Review – Broken Seal

Broken Seal Background

Broken Seal was written in response to a monthly challenge about silence. It takes place in the In Between Days time period and the Prime Universe, after Together and before The Cure is Worse than the Disease.

Premise

So I knew that my competition would be mainly writing sad stories, as silence tends to lead one in that direction. Hence I decided to zig instead of zag, and went for a comedy.

The Seventh Seal
The Seventh Seal

It’s Movie Night, and Chip Masterson has been touting The Seventh Seal  all week. It’s going to be a celebration of highbrow culture. He’s excited as he’s the biggest film buff on the ship. He’s going to have a discussion and everything.

Meanwhile, Tripp Tucker is trying to reconcile with T’Pol. So he’s using the occasion of the film as a means to get back into her good graces. Hence he figures that an intellectual date will really appeal to her.

Malcolm is excited about the film as he wants to watch it and compare notes with his girl afterwards. But she is at home, so this is a kind of date for them as well, and she assures him that she will dress up and everything.

It All Goes Haywire

However, all is not right, for Hoshi Sato has been hit with a tiny spatial anomaly. And so she makes plans to derail the film’s showing. She enlists Travis‘s help, and she splices a very different film onto The Seventh Seal. And this changes its ending dramatically.

Bambi Woods - not the star of The Seventh Seal
Bambi Woods – not the star of The Seventh Seal

But the projectionist, Aidan MacKenzie, doesn’t suspect a thing. So he just loads the film and then more or less dozes off, bored by the Bergman film. And the MACOs are watching; Jonathan Archer is watching; Jenny from Engineering is watching, and suddenly the film’s plot is changed considerably. Jonathan calls off the evening and yells for Masterson and MacKenzie to join him in his Ready Room. And they are in big, big trouble.

Hence Malcolm confirms with his girl – this isn’t the ending of The Seventh Seal at all.

So – whodunit? Who messed up the film? Will Hoshi confess? Stay tuned.

Story Postings

Rating

While the story is rated K, it does refer to an NC-17-rated film.

Upshot

While I like the comedy aspects of it, I think I could have amped it up even more. Hence I think Chip’s pain and fear that he’d lose his Ensign’s rank should have been played up more.

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Portrait of a Character – Julie McKenzie

Portrait of a Character – Julie McKenzie

There were plenty of tough women on Star Trek: Enterprise.

Origins

This Star Trek: Enterprise canon character is a MACO, seen in the third season only. She was mentioned in the canon E2 episode as having become Travis Mayweather‘s wife. Major Jay Hayes also mentioned her on his deathbed, and asked that she be placed in charge of the MACOs. She held a Corporal‘s rank. She only has a first initial in canon; I have named her Julie.

Portrayal

As in the show, she is played by actress Julia Rose.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Julie McKenzie
Julie McKenzie (Julia Rose)

There was virtually nothing on her in canon, so I have had to fill in the blanks. She’s mainly enthusiastic about the mission. In the E2 stories I am writing, she and Travis begin their romance with fun, although it quickly turns serious. While she is an eager mother, she is also career-driven and goes back to working full-time in the MACOs after their son, Paul, is born.

In Shell Shock, she is expecting a promotion and is disappointed, but rises to the occasion when asked to help out. The possibility of conflict with Hayes’s replacement, Strong Bear Dawson, is deflected when she realizes that her fellow crew members need her.

Relationships

The only relationship I have for her is with Travis. With Travis, things are fun but also playfully affectionate. They enjoy each other’s company a great deal.

Mirror Universe

So far, I have not written a Mirror Universe counterpart for her.

Quote

“Our people are pouring off the ship, and they’re scattering. They want to see their families while we’re here, that sort of thing. I can’t make anyone – not even my MACOs – stay in San Francisco without pulling rank. Some of them are probably gone already and can only be brought back by communicator.”

Upshot

A mostly quiet character, Julie probably needs more depth than I have given her so far.

Recurrent Themes – Engineers

Recurrent Themes – Engineers

Background

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.

Appearances

Recurrent Themes – Engineers
NX-01 Main Engineering

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.

