portrait of a Character – Melissa Madden

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.

Origins

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.

Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)
Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Symbolism

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.

Personality

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.

Relationships

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)
Catherine Bell as Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Leonora Digiorno

They meet cute, when both are on vacation on Ceres. Melissa essentially crooks her finger, and Norri comes running. They originally settle on Ceres.

Doug Beckett

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.

Andrew Miller

In the Mirror Universe, Andy is the Empress Hoshi Sato‘s boy toy, and Melissa knows that. But she goes after him anyway.

Shelby Pike

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.

Music

As might be expected, her initial music is the Allman Brothers’ Sweet Melissa. With Doug, her theme is the Cure’s Let’s Go to Bed. With Norri, the theme is k. d. lang’s Constant Craving. Her final theme is Joe Jackson’s Get That Girl.

Quote

“I never loved another man. Never wanted to.”

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Catherine Bell as MU Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)
Catherine Bell as MU Melissa Madden (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Upshot

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.

Portrait of a Character – Andrew Miller

Portrait of a Character – Andrew Miller

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.

Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Adrien Brodie as Andrew Miller (image is for educational purposes only)
Adrien Brodie as Andrew Miller (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Romance

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.

Quote

“You know we’ll stand with you, man.”

Mirror Universe

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Adrien Brodie as MU Andrew Miller (image is for educational purposes only)
MU Andrew Miller (image is for educational purposes only)

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.

Career

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.

Upshot

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.

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

Eriecho comes from a place I did not expect.

Origin

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:

  1. The destruction of Vulcan.
  2. There is no more USS Kelvin.
  3. 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.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho

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.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Eriecho
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.

Quote

“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.

Upshot

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.

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix

Brian Delacroix was born as a foil for Doug, but also to be a friend to Lili.

Background

For most wars, there are often underaged volunteers who somehow sneak in and break the rules. This was the kind of person who I wanted Brian to be. And then, I found, I wanted him to be a bit more than that.

Personality and Personal History

Brian doesn’t have too much of a history. He doesn’t have a planet or country of origin or anything like that. He’s just an underage Security crewman.

Because he’s young and short and babyfaced, he’s got a lot to prove, particularly as a member of Security, so he can be somewhat Napoleonic in his behaviors.

When he gets a chance, in Reversal, to do something else, he rises to the occasion and shows that he has some talent. This eventually becomes his new profession, and he leaves Security. In Together, he helps Yimar and gets a sweet reward for his efforts. In Fortune, the culmination of his education is shown, and we see his granddaughter, Susan, who we learn is attending a High School for the Gifted.

Actor Portrayal

Barking Up The Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | David Faustino as Brian Delacroix (image is for educational purposes only)
David Faustino as Brian Delacroix (image is for educational purposes only)

I hit upon the idea of David Faustino as he’s a short guy who has been acting since a rather early age. He also is relatively muscular. And this would be a requirement for someone so small to get Security work.

Within Brian Delacroix, there is a bit of a loose cannon underneath. You should worry a little bit that something might happen if this guy snaps. He goes down a different path, and it ends up being the best thing for him, but the reader should consider that things could have worked out far differently for him.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Brian Delacroix

Things go differently – that is to say, horribly wrong – for Brian’s counterpart. In the Mirror, of course, you only move up when you assassinate your superior officer(s). And in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, he guards the Emperor and then, after the Emperor is assassinated, is about to lose his virginity to Empress Hoshi.

In Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions, the first time we see Brian, he is just itching to throw Chip Masterson and Aidan MacKenzie into the agony booth. For him, getting rid of those two means that not only can he move up, but he also has, perhaps, a bit of a shot with some of the women.

However, by the time we get to Reversal, Brian has become little more than a mindless drone of a soldier. His gambit to move up goes horribly wrong.

Quote

“Well, whose morality applies to us? I mean, aren’t there species that still have child brides? Do we go by their rules, or ours?”

Upshot

For every underaged soldier, a hope for a better future or a highly developed sense of patriotism can cause them to leave home early. They might lie to their Recruitment Office and hurl themselves at enemy fire. Brian Delacroix is one such soldier. But, at least on our side of the pond, he makes it through to the other side. And he gets more out of life than just learning how to wield a weapon.

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson

Pamela was originally a plot device. I was told – get a crew member to loosen up. Really loosen up.

But Pamela had other plans.

Theme Music

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson
Amy Winehouse performing in Berlin in 2007

I was out walking, thinking over Intolerance and how to write it, when Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good came on the iPod. And that was it.

I listened to the song, over and over again, and Doctor Pamela Hudson was born.

Personality and Personal History

Controlling but out of control, with a healer’s profession but a selfish streak, Pamela was meant to be a femme fatale from the very beginning. In Intolerance, she is first introduced when Travis has figured out that there are female medical students coming to the NX-01 for an Immunology rotation. The assumption is that the women are single, and so he and Tripp Tucker and Malcolm Reed decide to compete for the women. When Pamela walks by, she’s wearing a not-too-revealing outfit, but her lips and nails are painted dark purple, and her hair is back and threatening to tumble down. So she puts her left hand up, and they see that she’s got a leather bracelet on and no rings on that hand. Wordlessly, she has communicated to them – I’m available.

She’s also communicated to them – I might be more than you bargained for.

Pamela is a child of privilege, and brilliant to boot (she went to Harvard Medical School), but her family carries a dark secret – ever since she was five years old, her father sexually abused her, while her mother watched. Her sister, Lisa, was unaffected.

She’s also (in conversations with fellow student Blair Claymore) established as being quite sexually liberated, to the point of worrying Blair. Blair, in contrast, is shown as the good girl. Both are attractive, but it’s Pamela who really turns heads.

In Together, her feelings are hurt when she is rejected – a rather unfamiliar scenario for her. In Temper, her Mirror counterpart is seen. In Fortune, she finds a soulmate in an unexpected place. And in Remembrance, her grand-nephew presents her eulogy.

Mirror Universe Counterpart

The Mirror Pamela has things even tougher than the one in the Prime Universe. In Temper, she is little more than one of José Torres‘s playthings (as are Blair and Karin Bernstein) in one of the alternate timelines. In Fortune and in He Stays a Stranger, she’s shown as a pinup girl. It’s unclear, at least in Temper, whether she’s a lab assistant or a doctor, and in the other Mirror Universe stories, she may be little more than a prostitute, if that.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson
Kaley Cuoco

I struggled a bit with figuring out who should “play” Pamela. I wanted someone who would be beautiful and sexy and smart, but also could evoke a certain amount of world-weary ennui. To my mind, Kaley Cuoco fit the bill rather well. Not only does she have serious geek cred, she also has some drama cred. I also felt she would be the kind of woman who Tripp would joke about as, “Please, you’re talking about the future Mrs. Tucker.”

Quote

“Never arrive to a party early or on time. No one should. It’s like the old Steady State theory of the universe. No beginning and no end. Or maybe it’s just turtles all the way down.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Pamela Hudson

For a character who was originally supposed to be a one-off, Pamela graduated to In Between Days main character status. However, as something of an outsider, she doesn’t fit the profile of the other In Between Days main characters like Lili O’Day or Doug Beckett.

Pure id, but with a heart underneath all that leather and langor, Pamela is, ultimately, a femme fatale motivated by good.