Staying came about because I wanted to showcase the Barnstorming series.
First of all, Staying arose directly out of The All Stars and served as a prompt response. This happened in an effort to get readers interested in the longer story.
Because I never intended Staying as a stand alone story, the plot ends up being rather thin. Instead, it showcases Mack MacKenzie and Kent Hoberman in an intimate moment which perhaps never should have happened. Since I liked the idea of a traumatized woman crying after sex (I suppose I have a heart of stone; of course I just mean a character), I reused the idea in the wholly original novel, The Polymer Beat.
Furthermore, the intention pushed the narrative along so that Mack would not have trauma with her true love (still not written yet!), canon character Martin Madden.
While the story could have served as a decent introduction to the series, the readers really did not pick up on it. Read counts stayed low. And it can be tough to try to maintain and reinvent and continue a series where few if any people bother to read it. Hence the series is on hold and there are stories never even posted anywhere. If I pick it up again, I will need to finish those stories and that seems highly unlikely, given my schedule, my interest, and my desire to save my creativity for wholly original pursuits.
A pity, as I like Mack, Hobie, and Martin and their cohorts. They just came into my universe at the wrong time. Hence they may stay, forever (ish) in limbo. Sorry, characters!
The character is technically canon although the scene of his introduction ended up on the cutting room floor. In the ‘lost’ footage, William Riker plays a nasty, passive-aggressive prank and Madden is the butt of the joke. I disliked the scene so much that I felt Madden needed a measure of justice. He is the reason that Melissa has her last name, as she is his forebear, via her middle son, Neil.
Because Marty is also Doug‘s descendant, his radiation band is slightly less than it should be, betraying a partial origin in the Mirror Universe. As the Barnstorming series unfolds, the family’s importance increases. Doug’s descendants hold a key in their DNA that could alter the fate of both universes.
As in canon, Madden is played by actor Steven Culp. I like this actor a great deal. He was also exceptionally gracious when I wrote to him, asking for an autographed photograph and the answer to a few questions as I was writing The Three of Us and looking to add some verisimilitude to my details about Jay Hayes.
Culp wrote back, said my questions were interesting (I asked things like what is his favorite story to read to a child) but whatever I came up with would be fine. He also wished me luck with my writing. His framed picture is hanging in the room where I do my writing and it helps provide some inspiration.
Lonely, brilliant, and bored, Marty is near the top of his profession but wants something more. He is only close to one person, and that is not only hurting him in his career, it’s also, in general, making him miserable. Furthermore, the incident with Riker got him off on the wrong foot with Captain Picard. A bit of a perfectionist, Martin is appalled by what happened and scrambling to make it right.
With one disastrous date, this is really not a relationship. Tamsin likes him, but he can’t stand her; he had only asked her out in order to get his mind off Dana. Tamsin takes it the wrong way and tries to get him to sleep with her.
When he refuses, she stretches the truth to its breaking point, and files a sexual harassment charge against him. The charge is groundless and is quickly dropped. But it gets worse, as she is distantly related to him. As a part of the family (through Joss), Tamsin is not so close to Martin Madden to prevent a relationship, plus she’s somewhat aggressive. It’s a complete turnoff to him, but she is family and so, in some ways, he’s stuck with her. But he doesn’t have to date her.
With a language all their own, Martin Douglas Madden and Misty Dana MacKenzie – the MDM Twins – are made for each other. There’s just one small problem. She’s his second cousin.
That would not seem like much of an issue, but I write an unjust Second Cousin Marriage law, forbidding such marriages where the parties share at least one great-grandparent. The purpose behind the law is to prevent too much Daranaean inbreeding and the introduction of younger and younger child brides. But the law fails miserably as it is mainly just a bad political compromise.
When Dana is imprisoned at Canamar, it is only Marty who continues writing to her after her parents die. With the letters kept from her as a part of her unjust punishment, her reading of those letters is one of her first acts after getting out.
His love for her is one of the few things that sustains him. It is one of the underlying themes of the series, along with the concept that the Digiorno-Madden-Hayes-Beckett-O’Day–Reed family endures forever. There is power in this love, and it cannot be denied.
I’m not so sure that Marty can exist in the Mirror Universe.