Bron

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.

Levi Cavendish

This odd genius is misunderstand by nearly everyone but Otra D’Angelo.

Freela

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.

Josh Rosen

This crewman only works in engineering in our universe (The Light) and is revealed to be in Security in the Mirror Universe in Temper. It’s unclear what his actual duties are.

José Torres

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.

Jennifer Crossman

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.

Frank Ramirez

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 O’Connor

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 Katzman

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.

Von

This Ferengi engineer works mostly on an older style ship called the Penar (The Point is Probably Moot).

Yilta

This Calafan engineer is Kevin O’Connor’s love interest and works on Calafan time ships like The Light of Lo.

Makan Sinthasomphone

This engineer works on temporal mechanics for Section 31 in a forerunner to the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Upshot

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.

Inspiration – Names

Background

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.

Nyota Uhura
Nyota Uhura

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”.

Malcolm Reed (alternate timeline)
Malcolm Reed (alternate timeline)

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).

Interphases

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

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).

Upshot

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.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales

Femme fatales can really make a story take off.
Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | DNA | Femmes Fatales

A lot of my Star Trek fanfiction writing contains recurrent themes, characters and situations. Here is an effort to put some of that together and make some sense of it all.

Background for Femmes Fatales

Femme fatales are a fairly classic archetype. It’s the bad girl, the sexy girl and, often, the dangerous one.

Appearances

Empress Hoshi Sato

The Empress is, of course, canon. But the second mirror universe Enterprise 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.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales
Empress Hoshi

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 Hudson

The second femme fatale I wrote was Pamela.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales
Pamela Hudson

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 Castillo

Marisol, on the other hand, is not motivated by anything positive whatsoever. As a much more classic femme fatale, Marisol is downright hazardous.

Recurrent Themes – Femmes Fatales
Marisol Castillo

She is an assassin and a blackmailer, and treats Borin Yarin badly enough that she pays the ultimate price for her ruthlessness.

Upshot

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.

Portrait of a Character – Jonathan Archer

Portrait of a Character – Jonathan Archer

Every Star Trek series has a memorable captain.

Origins

Portrait of a Character – Jonathan Archer
Captain Archer

The character is, of course, Star Trek canon. In canon, Archer  is the first captain of a Warp Five star ship, the NX-01 Enterprise. He gets the nod over his friend, A. G. Robinson (they are both test pilots).

He becomes, eventually, a Federation Representative and then President of the Federation. He also becomes an Admiral. Some of the order of these events is a bit unclear. And that’s canon.

Portrayal

As in canon, Jonathan Archer is played by Scott Bakula.

Personality

Affable, intelligent and eager to get out there, Archer is in for a surprise when he meets any number of new species who are less than happy about meeting him, eating meat, smelling his dog, shaking his hand, eating in front of him, letting him walk on their grass or do any number of what we would consider to be easy and nonconfrontational acts. It’s not easy being first.

Portrait of a Character – Jonathan Archer
Archer during the Xindi War

By the time of the Xindi War, Jonathan is obsessed with finding the Xindi ultimate weapon. He is as tense as anyone was in the United States a few months after 9/11. He’s been charged with a serious mission, and needs to see it through. And that means torture, piracy and other ruthless tactics. It’s not easy to lose one’s innocence, either.

When the serious concludes, he has been through a great deal, including the death of a close friend. Space has changed him but, ultimately, he has grown as a person.

As I write him, I add a second ship assignment, the USS Zefram Cochrane (DC-1500), in Fortune. The Cochrane is better-equipped than the Enterprise and can hold more people. It has more advanced weaponry but it isn’t any faster. Because Tripp is gone, and T’Pol has returned to Vulcan, Jonathan selects Malcolm to be his First Officer. Malcolm is on paternity leave when Archer asks him to come along. Therefore, Hoshi fills in temporarily. Travis continues as pilot. Phlox has also departed, returning to his home world. Hence the role of Chief Medical Officer is filled by Blair Claymore. The Science Officer position goes to Ensign Lucy Stone.

