The idea of crossing Dr. Sam Beckett to Captain Jonathan Archer has been done by others before. That much is for certain. I had wanted to do this for a while, and then the opportunity suddenly presented itself.
The story opens with Beckett materializing onto the NX-01, and meeting Jennifer Crossman. The time period for Quantum Leap is after the end of the series, so Sam has been leaping about in time under all sorts of odd circumstances and those include going past the beginning and end of his natural life span. The show’s creators had said that, if the series had continued, the leaps would have gotten odder, and so going to ancient Rome or even to the taming of fire by primitives would certainly fit the bill there.
As Beckett meets Crossman, he seems (she still thinks he’s Captain Archer) a bit faint. She gets him to Sick Bay, where he yells in alarm when he sees Dr. Phlox. It’s explained to him, eventually, that Archer was in the midst of early negotiations with the Xindi, Degra. Beckett, feeling this is his reason for being on board the Enterprise, asks to be debriefed and vows to attempt the mission.
Meanwhile, on Earth, and a good century previously, Admiral Al Calavicci is trying to work with a somewhat agitated Jonathan Archer. As Tina, Gooshie, Verbena Beeks, and Sammy Jo Fuller all help Jonathan figure out what he needs to do, Donna Eleese stays back. Eventually, Jonathan realizes that the reciprocal leap is a lot less about Degra (although Sam does confront the Xindi) than it is about Donna.
Additionally, I wanted the skewed gender ratio to be even more radically skewed, so there needed to be at least one lesbian. And because life isn’t necessarily fair, Diana would be the only gay woman aboard.
In Bread, I wanted someone for whom Leah Benson – on either side of the pond – might be doing everything for. Furthermore, it would work better for that story if that person was declining. The contrast proved irresistible.
I wanted an older actress who is still very lovely. I feel that this Oscar-winning actress can get across Diana’s shyness about coming out, her desire for a mate and her eventual sad decline.
I also wanted Diana to be someone who the men might be interested in, and a bit disappointed about when they learn that she is not reciprocating the attraction. She would also be someone who gay crew member Preston Jennings would select as a friend and confidante and, truly, as a convincing beard at times.
Warm and friendly, Diana is a natural for helping out in Sick Bay. In a way, she’s a gay version of Crewman Liz Cutler. Because the actress who played Cutler (Kellie Waymire) is deceased, it’s a bit unclear whether Cutler made it to the kick back in time in E2. I prefer to think that, in the Azati Prime episode, that Cutler was one of the crewmen who perished, as this ties in with reality and brings the loss home even more. Hence there is room for Diana.
The other side of Diana is that she just plain doesn’t want to make a big deal out of her sexuality. To my mind, that works, as this would likely be a society where being gay is far less of a news story than it is now. However, that’s a double-edged sword. Without the drama of coming out, a person with non-majority preferences is apt to have to deal with some confusion unless they’re very demonstrative about what they’re like. Diana isn’t – and she and Malcolm find they have that in common – so she ends up sometimes having to fend off unwelcome male advances.
In The Three of Us, when the first batch of Ikaaran women are rescued, this Science Officer approaches Diana when she realizes that there are two women aboard who do not live with men. The other is Lili, but by that time she’s committed to both Malcolm and Jay. Preece Ti thereby deduces that Diana is a lesbian. They take up together and have a loving, committed relationship until Preece Ti’s eventual death from the decline, thereby somewhat neatly paralleling Diana’s own later years in the prime timeline.
In both universes, Diana and Leah are, at some point or another, a couple. In our universe, they stay together, even as Diana begins to exhibit symptoms of some form of senility. In the Mirror Universe, Diana leaves when she learns that Leah killed her previous lover, Leonora Digiorno. Moreover, Diana has performed a major service for the Mirror Leah – she’s helped her to stop drinking.
Diana exists in the mirror universe, but is in a far more limited Science capacity. This is not due to a lack of talent; rather, it’s due to the Empress not wanting or needing detailed scientific work.
After Diana breaks up with Leah, she is unceremoniously dumped on Andoria when the Empress becomes displeased with her job performance. She lives there with the same caregiver, the Andorian Tallinaria, who also cares for her in the prime universe.
“Sorry, Thing Two. I bet you’re still really peeved. We just want to get to know ya.”
I liked putting together this friendly if a bit misunderstood character,
and I was genuinely upset at turning her, eventually, into a person who suffers tremendously toward the end of her life. But this is what happens to some people. It would take the punch out of the decline if she didn’t start out so sympathetically. I do like her. I suppose I’d like her to have a happy ending, but not everyone does, unfortunately.