Tag Archives: canon

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich

Origins

The character is canon. The truth is, I forgot about him for a while. Sorry! But this was a character who was seen exactly once, and very early in the show’s lifetime. And so I created a character named Ethan, and completely forgot about this character until the E2 timeline.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich
Henri Lubatti as Ethan Novakovich (image is courtesy of Memory Alpha and is provided for educational purposes only)

As in canon, Ethan is played by actor Henri Lubatti.

The actor has found work since Enterprise, including some recurring work on 24.

Personality

Shy and a bit studious, Ethan is a bit of a plant nerd. Given the chain of command, he should be working for, first, Naomi Curtis, and then Shelby Pike, in the Botany Department. The truth is, I barely wrote him and so he is a bit of a mystery to me, too. His quote isn’t even that interesting.

Relationships

Colleen Romanov

They get together in both iterations. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Colleen reports that he is shy and she had to attract him by claiming to have found a new life form in one of the cargo bays.

Mirror Universe

There are no impediments to Ethan existing in the Mirror Universe, although the character is not present in the canon MU episodes.

Portrait of a Character – Ethan Novakovich
Henri Lubatti as the Mirror Ethan (image is presented for educational purposes)

Shyness practically equals death in the Mirror, so he would have to be considerably more assertive. If he is with Colleen, then the circumstances of their relationship starting would be far different.

Quote

“One of the orange trees seems to be dead.”

Upshot

Should this character return? The truth is, I just can’t see it.

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Focus – Irumodic Syndrome

Focus on Irumodic Syndrome

Focus

A focus Focus – Irumodic Syndrome (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.

Background

Focus – Irumodic Syndrome
Comparison of character suffering Irumodic Syndrome, versus reality for actor. Image is provided for educational purposes only.

The canon equivalent of Alzheimer’s Disease makes for a fascinating detail to any plot. It is really only mentioned in The Next Generation, where Captain Jean-Luc Picard gets it as a part of the series finale, All Good Things ….

Just like Alzheimer’s is today, Irumodic Syndrome is devastating, heartbreaking, and incurable.

Occurrences

Diana Jones

For Diana, her Irumodic Syndrome wreaks havoc with the life of her wife, Rabbi Leah Benson. In Bread, Diana has clearly been suffering for a long time. Leah feels she should quit her job and focus on Diana and the time they have left. But, sadly, Diana is beginning to forget everyone. Leah knows that, eventually, she’ll be next.

Melissa Madden

For Melissa, who suffers tremendously, suicide seems like the most logical solution. She even plans it in Fortune, as a kind of confirmation of her behavior during the alternate timeline in Temper. Adding the forgetting insult to injury for Norri is that Melissa often calls her Belinda. So Norri is not only reminded of Melissa’s decline, but also of her own mother’s death.

Upshot

The Star Trek future sometimes seems to be far too achingly perfect. Nothing ever seems to go wrong, or at least the bad times don’t stick around. This disease cuts right through that and adds a sobering note of reality to all that it touches.

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Portrait of a Character – Victor Brown

Portrait of a Character – Victor Brown

Origins

This character is canon, although he was rarely seen and only had a first initial.

Portrait of a Character – Victor Brown
MACO Victor Brown

What is always interesting and challenging for me is to try to put some flesh and blood onto bare bones canon characters.

This character is without a doubt one of those.

Portrayal

As in canon, Victor is played by stunt performer Yoshio Iizuka.

Personality

Portrait of a Character – Victor Brown
Yoshio Iizuka as Victor Brown

In the E2 timeline, Victor is one of the men who behaves rather badly. However, when he’s backed into a corner, he ultimately does the right thing, mainly to repair his marriage.  When accused, he (and Neil Kemper) confess to Captain Archer and are given lighter sentences than the others, in the matter of the attack on Patti Socorro.

Relationships

Cassandra Lester

Cassie is even less defined and I have very little on her, except that she is a Navigational Crewman.  They do not have children in either iteration/kick back in time.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Victor Brown
Mirror MACO Victor Brown

This character exists in the Mirror Universe.

