Inspiration comes from all sorts of places. Because my first exposure to Star Trek was watching the original series in its first run, naturally some inspiration comes from the big flashing box in the living room.
Star Trek itself is, of course, an inspiration. And there are a lot of cross-references among the various series, plus the films. I’ll explore that in another blog entry.
QL shows up in all sorts of places. Richard Daniels’s boss is the feminine version of Al – Admiral Carmen Calavicci. The premise of the Times of the HG Wells series is to put back what a faction has meddled with – the reverse of Quantum Leap. Reversal‘s reference to the Defiant‘s database as being so full of holes that it’s like Swiss cheese is a direct reference. Richard’s original girlfriend, Tina, is another reference. So is him being called “Future Man”, a play on the “Future Boy” episode. Even a calla lily in a groom’s lapel is a shout-out to the series.
Culp played Major J. Hayes on Enterprise and so a lot of references swirl around him and his various television roles. References to Desperate Housewives come from E2 characters Bree Tanner and Rex Ryan and Reversal characters Jennifer Crossman and Brian Delacroix are references to Marcia Cross, the actress who played his wife on that show.
There are also some references to JAG, including character Aidan MacKenzie, a shout-out to character Sarah MacKenzie. Both are called “Mac”. In addition, character Melissa Madden is “played” by Catherine Bell, who of course played Sarah MacKenzie.
There’s even a throwaway reference to ER – Culp’s character was named Dave Spencer, which is also the name I’ve given to Tina April’s stepfather.
Malcolm is a major character in the In Between Days series. Therefore, there are a lot of references around him as well. In Intolerance, the character names Blair, Claymore, Nguyen, Owen and Will all have something to do with Keating.
The surname Sloane is a quick shout-out to Cheers. That was Diane Chambers’s boyfriend in the pilot. Chip Masterson‘s real first name, Chandler, is a reference to Friends. So is the throwaway reference to one of Melissa Madden’s sisters – Monica. Her sister Meghan is a reference to The Thorn Birds.
There are more references, and undoubtedly there will be more to come. Can you spot them all?
With Andrew Miller, who was originally part of The Light, I wanted a character who was half-Jewish and half-Christian (Presbyterian). Andy is also something of a foil and a romantic rival to Ethan Shapiro for Karin Bernstein‘s affections, and is a part of Waiting. Then later, in Fortune, as the results of that rivalry are finally shown.
My vision for Andy was of a somewhat tall, dark-haired Jewish guy, and so I hit upon the idea of Adrien Brody. I also liked the idea of Brody, given the very ethnic nose he’s got. So Andrew, even though he’s half and half, shows his Jewish roots rather plainly in his looks. I also liked the idea of him having something of a hangdog, mournful look to him. Andy, while a generally fun guy and a good friend, is perhaps a bit sad in his life.
While his actions in the The Light and Waiting show him as being the romantic partner of Karin Bernstein, things turn out somewhat differently for Andy. In Take Back the Night, he is dating Lucy Stone, the new Science Officer after T’Pol‘s departure. And in Fortune, he is still with her – and she is more of a true match for him. In the E2 stories I am writing as of the posting of this blog entry, Lucy is not on the ship, so he instead ends up with Shelby Pike.
“You know we’ll stand with you, man.”
Andrew’s life in the mirror is far tougher. In Temper, in both the primary timeline and in one of the alternates, he ends up with the Empress Hoshi Sato, and not necessarily fully willfully. In Fortune, Escape and The Point is Probably Moot, the consequences of a different romantic choice come to the fore. Here, he fathers Melissa Madden‘s son. Andy’s life does not end well in the mirror, but at least it’s on his own terms.
As a mid-level Science Crewman, who eventually becomes an Ensign, Andrew works in the Biology Lab, a position somewhat similar to canon character Ethan Novakovich. In the E2 stories, because they need an additional doctor, Andy trains to be a medic. His duties include delivering babies.
Well-liked and upstanding, but a bit bratty at times, Andrew rises to the occasion when he must and, overall, does the right thing, in both universes.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
When I wrote Reversal, one of the things I wanted was for Empress Hoshi to have a child. This was a somewhat quick decision but, the more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea for Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction. The intention was, essentially, that Empress Hoshi, like Livia from Suetonius, would be a viper of a mother, breeding as much as possible (and with as many different men as possible) so as to assure the succession. For Hoshi, it’s also a matter of personal survival.
Hoshi knows that the way that anyone moves up in the Mirror Universe is via assassination. She’s got an enormous target painted on her back. So she needs protection.
At the same time, she’s one hot little number. And, in my fanfiction, about three-quarters of all of the children born in the MU are male, which is reflected in things like starship crew manifests. Hence it’s a combination of lots of men plus a sexy young Empress looking for protection. So she hits on a plan.
The plan is to have as many kids as possible, but all by different fathers – the members of her senior staff. She knows that there’s been a genetic mutation which not only skews the number of offspring in favor of males, it also skews male behavior in favor of good fatherhood. Therefore, in order to assure the survival of their offspring, these men won’t go after Hoshi (at least not while the kids are small). And then, when the kids are bigger, it’s a lot harder to just kill them off.
But this all comes later. Before the plan is the seduction.
In First Born, we see the aftermath of the first birth. Whether Daniels seduces Hoshi, or it’s the other way around, is tough to say (as of this posting, I haven’t written it yet). In that story, I establish Daniels as already being a womanizer. As for Hoshi, her round heels are canon. So who goes after whom?
Does it really matter?
