Tag Archives: Richard Daniels

Recurrent Themes – Chefs

Background

I enjoy cooking, and so it was easy for me to center my first big story and big series around a chef. DNA The story is Reversal, the series is In Between Days, and the chef is Lili O’Day.

Furthermore, I needed to have characters who readers could more readily relate to. When you watch Star Trek, or you read about it, some of the characters and their jobs and scenarios are just, well, alien. How many of us are Science Officers? Who pilots, if not a star ship, then at least an airplane? Who is a linguist? These jobs – and jobs like them – do exist, but cooking is close to being universal. Everybody’s got to eat.

Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse

Before Chef was revealed to be Jonathan Frakes, I had thought of what it would be like to have someone like Emeril Lagasse in the role. I still think he would have made a better Chef character. Plus maybe it would finally get the bitter taste of the series finale out of my mouth.

Naah. Nothing will.

Appearances

Lili O’Day

Lili is not just a chef.

Naomi Watts as Lili O'Day
Naomi Watts as Lili O’Day

She’s a lot of things, too – a wife (twice in the prime timeline and twice in the E2 alternate), a mother, an operative for Richard Daniels, an informal good will ambassador to the Calafan people, an officer (in the prime timeline, she retires as an Ensign. In the E2 alternate, she has a different outcome) and a friend to people such as Jenny Crossman and, eventually, Pamela Hudson.

Lili also works out well as an expository character. She doesn’t always know what’s going on (after all, she spends most of her time below decks), so she asks the questions that the audience needs to ask.

William Slocum

Because Frakes is Star Trek: Enterprise canon as Chef, I don’t mess with that.

Chef Slocum and Hoshi Sato
Chef Slocum and Hoshi Sato

However, the man had neither a first nor a last name so I have provided him with both. I just liked how the name William Slocum sounded, plus it pays homage to the actor’s much better canon character, Will Riker.

Further to that, he needed a bit of a backstory, so he got an Italian mother and, as a result, an affinity for Italian cooking (his chicken marsala is canon). He also engages in a lot of bluster and his relationships do not work out well at all.

Brian Delacroix

Brian starts out in Security, but moves into Food Service by the end of Reversal.

David Faustino as Brian Delacroix
David Faustino as Brian Delacroix

By the time of Together, he’s working full-time as a sous-chef. And by the time of Fortune, he has become the chef for Malcolm Reed‘s ship, the USS Bluebird. He’s even seen in Equinox; Malcolm confides in him a bit.

He and Lili also help to prepare a special meal for the Federation’s founding species. The Vulcans prepare the soup course (plomeek broth), the Tellarites prepare a main dish and the Andorians provide the dessert. Brian and Lili prepare her Harvest Salad, which she made for Will during the events of Voracious and for Jonathan, Hoshi, T’Pol, Travis, Malcolm, TrippJay, and Dr. Phlox in Harvest.

Kathalia

While this Daranaean is an amateur, she is known as a good cook. In Temptation, she’s the one who suggests making cookies (the Daranaeans refer to them as “little cakes”), and in Flight of the Bluebird, her husband, Trinning, singles her out and compliments her as being “the best cook”.

Harvest Salad Recipe

The Harvest Salad doesn’t really have a set list of ingredients. It’s more like a refrigerator salad, e. g. you make it with whatever you’ve got on hand. But the main ideas are as follows:

  • It should be colorful. In Fortune, the lettuces are several different colors, and the entire spectrum of the rainbow is evoked.
  • It should contain fruits and nuts. These can be anything that goes together. Because, in canon, Malcolm loves pineapple, that fruit is always included.
  • It should be vegan. For Malcolm, who has lactose intolerance, and T’Pol, who is a vegan, this is a must. However, the dressings need not be vegan although a vegan option should be provided.
  • It can contain a cooked item. In Fortune, the salad contains beets.

Upshot

For hungry travelers, chefs do more than nourish the body. They are important when it comes to crew morale. In Reflections Down a Corridor, in particular, because morale is slipping, having good food is a must. But chefs are more than purveyors of food. They nourish the spirit.

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Review – A Long, Long Time Ago

A Long, Long Time Ago

Background

A Long, Long Time Ago always had a great expectations quality to it. Since I enjoyed working on and fleshing out Richard Daniels, one of many canon Star Trek: Enterprise characters who didn’t even have a first name, I decided to give him some depth. I first brought him into my fanfiction in Temper, and I liked him so much that I decided he should really have his own series. Hence I named that series Times of the HG Wells, after his new time ship.

Origins and Originality

Richard Daniels
Canon Star Trek character Richard Daniels

And at the same time, though, I already had a time travel series in draft form. However, that set of stories actually revolved around a few disparate pieces.

