The story ended up as a bridge between In Between Days and Times of the HG Wells.
In Reversal, I established that the Empress had given birth to Daniels’s child, but she thought him (the elder Daniels) to be dead. But Daniels isn’t dead.
Therefore, there had to be another side to the story.
First Born explores the fallout at the Temporal Integrity Commission, and in time itself. Eleanor Daniels, Rick’s sister, is a docent at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II. She begins by lecturing about Empress Hoshi’s five children, but suddenly she shakes very, very slightly and ends her sentence talking about Hoshi’s six children.
Rick is hauled into his boss, Carmen Calavicci‘s, office. She is, understandably, livid. She has been looking the other way for a while as he’s been bedding women in time. She has been figuring that it’s a way for him to cope with the fact that there are often deaths, or he has to restore deaths. She has been kind or, at least, indifferent. But this is something else entirely, as the Mirror government is breathing down her neck. They demand that Jun Sato‘s existence be wiped out, thereby restoring Aidan MacKenzie‘s son, Kira, to his rightful position as first born heir.
Rick and Carmen meet with a Mirror government representative and begin to sort everything out. Rick wants Jun to live, but how much of a pound of flesh with the other side of the pond extract in order to make that happen?
One, I wanted to introduce a way into a vague idea I had for a Star Trek fan fiction time travel series. And two, I wanted to not only continue the story of Doug, Lili, Malcolm, Melissa and Leonora, but I wanted the kids to be older without aging Lili and Doug quite so much. After all, since Doug is fifty-five when he meets Lili, it was pretty obvious that any stories about the children where the children could really interact and be an integral part of the plot would put Doug into his sixties. But a time travel story could rather neatly fix all of that.
Beyond that, I also wanted a way to continue the saga of the Empress Hoshi Sato and her son, Jun, the son of time traveler Richard Daniels. Furthermore, I wanted more kids in the royal family. For the Empress, it would be a Machiavellian move – she would have several children of different fathers, thereby diversifying genetically and, perhaps, given the tenderhearted paternal feelings that go along with the Y Chromosome Skew, she would get the male members of her senior staff to keep her alive, at least until her children reached the age of majority. And in Temper, they are just about all there.
The story begins with a snapshot into how the arrangement among Malcolm, Lili, Doug, Melissa and Leonora really works. Doug and Melissa are out hunting linfep, and then perrazin, with phase bows. Malcolm and Lili are going on vacation to Fep City. And the children are either with Leonora or are being cared for by Yimar. The occasion is that Melissa wants to have another baby.
But then Malcolm is called away, and Lili comes home early. Time Traveler Richard Daniels arrives and tells her that he needs Doug for something. She’s not so sure she believes him, and is a bit peeved that he’s landed his ship, the brand-new HG Wells, right on top of her day lilies. In order to fix this, he adds a drop of his blood to the soil but does not tell her that it’s spiked with stem cell growth accelerator.
Rick Steps In
When Doug and Melissa get in, and Malcolm is reached via communicator and Leonora arrives separately, Rick tells them why he needs Doug – the Empress is experimenting with what’s called a pulse shot. She’s looking to get over to our side of the pond, because she thinks that she can get more ships like the ISS Defiant.
But her few attempts are clumsy, and they wreak havoc with time itself, causing breaks in 2166 and 2161, including people from our universe crossing over to the Mirror and being trapped there (this includes the three eldest children, Joss, Marie Patrice and Tommy). Rick’s best information is on 2166, so he needs that part repaired first. Doug is the logical choice because, being from the Mirror originally, he sports a radiation band that matches that universe. Lili is chosen to accompany him because she’s considered non-threatening and, with false calloo tattoos on her arms and legs, she can pass for a Calafan. Rick explains that he cannot go as he is forbidden by the Mirror government of his time period. This is due to the debacle about the siring of his son, Jun, which is explained in First Born.
