Portrait of a Character – Charles IV (Charlie) Tucker
Because, in canon, Tripp Tucker has somewhat odd experiences with offspring and, in the prime timeline and prime universe, dies childless, a lot of people like to give him offspring. As a result, I gave him both a prime universe and a Mirror Universe version of Charles IV, although they are not counterparts.
In the prime universe, Charlie is a part of the first kick back in time during the E2 timeline, and his mother is T’Pol. He has a twin named T’Les Elizabeth (that name has been used by other fanfiction writers). In the MU, Charlie’s mother is Beth Cutler, and his sister, Betsy, is younger and is not his twin.
As a teenager, Charlie is played by actor Noel Fisher. As an adult, in keeping with the canon portrayal of Charles Tucker III, he is played by Connor Trinneer.
I like the teen’s look. He seems to be a reasonable mix of Tripp and T’Pol for the E2 storyline, and a mix of Tucker and Cutler for the MU storyline.
Both fellows are pretty easy-going, although the interphased Charlie ends up as the captain of the Enterprise after Jonathan Archer‘s death.
In the first kick back in time, Charlie marries Ethan‘s daughter with the Ikaaran, Bithara. Their daughter is Daphne Tucker, and their granddaughters are T’Mir Ryan and Yoshiko Tucker. Their great-grandsons are Aidan and Steven Khan (sons of Yoshiko).
Takara Masterson Sato
In the MU timeline, with few options, Charlie and Takara end up being thrown together, and they end up becoming the grandparents of the heir to the Terran Empire, Charles VI, AKA The Emperor Charles I.
In the Mirror, Charlie’s theme song is Warren Zevon’s Trouble Waiting to Happen.
Charlie exists in the Mirror Universe in the prime timeline, and in the prime universe in the E2 timeline (first kick back in time only). However, the two men are not counterparts to each other.
“Captain, we didn’t make this. And neither did you. Or, rather, the other version of you. But it happened all the same. We did not think you would believe us. So we put together the notes that Charlotte has just sent you. Please, please, just open them and read them. And you will see that we are sincere.”
For a guy who isn’t supposed to exist at all, I like that Charlie gets some screen time. But I doubt I’ll write him much more unless it’s in the MU.
After leaving Empress Hoshi far behind, Beth and Tripp (she calls him Charles) want a new life. They’ve already married, and they have a son, Charlie. Their life on Lafa II isn’t an easy one. After all, they’re living in a cave, and are only doing odd jobs in order to survive. When things are really bad, they’re poachers.
Therefore, when they get a chance to attain full citizenship, they take it. Since they owe the Empress absolutely nothing, they want to declare their allegiance to the leader of the government, the new High Priestess, Yimar. In a low-level bureaucrat’s office, their lives are changed, as they swear to defend the Calafan government and its people, and denounce the Terran Empire.
Spotlight on Original Sport – Mirror Universe Baseball
Baseball in the Mirror Universe originally came out of the fact that I had established baseball in the Prime Universe (mainly because I wanted Lili O’Day to wear baseball caps instead of toques). I wanted something kind of opposite, kind of not. And so Mirror baseball was born.
The Spectator’s Perspective
In Reversal, Lili asks Doug if there’s baseball on his side of the pond. He replies, “Five bases, twelve guys on a team and a lotta fights.” For a spectator, Mirror baseball is barely controlled chaos. While there are positions, rules and strategy, those are often neglected in favor of the usual mayhem that occurs there. In Temper, a pitching change is effected by the reliever fatally knifing the starter.
The difference in the numbers of bases and players makes for differing rules as well. In Temper, Lili skims the rules and finds the following –
Teams have twelve members and there are five bases. Positions are: first base, second base, third base, fourth base, left-side catcher, right-side catcher, right field, center field, shortstop, left field, left-side pitcher and right-side pitcher. The bases are laid out in a pentagonal shape with the full field often being shaped like a hand-held fan although some variations are possible and are legal per the rules.
There are two pitchers’ mounds and two batters’ boxes.
