Small Universe Syndrome. It seems to be everyone in Star Trek, and more particularly in Star Trek fanfiction. This story was written in response to a challenge to put together two characters who really should not go together, or would not normally be seen together. Both of these are canon characters; it’s based on who one of the characters reminded me of when I first saw her.
The first time I saw Krios Prime’s Kaitaama in Star Trek: Enterprise, I couldn’t help but to realize she was actually a tired retread of Elaan of Troilus from the Original Series.
The whole episode is one big, fat trope. It was yet another beautiful, haughty princess who looked human enough that looking at her sexually would not make the audience feel too weird about things. A red-blooded spacefaring guy would not be able to help being attracted to her.
Of course, assuming she was still youthful, Kirk would hit on her. But how to get them together?
I decided to lift the plot of Two Days, Two Nights. Risa would still have a crime problem. But instead of Malcolm and Tripp being tied up in a basement, it would be Captain James T. Kirk and Kaitaama.
I am not so sure I would ever write a story like this again. I have enough problems keeping my own creations from suffering from coincidences and small universe syndrome. It would be far worse if I did that deliberately with more canon characters!
A lot of fans are not too impressed with the portrayal of Vulcans in Enterprise. For me, I loved it. I always found them to be far too perfect, and when the Original Series was running, I was a lot more likely to side with McCoy or Kirk than Spock. This may have carried over a bit, but either way, it was a refreshing change, to me, to see Vulcans with feet of clay and less than stellar motives.
As in canon, the character is played by actor Gary Graham. The actor embodies the character well and it is difficult to think of another inhabiting him so well.
Standoffish like most Vulcans, he seems to be genuinely moved when Admiral Forrest sacrifices his own life to save a, perhaps, friend.
His relationships are not really known. In Biases, I bring a human woman into his household, but Bridie Kelly is not intended to be a love interest at all. I really hope nobody ‘ships them.
Mirror Universe Soval is canon. Intelligent and resourceful, he is one of many Mirror Universe characters who is just plain stuck. As I write the Mirror, it boasts a violent military dictatorship. Not an easy place for an unemotional person.
There isn’t a lot on him in canon except that Archer became xenophobic. This would make life even more difficult even if Jonathan Archer had lived (the way I write the Mirror Universe, Hoshi Sato is successful in murdering Archer).
“I am one hundred and forty-two years old. That is almost a logical observation.”
I have never written Mirror Universe Soval, and maybe it’s time I should.
T’Pau, a canon character, is a part of the Star Trek: Enterprise Vulcan arc.
As in canon, a young T’Pau is played by actress Kara Zediker.
I liked this portrayal a lot more than the one in the Original Series. This T’Pau has passion and fire, even as an allegedly emotion-free Vulcan.
Ruthless and efficient, T’Pau, in canon, is ready to force Captain Archer to submit to a mindmeld if he won’t go willingly. I see no reason for her to be any different in fanfiction.
Thrown together several times, T’Pau and Kefris bond at least a little bit over their shared fates.
In the Mirror, because Vulcans are an oppressed species, I write T’Pau as a slave.
This is the main place where I write T’Pau. In Temper and in He Stays a Stranger, she is referenced as being someone who performs calculations and looks things up for the Empress. Without being named, she is one of the two Vulcans referenced (Kefris is the other) in Escape, as surviving the shuttle crash that kills the Mirror Melissa Madden and leaves Andy Miller bereft.
As of the writing of this blog post, I don’t have a quote from her!
Mentioned peripherally but barely seen, I should do more with this character.
But it’s still something that has happened to me. It can still, in a backhanded way, be inspiring.
The Specifics of Creation
For character injuries, Star Trek always used to go beyond believability and hit a weird Twilight Zone, where everything was magically, mystically cured, with the patient suffering no or nearly no pain.
That’s not how the real world works, and I am so glad Enterprise made it a point of showing cures being neither instantaneous nor perfect.
Well, sometimes. At least , when Malcolm was injured in Minefield, he was still injured in Dead Stop and, in fact, Phlox had the automated repair station cure Malcolm’s broken leg.
For my own work, I have used it as a jumping off point. It is so easy in fiction to make people into super people, and make it so injuries don’t really affect them. This is deus ex machina-style unreality at its worst. Sprains hurt. Breaks make you limp or make your arm hang useless. An allergy (not exactly an injury but certainly a medical condition) can make you stop breathing.
Perhaps the worst injury I’ve gotten is a set of three (hey, if you’re going to do something, go all the way, eh?) meniscus tears in my right knee. While this has not yet informed my fanfiction writing, it has affected my wholly original work. In The Enigman Cave, there is a character with that exact same injury.
In fanfiction, I took the fight from Harbinger and reworked it twice, both times involving Malcolm. Once was with Doug, in Together. The other was in The Three of Us, with Jay (as a reprise of the fight, and Lili even laments that it might be a ‘second harbinger’). In both of my versions of the fight, similar injuries are inflicted on the men, as an homage to the canon scene. There are eye and kidney injuries, just as in the original. However, the addition of Lili to the dynamic means there is a witness and the aftermath is far more problematic. In Together, Lili is pregnant with Marie Patrice and keels over, overcome by intense kicking. Pamela ends up taking her to the Medical Center nearby in San Francisco, and the upshot is an uneasy truce between the men.
