Inspiration – Injuries
What a weird thing to be inspired by, eh?
But it’s still something that has happened to me. It can still, in a backhanded way, be inspiring.
The Specifics of Creation
For character injuries, Star Trek always used to go beyond believability and hit a weird Twilight Zone, where everything was magically, mystically cured, with the patient suffering no or nearly no pain.
That’s not how the real world works, and I am so glad Enterprise made it a point of showing cures being neither instantaneous nor perfect.
For my own work, I have used it as a jumping off point. It is so easy in fiction to make people into super people, and make it so injuries don’t really affect them. This is deus ex machina-style unreality at its worst. Sprains hurt. Breaks make you limp or make your arm hang useless. An allergy (not exactly an injury but certainly a medical condition) can make you stop breathing.
Perhaps the worst injury I’ve gotten is a set of three (hey, if you’re going to do something, go all the way, eh?) meniscus tears in my right knee. While this has not yet informed my fanfiction writing, it has affected my wholly original work. In The Enigman Cave, there is a character with that exact same injury.
In fanfiction, I took the fight from Harbinger and reworked it twice, both times involving Malcolm. Once was with Doug, in Together. The other was in The Three of Us, with Jay (as a reprise of the fight, and Lili even laments that it might be a ‘second harbinger’). In both of my versions of the fight, similar injuries are inflicted on the men, as an homage to the canon scene. There are eye and kidney injuries, just as in the original. However, the addition of Lili to the dynamic means there is a witness and the aftermath is far more problematic. In Together, Lili is pregnant with Marie Patrice and keels over, overcome by intense kicking. Pamela ends up taking her to the Medical Center nearby in San Francisco, and the upshot is an uneasy truce between the men.
In The Three of Us, Archer finds the two men fighting. He orders the men to sickbay where Phlox begins to treat them, but they both continue posturing and refuse treatment. Lili is called in and is alarmed at their conditions. Going beyond the original, in this version of the fight, Jay suffers from a lung injury which results in him coughing, a reference directly back to Penicillin. It’s a fitting internal bit of consistency which also foreshadows that short story’s significance in Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.
Battered and bruised characters should not heal immediately and automatically, I feel. Even with advanced medical technology, it just seems as if that would be too much of a cop-out and would severely impair storytelling.
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