Two batters hit at the same time so, for practical reasons, a lefty pitcher is always paired with a righty hitter and vice versa. Hence, standing in the batters’ boxes and viewed from the perspective of the home plate umpires, there is a lefty hitter on the left (who is being pitched to by a right-handed pitcher) and a righty hitter on the right (who is being pitched to by a left-handed pitcher). Pitches need not be simultaneous although it is better defensive strategy for the pitchers to toss at the same time so as to minimize all of the running around in the outfield if both hitters connect. Anyone can field the two balls in play, and anyone can make an out, even if the righty hitter is tagged out with the ball hit by the lefty hitter.
There are five outs per side per inning.
As of the time that Lili checks the rules (2178, although it’s an alternate timeline), records are denoted as follows –
The most recent championship teams are the South American Pistoleros (2175), and the Ganymede Hunters (2176 and 2177).
The record for the most home runs is held by retired Pistolero catcher Ty Janeway. The record for the most steals is held by retired player (played on several teams) shortstop Lefty Robinson. The record for the most wins by a pitcher is held by retired Hunters left-handed pitcher Amanda Cole. Currently, the wins record is being challenged by Hunter right-handed pitcher Alan Foster.
In Reversal, Robinson and Ty Janeway are shown at bat, being pitched to by Amanda Cole (the counterpart to the canon MACO character) and Aditya Balakrishnan. As stated in the above rules, the pitchers hurl at the same time.
In Temper, the Empress‘s team (the Conquistadors) plays the Hunters. Lefty Robinson has become the Hunters’ coach. Foster is still playing, and the reliever who murders him is Trent “Miracle Worker” McCoy. Presumably, Cole, Balakrishnan and Janeway (he and Robinson are also players in our universe) are retired or dead by the time that Temper takes place. However, given that the game in Temper takes place during an alternate timeline, it’s entirely possible that Cole, Janeway and Balakrishnan are still playing, or are in the game somehow, perhaps as coaches.
In Reversal, Ty Janeway is shown endorsing Picard synthbeer. The slick advertisement includes a model who essentially simulates a sexual act (it’s a lot less explicit in the PG-13 version of Reversal, of course). The ad is intended to evoke the old-style Billy Dee Williams Colt Malt Liquor ads. And, of course, Picard as a brewing family – instead of being winemakers, as in our universe – that part is anything but accidental.
Wagering in the Mirror Universe is Star Trek canon. In the first MU episode, Doctor McCoy comments on two nurses betting whether an injured man would live.
Furthermore, Movie Night is of course canon in our universe.
Hence I combined the two, and came up with Game Night. Game Night is not only when a good chunk of the ISS Defiant‘s crew sits in the Mess Hall, drinking synthbeer and watching the game, it’s also when wagers are laid.
In Reversal, the betting is taken and supervised, and the point spread is covered, by Chip Masterson, who at that point in time is a Tactical Ensign. By the time Temper‘s time frame rolls around, Chip is running Game Night with the help of his son, Takeo. But it’s Arashi, who has a head for business, who does the books, with collections done by Takeo and Travis‘s son, Izo. Takara (the Empress’s daughter by Chip), Kira (her son by Aidan) and Jun do not involve themselves with Game Night or subsequent collections. But much like a company store, controlling Game Night means funneling salary funds back into the Empress’s coffers. It’s a reliable source of, if not income, then at least of monies that don’t leave the Empress’s control for very long.
Arashi also takes care of the point spreads, and truly understands them (Blalock and Trinneer have him explain the concept to the viewer audience). However, even a loss, or not making the spread, does not matter. Arashi always finds a way to get people to pay.
Lili realizes, in Temper, that she needs to provide refreshments. As a creative chef, but with very little to work with, she either fries vegetable tube paste squeezings in linfep fat and passes it off as chips, or fries elekai meat, again in linfep fat, but this time with hot spices, and calls it mock Buffalo chicken wings.
For the denizens of the mirror, they don’t have much in the way of entertainment that doesn’t involve either mayhem or sex, so Game Night offers a way to pass the hours. For gentler mirror persons, baseball may even offer a means of living and succeeding that doesn’t involve assassinations (although Trent McCoy acts differently). Another symptom of a society out of control, Mirror baseball takes sport to an extreme.
Charles Tucker III was almost a writers’ football during Enterprise.