In The Three of Us, Archer finds the two men fighting. He orders the men to sickbay where Phlox begins to treat them, but they both continue posturing and refuse treatment. Lili is called in and is alarmed at their conditions. Going beyond the original, in this version of the fight, Jay suffers from a lung injury which results in him coughing, a reference directly back to Penicillin. It’s a fitting internal bit of consistency which also foreshadows that short story’s significance in Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.
Battered and bruised characters should not heal immediately and automatically, I feel. Even with advanced medical technology, it just seems as if that would be too much of a cop-out and would severely impair storytelling.
I needed to fill the NX-01 with women for the E2 timelines. In order to distinguish this character from the others, I decided to give her some visual artistic talent. This comes in rather handy when, during The Three of Us, Maryam and Azar get married.
This lovely young actress seems to have had some weight issues lately. She seems to have gotten middling roles; not too highbrow, but also not too trashy.
She also has a DUI conviction on her record.
Friendly and knowledgeable, the skilled pilot is also a bit of a visual artist. For Maryam and Azar’s wedding during The Three of Us, she paints the bride’s hands (and the maid of honor, Tracey Carter) with food coloring as there is no henna. She draws a procul and a malostrea on Maryam’s hands.
Colleen’s only known relationship is with Ethan. They marry during both kicks back in time. In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, she reveals that he is rather shy, and she practically had to convince him she had found a new life form in a cargo bay before he would realize that they should be together.
Colleen doesn’t have any impediments to existing in the Mirror Universe.
However, because I created her after writing Fortune, she does not show up there during the In Between Days main storyline.
That does not mean that she does not exist and, given her weight issues (the actress suffers from depression), Empress Hoshi might want her around and not see her as too much of a sexual threat. But given that women are so scarce in my version of the Mirror Universe, she probably has someone. But if her prospects are poor, then her mate and protector might not be someone who is so nice, perhaps Tristan Curtis or Gary Hodgkins.
“Yes, that’s supposed to be a procul, but I didn’t get in all fourteen legs. And here, is a malostrea.”
Like a lot of characters in my overall storyline, Colleen is meant for support and not much more. But she’s a decent utility infielder type of player, and may be back. To write her as a part of the Mirror Universe could prove to be a fruitful exercise.
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.
The actor has found work since Enterprise, including some recurring work on 24.
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.
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.
There are no impediments to Ethan existing in the Mirror Universe, although the character is not present in the canon MU episodes.
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.
“One of the orange trees seems to be dead.”
Should this character return? The truth is, I just can’t see it.
During the run of Star Trek: Enterprise, there is an episode where the ship meets its descendants. It is through an odd time travel trope. E2 has led me to four books and two kicks back in time. Karyn is in the second one, and is seen in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.
As in canon, Karyn is played by actress Tess Lina.
Friendly and generally upbeat, Karyn is a big part of why the older NX-01 holds together at all.
I don’t have a relationship for Karyn. People sometimes ‘ship her and Lorian, but I have him taking two separate human wives, and only having children with the first one. Karyn, unfortunately, is left out of the genetics sweepstakes.
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.
For Frank Todd to have a boyfriend in Star Trek fanfiction, there had to be someone. I liked the idea of some contrast between the tough MACO and the object of his affections. While Dave was originally also a MACO, I later made him a stellar cartographer.
I see Jason Patric in this role. I like the actor’s look but he’s also had a rough life (this is of course an image of him when he was rather young).
But, in real life, Patric has had a hard time of it, having to sue for parental rights to his own child. I see him as melancholy and, for real, I gotta figure he must be.
Dave is one of the gay crew members on the NX-01. A bit bookish and sensitive, he’s a foil for Frank Todd, his great love. Frank reports that Dave can be rather lovesick at times.
In the E2 timeline, they get together after Frank rather loudly and angrily comes out, during the events outlined in Entanglements. During the second kick back in time, in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, they again take up with each other.
But it was Dave and Frank’s relationship that I wanted to show at its absolute beginning, in the prime timeline.
The premise is that E2 has just concluded in the prime timeline.
Of course, people are talking about what happened, who was chosen, etc. Dave and Frank realize that they were together. But they only know about the second of two kicks back in time, so they just think it was some sort of a mutual decision. However, the reality of the first kick back is that Dave approached Frank after Frank rather loudly and angrily came out.
Be that as it may, things are a little different. The ship is not generational and they are not desperate. But that’s all right. There is still an attraction there.
And, as the title says, there was some mental meandering that went on, on both sides, as to who was available and who was interested. For a minority sexuality, not only are there questions of attraction and availability, there are also questions of wiring and preference. After all, even if Dave had the biggest-ever crush on Frank, if Frank was only interested in women, it would not have happened. Hence, the moves are cautious and a little tentative.
I have read slash online, and I have to say that so much of it is either out and out PWP (porn without plot) or angst-filled hurt/comfort or unfulfilled adolescent-style longing that it makes me wonder about genuine romance between either two men or two women.
Who writes gentle slash? I suppose I do. I love this story, love how it came out (wordplay intended) and am very pleased that it’s in my own personal fanfiction, and it’s even got a sequel. Viva Dave and Frank!