I wanted a kind of strange means of controlling time travel.
However, the means would be the antithesis of canon. Therefore, I decided, the best and clearest way to accomplish this feat would be by making almost a biological means of traveling in time. Yes, it is that bizarre.
For a time traveler such as Helen Walker, it is a three-step process. First, she puts on the cuff. Then a separate controller selects the time and place. Then the subject swallows the enzyme, Trichronium. In this case, the subject is Helen. And then the process of traveling in time begins. The physical transference process is somewhat similar to the canon act of beaming from one place to another. Helen even reports that the enzyme tastes a little bit like cantaloupe.
As for the invention and the process, I am somewhat mixed in my assessment of it. I think it is a decent idea but not necessarily with the greatest of executions. For one thing, the name of the enzyme is far too close to the name I had already created for a nerve toxin, Tricoulamine.
With rather different purposes for both of these chemical compounds, the all too similar names could potentially prove confusing. In addition, the use of numerical prefixes for nearly all originally-created chemical compounds (e. g. bicoulamine and quatromenaline) made for a far too predictable naming convention.
As I note above, I believe that the idea was a decent one. It was most assuredly a unique one. However, the execution left far too much to be desired. What could have been a great invention turned out to just be okay. And that is not a good thing!
Where is it that the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain? Why, it’s Oklahoma, of course. Yet if stories about terrorism trigger you, you might want to back out now.
To continue Richard Daniels and the Temporal Integrity Commission’s investigations in time, I decided the Perfections would prevent a truly horrific act, and then the commission would have to, sadly, put it back.
9/11 was (and still is) too close in time, and felt wrong. But this event isn’t too much better, and I can understand if a reader finds it a distasteful topic for Star Trek fanfiction, still.
For anyone who does not know the musical, the title of the piece refers to Oklahoma! And so the story line can only be about one thing.
A lot of writers, when tackling a subject like this, focus on the Kennedy assassination. But I wanted something more contemporary. And this particular terrorist act is even worse, given the high number of lost innocents.
This is the last of the stories in the Complications subsection of the HG Wells timeline (the first part is Repairs; the last part is Unravelings).
As Rick recovers from meeting Milena (and falling for her), the Perfectionists, an opposing faction, pull off their most audacious act so far. But preventing the Oklahoma City bombing means that a number of people will live who aren’t supposed to. And this includes several preschoolers. Hence the timeline becomes horribly damaged.
At the same time, in an effort to distract musician time traveler HD Avery, the Perfectionists avert a 1977 plane crash that killed half of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd.
And as a third piece of the temporal shenanigans puzzle, the Perfections prevent the 1983 assassination of Benigno Aquino.
So as a result of these changes, the NX-01‘s pilot is not Travis Mayweather; it’s Shelby Pike. She works as the ship’s Botanist in the Prime Timeline. In this alternate, she and Tripp Tucker have a relationship, and Otra D’Angelo sees Pike pregnant with Tucker’s child.
Yet another temporal alteration concerns Wesley Crusher‘s death from a plague. So this causes the destruction of the Enterprise-D by a Borg cube because Jean-Luc Picard cannot stop playing a game and Robin Lefler cannot save the crew by herself.
Hence due to the ever-present Borg threat, the Federation obtains rather expensive help from Dawitan, Otra’s home world. The Federation pays tribute every year. However, the masses are kept appeased with generous daily rations of fortified wine.
But protesters, including Anthony Parker, break into the USS Saint Eligius in order to destroy the wine casks (they’re behaving a lot like real-life temperance advocate Carrie Nation).
However, in the largest of the crates they smash open, they find an emaciated Otra. She has been kept imprisoned by the Perfectionists. Upon the eventual restoration of the timeline, Otra ends up back prison but retains a phaser that Anthony has given her.
I liked putting this one together, as it ended up quite a puzzle. Daniel Beauchaine‘s actions have to be accounted for. In addition, I had to research and write dialogue for Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. As a piece of the Complications subsection of these stories, the book lives up to the idea of being complicated all right. But it sometimes seems overly so.
