Brazen is a kind of odd duck story. It does not really go along with anything I have written.
The idea was a drabble (a drabble is a very short story that has to be exactly one hundred words long) based upon the title word.
Of course, most people do not see the word in any context other than ‘hussy’. Hence I went with that.
Breaking my own fan canon, I told a short tale of Malcolm Reed bringing home a decidedly different girlfriend from Lili. Truth is, this could have been Ruby Brannagh. After all, their ‘relationship’ is a canon one.
Furthermore, just like in my fan canon, I made the girlfriend pregnant. Because I like to dicker with Reed and give him a child born out of wedlock. The truth is, I have never given him a fully conventional relationship where marriage comes before children.
However, the story is told from the unnamed woman’s point of view. And she is a bit tearful. Furthermore, the drabble makes it clear that she has at least made an effort. While she has already asked what to do which would impress the Reeds, Malcolm’s silence on the matter does not help.
As any drabble, the story is just plain too short to have any real substance. Furthermore, it does not fit in with any of my fan canon. However, the concept of placing this within the Mirror Universe (and, therefore, Ian Reed rather than Malcolm) could really flip the story. If that is the case, then the woman could be a Mirror Ruby (I have never written her) or even Mirror Universe Liz Cutler. After all, I have already written her. Plus at the time of Ian’s death in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, Beth (AKA Liz in our universe) does Ian a brief, final kindness. Readers have suggested there was a prior relationship there.
In Fortune, I established that Tommy Digiorno-Madden dies in the service of his captain. In Seven Women, I show exactly how that happens.
The story (which was written as a one a day ficlet challenge) opens with Tommy making it clear that there is a fireball coming, and it’s got his name on it.
The fire door is closed, he’s trapped, and there is no getting out of this one. Except he says this with no fear, no regrets, and no sorrow. It is just a simple fact. Since he sees his fate, he knows he is about to die.
In order to pass what little time he has left, he has visions. But he does not see his life pass before his eyes. Rather, he sees seven influential women from his life.
The first woman he remembers, naturally, is his mother, Melissa Madden. As he talks about her in the initial chapter, and he mentions her descent into Irumodic Syndrome dementia, he mentions Doug Beckett, too. While he recognizes that his half-brother, Joss, looks the most like Doug, it is he, Tommy, who is the most like their shared father. Because Tommy is a soldier.
The second woman he recalls is Norri, who he reveals he had a crush on. He remembers her teaching him to read and that, at her death, she said she saw a bridge and the doomed Kevin. And then he reveals that he’s seeing Kevin, too, and feels the brother who never had a chance is somehow there for him and is acting as a kind of spirit guide.
His next memory is of Cindy Morgan, who he reveals (this was my own first inkling of this) was his first girlfriend. Unlike Joss and Jia, they did not work out.
Takara Masterson Sato
Fourth on his list is Takara Masterson Sato Tucker. In Fortune, I established that they made dream contact as children, but didn’t know if they had pursued it after that. However, the character spoke to me, and so dreaming with Takara became something that Tommy had done for his entire life.
Then his next revelation is about Lili O’Day, and he remembers her not only as Doug’s wife, but also her singing Arroz con Leche to him (a scene from Temper) and making empanadas, a detail that is also from Temper.
The sixth woman is his old boss, Erika Hernandez. While Tommy is too young for Flight of the Bluebird, he is definitely there with Erika during later voyages, and is probably a part of patrolling the Neutral Zone.
The Last Woman
I won’t reveal the seventh woman. So you’ll just have to see for yourself.
The actor is well-cast and it’s hard to think of anyone else in the role. Much like Leonard Nimoy and Vulcans, Billingsley essential defines what it means to be a Denobulan.
Personable, cheerful, and kind, Phlox is also, at times, a bit baffled by humans. For starters, at the beginning of the series, he can’t quite figure out the idea behind pets.