The product of that first seduction is Jun (pronounced JOON). The problem is, much like John Connor in The Terminator, he’s temporally paradoxical. Because Daniels works for the Temporal Integrity Commission, a lot of fancy footwork must be performed in order for Jun to be able to live. The first requirement is that he not be able to father a child.
Another piece of allowing Jun to live is the condition that Daniels never see his son. By the time of Reversal, Daniels’s death has been faked, and Hoshi is looking for a spare heir – a little brother for Jun. She ends up having a total of five more children. All but one of these are male.
Personality and Personal History
Jun is, like most Mirror persons, a ruthless killer. In First Born, before all of the changes wrought by the Temporal Integrity Commission, it’s revealed that he kills off all of his male siblings in order to consolidate his power. This ends up being another detail that has to be changed in order to assure his survival.
Furthermore, Jun has a bratty and violent streak that all of his half-siblings have. In Coveted Commodity, he’s seen throwing a little knife against a wall – a gift from the Empress that’s referenced in both First Born and Reversal. In Reversal, he won’t come when he’s called and instead is put through conditioning training at an extremely young age.
In Temper (this is an alternate future of 2178), he plays third base on the Empress’s baseball team and battles his next in line brother, Kira, in a sword fight. This fight is over a girl because, in this alternate timeline, Empress Hoshi has skewed the male to female ratio even more. In part this is to oppress women, in part it’s to assure her own survival, and in part it’s to shore up her fading looks.
The only person who Jun can, truly, call his “father” is Aidan MacKenzie, the babysitter (Kira’s father), who is not a biological relation at all.
Prime Universe Analogue
While Jun does not have a Prime Universe counterpart, he does have an analogue, in the sense that there is a character who is not a mirror image but is, rather, a similar personality. That person is Joss Beckett, as both of them are the first born children of their respective parents and both have a heightened sense of duty. The pressure is on both of them to take care of things, although Jun is considerably more likely to ignore that duty than Joss is.
“Someone’s got to be the court jester.”
When I think of Jun, I think of a part-Asian, part-Caucasian man with a bit of a nasty streak. I hit upon the idea of Survivor winner Yul Kwon.
Kwon works, partly because of his overall look as a bit of a toughened guy, but also the beard evokes the classic Mirror Universe image.
I’m also thrilled with the fact that he is Korean (as is the actress playing Hoshi, Linda Park, even though that character is actually Japanese) and is an intelligent guy, a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School, even.
Jun’s theme is from an alternate timeline. It’s Edwyn Collins‘s A Girl Like You. I wanted to not only evoke a part of the plot of Temper, but I also feel that the distortion in the song evokes the distortion in the Mirror Universe.
Because Hoshi is a former linguist, all of her children’s names are meaningful. Jun means truthful – an absurdity, considering all of the lies that need to be told in order to ensure his survival.
Angry, evil genius Jun only exists because of a choice that isn’t really much of a choice, and a mistake and a bunch of Temporal Integrity Commission thumbs on the scale of history. But he makes the most of his life, passing on his ideas and his passions if not his genes. In every scenario, he and Kira succeed Hoshi and rule the Terran Empire. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t supposed to exist in the first place.
Music is almost a constant in my writing. Characters might have individual or couple or group themes, or a story might have a theme, or even a series. Music can be used in order to evoke a particular mood or time period, and lyrics in particular might steer a plot.
For the Wells series, it’s all about time, so music is not only used to set moods, it’s also used to orient the reader as to time and place. Lyrics are displayed, at the beginning and end of each chapter, to continue to bring home the idea of a soundtrack to go along with the set pieces. In addition, character HD Avery is the “music guy” – he can sight-read music and can play piano, guitar and drums. He’s sent on all sorts of musical missions and even, at one point, refers to them as being like Rock ‘n Roll Heaven.
The first mission is about the day the music died, that is, it’s about the deaths of Holly, Valens and Richardson on February 3rd of 1959 in a plane crash in Clear Lake, Iowa.
For Take Back the Night, not only the title should be a tip-off that the Daranaean women are a bit sick of how they’ve been treated, as the first chapter opens with a quote and a link to the Beatles’ Revolution.
For written fiction online, a link to YouTube can provide a missing soundtrack, and a major or minor key cue to the reader about mood.
Funny thing is, I can’t write while listening to music; I end up paying too much attention to it!
I hope I’ve gotten an appealing and appropriate soundtrack into your head as you’ve read. But if anything seems like it might be better, feel free to suggest it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Portrait of a Character – Leonora (Norri) Digiorno
Leonora has a history from before my start writing Star Trek fan fiction.
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.
Leonora 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 a kind of foundling. The character was 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.
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).
It was important for me to see Norri as being “played” by an actress who has played at least one gay character already. She would be young but wise beyond her years, and to be a redhead. Hence, Alyson Hannigan.
I also like 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 and daytime character.
As a person, she is forced to rise to the occasion. She must commit some forms of self-sacrifice several times. This is 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 so she is the final commenter and recordkeeper when it comes to the lives of the principal characters in the In Between Days series.
In fact, in his last moments, Tommy thinks of her and also recalls her book, The Human Pioneers of Lafa II.
Her sexuality is rarely at issue. She acknowledges that she was very aware of it certainly by the time she graduated from college. However, her parents were wary of it, and her father hoped she would grow out of it (I explore this in An Announcement). Of course, that doesn’t happen. Her scenes with Melissa are 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.
Norri barely makes an appearance in the MU, save for her death, which is particularly senseless.
Her murder is recalled, somewhat remorsefully, in Bread.
“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.”
Book smart and funny, Norri is the essence of communication, holding everyone together, and making everything spin.