Review – It’s Not Really a Reset if you remember it
It’s Not Really a Reset if You Remember It serves as my answer to all of the awful ‘go back to the beginning’ stories in Star Trek canon. Sometimes, if a memory abides, then you are not back at square one. You have gone through changes. And you cannot be the same. It’s like the ancient philosopher Heraclitus says – you cannot step into the same river twice. That is, life fluctuates, and so do you. As a result, there must be effects.
So for a prompt about drinking to forgot, I decided to go with the alcoholic, Carmen Calavicci (I suppose I could have chosen Susan Cheshire, but Carmen spoke to me with this particular prompt) and the end of the main HG Wells storyline. This story serves as an immediate sequel to the main storyline.
This is the part après the hitting of the big reset button. Everyone feels terrible. As well they should. And so Carmen suggests a visit to my standard, go-to watering hole of choice, the Tethys Tavern. The Tethys Tavern also shows up as a place where Lili tended bar and where I set a Christmas story for Stocking Stuffers. Much like a Derellian bat, that locale is almost a Swiss army knife.
One thing that broadcast Star Trek really never did was show aftermaths. This little story does this, but I can see where I should have done more. In addition, it works a bit like what a pariotric situation is. Essentially, this is what tampering with the timeline has done.
For Doug‘s confession to Lili (in the Star Trek fan fiction book, Fortune) to be at all credible, there needed to be a history behind each of the fourteen men he had killed in the Mirror Universe. Furthermore, just like the death of the Mirror Norri, I wanted at least one of those murders to be for the flimsiest of reasons or at least be hard to take because the person would scarcely be remembered.
I wanted an intelligent, versatile actor. It was also important to me that he be of Latino descent.
I also liked the idea of someone who has played both heroes and villains, as Carlos has a place on both sides of the pond.
In the Prime Universe, Carlos the independent documentary filmmaker is essentially looking for an easy paycheck. He is given an assignment to speak with the crew of the NX-01 and get their personal takes on the end of the Xindi War. While he does talk with everyone, he only records the following in the story: Jonathan Archer, Maryam Haroun, Lili, Jennifer, and Malcolm, who talks about Jay. For the first and last chapters of the piece, it is Carlos’s own words about the film and also about the people he interviewed. While he remains somewhat neutral, he is far from unaffected. At the end of the piece, he ends up angrily and frustratedly pitching his coffee cup against a wall.
There are no known relationships, but there had to have been someone for Carlos, as he is Marisol‘s ancestor.
Carlos is barely even known by name in the Mirror. Doug did not know his name until after he was killed. During wartime, Doug grabs the person closest to him and uses that person as a human shield. That unfortunate person turns out to be Carlos, who Doug never knows and never talks to.
“But it’s hard to not be affected, or to see what could have happened if one thing, or another, was different. These people certainly see it that way. And the reality is that this is, for the most part, just a ship full of damaged people. I know that there are those who are happy and excited about the conclusion of this war. I can’t say that I haven’t felt my own sense of relief, for I most certainly have. But I think we, as humans and citizens of Earth, I think we need to keep these people’s thoughts and aspirations and guilt and personal pain in our heads as we wave our flags and sing the United Earth anthem. We need to remember that these heroes come complete with consciences, and miseries and regrets. This victory did not come without a price. Thank you.”
At some point, I would like to find another place to showcase Carlos, as there has got to be a spot for a filmmaker. I will try to bring him back.
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.
Marisol Castillo comes from an older character of mine, Marisol of Castile.
I wanted a Star Trek fanfiction character who would be a femme fatale. From the very beginning, Marisol was meant to be a villain.
Marisol is played by actress Vanessa Marcil. I like the actress’s air of practicality, or at least that how I see her. Maybe I’m wrong.
Marisol is ruthlessly efficient and has few feelings. Why not?
‘Cause she’s a psychopath.
With no qualms against taking what she needs, the actress’s air of practicality works for the character.
Brilliant and beautiful, Marisol should have it all. But there’s something a little bit off about her, and Carmen does not initially want to hire her. Instead, Carmen looks to hire Helen Walker to be the time traveling doctor on the team. When Walker is apparently killed, Carmen turns to her second choice, Marisol, particularly because Boris Yarin is pushing for her to be hired.
Efficient, but with little bedside manner, Marisol even jokes about disabling Polly Porter while Porter is undergoing surgery. Of course this horrifies Boris, and so she does nothing. But he begins to have some doubts.
When the Perfectionists need for her to be an assassin, she eagerly does her job, or tries to, consequences be damned. A major timeline change even occurs, during You Mixed-Up Siciliano, because she is too busy wreaking havoc that she does not bother to protect the timeline. For Marisol, that’s a job for someone other than her.
Boris is less of a relationship than he is a job for her to do. Marisol already works for the Perfectionists, and so her task is to seduce Boris. This she does at a medical conference. Soon enough, he’s wrapped around her little finger. All she has to do is allude to the idea of sleeping with him and he’ll come running. Despite his marriage, he does not care about anyone else.
As for Marisol, she behaves a lot more like a hooker and does not care for Boris one whit. Her mistake, as she blackmails him, is telling him so. And he makes sure that that’s the last mistake she ever makes.
Marisol’s theme is Venus. There is every reason why, one of the first times she shows up, you hear Shocking Blue‘s version. And one of the last times she shows up, you hear Bananarama’s version.