Yet the thrust of it was that time travel had just started, and it was messy and it had, perhaps, destroyed the universe (it was all original although I admit some difficulty in staying away from technology and other items a little too close to Trek to be coincidental). All except for a small isolated place that was outside of time. In that set of stories, time travelers were grabbed from history itself, depending on not only their skill sets but also whether they could be plucked from wherever they were without destroying the timeline (the idea of plucking people out of thin air and just dropping them somewhere shows up in The Puzzle). These stories all had interwoven lyrics from songs about time (the first one was the Rolling StonesTime is on My Side).

Mining the Older Stories

The older set of stories contained some characters who end up in the HG Wells series. And the time travelers include hipster HD Avery (originally grabbed from 1966), and Sheilagh Bernstein (initially plucked from the present time; when I was writing those older stories, that was the late 1990s). I also included Marisol Castillo (she came from Moorish Spain and did not have a surname, so I added Castillo as she was from Castile) and Gregory Shaw (only mentioned briefly in the HG Wells series; he came from the 1840s). Furthermore, I added Thomas Grant (originally a Confederate soldier from the Battle of Shiloh) and Polly Porter (originally from our future). And finally, I added Alice Trent (only a few small mentions in the HG Wells series; from the 1700s) and Daniel Beauchaine (a soldier in the French and Indian War).

Background Personnel

Background people also came from the older series, including Kevin O’Connor (the Chief Engineer; in the original set of stories he was not part-alien but he did have a deceased wife, Josie, just as that character does in the HG Wells series) and Otra (the alien who could see temporal alternatives). I also added Crystal Sherwood (the Quartermaster was originally a historian) and Levi Cavendish (in the older set of stories, he was the project lead and dating Otra. In the HG Wells series, he became a brilliant but difficult engineer with ADHD and a bunch of other neurological issues).

Milena Chelenska was always a doctor; in the first series, she was also a time traveler. In the HG Wells series, she’s Richard’s love interest. However, in both instances, she’s a concentration camp survivor, from the year 1968. Helen Walker also existed, but she was Tom’s ex; it wasn’t until the HG Wells series that she became something else.

Other Characters

In addition, some people from that older series never made it to the HG Wells series but who ended up elsewhere in my fan fiction – Lakeisha Warren (she was a person who worked on plucking people from history; she actually shows up in the Wesley Crusher story, Imprecision as his love interest). Plus Leonora Digiorno (first called Leonora with no last name, originally a plague survivor plucked from the Dark Ages and given the surname of Wilson to honor her late Uncle William).

Older Storylines

Furthermore, I had ideas for various stories which then became books or parts of books. The concept of a failed Italian vacation in 1960, and the shooting at Kent State in 1970, already existed in draft form. And the mission to ensure Prague Spring’s end in 1968 also existed, as did a very, very rough idea of a mission to ensure the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.

Because so much of the bones of the series already existed, I could easily chart out the main story arcs for the series. However, I had to get it going, and I already had this story in draft form, tentatively titling it The Day the Music Lived.

And so A Long, Long Time Ago was born.

Plot

The story opens with Richard and his girlfriend, Tina April (who he meets in Temper). Things are starting to go sour and the bloom is off the rose. Rick is too secretive, and Tina wants him to get closer to her. But he just can’t tell her too much. Making matters worse for her is the fact that he is so inured to pain that he is virtually incapable of loving her or anyone else. And he likes it that way.

He gets a call to head to the Temporal Integrity Commission, which is conducting group interviews for some new positions. Rick is not a part of the interviewing. Rather, he’s called in because there’s been a hiccup in time, and he must go fix it. And, as the job candidates are sent home, one of their shuttles crashes, and there’s a fatality. And we’re off to the races.

Historical Figures

Real people exist within in the story. Of course, the three doomed musicians loom large. I wrote all of the dialog, plus JP the horndog represents my own interpretation. The other real people include Waylon Jennings, who played guitar on the tour, and Bob Hale, a local disc jockey who reportedly drove the three musicians to the small airfield in Clear Lake. Of course there’s no evidence of anyone going along on the ride – that part’s all me. Everyone comes across pretty well, except for JP being a bit of a lecher.

Music

Review – A Long, Long Time Ago
A Long, Long Time Ago

In order to start the series off with a bang, I needed to set the scene. The idea of using music is not a new one (I did it with Crackerjack, for starters). And the music evoked not only the time and place but also a lot about the people involved. The first mission is about music; it’s to February third of 1959, known as the day the music died. E. g. it’s the date that the plane carrying the Big Bopper (JP Richardson), Ritchie Valens (Ricky Ricardo Valenzuela) and Buddy Holly (Charles Holley) crashed in a field in Clear Lake, Iowa.