In Equinox, Malcolm reveals that Jonathan is elected as a Representative and the Cochrane instead falls to Malcolm. Jonathan’s tenure as a Representative is also shown in  Flight of the Bluebird, and his later career and years are in Bread and A Hazy Shade. Being an eligible bachelor means the tabloid press is also very interested.

Relationships

Deborah Haddon

During the events of Together, Jonathan is paired up with Security Crewman Deb Haddon. The relationship is unequal, as he ranks so much higher than she does. Complicating matters is the fact that she has a crush on him.

Her crush is also revealed during the alternative timeline story, The Black Widow.

By the time of Fortune, he realizes that he misses, if not her (she is already married to Chip Masterson by that time), then he at least misses the idea of having someone in his life.

Miva

Portrait of a Character – Jonathan Archer
Jonathan and Porthos

In Fortune, they meet. They initially cannot get married because she is wed to another. But that doesn’t stop a relationship from developing, for Miva has as open a marriage as all Calafans do. For Jonathan, though, things are more complicated and difficult. He feels he can be with her during dreams, but not in reality until she becomes available. They are still unwed as of the events depicted in Flight of the Bluebird. She is eventually widowed, and they wed about a year after that.

Their marriage is a long-term one, shown in A Hazy Shade. I currently have an even later portrait of their marriage on the drawing board. That story is tentatively entitled These Are the Destinations.

Ebrona

A I write the E2 stories, there are actually two kick backs in time. In the first one, Jonathan takes up with an Ikaaran woman named Ebrona. He loves her very deeply, but her life is cut short, due to a genetic disease that the Ikaarans call the decline. Together, they have a son, Henry. Jonathan’s feelings for Ebrona are depicted in If I Could Do it All Over Again.

Esilia

While this is a canon E2 relationship, she is never seen, and neither are any full-blooded Ikaarans. Therefore, I have had to conjecture about her looks and their relationship. As with Ebrona, the feelings are very deep. However, by the time he weds Esilia, a treatment is found for the decline. Hence Jonathan is not widowed as early as before. In addition, during the second kick back in time, Jonathan learns that Ebrona kept some things from him. He doesn’t have those issues with Esilia.

Theme Music

In Together, he has two themes. By himself, his theme is Jefferson Airplane’s Someone to Love. With Deb, his theme is The Cardigans’ Lovefool.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Jonathan Archer
Mirror Jonathan Archer

Jonathan’s mirror universe counterpart  is canon, and his death, at the hands of Hoshi, is also canon. I don’t mess with that. Hence, at the time of Reversal, the mirror universe Archer is long dead, and Doug and Tripp do not have to deal with him. Since he was poisoned by Hoshi, it’s entirely possible that that was via tricoulamine.

As of the writing of this blog post, I do not have many mirror universe Reversal prequels in mind. But that may change, as I may be writing more of a back story for Ian Reed. Hence Jonathan might get some air time.

Quote

“Smile just a tiny bit. It’s been a helluva day. I just want to see a little something good.”

Upshot

Handsome and heroic, Jonathan is a quintessential leader. But he’s also torn and doubtful at times, and is far from perfect. I hope the way I write him dovetails sufficiently with canon.

Progress Report – August 2012

August 2012 Posted Works

I began August 2012 with spinning out Barking up the Muse Tree | Janet Gershen-Siegel | jespah | Quill | August 2012Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain on Ad Astra. I also added Temptation to context. This month’s challenge was about crime, so I submitted Shell Shock. The following In Between Days stories were also placed into contextGainful

On Trek United, I added A Kind of Blue. And on Trek BBS, I added The Adventures of Porthos. On Fanfiction.net, I added Party on RisaDemotion and Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions. The character of J. Hayes is now available as an option there (thanks to my friend who goes by tahmtahm) and so I made sure that Reversal, Demotion, Together and Paving Stones listed that character.

On Star Trek Logs, in response to a prompt about first jobs, I added Gainful.

WIP Corner

I continued working on the E2 stories, in particular, the fourth book of four.

