While watching Star Trek: Enterprise (and The Original Series and the other series, but particularly Enterprise), I was struck by how together and cute and all of that Tripp Tucker is.
And that is just not my experience of most engineers.
This is not an insult and I hope it is not taken that way. Rather, most of the engineers I have known have been shy and withdrawn people, far more comfortable with engines, wrenches, etc. than people. Scotty is much more of the epitome of a true engineer to me, and Geordi is pretty close as well. But Tucker, to my mind, is a bit too well-socialized, as is Miles O’Brien.
Of course Tucker is canon so he’s not totally gone from my writings. But I do try to write him with angst (Together, Temper, and Fortune) or at least a feeling that he’d rather look at an engine than talk or think about something more esoteric, like politics (Intolerance).
As for Geordi and Scotty, I try to give them different degrees of depth. Both of them have gotten romances or at least the promise of romance in my fiction. In Crackerjack, Geordi finds he’s falling for Rosemary Parker, but because of the time difference, it can never be. Scotty has somewhat better luck with M’Ress in Milk. As for Miles, he’s a family man. But he’s got a certain other talent, as demonstrated in You Make Me Want to Scream.
Other engineers and engineering students, because they are wholly created by me, fare somewhat differently.
Judy Kelly and Michael Rostov
These canon characters marry in my E2 stories.
This Gorn character reveals he is an engineering student in Truth. He describes a good career ahead of him as a civil engineer, where he can provide for Sophra and, hopefully, win over her parents.
In Wider Than the Sargasso Sea, this Klingon character is disappointed that a Breen is working in an engineering office where she had hoped to get an internship, and shows some prejudice when she tells Gabrielle Nolan that she has to cross that firm off her list if a Breen is working there. Like Bron, she is studying civil engineering, but she’s further along in her studies than he is.
This character is an engineer in only our universe but not the mirror (Reversal), where he’s a security crewman. In our universe, he starts off as third in Engineering, behind Tucker and Crossman. A lot of his work involves monitoring the warp containment field, plus he often runs the transporter. In the E2 stories, he does all sorts of odd tasks, including building an ultrasound machine.
In both universes, Jennifer starts out as the secondary in engineering, right behind Tucker. On the Defiant, it’s likely that she worked the night shift at least part of the time, which may have been how she at least initially hooked up with Aidan MacKenzie.
As a corollary to the characters who are only engineers in our universe, Frank is only an engineer in the mirror (here, he’s a planetary geologist). Eventually, in The Point is Probably Moot, he rises to the level of First Officer of the Defiant, when Andrew Miller commits suicide (Escape).
Kevin is the Chief Engineer for the Temporal Integrity Commission (Temper, The Point, etc.). He’s a lumbering beast of a man and is part-Gorn, tipping the scales at nearly a quarter of a metric ton.
Deirdre is Kevin’s young protegée and enjoys old time travel fiction, so she names the time ships (HG Wells, Audrey Niffenegger, Jack Finney, etc.). See A Long, Long Time Ago.
This Ferengi engineer works mostly on an older style ship called the Penar (The Point is Probably Moot).
This Calafan engineer is Kevin O’Connor’s love interest and works on Calafan time ships like The Light of Lo.
This engineer works on temporal mechanics for Section 31 in a forerunner to the Temporal Integrity Commission.
They keep it all together, and they keep it running like a top. Without engineers, there really couldn’t be any Star Trek at all.
I take names seriously, and, truth be told, that’s actually Star Trek canon. A lot of the named characters, particularly the ones who do not have English-style names, have meaningful appellations.
Take Hoshi Sato, for example. The first name means “star”. The surname means “at home”. Hence, she is “at home in the stars”.
A similar situation exists with Nyota Uhura. Nyota means “star” and Uhura means “freedom”. Are communications officers required to be named Star?
Canon to Fanfiction
For my characters, names have meanings that draw from heritage, repeat in order to show familial relationships, and have meanings unto themselves.
In Between Days
Doug Beckett is so named because Douglas means “dark stranger”, which is exactly what he is – a stranger from the Mirror Universe, first experienced in pitch darkness.
Lili O’Day‘s full name – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day – evokes several themes. Her first name means “free woman” and her middle name is of course a flower (and Malcolm refers to her, in the prime timeline, as Lili-Flower). Her surname sets up the contrast to Doug, for she is quite literally “of the day”.
Because the name Malcolm means “a devotee of Saint Columba“, and that is the patron saint of poets and bookbinders, I make Malcolm a gifted poet. The reed (which of course is the lower, non-flowering part of a plant), is evoked as he and Lili, in Together, talk about the flower and the reed, and she assures him that the flower is pretty and all, but the flower can’t live without the reed.
For Melissa Madden, in part it’s a shout-out to future canon character Martin Madden.
Melissa means “honey bee” and she is a rather earthy individual. As for Leonora Digiorno, Leonora means “light” (Malcolm incorrectly refers to her as the Lioness) and Digiorno is the same as O’Day, “of the day”. Her relationships are purely in the day, hence she is solely a daylight character.
Times of the HG Wells
The Wells characters were less name-driven but there are some highlights. Sheilagh and Darragh are both Irish-type spellings, meant to impart a somewhat exotic flavor. HD Avery is really Henry Desmond, with the middle name being a shout-out to Dominic Keating‘s first real role, in a British sitcom called Desmond’s. Carmen means “garden”, an offhanded joke as the character is a sophisticated urbanite. The characters Tom and Kevin hearken back to the In Between Days series and are meant to show a relationship to that earlier series.