  • Don McLean’s American Pie – the song not only fits the scenario perfectly, it also helps to kick off the series. From its first words (which are the title of this story and also evoke the significant differential in time between the event and Richard’s life in the deep future) to its lyrics about the sixties and its turmoil, there was no other way to start this series.

    Review – A Long, Long Time Ago
    Buddy Holly
  • Frankie Ford’s Sea Cruise  I liked the song not only for the time period but also because it would be a very real concern for artists. The song (for real) was originally recorded by Huey “Piano” Smith. However, Ford dubbed it over, as he had a more energetic vocal. Plus he was white. Valens learns, during the story, to be sure to get credit and to watch the moneymen, to assure that he doesn’t lose his rights.

The Music of the Dead

  • Ritchie Valens’ Donna  Whenever I spin out these stories, I also place a link to an era-appropriate song. And all three of the performers have multiple songs listed (e. g. Holly’s Rave On!  and the Bopper’s Big Bopper’s Wedding also made the cut), but only Valens has his lyrics interwoven with the story line.
Review – A Long, Long Time Ago
Ritchie Valens
  • Patsy Cline’s Walkin’ After Midnight  This song is not only date-appropriate but it can also impart a country air. Furthermore, it is the kind of music that Waylon Jennings might want to play and sing along with. Cline was better known for Crazy, but I love this one, plus it’s got a good guitar accompaniment.
  • Bobby Darin’s Mack the Knife  This song a little less poppy and a little more mature-sounding. Mack the Knife seems a pretty odd song anyway, and it speaks of death – the same pall that hangs over the story.
    Review – A Long, Long Time Ago
    The Big Bopper

    Furthermore, the tastes of the time varied. So you could conceivably hear all of these songs (except for McLean’s) played on AM Radio during the same hour.

  • The Skyliners’ Since I Don’t Have You  for the ending, I wanted a bittersweet love song. This would represent the kind of song that people play when they’re lonely.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K+.

Upshot

So for a series opener in particular, I think the story works well. And I like how it kicks things off. Because this series differs from In Between Days, not everything can be mined for more stories like that one. Still, the beginning feels auspicious to me.

Spotlight on an Original Mirror Universe Condition – The Y Chromosome Skew

Spotlight on an Original Mirror Universe Condition – The Y Chromosome Skew

Background

In order to explain as much as possible about the Star Trek mirror without having to continually launch into a lot of long, drawn-out explanations, I decided that the Mirror Universe would be, mainly, explained via a genetic mutation.

Spotlight on an Original Mirror Universe Condition – The Y Chromosome Skew
DNA up close

But the Mirror Universe is so close to our own that I wanted a fast-moving mutation, one that would run through the genome like a forest fire. This would rather neatly explain why things are close, but not quite, the same as conditions are here. After all, it’s canon that literature is similar but not the same (except for Shakespeare), and there are several mentionings of Roman times. How could I put it all together in a way that made sense scientifically without demolishing canon or making my own creative process more difficult?

Marcus Titinius

Marcus was a real historical figure. In ancient Rome, he was a tribune in 450 BC. That’s true history. Now for my spin.

In the mirror, Marcus had a genetic mutation (hereinafter referred to as the Y Chromosome Skew). As a result, he produced sperm that were about 75% XY (e. g. with the potential for creating sons) and 25% XX (with the potential for fathering daughters). The true ratio is a lot closer to 50-50. Marcus was drenched in testosterone and, as a result, was bigger and stronger than most men, too. He was also (and this is where fantasy truly takes its leave from reality) better-endowed than most men, and was a better lover. Hence Marcus had the following things going on with him:

  • He was constantly on the make for women, even though he was married. He had countless mistresses and dalliances with women in all levels of Roman society. He was just as likely to have sex with respectable matrons as with slave girls.
  • He was a good lover, so women sought to keep him. And, if they told their friends, those women also tried to make it with Marcus.
  • His sperm were stronger and more resilient than that of a normal man, so he was more likely to father a child if there was any chance of it at all. E. g. a woman could be two or three weeks away from ovulating, and there would still be a pretty decent chance of him impregnating her.
  • He was stronger, and could fight, so he could fend off rivals. And he was rarely too tired for sex, and could be described as “endlessly insatiable“.
  • He was also a good provider, working hard to support any known children, legitimate or not.
  • He was a good father, working to ensure the success of his offspring, and them reaching the age of maturity.
  • He passed the mutation on to all of his sons, without exception.

Immediate Effects of the Y Chromosome Skew

The two things that any genetic mutation needs to get a foothold are:

  1. The creation of offspring with the mutation and
  2. Those offspring being more likely to survive long enough to pass on the mutation.