As a descendant of Doug, who left the Mirror and had never fathered a child on that side before he did, then Marty’s existence in the Mirror is technically impossible. However, I write a Mirror Tamsin (called Jennifer), explaining that the analogue is imperfect but very close. After all, if most other forebears fall into place, or close relatives such as siblings or first or even second cousins take the place of the originals, after a time span of a few centuries, the differences become negligible. This isn’t a bad theory for why there are so many MU counterparts, and I might explore it at some time.
But if the same incident occurs, he wouldn’t just be miffed at Riker and embarrassed by him – Marty would have knifed the man.
“I can’t exactly get away when everyone else can. Understand something, all right? Whatever Riker did, whatever he could do, whatever he tried or got away with and however he acted, that was him, all right? He probably got himself here for lunch somewhere between 1200 and 1330 hours nearly every day, am I right? … But that’s not me. But, uh, I get the feeling there’s one more item on your list of Things Keeping Martin Madden from Making Friends on the Enterprise-E. Am I right? Care to share it with me if I am?”
I am really enjoying writing this character, a kind of combination of Jay’s discipline and Doug’s zest for life, with a bit of Malcolm’s pre-Lili tortured loneliness. The Barnstorming series is not done yet, and Martin Madden is a huge part of it.
When I first began to write Yi’imspi (spoiler alert!!!), I did not picture her as being the villain of the piece. She was just another Calafan, although she was a part of the Barnstorming series. The idea was to give this beloved original species a future. But then things took a turn.
Yi’imspi is played by actress Tilda Swinton. I really love this actress’s exotic look, which I feel shows off the Calafans well. I also feel she could convincingly be both an athlete and a model.
And a double-crossing spy.
Secretive, intelligent, and seductive, Yi’imspi is out for only one thing – to promote and improve the life of Yi’imspi. But for Section 31 and other factions trying to use her, she cares little. It doesn’t matter to her who wins this political tug of war.
A quick hookup and nothing more, Yi’imspi and her fellow team member meet unintentionally while the team is on break and he is taking a spiritual pilgrimage to see the Great Plume of Agasoria.
But Tag (Darren) has been hitting on other female team members, including the Caitian, M’Belle. He isn’t looking for anything, and neither is she.
The third sex team member, the Imvari named Grosk, is interested, but they are sexually incompatible. She is kind to him, though. I had not conceived of her as the villain yet, so she’s pleasant there.
By the time the alternate timeline is created by her own actions, the Emperor of the Terran Empire takes a shine. Then again, he is in dire straits at the time. She only wants one thing from him, and that’s information. She doesn’t want to sleep with him.
There are no impediments to Yi’imspi existing in the Mirror.
I write Mirror Universe women as being as ruthless as the men, but often needing protection. After all, the percentage of women is smaller than that of men. But that’s really only true for Terrans. Is it true for Calafans?
As a double-crossing spy, she is already a lot like a Mirror Universe denizen. There might not be too much of a difference.
“I thought I saw you hitting on M’Belle. I believe I have also seen you hitting on Cilla and maybe also Adeel.”
Villain characters are always fun to write, but this series was not well thought out when it was started. Hence her behavior has to change, almost in the middle of things. I am sure there are better ways I could have handled this character.
For the first-ever game played by The Black Sheep barnstorming team, the idea was that the team would play hockey with a team composed of members of a military unit on Andoria. It was to be the place where, if the O’Day–Beckett marriage had ended at the end of Together, Doug would have ended up. Instead, it’s more like a footnote until this story.
Hobie is played by actor Edward Norton. I had used this actor for the HG Wells series and liked him and wanted to revisit him. But instead of being ADHD-addled Levi Cavendish, he would be a decent military guy.
Affable, a little shy, and very formal, Kent is a divorced guy who rarely goes out. Then he meets Dana MacKenzie, and his interest is piqued as she is more aggressive and sporting than he’s used to. But then things go too far, too fast.
Kent’s estranged wife left while still pregnant with their second daughter. I had nothing on her and she is only mentioned, never seen. The idea is that it was a painful, messy divorce. All Hobie cares about is being able to see Katie and Nichole, his children.
With Dana, there isn’t too much of a relationship. They enjoy each other’s company and communicate a little, but that’s it. Neither of them try very hard as she is hung up on Martin Madden and Kent, regardless of what he says, is still mourning his broken marriage.
In an alternate timeline, MU Kent is attached to Darragh, who is an Augment descendant (and is probably an ancestor of both Darragh Stratton and Rick Daniels’s mother, Chloe Masterson). Is Kent also an Augment descendant? I don’t know.