Otra, the half-Witannen character, has a name meaning a small animal, like a mouse. I also used Glyph as the name of a Ferengi, as short nouns are canon for Ferengi names (e. g. Quark and Nog). Von is another Ferengi name, but I grabbed that one from baseball – Von Hayes (yet another shout-out to Steven Culp).
For this series, character names have to evoke a time period properly. Rosemary Parker’s name fits in with her birth in the 1920s, whereas Jacob, Benjamin and Dorcas all evoke the 1700s. Jim, the son of Benjamin and Dorcas, is a shout-out to Mark Twain’s Jim character in Huckleberry Finn.
Emergence and Mixing it Up
For both of these series, since there are several aliens, names had to be made up. Skrol is meant to sound a bit like Slar, the only known named Gorn. Etrina, Tr’Dorna and Sophra are all made-up names, meant to sound feminine. Bron is intended to evoke a feeling of brawn.
For Daranaeans, female names end with vowels whereas as male names often (but not always) end with an -s. Prime Wife females, being considered superior, are given names with a soft th- sound in them, such as Thessa, Dratha and Kathalia. This is the th- sound in thistle, rather than in the. The sound, anywhere in the word, is meant to mean “smell”, with a positive connotation. Secondaries get somewhat pretty names, often with m- sounds, like Morza and Mistra, but sometimes not, like Cria and Inta (in all fairness, the younger Inta, a secondary, is named after a last caste female). Third caste females tend to get shorter names, like Darri and Fyra and Cama. The men’s names are all over the place, from Elemus and Arnis to Craethe and Trinning.
Calafans love names and meanings so much that it’s a standard greeting to a new person – “what is your name, and what does it mean?” The first time Lili hears this, in Local Flavor, she is a bit appalled as it is a part of a come-on.
Men often get the -wev ending, which means “master of”, whereas women often get the yi- prefix, meaning “student of”. But the differences are not intended to be sexist. With no middle names and no last names, a lot hinges on a name, and they cannot be repeated. Therefore, names are given out by the government, and parents often petition for a name for their baby while the child is still in utero. Names are then released upon death. Names without either prefix include Treve (messenger) and Miva (clay).
For me, the naming of characters is a deeply person act. Alien names are a great deal of fun to come up with, as I put together sounds I like or that seem to harmonize, and then attach meanings to them. Sometimes a character doesn’t really “click” until he or she has been named. Then, suddenly, it can all fall into place.
The Empress is, of course, canon. But the second mirror universeEnterprise story ends with the beginning of her power grab. It doesn’t tell you whether she was successful and, if she was, what happened next.
In Reversal, the Empress’s power is well-established and has been consolidated. Doug offhandedly tells Lili that the Empress took about a year or so to get it all together and, in the meantime, had a child as well. That child turns out to be Jun Daniels Sato.
But the Empress is dissatisfied (and sexually voracious). She is looking for younger siblings for Jun. She understands Machiavelli enough to know that she needs a multitude of potential successors in order to keep herself in power (and healthy) as long as possible. Plus she needs to keep producing heirs as long as possible for, if a faction prefers her youngest child, that faction might just wait until the youngest one’s age of majority before becoming a physical threat to her. It’s a chance, but she’s got to take it.
Pamela is as intelligent as Hoshi (if not more so) but, ultimately, she turns out to not be ruthless. Instead, her motivations are her own damaged past and her hopes for the future. For Pamela, finding love brings her full circle and gives her what she truly needs. She is able to hang up the femme fatale act and enjoy life.
Marisol, on the other hand, is not motivated by anything positive whatsoever. As a much more classic femme fatale, Marisol is downright hazardous.
She is an assassin and a blackmailer, and treats Borin Yarin badly enough that she pays the ultimate price for her ruthlessness.
Two of my main femme fatales are doctors. Perhaps there is something to that, the feeling that, when other characters are vulnerable, a femme fatale can do the most damage. The trick, I feel, is to write the archetype without writing a cliché.
When I first started writing Reversal, I was beginning to come to grips with my own aging process. It’s inevitable – you begin to see yourself as not being so young anymore.
Enter the Calafans.
Described as being near both Klingon and Andorian space, the Lafa System is strategic to the nascent Federation. However, there’s more there than meets the eye, for the entire species is psionically gifted, and the region sits where the membrane between our universe and the mirror is at its thinnest.
The system is composed of four stars. In order from lightest to darkest, and largest to smallest, they are Lo, Abic, Fep and Ub. In the mirror, the largest star is red and is named Ub, whereas in our universe the largest star is white and is named Lo. Because both the largest (Lo in our universe, Ub in the mirror) and second-largest (Abic in our universe, Fep in the mirror) stars have planetary systems, and their orbits cross at various points, the numbering system cannot go from closest to a star to farthest away (by that logic, in our universe, Mercury would be Sol I and Earth would be Sol III, etc.). Instead, the planets are numbered in size order, from largest to smallest. There are twelve planets.
Lafa I is a gas giant close to the four stars and, much like our Jupiter, is very nearly a failed star. It is close to Lo and within the orbits of Abic, Fep and Ub. Therefore, the radiation levels are far too high to sustain life.
All of the other eleven planets are habitable.
