The character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon. Her role on the Enterprise was as a Science crewman, often assisting Doctor Phlox. The actress, unfortunately, died during the first run of the series.
With Waymire deceased, I’m not so sure who I would get to replace her. I imagine the same was true for the writers of the show. They ended up indicating that people had died in some of the Xindi attacks and some bodies were never found. While that’s a horrifying thought, perhaps Cutler is one of those persons. All too sadly, that will happen when we finally, truly, venture into space.
Pleasant and intelligent, Liz Cutler is alien-curious about Phlox. Even learning that he’s married to three Denobulan women does not faze her. But nothing happens; the actress died before the writers could really do anything with her character. She also never makes it to the Mirror Universe episodes. A pity, as I think she would have made a dandy Mirror Universe character.
As I write Cutler, in the Mirror, she and Tucker have a history. During Reversal, when the opportunity presents itself, they get together. By the time that story is finished, they have left together, for a new life on Lafa II. In marked contrast to the canon end of Tucker, they end up founding a dynasty, with two children, Betsy and Charlie (Charles Tucker IV). Their great-grandson, Charles Tucker VI, is a success to Empress Hoshi, and becomes the Emperor Charles I, as is noted in Temper and Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?
Known as Beth, the Mirror Universe version of Crewman Cutler leads a hard life. Much like I write other female denizens of the other side of the pond, she lives her life at the whims of men. This becomes an existence lived at the whims of the Empress.
In Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses, Beth is given a syringe full of tricoulamine and is told to fatally inject either Phlox or Malcolm‘s counterpart, Ian. She chooses Ian, knowing full well that Phlox will also get a lethal injection, but that the Denobulan’s injection will be far more painful. It’s a final act of mercy for her fellow human. I’ve even been asked if she and Ian had a history, and it’s an intriguing idea that I have not yet explored.
After the events of First Born, Empress Hoshi selects Beth to be the babysitter for her first born child, Jun. The horribly bratty Jun even gives her a black eye during Reversal. When it becomes possible to leave the ISS Defiant, Beth jumps at the chance, and leaves with Charles. They meet Jennifer and Treve on the surface of Lafa II, and blend into the forest. She even stands by him as he recovers from delta radiation poisoning, although his facial scarring never goes away.
“Charles! I get the feeling we won’t always be able to do it in the captain’s chair! Think of all the people who are on the Bridge.”
This actress’s life was cut short, which of course is tragic. And it’s unfortunate, too, that the character was never expanded. I hope this alternate life story has done her some justice.
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.
As a part of the 2013 ficlet flashdance challenge, we were tasked with creating a posting every day of one week, with at least 1,000 words. I decided to tie the whole shebang together with a documentary filmmaker creating a work about the Xindi War.
It’s just after the war has ended, and independent filmmaker Carlos Castillo has an assignment to cover the Xindi War from the perspective of the people who fought it.
Sharp-eyed readers should spot that Carlos is a prime universe counterpart to one of the men killed by Doug Beckett, as is outlined in Fortune.
The prime universe Carlos comes to the NX-01, but he also tracks down crew members like Lili, who are off the ship (as is established in Everybody Knows This is Nowhere). He interviews the following crew members –
The story was well-received. I also loved the pressure creativity aspect of it. This story also has the third-highest number of reviews of any story of mine (only Reversal and Revved Up have clocked more).
Like most adults of my generation, I have gone out to work.
I’ve had good jobs and bad ones, interesting ones and dull ones. I’ve been challenged, I’ve been browbeaten and I’ve been inspired. I’ve come home exhilarated, weepy, frustrated and exhausted. I’ve had situations that I wished would never end. And I’ve had jobs where I was climbing the walls, impatient to leave already.
These experiences can and do inform my Star Trek fanfiction at times.
Connections to Trek
The best and closest connection is in the HG Wells series. Those stories, in addition to being about Richard Daniels and his enlightenment, and about various romances and of course about time, they are also, very much, about the world of work.
A Long, Long Time Ago contains within it a group interview and then a series of small one on one meetings. Otra conducts at least one of these meetings, and is satisfied with the candidate, until someone else hears her being referred to, by that candidate, as a salad head. That’s a slur, so that candidate is out, and there is no question.
You Mixed-Up Siciliano, meant to be a vacation in time (it’s 1960 Rome) turns into a disaster when Rick and Sheilagh are targeted by an assassin.
We like to think that Starfleet personnel are just brought in, and that the best people are always hired and there is very little effort behind that. To my mind, that never rang true. I think there was effort behind it. And I also think that, sometimes, it’s not the best person who gets hired. Just like real life.