Seen briefly during an iteration where Rick is still trying to repair the timeline, Kent is a survivalist and stuck on a planet in the old Delphic Expanse.
He is also with Darragh Masterson but, when they are in communications with the Enterprise-E, he checks out Dana, much to Darragh’s chagrin.
“I don’t normally go to bed with women so quickly. You can tell I don’t exactly have the smoothest moves out there. But, um, please don’t get dressed and please don’t leave, okay? ‘Cause I, uh, nobody’s stayed here in, God, she left before Nichole was even born. I swear I won’t touch anything or do anything that you don’t wanna do. I just, I want your company. I hope you want mine a little, too.”
For a character I wa originally going to quickly kill off or at least dismiss, Hobie ended up with a fairly complicated and interesting life, I feel.
For Mack MacKenzie‘s pilot, I wanted a character who could not only strongly or subtly suggest emotions or maybe just sense them, I wanted that character to also be able to manipulate them. Enter Daniya, who is part-Orion and part-Betazoid.
Daniya is played by actress Diora Baird, who was briefly seen as an Orion in the 2009 JJ Abrams film.
I don’t see it as a big stretch to see her a hybrid, particularly with the curly red hair.
Outgoing and friendly, Daniya is a good pilot but also a bit of a flirt.
Daniya is desired by many (the guy who sells the Cookie to Dana leers right at her, ignoring Dana and Crita), but I have not yet written any relationships for her.
There are no impediments to Daniya existing in the Mirror. The image is of course of the actress out of makeup, so the reader is encouraged to use some imagination.
Like any halfway-decent-looking Mirror Universe female, Daniya would have to live and die by her looks.
Would she be a pilot? Possibly, as the MU Shelby Pike certainly is. But she might end up supplementing her income the same way Shelby does, by hooking.
“Pilot talk says it’s no good for maintaining your license. It’s too strange. Not like regular shuttle or freighter runs, where you stay in practice with standard Federation designs. But all the same, I like the idea of something different. Regular freighter runs can be pretty run of the mill. Don’t get me wrong; I like to make a few credits as much as anyone else. But the standard fare isn’t too challenging. That ship, though, I bet it would pose a challenge.”
This character has potential, but I know I haven’t done enough with her. In particular, she doesn’t even show up in the alternate timeline, a sure sign that I am a bit stumped as to how to feature her properly.
A bit stiff, and learning all the time, B-4 doesn’t quite understand that the crew is somewhat saddened to see him. While they don’t blame him for Data‘s demise, he is too much of a painful reminder for them, so they unwittingly shun him. Martin Madden is one of the few people who spends any significant time with him, as does Geordi LaForge.
As an android, and at a somewhat lower functional level than Data, B-4 is, as such, incapable of having what we would call a relationship.
B-4 and Data don’t have Mirror Universe counterparts. The closest is Lore, who is evil but who comes from our universe.
“Universe to universe crossovers can currently be divided into four types, with a fifth type being unknown. The first is ancient, and is accomplished only by Calafans. This species originates in the part of the Milky Way galaxy where the septum between two universes is at its thinnest. Amplifying dishes located on Lafa II, at a spot that the natives refer to as Point Abic, help to focus Calafan meditations and dream states. Dreaming and meditating Calafans are able to readily cross over, although only between the home universe, which vibrates on the twenty-one centimeter radiation band, and the mirror, which vibrates at twenty centimeters. Prior to 2157, the dishes prevented Calafan crossovers during their conscious, nonmeditative states. However, the mirror High Priestess, known as the teenager Yimar, commanded a change in the frequency emitted by the dishes in her universe, thereby permitting conscious, nonmeditative crossovers, but only by purebred Calafans in either universe.”
This highly intelligent and highly functioning android is an integral part of the Barnstorming series and, as such, will be back.
There are no impediments to Lakeisha existing in the Mirror.
She would have to be far tougher, as all women in that universe are. Given the time frame, she would likely be beheld to a man for her safety and basic necessities. Does a Mirror Wesley exist? I haven’t explored this yet, and the idea intrigues me.
“This flag officers’ concert, it’ll be done in a few days. We’ll post mortem it, but it’ll still be less than a week. After that, I’ve got classes and the usual, you know how it is. Confidentially, rumor has it that the whole thing is a front for them coming in and doing some recruiting for Section 31.”
