It is perhaps one of the odder stories I have ever written for Star Trek fanfiction. Recruitment is about the recruitment of a new Section 31 agent. Because it was written for Andorian Week, the main character is an Andorian.
In 3087, Section 31 puts a potential agent through her paces.
However, in a scene reminiscent of Men in Black, an Andorian is thrown into an utterly unfamiliar situation. And she is expected to solve a puzzle. Complicating matters is the fact that it’s hard to tell who is competing against her, or even if anyone is. And perhaps they aren’t.
At the time, I was in the middle of helping out with Multiverse II.And I was also writing about Daniel Beauchaine‘s betrayal of the Temporal Integrity Commission. Hence I combined those ideas a bit. Furthermore, I added a holodeck simulation of Duluth, destroyed by nuclear war (an event also commemorated in The Three of Us). At the time, Rick Daniels was the only deep future branch of Malcolm‘s family (along with Eleanor and their father, Steven). Hence I added a pale fellow (a shout out to ancestor Lili O’Day), who the main character only refers to as ‘Sven’, as he seems to look Swedish.
Since the story is strange, it suffers from some odd dreamlike qualities. Some of it was quite literally was taken from a dream. That included a strange, almost living, elevator. Therefore, it is an offshoot. It’s a kind of spur on the highway right now. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to it. Although Steven Reed might be revisited a little in the Barnstorming series.
Emily was originally kind of a reference character. During Intolerance, she’s really just referred to as an important mother of one of the medical students, Mark Stone. It wasn’t until I added her into the Achieving Peace story that she started to have any definition.
Instead of just being a character’s mother, Emily, a lawyer, became a part of the negotiation of the peace terms to end the Earth-Romulan War. In this endeavor, she worked with Soval and a Tellarite ambassador (canon character Gral), and a representative of the Xindi, Chara Sika. Sharp-eyed readers will recall that Chara Sika, another character who originated as an offscreen mother, was first mentioned in The Puzzle).
Also accompanying Emily is another lawyer, Laura Hayes, who works under the Andorian ambassador, T’Therin. By this time, Emily is an ambassador herself.
Later, when I wrote Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, I wanted someone to probate and read Jay‘s will. Laura was not an option (it would have been a legal conflict of interest). Hence I revisited Emily and gave the two of them something of a friendship. The friendship is also briefly mentioned in Together.
Emily is played by actress Melissa George. I don’t know too much about this actress; I mainly just liked the look of her. Emily is not exactly a bit part, but she’s not major, either.
Formal and conservative, but fair, Emily is the quintessential ambassador. Much like Laura (who becomes a judge), Emily takes her work for justice seriously.
Mark has a father, so there had to have been someone. I suspect I’ll make her a widow.
Because Emily’s son, Mark, is in the Mirror Universe, Emily is there by definition.
I kind of like the idea of her being a little sexy and vain and quirky. She could be rather different, and not the sober lawyer she is in the prime universe. Perhaps she’d almost be a court jester (although not in the main court. Empress Hoshi wouldn’t allow that).
“My niece is in Science and is in on the NX-01. My son is practicing medicine and is looking to get onto, maybe, a smaller ship as the Enterprise and the Columbia are already staffed. But they’re just going to be warriors if this continues. I just want to see young people have their dreams. Constant conflict will derail those dreams, I fear.”
For a character who was first intended to be a brief mentioning, Emily has a bit of a storyline to her. She might see some action later, particularly if I write any more legal or diplomatic works.
A focus (unlike a spotlight) is an in-depth look at a Star Trek fanfiction canon item and my twist(s) on it.
Of course, all of fan fiction is like that, but the idea here is to provide a window into how a single canon concept can be used in fan fiction.
Star Trek Enterprise did one thing extremely well, which is that it gave audiences a good, solid look at Andorians, a canon alien species that has been around back to The Original Series, about fifty years ago.
The look of Andorians has changed over time, as advancements in makeup and prosthetic technology have made the blue-skilled antennaed aliens look more and more real.
Shran is easily the most fully-realized of all Andorians ever shown in the series, if not canon.