The most important of the planets, Lafa II is the original home of the Calafan people. It is where Fep City and Point Abic are. This planet orbits outside of the four stars so, once they have all set, there is a true night. Elekai are native, and live on the southern hemisphere. Linfep are also native to this planet.
The Temporal Museum is eventually built here, and the Museum also owns land, which includes Doug and Lili‘s original home.
In Fortune, it’s revealed that there is an Unemployment Office here, staffed by Calafans.
Olowa grows here. It is within the orbits of Fep and Ub so there is no true night on the planet.
There are factories here, and the people speak with an accent that resembles an Irish brogue (Fortune, Local Flavor). It is the most remote planet in the entire system.
This is a smaller planet. Doug and Lili are trying to grow Mediterranean foods on it (olives, figs, etc.). There is a nude beach here.
On this small planet in the Lafa System, Melissa and Doug hunt and bring down a perrazin (Temper). Linfep live here, but they were likely brought there from Lafa II.
The Calafans feel that their four stars correspond to four gods. Lo and Ub are goddesses in both universes, whereas Abic and Fep are gods. According to the mythology of both universes, the passage between the universes started out as being free and clear, and Lo and Abic married, as did Fep and Ub, but the couples were all unfaithful. As a result, Lo bore Fep’s child and Ub bore Abic’s. For their second children, paternity was secured. Then the children intermarried, so that generation married its own half-siblings, making this mythology somewhat akin to ancient Greek or Egyptian texts.
Furthermore, the species was beginning to experience a very real scientific event known as speciation. That is, there had been a mutation. For the Calafans, it showed up as differing skin color. The species was diverging. Hence the leaders (e. g. the four main persons) decided to erect a barrier between the two universes. Families were split apart. The feel should be very much like the Berlin Wall or the two Koreas. Silver Calafans stayed in our universe; copper ones went to the mirror.
Aging and Maturation Process
Calafan aging is the reverse of our own. Children of both genders are born completely bald, and stay that way until about their thirties, when they begin to sprout hair. In addition, their extremities are solid-colored. However, as they age, the color begins to break down, eventually to a complicated scrollwork pattern that is as individual as a fingerprint. When a Calafan is thoroughly devoid of extremity coloration (known as calloo), death is near.
Dreams and Psionic Abilities
Since everyone is gifted – and the dishes on Point Abic amplify the psionic waves – dreams are shared, not only between dreamers but crossing the universes. This is, of course, how Doug and Lili meet. For Calafans, it is common and, as a result, their relationships with persons from the other side are condoned. Their marriage vows even take it into account (A Kind of Blue).
While I haven’t created a full-on language for the Calafans, I have created a lot of words, such as miva (clay), fep (small) and the yi- prefix, which means “student of”.
Calafans do not have surnames; hence, the first names must be requested as they cannot repeat. Names are considered to be meaningful and parents are cautioned to choose wisely. However, there are names that are jokes. If parents name their son Fepwev, it means “master of the small”. This can mean teacher or microbiologist, but it can also be construed as being “master of very little”, e. g. mastery of a very small domain.
Many male names include the -wev suffix (master of) whereas female names often contain the yi- prefix. However, sexism is not the intention.
Because I establish first contact as occurring in 2157 (although first contact between Calafans and Vulcans, Klingons and Ferengi – and possibly also Andorians – has occurred earlier), the Calafans aren’t officially present earlier than that. However, Jonathan spots a woman who turns out to be Calafan while on Risa (And the Livin’ is Easy). In the E2 stories, a Calafan runs a way station where Imvari bring slaves to the Orion market. But in both instances, the encounters are fleeting and the name of the species is not mentioned.
For a species that was originally intended to be something of a villain, I ended up with more and better opportunities to showcase the Calafans and define their culture. There will be more written about them, I am sure, as I continue to get to know them.
Susan was originally just an ex-girlfriend of Doug‘s. She was meant to be mentioned quickly and then set aside. But she became even more interesting as I wrote more of Reversal.
Susan is played by former Miss Ghana, Yvonne Nelson. Beautiful, intelligent and a little naughty, I feel Ms. Nelson evokes that wonderfully well. She is someone who a lot of guys would lament as being “the one that got away”.
A school teacher, Susan is playful and even rather sexually liberated, according to Jay in the E2 stories and Doug in Together. But all is not right, for in both universes she depends upon synthbeer to get through her days. She has blackouts and, before meeting Lili, it is Doug’s greatest fear and challenge to deal with that. He ends up walking away. Jay, too, cannot take her alcoholism. His departure causes guilt that eats at him at the start of the E2 stories.
With Doug, in the Mirror, Susan is a stabilizing influence, at least to start. They meet on Titania, and are together for a few months. But then she begins to experience blackouts. This causes Doug to panic, and he leaves.
But she remembers him, and refers to him as “Soldier Boy”, years later, during the first alternate timeline in Temper.
By the time of Fortune, Doug recognizes that she needed treatment and sympathy, and he feels badly for not doing that for her when he had the chance.
In our universe, a similar situation plays out with Jay. In the E2 stories, he reveals a sexually adventurous side of Susan that I never explore elsewhere.
But he, too, was blindsided by her alcoholism, and unable to cope. Just like Doug, he leaves abruptly. And just like Doug, he is consumed by guilt over that, but more so. Doug is able to get past it and be with Lili. But it takes a lot more for Jay to get past things and, in the prime time period (aligning with canon), he barely does so and, by then, it’s a bit too late.
