Noemy Chelenska started off as just a sounding board for Milena.
As a part of Rick Daniels meeting Milena Chelenska, he is originally hit by a car. Milena, a doctor, thinks she needs to treat him, but that’s unnecessary, given that his blood is spiked with stem cell growth accelerator. As she watches him rapidly heal without any intervention on her part, someone had to take pictures and be the person who she would bounce ideas off. Enter Noemy, who gets her name from a family friend.
Noemy is also seen in Day of the Dead; she’s only fourteen when Tripp Tucker and others liberate Dachau.
I like to try to get actors of the same or a close ethnicity and Issova certainly fits the bill. It’s a bonus that she was in Anne Frank: The Whole Story, and plays a Holocaust survivor.
Brittle and damaged, Noemy and Pawel are constitutionally incapable of getting together, or so it seems. Even in the late 1960s, after having known each other for over twenty years, she still can’t call him first. They are at a stalemate until Rick arrives and turns their lives upside-down.
Noemy’s only known relationship is with Pawel. They meet after their liberation from Dachau when they are waiting, with Milena and Mrs. Klinghofer, at a transit camp. This puts their meeting after the end of Day of the Dead.
As I wrote The Light, I wanted Ethan Shapiro to contact his mother as a part of discussing his Aunt Rachel’s death. Rachel is also Linda’s aunt. Linda is named after two of my aunts.
Linda is played by actress Valerie Harper. I like the idea of a semi-wisecracking woman in this role. She is a fairly clichéd role, so to my mind that makes some sense.
Funny, though, the actress is actually not Jewish. But I still see her in the role.
A bit of a worrier, and deeply religious, Linda is seen only twice. Once is in the context of Rachel’s death. The other time is in a fevered coma dream during Entanglements. Ethan asks if he will ever fall in love. Linda responds, “I think that will happen. Just be patient, Ethan. And remember – she might not look like what you think she should. But that doesn’t matter. Look with your heart, and see with your soul.”
Linda’s only known relationship is with Ethan’s father, who I don’t believe I have ever actually named.
It is possible that Linda exists in the Mirror Universe.
Ethan (at least, the Ethan who is her son) does not. But that does not preclude her own existence there.
Women in the Mirror Universe need to remain attractive longer (at least, as I write them), so she would possibly have surgery or at least be a serious user of makeup.
“It’s a shonda, so few Jews on board. Andrew; you’ll call your mother for Chanukah, right?”
I particularly loved bringing Linda back for another round, to comfort a comatose Ethan and give him some hope for the future. In a way, much like Ian does for Lili, Linda predicts the future for Ethan, and shows him that the path might be somewhat crooked, but it will all work out in the end.
Faith is an exceedingly personal thing, and not just for us real people. It is for characters, as well.
This story was written in response to a week-long series of seven prompts. I had wanted to explore Declan and his later life and his conversion to Judaism, and then when the first prompt was ‘in the beginning’, the telling became easier and almost imperative.
I firmly believe that ‘Faith of the Heart’ means all faiths (even questioning and the absence of same), and also all hearts. This story brings those two ideas together.
Declan asks for advice, he learns Hebrew, and he eventually participates in the rituals of conversion. He also spends time with the family and with Rebecca, who shows that she is just as ready, willing, and able to commit as he is. He even contacts his nasty ex-wife, Louise Schiller to tell her that he’s remarrying. A glimpse at Louise reveals a selfish, self-centered individual. In many ways, Louise is Pamela Hudson but without a heart. She ends up being very hard to take.
I like how the rather disparate prompts were able to come together into a whole. I got to know a bit more about Louise Schiller, too, who I had only shown as a child before, in Saturn Rise. The story gave me the opportunity to see her more clearly, too.
Shapiro was written specifically for the Tripp Tucker end of life story, Day of the Dead.
Herbie is played by Jesse Eisenberg (although Herbie would be wearing glasses, this is how I see him).
It’s important to me that Herbie be played by a Jewish actor. Further, I think Eisenberg could convincingly be the voice of reason during a lot of the weirder changes that occur during Day of the Dead.
Intelligent and compassionate, when Herbie sees Milena Chelenska, her sister Noemy, and Mrs. Klinghofer while liberating Dachau, he immediately decides to try to help them. It’s possible that Herbie’s actions help Milena to survive long enough to meet Richard Daniels, thereby making him vital to the integrity of the timeline.