The Y Chromosome Skew takes that to extremes. Marcus fathers dozens of children, by all sorts of women. He creates a boatload of genetic diversity, all by himself. He also works to assure the survival of his offspring. His children all inherit these tendencies from him, and even his daughters are more aggressive, particularly when it comes to optimal mate selection.

Long-Term Effects of the Y Chromosome Skew

By introducing a few dozen offspring with the skew, these sons fanned out across the Roman Empire. Just like Marcus, they were endlessly insatiable, but were also good providers and good fathers. As time went on, skewed males began to crowd out non-skewed males. They could fight for their women, and the women were much more likely to select them, anyway. While it is still possible in the 2150s to be a non-skewed male, the percentage is small, and the chances of those men passing along their genes are greatly diminished. José Torres does not have the skew, so if he is Arashi Sato‘s father, then Arashi does not have it, either, by definition. However, all of the Empress‘s other sons have it, even Jun.

Richard Daniels and the Skew

Why does Daniels have the skew? The shortest, easiest answer, is that he is a descendant of Doug Beckett. As Eleanor explains in Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain, Doug fathered five children on our side of the pond, and they all had a mixed radiation band. But what he also passed on was the skew. Two of his children, Joss and Neil, have children of their own (the other three do not reproduce), and each of those two sons has a son and a daughter. By the end of the events depicted in the prime timeline in Fortune, it’s known that at least Joss is a grandfather and the line will go on.

But as Eleanor explains, if you have a radiation band of less than 21 centimeters, and it’s before trans-universal crossovers became common (in 2762), then you’re guaranteed to be a descendant of Doug’s. And, because the Y Chromosome Skew is also prevalent, although Eleanor does not mention it in her little talk, it’s probable that you’ll carry the skew as well.

Societal Effects of the Skew

Society tips more in favor of hunting and warfare, and away from agriculture and peace. Artists become rather rare, and become valued. However, even though women become rarer, they are far less valued, and tend to be treated like dirt most of the time, even when Empress Hoshi is in charge of things. As a result, women’s roles are mostly subordinate. There are women on starships more because the men will all tear each other apart if there aren’t, as opposed to any other real reason. In Temper, in an alternate timeline, the Empress has forbidden all relationships except for her own, and every man is
theoretically supposed to be available to her. Some women, such as Lucy Stone, the Science Officer, and Shelby Pike, the pilot, have some status, but the vast majority of women are oppressed like Karin Bernstein, Blair Claymore, and Pamela Hudson, who exist as little more than playthings for José Torres.

The Skew and the Prime Universe

Although Doug brings the skew with him in 2158 when he crosses over from the Mirror Universe to here, the effects are different. For one thing, Doug is far less violent, and vows to Lili that he will no longer kill. He is as good as his word, and makes every effort to rein in his temper.

As for the genetic mutation itself, it just doesn’t have the same effect in our society, and a lot of that has to do with women. Unlike in the Mirror Universe, women have a far better place in society, and they fight to stay that way. And so, in our universe, Karin is in Tactical (and in the E2 stories, she gets command experience as well), and Blair and Pamela are doctors. Hence, one of the conditions for the Mirror Universe being the way it is just does not come about, e. g. women are not subjugated, or at least not because of that.

The Future of the Skew

With the skew becoming more and more a part of the Prime Universe in Richard’s time, it would appear that the Prime Universe would become more like the Mirror. But that is not likely, due to the position of women in our society. Our valuing of agriculture, cooking and gentleness will also keep us from becoming like the Mirror. And with Mirror Universe denizens crossing back and forth (as we will), it’s entirely possible that by, say, the fifth millennium (e. g. 4000 AD), we might find there are few differences between the Prime and Mirror Universes.

At least, that would be the case in my Star Trek fanfiction, if I ever write about a time that deep in history. And perhaps I might.

Review – Detroit Rock City

Review – Detroit Rock City

Background

Loomis
Loomis

For the first fan fiction challenge on Archer’s Angels, I decided on a theme called “A Thousand Words”. A few images were gathered up and, because a picture is worth a thousand words, people were asked to write up to a thousand words about a particular image. For Star Trek: Enterprise, this is the image that was chosen. This is the character Loomis from the canon Carpenter Street episode.

I decided he needed an ending to his story.

Plot

At the end of the canon episode, Loomis is hauled away in handcuffs, screaming about “lizard people” and a “chick with a ray gun”. At that point, the murders of various people from the Blood Bank are being tied to him. It looks like he’ll be going to jail.

Review – Detroit Rock City

In my story, he is never found competent enough to stand trial in the first place. Hence, instead, he is sent to a psychiatric treatment facility intended to evoke the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It is not a pleasant place to be.

