Portrait of a Character – Charles IV (Charlie) Tucker
Because, in canon, Tripp Tucker has somewhat odd experiences with offspring and, in the prime timeline and prime universe, dies childless, a lot of people like to give him offspring. As a result, I gave him both a prime universe and a Mirror Universe version of Charles IV, although they are not counterparts.
In the prime universe, Charlie is a part of the first kick back in time during the E2 timeline, and his mother is T’Pol. He has a twin named T’Les Elizabeth (that name has been used by other fanfiction writers). In the MU, Charlie’s mother is Beth Cutler, and his sister, Betsy, is younger and is not his twin.
As a teenager, Charlie is played by actor Noel Fisher. As an adult, in keeping with the canon portrayal of Charles Tucker III, he is played by Connor Trinneer.
I like the teen’s look. He seems to be a reasonable mix of Tripp and T’Pol for the E2 storyline, and a mix of Tucker and Cutler for the MU storyline.
Both fellows are pretty easy-going, although the interphased Charlie ends up as the captain of the Enterprise after Jonathan Archer‘s death.
In the first kick back in time, Charlie marries Ethan‘s daughter with the Ikaaran, Bithara. Their daughter is Daphne Tucker, and their granddaughters are T’Mir Ryan and Yoshiko Tucker. Their great-grandsons are Aidan and Steven Khan (sons of Yoshiko).
Takara Masterson Sato
In the MU timeline, with few options, Charlie and Takara end up being thrown together, and they end up becoming the grandparents of the heir to the Terran Empire, Charles VI, AKA The Emperor Charles I.
In the Mirror, Charlie’s theme song is Warren Zevon’s Trouble Waiting to Happen.
Charlie exists in the Mirror Universe in the prime timeline, and in the prime universe in the E2 timeline (first kick back in time only). However, the two men are not counterparts to each other.
“Captain, we didn’t make this. And neither did you. Or, rather, the other version of you. But it happened all the same. We did not think you would believe us. So we put together the notes that Charlotte has just sent you. Please, please, just open them and read them. And you will see that we are sincere.”
For a guy who isn’t supposed to exist at all, I like that Charlie gets some screen time. But I doubt I’ll write him much more unless it’s in the MU.
Entanglements was not originally a work I had planned.
The idea was to go straight from Reflections Down a Corridor to The Three of Us. But Reflections ended up being way too long. I like where and how it was split, though, as it serves the title themes moving from individuals to couples to a threesome. Hence this book achieves a kind of bridging effect.
Entanglements is mainly about coupling, both romantic and erotic, and the tangling of fighting and also getting involved – for better or for worse. Just as Reflections is about individual exploration, Entanglements begins to show people colliding with each other. Naturally, there is a great deal of collateral damage from these collisions.
The story opens with Captain Archer announcing the wedding of Tripp Tucker to T’Pol. As he makes the announcement, the single men in particular are beginning to notice that it affects them. Part of it may be some desire specifically for T’Pol, but it is also because this is the second wedding on the Enterprise. This generational ship is starting to slowly, inexorably, convert itself into the equivalent of a flying small town.
But the real crisis arises from a different relationship. When Josh Rosen proposes to and, eventually, marries Karin Bernstein, it puts fellow Jewish crew member Ethan Shapiro onto a steep downward spiral. That sequence was one of the first parts of the story that I knew I wanted to write and, once I got to it in the plot, it flowed quickly and smoothly.
This story is more transitional and so the beginning and the end are a tad more abrupt than for the other three in the E2 series. But I like the bookending of the Tucker/T’Pol announcement with the Jenny/Aidan wedding, and was particularly pleased to be able to use Jenny’s wedding song again – and to denote that Aidan isn’t quite the right partner (in the prime timeline, she marries Francisco).
After leaving Empress Hoshi far behind, Beth and Tripp (she calls him Charles) want a new life. They’ve already married, and they have a son, Charlie. Their life on Lafa II isn’t an easy one. After all, they’re living in a cave, and are only doing odd jobs in order to survive. When things are really bad, they’re poachers.
Therefore, when they get a chance to attain full citizenship, they take it. Since they owe the Empress absolutely nothing, they want to declare their allegiance to the leader of the government, the new High Priestess, Yimar. In a low-level bureaucrat’s office, their lives are changed, as they swear to defend the Calafan government and its people, and denounce the Terran Empire.
A friend passed away earlier in 2013, and I was having some trouble processing it. I decided to attempt to process it through art.
As a result, I worked in my own feelings by trying to tease out Hoshi and T’Pol‘s feelings about Tripp‘s passing.
And, the reason why I call this canon character Tripp instead of Trip is because of this very man who, in real life, is no more.
As Tucker has died, the two women who knew him best mourn him in different ways. T’Pol’s canon relationship is well-known. She ends up breaking down in front of Jay Hayes‘s replacement, Major Strong Bear Dawson, who everybody calls Bud. Bud is the sole eyewitness to her breakdown, and he tells her he won’t say anything to anyone. She asks how she can repay his kindness and he tells her to just go and have a good life.
Hoshi’s relationship with Tripp is outlined in Together. But the song that is the title of the piece, and is woven throughout this songfic, was played during the party outlined in More, More, More! Hoshi reveals that she and Tripp danced to it. She comes to the realization that it served as a prelude to their time together, and that Tucker may have liked her before then. For her, the music, and a dance with Travis, are how she feels she can cope.
When she and T’Pol are alone together, she passes the music from the party to the Vulcan, urging her to listen so that she can, in a way, understand another facet of Tripp’s personality, something she may not have already known. It is a final act of generosity between women who were not exactly romantic rivals, but rather were romantic steps or links in the chain that was Tripp’s life.