There is very little about him in the Mirror, although he is injured in the attempt to capture Slar (a Gorn), an attempt that causes Ian Reed to lose an eye. As for what happens to Victor afterwards, it’s anybody’s guess.

However, given the horrific medical care that I write for the Mirror Universe, and the fact that he is a lower level crew member, he would likely be patched up quickly in order to fight another day, but with few niceties. Would Empress Hoshi have him on her ship?

Only if he could prove loyalty to her, and no loyalty to Reed. And even then, maybe not. Far as she’s concerned, he’s cannon fodder and nothing more.

Quote

Chang is saying that it’s not going to matter what we do or say, but I think it does matter. And even if it does nothing to my sentence or whatever the captain has in mind, it may make a difference with Cassie. And that’s all I really care about. I gotta repair my marriage. I am gonna break this code of silence.

Upshot

There are a ton of these extra performers who had few lines. It is often a fascinating challenge to give them some depth. I hope I’ve done Victor some justice.

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Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed

Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed

Origins

The character, of course, is canon, and is Malcolm‘s mother.

Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed
Jane Carr as Mary Reed

I give her the maiden name of Dunphy, which comes from a gravestone I saw in Newton, Massachusetts, where a Wilbur Reed (mentioned in Concord) is buried, for real, near a stone that just says Dunphy.

Portrayal

As in canon, Mary is portrayed by actress Jane Carr.

Personality

Reserved and sometimes a little cowed by Stuart, Mary quietly holds her own, but only when she needs to. I wanted to make her a little more than the knitting grandmother I made her in Fortune, so I added a war effort-style job in Gainful and The Tribe, and the need for her to begin caring for Stuart (and sometimes telling him the occasional little white lie) in Saturn Rise. When Malcolm is in serious legal trouble in Shell Shock, she asks if they should call the family lawyer, and tells him to be strong.

Her personality comes out best in Gainful/The Tribe and Saturn Rise, where she gets more lines and a bit of assertiveness about her desire to work outside the home and, later, her desire to accept at least Lili‘s other children and have them call her Nan. It’s a bit unclear as to whether she accepts Melissa‘s sons as her grandsons. That’s an area I might explore in the future.

Relationships

Stuart Reed

Mary’s only known relationship is with Malcolm’s father, Stuart. They have two children; I write their daughter, Madeleine, as being younger than Malcolm although that’s not confirmed in canon.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Mary Reed
Mirror Mary

Mary has to exist in the Mirror Universe, because Malcolm’s counterpart, Ian, does.

I like the idea of her being much more of a career woman, and not the homebody that she seems to be in canon. She’s not necessarily an overly sexed-up Mirror Universe woman, but I do see her as at least attempting to be much more independent.

Quote

“Long ago, when humans were barely even human, the birth of a child was an occasion. The men would leave on a hunt, or some such. … Perhaps there were a few exceptions. And the women, they all gathered ‘round. It was the entire tribe. They came together, in order to celebrate such a grand occasion and welcome the new tribe member.”

Upshot

This character was barely mentioned in canon, although that dovetails rather neatly with the canon situation that Malcolm was in. He quite simply kept out of his own family’s way, and they didn’t pursue him, either. For Malcolm, it was likely a rather lonely existence. I’ve tried to keep Mary like that. A decent mother, but a better grandmother, and kind of not too sure of what to do with Malcolm half the time.

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Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez

Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez

Origins

This canon character was seen during the fourth season of Enterprise.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by actress Ada Maris.

Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez
Ada Maris as Captain Erika Hernandez

I am not the only person who enjoyed the portrayal of this tough, no-nonsense character.

Personality

Strong but fair, Erika was the perfect captain for Daranaean first contact in The Cure is Worse Than the Disease. The Daranaeans do not know what to make of a smart woman who is in charge of anything more daunting than a large household.

By the time of Take Back the Night, Erika is forced back to deal with those sentient marsupial canids again, and she is none too pleased with having to do that.