Herbie says he has a girl, but she is never actually mentioned by name. But he marries someone (and not necessarily her), as he is an ancestor to Ethan – and, by definition, Rebecca.
There are no impediments to Herbie existing in the Mirror Universe. For the Mirror, prior to First Contact, life had to be even shorter, more brutal, and nastier. For Jews in the Mirror, as I write them, if Herbie was to practice his faith at all, he would have to do so in secret, much like the Mirror Universe version of Leah Benson. I doubt he would be called Herbie, either. He might even change his first name in order to fit in better (but not his last name, as he is an ancestor to the Mirror Ethan, who is one of Doug‘s kills). Perhaps he’d be Henry.
“No, that’s not true. I got a letter from my mother. She saw on the newsreel when Auschwitz was liberated, back in January. …
“Nothing much, Tony. But we had heard rumors, you know? I got a cousin who got out in ’37 and he said he heard they was burning bodies in these places. My mother just wrote that it was, it was confirmed, y’see. Arbeit macht frei. I bet that’s a big old Nazi laugh.”
For a somewhat throwaway character, I feel Herbie packs a punch. He’s memorable, and not just for his place within the overall timeline.
Because I had wanted to contradict canon and give Malcolm Reed a family and long-term descendants, Malcolm’s son, Declan, would need a wife or at least a girlfriend or even a baby mama.
Rebecca is played by actress Rachel Weisz. I wanted a Jewish actress for this role, as Rebecca is somewhat traditional and is Karin and Ethan‘s younger daughter. Furthermore, I wanted Declan’s decision to convert to her faith to be believable. I also like this actress; I think she’s smart, and her choices are interesting ones.
Caring and up for anything, Rebecca is the true companion that Declan has been waiting for his entire life. His first marriage was horrific, as he explains in Faith. Rebecca is the person who heals him. In gratitude, although she never asks him to, he embraces her faith and converts to Judaism.
Rebecca’s only relationship is with Declan, who is about twelve years her senior. They meet at her elder sister, Alia’s, Bat Mitzvah, which is partly shown in The Rite and referred to in Fortune. At that point, he is a young man; it’s before he marries his first wife, Louise Schiller.
After the last death in the preceding generation (Norri), Declan goes to Europe, partly to return to Oxford, where he is an artist in residence. He takes a side trip to Giverny to look at and paint Monet‘s water lilies. While there, he sees Rebecca and they become reacquainted.
It’s impossible for Rebecca to exist in the Mirror Universe, as Ethan does not.
“There is a saying in Judaism, let’s see if I can get it right. It, um, it’s that when Moses brought down the law from Mount Sinai, all of the Jews were there. Even the dead. Even the unborn. Even the completely unknown and unfathomable, like Vulcan converts, and Jews from the Mirror Universe, all stretching, in a chain, through all of time. And you know something? I saw you there.”
I really liked the idea of redeeming Declan in the same way that Lili redeems Malcolm, albeit sooner. I particularly enjoyed creating yet another reason why our universe and the Mirror are different – with no Ethan Shapiro on the other side of the pond, there is no Rebecca and, as a result, their deep future descendants don’t exist, including Eleanor and Richard Daniels. Rebecca is the linchpin of all of that.
Azar was created as a small statement in The Light. That Star Trek fanfiction story is dominated by Jewish characters, so I wanted there to be a Muslim character as well, who would be friends with them. Azar was to be a quick mentioning but it would be obvious that differences would have ended aside long ago, and replaced with understanding.
Smart and pleasant, Azar is respectful and polite with his peers, and is a lot of people like him. As a Security Crewman, he gets a promotion to the rank of Ensign. In the E2 timeline, he starts off in Engineering, but is still gets a promotion to Ensign and ends up in Security at some point.
Starting in Reflections, he and Ramih Azar compete for Maryam, who is afraid that she’ll choose the wrong man. Since she is expecting an arranged marriage, she works with Phlox to try to determine who will be the one. She chooses Azar not so much for his looks (although Maryam does think he’s better-looking than Ramih), but for his answer to the question of what he would do if she did not choose him to be her husband. Their marriage is a good one, and they have a son, Ali, in both kicks back in time.
In the prime timeline, in A Hazy Shade, it is implied that they may have wed then, too. I haven’t decided yet.