There are no impediments to Marisol’s existence on the other side of a proverbial pond.
I like to think that she could find a way to be and do good. She would be smart enough to have a life and a career beyond pleasing men, and would be independent enough to maybe even make it.
Marisol in the mirror, I feel, could be like Doug – one of the few people to really have a conscience and a soul.
“That timeline is tyrannical, all we ever do is follow it. What if it isn’t the correct one, after all?”
Stories need bad guys, and Marisol can provide quite a wallop in that area. She’s even restored to life in He Stays a Stranger, although she ends up in custody. Will she be back? Not unless it’s in something earlier than that story.
I wanted a character who would be paranoid, itchy and dangerous. And I wanted him to be a healer, too, a paradox. I further decided that he would be a combination of human, Klingon and Xindi sloth. The sloth part would make him paranoid. The Klingon part would make him physically powerful. And the human part would make him all-too emotionally vulnerable.
I stumbled across his surname quite by accident (and nearly literally), as I used to walk in an area where a Toyota Yaris always seemed to be parked.
It was not due to any great affection I had for this vehicle. Rather, I just liked the combination of letters. As I sometimes do for foreign or alien names, I did a bit of brainstorming/free associating with sounds. Yarin, apparently, is Turkish for tomorrow, a fitting surname for a character who lives and dies in the thirty-first and thirty-second centuries.
And so Boris Fyodorovich Yarin was born.
For a man who was almost constantly jumping out of his skin, who would be better than Henry Rollins?
I had initially seen Boris as being somewhat slight, like a Klingon with menace but no muscle behind it. But the more I thought about Rollins, the more I liked the idea. Rollins always seems to be on fire just underneath his skin. Boris, too, is often barely this side of exploding.
In addition, Boris’s intelligence is masked by a severe lack of confidence. He doesn’t think he can do the work, so he gets his job through his wife‘s connections. And then he decides he wants to retain his post, so it’s even more imperative that he tread a fine line with his wife. If he’s out of the marriage, he reasons, he’ll also be out of a job.
Paranoid and angry, yet wildly intelligent, Boris is problematic from the start. He marries for prestige and position, and not for love. As a result, he’s vulnerable when Marisol Castillo seduces him. And then he’s considerably more vulnerable when she begins blackmailing him. For him, what started as hanky-panky has turned into something more, and he is not only desperate to keep his marriage together and retain his job, he’s also genuinely hurt because he actually loves Marisol.
Boris’s wife is mentioned in passing but she is not seen until Ohio when, in an alternate timeline, she isn’t his wife at all. They have a marriage of convenience for the most part. Whether Darragh loves Boris is debatable. Whether Boris loves Darragh is obvious – he doesn’t.
For this femme fatale, Boris is an easy conquest. At first, it’s sexual (and in A Long, Long Time Ago, that’s one of the first times they’re seen together – in flagrante delicto). After a while, though, Boris realizes he has feelings for her, calling her his “angel” (which he also calls Darragh). By the time he figures out that he’s been betrayed, in Shake Your Body, there is but one endgame for him and Marisol.
Boris does not yet have a Mirror Universe counterpart.
But that would be pretty scary, eh?
I have always wanted Henry Rollins to portray a Klingon, and I wonder why he never has.
“My name is Boris Fyodorovich Yarin. I am forty-six years of age, and of sound mind. This letter will be farewell, confession, warning and will all in one.
First, to my wife, Darragh Stratton Yarin, I leave everything I own, with no exceptions, to do with as she wishes. It is all I can offer, for apologies are worthless. I have acted completely without honor. I owe you many things, and cannot repay that debt. All I can hope is for you to live your life without any thought of me – no sorrow, no mourning, no regret, no compassion and not even memory. If I could erase our time together, and spare you, I would.”
I hope Boris conveys as much menace as I’ve envisioned. I think more of his backstory could be explored, and a Mirror Boris would be, perhaps, even a revolutionary.
The Empress is, of course, canon. But the second mirror universeEnterprise story ends with the beginning of her power grab. It doesn’t tell you whether she was successful and, if she was, what happened next.
In Reversal, the Empress’s power is well-established and has been consolidated. Doug offhandedly tells Lili that the Empress took about a year or so to get it all together and, in the meantime, had a child as well. That child turns out to be Jun Daniels Sato.
But the Empress is dissatisfied (and sexually voracious). She is looking for younger siblings for Jun. She understands Machiavelli enough to know that she needs a multitude of potential successors in order to keep herself in power (and healthy) as long as possible. Plus she needs to keep producing heirs as long as possible for, if a faction prefers her youngest child, that faction might just wait until the youngest one’s age of majority before becoming a physical threat to her. It’s a chance, but she’s got to take it.
Pamela is as intelligent as Hoshi (if not more so) but, ultimately, she turns out to not be ruthless. Instead, her motivations are her own damaged past and her hopes for the future. For Pamela, finding love brings her full circle and gives her what she truly needs. She is able to hang up the femme fatale act and enjoy life.
Marisol, on the other hand, is not motivated by anything positive whatsoever. As a much more classic femme fatale, Marisol is downright hazardous.
She is an assassin and a blackmailer, and treats Borin Yarin badly enough that she pays the ultimate price for her ruthlessness.
Two of my main femme fatales are doctors. Perhaps there is something to that, the feeling that, when other characters are vulnerable, a femme fatale can do the most damage. The trick, I feel, is to write the archetype without writing a cliché.