Tag Archives: Uhura

Portrait of a Character – Nyota Uhura

Portrait of a Character – Nyota Uhura

Origins

Uhura (Zoe Saldana version)
Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana version)

Nyota Uhura. The character is, of course, canon.

I have always loved this character’s quiet competence. She was perhaps the first actress I ever saw who worked under the hood of a display, with a screwdriver, as wires sparked. It meant, to me, that she was not just another pretty face and she had more going on. She was an important and valuable member of the crew and not just some eye candy.

Portrayal

As in canon, the character is played by Zoe Saldana when young and by Nichelle Nichols when more mature.

I was particularly thrilled when, in the JJ Abrams films, she showed her competence by making it clear she could speak Romulan. This was a great check back to Hoshi and to what communications people really should be in space.

Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols version)
Uhura (Nichelle Nichols version)

In the Original Series, she was always the calming presence on the ship. If you heard her voice, you knew that, no matter what, everything was going to be all right. For young girls growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, she proved that you can be young and beautiful and feminine, but also powerful, intelligent, and adventurous. I hope Ms. Nichols knows just how many people she inspired.

Personality

Friendly and kind, Nyota is almost the mother hen of the ship in either timeline. She is its heartbeat.

Relationships

Spock

Like a lot of fans, this relationship seems a bit odd but maybe it can work. In the Eriecho series, I give their relationship some play.

Mirror Universe

Mirror Universe Nyota is canon.

Mirror Universe Nyota (Nichelle Nichols)
Mirror Universe Nyota (Nichelle Nichols)

Quote

“It is, and maybe I’m not helping things by calling you sir. Still, uh, I want you to know that, in this timeline, there’s something between us. And I was wondering, in your timeline, was there ever anything?”

Upshot

I do not write enough of her, and I mainly write her in the context of the JJ Abrams timeline. I should revisit her.

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Review – The Tribe

Review – The Tribe

What is your tribe?

Background

I wanted to cover a moment where unlikely allies would work together.

Barking up the Muse Tree | jespah | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Before Days | The Tribe
Before Days

The end of Mary Reed’s first day at work proved a great backdrop. I also had wanted to revisit her new job, and so this prompt  made for a great opportunity to do just that.

Mary would be needed – and that can sometimes be an issue for people with grown children. How do you find a new purpose so that you can feel needed again? For this little story, Mary was absolutely indispensable.

Plot

Review – The Tribe

As Mary takes the maglev train home to Kota Baru after a long day at work, the train suddenly stops. Briefly, the lights go out, which is a little scary but not a lot. This is her first day on the job, and she was asked to start on the day of her interview, so the whole thing has been even more unexpected. Nearly as importantly, her husband, Stuart, has not been fully supportive of her working outside the home, even as a part of the Earth-Romulan War effort. And now she is going to be late, and his supper will be delayed. It is hardly an auspicious beginning to her working career.

When the power comes back on, a heavily pregnant woman sitting across the aisle from her looks mighty uncomfortable.

Review – The Tribe

A young Tellarite male comments, and it becomes obvious very quickly that the pregnant woman’s water has broken. Except for the young Tellarite, all of the men in the train car leave.  Two Vulcans come over and begin timing the contractions. A few women donate sweaters or the like to create an impromptu pillow. Mary’s job is to talk to the woman, whose name is Penda (this is a reference to a possible canon name for Uhura).

When the train finally starts moving again, the people are not friends. But  they have shared something all the same. And Mary, like the pair of Vulcans and the young Tellarite and others, returns to her life.

Story Postings

Rating

The story is Rated K.

Upshot

I liked this little slice of her life, and how even in the future something like a birth could have the potential to truly go wrong, or at the very least get messy.

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Inspiration – Names

Background

I take names seriously, and, truth be told, that’s actually Star Trek canon. A lot of the named characters, particularly the ones who do not have English-style names, have meaningful appellations.

Nyota Uhura
Nyota Uhura

Take Hoshi Sato, for example. The first name means “star”. The surname means “at home”. Hence, she is “at home in the stars”.

A similar situation exists with Nyota Uhura. Nyota means “star” and Uhura means “freedom”. Are communications officers required to be named Star?

Canon to Fanfiction

For my characters, names have meanings that draw from heritage, repeat in order to show familial relationships, and have meanings unto themselves.