While I have not specifically written a Mirror Universe version of Azar, there are no impediments to his existence.
I can see him as being less disciplined and kind (like most denizens of the Mirror), and probably not as religious. In Bread, I establish that practicing faith in the Mirror is not something you want to do at all openly. Hence, much like Leah Benson, he might be a secretly religious person.
This could make him vulnerable in many ways, possibly to blackmail or the like.
“‘I would do nothing. At least, not to start, for it would hurt so much. I cannot predict the future. If marriage were to be a possibility at a later date, I feel I would take it, for I do not wish to be alone forever. But I would not seek it, at least not to start. And I would wish Maryam and her new husband well, for marriage is so difficult, and all I want is for her to be happy.’”
For a character who I created to make a point, I like how he ended up, particularly with Maryam.
In The Light, I needed a Rabbi character. Because women have fairly recently been admitted to the Rabbinate in all Jewish sects except for Orthodox (and it is highly doubtful that even the most competent Orthodox Jew would go into space during the Star Trek: Enterprise era), I decided on a female Rabbi.
I decided I wanted a Jewish actress and so I selected Mayim Bialik. This actress is of course known not only for her child star work, but also for her more recent work on The Big Bang Theory.
I also felt that Starfleet would select someone relatively young to fulfill this role, as they would be hoping for someone to stick around for a while and that person would also need to be someone not easily shocked by things like asking to pray over a dying alien or even something as incredible as a Xindi Reptilian potentially asking to convert to Judaism.
Friendly, approachable and consoling, Rabbi Benson is not only an expert on Judaism, she’s also something of a counselor. For Ethan Shapiro, Andrew Miller, Josh Rosen and Karin Bernstein, the Rabbi may stand in as a parent when difficult decisions need to be made. She is someone they can turn to if they are grieving, or unsure of things, thereby allowing Captain Archer and Doctor Phlox more breathing room.
In Bread, it’s revealed that they married (thereby predicting that gay marriage will be legal in the United Federation of Planets). Their long-term, loving relationship is sorely tested when Diana becomes gravely ill.
Leah’s only known relationship in the Mirror Universe is with Leonora Digiorno. As ruthless as anyone else in the mirror, Leah is not a woman of God. Instead, she is a pilot, and is meant to be somewhat similar to Melissa Madden, who the Mirror Norri never meets.
The image is brief but indelible, in Fortune, when Leah murders Norri for the most selfish and trivial of reasons. Nasty, brutal and efficient, Leah steals the meager possessions she can carry and leaves Norri’s broken body without looking back.
“When Starfleet was established, this question was decided, as Talmudic scholars determined that there could be occasions when Kaddish would have to be said but a Jew would be, perhaps alone, or with no means of communicating with other Jews. So, you can pray with a quorum, a minyan partly composed of Jews who are linked via communications – such as we are linked right now. Or you can enlist the help of non-Jewish friends for this specific purpose. Either way will work.”
Leah is about as different as anyone can be when you compare her Prime and Mirror Universe counterparts. I wanted her to be that way, whereas Doug and Jay are, for example, a lot closer. Leah represents just how different the two sides of the coin truly can be, and how a few changes in someone’s life can turn them from a gentle, caring person to a ruthless, cold-blooded monster.
Karin was brought in, for The Light, in order to be a part of a more substantial plot than just celebrating Chanukah.
Because the name Karin means pure, Karin was designed to be something of an unattainable character for someone like Ethan Shapiro. In fact, he defers to Andy Miller when Andrew comments that he’s going to ask her out. However, this is not Ethan’s true desire, as is noted in Waiting.
In the E2 stories I am currently writing, Karin’s behavior is even less pure, and she is much more of an aggressor, not only in her relationship but also in her career. She is put into the captain’s chair several times, suggesting that this pure maiden could potentially even lead people into battle.
For Karin, I had to have a Jewish actress. so I decided on Natalie Portman. Portman is lovely without being wholly unapproachable, for Karin has to be somewhat down to earth. But she also has to be pretty enough that Ethan is nervous around her and maybe even blows some of his chances with her.
She is, in many ways, the quintessential ‘nice Jewish girl’.
Kind and friendly, Karin is probably less career-driven than others although, in the E2 stories, she steps up a lot more. As a Tactical crewman, she works under Lieutenant Reed, and is responsible for working with, maintaining and learning targeting and strategy. Presumably, she is not placed into the Tactical Bridge station too often or without supervision. It’s not until the E2 stories that she is allowed to take the Bridge station and, eventually at times, the captain’s chair.