Prep Work

In addition, I added a cover for First Born, with a nice picture of the adult Jun Daniels Sato on the cover. I also added a cover for Wider Than the Sargasso Sea. I created an HTML version of The Point is Probably Moot in anticipation of spinning it out on Ad Astra in September.

There was a great deal of HTML work to be done once Shell Shock was posted. This is because a lot more below decks characters’ names were revealed, in anticipation of those names showing up in  the E2 stories.

I was able to get a fantastic photomanipulation of Katie Sackhoff in an ENT uniform . I have permission to use it. Hence I added it to the preexisting post about Deborah Haddon.

This Month’s Productivity Killers

Looking for work, as always, ate a lot into my writing time, as did working for a company where I perform community management.

I have been trying to get an Adult Trek anthology out by the end of the year, and put out the call for submissions. I also began to look for artwork for those stories.

Review – Coveted Commodity

Review – Coveted Commodity

Background

Coveted Commodity was originally written as a response to a Trek BBS challenge about a new day dawning. I decided to put a mirror universe spin on it, and so I went with the mirror Travis making a turning point type of decision in his life.

Story Highlights

Mirror Travis
Mirror Travis

The tale begins with Travis Mayweather sitting in Sick Bay, waiting for … something. The Derellian bat makes another appearance; its loud shriek causes Travis to unsheathe his sidearm, “ready to shoot that damned bat”. But who or what is Travis waiting for?

The exposition brings it together, that he is waiting on Empress Hoshi. She is pregnant with his child. And there are complications.

For people in the mirror universe, particularly men, signs of weakness are not only degrading, they’re downright dangerous. Hence what is happening to Travis’s son could not only harm the child at that time and later, it could also harm Travis’s own standing.

Plus, this is not the Empress’s first child. That honor is reserved for Jun Daniels Sato. This is, instead, Hoshi’s sixth.

Travis begins the story indifferent as to outcomes, but becomes mightily interested once it becomes clear that the fetus is damaged. Furthermore, Doctor Morgan gives him a choice – allow the surgery (the fetus has a hole in his heart that must be repaired in utero), but also allow the doctor to kill off Hoshi. The doctor’s tempting offer is a corker – end Hoshi’s reign of terror, but also kill off your own son; kill off your son due to inaction on your part; or allow the surgery and allow Hoshi to live.

Travis chooses the latter option. His new day dawning is that he decides he wants to be a father. This is in keeping with the way I have written mirror universe men. The way I write them, they are violent but they are also good fathers. They want their children to survive, and will do anything to assure that (including violence). Hence Travis’s sole option is to permit the surgery but not allow the doctor to kill (or fail to resuscitate) Hoshi on the table.

In Temper, it is revealed that the choice works for the child (Izo) but Travis is not allowed to enjoy the fruits of his choice. Time is somewhat incoherent in Temper, but the events occur after the surgery and, in the alternate timelines and in the restored proper timeline, Travis meets his end.

Story Postings

Rating

Although the story does have some adult elements (Hoshi is portrayed as a woman with children from multiple fathers), the rating is G.

Upshot

I think execution was pretty good on this one. Once again, much like in First Born, a mirror child’s life hangs in the balance, and the father must make the right choice so that the child may survive.

Portrait of a Character – José Torres

Portrait of a Character – José Torres

Origins

I needed a character who would be a bit of a galoot. He would be super-tall, almost seven feet. He would be balding at an early age. In short, he would not be one of the super-beautiful people we often see on television, and not just on Star Trek. Enter José Torres.

Portrayal

Although he isn’t tall enough, I like the idea of Ian Gomez for this role.

Portrait of a Character – José Torres
Ian Gomez

I wanted someone who would not be traditionally good-looking. Oftentimes, it seems that star ships (and fanfiction stories) are larded up with an enormous number of ultra-beautiful people. Well, real life just isn’t like that. And I think that Star Trek does a bit of a disservice to its fan base (although they do try to, when appropriate, include people with different abilities). The future is not going to be chock full of 100% gorgeous folks! Someone is going to look different.