Hence numerous strands, from the three temporal alterations, to all of the consequences, need correction. But it ends up a lot for a reader to follow, and I admit I probably rushed through this one too much.
Long before I started writing Star Trek fanfiction, I wrote parts of a wholly original time travel series. A character who was supposed to understand psychology and therapy was named Polly Porter. Polly originally was the middle child of two sisters, Penelope and Paris. I kept Polly and her specialty but ditched her sisters, for the most part.
Warm and friendly, Polly is the epitome of almost a Frasier Crane-type of character (e. g. “I’m listening.”). However, very much like Frasier, she is also a rather detached individual, not really that close to anyone.
In the Mirror Universe, I feel she’d be a much more informal advice-giver. But women are often in secondary roles there, at least in my Star Trek fanfiction. Would she still be among the living? It’s possible that she wouldn’t be, seeing as she is aging and is not a great beauty. In the Mirror Universe, where a woman’s looks (at least in my fan fiction) are often valued far more than her brains or her kindness or other skills, Polly would more than likely come up short, even in the deeper future.
“Let’s get you some keratin accelerator for your hair, and some newer clothes, okay? And as for the rest of it, heh, well, our department needs a new traveling doctor, right?”
Polly is one of those characters – and there were a few of them in the HG Wells series – who I just ran out of room, time, and interest for. This is a perfectly good character, but a lot of her lines, shall we say, ended up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps I’ll be able to do her justice later. I don’t know.
For the Temporal Integrity Commission, Richard Daniels could not possibly be doing everything himself. Quartermaster Crystal Sherwood (and the other employees) would need direction as well. Therefore, their ultimate boss, I decided, would be an admiral.
Her name is a riff on Sam Beckett’s companion character in the Quantum Leap television series, Admiral Albert Calavicci.
Carmen is played by Annabella Sciorra. I wanted someone in my Star Trek fanfiction who would be younger than your standard admiral, and who would potentially be unconventional.
After all, a lot of what the Temporal Integrity Commission does is off the books and not perfectly organized. I wanted the deep future to be somewhat like that, not so easily recognizable to both us and canon characters of earlier time periods. This is not wholly at odds with Star Trek canon, as Daniels does often seem to be flying a bit by the seat of his pants.
I wanted everyone to be doing that, and so Carmen, the ultimate improviser, was born.
No-nonsense and efficient, Carmen calls her charges ‘children’ much of the time, and truly cares about whether they’re all right. After all, despite the many physical enhancements they have, and the technology they possess, it’s still a dangerous business to travel in time. Plus I hear a British accent when I hear Carmen’s voice; she just strikes me as someone who’s mid-level posh. However, she’s also more than willing to street fight if it comes to that.
Carmen battles both migraines and alcoholism, but she has both more or less under control. Most of the time.
As of the writing of this blog post, Carmen has no known relationships. The only bit is a short, drunken hookup with Rick, which they both regret in the morning.
There are no impediments to Carmen having a mirror counterpart.
Maybe she does. It’s highly doubtful that she would be an Admiral, even that late in history, long after the fall of the Mirror Empire.
And like most Mirror Universe women, she would likely not receive good treatment, and would use her body to gain privileges. However, as a woman aging, she would be losing her advantages.
FalseBill has written a version of an MU Carmen and has named her Genofeva. She and Carmen are both in Dishing It Out.
“I, God, this is an awful day and I don’t expect any of you to be unaffected. Three deaths in one day! I’d be shocked if any of you truly were unaffected. But we have some sort of issue, so I’m afraid we don’t have the time or the luxury allowing us to mourn even a little bit. I suppose we’ll all collapse later and become raving basket cases. As for the change, no one can pinpoint it yet.”
Carmen is very nearly cigar-chomping, and does not suffer fools gladly. But she needs more back story, which I will write for her one of these days.
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
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 Stones‘ Time 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 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.
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).
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.
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 gets the call 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.
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.
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.
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 a recording 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.
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.
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.
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.