Relationships

Jonathan Archer

The only known relationship is the canon one, with Jonathan Archer. The way I write it, it is pursued a bit in More, More, More! but otherwise the relationship is dropped. Neither of them try very hard.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Erika Hernandez
Ada Maris as the Mirror Erika Hernandez

The Mirror Universe version of Erika shows up in Dishing it Out, a crossover collaboration story written with FalseBill. We decided that she would be the only slightly competent chef for the Empress Hoshi Sato. By the time of Temper, Erika is long gone.

 

 

Quote

“The troubling thing about the Daranaeans is their treatment of their females. Casual sexism is tossed around just as readily as are vapid discussions about the weather. I was privy to two rituals engaged in by the females, which centered on pregnancy and birth. Within these rituals are subtle distinctions among the castes which serve to promote Prime Wives and denigrate the last caste women, while walking a thin line when it came to the secondaries. In addition, we learned that a last caste child of perhaps three or four years of age was not permitted to join in with the home schooling that the other children enjoyed. Whether this was by law or custom or both, I do not know. When asked, we were merely informed that that caste “did not believe” in education – a statement that I find difficult to believe.”

Upshot

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Original Characters and Settings

Original Characters and Settings

Boldly Reading asked, in Blog Prompt #9, about original characters and original settings.

  • What’s the best setting for an original character? Is it as a lone figure, thrust into a canon ship or situation? In a group of original characters but still in a canon ship, situation or series? Or as a stand-alone crew, group, political party or other agglomeration of individuals?
  • When do original characters and scenarios tip the scale from new spins on familiar works to out and out non-Trek? Is there a bright line between Star Trek and not-Star Trek?
  • How can original character love interests be integrated into a more canon scenario? What about original character leaders?
  • For canon characters who have very little back story or screen (or authorized book) time, what’s the tipping point between when canon converts into what is, for all intents and purposes, an original character?
  • For representations of canon characters in fan fiction that are not well-portrayed (e. g. the author misses the mark and does not accurately represent the canon character’s language, ideals, vision, etc.), can the situation be salvaged by rewriting the story with an original character?
  • For original settings, what makes them unique? Can an original setting be so extraordinary that it, in a way, almost becomes a nonliving type of Mary Sue?

Bonus questions!

  • Who are some of your favorite original characters that you have created? Do you feel they fulfill their purposes?
  • What happens when you take a Mary Sue test?
  • What are some of your favorite original settings that you have created? Did they work?
  • Who else’s original characters do you enjoy reading the most, and why?
  • Are there others’ original settings that you like reading the most? What makes those original settings your favorites?

A Cast of Hundreds

When I last checked, I had created over 300 original characters to encompass various scenarios. These included figures from as far back as 1775 (including Benjamin Warren)

The Lone Original Character

I’ve found that I rarely do this, as I love making characters so much that I just can’t resist tossing in several as points and then counterpoints and then even more. A Hazy Shade is one example of, truly, there only being one original character. In that story, the sole original character is Jonathan Archer‘s wife, a Calafan named Miva. Other single-OC stories

Original Characters and Settings
Susan Cheshire (Yvonne Nelson)

include Atlas, with its very brief glimpse of Susan Cheshire, and Penicillin, which is an interplay between canon character Jay Hayes and Lili O’Day. For all of those stories, they are short and the OC (except for in Atlas) acts as a sounding board and a counter to the canon character.

A Small Bouquet of Original Characters

Perhaps the best example of this is in The Light, where Jewish crew members get together to remember a lost life and to celebrate Chanukah. Because none of the canon ENT characters are known to be Jewish, the story would have rung hollow if I had tried to shoehorn someone in, such as deciding that Hoshi Sato is suddenly Jewish. While that is not an impossible situation, it seemed unlikely. Further, I wanted the Jewish characters to be young people, more or less fresh out of school. Hoshi would not fit into that fairly limited scenario.

Therefore, The Light centers around Ethan Shapiro, Karin Bernstein, Andrew Miller and

Original Characters and Settings
Josh Rosen (Seth Green)

Josh Rosen, with a quick appearance by Muslim crew member Azar Hamidi. The seven main canon characters all make appearances, though.

