The Conspiracy was another instance of trying to surprise readers.
In response to a Star Trek fanfiction prompt about the Seven Heavenly (Theological/Cardinal, too; the prompt was not about getting into the minutiae of theology) Virtues (which are the counterpart to the Seven Deadly Sins; I had already written about pride, in Before the Fall), I decided to tackle the somewhat obscure prudence for my next Star Trek fanfiction story.
To up the ante, I went with a setting where virtues would be all too rare – the Mirror Universe.
While they would probably not mind killing Empress Hoshi, the cabal’s real thoughts are of escape. So as a prelude to Temper, Lucy and Chip mention that an attempt is going to be made to cross over to what we call the Prime Universe, as Hoshi wants another advanced ship. And they also mention that Andy will be sent to Vulcan to pick up slaves who can perform calculations, a neat prefiguring of Fortune and the Mirror Universe‘s Melissa Madden‘s death in a shuttle crash. Hence the story works to mesh those incidents together.
I used this story as a kind of bridge between Together and Temper, but on the Mirror side of things. And I think it works out well and helps to fill in some of the gaps in the Mirror Universe timeline.
As a successor character in Star Trekfanfiction, I needed someone who would have a head for business. That led directly to Neil, although he started off as a somewhat troubled teen, within the alternate timeline as played out in Temper.
I think I like him even better, now that he’s a bit heavier. He just seems more like a normal, regular person, which is more or less how I see Neil, who even refers to himself as the hippopotamus among the gazelles (his siblings).
Neil’s the guy with the head for business. He is also the only one of the Beckett–O’Day–Reed–Digiorno–Madden offspring who cooks. Although he has no biological relationship with Lili whatsoever, he is her heir in this regard, and she sells him Reversal when she retires. Neil is also the only one who runs 5Ks and, while he’s slow and he finishes last, he does finish. After Melissa and Leonora’s death, Neil retains their Fep City apartment.
He is the only one of the five children who does not cross over to the Mirror Universe during Temper. Instead, bereft and lonely, he becomes troubled.
Unlike his siblings, Neil embraces the Calafan ideal of both a day and a night relationship. He never marries, but he loves his two women deeply.
The daughter of Jenny and Francisco is Neil’s daytime woman and is as close to a wife as he ever has. They have two children together, Jennifer Leonora, known as Jenny Lee, and Martin Kevin, who is named after the prematurely deceased Kevin Madden-Beckett and is also a direct ancestor of canon character Martin Madden.
The daughter of Yimar, she is married to Fepwev, with whom she has three children. Yinora and Neil, who are both named for Norri Digiorno, mainly meet in their dreams. However, Yinora and Ines are cordial with each other and live the Calafan ideal of a harmonious day and night in perfect alignment.
In Temper, he’s the only one of the principal characters who doesn’t get a theme!
A mirror counterpart is impossible for Neil. Instead, he has a mirror analogue, Arashi Sato, as they both have heads for business.
“Ha, the next time you eat at Reversal, I’ll be sending you a bill.”
I loved giving this guy a bit of a later life, where he runs his race and has his family close. He has all of the solid and dependable qualities of Doug without any of the violence. I like him, and he will return, I am certain of that.
After leaving Empress Hoshi far behind, Beth and Tripp (she calls him Charles) want a new life. They’ve already married, and they have a son, Charlie. Their life on Lafa II isn’t an easy one. After all, they’re living in a cave, and are only doing odd jobs in order to survive. When things are really bad, they’re poachers.
Therefore, when they get a chance to attain full citizenship, they take it. Since they owe the Empress absolutely nothing, they want to declare their allegiance to the leader of the government, the new High Priestess, Yimar. In a low-level bureaucrat’s office, their lives are changed, as they swear to defend the Calafan government and its people, and denounce the Terran Empire.
It’s 2162, not too long after the events of Temper and Fortune, and Andrew Miller is calling for bets for a mirror baseball game as catcher David Constantine seeks to block runner Ty Janeway from scoring. Andrew is the Empress’s current toy. But in walks the new pilot, Melissa Madden.
Dumbstruck and more than a little smitten, Andy takes Melissa’s bet. And, when she loses, she offers to allow him to come to her quarters and collect. But Frank Ramirez reminds Andrew that it’s just not a good idea.
Having declared herself Empress, Hoshi has to consolidate her power. She has to eliminate threats and pick up allies. This means ruthless Machiavellian efficiency.