This canon relationship is with Phlox’s second wife, of three. The other two are never named in canon. I’ve never written her except in the context of Phlox missing her after the Enterprise is kicked back in time, during E2.
At the end of the pair of canon ENT Mirror Universe episodes, his fate is unknown. But I figure it’s got to be that his days are numbered. Hence, in Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, I have Empress Hoshi order his death. When Beth Cutler is given two syringes, one with the proven fast nerve toxin, tricoulamine, and the other with replicated orange juice, the Science technician knows that both shots will kill whoever receives them. She hesitates until Hoshi tells her that she’ll be next if she takes any longer. The choice is to inject either Phlox, or Ian Reed, Malcolm‘s counterpart. With a small sympathy to her fellow Terran, Beth gives Ian the proven fast killing agent. Phlox, unfortunately, suffers at the end.
“Your mating rituals do fascinate me. Always a complicated minuet of sorts. Mind if I observe?”
I don’t write Phlox that much, except in the context of E2 stories and Intolerance. Part of that is to pave the way for other physician characters, such as Blair Claymore, Pamela Hudson, and Cyril Morgan. It’s also because, until Reflections Down a Corridor, I wasn’t really all that comfortable writing him. He’s absent from a lot of my main timeline, and nearly all of my Mirror Universe timeline. Will he return? Yes, although many storylines shut him out completely.
It’s difficult to write about friendship in general terms without it being just a collection of well-worn phrases.
Complicating matters is the fact that most alien makeup on Star Trek is meant to be light.
After all, the audience will be better able to sympathize with a character if he or she is at least superficially humanoid. Plus recognizable guest stars (and their agents!) want performances to be memorable. It’s not impossible to do that if an actor is all but unrecognizable, but it sure does raise the degree of difficulty.
Yes, yes, I know about the Tripp/Jonathan friendship. But that is more of a relationship of unequals.
When it comes to Malcolm and Tripp, I feel that a big chance was blown there, for they could have been much more of a source of comic relief. Actor Dominic Keating in particular is a real-life cut up, so it could have worked, certainly in the first two seasons of the program. I have revived that, a bit, particularly in Broken Seal, where together they pull a small prank on Hoshi.
Hoshi and Travis
Less cultivated and less explored was the friendship between the two ensigns.
In the aforementioned Broken Seal, the two of them work together in order to prank Tucker back, as Reed has already apologized.
It is easy and, I feel, a bit of a cop-out, to just ‘ship them and be done with it.
Friendships seem to be more complicated, and perhaps truer. After all, how many of us romance our coworkers – particularly if we are stuck with them, more or less 24/7, and can’t resign, even if we want to?
There are, of course, other friendships, and other series. In particular, I think the friendships between Data and Geordi, and between Geordi and Wesley (although that one is more of a mentor/protegé setup) are very believable in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Furthermore, the friendships among Bones, Spock and Kirk in the original series have spawned tons of slash.
But sometimes a friendship is … just a friendship.
Aidan is the good-looking guy, the Tactical Ensign with a fine career ahead of him. It is fully-realized, too, as he eventually becomes a captain in Equinox.
In Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before, Aidan is already slated for Tactical. For the project to improve the inertial dampers, he is brought in for one real purpose, to do the presentation. Because otherwise he doesn’t know a thing about engineering. He is also an eager participant in the second prank that occurs in that story.
Chip, on the other hand, is much more of a jokester. In Together, he dreams of doing standup.
As the self-appointed ‘movie guy’, he selects the films (Aidan is the projectionist), and his taste is reflected in many of the choices on screen. But he is not above silliness and, in Where No Gerbil Has Gone Before, it’s his initial prank that sets the events in motion.
The two are even pranksters in the Mirror Universe. In Brown, they are tasked with removing a rodent infestation from the ISS Defiant. But things don’t go according to plan, as they are both fed up with the Empress.
