Portrait of a Character – Bernardine (Bernie) Keating-Fong
During Intolerance, I needed someone who would be a kind of chaperone to Pamela, Blair, Will, Mark, and An. Her name had to be gender-neutral. Her surname, like a lot of the other names in that story, evokes Dominic Keating’s earlier career. The Fong portion is a nod to another original character of mine, pop star Kurt Fong. I like to think that she is his sister-in-law.
I wanted an older yet attractive Asian actress. She would also be the kind of person who, during the shenanigans at the beginning of Intolerance, Malcolm might consider as a romantic prospect.
Extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, Phlox refers to her as a specialist in ancient diseases, a statement that she does not dispute. Until it was time to write others’ universes, I did not really have a role for her beyond Intolerance. However, I had occasion to write a crossover work called Bomb(e) and made her the physician on the NX-04 Ariane. In that story, which is played a lot more for laughs, Dr. Keating-Fong ends up treating a patient who may or may not have planted a bomb on board in order to scare off Romulans who have boarded that ship.
Bernie has no known relationships in either universe.
After having written Intolerance (which is kind of an odd story within the original five-book In Between Days series), I wanted to add something considerably lighter that would showcase Captain Archer a bit.
Furthermore, he behaves like a perfect gentleman in that book, whereas some of the other men do not quite measure up as well. But I wanted it to be a case where he would look at Blair and Pamela and bemoan the fact that he absolutely would not be allowed to touch.
The idea humanizes him in a big way, I feel. After all, he is the captain, yes. But he is also a flesh and blood human being and, as such, he has desires.
The story barely has a plot and is really a lot more like a drabble. Essentially, Jonathan Archer, like all of the other single straight men on the NX-01 Enterprise, is a bit taken by both Pamela Hudson and Blair Claymore. As a person who is unattached, there is nothing stopping him from looking. But he knows he will need to hold back, as they are both quite a bit younger than he is, and he is the captain of the ship. For him, it would probably be seen as improper.
At the time that I wrote this story, I did not realize it, but it is truly a foreshadowing (actually, it is more of an afterword or afterthought) with respect to the E2 stories, where I have Captain Archer also looking and not touching, desiring but never actually going through with anything.
There is no reason whatsoever to assume that human-alien sexual relations will go smoothly, particularly not the first time. Couple this with the fact that Treve is a virgin, and Calafan men can swell up after climax, and the scene naturally turned to the parties becoming a bit stuck.
Already, things are weird.
At the same time, Treve is the first boyfriend Pamela has ever had where she’s waited. He’s also the first man she has ever loved (she did not love Malcolm when they dated in Intoleranceand met again in Together. She was mature enough to never say it back to Malcolm), and he ends up being the only man she ever loves. He is everything to her, and the feeling is mutual.
Her earlier experiences have been different. They’ve been brief and unfeeling, and often laced with some S & M and B & D. She’s got a wild side. And now things are changing, and wholly for the better.
This short story was written in response to a sex scene prompt, and it was great fun to imagine it and put it on paper. This is one piece of Pamela’s happy ending, and I was glad to write it. For this character with a difficult early life, alien-human sex and its aftermath are the least of her many complications.
See the Stats page for individual read and review counts.
I wrote some more of The Obolonk Murders, a wholly original story, and transcribed quite a bit of it into Word.
I finished optimizing all of the posts and pages of this blog. This was somewhat slow going as there are a lot of posts! I was also rewriting, interlinking more, updating images, retagging, and otherwise improving the older posts as much as possible.
I improved the look of the site, too, trying new things, adding images, changing keywords, and otherwise attempting to optimize it.
I have started to move the as-yet unreleased posts to HootSuite rather than SocialOomph as there are more tracking options on the former.
In response to a prompt about diseases and their cures, the title, as a phrase, lodged itself
into my head and would not get out.
At the same time, I read an article about the marsupial wolf (this extinct creature was also called the Tasmanian tiger). A scrap of paper held the tiniest of plot bunnies – smart kangaroos.
At the conclusion of Intolerance, Pamela Hudson is poised to leave the Nereid Medical Academy. Will Owen is distraught and is about to be kicked out, but Blair Claymore, Mark Stone, and An Nguyen are still going to be there. What happens to those newly minted doctors once they graduate?
