Yes, I went there. A lot of people feel this is the worst ever episode of any of the Star Trek series. Or at least it comes awfully close to that. Why? Is it because of the squicky sex between the captain and the pilot? Or because of the wacky way Warp 10 somehow messes with Paris’s DNA? Could it be because the writing feels utterly bankrupt of imagination, so much so that the writers could not figure out what comes after humans? And, instead, they cop out and decide to regress and have us go back to, of all things, salamanders?
There are a lot of things wrong with Threshold. It would be a mistake to deny that. And my list barely scratches the surface.
It was a kind of irresistible premise: what the hell would Tom Paris and Kathryn Janeway do after Threshold?
Because of course it would have to be awkward. Of course.
I decided I wanted a piece of their time on the planet to be related to something rather biologically primal. It wouldn’t just be the sex drive. Instead, a part of the issue would be something which happens to non-human animals on Earth: they would go into season.
So in order to be able to deal with this, I didn’t have them recreate what had happened. Then they decide to commemorate the occasion and remember their children.
While Threshold is roundly (and justifiably, in my opinion) criticized as one of the worst episodes the entire franchise has to offer, it does raise this very question. How do you work together after that?
I love coffee! Maybe not so much the story. However, I certainly enjoy the brew, as do a lot of people. One good thing about it is how it humanizes Captain Kathryn Janeway. For all of the issues which the writers may have had with her, at least this quirk gives her humanity. After all, even if you prefer tea, you always know someone who would prefer the French Roast or the Sumatran blend.
For an inspiration of the same name, I wrote a quickie drabble. The truth is, the story could be about anyone. In fact, I may have originally crafted it that way. The truth is, I can no longer recall. No matter.
It does not have to relate to Star Trek at all – and this little drabble just about barely does.
So anyone who knows Star Trek: Voyager is abundantly aware that Captain Kathryn Janeway enjoys her morning brew. One thing I liked about the show was that, despite replicator technology (and its seemingly magical properties), she’s still got to have real coffee. She notices if she’s getting something ersatz, a pale imitation. Hence this humanizing, relatable detail works on a lot of levels. I wanted to capture that, where she would muse over something so simple yet so personally potent. Furthermore, for Janeway, it serves as a quiet(er) moment in a life filled with everyone wanting something yesterday. As a result, this tiny moment starts her day off right.
On Ad Astra, there was a weekly prompt about crying. Now, I am not a fan of making my characters cry. It’s not that I don’t – God knows they weep up a storm at times. But for whatever reason, I don’t love writing the specifics of that in fanfiction. I tend to use more euphemistic expressions, such as wet face or red face. I wanted to answer the prompt, but I wanted a kind of back-handed reason for crying that wouldn’t be quite so readily apparent. And of course it came to me – chopping onions. And who better to do that than sous-chef extraordinaire Lili O’Day?
And of course her eyes are tearing and her arms are killing her.
But then Will puts his foot in his mouth, big time. She hasn’t been working with him for that long, and he decides to make conversation. He asks her what her family normally made for Christmas dinner. She mutters something about coquilles St. Jacques grilled or baked, served in their shells with a cream sauce. But she doesn’t tell him anything else.
And Will, like a fool, persists and pushes her. And she has to blurt out that holidays are hurtful, because of the deaths of her parents.
I wanted to honor Lili’s parents and, at the same time, get across that holidays, for a lot of people, are just plain godawful. Plus I wanted a reason for her to be crying. The onions set her off, but it’s the memory – and the Will’s misguided persistence – that really ice it for her.
I think the story came out well, and packs a lot into only 560 words.