My own friendships creep in, on occasion. Part-Gorn Kevin O’Connor is based on a person of the same name. Andrew and Lucy‘s daughter is named for a dear friend of mine, as are Jay Hayes’s sister (Laura), M’Roan (in a way), Eleanor Daniels, Crystal Sherwood, Hamilton Roget, Mindy Ryan, Stacey Young and Darragh Stratton. Some are closer than others, who would likely be surprised if they were told that they were being included in some small way.
Relationships between people do not have to always mean lust and romance. Friendship is, truly, just as beautiful, and just as sustaining, and should not be dismissed lightly.
About all that is really known about her in canon is that she owns the 602 Club, and had romances with both Tripp Tucker and Malcolm Reed (Reed writes her a fairly generic good-bye letter in the canon Shuttlepod One episode, thereby revealing that their relationship wasn’t terribly meaningful for him).
In Intolerance, I reveal that she also had a fling with Travis, which is a plausible supposition.
It is unknown whether she has a Mirror Universe counterpart, although there are no impediments to her existing there.
Maybe she does. She might even be on the Defiant. However, given the large number of lower class Mirror Universe women who are little more than hookers (in my fanfiction), it’s a bit more likely that a woman like her would earn her money and dubious privileges by engaging in more earthy pursuits.
“We split a tablet of methylqualone, and began drinking from a bottle. At least, I thought he had had a half of the methylqualone, but maybe he didn’t.”
Characters aren’t necessarily wise and they don’t always make the right decisions. Ruby is one of those people.
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.
This character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon, but he does not have a given name in canon, or even a first initial. Nothing is known of his inner life or personality. In the series, he’s just a time traveler and does not seem to have emotional reactions to much of what happens, except when his own time period is threatened.
Smarter than anyone else in the room, Rick is a natural for time travel. But he’s also a bit bored, and is jaded by constantly putting things back. This includes allowing people to die who seem to be innocents. In order to comfort himself, and to keep himself occupied, he begins bedding women in time.
All goes along fine until one of the women ends up pregnant. This would not matter so much to history (although it matters to Richard), except that the pregnant woman is the Empress Hoshi Sato.
He has a good relationship with his sister, Eleanor. For a long time, she is the only person he confides in.
Rick is a womanizer at the start of A Long, Long Time Ago. Here are his known conquests, in the order of the conquests (his perspective in time):
Unlike his temporal conquests, Tina is a real-live girlfriend for Richard. They check each other out in A Lesson and then are introduced at the start of Temper. But at the end of A Long, Long Time Ago, he ends it, although he contacts her a few times, during both Ohio and The Point is Probably Moot.
They meet during the events of Spring Thaw. They enjoy each other’s company and are intellectual equals. They’re also both suffering from some melancholy. Hers is more significant than his, as she is a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps in part because he isn’t supposed to have her, Richard finds himself falling for her. It isn’t until He Stays a Stranger that he does anything about it.
Richard goes on several missions for the Temporal Integrity Commission. He isn’t just fooling around. Here are his only known missions (so far) –
As is explained in the HG Wells series, a lot of temporal alterations are minor (otric), and don’t affect the overall timeline. In the E2 stories, Richard’s cabin is opened up more than once, as the displaced NX-01 attempts to reach him so that they can be restored to their correct time period. While it’s difficult for him, Rick ends up having to ignore them as the Enterprise, in two separate iterations, is meant to be in the 2030s and beyond.
In Temper, his music is The Records’ Your Starry Eyes. But in the HG Wells stories, his themes are Andrew Gold’s Lonely Boy and then, finally, Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers, which was the original inspirational music for the series itself.
Rick does not have a Mirror Universe counterpart, and explains the reason for that to Sheilagh Bernstein during Ohio. In First Born, because Rick has fathered a temporally incompatible child, he and his boss, Carmen Calavicci, have to negotiate in order to allow Rick’s son, Jun, to live. One of the conditions of Jun being allowed to survive is that Rick is not permitted to return to the Mirror Universe during the Empress’s lifetime. However, he can go to the Mirror during other time periods and, when he does, in a kind of salute to her, he calls himself Ritchie as she called him that (the nickname is a reference to Ritchie Valens, and A Long, Long Time Ago). An earlier Mirror Universe mission is shown in Pat the Bunny.
