Tag Archives: Time travel

Review – He Stays a Stranger

Review – He Stays a Stranger

Review – He Stays a Stranger
He Stays a Stranger

Background

Back when I was originally putting together a wholly original time travel fantasy series, I came up with the story lines for A Long, Long Time Ago; Spring Thaw; and this one.  The idea of Goodman, Schwerner, and Cheney being saved, only to be lost again, was a sadly compelling one.

Further, I needed a way to complete the time travel series. The title was perfect.

Plot

As the previous book, Shake Your Body, ends, Rick Daniels has been wiped from existence. The imperfect state of the Master Time File means that he, personally, survives, but no one knows who he is. Almost stateless, he is thoroughly cut off from everyone else.  The most painful moment for Rick is when his own mother doesn’t know him, and his sister, Eleanor, screams for Security.

How it all works out, and what happens to Milena Chelenska, and the rest of the gang at the Temporal Integrity Commission, can be learned by reading the book, of course. But I’ll admit I am not thrilled with the ending for Carmen Calavicci and a few others, like Polly Porter. I essentially just ran out of space.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I like the overall feel of it, particularly as it disperses the darkness of the series and brings it back to light. In particular, with the incredible longevity of Branch Borodin, it feels like my characters, in a way, will never die.

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Recurrent Themes – Computer Technicians

Recurrent Themes – Computer Technicians

Recurrent Themes – Computer Technicians
Ancient computers specialist and time travel agent Sheilagh Bernstein

In time travel in particular, someone will have to be able to deal with computers. They are such a pervasive part of our lives that I cannot imagine sending a time travel contingent to any time past about 1985 or so without giving them the ability to work with computer systems.

Further, Star Trek has always had a somewhat ambivalent relationships with computers and, truly, all forms of technology. The Original Series (TOS) in particular often showcases a dichotomy between over reliance on computers versus good old fashioned human know-how. In The Next Generation (TNG), Data is so human-like that there is a question about whether he should have the same rights as a member of a naturally evolving sentient species would.

Background

Amusingly enough (and highly reflective of the mores of the time), Original Series actors are shown really only using computers for work. DNA The same seems to be true for the Next Generation, except when it comes to the use of the fantasy-fulfilling holodeck. Then, it’s no holds-barred.

You need to get to Star Trek: Enterprise (ENT) before you start to see people using computers for leisure pursuits. In the Catwalk episode, a crewman does a crossword puzzle on hers. Jonathan Archer even seems to use his for reading (although Malcolm Reed appears to prefer paper books).

Appearances

Hoshi Sato

As in canon, Hoshi (with the help of T’Pol) is often tasked with not only handling the ship’s database, but also in interpreting aliens’ databases.

Charlotte Reed-Hayes Archer

In Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, it is Charlotte, a descendant of Jonathan, Lili, Ebrona, Jay, Malcolm, and others, who sends the first kick-back’s full database to Hoshi. This changes the second kick back in time’s experience rather dramatically, as people already know who they ended up with.  When the second kick back in time meets the prime timeline version, there isn’t enough time to load the entire database, and so the prime timeline is left with only knowing what we learned in canon, and never knowing that there were two involuntary trips back in time.

Sheilagh Bernstein

The specialist in ancient computers is a mid-level Temporal Agent working with Richard Daniels. In Another Piece of the Action, she ends up inadvertently insulting Spock a little, when she refers to his beloved computer system as being primitive.

Upshot

As we move closer to real-life Star Trek types of experiences, I fully believe we will use computers more and more. They will converge, probably, and smart phones and tablets will likely become more or less the same devices. Through it all, someone will need to handle them. I will undoubtedly write about more people just like this.

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Spotlight – Temporal Enhancer cuff/enzyme

Spotlight on Temporal Enhancer cuff/enzyme

Background

I wanted a kind of strange means of controlling time travel.

Spotlight – Temporal Enhancer cuff/enzyme
Temporal Enhancer Cuff

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.

For time traveler 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 enzyme, Trichronium, is swallowed by the subject (in this case, Helen), and 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.

Upshot

As noted 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.

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Review – Shake Your Body

Review – Shake Your Body

Background

Before 9/11, for a lot of people, their “where were you when you heard?” moment occurred when the Challenger space shuttle exploded.

Review – Shake Your Body
Shake Your Body

At the time, I was teaching as a part of getting credit toward my Juris Doctorate. The incident was rattling not only because of the deaths, but also because of Christa McAuliffe‘s connections to New England and teaching. She and I were even born on the same day (albeit 14 years apart).

Review – Shake Your Body

Plot

As the Perfectionists, enemies of the Temporal Integrity Commission, work to assure that the Challenger does not explode, the Varg-i-yeh are coming to attack. Helen Walker and her father escape to the Mirror Universe, where Richard Daniels is not allowed to pursue them. And on Lafa II, Malcolm Reed and his wife, Lili O’Day Beckett Reed, see a mysterious light in the sky, which turns out to be the Walkers, in a stolen time ship, opening up a passageway to the Mirror Universe.

