Tag Archives: DNA

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

Origins

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.

Portrayal

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden
Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

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.

Personality

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.

Relationships

Tamsin Porter

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 Marty 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.

Dana MacKenzie

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’DayReed family endures forever. There is power in this love, and it cannot be denied.

Mirror Universe

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.

Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden
Portrait of a Character – Martin Madden

But if the same incident occurs, he wouldn’t just be miffed at Riker and embarrassed by him – Marty would have knifed the man.

Quote

“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?”

Upshot

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.

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Spotlight on an Original Mirror Universe Condition – The Y Chromosome Skew

Spotlight on an Original Mirror Universe Condition – The Y Chromosome Skew

Background

In order to explain as much as possible about the Star Trek mirror without having to continually launch into a lot of long, drawn-out explanations, I decided that the Mirror Universe would be, mainly, explained via a genetic mutation.

Spotlight on an Original Mirror Universe Condition – The Y Chromosome Skew
DNA up close

But the Mirror Universe is so close to our own that I wanted a fast-moving mutation, one that would run through the genome like a forest fire. This would rather neatly explain why things are close, but not quite, the same as conditions are here. After all, it’s canon that literature is similar but not the same (except for Shakespeare), and there are several mentionings of Roman times. How could I put it all together in a way that made sense scientifically without demolishing canon or making my own creative process more difficult?

Marcus Titinius

Marcus was a real historical figure. In ancient Rome, he was a tribune in 450 BC. That’s true history. Now for my spin.

In the mirror, Marcus had a genetic mutation (hereinafter referred to as the Y Chromosome Skew). As a result, he produced sperm that were about 75% XY (e. g. with the potential for creating sons) and 25% XX (with the potential for fathering daughters). The true ratio is a lot closer to 50-50. Marcus was drenched in testosterone and, as a result, was bigger and stronger than most men, too. He was also (and this is where fantasy truly takes its leave from reality) better-endowed than most men, and was a better lover. Hence Marcus had the following things going on with him:

  • He was constantly on the make for women, even though he was married. He had countless mistresses and dalliances with women in all levels of Roman society. He was just as likely to have sex with respectable matrons as with slave girls.
  • He was a good lover, so women sought to keep him. And, if they told their friends, those women also tried to make it with Marcus.
  • His sperm were stronger and more resilient than that of a normal man, so he was more likely to father a child if there was any chance of it at all. E. g. a woman could be two or three weeks away from ovulating, and there would still be a pretty decent chance of him impregnating her.
  • He was stronger, and could fight, so he could fend off rivals. And he was rarely too tired for sex, and could be described as “endlessly insatiable“.
  • He was also a good provider, working hard to support any known children, legitimate or not.
  • He was a good father, working to ensure the success of his offspring, and them reaching the age of maturity.
  • He passed the mutation on to all of his sons, without exception.

Immediate Effects of the Y Chromosome Skew

The two things that any genetic mutation needs to get a foothold are:

  1. The creation of offspring with the mutation and
  2. Those offspring being more likely to survive long enough to pass on the mutation.

The Y Chromosome Skew takes that to extremes. Marcus fathers dozens of children, by all sorts of women. He creates a boatload of genetic diversity, all by himself. He also works to assure the survival of his offspring. His children all inherit these tendencies from him, and even his daughters are more aggressive, particularly when it comes to optimal mate selection.

Long-Term Effects of the Y Chromosome Skew

By introducing a few dozen offspring with the skew, these sons fanned out across the Roman Empire. Just like Marcus, they were endlessly insatiable, but were also good providers and good fathers. As time went on, skewed males began to crowd out non-skewed males. They could fight for their women, and the women were much more likely to select them, anyway. While it is still possible in the 2150s to be a non-skewed male, the percentage is small, and the chances of those men passing along their genes are greatly diminished. José Torres does not have the skew, so if he is Arashi Sato‘s father, then Arashi does not have it, either, by definition. However, all of the Empress‘s other sons have it, even Jun.

Richard Daniels and the Skew

Why does Daniels have the skew? The shortest, easiest answer, is that he is a descendant of Doug Beckett. As Eleanor explains in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, Doug fathered five children on our side of the pond, and they all had a mixed radiation band. But what he also passed on was the skew. Two of his children, Joss and Neil, have children of their own (the other three do not reproduce), and each of those two sons has a son and a daughter. By the end of the events depicted in the prime timeline in Fortune, it’s known that at least Joss is a grandfather and the line will go on.

But as Eleanor explains, if you have a radiation band of less than 21 centimeters, and it’s before trans-universal crossovers became common (in 2762), then you’re guaranteed to be a descendant of Doug’s. And, because the Y Chromosome Skew is also prevalent, although Eleanor does not mention it in her little talk, it’s probable that you’ll carry the skew as well.

Societal Effects of the Skew

Society tips more in favor of hunting and warfare, and away from agriculture and peace. Artists become rather rare, and become valued. However, even though women become rarer, they are far less valued, and tend to be treated like dirt most of the time, even when Empress Hoshi is in charge of things. As a result, women’s roles are mostly subordinate. There are women on starships more because the men will all tear each other apart if there aren’t, as opposed to any other real reason. In Temper, in an alternate timeline, the Empress has forbidden all relationships except for her own, and every man is
theoretically supposed to be available to her. Some women, such as Lucy Stone, the Science Officer, and Shelby Pike, the pilot, have some status, but the vast majority of women are oppressed like Karin Bernstein, Blair Claymore, and Pamela Hudson, who exist as little more than playthings for José Torres.

The Skew and the Prime Universe

Although Doug brings the skew with him in 2158 when he crosses over from the Mirror Universe to here, the effects are different. For one thing, Doug is far less violent, and vows to Lili that he will no longer kill. He is as good as his word, and makes every effort to rein in his temper.

As for the genetic mutation itself, it just doesn’t have the same effect in our society, and a lot of that has to do with women. Unlike in the Mirror Universe, women have a far better place in society, and they fight to stay that way. And so, in our universe, Karin is in Tactical (and in the E2 stories, she gets command experience as well), and Blair and Pamela are doctors. Hence, one of the conditions for the Mirror Universe being the way it is just does not come about, e. g. women are not subjugated, or at least not because of that.

The Future of the Skew

With the skew becoming more and more a part of the Prime Universe in Richard’s time, it would appear that the Prime Universe would become more like the Mirror. But that is not likely, due to the position of women in our society. Our valuing of agriculture, cooking and gentleness will also keep us from becoming like the Mirror. And with Mirror Universe denizens crossing back and forth (as we will), it’s entirely possible that by, say, the fifth millennium (e. g. 4000 AD), we might find there are few differences between the Prime and Mirror Universes.

At least, that would be the case in my Star Trek fanfiction, if I ever write about a time that deep in history. And perhaps I might.