In both universes, Susan eventually ends up with, and marries, Aidan. For Susan, in our universe, she gets acceptance from someone who can handle her episodes and, perhaps, help her to heal.
In the mirror, Aidan protects her, and they team up well, to parent his son with Empress Hoshi, Kira. With Aidan, her life improves dramatically in both universes. With Aidan, it feels like she just might make it.
Susan exists in both universes, and is mainly defined by her relationships. In Temper, she is past her prime and the effects of years of alcoholism have taken their toll. But in later stories, such as He Stays a Stranger, she is in better control.
“I’m going to assume you don’t want me dead.”
This character seems to have all sorts of strikes against her. But she’s a survivor. And there is a reason why she was important to both Jay and Doug and, eventually, to Aidan.
This is a canon character, of course. Hoshi Sato (her name, literally, means “at home in the stars”) is the Communications Officer on the NX-01, with the rank of Ensign, which she retains throughout the entire run of the series. Also according to canon, she eventually rises to the rank of Lieutenant Commander (a rank that I, semi-incorrectly, use interchangeably with the rank of Lieutenant), and also marries a man named Takashi Kimura. In the canon E2 story, her two children are named Toru and Yoshiko. I go with those as being the names of her prime timeline children as well.
Hoshi is also, in canon, extremely intelligent (probably a linguistic genius) but, at least in the first two seasons in particular, is a bit insecure. She is the most likely to jump if the ship is attacked or bumped. She is also likely to doubt her own obvious abilities.
As in canon, this character is portrayed by actress Linda Park.
In addition to her canon quirks, I tend to write her as still being a bit more tentative, even after the Xindi War. In There’s Something About Hoshi, she is encouraged by the captain to stretch a bit. However, the reaction there proves to be far too much for her, and she balks a bit.
In Together, she reveals a playful and sexy side but, in the end, chooses career over romance, failing to realize that Tripp is truly passionate about her.
She’s also caring. As Malcolm‘s First Officer on the Bluebird, she’s comforting when he receives the news in Equinox. She also defiantly says she will take the fall if there’s any real flak from the diverting of the ship to Lafa II instead of heading straight to the Klingon Neutral Zone, as planned. However, her retirement is planned, at a young age, as she is seeing her children grow up without her, and fears she is missing out.
In the E2 scenario, she ends up, in both iterations, with the Quartermaster, Chandrasekar Khan. In canon, her husband is not named, so there is room to be creative in this area. Sekar is gentle and giving, but also keeps her from some of the worst of what’s out there. While he is no warrior, he intercepts problems and does his best to make her life easier.
Hoshi’s canon husband is never seen on screen. I have really only written them as long-term marrieds, and never at the start of their courting. That could potentially develop into a later project.
In There’s Something About Hoshi, she laments about having settled during the E2 situation. For her, Ted seems to be another form of settling, as she sees him as being almost, but not quite, romantic. It’s as if he keeps missing his marks. When she is injected with a compound intended to make her irresistible, he is one of the few men who does not bother her, and is the only one who is heterosexual. He explains that the compound didn’t seem to work on him, as he was already there.
They are forcibly paired up in Together, but they are the only couple who, truly, start off in a non-hostile manner. Instead, they vow to “make the most of it”. The dance – literally – between them moves from fooling around to, eventually, a declaration of love on Tripp’s part, which Hoshi does not reciprocate. Unknowingly and unintentionally, she breaks his heart in her efforts to stay on the ship and remain able to work with everyone, including him and, presumably, T’Pol, his ex. She is thoroughly unaware that he is still interested, even as they are heading into the time of the canon These Are the Voyages episode and, instead, agrees to a date with José Torres. However, she might have a little residual jealousy, as is depicted in Broken Seal. An anomaly hit briefly impairs her judgment, and she stages an elaborate prank against Commander Tucker – but it’s possible that some of that stems from Tucker’s attempt to reconcile with T’Pol, an attempt that, in keeping with canon, fails.
Because I write so much about the Empress Hoshi Sato, her mirror counterpart will be written about separately.
“Well, I suppose if I had a dinosaur, I’d sleep better, too.”
The quintessential young career woman, Hoshi, in some ways, was not taken far enough in the series, I feel. In part this is because this character lost screen time, in favor of Tucker and T’Pol. But there were ways that the character could have stretched more. I hope to get a chance to write some more about Hoshi, and stretch her in my own way.
Literature and books, of course, are canon. Even paper books are a part of some sets.
But what are people really reading? In the canon Shuttlepod One episode, Malcolm reveals that he’s brought along a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses for diversion. But I’m with Tripp Tucker on that one – it’s just too dense for my tastes.
For my characters, one of the most important works of literature is Jane Eyre. It crops up in all sorts of places. In Together, the paper book is given as a belated wedding gift to Lili and Doug, by Hoshi and Chip. The book even has an inscription – “One good love story deserves another.”– Hoshi and Chandler. This is also the first time the reader sees Chip’s full name. Doug reveals that the work most likely does not exist in the mirror.
However, in Temper, it is Malcolm and Lili who are reading the book together, and are discussing it. It’s probably not a terribly scholarly discussion, but it is more than just “I liked the book. Did you?”
A Family Heirloom
In Fortune, the book passes as a cherished inheritance. First, Lili mentions it to Q, as evidence of being civilized. Then it passes from Malcolm to Neil when Malcolm passes. But that’s just the electronic version. When Leonora passes, the paper book is again transferred, and it is given to Marie Patrice, in recognition of Empy as being “… the strong, independent heroine of [her] own life.”