Furthermore, she has to get rid of the Emperor, who I write as a descendant of canon mass murderer Philip Green. Green brings along only three bodyguards, foolishly underestimating her bloodlust – José Torres, Brian Delacroix, and Andrew Miller.
I like how it turned out. In particular, I enjoyed putting together Hoshi’s plan and showing her nastiness. Her impatience with science and with delays, her casual approach to murder and her lust are all on display. I’m very pleased with the final product.
At the end of Reversal, Empress Hoshi is looking for a little brother for her son, Jun. But Jun’s father, Ritchie Daniels, is dead – or, at least, that’s what the Empress believes. Plus she wants a different father for her second-born. Her strategy is to have a lot of children, all from different fathers, so as to cement her partnerships with as many of the men on her senior staff as possible. Aidan MacKenzie is a more logical choice than might seem on the surface. He has just been disgraced and busted to babysitter, but he is someone who is going to harbor growing resentment. Therefore, she needs to shield herself somehow, as Aidan could become a serious threat. Plus, despite his low status, Aidan is attractive; this justifies Hoshi’s interest in him.
In First Born, it is made clear that the existence of Jun is problematic for several reasons, not the least of which being that Kira should have been the Empress’s sole successor. However, in order that Jun could be suffered to live, Kira must be made subordinate. As a result, they rule jointly upon Hoshi’s death, as is indicated in Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?
I like the actor’s look but admittedly I know very little about him. I believe that Snow Piercer may be his first English film.
I like that he’s decent-looking but not knock-out handsome.
Tall, a bit awkward and smart, Kira is possibly the most sympathetic of the royal children as they are depicted in Temper. He cares about Marie Patrice, and is her choice, but she is also a social climber and so she flirts with Jun and also threatens to go to Takeo, not knowing that Takeo is gay. She sometimes mentions Arashi and Izo in that way, too. For her, love takes a back seat to what she can get out of a potential mate. Kira’s father has the lowest status on the ship, but at least he’s known, unlike Arashi’s sire. That status counts for a lot in Empy’s world, and so it matters to Kira as well.
As a teenager, he’s embarrassed by his name, which means dark, as he feels the -a ending sounds feminine. He wants everyone to call him Kirin instead, which means giraffe. In Temper, it’s revealed that giraffes are extinct in the Mirror Universe.
Marie Patrice Beckett
Throughout Temper, Kira chases Empy, but Empy (mainly) resists. They have some moments together, and some heat, but when it comes time for her to consider losing her virginity, she tells him that she’d rather give it to Jun. For Marie Patrice, that’s a way to raise her status. However, by the time the first alternative timeline in the story ends, Kira is the only one who she says good-bye to, and they kiss their farewell.
According to Rick Daniels, Kira marries an unknown woman, but they never have children. Furthermore, Kira predeceases Jun, and so for a while Jun is the sole Emperor once the tandem relationship is dissolved by Kira’s demise.
It is impossible for Kira to have a Prime Universe counterpart, but his analogue is Declan Reed, as they are both essentially outsiders.
“Something’s happening. Not just this – but you – something’s happening with you.”
This somewhat put-upon character is the most positive portrayal of all of the royal children in the alternate timelines shown in Temper. And in the prime timeline, even though he remains on the ship (rather than escaping, like Takara and Takeo do) and somewhat under the Empress’s influence, he still turns out to be a fairly decent human being. In Bread, he’s referred to as a bit of a wimp, but in He Stays a Stranger, he is shown to have something of a heart. It’s possibly to have some sympathy for this dark giraffe of a man.
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.
When dreaming up Empress Hoshi‘s children, I wanted her to have fraternal twins, a boy and the only girl. Takeo is the younger of the two. All of the Empress’s children have meaningful names; Takeo means warrior. Takeo is a child of the Empress and Chip Masterson.
This former Wall Street trader and model turned actor is of Korean descent.
I feel that he is just the right guy to be an Empress’s child, but also, in an alternate timeline, a violent collector of bad gambling debts.
Called Lefty by his peers, Takeo doesn’t really have a brash personality that stands out. Takara is bratty turned sympathetic, Jun is secretive but with a heightened sense of duty, Kira is almost romantic and is something of an outsider, Arashi is businesslike and greedy and Izo is nasty and impulsive. But Takeo? There just isn’t a lot there, and I blame myself for not giving him more to do.
During the first alternate timeline in Temper, Marie Patrice takes a passing interest as she is trying to get both Jun and Kira jealous. But apart from being a bit of eye candy for her, there isn’t a lot to recommend Takeo.