Do you use canon species in your writing? Do you select a species for any particular purpose? E. g. do you add a Klingon during the TOS time period because of the inherent conflict, or a Trill into a DS9-era story because of respect for the character of Dax? When putting together your cast of characters, is species diversity at issue?
For canon alien species that are not well-known, how have you given more detail to their back stories and characteristics? For those that are better-known, how have you made them your own?
Is there a canon species that you have not added to your fan fiction, but you are considering adding? How will you do that?
Whose canon alien species characters do you like the most? Do you think the character is true to the species? If the character differs from established species canon, is the difference reasonable? If the character is of a species with only a sketchy background, does the author’s vision work within the limited framework established by canon? Can the author’s changes and coloring within the lines fit with how the species was originally drawn? Would you have taken that mysterious though canon species in a different direction? If so, how?
I will use canon species when I feel they serve a particular purpose. Sometimes the purpose is to keep canon characters in canon-extension stories (e. g. the E2 stories). And so characters like T’Pol will be included. Another story included Soval. The number of canon species hitting the ENT era is somewhat limited. I do enjoy the Xindi in all of their forms but usually the image is fleeting, like that of the dead Insectoid, She Who Almost Didn’t Breed in Time.
One area that I have truly enjoyed is to bring together canon species in a manner that is different from usual, or to bring more minor canon species to the fore.
Only seen in ENT, the Suliban are a somewhat stratified society.
On the one side, you’ve got the cabal, which was a part of the less than successfully portrayed Temporal Cold War.
On the other, you’ve got prisoners, such as are found in the Detained episode. That episode, which was relatively similar to the following season’s Canamar episode, ended up being some of the fodder for the Eriecho stories. Eriecho would be a Vulcan, born on the way to Canamar, and the only other female in the entire prison would be a Suliban, H’Shema. H’Shema would be the only mother that Eriecho would ever know, and she would be mourned by Eriecho for a long time afterwards. Enough so that Eriecho would seek H’Shema’s family rather than her own Vulcan roots. H’Shema, a former addict and a thief, is only seen in the haze of Eriecho and Saddik’s memories, but she was clearly loved, and she equally clearly rose up from her difficult and messy past to become a wonderful mother to a lonely, frightened and isolated child. Eriecho never forgets this.
And, because this is Canamar, the Commandant of the prison is an Enolian.
Ikaarans and Imvari
With nearly nothing to go on, Ikaarans could be nearly anything. All that was known was the look and personality of Karyn Archer, and she’s a hybrid with humans, and possibly with others. For the E2 stories, it was great fun to be able to give them something of a culture. They would have a click language. Their planet would be grossly overpopulated, but they wouldn’t believe in birth control. Much like Carthaginian child sacrifices, their youth would be selected. But instead of being chosen for a fire pit, they would be chosen to serve for a few years off the planet. Young Ikaarans would be sent to mine or grow crops or otherwise contribute to obtaining resources for their overextended world. Their ships would be single-sex, so as to crudely prevent conception. They were able to fulfill tons of purposes within that set of stories.
All we know about this alien is that he’s huge and his genitalia are in the vicinity of his knees.
Being able to give the Imvari a background as a mercenary species, with an athlete in the upcoming Barnstorming series, gave them the opportunity to fill some niches and get some love. Hell, I even named them!
Sometimes character species would come together in the context of a romance. For the Bron and Sophra romance, I liked the idea of giving a Gorn feelings and behaviors that would be wholly unexpected. The Gorn would love the Cardassian. But his friends, including Xindi Reptilian Tr’Dorna, would scorn his selection of a ‘warmie‘, and would instead push him to not date outside of a reptile-like species.
Andorians and Aenar
Turning the idea of a delicate Aenar to a different purpose, Jhasi Tantharis was always intended as a tragic figure. And before her, the infant Andorian Erell is another tragic figure, destined to never see the end of her first day, as an act of defiance and possibly a bit of perverse love by her enslaved parents.
Klingons and Breen
For both of these rather hostile species, I was looking to have them play against type. Hence the most stable relationship in Intolerance is a Klingon marriage. And teenaged Breen actor, Desh, is a sensitive leading man – forget that you can’t see his face. This is a Phantom of the Opera if you must.
Xyrillians, Tellarites and Trill
Often seen in passing, all three species get a little extra exposure, including the sight of a female Tellarite, Cympia Triff.