Trek mentionings of Shakespeare are canon; the movies are littered with them.
Mainly, I mention Julius Caesar and MacBeth. Lili recalls to Q that she had to memorize Portia’s speech to Brutus from Julius Caesar, about the relationship between a true husband and a true wife. She uses this memory to bring Doug full circle and receive his confession.
References to MacBeth are more fleeting, except as regards to the meaning of Malcolm Reed’s first name. Names are important to Calafans and to the Empress Hoshi Sato, so Malcolm’s name’s meaning crops up from time to time. Since Malcolm is a character from “the Scottish play”, there’s the oblique reference. Furthermore, in The Mess, Lili briefly thinks of the line, “Out, out, damned spot!”
There is also the writing of original Shakespearean sonnets, written by both Malcolm (in Intolerance, Fortune and the E2 stories) and Bron (in The Reptile Speaks).
Biblical references abound in the E2 stories in particular. Many of the wedding ceremonies involve short sermons with passages from various Bible stories. The stories of Solomon choosing not to slice an infant in half (to illustrate the choice that the Muslim bride Maryam Haroun made between two suitors, with the help of Doctor Phlox), Adam and Eve (used in Andrew and Shelby‘s wedding), and Ruth (to illustrate a point about the bride, Karin Bernstein, following the groom, Joshua Rosen) are all a part of various ceremonies.
Furthermore, when Jay and Lili wed, Jay refers to a biblical admonition to marry a dead brother’s widow, as this is right after Malcolm’s death.
In Concord, because Charlotte and Jacob are getting on in years and have not had any children, Jacob writes to her, expressing the hope that she could “be the Sarah to my Abraham“. That is, that she would have their first child far later than expected.
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
To be sure, the mirror universe is an obvious analog to Through the Looking Glass. In particular, in Reversal, when Doug passes from the mirror to our universe, he is passing through the looking glass and life is, in many ways, reversed for him.
Furthermore, in the old Interphases story, The Puzzle, Travis Mayweather has an experience that involves a bottle with “Drink me” written on it and unchecked growth and a pool of water (although it is water, and not tears) around a table. When that adventure is over, he locates the book and sends electronic copies to two people he has met, hoping they’ll enjoy the gifts.
Intelligent characters enjoy reading just about as much as real people do. I’m sure I’ll revisit this topic as my characters crack open and read more books.
Malcolm Reed is, by far, one of my all-time favorite Star Trek characters.
This character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon. The actor, Dominic Keating, is British (he’s from Leicester), but the character is from Malaysia. Repressed, uptight and a lover of big guns and even bigger explosions, Reed was rumored to be the first regular gay character. However, according to Keating, the rumors were Internet hype more than anything else, and homosexuality was never intended to be a part of the portrayal. This has not stopped a lot of fan fiction writers from giving him a slash angle. I do not. Instead, since all of his relationships and possible relationships are straight, I write him as completely heterosexual.
As in canon, Reed is played by actor Dominic Keating.
Canon states that Reed is repressed and shy around women. He’s also very competent at his job, possibly the most competent person behind T’Pol. Self-sacrificing to a fault, Reed is uncomfortable fraternizing with his captain, and feels that the relationship should remain at arm’s-length. Furthermore, Malcolm is afraid of water and is the ship’s chess champion.
So much for canon.
As I have written him, he also has a fondness for Scrabble and various word games and puzzles, enjoying competition but also working to improve his mind. He’s an avid reader (some of that reading is canon), and is particularly fond of Jane Eyre. Whether he sees himself as Rochester is yet to be determined.
A cautious lover and a natural pessimist, Malcolm is a bit afraid of rejection and has a bit of dysfunction at times. He keeps to himself, which tends to make relationships problematic at best. But when he meets someone and he likes her, he latches on rather quickly. However, at the beginning of much of my fanfiction (and in keeping with canon), he tends to fall for women who are either thoroughly inappropriate for him or are utterly unattainable, a fact that he acknowledges in Concord and Together, in particular.
As I write Malcolm, he has two major relationships which define him.
With Pamela, Malcolm feels he may be falling in love, but she pulls him back and tells him, no, you’re mistaken. He finds it freeing when he realizes that she’s right.
But Pamela also stretches his limits, and loosens him up. A part of that is due to her prowess and her proclivities. He finds himself enjoying a bit of naughty bedroom play, and participates in some, but not all of it. At the end of Intolerance they part, assuring each other that they will become, essentially, Friends with Benefits.
With Lili, the relationship is considerably stronger and more loving. Malcolm finds that he can be a lot freer with her than he has ever been with anyone before, even Pamela. He fulfills the destiny that was denied him in the original, canon E2 episode, and becomes a family man when Lili gives birth to Declan (Temper, Fortune). Initially, in Reversal, Lili is denied him, as she goes with Doug.
In later life, he and Lili marry, an event prepared for in Equinox and then shown in Fortune. Their later married life is briefly shown in The Rite.
Lili also pairs with him in the E2 stories I am currently writing. In one scenario, they have a daughter who they name Pamela Morgan. In another, in keeping with canon, they do not have children.
In Concord, Malcolm pines for Charlotte but never truly attempts to win her. Instead, seeing a picture of Lili after his encounter with Charlotte, Malcolm experiences an eerie sense of déja vu.