While there, he stands in the medication line with a small cast of characters, including Lakeisha (meant to evoke Lakeisha Warren Crusher, from Crackerjack), Ogden (a lot like Big Chief in Cuckoo’s Nest) and Phyllis.

At one point, a new doctor, Morgan (meant as an ancestor to both Dr. Cyril Morgan and Dr. Pamela Hudson), begins to speak with him, as he protests that he is, indeed, sane. Morgan reminds Loomis that it might be boring at the facility, but if he’s found competent, he’ll be heading to the State Penitentiary, where things are even worse. Loomis accepts this, and takes his medication without incident.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is rated K.

Upshot

This twitchy character needed, I felt, a little closure. In some ways, I’d like to revisit him, although I’m unsure how to accomplish that without repeating myself. As of the writing of this blog post, this is the first chronological story in the In Between Days series. Concord and Crackerjack have scenes that take place earlier, and Richard Daniels goes to earlier times as well, but this is the first in-history story where all of the action occurs so early. The day it takes place, in fact, is the day that I originally posted the story.

Will I go back to this era? Possibly, but I’ll have to think of how to do that, as the HG Wells series was all about time travel and I’d rather not have yet more time travel in a future series. However, there’s no reason to not add some fill-in stories for Daniels, Crystal Sherwood and others, plus Eleanor can also talk about our time period.

Portrait of a Character – Arashi Sato

Portrait of a Character – Arashi Sato

Origins

My initial premise for the Empress Hoshi Sato was that she would be a bit like Livia from Suetonius (and from history). That is, this would be a viper of a mother. But she needed to have children in order to assure the succession. Therefore, I hit on a plan – Hoshi would have numerous children, all from different fathers. The fathers would be selected from her senior staff; this was to create some security for her. Arashi is the third of her six children. All of the children’s first names have some meaning – Arashi means storm.

Portrayal

I wanted someone who would be, perhaps, wiser than his years. Even though the age does not work out, I like John Lone.

Personality

Not everyone can be a warrior, so Arashi is the money man. Ruthlessly efficient and greedy, he doesn’t want to pay for anything, and wants a cut of everything. In Temper, even as a toddler, he is fascinated by PADDs.

Portrait of a Character – Arashi Sato
Arashi (John Lone)

In the first alternate timeline, he keeps the books for Chip‘s Game Night wagers. His youngest brother, Izo, does the strong arm collecting, but Arashi does not sully his hands with such pedestrian matters.

Because he is so interested in books and record-keeping, and because he is ruthless and willing to cheat, the mirror Polloria reveals that he is the one of the Empress’s children who scares her the most, saying, “If he gets control after her death, I am sure he will take every means necessary to assure that he is looking in on every single aspect of everyone’s lives. He’ll be searching for oddities, rebellions, conspiracies, anomalies and anything else that tickles his fancy. Of all of them, I hate her the most, and I wish her dead. But it’s Arashi who truly scares me. Anyone with a brain in their head should, if they take her out, take him out as well.”

His father is technically unknown, with the prime candidates being Frank Ramirez and José Torres. However, since neither he nor Torres has the Y Chromosome Skew, it’s far more likely that José can claim paternity.

By the time of He Stays a Stranger, Arashi is continuing to handle the books. But – and this is the prime timeline for the Mirror Universe – he is far less interested in rule than in money. Ruling will go to his elder brothers, Jun (son of Richard Daniels) and Kira (son of Aidan MacKenzie). Izo will handle the secret police.

Portrait of a Character – Arashi Sato
Arashi (John Lone)

Hoshi is satisfied with Arashi’s choice, noting that empires need funds and treasuries.

Relationships

He has none whatsoever, except with a pocketbook! Even in the prime timeline in the Mirror Universe, he never marries, and any other specifics are not yet known.

Theme Music

As would likely be expected, his theme music is Pink Floyd’s Money.

Prime Universe

Like all of Empress’s Hoshi’s children, he cannot have a Prime Universe counterpart. However, he has an analogue in Doug and Melissa‘s part of the big arrangement – Neil Digiorno-Madden, who also has a head for business. But the differences are apparent, as Neil has two loving relationships, fathers two children and in a lot of ways is more like Lili than Lili’s daughter, Marie Patrice Beckett.

Quote

“I dreamt about collections.”

Upshot

As I wrote the Empress’s children, I needed a way for each of them to stand out. As the money man, Arashi stands out easily. I can see writing more about him in the future.

Spotlight on an Original Species – Imvari

Background

Imvari (the same word is used for both the singular and the plural) were originally brought into Together as a kind of beefy muscle. They were meant to be very tall (over two meters, which is more than six and a half feet) and ruthless in my Star Trek fanfiction.