By the time the book is finished, three members of the Temporal Integrity Commission are dead, and the alien enemy is practically on their doorstep.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

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Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

Origins

For the HG Wells stories, there had to be a few central villains. And so Helen and Milton Walker were born. He’s her father.

In the older time travel series that I had created, Helen was actually Tom Grant‘s ex, and she was mighty bossy and ruthless there, eventually joining their enemies. Hence Helen remained an enemy but some of the details were changed.

Portrayal

Helen is portrayed by actress Katie Holmes.

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

I wanted someone who would be pretty but could, behind a lovely smile and a sweet visage, be ruthless.

Personality

Spoiled and amoral, Helen is the face that launched a thousand time ships. But she hardly deserves the attention or the accolades. Instead, she’s tasked with “putting right what once went wrong” in history, as a nod to the television series, Quantum Leap. But Helen doesn’t do it out of altruism or a desire to get home or anything of the sort. Instead, she’s a (fairly) obedient soldier of her father’s. His dream is to save people and to be the one who prevents wars and the like. But he can’t get anything done without destroying other details of history, much like a bull in a china shop. He’s often cleaning up after Helen’s messes, too.

But at least she’s not their assassin. That dubious honor goes to double agent Marisol Castillo.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

There are no real impediments to Helen existing in the Mirror Universe, but deeper future characters have several more chances to not have a perfect duplicate on the other side of the proverbial pond.

I think she’d be more careful and sensitive. I write MU women as often being beholden to, and subservient to, men. In earlier times, that would make a Mirror Universe woman slavelike. But Helen belongs to a time period where it might snag her a better husband instead. She could potentially have a better future than a lot of other MU women.

Quote

“If they like time travel so much, I bet we could work a bit together. They do their conquering – whatever they like, actually. All we need to do is keep a step ahead, and go back, either to make changes for our own purposes or, if necessary, to undo whatever they may damage. And not only will the Temporal Integrity Commission have their hands full, but so will Section 31, and the Federation, and anyone else who might have any issues with all that we are attempting to accomplish.”

Upshot

Portrait of a Character – Helen Walker

When I created the character, I had no idea that there really had been a Helen Walker who was an actress.

At the end of the series, Helen is carted off to jail. I’m not sure how to bring her back, except in prequels or flashbacks.

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Review – Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

If stories about terrorism trigger you, you might want to back out now.

Review – Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

Background

Where is it that the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain? Why, it’s Oklahoma, of course.

To continue Richard Daniels and the Temporal Integrity Commission‘s investigations in time, I decided that a truly horrific act would be prevented, and then the commission would have to, sadly, put it back.

Review – Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain
Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

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).

Plot

Review – Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

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 1977 plane crash that killed half of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd is also averted.

And as a third piece of the temporal shenanigans puzzle, the 1983 assassination of Benigno Aquino is prevented.

Temporal Issues

So as a result of these changes, the NX-01‘s pilot is not Travis Mayweather; it’s Shelby Pike. She is 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.

Review – Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

Yet another temporal alteration is Wesley Crusher‘s death from a plague, which causes the Enterprise-D to be destroyed 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. Tribute is paid every year, and the masses are kept appeased with generous daily rations of fortified wine.

Review – Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain

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 Carry Nation). However, in the largest of the crates they smash open, they find an emaciated Otra, who has been kept imprisoned by the Perfectionists. Upon the eventual restoration of the timeline, Otra is returned to prison but retains a phaser that Anthony has given her.

The end of the story also prods  a horribly distraught Tom Grant to confess his love to Eleanor Daniels.

Music

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

I liked putting this one together, as it’s quite a puzzle. Daniel Beauchaine‘s actions have to be accounted for, and 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’s probably overly so.

Hence there are a lot of strands, from the three temporal alterations, to all of the consequences that have to be corrected. But it’s a lot for a reader to follow, and I admit I probably rushed through this one too much.


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Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter

Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter

Origins

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.

Portrayal

Polly is played by veteran actress Kathy Bates.

Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter
Kathy Bates as Polly Porter

I like this smart, older Oscar winner.

Personality

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.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Polly Porter
Mirror Polly

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.

Quote

“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?”

Upshot

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.


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Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano

Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano

Background

Review – You Mixed-Up Siciliano
You Mixed-Up Siciliano

You Mixed-Up Siciliano! So back when I was originally writing a time travel series, I hit upon the idea of a vacation in 1960 Italy. However, this would be where everything would inadvertently go wrong. Hence, playing off the lyrics of Rosemary Clooney‘s song, Mambo Italiano, and the old Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, the title came to me as did much of the story line.

Plot

At the start of the story, Sheilagh has just threatened to quit the Temporal Integrity Commission, after a disastrous training run outlined in Ohio.