A Larger Bevy of Original Characters

In order to best accommodate the E2 scenario, I needed to fill the NX-01 with people. This meant making sure that all of the women were accounted for, along with a lot of the men. People would flit in and out as the story line is somewhat episodic and the chapters can often read like vignettes. I was able to use a number of characters I had already created, such as Deborah Haddon, a fact that not only saved me ramp-up time but also dovetailed rather nicely into my preexisting fanfiction. After all, if I said that Deborah was on the ship in 2157, in Reversal, then it made sense for her to have also been on the ship in 2154, when the ship was kicked back in time, in Reflections Down a Corridor and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.

I also made characters to make specific points, such as Mara Brodsky and Robert Slater, as I wanted someone to be cuckolded. When Slater was cuckolded by a canon character, Walter Woods, that worked well with marrying canon and original characters – and eventually quite literally marrying them. Original characters were also created in order to fulfill certain roles on the ship, as Communications would have to be handled on second shift and night shift. Maryam Haroun and Chip Masterson, respectively, fulfilled those roles.

Lone or Few Canon Characters

The best example of this is in the HG Wells stories. As Temper makes clear, the sole canon character is Richard Daniels. Richard needs a support team, which includes people like

Original Characters and Settings
Boris Yarin, MD

Boris Yarin and Crystal Sherwood. By giving Rick occasional missions to the NX-01 or elsewhere in canon, and having him eventually need to confer with ancestor Malcolm Reed, I was able to provide more canon credibility to these stories.

In the upcoming Barnstorming series, the few main canon characters are Martin Madden and Wesley Crusher, but the crew of the Enterprise-E is seen, as Madden lives and works there. Keeping a few canon characters on hand, I feel, can make a story a lot more Trek.

Canon Characters Begone!

The Eriecho series is 100% fanfiction characters, and it will likely stay that way, as are Gina Nolan‘s universe and the Bron-Sophra-Skrol-Tr’Dorna group. Even without canon

Original Characters and Settings
Bron

characters, the situations or the history or the species can bring back the Trek part. For example, Eriecho’s story is precipitated by the events in the JJ Abrams timeline, whereas Gina’s world is built upon the foundation of the Dominion War. Bron and Skrol are Gorn, Tr’Dorna is a Xindi Reptilian and Sophra is a Cardassian. These three canon species bring that story line squarely into Trek, I feel.

Will I ever write a story with 100% original characters, 100% original species and completely outside of any sort of canon scenarios? At that point, I feel it starts to tip perilously close to not-Trek. But there are a ton of canon scenarios, and those can include very non-canon people being off their ships. After all, characters are born, have relationships and possibly marriages, have families, have jobs and retirements, and they also die. Just because a kiss between a Gorn and a Cardassian has not been shown on screen – or between two completely original species, such as a Calafan and a Daranaean – does not mean it’s wholly not-Trek. But I do recognize that it can be a far harder sell to the reader. For a scenario such as that, the reader, I feel, needs to be prepared with a lot of earlier work bringing these original species into the Trek-like fold.

Adding Original Details to Canon Characters

In many ways, this is the very purpose of fan fiction, to fill in the blanks where canon left off, or a show was cancelled too soon or the like. The three canon characters I have done this the most with have been Malcolm Reed, Jay Hayes and Richard Daniels. Have I done well by them? I like to think so, but it’s hard to say (and it is particularly difficult as all come from ENT).

Malcolm Reed

During the run of ENT, this character was the tantalizing fourth or fifth out of seven, sometimes the sixth, but rarely in the top three and virtually never first, when it came to story line development, writer affection or plot twists. Even when the story line centered around Malcolm, he never seemed to get his due.

Fan fiction has allowed me to give him a wife and a child, and it has allowed me to give him quirks like lactose intolerance and personal interests like crossword puzzles. Stay tuned, as there is a lot more Malcolm to come!

Jay Hayes

Original Characters and Settings
Jay Hayes (Steven Culp)

For a character seen in five episodes and who only had a first initial, I have given him ex-girlfriends, an earlier posting on Titania, and an alternate timeline wife and two children. Along the way, Jay also got a love of blueberries and was also not too adventurous in his diet, never having tried either figs or parsnips until prompted to do so.