In Intolerance, it’s revealed that Malcolm is a gifted poet, so long as he has motivation. And Pamela provides that in spades. Malcolm’s medium of choice is Shakespearean sonnets. I have written him three for her, two for Declan (in Fortune) and one for Lili in the E2 stories. Here is my favorite, the second sonnet for Pamela –
A burning ember, burst to flame as kindred souls entwine and merge the knave, he could not be the same falling, ever falling over precipice and verge
Her face was fair, her mind was keen her body offered untold pleasure And yet her heart remained unseen — could the knave unlock this treasure? The Queen, she came down from above
She changed the knave, who did it all for love
Malcolm Reed has a canon counterpart, who I name Ian and kill off before Reversal. But Ian has a rather rich afterlife, particularly in Equinox and the E2 stories. I’ll cover him in a separate entry.
“It’s the stuff that makes up your life. You have allowed me to be a part of it. That’s almost as intimate as holding your body to mine, touching and kissing and looking at all of your, your secret places.”
For a canon character with a comparatively sketchy background, I’ve been happy to fill in the blanks. And I hear his voice better than any of the other canon characters, except perhaps for Jay Hayes. I could tell a thousand stories about Malcolm Reed. I feel I have merely scratched the surface.
Portrait of a Character – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day
Charlotte Lilienne O’Day is a fantastic creation.
Every author needs a character surrogate. I have a few – Sheilagh Bernstein, Eriecho, Gina Nolan, Ethan Shapiro, Seppa, and HD Avery come to mind. But none are as attuned to me, or as similar to me, as Charlotte Lilienne O’Day. Lili.
I was thinking about writing Reversal for a while before I started, and I needed a name for my heroine. So I decided on her full name for a few reasons. First, the name flows and is pretty. But – bringing her down to earth – her initials are CLO’D. Did her parents really mean to refer to her as a clod? Perhaps, but not in a negative manner. Lili reveals, in Fortune, that her mother was a potter, so perhaps the backhanded reference to clod refers to a moldable clod of earth.
I also liked the short name, Lili, as it’s casual yet feminine, but also feels more youthful than Lili really is. Lili started off, in Reversal, as being 48 years old, just like I was at the time.
It took me several months to come up with a real face for Lili, who I describe as having eyes that are the lightest blue – nearly white in appearance, although she is not blind – and hair that is straight and platinum blonde. Her body is a little chunky although not too much, with a decent albeit not a knockout figure. Her lower teeth are a little crooked. She is self-conscious about her belly.
After kicking around and, ultimately, rejecting the idea of the actress Jessica Tuck, I went with actress Naomi Watts.
Watts is lovely, to be sure, but is also fighting some signs of aging like parentheses lines around her mouth, much like Lili is. Her eyes aren’t light enough; contact lenses would have to fix that. But she also, to my mind, carries some emotional heft. I like it that she’s not an Angelina Jolie.
Personality and Background
Smart yet not overly so, Lili’s talent is in cooking. But she never would have known that if not for some seemingly unrelated events, plus sheer determination. At age nine, her parents die in a house fire at their home on Titan, in New France. Lili, at the time, was visiting her mother’s parents, the Ducasses.
This photograph is from a few weeks before. Lili describes it as one of her best and most enduring memories of her mother. Ironically, this picture first shows up in the Mirror Universe. Lili remembers the events leading up to the fire in her dreams, in the E2 stories, and then her subconscious supplies additional, unseen information, such as her father, Peter, shoving her mother to the floor and laying on top of her, one last act of protection.
Master of Fire
Initially afraid of fire, her maternal grandmother, Lilienne, makes her cook. Lili explains to Malcolm, in Together, that she was a difficult teenager, getting into minor trouble such as joyriding. She loses her virginity to her High School boyfriend, Paul Mayer – that act is also recalled in a dream. She is close to leading a dull life when she gets a chance to cook for the head of the Mars Culinary Institute. Lili makes lobster en croute, which is a kind of strained bisque in puff pastry. On the strength of that dish, she is admitted to the MCI and graduates. Her first job out of school is at the Tethys Tavern, where she not only cooks, but also tends bar on occasion.
Eventually, Lili becomes skilled enough, and is in enough demand, that she opens her own restaurant, Voracious, in San Mateo. She describes the restaurant during Reversal (again, this is a memory seen through the prism of dreaming). It also shows up in Voracious, where the NX-01‘s Chef, William Slocum, goes to dinner. He enjoys her Harvest Salad so much that he talks to her about joining up. The Xindi war is raging, and Lili remembers the attack.
The city is still in aftershock mode. Slocum brings in Archer (I have not written that part yet) and Lili sells Voracious and comes aboard the NX-01. Her first day is chronicled in Harvest. She has been hired to act as sous-chef, pastry chef and saucier. Her duties include making desserts and birthday cakes, such as is shown in Protocols, plus she cleans up quite a bit. It isn’t until the E2 stories that she gets any help.
Depending upon the story or the series, Lili experiences deep and abiding love, in a way that most of us can only dream of. While she has had boyfriends and lovers, at least twelve before the start of Reversal, she doesn’t really begin to have love until then.
Charlotte Lilienne meets Doug as a part of shared dreaming with the Mirror Universe, as is shown in Reversal. Her relationship with Doug is earthy and very physical, but she essentially tames him. When it comes time to exchange I love yous, they are both indirect. He tells her, “It would be really stupid if we were to fall in love.” And she replies, “It’s too late.”