Because she can already tell that she’s going to hate letting good people die.

Carmen and Richard suggest an alternative. While consulting with Otra, they ask her where she would go, and when, if she could. So Otra, being a nice Italian girl, suggests 1960 Italy and the film and song as outlined above. And then Crystal outfits Sheilagh in “fabulous clothes” and they’re off.

However, things don’t go quite as planned, as Marisol Castillo also takes a side trip to 1960 Rome.

You Mixed-Up Siciliano Music

So reflecting 1960, the music is often horn-driven. The Twist refers not only to the dance, but also to the plot. El Paso was a serendipitous find, and references Marisol rather neatly.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated T.

Upshot

Finally, I love the music in this one, the costumes and the scene settings. As for the crime and the mystery, it is in this story where things stop being a mystery. They settle, instead, into the characters trying to figure out what’s going on, and the overall arc begins to segue into Spring Thaw. I like it although I think I would have slowed down the crime a bit.


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Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

Origins

I wanted a bit of an author surrogate here. I loved this spelling of Sheilagh ever since I saw it in the old book, The Harrad Experiment. That was about the only thing, other than the sex scenes, that was interesting about that book, but I digress.

Sheilagh was written to be a specialist in ancient computer systems, as time travelers would need that sort of expertise.

Portrayal

I see Leelee Sobieski in this role.

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein

I like the actress’s look, she seems brassy and I feel that Sheilagh would be a bit like that. Smart but also maybe a little pushy.

Personality

A genius, but often isolated, Sheilagh is older and could use some friends. When things trouble her, she has no one to talk to and, in Ohio, ends up talking to a random guy in a park.

Sheilagh was born on September 19, 3062. She lives on Mars. While growing up, she had a Mastiff named Jake. She is an only child, born in New Brasilia, on Callisto.

Relationships

Richard Daniels

While some flirting goes on in Ohio, it isn’t until You Mixed-Up Siciliano that they hook up. The relationship is mainly physical and they often meet in each other’s bunks in the middle of the night. Just before Spring Thaw, Rick ends it, and Sheilagh does not object.

HD Avery

In Shake Your Body, after seeing some difficult things, they get together. HD has been interested for quite a while, referring to her (when speaking to Daniels) as being, “the best one”. In He Stays a Stranger, Branch Borodin states that HD and Sheilagh eventually marry.  A quick scene of them dating is showing in Happy Stuff 3111.

Theme Music

Although the spelling is wrong, this song works. It’s from 1962, so it’s a little bit after Ohio.

Mirror Universe

Portrait of a Character – Sheilagh Bernstein
Mirror Sheilagh

In Ohio, Sheilagh confirms that she has a Mirror Universe counterpart, who is a government official.

I see this woman as being smart, yes, but even more withdrawn than the Prime Universe Sheilagh. After all, who can you trust?

Quote

“Home is, is on Mars. Yeah! I’m one of those little green men you’re all so worried about. Uh, little green woman. And him? He lives near Saturn! We come from the future to, to eat your Pasta Alla Puttanesca and drink your Campari!”

Upshot

I like Sheilagh but she’s had few occasions to really work. She did some work in Another Piece of the Action, but the personality was not explored. I need to try to rectify that at some point.


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Review – November 13th

Background

For a Weekly Free Write called ‘berth of a career’, I got the idea of a messy bunk in my head, and could not get it out.

Adding to this idea was the Star Trek: Enterprise canon tidbit that Daniels had roomed with a slob. In order to anchor between In Between Days and Times of the HG Wells, it made sense to have a younger character.

That younger character would be connected to Daniels, hence bridging the gap between In Between Days and the deep future of The Times of the HG Wells.

Plot

Craig Willets, now an older man, would be dictating his memoirs, when he’d remember something quirky from his past.

The date is what triggers it for Craig. He remembers a very specific, yet puzzling, event.

On that day, back in 2151, he was just minding his own business, but was remembering his old roommate, who had left in a hurry. It had been explained to Craig that Daniels had been a time traveler. Craig wasn’t sure how he felt about that. As a slob, he has no idea, but a pair of his boots are missing.

The action then shifts to 1699, where Daniels is preparing to bed Jennifer Crossman‘s ancestor, the widow Lucretia Crossman, in Penn’s Woods. This is to be Rick’s first temporal conquest. He’s eager to get going, and then realizes that he forgot something back in 2151.

Penn's Woods at Bowman's Hill
Penn’s Woods at Bowman’s Hill (Photo credit: tgpotterfield)

He excuses himself and goes to the only private place – the outhouse. While in there, he taps out a quick message to Craig and has the boots sent to November 13th, 2151. Why that date? That’s what date it is in 1699. But it does not match the date when Daniels departed from the NX-01. Craig realizes, much later, that his old roommate made a mistake with the date.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I like the slight silliness of the story, that something so mild and minor could bring the two series together.


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