I decided that An would graduate at the top of his class, and would be hired by Erika Hernandez to become the Chief Medical Officer on her canon ship, the USS Columbia (the NX-02).
While on a routine voyage, they come across a pleasure craft which is emanating a distress call, a medical emergency. When they answer it, they come upon a most curious species, the Daranaeans.
It seems that there’s already a physician on board, Doctor Rechal. So, why isn’t he treating the sick individual? Because she’s a second-caste female, and he doesn’t treat their kind. As An, Erika and the remainder of the Columbia‘s crew learn, there is institutional sexism in this species. Everyone seems to be in on it. The men look down on the women. The Prime Wife looks down at the secondary. The secondary looks down on the third-caste female. And the women are kept barefoot and pregnant.
Doctor Nguyen loses a lot of his innocence then, as he learns that even a species that could be an ally can have some rather nasty personal practices.
I got the chance to provide one when the Trek BBS had a monthly challenge in December of 2012 for ironic wish fulfillment. Porthos would get what he always wanted – more cheese – but it wouldn’t quite agree with him.
The Caitian Ambassador and his family are coming to the NX-01 for dinner. The captain is anxious for everything to go right, and wants to perhaps convince the ambassador to become a more formal ally. The ambassador’s young daughter. Parenelsa, is shy and sweet, but she warms up to Porthos, who begs at the table. And so she feeds him.
And feeds him and feeds him.
The problem is noted when Porthos has a reaction. That is, he breaks wind. Malcolm, who is at the dinner and is bored out of his mind, volunteers to take the dog to Sick Bay. For Malcolm, it’s also a chance to get his own treatment, as he is lactose intolerant, a revelation I first made in Intolerance.
Together begins with Doug and Lili happy. It’s a direct sequel to Reversal, and they are living their dream. The first chapter makes it abundantly clear that they are where they need to be. There are little bumps in the road, but that’s life. So far, so good.
By the time we get to the second chapter, we learn that Jenny is getting married. Malcolm can bring a date, so he sends a note to Pamela, inviting her. Therefore, the astute reader should also understand that this is also a direct sequel to Intolerance.
Since there are no stories without conflict, and since a relationship such as Lili and Doug’s should be tested, the events are set into motion. And the main event is a massive kidnapping of humans.
The kidnapping is a chance to introduce two new original species, the Imvari and the Witannen. Furthermore, a third original species, the Zetal, are mentioned but they are not seen.
Ten humans are removed from the NX-01 (Lili and Doug are aboard as they are hitching a ride to Jenny and Frank‘s wedding). Because the Witannen want them to interbreed, the group consists of five men and five women, and they are separated into couples, namely –
Lili and Malcolm – the idea is to play off Malcolm’s earlier attraction to Lili and also counterpoint her issues with Doug.
Doug and Melissa – here, Doug’s frustrations with Lili are balanced with Melissa’s bisexuality, e. g. this is an area where Leonora cannot fulfill what her partner needs.
Jonathan and Deborah – for him, it’s a chance to have someone to protect. For her, it’s the fulfillment of a long-term crush.
Tripp and Hoshi – this combination plays off their friendship and also is an answer to endless Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction about Tucker and T’Pol.
Jennifer and Travis – for her, it’s appalling as she is about to be married. For him, he’s with the hottest woman on the ship, and she is so horribly damaged that it’s no fun for them at all.
This is not to mention the other couples in the story, from before, during and after the captivity. Plus, what happens with Pamela? Stay tuned.
The story is loaded with music as characters come together and break apart throughout. Every major character has his or her own song, and couples share songs, too.
Jennifer – by herself, her song is the Cult’s Fire Woman. With Frank, it’s Maroon 5’s This Love. Their wedding song (and this is the song played at any wedding where Jenny is a bride), is Dusty Springfield’s I Only Wanna Be With You.
Brian and Yimar’s song together is Michael Jackson’s PYT.
The story isn’t a musical, per se, but there is so much pertinent music that it practically could be.
The story, in some ways, ended up an exploration of not only relationships but also of our mores as a society. What do we accept from people? What do we expect them to do when the chips are down? People in the story make good decisions, and they make some terrible ones as well. Fallout does not stop just because you wish it all away, and the fights are harsh because it’s the people who love you – and know you better than anyone – who can truly hurt you if they really want to.
I put the rating at T, with the racier version on Ad Astra at M.