Imagery

I realized after a while – after I had written Dennis Ott as a horned alienThe Reptile Speaks and had decided that the Imvari did not keep their genitals where most of us do – that this concept had been covered before, in the Star Trek: Original Series film, The Undiscovered Country. It took a while to find the image, but I did.

Hence, this unnamed alien male is – tada! – an Imvari.

Language and Culture

Unlike the Calafans, I didn’t bother writing a language for these folks. However, I did need writing, as a plot point in Together is an escape on an Imvari ship. Hence the Imvari (like the Daranaeans would also get) were given pictograph writing.

Pictographs were meant to be somewhat similar to European road signs, with basic circles, arrows, triangles, squares, rectangles and squiggles denoting things like warp factors, weapons, clothing storage, etc.

As a species that’s considerably taller than most others, Imvari tend to stay away from the rest of us. In Together, Lili and Deb learn that the Imvari are not a threat when it comes to sexual assault as they are simply incapable of pairing with human women.

Weaponry and Duties

In the E2 stories, and in Together, it’s established that they keep prisoners in line with what I’m calling shocking sticks. These types of implements are somewhat akin to the canon Klingon pain sticks.

Image of Adromeda Galaxy in infrared.
Image of Adromeda Galaxy in infrared. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In both the E2 stories and in Together, the Imvari work as guards, slave catchers and the like but are generally not seen to be the brains of any operation. That honor belongs to, respectively, the Orion Syndicate and the non-humanoid Andromeda galaxy species, the Zetal.

In the HG Wells stories, the Imvari are a part of the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Appearances

Apart from Together, Imvari are mentioned a bit in the HG Wells stories, but really only in passing as being yet another galactic species that is at peace with and a part of the successor entity to the Federation.

In the E2 stories, they get a lot more air time, as I needed a villain species that would not be the Xindi. In the E2 stories, the Imvari are responsible for gathering up vulnerable individuals for sale to the Orion Syndicate and processing into slavery. Many of these processed individuals are Ikaarans, and it is on an Imvari slaver ship that Lili and Jay first spend any real time with Ikaarans (although there is an earlier communication which is more formal, but the Ikaaran captain, Jeris, declines Captain Archer‘s offer to share in their Christmas dinner).

Upshot

Before you judge the Imvari as being mere brutes, the species has a writing that is intended to be almost like a modern, stylized version of Egyptian hieroglyphics. By the time of Richard Daniels (31st and 32nd centuries), the species is at peace with nearly all the others in the galaxy. Not bad for a bunch of interstellar thugs.

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Inspiration – Aging

The Mechanics of Creation and Destruction

For every one of us (except, perhaps, for canon characters like Q and Trelane), aging is inevitable. So why is it so hard to confront and accept sometimes?

Story Ideas

When I first started writing Reversal, Aged McCoy from the Deadly Years I was a bit upset at the prospect of aging. Of course, the alternative is far worse. Hence I decided to confront aging head on with certain elements of that story.

  1. The main aliens I created (Calafans) would exhibit signs of aging that would be the reverse of our own (a play on the story’s title). Hence they would start off bald and sprout hair, they would begin with heavy pigmentation on their extremities that would change to a pattern (somewhat like wrinkles or spider veins) and then to perfect clarity and they would also move from detailed dreams to, eventually, simpler ones.
  2. The heroine (Lili O’Day) would be the same age as me (I was 48 years old at the time). Hence she would show normal signs of aging – parentheses lines around her mouth, hair going white and a bit of sagging. But her age bespeaks of not only wisdom but also that she is a bit underestimated in the looks department, and by many people (e. g. Daniel Chang in Demotion, for one). She still gets her men, Doug Beckett, Malcolm Reed, Jay Hayes, Ian Reed and José Torres, depending upon which stories you read.
  3. The hero, Doug Hayes Beckett, would also be aging, so as to reflect the age of Steven Culp at the time the story was written (55). Doug is, in the Mirror, referred to as the old man, and the reference is a pejorative one.
  4. Beauty and youth would not necessarily be punished, but they wouldn’t necessarily be rewarded, either. Hence Aidan MacKenzie and Jennifer Crossman don’t fare so well in the mirror. Aidan, in particular, fares rather poorly, but he gets some redemption in Brown, Temper and, eventually, He Stays a Stranger.
  5. Richard Daniels in Temper would also be no spring chicken, and the same would be true of two of his love interests, Sheilagh Bernstein and Milena Chelenska. Kevin O’Connor would be over seventy, and Polly Porter would also be over sixty. Older people were absolutely, under no circumstances, to be discarded.

Stories with Aging Characters

Dealing with aging has crept into my writing. Here are some notable examples.