While there are Andorians in the Barnstorming series, the main occasion for showing them is in this short story. To dovetail with Shran’s casual prejudice, I made the entire species (more or less) like that. And so Talla, who is half and half, is bullied at school. In order to shout down her persecutors, she claims that her father still has the Teneebian Amethyst. And that’s when things get difficult ….
Andorians are a fascinating canon species, and I’d love to showcase them more. At some point, I’ll try to find a place for them, and not just in contrast to the related Aenar.
With Achieving Peace, I had wanted to touch upon Laura Hayes‘s life, somewhat independent of Doug and Lili.
Because Laura is an attorney, the idea would be that she had a connection to the signing of the peace treaty ending the Earth–Romulan War.
Hence it’s the end of the war, and Laura is an assistant to an Andorian, T’Therin. They are present at the signing and transmission of the peace treaty to the Romulans. With them are Chara Sika (sharp-eyed readers will recognize her as the mother of Xindi sloth Aranda Chara, who Travis meets during The Puzzle), Emily Stone (the mother of Mark Stone, Pamela‘s classmate), canon characters Vulcan Ambassador Soval and Gral, a Tellarite. A Xindi Reptilian is working communications, and he reports that the Romulans won’t allow a picture transmission. They will receive an image, but they won’t send one, and remain a faceless enemy to the end, which clicks into place rather nicely with canon.
This is a small filler type of story, and it serves its purpose just find. It was also a treat to bring these mostly minor characters together, as Laura is more than just the officiant at Malcolm and Lili’s wedding, or Jay‘s elder sister. I particularly liked giving one final bit of information, that the Romulans would be relieved at the cessation of hostilities, ended just in time before the Star Empire went bankrupt.
In response to an Andorian Week on the Star Trek Logs site, I decided to do a short story on a teenaged Talla. Talla is a canon character, the daughter of Shran and Jhamel.
In keeping with canon, I decided that the pirates from the abysmal These Are the Voyages episode would be back, and they would again be looking for the Teneebian amethyst. Further, Talla would be a half-breed, and her pea green-colored skin would give that away immediately. Shran, in canon, often referred to Jonathan Archer as a ‘pink skin’. I extrapolated this to mean that Andorian society would be accepting of this kind of casual racial prejudice. Therefore, Talla is persecuted by her classmates, for the color of her skin. In order to try to tell them off, she claims that they still have the amethyst. This gets Shran back into trouble.
Forced back into hiding, Shran bids farewell to his family and seeks refuge on Malcolm‘s ship, the USS Bluebird.
And then Malcolm, along with his crew, including Ethan Shapiro, comes up with a plan to get rid of the pirates, once and for all. Inadvertently, his solution also presents a solution for Shran, Talla, and Jhamel, and the problem of their mixed marriage fitting in, in Andorian society.
Do you use canon species in your writing? Do you select a species for any particular purpose? E. g. do you add a Klingon during the TOS time period because of the inherent conflict, or a Trill into a DS9-era story because of respect for the character of Dax? When putting together your cast of characters, is species diversity at issue?
For canon alien species that are not well-known, how have you given more detail to their back stories and characteristics? For those that are better-known, how have you made them your own?
Is there a canon species that you have not added to your fan fiction, but you are considering adding? How will you do that?
Whose canon alien species characters do you like the most? Do you think the character is true to the species? If the character differs from established species canon, is the difference reasonable? If the character is of a species with only a sketchy background, does the author’s vision work within the limited framework established by canon? Can the author’s changes and coloring within the lines fit with how the species was originally drawn? Would you have taken that mysterious though canon species in a different direction? If so, how?
I will use canon species when I feel they serve a particular purpose. Sometimes the purpose is to keep canon characters in canon-extension stories (e. g. the E2 stories). And so characters like T’Pol will be included. Another story included Soval. The number of canon species hitting the ENT era is somewhat limited. I do enjoy the Xindi in all of their forms but usually the image is fleeting, like that of the dead Insectoid, She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time.
One area that I have truly enjoyed is to bring together canon species in a manner that is different from usual, or to bring more minor canon species to the fore.