Apart from the Donna Summer song, the entire playlist from More, More, More! is as follows –
As a story, I think it works pretty well. Reactions have been mixed; some critics have said they thought T’Pol would not act as forcefully as she does, but Star Trek: Enterprise canon dictates that this is a former trellium addict and so her emotions are still not fully under control, even years later.
In this story, I am probably more like the Hoshi character. Removed but mournful, and saddened by the wasted potential more than anything else. I have no problem with Tucker being killed off in canon. People die and they should die in space. Space is far from safe, particularly during that era. But I wanted to see a lot more of the aftermath. I hope this aftermath/afterimage type of story can work for readers.
Star Trek: Enterprise establishes, in canon, that commerce and trade are still conducted, and money is still used. Furthermore, there are still automobiles (Tripp Tucker refers to driving an old girlfriend to Chatkin Point). Hence I knew I wanted Tucker for this story, which was in response to a prompt about letters from home. The letters, I decided, would be reflective of Harry Shapiro’s own travails with a finance company.
For Tripp, the finance company contacts him after the Xindi attack. Of course, he’s more than a little put out by this. And the exasperating correspondence thereby begins ….
I like how this one turned out. It’s got a bit of comedy as things go more and more over the top. I also think I ended it at the right point. Any more and the reader might’ve started to feel sorry for the finance company.
Charles Tucker III was almost a writers’ football during Enterprise.
Why the heck would I want to talk about a Star Trek: Enterprise canon character? After all, doesn’t Memory Alpha do a better job? For canon, yes. No argument here.
But what I am talking about is my own fanfiction. So I’ve got a different take on him.
Tripp/Trip – What?
First off, I spell it as Tripp, with two P’s. Why? I knew a guy who was a third, and that’s how he spelled it. To me, one P just looks off. And I am well aware that readers may see the two P’s as being off. So be it. I recognize that this is me being quirky and stubborn, and certainly breaching canon. That cannot be any more than the people who, let’s see, make Tucker gay, make him bi or make him essentially a superhero. Not to mention the folks who insist that he didn’t die in These Are the Voyages.
It’s just a letter, folks.
Marrying Canon to Fanfiction
The writers did a lot to Tripp throughout the course of the show’s four seasons. He got pregnant, he had a relationship with First Officer T’Pol (a Vulcan), he was cloned, he rescued a princess, he lost his sister in the Xindi attack and he met his end, too. In all honesty, I had seen so much of him on screen that I was a bit sick of him when writing my own fiction. He was a major character on the show, but television shows are of a finite size. Therefore, the more screen time for him, the less for other characters.
For me, obliquely referencing him and his exploits often did the trick. In The Reptile Speaks, he’s mentioned in a teenager’s film about sex, as an example of unconventional relations. For the two teenagers talking about him, he’s a source of some amusement.
In Razor, he’s barely referenced, although his identity should be clear to the reader.
A Regular Guy
For me, one of the fun things about writing him is playing on his being, essentially, a regular Joe. In Letters from Home, a riff on the mail distribution scene in the film Stalag 17, he gets a lot of correspondence, but it’s not necessarily of the welcome kind.
Well, maybe not always heroically romantic. In Intolerance, he eagerly participates in the competition to woo the female medical students, and comments quite a bit on the woman he’s originally assigned to, Pamela Hudson.
In Together, he’s paired with Hoshi who, in the end, realizes that she doesn’t feel about him the way he feels about her.
Then in the E2 stories, I cover his relationship with T’Pol, including the cultural differences between them. For example, what Tripp sees as a symbol of commitment, T’Pol sees as a religious article – and not of her faith.
A Working Stiff
In Reversal, it is he who does most of the heavy calculations necessary, and he ends up risking his life in order to perform a rescue.
In Temper, he gives his all in service to the Federation, in what feels very much like a lost cause.
Not every character has a theme, but Tripp does, in Together. The song is Matthew Sweet’s Sick of Myself. I particularly wanted this song for the line, “When I look at you, something is beautiful and true.” That story also has couples’ songs. His (with his partner) is Joe Jackson’s Kinda Kute. I wanted that one for its opening lyric, “You make a guy feel humble.”
The Mirror Universe
At the end of the second canon MU ENT episode, Tripp is about the only one of the main characters who is likely to survive to see another day. Severely scarred, bitter and angry, he epitomizes the skewed life led there.
I have written the MU Tripp as being just as angry, but it’s later, so he’s sicker, and realizes he’s dying. He becomes gentler than he normally would be, and seeks solace with an old girlfriend, Beth Cutler, who accepts him for who he is. In Reversal, the MU Tripp has a lot at stake, and plays off people against each other in an effort to save himself. It is, ultimately, his wish to save others that redeems him, in a way.
In Temper, the MU Tripp again shows a small degree of selflessness, and by doing so he helps to undo the lost cause which threatens the Prime Universe. As I write the MU, everyone is keenly aware of what they owe others, and Tripp is no exception. Since he owes Doug something, he recognizes the debt, and repays it.
In Fortune, the MU Tripp has come full circle but is still a bit wary about strangers. Fortune tells of a dynasty, which shows a major divergence between his fate and that of the Prime Universe Tripp.
In the Prime Universe, his death is canon, so I don’t mess with that. Characters mourn and remember him, and there’s even a charitable foundation named for him, mentioned in Fortune.
“But we’re here to explore and to, to take risks. And I don’t think this is a foolish one.”
I enjoy the character but, as above, I think he was overused, often to the detriment of other characters. But he’s more than just engineering, an accent and a romance. In many ways, his observations are our observations, as an audience and, I hope, as readers.