The story goes in a bunch of different directions, and it was to tie up loose ends up and then create any number of others in order to generate more plot ideas, including the idea for Temper, a story that really doesn’t work without Together as its foundation. Furthermore, any number of other overall plot elements don’t work, or can’t work as well without it.
In many ways, it is a centerpiece story, and many other tales hang off it, either as sequels or as prequels or in conjunction with it. Aside from Reversal, it’s also the most read of my stories, and for good reason, as it helps the reader to understand so much more of my overall story line. Plus, I think it’s just a good, complicated tale.
This character is, of course Star Trek: Enterprise canon, and is present on the ship throughout its entire time in outer space, e. g. 2151 – 2161. During the run of the series, he was not explored too well and, by the third and fourth seasons, the actor and the character often had little to do.
Affable and curious, Travis is more of an adventurer and an explorer than the others. A part of this is due to his age, but also due to the fact that he’s spent nearly his entire life in space. He’s already had his “firsts”.
The way I write him, he can have some melancholy, particularly in the context of Together. But things start out differently. In Party on Risa (a missing scene from the canon episode, Two Days, Two Nights), he dances with a mysterious alien woman (savvy readers should recognize that this is a full-blooded Witannen). In The Puzzle, he’s kidnapped for an odd alien experiment that makes him question existence and think philosophically, beyond his normal understanding. Ultimately, he enjoys the experience, and even makes a few new friends.
In Reversal, he’s sympathetic and is willing to give Doug a chance. He also has his fun, particularly in Intolerance, as it is initially his idea to compete with Tripp and Malcolm for the female medical students. Originally, there are assignments (they change the game later, when it’s determined that there are two, rather than three women, as they had originally thought), and he is “assigned” to Blair Claymore.
But melancholy isn’t far behind. Together turns out rather badly for him, as he and Jennifer do not get along and he eventually fears a bit for his job. In Temper, in the alternate timeline, Malcolm reveals that Travis died at impact when a shuttle crashed (and Malcolm himself became permanently injured as Tripp and Hoshi died fighting).
Hijinks return briefly in Broken Seal, when he is an accomplice when the movie is altered.
This canon relationship takes place during E2 and I do not tamper with it. With Julie, Travis is free and easy. They have a good relationship. For both kick backs in time, they have a son, who they name after Travis’s brother, Paul.
This isn’t much of a relationship as they are thrown together during the events of Together. It isn’t until Fortune that the reader learns that Jennifer emerged from that experience pregnant. Whether she lost the baby via miscarriage or abortion remains unknown, and Travis concedes the point and will not ask.
During the events of Reversal, Shelby gives Travis an apple (as is depicted in Apple, a missing scene story). He realizes she wants a serious relationship, but he knows he isn’t in the right place to commit to her, and it would be unfair. But rather than tell her, he rather immaturely runs off. Lili ends up chasing after him, demanding that he apologize. As for Shelby, at some point after this, she ends up with José for a while, but she and Travis have the potential to start up during Fortune. Given the events of Day of the Dead, it appears that this relationship doesn’t go anywhere.
When Travis finally does marry, it’s to Ellen Warren. Ellen is mentioned in Day of the Dead – she and Travis have just met. But Travis is always on the road, and Ellen is stuck with the house and the dog (they do not have children). It all comes to a head in Equinox, when Travis realizes he’d better retire as Ellen is giving him an ultimatum – space or me. Because the Bluebird is detained, it’s highly likely that Travis and Ellen divorce as she has had it with him, and with Starfleet.
I have so much on him that this will be a separate post.
“Maybe a kiss will be a thrill for her. It’s just one kiss. Hey, you never know.”
This character was grossly underutilized during the series run, and I admit I don’t use him enough, either. It often seems that some characters just don’t get a lot of air time, and Travis is one of those characters. In my fiction, he gets a lot more airtime in the Mirror Universe. It’s tough for me to give him more justice, as she doesn’t really fit into my main family (O’Day-Beckett–Hayes-Reed-MacKenzie–Ramirez-Crossman-Sato etc.), but Ellen certainly fits into the Warren-Parker family. He may yet get more ink.
I wanted a MACO who would be, at times, a bad guy, or a guy with some pretty hard luck. Star Trek: Enterprise canon didn’t really cover that, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t cover it in fanfiction. Enter Gary Hodgkins, who first shows up in Intolerance.