It depends on which story you’re reading, actually. In The Light, she is successfully romanced by Andy Miller; that relationship continues in Waiting. Lili even asks about it during Temper when she’s asking Malcolm about the gossip from the ship. Malcolm informs Lili that things have changed, and Karin is going out with Ethan Shapiro. The culmination of their relationship is shown in Fortune andThe Rite.
In the E2 stories, by way of contrast, both times she ends up with Josh Rosen, the third of the three male Jewish crew members showcased in The Light.
By the time of Temper, Karin is caught in a very bad situation. She, Blair Claymore and Pamela Hudson are no more than playthings for José Torres. By the end of Temper, she ends up with the mirror Josh Rosen. However, since that’s an alternate timeline, they are not together in He Stays a Stranger, and her whereabouts are unknown.
“Best girl? You mean there are others?”
As originally not much more than a plot device, Karin has evolved to become a much more three-dimensional character. I’m sure she’ll take me somewhere else at some later date.
Ethan grew out of, in part, a desire to show Jewish crew members on the NX-01, but along the way, he became a lot more. I really like this Star Trek: Enterprise fanfiction character.
For The Light, I wanted a character who was facing a circumstance where he would need a minyan. That is, a quorum of Jews for the express purpose of prayers. Having to say Kaddish, due to a death in the family, was the ideal scenario. Ethan was created to be the bereaved crew member.
As is true with a lot of the more ethnically obvious characters, I wanted an actor who would also be a member of that ethnic group. Therefore, I chose Jesse Eisenberg. Ethan isn’t meant to be the greatest-looking guy ever. He isn’t meant to be nebbishy either. This is not Woody Allen on the NX-01. Rather, the idea was to have someone who is not only convincingly Jewish but also is someone who, to be loved, maybe the girl needs to go beyond looks and see what’s really inside.
A little self-effacing, but extremely loyal to his friends, Ethan even defers to Andy Miller when, during The Light, Andrew comments that he’s going to ask out the only Jewish woman on the ship, Karin Bernstein. However, in Waiting, it’s revealed that Ethan is kicking himself for having done that, for he wants Karin.
In the E2 stories I am writing as of the posting of this blog entry, Ethan is even more lovesick and upset.
Ethan doesn’t, truly, have a mirror universe counterpart. In Fortune, it’s revealed that his parents’ counterparts delayed relations for a night, and, instead, Erin Shapiro was conceived. However, there is an earlier Ethan, an older relative, who is likely the person who Erin was named for. Doug reveals to Lili, in Reversal, that that is the name of the second man he’s killed. Furthermore, it is our universe’s Ethan who brings forth this confession from Doug.
Ethan’s relationship with Karin drives some of his behind the scenes activities in Reversal and then in Fortune. In the E2 stories, things go differently for Ethan, and he attempts suicide when he cannot have Karin. When he recovers, in the first kick back, he weds an Ikaaran woman named Bithara; in the second kick back, his Ikaaran bride is named Timinka.
“My Great-Aunt Rachel saw a lot in her long life. She went from an Earth where people could barely get it together to seeing us go out here into the unknown. She used to tell me it was a little like wandering in the desert for forty years. You know, you’re not sure where you’re going, but you trust that wherever you get is going to be good. And I think it’s been good. And I’m glad she got a chance to see that. She was like a link to the past. And now it’s time to, to say good-bye and look to the new.”
As Azar Hamidi says in Waiting, things might have to run their course. But then you might just see that Ethan, he just might be the one.
I have been working in the corporate world, in some capacity or another since 1986. Frankly, it was even before that, as I would temp as a college and Law School student in order to make some summer spending money.
One of the things I have perfected over the years is what’s called an Elevator Pitch. The gist of an elevator pitch is that you have the time of an elevator ride (e. g. thirty seconds to two minutes, tops) to make your pitch to a prospect employer who you, presumably, meet serendipitously in an elevator.
This means that you need to strip your resumé and work history down to bare bones. A doctor, for example, can’t go into the details of some operation she performed last year. Instead, she says something like, “I’m an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. The Boston Celtics call on me when their medical staff is stumped.” In a very short amount of time, you get a very good idea of what this woman can do, and how trusted she is in the medical establishment.