At the end of Temper, Rick Daniels notes for posterity that, in the correct timeline, Takeo had a male Calafan lover, but the man’s name is not known to history. In Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown? he is revealed to be Ubvelwev. Since this Calafan is silver, he comes from our universe – and was the winner of the 2159 election for First Minister in Voice of the Common Man. But this is a lot later (2245), so it’s unknown whether he and Takeo were together at that time (as a Calafan, Ubvelwev can shuttle between the universes but, since Takeo is a human, he cannot).
Takeo does not have a Prime Universe counterpart (that’s impossible), but he does have an analogue – Kevin Madden Beckett, as they both have unknown potential. As I have written him, he is almost as much of a cypher as Kevin.
“He’s hopelessly ugly.”
I’m not sure if I will ever have a chance to really develop Takeo. All mysteries about him are my own doing, for not putting enough out there about him.
Religion is Star Trek canon, and of course it is also a very real and very personal human experience.
While much of Star Trek is rather atheist-friendly, I don’t believe that faith will ever, truly, completely leave us. In particular, the Enterprise era is bound to have characters who still practice religion. Hence spiritual leaders would be a nature offshoot of that.
First seen in The Light, Rabbi Benson is the official Starfleet Rabbi. She assists Ethan Shapiro in putting together a short service to commemorate the life of his great-aunt, Rachel Orenstein.
In Bread, she is a part of an official Starfleet set of meetings and banquets where all of the Starfleet chaplains have been brought together as a part of welcoming three new worlds to the nascent Federation – the Caitian home world, Denobula and the Xyrillian home world. Leah is cordial with the Imam, a Buddhist monk and others. Religion is very much alive, and she is a big part of it. While reminiscing with Jonathan Archer, she reports that Ethan would often ask her advice about Karin Bernstein, and she is delighted that they wed.
In the alternate timeline in Temper, she is the spiritual leader of her people on both sides of the pond. When the timeline is restored, she is only the High Priestess on the Mirror side.
The role of High Priestess is not too well-defined, but Yimar has the power to summon her fellow Calafans, no matter where they are, and can even telepathically communicate with those in the Mirror Universe, a useful talent for a spiritual leader who, in an alternate timeline, leads her government in exile, too.
In Reversal, she seems to be dying, but Yipran, the High Priestess of the Calafan people, is not going down without a fight. In Fortune, she reveals that she understands far more of the universe and its origins (and its eventual fate) than pretty much anyone.
About half of this order is composed of upstanding men who commit charitable deeds and are true believers. The other half is a front for the Perfectionists, including Walker himself. The legitimate monks are unaware of what is going on under their noses.
Because there are no religious or spiritual leaders on board, Captain Archer must perform those tasks. This includes everything from officiating at weddings
to eventually giving funerary orations.
It’s not much of a stretch to assume that he also presided over christenings and Bar and Bat Mitzvot.
It is unclear who fills in when Jonathan finally dies, but it is not a stretch to assume that the successor captain would do so. In The Three of Us, that’s Charles Tucker IV; in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, that’s canon character Lorian Cyrus Tucker.
Faith abides and, in Bread, for the Mirror Universe and the prime, it’s one of the few things that survives. I believe there is a place for religion in Star Trek, even in the later series, and I am not afraid to show it. Faith of the heart, to me, means all hearts and, by definition, all faiths as well.
The story ended up as a bridge between In Between Days and Times of the HG Wells.
In Reversal, I established that the Empress had given birth to Daniels’s child, but she thought him (the elder Daniels) to be dead. But Daniels isn’t dead.
Therefore, there had to be another side to the story.
First Born explores the fallout at the Temporal Integrity Commission, and in time itself. Eleanor Daniels, Rick’s sister, is a docent at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II. She begins by lecturing about Empress Hoshi’s five children, but suddenly she shakes very, very slightly and ends her sentence talking about Hoshi’s six children.
Rick is hauled into his boss, Carmen Calavicci‘s, office. She is, understandably, livid. She has been looking the other way for a while as he’s been bedding women in time. She has been figuring that it’s a way for him to cope with the fact that there are often deaths, or he has to restore deaths. She has been kind or, at least, indifferent. But this is something else entirely, as the Mirror government is breathing down her neck. They demand that Jun Sato‘s existence be wiped out, thereby restoring Aidan MacKenzie‘s son, Kira, to his rightful position as first born heir.
Rick and Carmen meet with a Mirror government representative and begin to sort everything out. Rick wants Jun to live, but how much of a pound of flesh with the other side of the pond extract in order to make that happen?