With Doug, her life settles into a domestic routine quickly. In A Kind of Blue, she finds out she’s pregnant, and they quickly wed. Then in Pacing, andThe Gift, she receives a truly meaningful gift from Doug, meant to sustain her for their life together. InLocal Flavor andFriday Visit, their relationships with friends are shown.
Then in Together, their relationship is challenged, and it finally comes to an understanding in Temper and then in Fortune. Doug and Lili have two children, Jeremiah Logan (known as Joss) and Marie Patrice (often called Empy).
With Malcolm, Charlotte Lilienne is different. Their relationship is somewhat freer, but that’s at least partly because, not until much later in life, they don’t live together.
Their meeting in Harvest is meant to be a foreshadowing of things to come, as they shake hands for too long, he looks her squarely in the eye and she drops a teacup. Because they are not together (Malcolm is her other fellow in her open marriage with Doug; Melissa Madden is Doug’s side girl in that same arrangement), there are a lot of good-byes and hellos.
So the homecoming in Temper is meant to be particularly sweet, and their time together at a hotel for a few days after that is meant to almost feel like a honeymoon, as is a shared dream during Fortune. With Malcolm, who is also a factor in the E2 stories, she can trade intellectual quips and insights. They read and talk about Jane Eyre. They play Scrabble and chess together. There is more highbrow business going on than with Doug, who often has trouble expressing himself.
Jay is only a factor in the E2 stories, but the events of Harvest, Penicillin and Demotion foreshadow some of that.
In Harvest, she notices Jay’s eyes when they are introduced, and he tells her that he likes blueberries when she asks about a favorite.
Then in Penicillin, he is coughing and so she makes him (and the rest of the crew) a little Jewish Penicillin, chicken soup with matzoh balls. In Demotion, Hayes disciplines Daniel Chang in front of Lili and her roommate, Jennifer Crossman. He looks and nods at them but doesn’t address them, a prelude to the E2 stories.
In the E2 stories, Jay and Lili circle each other warily (she also circles Malcolm) and do not get together for a few years. He needs to get over Susan Cheshire, she needs to see him as a potential mate. Things are good between them. He is a bit better at expressing himself than Doug, and develops a meaningful pet name for her – Sparrow. In Equinox, after his death, he accidentally refers to her that way, which alarms her. This is because, in Equinox, she doesn’t know about the first iteration in the E2 stories. She only knows about the second E2 iteration.
In Together, Lili reveals to Malcolm that, when they met an NX-01 manned by their descendants, she learned that she had married José Torres. Malcolm reveals that he had not had anyone. His revelation is canon, so this, the second E2 iteration, is the one currently being written so as to dovetail with Star Trek: Enterprise canon.
As an Engineering crewman, José is far from being a romantic guy, which is what Lili craves. But he’s practical, and he cares for her a great deal. Her feelings about him are a lot more mixed, and there is less of the deep and abiding love as is seen with the others. Lili is settling, and she and the reader know it, but there is no one else.
They never actually meet in life. But, as he explains in a dream in Equinox, counterpart to counterpart, he cannot help but be taken by her. In the third of the E2 stories, he meets her on the last night of her life, in a dream, and they dance. And in the fourth, Ian reveals that he has been tasked with guiding her and keeping her company, comforting her in her darkest hours.
She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time
This is not only the name of the Xindi Insectoid that Lili kills during an episode of Fortune and feels the aftermath of in The Mess. It is also, in a way, what you could call Lili herself. But she has a total of (as of the time of this writing) seven children, depending upon which stories and series you read.
Joss Beckett and Joss Reed-Hayes
These sons are meant to be nearly identical, with Beckett as the son of the Mirror Universe husband and Reed-Hayes the son of the Prime Universe E2 first iteration husband. Joss is the one she depends upon to keep things together.
Marie Patrice Beckett and Madeline Reed-Hayes
Much like the two versions of Joss, these daughters are, respectively, children of the Mirror or the Prime Universe. However, their personalities diverge more. Marie Patrice is a bit of a materialistic person whereas Madeline grows up to become a Tactical Officer.
Declan Reed and Pamela Reed-Hayes
Both the children of Malcolm Reed, they are in the Prime Universe timeline and the E2 first iteration timeline, respectively. These children diverge the most. Declan is one of my visual artist characters whereas Pamela becomes a doctor, much like Pamela Hudson, who she is meant to evoke but not be named after, as the E2 denizens could not possibly have known about Dr. Hudson.
Maria Elena Torres
As Lili’s only child during the E2 second iteration, Maria Elena (named for Marie Helêne) is a bit of a wild card. As of the writing of this post, I have not yet determined how I want her to be. But the second iteration is more somber. Maria Elena will be one of the few bright spots in that version of Lili’s life.
Lili is more defined by her subconscious than any of my characters, even the Calafans.
When I first wrote her, that first moment, she is in the middle of a dream, and it turns out to be a dream she shares with Doug, in Reversal. Her ability to share dreams gets enhancements from being in Calafan space. Eventually, she gets dream amplifier alloy to put on her person, in the form of her wedding ring from Doug (A Kind of Blue) and the key charm from Malcolm (Temper). In addition, the Calafans paint her with calloo-like tattoos made from the same material, callidium (Reversal). She is a dream collector and a dream projector in a lot of ways. Lili interacts in her dreams and utterly believes them.
In the E2 stories, she has no such amplifications. But Ian explains to her that she has some psionic abilities. She’s just not able to really focus them well. Hence, when he is with her in her dreams, she can hear him, and can feel him to hold her while they dance, but she generally can’t see him.
