Once again, the prompt is the same as the name of the story.
A year after Bron and Sophra start going out, he meets her parents and blurts out the truth.
Poor Bron! Always so sensitive and sweet. Sophra’s parents are skeptical, and her father in particular is unsure of things. Bron doesn’t even tell or ask Sophra first. Instead, as her father asks for his intentions, Bron blurts out that his intention is marriage.
Initially appalled, Sophra’s parents come around when Bron tells them he will have a good engineering job and they will likely adopt children as the chance of having their own probably isn’t there. A little grudgingly, perhaps, he is accepted.
I liked the idea of a couple getting it on in such a public and dangerous manner. The only other couple I have had, so far, to do such a thing, are Jay Hayes and Susan Cheshire. But they are never seen in the act; the reference is just one of Jay’s memories of her.
Here, the act and its leadup are covered pretty nicely, I feel.
The prompt for a monthly challenge was, if I recall correctly, about lying. And who better to lie than the semi-silver-tongued reptilian devil himself, Skrol?
Oh, what has Skrol done now?
Like teenagers from time immemorial, Tr’Dorna, Skrol, Etrina, Bron, and Sophra are all a little obsessed with each others’ lives. This includes the inevitable question of, are you still a virgin? Because by that time, not everyone is.
Skrol hatches a plan to get Tr’Dorna to flip her tail for him (essentially, for them to have sex or at least get close to that) by lying to her and saying that not only is he a virgin, but that she is the first female he has ever kissed.
Bron calls him out on it and threatens to tell Tr’Dorna, and Skrol is forced to confess.
In response to a prompt of the same name, I decided to revisit one of my favorite non-human interspecies couples.
A few weeks after Bron and Sophra start going out, they are separated.
Bron, as always, is the somewhat nerdy and very shy and perhaps overly sensitive. It’s a somewhat banal thing, for a teenaged couple to be separated for some reason or another, and for one of them to be freaking out.
Of all the people to come to Bron’s rescue, it’s Tr’Dorna who tells him to hang in there, and that it’s all going to be okay. Bron even gets in an aside to Skrol, telling him that Tr’Dorna is a good person and he should better appreciate her.
In response to a prompt about rituals, I decided to go with a renewal of wedding vows. I had already established that this event had happened, but I had not yet shown it. However, for Kevin O’Connor and Jhasi Tantharis O’Connor, the occasion is bittersweet, for she is dying.
Kevin and Josie prepare for May 4, 3108, a special day on Tandar Prime.
Because Piaris Syndrome is killing her, and it is going to be sooner, rather than later. So Kevin knows this and, while he is not exactly keeping the truth from Josie, he is also not in a rush to tell her, either. But Josie would have to be either a fool or too far gone to not know her fate. Furthermore, she would have to know time was running low. Very, painfully, low.
And so they perform the initial and familiar rituals of caregiver and patient, as he cleans her up and dresses her. Eventually, she asks why, and he tells her. Finally, the last moment of the story consists of of him picking her up to carry her.
While I like to think that I don’t write tearjerkers, this one just might qualify as one. I hope that the push and pull of Josie and Kevin feels real and not forced or manipulated. Furthermore, it is a hard story to read, at times, for this, or something like it, might be the fate of us all.
And may we all be blessed with someone as devoted as Kevin.
For a prompt about vices, I decided that the vices would, perhaps, be small ones. It would be the kinds of things that you might talk about on a first date. And so I thought of my favorite odd couple. Their first date had been mentioned but not shown; this proved to be a good opportunity to rectify that.
They go to a baseball game, and he has to help her get a cap that will fit. However, she accidentally grabs one for the wrong team. But that is more than forgivable.
After all, she’s blind.
But that hardly matters, as they have a lovely time of it. Then Kevin messes up, and calls her Josie. But Jhasi is okay with this, and finds it amusing. She then confesses that she does not always keep in touch with her family like she should, and gives up on things too soon. Kevin, to his credit, seizes the opportunity and asks her to not give up on the two of them.
I like the idea of getting a good-looking guy into a big rubber suit and having an actor (and the audience) rely on voice and physical presence, rather than looks or basic makeup.
Skrol is like about half or so of all teenaged boys I knew from High School. He’s a horndog.
But he’s also funny and kind when he wants to be. He and Bron are extremely good friends, and he does care about Tr’Dorna in his own way, although he also really, really wants her to flip her tail for him.
He also, sometimes, is a rat. In Losin’ It, he lies to Tr’Dorna and the others in order to try to get her to flip tail.
Will they stay together? It’s hard to say. It’s a High School romance and, as such, the odds are not great. Plus he has not always been straight with her. As for him being true, that might be due more to a lack of appropriate opportunities than any sense of loyalty. After all, Etrina and Tr’Dorna are the only Xindi Reptilian girls at Picard High School, and they’re roommates. Even a potential player like Skrol would be hard-pressed to justify going after both of them.
I don’t suppose there’s any reason why Skrol can’t exist in the Mirror Universe.
A lot of people write the Mirror as being the complete opposite of our universe, and so they would write sneering villains as angels and vice versa. I’m not so sure what would happen although I see that entire universe as being tougher. Even as a teenager, Skrol would have to be. He’d probably be pushed into a military school, much like Doug is at that age.
“Listen, the warmies don’t have tails. At least, not the kinds I know about. And lemme tell ya, there is nothing like a scaly tail.”