Only seen in ENT, the Suliban are a somewhat stratified society.
On the one side, you’ve got the cabal, which was a part of the less than successfully portrayed Temporal Cold War.
On the other, you’ve got prisoners, such as are found in the Detained episode. That episode, which was relatively similar to the following season’s Canamar episode, ended up being some of the fodder for the Eriecho stories. Eriecho would be a Vulcan, born on the way to Canamar, and the only other female in the entire prison would be a Suliban, H’Shema. H’Shema would be the only mother that Eriecho would ever know, and she would be mourned by Eriecho for a long time afterwards. Enough so that Eriecho would seek H’Shema’s family rather than her own Vulcan roots. H’Shema, a former addict and a thief, is only seen in the haze of Eriecho and Saddik’s memories, but she was clearly loved, and she equally clearly rose up from her difficult and messy past to become a wonderful mother to a lonely, frightened and isolated child. Eriecho never forgets this.
And, because this is Canamar, the Commandant of the prison is an Enolian.
Ikaarans and Imvari
With nearly nothing to go on, Ikaarans could be nearly anything. All that was known was the look and personality of Karyn Archer, and she’s a hybrid with humans, and possibly with others. For the E2 stories, it was great fun to be able to give them something of a culture. They would have a click language. Their planet would be grossly overpopulated, but they wouldn’t believe in birth control. Much like Carthaginian child sacrifices, their youth would be selected. But instead of being chosen for a fire pit, they would be chosen to serve for a few years off the planet. Young Ikaarans would be sent to mine or grow crops or otherwise contribute to obtaining resources for their overextended world. Their ships would be single-sex, so as to crudely prevent conception. They were able to fulfill tons of purposes within that set of stories.
All we know about this alien is that he’s huge and his genitalia are in the vicinity of his knees.
Being able to give the Imvari a background as a mercenary species, with an athlete in the upcoming Barnstorming series, gave them the opportunity to fill some niches and get some love. Hell, I even named them!
Sometimes character species would come together in the context of a romance. For the Bron and Sophra romance, I liked the idea of giving a Gorn feelings and behaviors that would be wholly unexpected. The Gorn would love the Cardassian. But his friends, including Xindi Reptilian Tr’Dorna, would scorn his selection of a ‘warmie‘, and would instead push him to not date outside of a reptile-like species.
Andorians and Aenar
Turning the idea of a delicate Aenar to a different purpose, Jhasi Tantharis was always intended as a tragic figure. And before her, the infant Andorian Erell is another tragic figure, destined to never see the end of her first day, as an act of defiance and possibly a bit of perverse love by her enslaved parents.
Klingons and Breen
For both of these rather hostile species, I was looking to have them play against type. Hence the most stable relationship in Intolerance is a Klingon marriage. And teenaged Breen actor, Desh, is a sensitive leading man – forget that you can’t see his face. This is a Phantom of the Opera if you must.
Xyrillians, Tellarites and Trill
Often seen in passing, all three species get a little extra exposure, including the sight of a female Tellarite, Cympia Triff.
In addition to the Reptilians mentioned above, Xindi hit most of my series. And they get some extra detail. This includes the Insectoids being referred to in a genderless fashion until they breed, and then being referred to as female (e. g. The One Who Fires a Weapon Very Fast versus She Who Listens Well). The sloth (primates) get a matronymic naming convention, so Aranda Chara is daughter to her mother, Chara Sika.
The humanoids get certain jobs and highlights, including working in Food Service in the Mirror Universe. There’s even an Aquatic, working for Section 31, in Day of the Dead.
The Kitchen Sink
Denobulans are mainly shown in the context of Phlox. Caitians, on the other hand, are included as a part of the ramping up of the Federation.
Ferengi and Betazoids are currently only shown in the deep future, as a part of HG Wells. Q, Tau Alphans and Orions are pretty much confined to cameos, but an Orion-Betazoid hybrid will be shown in the Barnstorming series.
Who to Add?