The main characters in In Between Days, except for Pamela Hudson, are all related to some sort of ancient element. Doug is air, Malcolm is water, Melissa is the earth, and Leonora is communication. Lili, because of how her parents died, and because of her skills at cooking, is fire. Doug and Malcolm both refer to her, at various times, as “the white-hot flame”. Jay even mentions that, while on his deathbed.
The Mirror Lili (called Charlotte) is at home during the house fire at the O’Day home on June 12th, 2118. She and her younger brother, Declan, die along with their parents. Jay does refer to seeing her in the afterlife during a dream in Equinox, just after Doug’s death. He reports one of the pleasant things about heaven is you can be any age you like, even ones you never were in life. It comforts the grieving Lili to know her counterpart can be old enough for real love, and can experience it. Since Ian says the counterparts are also taken with each other, he could very well be a part of the love that Charlotte might be finally experiencing.
“I figured I didn’t deserve to have survived, like I wasn’t good enough and I hadn’t done anything to be allowed to be the sole repository of my family’s memories and their love and their talents and everything else. [and] I got into trouble and I didn’t face it much. I know now what a difficult child I must have been. It wasn’t until I became a master of fire that I began to process it. I began to have a handle on what had destroyed my family, and I could turn it to something that was almost good. And I began to slowly realize that my hopelessly old-fashioned, ancient and unhip grandparents were doing the very best they could for me, and that I should try and, and make it so that things wouldn’t be so hard for them.”
I love this character. I cannot describe quite how much I do. But that makes sense, as so much of me is in her. Of course I know where the lines are. I have no children; I have a conventional marriage.
And I am not a professional chef; my parents (as of the writing of this post) are alive and well. But there is something about Lili. From her vulnerability to her superficial fretting about her less than perfect stomach to her sass to her whacking the hell out of She Who Almost Didn’t Breed In Time to how she sings to Joss to how she brings Jay out of his shell and gets Malcolm to loosen up and feel that even he can cry sometimes. All of this, and more, make her, to me, an utterly irresistible character who I cannot stop writing about. I am all characters, and all characters are me, but Charlotte Lilienne hits the most marks.
Aidan’s origin was to be a not necessarily perfectly bright Tactical guy. He was meant to be the best-looking man on the NX-01. He was meant to be your classic tall, dark and handsome guy. On the way, things changed a bit.
After Reversal, Aidan was, at least in the Mirror Universe, fairly well doomed. But I wanted to redeem him, because I thought the character could have a chance. As for our side of the pond, Aidan was just okay. He was Malcolm Reed‘s essential right-hand man and night shift fill-in, but he didn’t seem to have too much fire – particularly for a Tactical man.
What brought a lot of it together for me was the portrayal. I decided on someone who is tall and dark, but not necessarily what we would, conventionally, think of as handsome. After all, perhaps tastes have changed in the future. This was a way to set out the premise.
Enter Vinny Del Negro. Del Negro is a former NBA player (hence he’s tall, at 6’4″) but was never really stellar, except in free throw shooting. He’s currently a coach in the NBA. He’s generally not seen as the world’s greatest coach, either. To me, he fit the bill as a guy who might have a lot of potential and there are two ways to play that – stunning success or abject failure. Both themes play out in the stories.
Aidan is supremely confident and intelligent. He’s got the looks, he’s got the job and he’s got the ladies. But – there’s always something more to strive for.
In Together, he goes after all three bridesmaids and is turned down by all of them, undoubtedly due to being too arrogant and cocky.
However, he’s loyal and smart, and eventually gets his due. Malcolm even recommends him for a captaincy, in Equinox. This is the capstone of a career path that moves him from an Ensign in Reversal and Together, then to a Lieutenant and even Acting Tactical Officer inFortune and, finally, to a Commander in Flight of the Bluebird before Malcolm Reed‘s generous recommendation.
In Reversal, it’s established that he likes Jenny Crossman. This is furthered as he goes on a somewhat disastrous date with Lili when he brings along Brian Delacroix to act as a wingman so that he can go for it with Jennifer. However, Jenny’s got other plans.
In Together, he’s still not settled but, by Fortune, he ends up with Susan Cheshire.
The E2 stories are different and he ends up marrying Jennifer in both kick backs in time.
At the time of Reversal, the Mirror Universe Aidan has established himself as a ladies’ man. However, unlike Doug, he fails to resist Empress Hoshi, and so he is relegated to becoming babysitter for her growing brood of children (and fathers her second son, Kira). This is Aidan’s disgrace.
By the time of First Born and Temper, Aidan’s humiliation is complete, and he is used to accepting abusive orders, all in the name of keeping the peace and also keeping himself out of harm’s way. But he’s also grown as a person, and is the best parent on the ISS Defiant, by far.
He gets his real chance in Temper and again in He Stays a Stranger, when Rick Daniels gets to go to the Mirror, which (according to the events that unfold in First Born) is normally not allowed, as the timeline has been damaged. Aidan and Susan (who is now his wife) are given the chance to finally get out. They take it, and end up on Lafa II.
“I would rather take care of the children.”
For a character who was supposed to be a lummox, almost a redshirt to be toyed with by Empress Hoshi and, on our side, possibly expendable, Aidan grew into a more dynamic character the more I wrote about him. In the end, on both sides of a proverbial pond, he develops some very real values.