“I’m sorry, but no, though I have never forgotten you, either of you. And I love my, my child, but I know that I have never been a father to you. I wish I had been.”
For a guy who doesn’t even have a first name in canon, I think I’ve given him a pretty wild life. Hopefully, readers find him as fascinating as I have.
In The Light, I needed a Rabbi character. Because women have fairly recently been admitted to the Rabbinate in all Jewish sects except for Orthodox (and it is highly doubtful that even the most competent Orthodox Jew would go into space during the Star Trek: Enterprise era), I decided on a female Rabbi.
I decided I wanted a Jewish actress and so I selected Mayim Bialik. This actress is of course known not only for her child star work, but also for her more recent work on The Big Bang Theory.
I also felt that Starfleet would select someone relatively young to fulfill this role, as they would be hoping for someone to stick around for a while and that person would also need to be someone not easily shocked by things like asking to pray over a dying alien or even something as incredible as a Xindi Reptilian potentially asking to convert to Judaism.
Friendly, approachable and consoling, Rabbi Benson is not only an expert on Judaism, she’s also something of a counselor. For Ethan Shapiro, Andrew Miller, Josh Rosen and Karin Bernstein, the Rabbi may stand in as a parent when difficult decisions need to be made. She is someone they can turn to if they are grieving, or unsure of things, thereby allowing Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox more breathing room.
In Bread, it’s revealed that they married (thereby predicting that gay marriage will be legal in the United Federation of Planets). Their long-term, loving relationship is sorely tested when Diana becomes gravely ill.
Leah’s only known relationship in the Mirror Universe is with Leonora Digiorno. As ruthless as anyone else in the mirror, Leah is not a woman of God. Instead, she is a pilot, and is meant to be somewhat similar to Melissa Madden, who the Mirror Norri never meets.
The image is brief but indelible, in Fortune, when Leah murders Norri for the most selfish and trivial of reasons. Nasty, brutal and efficient, Leah steals the meager possessions she can carry and leaves Norri’s broken body without looking back.
“When Starfleet was established, this question was decided, as Talmudic scholars determined that there could be occasions when Kaddish would have to be said but a Jew would be, perhaps alone, or with no means of communicating with other Jews. So, you can pray with a quorum, a minyan partly composed of Jews who are linked via communications – such as we are linked right now. Or you can enlist the help of non-Jewish friends for this specific purpose. Either way will work.”
Leah is about as different as anyone can be when you compare her Prime and Mirror Universe counterparts. I wanted her to be that way, whereas Doug and Jay are, for example, a lot closer. Leah represents just how different the two sides of the coin truly can be, and how a few changes in someone’s life can turn them from a gentle, caring person to a ruthless, cold-blooded monster.
In canon, Chang is a Corporal. But he always rubbed me the wrong way. And so I have added a disobedient streak to him.
Subversive and, sometimes, downright mean, Chang is the villain, particularly in the E2 stories. But there is a background to his behavior.
In Demotion, Chang’s mouth and his penchant for going AWOL at the worst of times leads to the action depicted in the title. This story, a prequel, dovetails with the canon Hatchery episode. I also wanted to address how thoughts that Jay Hayes might be gay would affect him and could be spun out as a part of my fanfiction. Plus I wanted Dan to be resentful.
Dan really gets to be resentful in the E2 stories. Both kick backs in time occur not too long after the events in Demotion, so he has plenty of reasons to be angry. During both kick backs, he is insubordinate and often gripes about the mistakes that have led to injuries, damage and worse during those two alternate time lines. Furthermore, during the first kick back in time, Dan behaves extremely badly. It would be a major spoiler to reveal what happened, but suffice to say that Dan, while not a killer, is very nearly as bad. Deciding what to do about him is a major issue for Captain Archer.