I don’t honestly know. I’ve added most of the main species that I know of, and to add others would be either for the sake of novelty or to branch out into another area entirely, e. g. Voyager. Adding Ocampan characters is all well and good, but if I don’t really know how the character is expected to behave, it’s difficult to draw a convincing portrait, even when the individual is supposed to be playing against type.
Others’ Canon Species Work
I particularly like how Jean-Luc Picard handles Vorta. From their devotion to the Founders, to their loyalty to the Dominion, to their sometimes wondering if things are as rosy as the Founders say, Eris and Liska pursue and promote Vorta ideals. But it’s in their personal lives that these characters shine, particularly as they often play against type.
One of the ways you know it’s Star Trek is in the presence of canon species. Even an OC-rich environment like the HG Wells stories is loaded with canon species and hybrid canon species.
Otherwise, it’s just another time travel montage. But with Ferengi and the like, it becomes Star Trek.
When I was first writing Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction, and following the five senses, I got to sight last.
Instead of writing just about sight, I decided to create a multi-chapter story and more or less go for broke.
I also disliked how little screen time Travis got, so I decided to give him a little love with a story all his own.
In the middle of the night, Travis is pulled out of his bed and dumped … somewhere. But he’s not alone.
There are people from a few canon species – Andorians, Vulcans, Xindi sloth, Orions and Klingons. There are two of each, one male and one female. He doesn’t know the human woman he’s paired with; she is a far older woman, she speaks Russian and she is a librarian at the Lunar Colony Library.
And then they start to be prodded into working out a series of problems. For better or worse, they learn that they have to work together.
The story is … okay. It’s not great. I have updated it a bit (Lili makes a quick appearance), although I really should have done more. The plotting is slow in parts, and it can drag and be rather talky. There are original characters, and I’m glad that I felt confident enough in my world-creating abilities to add them, but some are wooden and others are more three-dimensional but still not too well-defined. Not too bad for a mystery tale, but I have learned that it is better to give more information about characters, in order to give the reader something to hold onto while reading.
It could be better, and probably a lot better. But it taught me a lot about story creation and pacing, and so I am grateful for its existence.
On Ad Astra, I began by answering a weekly prompt about making things worse (called “fanning the flames”). Except for Richard Daniels, I had not written too much about the back stories of the characters from Times of the HG Wells, so I decided to introduce Otra, with a small tale from her childhood, Desperation. Plus I answered a prompt about “sock drawers”, setting it in the Eriecho–Saddik JJ Abrams Universe. I named it The Mundane World. I answered a prompt about obstacles with The Play at the Plate, a Mirror Universe story taking place after Fortune. I answered a prompt about a finish line rather literally, with a tale about a 5K race called The Medal.
I added a number of stories to the IBD Collection so as to place them into context, namely: A Kind of Blue, Demotion, Party on Risa, Penicillin and The Mess. These are all Reversal prequels. I added Local Flavor, the direct Reversal sequel that had until then only been available on Trek BBS. I then placed Local Flavor into context. Pacing was added in context – it is a story that takes place between Intolerance and Together. The Facts and The Play at the Plate were also added in context. Those are both post-Fortune stories. At this point, the IBD Collection is mostly up to date.
On Star Trek Logs, they had a small “holiday”, Andorian Week. Therefore, I wrote an Andorian story, Half. As the holiday came to a close, I added a second story, about a wholly new character, an Andorian spy. That one was called Recruitment and takes place as a prequel to the HG Wells stories.
For the Trek BBS’s monthly challenge on first contacts, I submitted A Single Step, which takes place in the movies universe, more specifically, it’s a sequel to Star Trek: First Contact.
Work on the E2 stories continues, as I finished up the third and began the fourth, which should be the last in that grouping.
I created an HTML version of Spring Thaw. I created an HGW Collection draft as there are now some stories that would benefit from that sort of treatment.
This Month’s Productivity Killers
Looking for work really heated up at the end of May (I had a few in-person interviews, plus a paper was required for one opening), and the pace did not let up at the start of June. My parents visited from June 7th through the 10th, so I was busy seeing them and spending time with them.
In addition, I took on the task of updating and improving the design and workability of my father’s engineering consultancy website.