One of the major battles of the Dominion War was the attack on Earth, by the Breen, on October tenth, 2375. Millions of human lives were lost. One of those was Michael Nolan, a Xenobotanist in Beijing. He left a widow, Gina Righetti Nolan, who was expecting their first child. This piece is Deep Space Nine/Voyager.
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 loomed, I looked for a way to get that event onto virtual paper.
Beginning with the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief, Gina Nolan‘s story begins on a rather dark note indeed, as she watches the viewer and frets.
The idea I was going for was of a Star Trek Deep Space Nine era version of endlessly watching television during and right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Then a small shuttle-style ship lands right on her front lawn, directly on top of the little tree that she and her husband, Michael, planted together, thereby killing the tree. The effect is metaphoric, and Gina is well aware who the people who are landing are, and why they’re there. In denial, she hides until she absolutely has to answer the door.
As the story progresses, she goes to Andoria for a memorial service, and then eventually back home again to Proxima Centauri, where her parents attempt to provide some company and help. But everyone’s efforts are clumsy and strange. This is not how Gina’s life was supposed to turn out.
The story moves beyond grief, finally, to five years after the attack and a certain moment of clarity.
Otra goes all the way back to the earlier time travel stories I wrote several years ago. Her name goes back even further, to when I was taking Spanish in High School. The word otra means other (female). But the o is long, sounding like oat-truh. I played with the word and liked otra (rhymes with Sinatra) better, although I didn’t vocalize that (correct pronunciation was key to a good grade).
I also liked the idea of someone who could really see the changes in time, and could intelligently comment on them. Canon character Guinan actually can do this, marking her as possibly a four-dimensional being. I didn’t really have anything quite so fancy in mind for Otra. Instead, almost like a fortuneteller or an oracle, she would have visions.
And she wouldn’t have hair. She’d have semi-sentient floral appendages, known as chavecoi (chah-veh-coy). This would mark her as a half-Witannen (wit-ah-nen), a Delta Quadrant species. Except for her mother, Chefra, the only other Witannen shown in my fan fiction is Together‘s Quellata (kell-uh-tuh), although there is a reference to one in the HG Wells series named Paj Terris, and the upcoming Barnstorming series will have a Witannen athlete named Adeel.
Beautiful and accomplished, the actress is believably sexy and interesting.
Of course, in Desperation, when Otra is a toddler, Knightley doesn’t play her.
Smart, funny and patient, Otra is one of the only people Levi Cavendish ever wants to listen to.
Otra is also shrewd. In You Mixed-Up Siciliano, she is kidnapped. But she makes the most of her time, trying hard to understand where she is, who has her, and whether she can get any help.
In Multiverse II, her chavecoi become possessed by Chilo. This turns her evil for a while. It was great fun to give her awful things to do, including indiscriminate sex, murder and a lot of mayhem. When she meets Colonel Philip Green, she’s just stepped out of a shower. As he stares (for this is the first alien anyone on Earth has ever seen; it’s 2055), she nonchalantly asks him, “I’m Otra D’Angelo. Would you happen to have a towel, Phil?…A towel. You know, it’s a terrycloth or velvet thing, usually, sometimes linen?”
Bringing her back, eventually, is the realization that, in his own quirky way, Levi loves her.
Friends since college, Otra and Levi work together, and he names their temporal alteration theory after her. Hence small changes are known as otric ones. Medium-sized ones are pariotric and large ones are known as megaotric. Otra herself isn’t so sure about how she feels about being an eponym.
Colonel Philip Green
As a part of her possession by evil Chilo, Otra fell in with Green, and they had an affair. When he proposed, she realized that she was not in love with him, and ended up attempting to kill Green, stabbing him repeatedly. This wounded him, and it was significantly enough a wound that he would have died if he had not gotten a bit of her stem cell growth accelerator.
Of course, for someone who has flowers on her head, that would work. And for someone who, briefly, was nonexistent, the idea that there is a light, still, that proved irresistible.
While there isn’t, truly, any reason for Otra to not exist in the Mirror universe, it’s still a highly unlikely proposition.
After all, a combination such as hers is highly unlikely even in the prime universe.
“Our theory was quite simple. We decided that there are three types of temporal alterations. These are all – it’s a little embarrassing – but they are named after me. I suppose I am an eponym now. The smallest of changes is called otric. Consider if you will, what happens when you wear a yellow shirt, on a Friday, while strolling along a street in the city of Ironville, on Mars. Now consider what’s different – other than color, mind you – when your shirt is, instead, green in color.”
At some point, I will undoubtedly get those two crazy kids together. Until then, Otra is a fun addition to my stable of characters and she’ll be seen again.