I like writing the fun, silly teenaged reptiles. They’ll be back at some point.
I really like the idea of the character being cute and not desperate, that she and Bron would enjoy each other’s company and it would not be her settling.
Sweet and caring, Sophra is more mature than most of the other girls in school, who care more for parties and field trips than the heavy lifting of serious relationships.
They meet at Picard High School, and he falls for her, hard. But his roommate, Skrol, tells him that it is impossible, and he should court a Xindi Reptilian girl, like he is with Tr’Dorna. The Sadie Hawkins Day dance is an occasion when Bron can impress, and he does. They begin to date. Bron is certainly more smitten with Sophra than the other way around, at least to start. But she cares and even stands up for him when he meets her parents for the first time and it looks as if he’s blown it.
There are no impediments to Sophra existing in the Mirror Universe.
However, like any other cute girl of any species, she would likely be sexualized rather early. As for a relationship with Bron’s counterpart, it would likely be impossible.
“Don’t you like the middle of the day? When the sun is high up and shadows are close to people? I know that’s the time that I like the best. When the shadow is right there, touching.”
I would love to be able to give Sophra more of a personality. As she currently exists, she is more of a sweet girlfriend and then fiancée than anything else. I would like for this character to have more of an independent existence at some point. Otherwise, she ends up being kind of bland.
In the E2 timeline, Victor is one of the men who behaves rather badly. However, when he’s backed into a corner, he ultimately does the right thing, mainly to repair his marriage. When accused, he (and Neil Kemper) confess to Captain Archer and are given lighter sentences than the others, in the matter of the attack on Patti Socorro.
Cassie is even less defined and I have very little on her, except that she is a Navigational Crewman. They do not have children in either iteration/kick back in time.
There is very little about him in the Mirror, although he is injured in the attempt to capture Slar (a Gorn), an attempt that causes Ian Reed to lose an eye. As for what happens to Victor afterwards, it’s anybody’s guess.
However, given the horrific medical care that I write for the Mirror Universe, and the fact that he is a lower level crew member, he would likely be patched up quickly in order to fight another day, but with few niceties. Would Empress Hoshi have him on her ship?
Only if he could prove loyalty to her, and no loyalty to Reed. And even then, maybe not. Far as she’s concerned, he’s cannon fodder and nothing more.
Chang is saying that it’s not going to matter what we do or say, but I think it does matter. And even if it does nothing to my sentence or whatever the captain has in mind, it may make a difference with Cassie. And that’s all I really care about. I gotta repair my marriage. I am gonna break this code of silence.
There are a ton of these extra performers who had few lines. It is often a fascinating challenge to give them some depth. I hope I’ve done Victor some justice.
I have never, ever worked so hard to get a story right, than I did with Concord.
From its cover (that’s the bridge leading from Lexington to Concord and, yes, there was an engagement on it), to determining whether men would tip their hats to women (yes), to figuring out Colonial Era market prices, to even deciding what one of the cows would be named, Concord is an absolute labor of love.
The premise of the story is an interphase: Malcolm is transported to April 1775 Lexington, Massachusetts, and takes the place of an ancestor, just as a future time traveler, during the time of the Genesis Project, takes the place of his own ancestor, who is fighting alongside Malcolm’s ancestor. Injured in the fighting, Malcolm and the time traveler, Robert Lennox, are quartered in a home, where they meet, among other people, Benjamin Warren.
With what is almost 20/20 hindsight, the men know that they were together and that their relationship worked out. But it’s still tentative and a little strange. But when they kiss, you want to cheer.
This was easily the most difficult decision, to figure out which was the best of these many stories. Three stories get an honorable mention here. First is The Reptile Speaks, which is a Gorn romancing a Cardassian. I loved the idea of putting together a rather different couple, and how someone who looks so menacing could, at bottom, be a truly good person.
Reversalhas to be mentioned, as it is not only the love of the dark stranger for the light, but it’s also an amazing kick-off story. A ton of roads lead straight to Reversal.
But the winner, the best one (and I might change my mind tomorrow) is The Three of Us .
All of the E2 stories were labors of love, but Three is really the big one. That is also due to, in part, its size.
Characters move from misbehaving and acting childishly, to acting criminally, to eventually maturing. Kindness, friendship, and togetherness, lead to more.
As might be expected from such a title, the relationship is an unconventional one.
But the parties persevere, and grow, as time pulls them along and they experience not just romantic love, but also brotherhood, fellowship, parenthood, and, ultimately, tragedy.
This image becomes particularly important, and is a part of one of the story’s many high points.
I love this story, from its tentative, scared, damaged people, to its criminals, to its hopefulness, to its sorrow. As Lili O’Day says in Fortune, “There is something there.”
Nothing really comes close to Seven Women, when it comes to tragedy. From the very start, the reader is told that Tommy Digiono-Madden is going to die. A fireball is coming, the fire door is closed, and he cannot outrun any of it. He knows this is it. But instead of having his life flash before his eyes, Tommy instead thinks of seven pivotal women in his life. They range from the three women he called mother, to his first girlfriend, and more.
This was a character I had only written little snippets of, and very few as an adult. As readers got to know Tommy, so did I. The best decision I made in that story was to not bow to internal pressure to give him a happy ending.
Spoiler alert: he doesn’t get one.
The best romance story was easily the hardest of these decisions to make. Tune in; I may do this again next year.