Will there be more Jay? I adore this character and so I’ll find a way, but right now I don’t have anything specific planned.

Richard Daniels

For a character with no first name, he’s gotten a reputation as a ladies’ man, a pair of somewhat more serious ex-girlfriends, and a great love. His off-hand canon statement of being mostly human led to not only working out how he was put together, but it also led to a thought experiment about unlikely hybrids, resulting in characters like Boris Yarin and Kevin O’Connor.

Richard flits in and out of my fiction and he may or may not turn up again. Because of Multiverse II, I’ve seen more interest in the HG Wells universe, so it’s very possible that he and his group will get new adventures, much like Another Piece of the Action.

Original Settings

From the beginning of In Between Days, I decided that humans would have, even as early as 2151, colonized all available surfaces within the Solar System. This means the planet Mars but also a ton of moons, such as Titan, Titania and Ganymede. In order to give these locations a bit of spice, I decided on some set characteristics, such as Titania being a Southerner’s paradise and Mars having cities all named after metals.

The E2 stories allowed for more original settings, including writing Phnom Penh during the Third World War and three new planets, Paradise, Amity and Speakeasy. In order to give the latter three believability, they were given certain problems. Paradise is often too hot, and there are no natural pollinators. Amity has poisonous malostrea. And Speakeasy isn’t supposed to exist at all, and is only dimly lit.

Favorites and Mary Sues

Of course I love Lili O’Day, and I strive to keep her out of Mary Sue territory. She burns

Original Characters and Settings
Lili O’Day (Naomi Watts)

things. She often avoids people. She gets jumpy and nervous and it is not necessarily endearing. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, she is particularly unfair to José Torres. She does, at times, fail the Mary Sue test, I admit. But I believe that her overall arc comes down rather favorably on the believable end of things. She does have a lot of adventures and I do spend a lot of time on her, but that’s also because I love the character so much.

Pamela Hudson, another favorite, more or less stays out of Mary Sue territory due to her often sour disposition and her many screw-ups in life. Things turn out for the best for her, but she has a tougher row to hoe than Lili does.

Eriecho stays out of the world of Mary Sue due to her poor upbringing and her violent past. I’ve barely scratched her surface; time in Canamar is not fun. As I unwrap more layers of this character, I think she will leave Mary Sue far, far behind.

 

Original Characters and Settings
Levi Cavendish (Edward Norton)

Levi Cavendish stays well away from Mary Sue, even though he’s a genius, because he’s so damned messed up. Otra D’Angelo has her own weaknesses, even though she has what is essentially a psionic-style gift for seeing temporal alternatives. But it gets her a pretty raw deal with the enemy.

Canon character Wesley Crusher is often seen as a Mary Sue, and that’s unfortunate. A lot of people love to hate this character. I’ve done my best to try to rehabilitate him, particularly in Crackerjack.

Love for Others’ Babies

Captain Sarine‘s Kalara is perhaps the best-realized female Klingon I have either seen or read. I’ve also enjoyed the interplay of thebluesman‘s Captain Dylan and Dr. West. Miranda Fave‘s wacky Tabatha (don’t call me Tabby!) Chase and her crew get things done with few stuffy conventions and a lot of flair. And Mistral‘s Shand feels very much like a real alien person. Enough like us to be someone we could work with, but enough unlike to keep us a bit … unsettled.

In the scenery department, kes7‘s Tesseract universe puts together a crazy-advanced ship with the right kinds of off-kilter people who can make it run. And trekfan‘s overall Hank and Bethany mythos brings those two original characters from home to the Pearl to marriage and domesticity, and eventually to Hank’s end.

Upshot

I cannot imagine fan fiction without original characters, and I confess it often dismays me when people do not try to write them. Even poorly realized Mary Sue to the hilt creations are, at least to me, an attempt to go outside oneself, and stretch those creative muscles. For better or for worse, original characters and scenes, I feel, take it all to the next level.

Damn, I’m gonna go out and make myself some more characters!

‘Cause 300+ just aren’t enough.