In Between Days

Doug Beckett is so named because Douglas means “dark stranger”, which is exactly what he is – a stranger from the Mirror Universe, first experienced in pitch darkness.

Lili O’Day‘s full name – Charlotte Lilienne O’Day – evokes several themes. Her first name means “free woman” and her middle name is of course a flower (and Malcolm refers to her, in the prime timeline, as Lili-Flower). Her surname sets up the contrast to Doug, for she is quite literally “of the day”.

Malcolm Reed (alternate timeline)
Malcolm Reed (alternate timeline)

Because the name Malcolm means “a devotee of Saint Columba“, and that is the patron saint of poets and bookbinders, I make Malcolm a gifted poet. The reed (which of course is the lower, non-flowering part of a plant), is evoked as he and Lili, in Together, talk about the flower and the reed, and she assures him that the flower is pretty and all, but the flower can’t live without the reed.

For Melissa Madden, in part it’s a shout-out to future canon character Martin Madden.

Melissa means “honey bee” and she is a rather earthy individual. As for Leonora Digiorno, Leonora means “light” (Malcolm incorrectly refers to her as the Lioness) and Digiorno is the same as O’Day, “of the day”. Her relationships are purely in the day, hence she is solely a daylight character.

Times of the HG Wells

The Wells characters were less name-driven but there are some highlights. Sheilagh and Darragh are both Irish-type spellings, meant to impart a somewhat exotic flavor. HD Avery is really Henry Desmond, with the middle name being a shout-out to Dominic Keating‘s first real role, in a British sitcom called Desmond’s. Carmen means “garden”, an offhanded joke as the character is a sophisticated urbanite. The characters Tom and Kevin hearken back to the In Between Days series and are meant to show a relationship to that earlier series.

Otra, the half-Witannen character, has a name meaning a small animal, like a mouse. I also used Glyph as the name of a Ferengi, as short nouns are canon for Ferengi names (e. g. Quark and Nog). Von is another Ferengi name, but I grabbed that one from baseball – Von Hayes (yet another shout-out to Steven Culp).

Interphases

For this series, character names have to evoke a time period properly. Rosemary Parker’s name fits in with her birth in the 1920s, whereas Jacob, Benjamin and Dorcas all evoke the 1700s. Jim, the son of Benjamin and Dorcas, is a shout-out to Mark Twain’s Jim character in Huckleberry Finn.

Emergence and Mixing it Up

For both of these series, since there are several aliens, names had to be made up. Skrol is meant to sound a bit like Slar, the only known named Gorn. Etrina, Tr’Dorna and Sophra are all made-up names, meant to sound feminine. Bron is intended to evoke a feeling of brawn.

For Daranaeans, female names end with vowels whereas as male names often (but not always) end with an -s. Prime Wife females, being considered superior, are given names with a soft th- sound in them, such as Thessa, Dratha and Kathalia. This is the th- sound in thistle, rather than in the. The sound, anywhere in the word, is meant to mean “smell”, with a positive connotation. Secondaries get somewhat pretty names, often with m- sounds, like Morza and Mistra, but sometimes not, like Cria and Inta (in all fairness, the younger Inta, a secondary, is named after a last caste female). Third caste females tend to get shorter names, like Darri and Fyra and Cama. The men’s names are all over the place, from Elemus and Arnis to Craethe and Trinning.

Calafans

Calafans love names and meanings so much that it’s a standard greeting to a new person – “what is your name, and what does it mean?” The first time Lili hears this, in Local Flavor, she is a bit appalled as it is a part of a come-on.

Men often get the -wev ending, which means “master of”, whereas women often get the yi- prefix, meaning “student of”. But the differences are not intended to be sexist. With no middle names and no last names, a lot hinges on a name, and they cannot be repeated. Therefore, names are given out by the government, and parents often petition for a name for their baby while the child is still in utero. Names are then released upon death. Names without either prefix include Treve (messenger) and Miva (clay).

Upshot

For me, the naming of characters is a deeply person act. Alien names are a great deal of fun to come up with, as I put together sounds I like or that seem to harmonize, and then attach meanings to them. Sometimes a character doesn’t really “click” until he or she has been named. Then, suddenly, it can all fall into place.