I wanted him to be fairly young and perhaps a decent-looking guy who has a lot of bad things happen to him – many deserved, both in our universe and in the mirror. Bad things can happen!
Duty-bound but sometimes difficult, Gary follows along in the mischief that Dan Chang often finds himself getting into. It isn’t until the end of his life in the first E2 kick back, and during the second, that he finally becomes a decent person. In the prime universe’s prime timeline, he doesn’t really get a chance (in Intolerance, he becomes permanently disfigured and disabled, and is forced to leave active Starfleet service). He’s often paired with Tristan Curtisas they are friends and sometimes, quite literally, partners in crime.
Because Gary dies young during the first kick back in time (and he has behaved rather badly), he has no relationship then. But in the second kick back, he and Sophie wed. Little is known about their relationship but there’s a lot on their descendants.
Their grandson Richard marries Jolene Tucker, T’Pol and Tripp‘s (and Susie Money and Mario Lattimer’s) granddaughter. Jolene and Richard’s twins, Stephen and Stephanie, are married (respectively) to Marie Helêne Archer (granddaughter of Jonathan, Esilia, Lili, and José) and Connor Greer IV, who is the father of canon character Greer (although that character did not have a canon first name or even a first initial).
Gary has numerous issues in the mirror universe. He is seen in Coveted Commodity, loyally guarding the Empress in Sick Bay and spelling trouble for Travis.
In Temper, in the first temporal dislocation, he loses his life with a lot of other people from both universes when the Luna is destroyed in a head-on collision with the Bluebird.
In the second temporal dislocation, he dies during a Calafan slave revolt. And in the correct Mirror Universe timeline, he is falsely accused (as is Tristan Curtis) and is executed for helping Chip and Lucy get away with the Empress’s twin children, Takara and Takeo.
“The captain, when he told us all about it, he said he hoped it wasn’t due to a lack of trust. I mean, I can see how it could be really upsetting. He married an Ikaaran woman the last time out. To know that she kept something that big from him, I mean, that’s gotta be hard.”
I’m not so sure where I can go with Gary, as he’s got to be off the ship (the nature of his disability means that he’s got to fly a desk). But there’s no reason why he can’t be seen before Intolerance, or in an office or civilian capacity otherwise.
For the past five years, I have become much more of an exercise devotée. I had needed to lose a lot of weight and, through exercise in part, I was able to accomplish that. Hence exercise has become a part of my life.
A lot of that comes in the form of walking. And by walking around, I see things that I otherwise would not.
And that can sometimes bring on some unexpected inspiration.
For Boris Yarin, I grabbed his name from the Toyota Yaris. I have no particular affection for this car; it just so happened to be a name plate that I saw over and over again for a while there.
Daranaeans are mainly inspired by various dogs I’ve met in my travels.
Exercise also tends to help in terms of working out dialog. I can “hear” it in my head as I walk, and I am away from the keyboard (which means I am away from things like Facebook as well). Plus there’s music. For Pamela Hudson in particular, that character was so defined by her theme music that I received inspiration whenever I listened to Amy Winehouse’sYou Know I’m No Good. I mainly listen to music when I am walking, and I would listen to that song over and over again as I was writing Intolerance and then, later, Together, as Pamela has a cameo in that book, too. It was, in many ways, like taking dictation.
I don’t just walk. Sometimes, I run, and it’s generally in the context of 5K races (I run between 9 and 12 every year these days). Because I am busy dealing with my pacing and timing, I usually am unable to work out dialog, etc.
However, the sheer act of racing has proven inspirational. I wanted one of the Digiorno-Madden-Beckett offspring to have a weight problem, so I settled on Neil Digiorno-Madden. Neil is the only one of the prime universe/prime timeline children to become a chef (Joss Reed-Hayes also becomes a chef and he even succeeds Lili and Will Slocum in that area, but he is from the first E2 temporal kick-back and is not a part of the prime timeline), hence there can often be weight issues when you are tasting food all day long.
I also wanted Neil to be doing something about it, so he was mentioned as running a 5K in Fortune. Eventually just that little story was told, in The Medal.
I truly believe that working out and getting away from the keyboard have both helped a great deal in terms of keeping writer’s block at bay. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and one word in front of the next and you’ll get somewhere eventually!