In addition to the Reptilians mentioned above, Xindi hit most of my series. And they get some extra detail. This includes the Insectoids being referred to in a genderless fashion until they breed, and then being referred to as female (e. g. The One Who Fires a Weapon Very Fast versus She Who Listens Well). The sloth (primates) get a matronymic naming convention, so Aranda Chara is daughter to her mother, Chara Sika.
The humanoids get certain jobs and highlights, including working in Food Service in the Mirror Universe. There’s even an Aquatic, working for Section 31, in Day of the Dead.
The Kitchen Sink
Denobulans are mainly shown in the context of Phlox. Caitians, on the other hand, are included as a part of the ramping up of the Federation.
Ferengi and Betazoids are currently only shown in the deep future, as a part of HG Wells. Q, Tau Alphans and Orions are pretty much confined to cameos, but an Orion-Betazoid hybrid will be shown in the Barnstorming series.
Who to Add?
I don’t honestly know. I’ve added most of the main species that I know of, and to add others would be either for the sake of novelty or to branch out into another area entirely, e. g. Voyager. Adding Ocampan characters is all well and good, but if I don’t really know how the character is expected to behave, it’s difficult to draw a convincing portrait, even when the individual is supposed to be playing against type.
Others’ Canon Species Work
I particularly like how Jean-Luc Picard handles Vorta. From their devotion to the Founders, to their loyalty to the Dominion, to their sometimes wondering if things are as rosy as the Founders say, Eris and Liska pursue and promote Vorta ideals. But it’s in their personal lives that these characters shine, particularly as they often play against type.
One of the ways you know it’s Star Trek is in the presence of canon species. Even an OC-rich environment like the HG Wells stories is loaded with canon species and hybrid canon species.
Otherwise, it’s just another time travel montage. But with Ferengi and the like, it becomes Star Trek.
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.
Do you like writing alternate universes? Branching your characters off and seeing where a different path goes? Where do you start, and how do you go about it?
When I got back to writing, after a hiatus of a few years, I found that the strictures of canon made it hard to get some of my points across. I also had a time travel series that had stalled but was, I thought, salvageable. But changes needed to be made in it.
I hit upon the idea of using Daniels as a kind of anchor character, to give people something to hang onto, when reading the stories. While I had already written some alternate or expanded types of universes, including Gina Nolan‘s world, things came together a lot better and with a lot more detail and finesse when I began to construct the HG Wells universe.
Beyond the old time travel series, things also began with Temper. After some of the initial reintroduction of the arrangement and the five people in it, the action quickly shifted to 3109. Daniels would be witnessing something that could easily and undoubtedly show that time had been changed. I hit upon the idea of making his sister, Eleanor, the docent at a museum. She holds in her hands a sword, Ironblaze, and explains that it belonged to the Empress Hoshi Sato. Eleanor also performs a few more expository tasks and then the sword begins to disintegrate.
Once that story was finished, I felt there was unfinished business there with the deep future characters, and so I wanted to do more with them. Since I also wanted to incorporate a goodly amount of the old time travel series into the mix, I needed a bigger supporting cast for Daniels. He already had an engineer, Kevin O’Connor, and a boss, Carmen Calavicci. But he needed some more of a supporting cast. I had already created the character of Otra D’Angelo, so I rolled her out, along with a Quartermaster, Crystal Sherwood, and others.
These days, I get an idea for a story or a series and put it into a file called, not so imaginatively, Writing Ideas. That file is updated as I think of new things. Sometimes, the idea is a rather small one indeed, such as smart kangaroos, which was the germ of an idea for the DaranaeanEmergence series. For the Barnstorming series, the idea was sports in space, but it’s evolving, and it also includes the idea of trying to tie together a lot of what’s come before. Hence successor characters for In Between Days and Emergence come together, and prefigure characters in HG Wells. If I can get Eriecho and Gina Nolan and the Mixing it Up alien hybrids in there, then it’ll be so meta I might as well call it a day.
Once the first idea is out there, I generally let it sit for a while. Often, I’m working on something else, or life has gotten busy or whatever. In the meantime, usually, my subconscious starts to work on things. I might dream about a series, or something like it. I also tend to think about such things while exercising. As I go along, I start gathering together what I want to do and what I want to comment on in my story/stories. For a series, I usually don’t confine myself to just plot. Often, there is something I want to say, some sort of philosophy I might wish to impart. Hence I’ll also think about what that is (e. g. for HG Wells, it was about how fate is quickly changed by little changes in time, and that you can’t necessarily trust your memory. For Emergence, it was about a quest for equality. Barnstorming is turning into knowing your heritage and embracing your past, warts and all).