Fortune

Photo of an open fortune cookie
Photo of an open fortune cookie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Fortune, Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa Madden and Leonora Digiorno all, eventually, meet their ends. By showing a pivotal moment in later life, and then their last days, I hoped to give the reader some closure and some understanding of the direction in which each of these characters was going.

Biases

Biases is a story of an aging health care worker who ends up caring for an even more aged canon character. In this story, I wanted to touch upon the themes of losing control and compromising.

Equinox

The major characters in Equinox are coming to grips with a major life change. However, the peripheral characters are also dealing with doing whatever they can in order to change their lives. Most have gotten to an age where Starfleet service is more of a burden than a joy.

The Rite

Malcolm and Lili, in later life, prove in The Rite that just because there’s snow on the roof, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a fire in the furnace.

Escape

Escape pulls together older Mirror Universe stories and drags them into the future. The future is never good there, and aging is, inevitably, a sign of weakness. This story is taken up in The Point is Probably Moot.

The Medal

Back in our universe, Neil Digiorno-Madden copes with his own aging body by pushing his physical limits, in The Medal.

A Hazy Shade

Deeper into the future, Jonathan Archer and his wife pay homage to the honored dead from the NX-01, and A Hazy Shade reminds them that it is the winter of their lives as well.

Remembrance

Pamela Hudson‘s eulogy is delivered at Remembrance, reminding the reader that she is the last of the main characters in the In Between Days series to go.

The Point is Probably Moot

The Empress Hoshi Sato is first seen in later years in The Point is Probably Moot.

Shake Your Body

Shake Your Body continues the background theme of Empress Hoshi aging, and not too gracefully.

He Stays a Stranger

Malcolm Reed
Malcolm Reed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The specter of not only Empress Hoshi’s aging but also Richard Daniels being wiped from existence fuels He Stays a Stranger. Furthermore, Lili and Malcolm are shown dealing with a very particular side effect of aging.

Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

When the Empress passes, the family is surprisingly calm, even as they ask, Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?

Crackerjack

Wesley Crusher’s aging, and his telling a story to his eager grandchildren, punctuates Crackerjack.

Upshot

It’s inevitable. Of course, with writing and with characters, they need never age. But I think that misses the point of creativity. Anyone can make a beautiful 24-year-old woman sail through life and get whatever she wants. I think the trick is when she’s 48 and isn’t so beautiful. For that is a much realer depiction of the human condition.

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Portrait of a Character – Eleanor Daniels

Portrait of a Character – Eleanor Daniels

Origins

Richard Daniels didn’t necessarily need to have too much of a contemporary extended family. But I did need someone who could be a bit of an expository mouthpiece. By making his sister, Eleanor, the docent at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II, she can convincingly explain both history and what happened in between, all while pushing the story line along painlessly.

Portrayal

Eleanor is portrayed by English actress Cate Blanchett. I love her intelligence, elegance, and versatility.

Personality

Eleanor showing the cuff
Eleanor showing the cuff

Elegant, refined and intelligent, Eleanor is also incredibly lonely at the beginning of the HG Wells stories and, most likely, during Temper as well, which is something of a prequel to that series and serves as one of the bridges from In Between Days.

In Temper, one of the things I did early on was establish her expertise about both our universe and the mirror, and about the Calafans as well. It isn’t until much later in that story that it’s revealed that she wears the Cuff of Lo, which had been worn by Declan and Malcolm Reed long before her, and by Lili O’Day before them and then Yipran before her.

After Temper, Eleanor takes a bit of a break and does not show up again until A Long, Long Time Ago (the prequel for that story is A Lesson). By the time of Ohio, it’s established that she is hoping for a relationship.

Like Richard, a Mirror Universe version of her is impossible.

Relationships

Thomas Grant

Elegant Eleanor
Elegant Eleanor

They meet during Ohio, when the Human Unit at the Temporal Integrity Commission goes out for drinks after work at a dance club called The X Factor. Richard has invited Eleanor along at the insistence of his parents (they mention that they hope she can meet someone, perhaps a friend of his, during A Long, Long Time Ago). While HD Avery is very, very interested, it’s Tom Grant who grabs Eleanor’s attention. They chat and hit it off, and exchange information. But she waits for him to contact her first, as she’s tired of being the instigator.

But things start off a little bumpy between them. In You Mixed-Up Siciliano, Tom asks her out and she accepts, but that’s while the timeline is still messed up. Once the line is restored, she’s confused when he calls. Terrified that’s she’s forgotten him, and he’s completely blown it, Tom backs off.