In the second E2 kick back in time, Dan is not as monstrous, but he still behaves in a rather nasty manner. He meets his end in an uncomfortable fashion, but has a chance to be at least a bit of a hero. In that story, Dan shows he has a heart. He’s not simply a one-dimensional bad guy.
The Shell Shock story also references Demotion, when Dan (along with Malcolm, Tristan Curtis, and Josef Kastle and Derek Kelby from the NX-02 Columbia) is suspected of a crime. Dan’s poor behavior comes back to haunt him and he remains under suspicion longer than most because he is so uncooperative and nasty.
The only relationship I have written for him is from the first E2 kick back in time, when he and Sandra Sloane accidentally conceive a child. Their daughter, named Kimberly, is an eventual ancestor of the people who the people from the second E2 kick back meet, including Charlotte Reed-Hayes Archer. Kimberly barely knows her father, but is able to tell him, eventually, that she forgives him. As for Sandra, there is no love lost between her and Dan and, when she takes up with Brooks Haynem, Sandra leaves Dan far behind and never looks back.
As a main character, a great deal of T’Pol‘s journey has already been seen on the small screen. Because there is limited time for television programs, T’Pol, Archer and Tucker all received significantly greater shares of airtime. This was virtually always at the expense of Reed, Sato, Mayweather and Phlox. Frankly, by the time I started writing fanfiction, I’d gotten sick of her.
Complicating matters was the fact that I have always found it extremely difficult to write wholly unemotional Vulcans (this is a large part of why Eriecho wears her heart on her sleeve so much).
The relationship, naturally, is canon. And in canon, it just plain doesn’t work out, despite what fan fiction writers often want. Them’s the breaks! However, it is also canon that they marry in the E2 scenario. Therefore, I follow canon and have them do just that. Because my E2 scenario contains two kicks back in time, Tripp and T’Pol are given two separate chances for love and marriage.
In the first scenario, their wedding is far more traditional, and they later have twins. Pregnancy causes T’Pol to lose her emotional control – a fact that, conveniently for me, makes it easier to write her.
In the second scenario, T’Pol puts the brakes on their relationship. When pressed by Tucker, she reveals that she was widowed for a very long time. He correctly deduces that she was horribly hurt by this. She eventually comes around and they wed, but the ceremony is less conventional. In keeping with canon, their only child is their canon son, Lorian. As in the other scenario, she loses her emotional control, but it happens later.
It can scarcely be called a relationship as it is more of a needs fulfillment gone horribly wrong. In the alternative timeline “what if” scenario story, The Black Widow, T’Pol attempts to satisfy pon farr with Doctor Phlox (that’s canon). When he proves inadequate in her eyes, she goes after Travis, and the encounter kills him. Still unsated, she attempts to seduce Malcolm as well (that’s also canon).
This version of the character is also canon. In Reversal, T’Pol is already dead – an easy way for me to avoid writing a character who I’ve always found difficult. But for the transitional story, Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, T’Pol is very much alive, although in the Brig and clearly not for long. In that story, the new Empress Hoshi Sato the First personally dispatches T’Pol as a means of continuing to cement her grip on the crew of the Defiant and, eventually, the Terran Empire.
“I surmised as much. Petty tyrants are predictable. True leaders are the only ones of interest. If you had remembered Captain Forrest or Soval as well as you seem to remember how to manipulate the weak-minded, I’d say you’d have a chance at a truly great rule. But as it is, you’ll only be remembered as a tin pot dictator.”
It continues to be a challenge for me to write T’Pol. and her lines are often a stumbling block in my E2 stories especially. However, I’m finding her easier and easier to write as time elapses and, I suppose, we get further and further away from the actual original broadcast of the series. I know I don’t do her enough justice.