Getting an AU together involves getting organized. I keep a large overall timeline. Currently, it’s on this blog, in two pieces, prehistory to 2099, and 2100 to the end. It will likely be divided into a third and maybe a fourth piece, as the pages are getting rather unwieldy. The virtue of having a timeline is understanding birth and death dates more than anything else. If I know that Lili was born in 2109 and died in 2202, then having her meet Gina Nolan, who is from the 2300s, is impossible unless there’s time travel involved, on either or both ends.
I also create a large Word document, which I refer to as a Wiki but, strictly speaking, isn’t, as I don’t make it available for anyone else to contribute to. These Wikis contain the timeline, and they also contain the names of the characters, both main and bit, and even referenced characters. Even locations are listed. Hence, there are listings (such as in the HG Wells Wiki), like this one –
World War III starts here, in 2026 (Ohio).
I’ve got the name and the information and the reference. There is also an overall Excel spreadsheet of characters, with names, genders, species (for hybrids, I just list them once, usually by their predominant species or whatever isn’t human. Kevin O’Connor is listed as Gorn even though he’s part-Gorn and part-human). This is also where I list who “plays” a character, as that helps me to better understand people, if I can visualize them.
As can be imagined, a lot of this information ends up in blog entries.
I love creating original, alternate universes. If I could not, I imagine I would not find Star Trek fan fiction writing anywhere near as compelling.
There is no canon evidence that it exists in the following centuries, or that time traveler Daniels belongs to such an agency.
But canon doesn’t give Daniels a first name, either. Canon is maddeningly incomplete in a lot of areas.
So why not here?
As a result, I have decided that Daniels, who I name Richard, works for the Commission.
Canon and Fanfiction Intertwine
The Commission, to me, would have to be a fairly secretive organization. Otherwise, they could very well find themselves with people selfishly trying to use time travel for their own ends. They could be, maybe, seeking to make their ancestors more wealthy, or have them survive wars or plagues in order to, presumably, reproduce more, in order to make a family larger. Or they might go about things in a more sinister fashion, by trying to ensure that the ancestors of their enemies never reproduce.
Therefore, I have decided that their workings would be pretty secret, including the location of headquarters. Rather than put them on a planet, they’re on a ship. In order to not give things away too much, the ship’s name is wholly unrelated to time travel. It’s called the USS Adrenaline.
Given the fact that this is the very deep future, I don’t expect people to behave precisely the way that we do now (after all, we engage in behaviors that are absolutely alien to people from a millennium ago). This is how it should be. Dress, language, religion (if any) and education will all be radically different, just to mention a few dissimilarities. And lest we think we are so modern, consider this – less than ten years ago, there was no need to refer to home telephones as ‘land lines’. Phones were phones, and you rarely carried them around.
Furthermore, behavior might seem odd to us. After all, we currently live in a far less formal society than we did even five years ago. Hence the TIC in my fanfiction has become a rather informal place. No one is called by their title unless they are being introduced. Admiral Calavicci, who is in charge of the Human Unit, often calls her employees children (out of affection and not malice). And people are dressed in all sorts of ways, rarely wearing uniforms unless they are expected to stay in. However, that last part is to be expected, as travelers would need to be suited up for the specific time periods they were visiting.
The Commission and its dealings are, of course, at the center of the doings in the Times of the HG Wells series, but the reader’s first glimpse of my vision of the TIC is in Temper.
At some point, Star Trek might broadcast a series covering pretty much only time travel. The trick is to make it different from the myriad of other series on the same subject. It is a compelling subject, to be able to either get a sneak peek ahead at the future, or fix the past. I don’t delude myself into thinking that such a series would be a lot like I handle the Commission, but I like to think I’m on the right track with my thinking.
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.
About all that is really known about her in canon is that she owns the 602 Club, and had romances with both Tripp Tucker and Malcolm Reed (Reed writes her a fairly generic good-bye letter in the canon Shuttlepod One episode, thereby revealing that their relationship wasn’t terribly meaningful for him).
In Intolerance, I reveal that she also had a fling with Travis, which is a plausible supposition.
It is unknown whether she has a Mirror Universe counterpart, although there are no impediments to her existing there.
Maybe she does. She might even be on the Defiant. However, given the large number of lower class Mirror Universe women who are little more than hookers (in my fanfiction), it’s a bit more likely that a woman like her would earn her money and dubious privileges by engaging in more earthy pursuits.
“We split a tablet of methylqualone, and began drinking from a bottle. At least, I thought he had had a half of the methylqualone, but maybe he didn’t.”
Characters aren’t necessarily wise and they don’t always make the right decisions. Ruby is one of those people.