Personality

A little clumsy, but with a big heart, I wanted José to, at times, be the nice guy who finishes last. But not always, for women who peer beyond looks will see him for what he is – a kind, thoughtful and gentle soul. As an engineer, he is also an inventor and an improviser. In the E2 stories, he creates an ultrasound machine for Doctor Phlox, making it possible to tell fetal gender without having to subject women in high-risk pregnancies – such as Lili O’Day and Meredith Porter Ryan – to amniocentesis needles.

Relationships

Pamela Hudson

It’s really not fair to call this hookup a relationship. Instead, after the wedding in Together, he notices Pamela and makes his move. It’s entirely possible that, in the prime timeline, he loses his virginity to her. I haven’t decided yet.

Hoshi Sato

At the end of Fortune, he asks Hoshi out, to Movie Night (Casablanca is playing). It’s unclear whether it goes very far. Rather, the purpose of the acceptance of the date is for Tripp Tucker to overhear it.

Corda

In the third E2 story, he marries the youngest of the Ikaaran women. It is unclear what her function is on Ebrona’s ship or what the marriage is like, but her premature death is heartbreaking to José.

Lili O’Day

In Together, Lili first reveals that, during the canon E2 episode, they wed and had a daughter, Maria Elena, named after Lili’s mother, Marie Helêne Ducasse O’Day. The savvy reader should wonder – why wasn’t Lili with Malcolm or Jay?

But there are reasons for that. And so she takes up with José, who she doesn’t treat, initially, as fairly as she should. In her own defense, though, it should be noted that Lili is bereft and is dealing with an enormous number of changes in her life. But José, while he isn’t flashy, is a rock for her. And while she is settling, he feels that he is not.

Hoshi Sato

In the prime timeline, at the end of Fortune, he asks her out. He also asks her out during the third E2 book, but loses out to Sekar Khan.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – José Torres
Mirror José

José in the mirror universe is a very different animal – and animal is a good word to describe him. In Temper, Empress Hoshi reveals that, in the initial alternate timeline, he was the leader of the first wave of the invasion from the mirror universe into ours. As a result, she rewards him handsomely. First, he is promoted to Ensign. Then, she gives him three playmates – the mirror versions of Karin Bernstein, Blair Claymore, and Pamela Hudson.

By the time the Doug and Lili mission begins, José has gotten a bit tired of his three trained seals and is looking for younger women. But Karin, Blair, and Pamela are still on rather tight leashes. With his death (due to the Empress’s arrogance and his own incompetence), they are freed.

In the second alternate timeline, and then in the prime timeline, he is unsuccessful in his efforts and, as a result, the three women are never bonded to him.

Quote

“Are you, um, going to Movie Night? Chip is showing Casablanca. It’s supposed to be really good.”

Upshot

Most of the engineers I have known has not been like Tripp Tucker. They’ve been like José. Shy, quiet and inventive. Nothing flashy, but very solid and dependable.

Spotlight on an Original Species – Calafans

Spotlight on an Original Species – Calafans

Background

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.

Lafa System

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

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.

Lafa II

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.

Lafa III

In Fortune, it’s revealed that there is an Unemployment Office here, staffed by Calafans.

Lafa IV

Olowa grows here. It is within the orbits of Fep and Ub so there is no true night on the planet.

Lafa V

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.

Lafa VI

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.

Lafa VII

There are mining operations on this planet.

Lafa VIII

There is no information on this planet.

Lafa IX

Yimar takes Joss and Marie Patrice to a zoo here (Temper). In the alternate timeline, the initial home base of operations for the mirror universe to get a foothold in our universe happens here.

Lafa X

There is no information on this planet.

Lafa XI

There is no information on this planet.

Lafa XII

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.

Mythology

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.

Spotlight on an Original Species – Calafans
Silver scrollwork example

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).

Language

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”.

Names

Spotlight on an Original Species – Calafans
Copper Scrollwork example

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.

Sexuality

Because of their somewhat open marriages, Calafans can often appear to be on the make. Lili (Local Flavor) and Kevin (You Mixed-Up Siciliano, Spring Thaw) are both bothered by this.

Fanfiction Presence

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.

Upshot

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.

Jespah's Ad Astra Journal Community Site and Star Trek fan fiction site

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