English: Actress Cate Blanchett at the 2011 Sy...
English: Actress Cate Blanchett at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But during Spring Thaw, she gives him another chance, and lets him know that the restoration and resetting of timelines means that there are, more or less, infinite chances to get things right. When Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain ends, Tom is distraught over what he’s had to restore and, even though he had planned it for a more beautiful moment, he blurts out that he loves her. For a character who is somewhat controlled – they both are – Tom’s confession is a much more natural way for him to behave. Eleanor is able to bring this out of him.

In The Point is Probably Moot, the breach in the timeline briefly wipes Eleanor from existence and Tom, of course, is again distraught. He frets that somehow she knows, and is frightened and alone. In Shake Your Body, Eleanor locates a major clue at the Museum, and Rick brings Tom along to investigate. In part this is for assistance, but it’s also because Rick knows that he and Tom are going to be kept in more and so he generously gives them a chance to see each other before the forced separation. Tom tells her that, once the line is restored, he never wants to leave her again, and that it means what she probably thinks it does, an echo of Doug telling Lili that he was committed to her. Essentially, he has proposed to her. Eleanor also has given Tom the Cuff of Lo by now, a symbol of their commitment. As she puts it, she’s supposed to give it to her true love, an echo of Lili having given it to Malcolm.

Portrait of a Character – Eleanor Daniels
Eleanor Daniels in uniform; this wonderful photomanip was done by Joshawott of the STPMA

By the time of He Stays a Stranger, the timeline is so damaged that Eleanor is marrying Troy Scott. Rick runs in, in order to try to stop the wedding but, since Rick is considered wiped from existence (he is protected by a temporal force field, so he is still intact but not known to the regular populace), their parents and Eleanor do not recognize him, and he is thrown out of the church.

Quote

“There are, we believe, an infinite number of universes. What is most intriguing about the mirror is how very close it is to our own. We have a kinship with the mirror that we simply don’t have with any of the others.”

Upshot

While this character was originally intended to mainly be a plot device, she has worked overtime – in particular with Tom Grant – and also works well as a continuing thread in the HG Wells stories, helping to give them more coherence. I like how she turned out.

My thanks again to Joshawott of the Star Trek Photo Manipulation Archive for his terrific photomanipulation of Cate Blanchett.

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

Crystal is the kind of person who is often underestimated in the world. Her education is fairly limited, but she knows more than a lot of people probably think.

First introduced in A Long, Long Time Ago, Crystal is busy cutting Temporal Agent Richard Daniels‘s hair when he asks her if she knows anything about historical fashions and haircuts. Her reply indicates not only knowledge, but interest in the subject matter, so Rick presents her as a candidate for the Quartermaster job opening at the Temporal Integrity Commission.

Look

Crystal Sherwood
Crystal Sherwood

I wanted Crystal to be a bit petite and young, but also very attractive and stylish. I hit upon the idea of Marnette Patterson after seeing her in Charmed.  The look, to me, is a good fit for a woman who is secure in her looks but not necessarily in her training or her intelligence. This is not a slam on the actress; this is just the look that I was seeking.

Tasks

While a computer could, conceivably, put together a look that would be consistent with a particular time period, I wanted for there to still be some room for error. For Crystal, the job is less about matching the obvious to a time period than it is to also match it to a particular effect needed. When Rick goes to a 1970 college campus in Ohio, she doesn’t just give him sideburns, she also makes sure that he looks young enough to be a graduate student, but old enough to be able to exert a little authority if necessary. She makes Sheilagh Bernstein (who also goes on that trip) look more like a typical coed, as Sheilagh is a trainee.

In Spring Thaw, she outfits Rick in a more old-fashioned style, despite the fact that it’s only a few years before the scenario in Ohio, as Rick is going to a Soviet bloc country.

Other Talents and Ideas

In Spring Thaw, she spends time helping with the decryption. It’s a particularly frustrating task for her, but her confidence is buoyed by Deirdre Katzman encouraging her.

By The Point is Probably Moot, she’s actively looking at alternate timeline scenarios.

In Ohio, she’s also busy fending off the attentions of HD Avery.

By the time of He Stays a Stranger, she goes on her first mission, and has an excellent idea of where the team can meet while planning to restore the main timeline.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood

There are no impediments to Crystal existing in the Mirror Universe.

But as I write Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction, Mirror Universe women are mainly chewed up and spat out. Unfortunately, I see that as her fate on the other side of the pond.

Quote

“After the Second World War ended, people didn’t have a lotta money, so it’s reflected in the fashions. They just didn’t have a lot of details. Look at the fifties – just a decade later – and it’s more youth-oriented, and then fast-forward another decade and it’s even more youth-oriented. There’s suddenly all these patterns.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Crystal Sherwood
Crystal

Behind that pretty face, there’s a keen mind and a sensitivity and kindness. Book learning isn’t the only thing valued in the thirty-second century.

Underestimate Crystal at your peril.