Why the heck would I want to talk about a Star Trek: Enterprise canon character? After all, doesn’t Memory Alpha do a better job? For canon, yes. No argument here.
But what I am talking about is my own fanfiction. So I’ve got a different take on him.
Tripp/Trip – What?
First off, I spell it as Tripp, with two P’s. Why? I knew a guy who was a third, and that’s how he spelled it. To me, one P just looks off. And I am well aware that readers may see the two P’s as being off. So be it. I recognize that this is me being quirky and stubborn, and certainly breaching canon. That cannot be any more than the people who, let’s see, make Tucker gay, make him bi or make him essentially a superhero. Not to mention the folks who insist that he didn’t die in These Are the Voyages.
It’s just a letter, folks.
Marrying Canon to Fanfiction
The writers did a lot to Tripp throughout the course of the show’s four seasons. He got pregnant, he had a relationship with First Officer T’Pol (a Vulcan), he was cloned, he rescued a princess, he lost his sister in the Xindi attack and he met his end, too. In all honesty, I had seen so much of him on screen that I was a bit sick of him when writing my own fiction. He was a major character on the show, but television shows are of a finite size. Therefore, the more screen time for him, the less for other characters.
For me, obliquely referencing him and his exploits often did the trick. In The Reptile Speaks, he’s mentioned in a teenager’s film about sex, as an example of unconventional relations. For the two teenagers talking about him, he’s a source of some amusement.
In Razor, he’s barely referenced, although his identity should be clear to the reader.
A Regular Guy
For me, one of the fun things about writing him is playing on his being, essentially, a regular Joe. In Letters from Home, a riff on the mail distribution scene in the film Stalag 17, he gets a lot of correspondence, but it’s not necessarily of the welcome kind.
Well, maybe not always heroically romantic. In Intolerance, he eagerly participates in the competition to woo the female medical students, and comments quite a bit on the woman he’s originally assigned to, Pamela Hudson.
In Together, he’s paired with Hoshi who, in the end, realizes that she doesn’t feel about him the way he feels about her.
Then in the E2 stories, I cover his relationship with T’Pol, including the cultural differences between them. For example, what Tripp sees as a symbol of commitment, T’Pol sees as a religious article – and not of her faith.
A Working Stiff
In Reversal, it is he who does most of the heavy calculations necessary, and he ends up risking his life in order to perform a rescue.
In Temper, he gives his all in service to the Federation, in what feels very much like a lost cause.
Not every character has a theme, but Tripp does, in Together. The song is Matthew Sweet’s Sick of Myself. I particularly wanted this song for the line, “When I look at you, something is beautiful and true.” That story also has couples’ songs. His (with his partner) is Joe Jackson’s Kinda Kute. I wanted that one for its opening lyric, “You make a guy feel humble.”
The Mirror Universe
At the end of the second canon MU ENT episode, Tripp is about the only one of the main characters who is likely to survive to see another day. Severely scarred, bitter and angry, he epitomizes the skewed life led there.
I have written the MU Tripp as being just as angry, but it’s later, so he’s sicker, and realizes he’s dying. He becomes gentler than he normally would be, and seeks solace with an old girlfriend, Beth Cutler, who accepts him for who he is. In Reversal, the MU Tripp has a lot at stake, and plays off people against each other in an effort to save himself. It is, ultimately, his wish to save others that redeems him, in a way.
In Temper, the MU Tripp again shows a small degree of selflessness, and by doing so he helps to undo the lost cause which threatens the Prime Universe. As I write the MU, everyone is keenly aware of what they owe others, and Tripp is no exception. Since he owes Doug something, he recognizes the debt, and repays it.
In Fortune, the MU Tripp has come full circle but is still a bit wary about strangers. Fortune tells of a dynasty, which shows a major divergence between his fate and that of the Prime Universe Tripp.
In the Prime Universe, his death is canon, so I don’t mess with that. Characters mourn and remember him, and there’s even a charitable foundation named for him, mentioned in Fortune.
“But we’re here to explore and to, to take risks. And I don’t think this is a foolish one.”
I enjoy the character but, as above, I think he was overused, often to the detriment of other characters. But he’s more than just engineering, an accent and a romance. In many ways, his observations are our observations, as an audience and, I hope, as readers.