I adore Lakeisha and, as I continue to write the Barnstorming series, she’ll be seen more and more.
Portrait of a Character – Misty (Mack, Mystic) Dana MacKenzie
While writing about Richard Daniels‘s conquests, one name that came up a few times was Dana MacKenzie. I liked the idea of a descendant for Aidan and Susan, who get together fairly late in life. As I started to write her, I also decided that she would be actually named Misty, thereby cementing another pair of her ancestors as being Doug and Melissa. Continuing along with this idea, I hit upon the notion of having her be related to canon character Martin Madden. When I started to put together the Barnstorming series, I decided to include her, and make her the star.
I picture Mack as being pretty toughened by her life, but also feminine, which Bell can certainly pull off convincingly.
There are a lot of bikini images of Bell online, but the truth is, I don’t see Mack that way at all. Rather, she is someone damaged by her earlier life.
Mack’s background is in sports; she played second base and shortstop professionally for the perpetual cellar dwelling team, the Titan Bluebirds. But a visit to Keto-Enol results in Etrotherium being placed into her bag while the team is visiting an open-air market. She’s arrested and thrown into Canamar Prison. She’s been framed for drug-running.
Her appeal takes nearly two decades, with her parents dying during the interim. The only person who sticks by her is Martin Madden.
They have cared for each other since childhood, referring to themselves as ‘The MDM Twins‘. But the law says that they cannot marry.
Emmett Kent (Hobie) Hoberman
Mack and Hobie meet at the end of The All-Stars, and are actually coaches on opposing teams in ice hockey. The long distance relationship isn’t really what Mack needs, but they part amicably after Play when Hobie decides to try to reconcile with his ex-wife for the sake of their two young daughters.
At the end of Play, time is altered, and Rick is sent to investigate. In Time Out, they get together. I have an idea of the circumstances but have not written them yet.
The sketchy idea is to finally get them together during the fourth, as yet unnamed, book in the series. They will have a descendant who will connect them even more intimately with the Times of the HG Wells, but I haven’t decided on that yet. It’s possible that that person would be Tom Grant.
I have not yet decided whether Mack exists in the Mirror Universe.
If she does, then I doubt she would call herself Mack. She might go by her first name. She might not have a sports background. I don’t honestly know, but I probably won’t explore this until I finish the series.
“I’m going to tell you who I am. And what I’m thinking of doing. And then you can decide if you want to work with me. And if you do, then I’m happy to have our friend below decks spill his guts in front of you. But if not, it stays a mystery to you. I gotta protect myself. Fair enough?”
Because this series is on hold as I work on wholly original fiction, Mystic (only Marty calls her that) has had to take a back seat. A pity, as I like this character and her journey. I will get to her at some point!
Imprecision addresses an imperfectly formed memory.
So for a Star Trek fan fiction challenge about nightmares, I went with a dream that evoked a memory that was imperfectly realized.
Wesley Crusher has been, at the start of the story, spending time in the company of the The Traveler.
And this is a canon situation. However, also in canon, Wesley eventually leaves The Traveler. Hence in order to dovetail with Crackerjack, this event precipitates Wesley taking his leave.
At the start of the story, Wes wakes up from a nightmare. He remembers his parents fighting, and his mother throwing something. It’s awful; he recalls being a small child at the time, making it even more heart-wrenching. Speaking with The Traveler afterwards, it is determined by them that Wes actually wants to return to a regular life. This is a marker, an indicator that there is unfinished business out there for him. Furthermore, he wants to find out about that memory, which he realizes is something that he suppressed.
Returning to Regular Life
Wesley is essentially beamed to his mother’s quarters. He has been gone longer than the regular passage of time would indicate, an idea I had because his time with The Traveler has to be odd and unique and special. For Beverly Crusher, this is sort of a dream, and sort of not. She tells him that it’s a few hours before Will Riker and Deanna Troi’s wedding (another canon event).
Wesley is hurriedly given a uniform, and it does not necessarily show his correct rank (that is canon, in the film, Nemesis). A little bored with the proceedings, his eyes alight on a young girl playing the French horn for the Starfleet Academy band, which is providing the music for the event. With some confidence mustered up, he talks to her, and realizes that this is why he left The Traveler. It is to meet Lakeisha Warren and begin a new phase of his life.