Once Doug and Lili have crossed over, they find a totalitarian regime and just what’s going on with their children.
Temper is less musically-driven than Together, but that makes sense as it is more of an adventure tale than a love story. However, there are still individual themes.
I like, for the most part, how the story turned out, but it is deeper into my universe. Therefore, it can be a confusing read for someone who is not fully familiar with works that cover the earlier time periods. I do make an effort to create stand-alone stories, but I believe that the effect was somewhat mixed here. Temper is usually on the lower end of read counts for the first five big books (Reversal, Intolerance, Together, and Fortune are the other four), along with Intolerance, but in the case of Intolerance, it’s because it’s a shorter book. I suspect that Temper is a bit harder to get into. A pity, as it’s the lead-in for the HG Wells stories.
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’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.
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 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.
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.
This character is, of course, Star Trek: Enterprise canon, but he does not have a given name in canon, or even a first initial. Nothing is known of his inner life or personality. In the series, he’s just a time traveler and does not seem to have emotional reactions to much of what happens, except when his own time period is threatened.
Smarter than anyone else in the room, Rick is a natural for time travel. But he’s also a bit bored, and is jaded by constantly putting things back. This includes allowing people to die who seem to be innocents. In order to comfort himself, and to keep himself occupied, he begins bedding women in time.
All goes along fine until one of the women ends up pregnant. This would not matter so much to history (although it matters to Richard), except that the pregnant woman is the Empress Hoshi Sato.
He has a good relationship with his sister, Eleanor. For a long time, she is the only person he confides in.
Rick is a womanizer at the start of A Long, Long Time Ago. Here are his known conquests, in the order of the conquests (his perspective in time):
Unlike his temporal conquests, Tina is a real-live girlfriend for Richard. They check each other out in A Lesson and then are introduced at the start of Temper. But at the end of A Long, Long Time Ago, he ends it, although he contacts her a few times, during both Ohio and The Point is Probably Moot.
They meet during the events of Spring Thaw. They enjoy each other’s company and are intellectual equals. They’re also both suffering from some melancholy. Hers is more significant than his, as she is a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps in part because he isn’t supposed to have her, Richard finds himself falling for her. It isn’t until He Stays a Stranger that he does anything about it.
Richard goes on several missions for the Temporal Integrity Commission. He isn’t just fooling around. Here are his only known missions (so far) –
As is explained in the HG Wells series, a lot of temporal alterations are minor (otric), and don’t affect the overall timeline. In the E2 stories, Richard’s cabin is opened up more than once, as the displaced NX-01 attempts to reach him so that they can be restored to their correct time period. While it’s difficult for him, Rick ends up having to ignore them as the Enterprise, in two separate iterations, is meant to be in the 2030s and beyond.
In Temper, his music is The Records’ Your Starry Eyes. But in the HG Wells stories, his themes are Andrew Gold’s Lonely Boy and then, finally, Secret Agent Man by Johnny Rivers, which was the original inspirational music for the series itself.
Rick does not have a Mirror Universe counterpart, and explains the reason for that to Sheilagh Bernstein during Ohio. In First Born, because Rick has fathered a temporally incompatible child, he and his boss, Carmen Calavicci, have to negotiate in order to allow Rick’s son, Jun, to live. One of the conditions of Jun being allowed to survive is that Rick is not permitted to return to the Mirror Universe during the Empress’s lifetime. However, he can go to the Mirror during other time periods and, when he does, in a kind of salute to her, he calls himself Ritchie as she called him that (the nickname is a reference to Ritchie Valens, and A Long, Long Time Ago). An earlier Mirror Universe mission is shown in Pat the Bunny.
“I’m sorry, but no, though I have never forgotten you, either of you. And I love my, my child, but I know that I have never been a father to you. I wish I had been.”
For a guy who doesn’t even have a first name in canon, I think I’ve given him a pretty wild life. Hopefully, readers find him as fascinating as I have.