For Star Trek fanfiction writing, I think there is a need for what is essentially the equivalent of an elevator pitch. That is, it should be a short piece which accurately gives the reader a taste of your universe, your ideas and what you can do. The Light is one such story.
History of the Story
This Star Trek:Enterprise fanfiction story did not set out to be that way. Instead, I was in the middle of spinning out Reversal (pretty close to the end) when in late 2010 I was asked to provide a story for a project called the Trek Twelve Days of Christmas. The only catch was that the story had to be fairly short – that is, it could not be a full-fledged book like Reversal.
I hit upon an idea. There would be some characters from Reversal, but really only minor ones, and the story would revolve around them. It ended up being just one of the minor characters from that story. And, the kicker, because you can find scads of Star Trek holiday stories about Christmas, this one would, instead, be about Chanukah.
I am, as they say, a nice Jewish gal. And people like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, but also Armin Shimerman, are connected to Star Trek and are Jewish. Plus there are things like the Vulcan salute, and various space episodes centering around World War II, such as TOS’s Patterns of Force. Judaism is a part of Star Trek. But how to add it in, particularly without being overly preachy?
I hit upon the idea of Jews who are somewhat religious but not so much that they cannot function on a starship. That is, they had to, for example, be able to travel on the Sabbath. This meant that Orthodox Jews were out of the question. But Conservative Jews (which is how I was brought up; this references a sect and not a political affiliation) would work just fine for my purposes.
Chanukah was a natural introduction as a lot of people are familiar with it. The celebration, a festival of lights, also includes foods made with oil, such as potato latkes (pancakes), spinning a top called a dreidel and exchanging presents. The candelabra is called a menorah.
In order to add a little emotional heft to the story, and to explain why Captain Archer and the senior staff would be interested in the Jewish contingent on the ship, the story begins with a death. This link to the past also links us, the people of the present day, to the people on the NX-01.
The story begins with an Admiral telling Captain Archer than Crewman Ethan Shapiro‘s great-aunt, Rachel Orenstein, has died. Jonathan wonders why the crewman’s family wouldn’t just tell him and is informed – they won’t communicate during the Sabbath. Jonathan presses the matter, still not convinced that he’s the best man for the job when he is told that he must act quickly, as this is a major news story. Why? Because Rachel lived for one hundred and twenty-seven years (which places her birth in 2029). She broke all previous records and, therefore, the press is interested in her family.
As Jonathan informs Ethan of the death, Ethan asks for leave for the unveiling of the head stone, explaining that the funeral will be too quick for him to ever get back to Earth in time. He also asks to be connected to the Starfleet Rabbi, Leah Benson.
He returns to his quarters and waits for his friends. Lieutenant Reed comes by briefly, in order to offer his condolences as he is Ethan’s boss. The other three Jewish crew members arrive – Josh Rosen, who is in Engineering; Karin Bernstein, who works with Ethan in the Tactical Department; and Andrew Miller, who works in the Biology Lab and is half-Jewish. Andy is perhaps a year older than the others.
When they speak with the Rabbi, they ask how they are ever going to get a minyan together. In order to say Kaddish (the prayer over the dead), ten Jews must be present. Karin’s presence counts (that wasn’t the case when I was a child), but then what? There are only four Jews on the ship. The Rabbi tells them that they can temporarily deputize some non-Jewish friends.
When the time comes for mourning, Captain Archer brings along some friends to help. These include Hoshi who, when asked if she can read Hebrew jokes, “I’ll muddle through”, Malcolm, Phlox, T’Pol and a Security Crewman, Azar Hamidi. Azar notes that Hebrew can’t be too far off from Arabic. The prayers are said.
Ethan’s mother – who tells him to talk to that nice girl Karin a bit – has insisted that he celebrate Chanukah, so he invites all of the attendees at the service to a little party, to be held on the next night. The party is held in the Observation Lounge. Like all good parties, there’s a little dancing, a gift is given, good food is eaten and there’s a little bit of romance.
For the most part, I like how it turned out. There is a bit of shtick, though, particularly when Ethan and his mother talk. I could have probably trimmed that a bit, as Linda Shapiro comes across as a bit of a stereotype. But I do like using this story – which only contains a little over 3200 words – as one possible elevator pitch when people ask me how they can get an inkling of how I write. For a positive, K-rated peek at my world, read The Light.